Mirco Antenucci was one of Massimo Cellino’s initial signings when the controversial Italian took over Leeds United in April 2014.
Antenucci, who came to sport a fine growth of facial hair at Elland Road – spawning the ‘Fear the Beard’ meme – signed for the Whites from Italian Serie B side Ternana nearing the end of August 2014.
The bearded Italian soon came to be seen as a firm fan favourite, with his likeable personality endearing him to a lot of the Leeds United fanbase. This was a situation that was soured somewhat with the Italian being one of the infamous ‘Sicknote Six’ – a half-dozen players who called in sick and didn’t travel to an away game vis Charlton Athletic. He also failed to appear for the traditional lap of thanks at the end of the final home game of the 2014/15 season.
However, in his two seasons at Elland Road, the amiable Italian made 80 appearances for the Whites, scoring 19 times and providing eight assists for teammates. It was well-known that he wouldn’t be kept on at Elland Road beyond his second season, that proving to be the case as Antenucci returned to Italy and Serie B with SPAL 2013.
At SPAL 2013, Mirco Antenucci has turned into their #1 striker, the Italian leading the goalscoring charts at the club with 12 goal, including a hat-trick vs Avellino earlier in the season and scoring in his last three matches, including one in today’s 4-1 win over Carpi.
Alongside five assists for teammates, Antenucci’s dozen goals have helped shoot SPAL 2013 to the summit of Serie B, currently granting them a five-point cushion over second-placed side Frosinone. With 10 games left of the season, there is every chance that the former Leeds United striker could taste top-tier football with his new side next season.
— SPAL (@spalferrara) March 18, 2017
On his time at Leeds, Antenucci spoke glowingly of the supporter base, if he was a little critical of the chopping and changing of the managers at Elland Road under the ownership and itchy trigger finger of Massimo Cellino. Speaking to Ternana News, Antenucci said of his time in England: “[it was]“Good. Good. Good. It ‘a completely different world. A perfect organization. For what I tell you I’m glad I had this experience. It could have gone better, especially with the results.”
Away from the playing side and on the subject of the way Cellino instilled his wish, Antenucci also said that this could have gone better saying: “some moments [could have gone better]also in the group’s management by the various coaches.”
Putting all that aside though, there won’t be many Leeds United fans who won’t wish Antenucci well on the rest of the Serie B season and possibility of promotion to Serie A and games against the big boys of Italian football.