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SBD Global/August 6, 2014/Franchises

League Championship Leeds United Owner Massimo Cellino Vows To Change Culture

Is there another owner like League Championship club Leeds United Owner Massimo Cellino "in English football?" according to Simon Austin of the London TELEGRAPH. Cellino "spent 16 days in prison last year," plays "accomplished guitar with his own band in front of crowds of thousands" and is "so superstitious" that he had all the No. 17 seats "removed from Cagliari's stadium because of a fear of the number." Cellino bought the club in April and "quickly set about making his mark." Cellino: "The whole culture of this club needed to change and it’s still not right." The players were "made to do double training sessions during pre-season and have all been ordered to live in the city." Cellino said, "I told them that if you play for Leeds, you live in Leeds. Otherwise, I will fire you." One player who has "already fallen foul of these exacting standards is the veteran goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, who was excluded from the pre-season tour to Italy and is now up for sale." Cellino: "Kenny turned up for preseason training 20lbs overweight. Can you believe this?" He "admits he is a control freak," saying, "I work 20 hours a day and, if I could, I would cut the grass on the pitch as well. I have never had a chief executive and never will." There is "one element of the Yorkshire club that he is undoubtedly satisfied with -- the fans." Cellino added, "I am the sheriff of this city and I want the fans to be my deputies." Cellino cannot be "faulted for ambition, although the club's supporters will be wary until there are tangible results on the field." At least the "financial chaos that had afflicted the club appears to have subsided." Cellino: "When I came into this club it had an income of about £30 million ($50.6M) a year and costs of £42 million ($71M) -- crazy. It had lost more than £100 million in 12 years. Now we will only make losses of £3-£4 million ($5M-$6.8M) a year and I can sustain that for 100 years, believe me" (TELEGRAPH, 8/5).
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