Cellino Leeds by example!

Massimo Cellino

Massimo Cellino

First published in Sport
Last updated

LEEDS owner Massimo Cellino has told his players it is "mandatory" they live in the city.

The 57-year-old took control in April after successfully winning his appeal against the Football League's decision to block his takeover and he quickly set about changing the club from top to bottom.

Brian McDermott, who was sacked in January only to be reinstated, left the club by mutual consent and was replaced by little-known former Forest Green manager Dave Hockaday, while star striker Ross McCormack has headlined a flood of summer departures.

Cellino also closed Leeds' training complex at Thorp Arch down for six weeks to cut costs and asked the players to bring their own lunches once the site was reopened.

Now, in an attempt to ensure the squad is close-knit and prevent tardiness, the Italian plans to introduce a rule that will dictate where the players can live.

"Next season I do not want one single player who lives outside of Leeds, no way. That is mandatory," said Cellino.

"Last year there were players who were coming late to games.

"Next year before a home game the players will stay together, have dinner together and go to the game together.

"I found out that most of the games that are close to Leeds we go to by bus, but we don't have our own. Why not? I would love to have a Leeds bus and I am going to buy one."

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor said Cellino made the trade union aware of his plan and said Cellino was within his rights to try to move a player on if they did not adhere to the rule, although not forcibly.

"He can choose to say 'I want you to live here and if you don't want to do that, then I don't want you to have your future at the club', so that would be a choice for the players to make," said Taylor.

"But he couldn't sack somebody who chose not to be there.

"It's a wish. I don't want to be banging the door down disagreeing with him because it's something he can request and then it's down to the players."

Meanwhile, Cellino claimed the Whites were debt-free and that he has done a deal with previous owners GFH Capital, who still have a 25 per cent share in the club, which will help release cash to buy Elland Road back.

"There is no debt any more and we have found a deal with GFH and I am glad for that," Cellino added.

"We are close to raising £30million of capital and that is without the money we got for McCormack. We did not budget for his sale because we did not want him to go.

"The decision to buy back the stadium had been made before Ross was sold but now we can use that money for the deal. We want to take back our house."

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