Thursday, 21 August 2014

Cellino on Bates meetings, Hockaday, and new signings

You might have thought you'd seen the back of him, but he refuses to go away.

On Thursday, Ken Bates gave an interview to Yorkshire Radio, revealing some recent meetings with new owner Massimo Cellino.

Turns out that what he said was true - and for the reason that a few of you had said.

I spoke to Cellino on Thursday night and he told me: "It's true, we've had meetings. I have to protect Leeds from the case involving Bates and GFH.

"He is suing GFH and the Leeds owner, which is now me.

"I am trying to have a friendly transaction to save the club a lot of money. We are spending too much time, money and energy on legal cases."

These are the facts as far as I'm aware (you might know more than me).

When GFH bought the club, they agreed Bates would continue as president, for three years, and at a salary of approximately £300,000 per year.

GFH subsequently sacked Bates, because he had committed the club to paying for a private jet to fly him from his home in Monaco to Leeds whenever he wanted, for three years.

Bates insisted the travel arrangement was covered by the contract of sale and is taking legal action against Leeds and GFH.

This is likely to be alleviated by some kind of deal, most likely with Bates' Radio Yorkshire being given the broadcast rights to Leeds matches (while they are in the Championship, anyway).

Meanwhile, Cellino said he was "ashamed" of the team's performance against Brighton on Tuesday night, when they lost 2-0 at Elland Road. But he refused to blame manager Dave Hockaday for the defeat.

"I was so pissed off with him during the match, but then afterwards I realised it wasn't his fault, and the fans need to realise this," he said.

"He doesn’t have the players he needs to do what he wants. I would like to blame Hockaday - that would be the easy thing to do and might make me feel better - but the truth is he just doesn’t have the players at the moment."

Cellino hopes to bring in as many as six new players, including Cagliari starlet Adryan.

That deal is proving quite complex though, so could take a while.

Offloading unwanted players is proving difficult, basically because there aren't any clubs coming in for them.

Sam Byram certainly isn't in this unwanted category, yet reports of big offers for him are wide of the mark. I understand that there haven't been any firm bids for the full-back.

Certainly Cellino doesn't feel the transfer strategy of the last few seasons has been that effective.

While he says only about £2 million has been spent on transfer fees in the last three seasons, the wages bill last season was £19 million.

So the low transfer fees don't mask the fact that a lot of the players were ageing and on big salaries. Perhaps not the most prudent strategy.

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