McDermott anniversary overshadowed by Haigh’s departure

Brian McDermott.
Brian McDermott.
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David Haigh last night quit as managing director of Leeds United.

The 35-year-old resigned with immediate effect, three days after the takeover of the club by Italian businessman Massimo Cellino.

Haigh, who helped push through Gulf Finance House’s purchase of Leeds from Ken Bates in December 2012, was due to become chief executive under Cellino for the rest of the season.

But divisions between the two led to a threat from Cellino to sack him last weekend and Haigh has confirmed that he is leaving Elland Road.

In a statement, Haigh said: “Owing to various statements made by and on behalf of the new majority owners of Leeds United FC, I am left with no alternative than to resign as managing director. This is a matter of particular regret to me since I was the person who first introduced Eleonora Sport to the club’s owners.

“I also gave them my full and constant support in the Football League’s lengthy approval process.

“I am not yet, due to confidentiality obligations, in a position fully to respond to various statements which have been made about me over recent months. As soon as I am I will address the various issues – obviously a great deal has happened these past two years. I had to deal with and manage what can only be described as the crazy situation of very limited support from those who should have supported the club and the management, whilst at the same time having little or no decisionmaking ability.

“I did everything which was in my very limited power to take the club forward, to engage with the fans and the community and to keep the promises which were made to its great fans.

“I have arranged for Sport Capital to convert some of the loans made to the club into shares and once complete, those shares will be given to the fans, so it truly will be the fans’ club.”

Brian McDermott, meanwhile, marks one year in charge of Leeds United today, but celebration is not in his mind.

McDermott, who turned 53 on Tuesday, said: “Do I see myself here at the end of the season? That’s not a question for me. That’s a question for Massimo or Eleonora Sport.

“I had three really difficult months, but I’m in a good place because the ownership is sorted. I’m really happy – but I’m not happy as far as results are concerned.”

Last six: Leeds WLLLLL, Blackpool LWLDLL.

Last time: Leeds 2 Blackpool 0; February 20, 2013; Championship.

Referee: D Coote (Notts).