Without a shadow of a doubt, Massimo Cellino’s reign at Elland Road is one where controversy is around every bend.
Convictions for tax evasion, Football League bans, sacked employees by the bucketload and a raft of broken promises is de rigeur at Leeds United these days.
Controversy is often the byword of the day in LS11, not 24 hours goes by without the ‘C’ word raising its ugly head – that is the case today. However, for once, the other ‘C’ word in Cellino is not involved.
Today’s breaking controversy surrounds a video made by LeedsWhiteSite that shows Premier League footballers from Arsenal (Jack Wilshire and Mesut Ozil) and Tottenham (Harry Kane and Dele Alli) where the players are seen to say the catchphrase “Time to go, Massimo;” a phrase that has become synonymous with the Leeds fan protest group of the same name.
After the video was released by LeedsWhiteSite, it was widely shared on social media: in Facebook fan groups and retweeted across Twitter. Tottenham stars Alli and Kane were quick to denounce it as “a hoax”; something written about this morning on The72.
However, what is more shocking is the news that was rumoured last night on Twitter (below), that added an altogether more disgusting veneer on what people were sharing and back-slapping over.
This was bubbling under on Twitter late last night, with much discussion being bandied around as to the legitimacy of such a claim. Obviously there were some saying that the poster of the above, Twitter user CellinoIn, has a vested interest in promoting a pro-Cellino outlook and that would be an understandable thing to say and point to make. But, others were posting more cryptic Tweets themselves (below).
The depths some humans will sink to is both disgusting and very very sad….
— Thom Kirwin (@Thomkirwin) April 21, 2016
Now Thom Kirwin is on the match-day commentary and obviously had that to bear in mind when commenting publicly – for people like him there has to be both plenty of fire and smoke in order for such an opinion to be posted.
Later Tweets, posted this morning, by Kirwin back up the original Tweet by Twitter user CellinoIn (below)
So someone asks a footballer for a video message, to get said message they say it's for a terminally ill child. Absolutely sickening.
— Thom Kirwin (@Thomkirwin) April 22, 2016
The controversy itself is building at the way that these four Premier League superstars have been duped by what appears to be messages sent via a hacked Facebook account and has made the national Press with it being published in The Times.
What could be even more damaging is the potential of the general public to link what Kane et al are saying in “Time to go Massimo” to the Leeds fan protest group of the same name.
The contributor-funded protest group, who are in no way related to or involved in the commissioning of the video, released a statement distancing themselves from it, although they did praise the creator’s intentions as “admirable.”
However, foresight is often something that many curse as not having when they commit what others see as a faux pas, this may be the case with the following Tweets that the Time to Go Massimo group posted on first seeing the video, before learning of the context of its commissioning.
— Time To Go, Massimo (@TimeToGoMassimo) April 21, 2016
This is one controversy that looks likely to bubble and boil throughout today.