Uncertainty reigns at Elland Road

Leeds United fans were left scratching their heads after a weekend of bizarre outbursts by club chairman Massimo Cellino, in which he branded club manager Neil Redfearn “a baby”.

Just days after Cellino took an impromptu cigarette break during the middle of a press conference to unveil Adam Pearson as the club’s new executive director, Cellino gave an interview to the Sunday Mirror in which he also said Redfearn has “a weak personality”, despite the former Charlton and Bradford player successfully keeping Leeds in the Championship last season.

After the brief and unsuccessful tenures of Dave Hockaday and Darko Milanic in the Leeds hot seat last season, Redfearn turned the team’s fortunes around, delivering seven wins from 10 games between January and March that effectively saved the club from relegation.

Leeds’ form was amongst the best in the division early in the New Year, and young players like Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook, Sam Byram and Charlie Taylor were allowed to flourish under Redfearn, who had nurtured their skills during his time as head of the Leeds United Academy.

But now, fans are headed to sites like BritishBookmakers.co.uk to get the best odds on who will be the next Leeds United manager, with all the signs suggesting Redfearn’s contract will not be renewed.

Cellino has a reputation for hiring and firing managers at a prolific rate, having fired no less than 36 Cagliari managers in his 22 years as owner of the club.

Redfearn is already the fourth Leeds manager in just over a year, following the dismissals of Brian McDermott, Hockaday, and Milanic by Cellino, who indicated that he feels Redfearn lacks respect for his chairman.

Cellino’s outbursts suggest a further period of instability for the club and its fans, who saw Cellino banned by the Football League last season due to his conviction for tax evasion disqualifying him under the test for the suitability of owners and directors.

Amongst the names being suggested to step into the dugout at Elland Road, should Redfearn depart as expected, are former Sunderland boss Gus Poyet and outgoing Brentford manager Mark Warburton.

Poyet’s name evokes fond memories for Leeds fans since his involvement in the club’s League 1 campaign of 2007-08, when he was assistant manager to Dennis Wise and helped to build a team that overcame a minus 15 points penalty for going into administration.

Warburton would come with a good reputation after getting Brentford promoted to the Championship and then taking them up into the play-off places. Leeds might be just the challenge he is looking for after “internal restructuring” led to his departure from Griffin Park.

Whoever takes Leeds into the new season will need to be prepared for a rollercoaster ride under the chairmanship of Cellino, who is unlikely to yield his control over transfers and his input into team selection at the Yorkshire club.

While the fans will hope the new manager will be given the chance to help a talented young squad blossom and return the club to the Premier League, they will worry that Cellino’s lack of patience might not allow it.