MANAGER Brian McDermott last night vowed to “dig in” and fight for his Leeds United future after revealing that he had been on the end of abusive telephone calls from irate fans.
The Elland Road club remains in limbo as Massimo Cellino awaits the decision on the appeal against the blocking of his £25m takeover by the Football League.
Sources have indicated that a verdict from the independent QC tasked with hearing the appeal could come later today.
For McDermott, clarity at the top of the ailing Championship club cannot come soon enough after a nightmare week that has brought two demoralising home defeats and a financial meltdown that saw the squad forced to accept a 50 per cent wage deferral.
Another 15 per cent of the missing salaries owed to the players and McDermott was paid yesterday, but that was only a small crumb of comfort to a manager under intense pressure.
He said: “I have been attacked, (managing director) David Haigh has been attacked. I got some phone calls the other night, very late at night. That is not right, whatever anyone would say.
“That is just not the right thing to do. There is right and wrong and that is wrong.”
Asked if he had a message for the tormentors, McDermott replied: “I haven’t got a message for them, no. It is just not the right thing to do.
“I wouldn’t do that to anyone. If I saw someone doing a job and I had a view on it, I wouldn’t be ringing them up and abusing them.
“Once you make it personal, by ringing people up at half past two in the morning, that can’t be right. How your number gets out there, I don’t understand that.
“Anyone who thinks I am stood on that line having a good time, well that is not the case.
“I want to win more than anyone. The record I had in the Championship is very, very good. Right up there. It’s not happening here but we want clarity.
“Personally, I am digging in. I have got a lot of resilience and you need it at a time like this. It will change. I look at the changing room and you think these guys think this is permanent.
“But it is not, it is temporary and it will change. Soon, we shall have some clarity.
“I am not going to bow down. In situations like this, you learn a lot about people, you learn a lot about yourself. You learn about how to conduct yourself. But you don’t get taught this.
“You shouldn’t have to go through this and you don’t get taught this on your pro-licence. Maybe it should be a module.
“I was walking around where I live (recently) and a lot of them were saying ‘keep going, hang in there’. But you don’t want to be hanging in there. You want to be moving on and getting better.”
Cellino’s appeal is the key to resolving the chaos that has engulfed Elland Road for the best part of a fortnight.
Should he win, the Italian businessman’s takeover will immediately be allowed to go ahead and the remainder of the wages paid. Should he again be blocked, however, then the picture becomes less clear.
Suggestions have been made that Cellino will join forces with Mike Farnan and his Together Leeds consortium, who until this week have been rival bidders.
Another, as yet unidentified, group is understood to be monitoring events but, with United in a rut on the field, a sense of pessimism abounds among supporters.
Whatever the outcome of Cellino’s appeal, McDermott is likely to make changes after another woeful performance in the midweek loss to Charlton Athletic.
Midfielder Rodolph Austin is still out, and yesterday the United manager confirmed that El-Hadji Diouf was unlikely to feature again for Leeds as the former Senegal international focuses on finding a club for next season.