STEVE EVANS tonight called on Massimo Cellino to bring an end to his reign as Leeds United boss following the club’s approach for Bristol Rovers’ Darrell Clarke and a claim by Cellino that he is planning to appoint “someone special” as head coach.
Cellino gave another transparent hint that Evans’ time as first-team boss was at an end by saying he had “a lot of good managers” queuing up for the job at Elland Road and insisting he would “not make a mistake” with his decision.
United moved on Monday to approach Bristol Rovers’ Clarke, the 38-year-old who led the club to promotion from League Two this season, and they are in the process of negotiating compensation with Rovers’ board.
Cellino is set to change head coach for the sixth time in just over two years as United owner, his latest response to mounting criticism of his fracious and controversial time in charge.
The Italian told the Mirror: “I have a good feeling.
“After all the things the fans have said about me, now they will start to understand. Next year, we’ll play football.”
Evans, who has been at Leeds since October and has a contract to the end of next month, initially responded by saying: “I’m happy to step aside if the new prospective coach is one of the best around. The supporters of Leeds United, the best there are anywhere, deserve that.
“I’m confident I would lead us to promotion so I presume the remit is now to be champions.”
But the 53-year-old later issued a second statement, saying he had lost patience with the delay in Cellino confirming his departure amid talks with other potential bosses.
He and Cellino have had virtually no contact since a lengthy meeting between them on April 29. Evans returned to work yesterday after a short holiday in Dubai but spoke out after meeting with his advisors. Cellino, meanwhile, is abroad in Italy.
Evans said: “After lots of press calls and a further meeting with my advisors it is very obvious the time has arrived for Mr Cellino to tell me I am not his head coach for next season.
“Out of respect for this great football club’s history, and to the Leeds United supporters, I’ll take that decision with good grace. This is a special club. It should have standards of excellence in everything it does.
“The task is huge next season. The Championship is stronger than the one about to conclude at Wembley (with the play-off final) on Saturday.
“In my opinion for the team to be successful next season the squad needs significantly strengthened in many key departments - this alongside ensuring our brightest young talents are secured for some years.
“Anyone not thinking that does not understand the challenge ahead. I presented these views to Mr Cellino just prior to the end of the season.
“I now need to accept that I open my mind up to other options for my career. Obviously I now need to know the direction of my career. In summary, I just need closure.”
Evans handled 38 games at Leeds this season after replacing Uwe Rosler early in the campaign.
Cellino, however, has given repeated indications that another change was likely and the Italian is expected to meet Bristol Rovers’ demands for £250,000 in compensation for Clarke, opening the door to talks in the coming days.