Under Massimo Ceillino’s ownership of Leeds United, the Whites were anything but professional. Chaotic and madcap as a club, yes but professionally run, that’s a no. Of course, this does not extend to the players who actually rose above the ownership and running of the club. However, under Andrea Radrizzani, the Whites are a different beast. That is something which Noel Whelan mentions in conversation with Football Insider.
When Cellino took over the club, it stopped being a well-run club and descended into some Dante-esque circus. Court cases, owner bans, random sackings, random manager appointments, players chasing each other around car parks…Leeds United had them all.
Such was the way that Mad Massimo went about his business that fan sentiment was always going to be largely against him. Indeed, some people called the madcap Italian a maverick, but that term implies railing against the rules rather than totally disregarding them. Fan anger soon spilt over into organised protests, such as the one below.
Thankfully, one Italian selling up in Cellino and another buying his share, in Radrizzani, has returned to the club to normalcy. Where chaos reigned supreme, sensibility and consideration are now kings.
This is something that permeates all through the club and gives it an air of professionalism. For example, much kudos needs to go towards the club and its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and football lockdown. The club’s medical staff were reading up on COVID-19 as far back as January and exercise equipment was stockpiled well in advance for the players.
That foresight has continued with the club investing in their own medical/clinical equipment to allow them to monitor and deal with the coronavirus and its effect beyond the wider player base. Talking with Football Insider, Noel Whelan says this will have a massive knock-on effect with players being attracted to the club.
Commenting on this effect, the former Whites favourite says: “There’s one word you can put it in and that’s professional. That’s what any player joining the club wants – a professional outfit that has been nurtured from top to bottom to where the players are.”
Whelan adds to this by saying: “They’re setting the standard, knowing they’re going to be cared for and it makes players feel comfortable, it makes players feel wanted, it makes the family feel safe and that’s what you want as a player.”
He goes on to add that this helps to create a family feel to the club, one that breathes inclusivity. Behind all of that, though, is the idea of professionalism – a sense of professionalism that fans were crying out for under previous ownership models.
Far removed from Cellino days.
No, not really.
Only as well run as others.