Massimo Cellino Interview

Last updated : 01 April 2014 By .

Ring tone

MC: [unintelligible]

TNS: “Hello”

MC “Hello”

TNS “Is this Massimo Cellino?”

MC “Who’s speaking please?”

TNS “It’s a… a .. a Leeds United fan”

MC “Yes, what can I do for you?”

TNS “Can we talk for about two minutes?”

MC [scoffs]

TNS “Please?”

MC yes –

TNS/MC crosstalk

TNS “Are you confident about tomorrow?”

MC “man, I’m just {unintel} my friend, I’m a little bit tired, and upset. What, what you need from me man?

TNS “You… what?”

TNS “Are you gonna pass

MC “What you need from me?”

TNS “Are you gonna pass tomorrow?”

MC “[unitel] … pass or not, I don’t know. Cause it not up to me people that .. [unitel]

TNS “Are you going to keep David Haigh on?”

MC “Forget it”

TNS “What? You don’t want David?”

MC “I’m drunk”

TNS “Do you want David Haigh?”

MC “Why”

TNS “Get .. get rid of GFH” – “OK?”

MC “It’s not up to me my friend”

TNS “You need to get rid of them, for sure”

MC “Why?”

TNS “Because they are the devil. They are the one that’s going to bring us to administration”

MC “Listen my friend, can you tell me who you are?”

TNS “I’m just a Leeds United fan. Concerned. Who needs clarity.”

MC “I tell you something, they’re hurting the fans so hardly that they... I, I’m from Italy I shouldn’t talk about the fans for Leeds but I feel bad for them … [unintel]

TNS “Thank you”

MC “They did something bad the last ten years to the Leeds fans, [unintel] you accept something like this.

TNS “yeah, so um…”

MC “David is a son of a bitch, he’s a witch, he’s dangerous, he’s a fucking devil, he’s a big man

TNS “Who Dave?

MC “David”

TNS “You don’t like David?”

MC “Listen…, you think that I’m a fool?”

TNS “What?” “No I don’t think … [crosstalk}

MC “Because I want to buy Leeds, I should be a fool I know but when I take an engagement I respect my engagement, but I found out that there's a bunch of snakes there*** [unintel] is full of thieves and crooks

TNS “Yeah. So, so you don’t think you’ll get the club tomorrow?”

MC “What hope? You think that I’m going to take or not?”

TNS “Are you going to pass the appeal?”

MC “You realise, that the only chance is for Leeds that is got to survive is up to Italian stupid guy*** like me that went there*** to buy the Leeds. The only one that bring money there and is able to work in the club, that’s me, and they’re kicking me out like a thief. Do you realise what they’re doing? Why are they doing that? Why? Who is came*** to buy the club?”

TNS “The Leeds United fans are really behind you. We really want you in charge. I think you’re excellen….”

MC “Well we got to win… we…. Listen, there is no one, unfortunately, is going to buy the club. No-one, for zero pounds, no one is coming there. Because is a bunch of theifs this club. Not the fans. Only the D..D.. David Haigh.. the people who work for him. They are really dangerous my friend, they are really bad people.

TNS “GFH are dangerous, yeah”

MC “Ken Bates! Ken Bates is still behind the shit you know that?”

TNS “Ken Bates is a scumbag, I agree”

MC “He is still behind David Haigh they were at dinner together Saturday. I was in Leeds.. because… I bought a house in Leeds. You think…. I bought a house in Leeds. I didn’t rent, I bought it, because they told me I was.. everything was alright. I spent a lot of money for Leeds. I bought a house. And I found out that Saturday David was.. Friday night David was dinner with Ken Bates. Can you imagine? ”

TNS “Yes, he had dinner last night”

MC “Isn’t that beautiful? Is that beautiful [unintel]. You know, Lets go in bankrupt last time, Leeds, Davi… Ken Bates.. to buy cheaper.”

TNS “Yeah”

MC “That’s the people that become Leeds. What belong David Haigh. What..where where he’d ever work in his life? What he never done his life? What he belong? Where’d he come from? I don’t [unitel] English, I don’t know what’s fucking with this guy”

TNS “He’s an idiot. A horrible man”

MC “Not an idiot [unintel] he’s sick in his head

TNS “He’s sick in…”

MC “He’s fucking dangerous”

TNS “Yeah, I agree, David Haigh is a scumbag”

MC “I don’t know what is scumbag, but, but he’s the worst person I never.. he’s . he.. he build the ship {shit?}, you know, he made the problem to show that he solve the problem. He put me in this big advert,  [unintel], after me***, he take my picture, he try to… to to to blackmail me. What is fucking fucking arsehole is that?

TNS “Yeah I agree Massimo”

MC “And I tell…[unintel] I tell GFH, “Kick him out” because I not yet the power to kick him out*** and they didn’t, didn’t want to kick him out, because he’s blackmailing even Ken Bates.

TNS “Yeah. What about McDermott? Would you sack him?”

MC “Who?”

