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We need to take a stand on owners – Brian McDermott


Brian McDermott, manager of Leeds United

Brian McDermott, manager of Leeds United

Getty Images

Leeds United manager Brian McDermott

Leeds United manager Brian McDermott

Getty Images


Brian McDermott, manager of Leeds United

LEEDS UNITED manager Brian McDermott believes that the mayhem that has befallen his club over the past week could prove "a watershed moment" in the history of English football, a moment when the Football League and Premier League take a stand and ensure only the right people are allowed to take over clubs.

"I really think it could be and especially for this club, it needs to be," said McDermott, who was reinstated as manager at Elland Road after being illegally sacked by a prospective owner, Massimo Cellino.

"We need to get this place right back on track. There has been some stuff at other clubs like what happened with Malky (Mackay) at Cardiff and Portsmouth."

Speaking generally about owners, McDermott wants the Football League to do better due diligence into those buying into English football. "There is absolutely no doubt that the Football League have got to get that right because it's a duty of care," he said.

"That's one of the most important decisions that the Football League will take. It is so important they do that right and they do their due diligence and the right people own football clubs.

"This is 2014 and I know a lot of the time in the last three weeks, I haven't been talking about football. I'm managing other situations and other things. The manager really needs to be fresh to talk about football, to think about football, to talk about football players. If I'm absolutely honest that hasn't been the case."

McDermott was dismissed during a call last Friday evening from Chris Farnell, the lawyer of Cellino, who is trying to buy Leeds from GFH. "He said I'd been relieved of my duties and just said there's a letter on my way to my address.

"Then on Saturday morning I got another phone call from GFH to say that wasn't the case. Whoever sacks a manager has to own the club."

McDermott did not attend the 5-1 victory against Huddersfield Town on Saturday but was reinstated in the afternoon and took training yesterday.

He had "no idea" whether GFH had confidence in him. "I've got confidence in me, I've got confidence in the players, I've got confidence in the staff," he said. "I've got assurances written down so that is the most important thing, and I needed that. Who knows who's going to take over?"


McDermott has been helped by the League Managers Association, an organisation that has become more combative over protecting its members' rights since Richard Bevan became chief executive. "I had lots of calls from managers, great support, lots of players, lots of managers, lots of people in the game. I spoke to Steve Coppell who's a friend of mine."

According to McDermott, Leeds fans were a "class act" for the way they sang his name during the game with Huddersfield. "For me it would have been easy to walk away but I wasn't interested in doing that. I want to be Leeds United manager.

"We've got what hardly any club has got – we've got a machine behind us. You've seen that reaction from our fans - they want what is best for our football club. They believe passionately in their club. They deserve an awful lot, these people. They are proper people. They know what they want. They know what's right.

"At a lot of clubs, not too many would have turned up on Saturday. We had 31,000 turn up, screaming the roof off down. We're 1-0 down and they're still getting behind the players. So there's a real siege mentality to it at this moment in time. You can't walk away from that ... that feeling (of support from Leeds fans). Can you imagine when we start winning again what this place is going to be like? That's my only vision for this football club – when we start winning and have those fans behind us."

He knows there is no guarantee that he will be manager against Yeovil Town at the weekend. "No manager can guarantee anything in this day and age. We all work under those circumstances – look at the amount of managers who go. I will just carry on doing my best." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent