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John Giles: Club owners need to be vetted to avoid Leeds United fiasco


Leeds United legend John Giles

Leeds United legend John Giles

Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Leeds United legend John Giles

Leeds United legend John Giles has pleaded with the English Football League authorities to overhaul their vetting process to avoid last weekend's chaotic scenes at Elland Road.

During a hectic 24-hour period, manager Brian McDermott was sacked by a lawyer acting on behalf of prospective new owner Massimo Cellino before being reinstated amid a backlash from fans and sponsors.

Giles, who played for Leeds in their most successful ever period between 1963 and 1975, feels that McDermott will likely be fired despite his reprieve.

He said: "Brian will be sacked anyway – it's only a matter of time really. He was right not to resign last weekend, though. By not leaving he has shown them up. I wouldn't have resigned. It's outrageous behaviour, absolutely outrageous. I've met Brian McDermott a couple of times and he's a gentleman.

"To treat anybody the way he's been treated shows total disrespect towards the supporters who have followed that club for a long time. The good thing is that the supporters protested and had him reinstated."

He added: "There should be more regulation from the English FA before they let these guys in. I think they get in too easily, far too easily, and it's doing the game a lot of harm.

"When these lads come in and buy the club they forget the tradition. They think – 'well I bought the club so I own it.' It's very sad for the Leeds supporters. I think there was 31,000 at the Championship match against Huddersfield at the weekend."

This episode is the latest in a litany of sagas that have dogged Leeds over the past decade.

While they came close to repeating the former glories of Giles' team in the late 1990s, United are now left stuck in a rut for the foreseeable future.

"You'll never get back in the Premier League unless the club is run properly from the top," reasoned Giles. "That means having good owners who have money to invest in the club.

"It's not just owners who buy the club and then try to sell it for a quick profit. You want owners who have the interests of the club at heart and have money to buy the club and buy new players.

"It's very hard to build a team now for the likes of Leeds because there's freedom of contract. All the best young kids can leave at the end of their contract, unlike our era when Don Revie was able to build his team."

Irish Independent