It comes as no surprise that barely a week after Adam Pearson’s departure, Massimo Cellino is back on centre stage and making headlines.
Massimo Cellino. A man with a short fuse and a ready temper. He is outspoken, flamboyant, eccentric and he wears his heart on his sleeve. Things are done his way or no way. Quick to air dirty laundry in front of the world’s press rather than deal with issues behind closed doors, he is no doubt a great business man but he needs a few lessons in diplomacy.
It was hoped that in his short tenure, Adam Pearson may have imparted some such pearls of wisdom, but sadly I fear they have fallen on deaf ears. With Christmas still three months away, it seems that pantomime season is back at Elland Road.
Sky Sports is reporting that Sam Byram is refusing to sign a new contract at Elland Road, citing reasons of grandeur. Apparently he believes "Leeds United is too small for him" and both himself and his agent feeling "he deserves a bigger club". Massimo is apparently offended, upset and embarrassed, and will refuse to offer him a new contract now even if he comes asking.
Cellino told Sky Sports News:
"Sam Byram is the only one that maybe thinks Leeds is too small for him.
He maybe thinks he deserves to be in a bigger team and a bigger club, and maybe he's right. But when I hear that a player from Leeds, with his agent, that he thinks that Leeds is not big enough for him, that he wants something bigger, I felt really embarrassed.
He didn't sign the new contract and he won't sign it anymore. He's been offered a contract a few times, he didn't want to sign and I am deeply offended.
I can't believe that we've fallen out with it. I am so hurt inside that if he comes asking for a contract I would prefer to sign someone else.
There is already a list and there is already maybe something better than him.
I need to fall in love with my players. They are like my kids and I don't want to let them go. Byram is one of those, but we don't get on with the agent."
Whatever the real reason, and I suspect it is none of the above and most likely financial, we don’t need to know. A press release could simply say "Contract negotiations with Sam Byram are still on-going and we hope they will come to a mutually satisfactory conclusion soon."
This latest release only serves to show Massimo for what he really is. An impulsive petulant man who craves attention. Not only does he like to throw his toys out of his pram, he likes people to watch.
He further revealed that Matt Child "was not really a football man" and "left because he didn’t get on with someone else who was working at the club". Again, more information we don’t need to know. That just tells the world of the chaos and disharmony in the boardroom, undermining the running of the club.
One thing is for sure, if Sam Byram is on Massimo’s naughty step, there’s little chance of redemption. That journey is down a one way street, with almost all previous occupiers quickly dispatched out of the back door with a freshly printed P45 in hand. It’s now not a case of whether Sam will be leaving, it’s a matter of when, and for how much.
It makes you wonder whether the motive behind the signing of Will Buckley was as a like-for-like replacement. Why else would another winger be required with Stuart Dallas, Jordan Botaka and Sam already in situ?
No doubt this recent news will be the cue for interested clubs to start resubmitting offers for the young starlet. Several top flight clubs have recently been linked. Massimo insists he is still not for sale, but with no contract, Sam is a free man in the summer. No way will he watch a multi-million pound asset walk freely out of the club.
It would make more sense to burn £50 notes to keep his office warm.
I do believe he has the best interests of Leeds United football Club at heart, but he foolishly lets his temperament get in the way, time and time again.
Please Mr Cellino, if you want the world to know every sordid detail about internal club affairs, write an autobiography in twenty years.
Don’t let the journalists write about it in the morning papers.