TNS “Brian McDermott”

MC [Unintel] “I tell you something. You remember the first thing that I done when I came here? In Leeds? I sack him. Because he came to my table*** I said, listen my friend I’m the owner here, I come to this situation, I said, “Listen my friend, I want a coach, not a manager, I manage the club” [unintel] me? You work with me, he said*** no I don’t give a fuck. So I tell him ‘Charles.., Brian, get the fuck out of here. And we won 5 to 1. OK? I have the balls to do it, and we won 5 to 1. And GFH took him back. I bought seven players, they didn't*** sign the contract with players, with my money, not with GFH’s money. They didn’t sign the players.OK? I pay the wages, I pay the accounts, the debt to Andrew Flowers the fucking arsehole [unintel] Leeds, and they tell me Leeds, {unintel] that I was a welcome man there. And what’s happened my friend? You see with your eyes. The League, the league want truth, whose going to run the club, how much you going to pay, how they do it*** .. you must be joking

And what about the Leeds fans? Forget the money that they lost, its lost***, but the Leeds fans? Who’s going to give back the passion? Listen, I’ve been running twenty three years a club. I know what it is to be fans. To be love a club. I was a fan before of my team in Italia When I came to Leeds I fall in love with*** the fucking team. I love it. I love the fan, with the shirt, with the jersey, to the match, everybody was singing a song. Everybody was…. With a shit.. fucking shit team. You got a shit team, unwatchable.*** The worst team I ever saw in my life. You have a coach that maybe is a good coach, but he doesn’t know to manage a club, and players. He get.. he’s always on television complaining about money, complaining about market, what does that fucking work with the players. That talk. You just good talking with the fucking television. Shut your fucking mouth. Go to work.”

“I try to help him but I couldn’t because they don’t let me. They don't let me even go into training centre** [unintel] If they accept me tomorrow, if I go back to Leeds I just do that before my engagement, because I engage, publicly. If not I will never know how they could lose all the money because there’s a bunch of evil snakes there. But if I go there, I promise to you that I kick the arse of everyone there. From the first to the last I don’t give a fuck. Not the players, or the journalists, or the fucking public, … err…. err.. PR, television, radio, I don’t give a fuck. I don’t talk with television or radio. Have you noticed that? I don’t [read?] television, I don’t watch television. I don’t read papers. I don’t give a bloody damn. I know what I’m doing….”

TNS “so you….”

MC “…with my soul, with myself. That’s my way to work. OK. If they accept me tomorrow, believe me, [unintel] in fact I got to be fucking happy.*** Unfortunately, I got to work a lot, but I expect from the club a lot of work. I don’t want money from the fans. They already pay enough, too much the fans.

TNS “yep”


TNS “So you…”

MC “Too much. They get ripped off. You don’t need money you need some money because [some snakes***?]  steal your money that’s the problem.

TNS “Yeah. Are you gonna sack, are you going to sack McDermott?”

MC “Can I tell you friend, I think that’s the last of our problems. McCormack has got seven year contract. Of £700,000 a year. Plus [prizes?], car, television. And the coach, more or less are all the same. I had so many coaches you know earlier. If he wants to work with me, if he’s going to do the right thing, and I believe that he can, that he can run the team, why should I throw money from the window. OK? If I realise that he’s not good for the team, I have to sack him. I don’t give a fuck. For the team, I work for the team not for myself. But I can tell you something, I don’t like.. I didn’t like him… I don’t understand him very much. I’m from Italy you know, he is Irish. I don’t know very much the people. He seems very strange guy, but he’s not a bad person. The only thing that came out, that he still paid from Reading £800,000 a year, and he’s paid for four*** years from Leeds £700,000 per prizes. That is…

And if I [unintel] how would he resign? Who are they staying there. They don’t pay the wage, the don’t buy the players.. and still complain on television, still complain on television. Resign and get the fuck out of here, true or not?”

TNS “Right, I understand Cellino. I can tell you’re angry right now. You don’t, are you not confident then, you’re not going to get the club?”

MC “No, my friend. Unfortunately I’m worried they’re going to give me the club because I tell you one thing*** my friend. If they don’t give the club to me, then the club will go bankrupt because nobody take the club even for free. It’s a dangerous club, it’s expensive club. It’s a big club. It’s not a little club you can run with a couple of million.

TNS “Huge club”

MC “You need a lot of money. And you need, you need experience to do that. Why I came to England, from Italy? To make money, to steal money from you? NO. Because I saw that Leeds is a potential big club with a lot of beautiful fans. And I told myself***, ‘maybe here if I run Leeds how I did Cagliari I can bring into the Premier League, make {da da da da da} level with Manchester United. bring*** Leeds in Championship because with Cagliari, Cagliari is a little club, you can not dream that way. You know? So was my dream was a bit challenge.***

And I put a lot of money. Clean money. My money…. I don’t [have petrol?], I don’t know [place of business?] I work in cereal[ry?]. My money’s true, it doesn’t come from a.. from a bank, easy finance shit like you see these people today.I come from a serious place a [unintel] ..[ a dishonest man?] As a [contrabandier?] You think a [unintel] or person in my position is going to bring a boat in Italy to save under £80,000 [unintel]. You think I’m so stupid? Come on my friend.”

