McDermott and would-be Leeds owner Cellino belatedly meet up

Leeds manager Brian McDermott. Picture by Tony Johnson
Leeds manager Brian McDermott. Picture by Tony Johnson
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PROSPECTIVE new Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has held talks with manager Brian McDermott over the Italian’s plans for the club, the Yorkshire Post understands.

The pair were due to meet after United’s 1-0 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion a week ago, but the get-together had to be shelved.

Cellino was unable to attend the game because of illness so the meeting was rearranged for last Thursday in Yorkshire when United managing director David Haigh is also believed to have been present.

All manner of subjects are understood to have been discussed as Cellino edges closer to his planned £25m buyout of the club.

The 57-year-old businessman, who has been spotted several times at both Elland Road and the club’s Thorp Arch training ground in the past few days, met Football League officials last Wednesday as the criteria required to pass the Fit and Proper Persons’ Test were outlined.

As part of those talks, the League also specified what documentation they will require before being able to decide on whether Cellino is allowed to complete his takeover.

League approval is the only hurdle that the would-be owner has to negotiate after exchanging contracts with Gulf Finance House over a proposed 75 per cent buyout earlier this month.

Cellino, who is expected to 
attend Saturday’s game at Middlesbrough, has already proved to be a controversial figure since arriving on the Elland Road scene.

He tried to sack McDermott on January 31 and instal his associate – and former Middlesbrough defender – Gianluca Festa as head coach. The move was blocked by GFH.

Former Barnsley manager David Flitcroft, now with Bury, has called for the Football League season to be extended following the succession of postponements across the country.

The Shakers’ last three fixtures have been called off and they have played just twice since January 18.

But the Football League said that while they acknowledge the wet weather has led to numerous postponements, there were no discussions planned about prolonging the season to fit in rearranged dates.