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Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino: I always act in good faith
Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has admitted he is a “troublemaker” but “in a good way” as he continues his extensive cost-cutting at Elland Road in preparation for next season.
The Italian has worked tirelessly to reduce the club’s running costs since his company Eleonora Sports completed its takeover of the club on April 7, and is even considering the future of the club’s costly Thorp Arch training complex.
Leeds’ accounts announced last month for 2012-13 showed a loss of £9.5million for the year, and Cellino has revealed daily running costs were “well over £100,000”, with the club understood to be losing £1million a month.
“Sometimes, if you want to make something important, if you take the easy way, the downhill way you will get somewhere,” said Cellino.
“It seems good and faster, but it won’t be important.
“But if you take the hard way, the uphill way, it’s going to be hard, but when you get there you will get something very important and very big.
“I choose the uphill way because I’m a little strange. I’m not normal.
“I always look for trouble. I’m a troublemaker like I was when I was a kid, and I’ve not changed, unfortunately.
“I must apologise for that publicly, because I know that I’m a troublemaker.
“But I’m a troublemaker in a good way. I ask the people to excuse me for that and try to understand me.
“Everything I do, I do in good faith.”
Cellino has temporarily closed Thorp Arch to reduce overheads, while a raft of redundancies among general staff began last week.
He has since questioned whether the club can afford the £2.5million a year it costs to run Thorp Arch, which includes a reported £600,000 annually to rent back off Manchester property developer Jacob Adler.
Adler bought the training ground for £4.2million in 2004 during the club’s infamous fire-sale following relegation from the Premier League.
Cellino hopes to meet with the Thorp Arch landlord in a bid to negotiate better terms, but has not ruled out quitting the complex altogether.
Meanwhile, the agricultural magnate’s relationship with manager Brian McDermott is increasingly strained.
Communication between the pair is by letter, with McDermott, currently away on holiday, told to report back to work with the rest of his backroom staff and players on May 28.
It is understood Cellino presided over the club’s retained list - seven players were released last week - while Benito Carbone has been appointed as a consultant responsible for “technical and football operations”.
When asked to describe his first few weeks at the helm, Cellino added: “I need to ask myself, I didn’t realise.
“It’s been run, run run. I’ve been rushing and I haven’t stopped thinking, but in the last two or three days I’ve started to see a little bit of light.”
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