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redders will join milanic in leeds dugout; cellino back in the dock

redders will join milanic in leeds dugout; cellino back in the dock


Darko Milanic’s previous job and career carries a much higher profile than his predecessor at Leeds, but to compare their opening press conferences, you’d think Dave Hockaday was the star.

Of course the true star of Hockaday’s unveiling was Massimo Cellino, and while he was absent from Milanic’s first meeting with the press, he isn’t absent from today’s news.

The full judgement in the tax evasion case over his yacht Nelie has been handed down, and the six-page document could spell bad news for Cellino – and for United.

His ownership of the club was ratified in April by independent QC Tim Kerr, who decided that until it was known whether his conviction carried with it evidence of dishonesty, he could not be prevented from purchasing Leeds.

Judge Sandra Lepore’s ruling runs to six pages, and key phrases like “bogus corporate screen” and “Machiavellian simulation” provide a fairly conclusive idea of how the judgement has gone; if there’s any doubt, Lepore adds there is: “no doubt as to the existence of an elusive intent on the part of [Cellino].”

The Football League are not believed to have a copy of the judgement yet, but Cellino’s lawyer Giovanni Cocco has already issued a strong dismissal of Lepore’s findings, saying “That document is unpresentable. It is full to the brim of errors of merit and of law. It does not take into account what emerged in the trial: that is to say, that nothing implicates Cellino. I have already … lodged an appeal and have also completely demolished the [judge’s] reasoning.”

For his part, Cellino spoke to the YEP’s Phil Hay yesterday: “Cellino says he appealed his original conviction and says he can’t be classed as guilty until case goes through three stages of Italian law”; he was later photographed apparently despairing at the pasta sauce choices in a Leeds Sainsbury’s (not Tesco, as erroneously reported).

Perhaps knowing that the news of the yacht ruling was about to break, or perhaps still searching for decent ingredients, Cellino was absent from new head coach Darko Milanic’s first meeting with the press today.

As a result the audio of the press conference now available on the YEP website clocks in under eight minutes, rather than just under an hour when Dave Hockaday came to town.

Milanic arguable deserved a bigger moment in the sun, but the audio reveals a man of few words, concentrated on the task ahead.

“It is difficult for me to say something about me,” he said, when asked about his best qualities as a coach. “It’s better that other people tell what is my good thing, what is my bad thing. I think I have behind me good results.”

Amid the usual comments about Leeds being a big club, what comes through is an acknowledgement that given the team’s recent good form, Darko’s first task is not to rock the boat too much. He confirmed that Neil Redfearn will be in the dugout alongside him and his own assistant, Novica Nikcevic, on Saturday, and will be the man he turns to for advice on players and opponents.

"In the first moment it’s important that it is like in the past few games, the enthusiasm here, the guys won three games and make a very great job in the last four games. It’s important that we do it as well in the next games, and I want like I said to make some changes technically.

“I think my first challenge is Saturday’s match.”