Leeds hoping to ‘win over’ disenchanted fans

Leeds United chairman Andrew Umbers says owner Massimo Cellino 'would ask for the fans to be more patient'.
Leeds United chairman Andrew Umbers says owner Massimo Cellino 'would ask for the fans to be more patient'.
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Leeds United chairman Andrew Umbers acknowledged last night that the club has some work to do to repair relationships with the fans at the end of Massimo Cellino’s first year at the club.

Umbers says he and Cellino are aware of a growing discontent among the club’s supporters.

Cellino is approaching the end of a Football League order banning him from running the club.

Some fans clearly would prefer he did not come back, with some of them who travelled to Charlton on Saturday chanting for him to sell the club. The Italian bought Leeds last April.

Last Friday, six of United’s foreign players were declared unfit ahead of the trip to The Valley, which the conspiracy theorists saw as an attempt to undermine head coach Neil Redfearn.

Umbers, however, said he was “satisfied” that the six players were “genuinely injured.”

On the dissent shown at The Valley, Umbers said: “It’s very sad. You set expectations and you manage expectations. We haven’t set many expectations and people might say that’s down to the fact that we don’t communicate.

“Part of the reason we don’t communicate is because we’re dealing with so many issues at so many times, we can’t. We want to tell people all the good news.

“In good time we’ll set the bar right in the close season. We’ll set the right expectations for the fans.

“When you hear chants that are personal and divisive, they affect the players on the pitch. They affect family. But look, they’re a minority.”

When it was pointed out that most of the 3,000 at Charlton appeared to be chanting against Cellino, Umbers said: “I hope in time we can win them all over. We’ll do our best to win all of them over.

Umbers said news of the protests against Cellino had reached the Italian on Saturday.

Cellino is due to resume control of Leeds immediately after his Football League ban ends on May 3 and United are attempting to secure permission from the League for him to attend their last game of the season against Rotherham United the day before.

“He’s aware of it (the dissent),” Umbers said. “He was told about it.

“He’s adamant that what he’s doing is for the benefit of Leeds United and its fans.

“He’s adamant and more steadfast and he would ask for the fans to be more patient.”