His heart’s in the right place: Ex-Leeds starlet on embattled Cellino

Michael TongeMichael Tonge
Michael Tonge
AS Massimo Cellino considers his future as owner of Leeds United, an unlikely source has sprung to his defence in the shape of former player Michael Tonge.

Tonge, 32, was bombed out at Elland Road at the end of last season and after a spell looking for a club, including an unsuccessful trial at Bolton Wanderers, the former Sheffield United man signed a three-month contract with League 2 Stevenage this month.

The midfielder says Cellino’s “heart is in the right place” but with the Italian already on to his sixth head coach in his 19-month spell at Elland Road, Tonge says he must give Steve Evans a chance - if he is allowed to continue his reign at Leeds if a Football League ban is quashed.

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Tonge said: “You just don’t know what’s going to happen next with Cellino. I think his heart is in the right place and he wants to win and he wants to do well.

“Anybody who puts their own money into a club and has got the right to make a decision about who he wants to manager. I think looking at it from the outside the only way they will win it [the Championship title] is if they get a manager and stick with them, and really gives them a good crack at it.

“Even if they decide at the start of a season that they are going to be manager for the whole season. Obviously it gets to a point now where you have to change the manager because it’s going that badly then you have to do it.

“But I think that the amount of managers that have gone through the place, even last season when I was there, it’s difficult for the lads.”

Tonge enjoyed two years at Leeds, making 46 appearances for the club but found the changes in management destabilising.