TNS “Right, how much would yo..”

TNS “What would you spend on the club if you did get it?”

MC What I would…? What I give to spend?

MC “How much I pay the club?”

TNS “yes what…”

MC “How much I pay the club?

TNS “What…. What players would you get? Would you spend loads on the team?”

MC I was, I was, I was thinking… next.. listen, If I’m admitted the club, we need…. I promise you that… Not next season, but the 15/16 we will go Premier League. Next season, I don’t know if I’m able. It’s not a matter of money. If you understand soccer, its not just a matter of money. Because also if you had… five hundred million pounds if you don’t know what to do with money you can just waste money.”

TNS “Yeah I agree”

MC You have.. you have to have the right money, and to spend in the right way. Without money you can’t do it, but, with a lot of money if you don’t know how to do it you just waste money. You throw money from the window.

TNS “Yeah”

MC “I tell you something, Leeds has got £18,000,000 of wages per year. On the players, OK?


MC “OK.”

TNS “So…”

MC “With the income of £28,000,000 per year. Eighteen million on wages. For the shit team like that! You shouldn’t spend £5,000,000 on wages not eighteen. With eighteen million on wages you can make a team that can really compete or go in Premier League. With top players. I thought from the beginning to bring Italian players, because I come from Italy and know very well Italian players, but it is wrong because I am in England. I have to get most possible English guys, or international players. Because Italian players, they are good players, but, you know , I’m Italian, they, they don’t speak English in Italy. They very hard from them go from Italy to Leeds. It’s always raining there. You know? It’s a different country. They have different meals. They have the risk to… to … to fail, you know, very easily.

So I change my mind. You need here good English players. OK? And International players. Good quality, with good skills. With the right wages. And grow a beautiful team next year to get ready the year next to go into Premier. To stay! For good! Not steal the fucking money from the people you know.”

TNS “Right”

MC “You see, have you, have you seen, I didn’t make the season tickets this year? Have you seen? Have you noticed?

TNS “Yeah”

MC “I worked there I said, no season ticket. Why [we have to rush?] Do the supporters get season ticket in February, its not fair. The season ticket you have to sell in May when they know which division we’re doing. When we’re going to tell them what we’re doing. When we’re going to buy back the stadium because the stadium belongs to Leeds, not to the fucking people that ‘s threatening our stadium. Then we start the season ticket. In May. I no, I never did season ticket in February. What we should do that? And they told me, “because we don’t have the money to pay wages”, I’say ‘I pay the wages’ but we don’t pay the season ticket, OK?
They was going to selling McCormack to Cardiff, for £4,000,000. I stopped them, I said I don’t sell. A nice player, we shouldn’t sell.[unintel] … only one boot [unintel] we’re selling that. .

TNS “yeah”

MC “We’re selling it”

TNS “So you stopp….”

TNS “You stopped the transfer?”

MC “Yes. Call McCormack. Ross. I tell him. The 31st of January, he came in Leeds, OK, 5 o’clock in the afternoon. He came to talk with me, to ask me to be transferred to Cardiff for four million pound. I told him, “Get the fuck out of here, I don’t sell anyone,. Go to train yourself”

TNS {laughs} Go on Massimo, good man. Good man.

MC {excitably] Its all good. Its all good. [unintel] Its like if you have a bar, [or a pub?] and you sell your refrigerator to buy the beer. Where you fucking put the beer if you don’t own a refrigerator any more? [Unintel] the assets of the team are the players, not the employees, not David Haigh***  If you have the good player [unintel] All the wages that they pay, that’s investment, that’s [unintel] because they’re the guys that make us laugh, that make us enjoy. The players, the good ones. Why you have to… I sell the bad ones, the good ones, I keep.

TNS “Haha. Yeah that’s um… so..”

MC “Listen, its not difficult. It’s very simple. It’s important. To say the truth. Don’t say lies. To don’t say bullshit to the fans. [I?} need a lot of fucking love. You know. And their energy. And Leeds has got a lot of fucking energy. Cause when I got there, the 18th January, for the first time, I saw the match. The lost One to Zero. On the last minute. OK? ”

TNS “Yeah”

MC “And I was there, I saw the fans, with the fucking club, in the Championship*** so big, with 30,000 people watching the match. And lost. And singing. Everybody happy with their family, I said*** "What the fuck is that?" That’s Championship. A fucking team like that. All the people that come here deserve a fucking good team*** I dream in my mind, can you imagine I bring good players , we win, become Premier League how good can be? You know? That’s my dream

TNS “Thank you Massimo, you…”

MC “… hurt me so much. My friend. And don’t give up. Tomorrow I think we’re going to win. Because, they don’t have a chance. I put them with the back on the floor. They can not roll away. If they want to say that I’m not allowed to go there, unfortunately, Leeds go to bankrupt. If Leeds go to bankrupt [unintel] I take him to the court. To the [unintel] court. They go to the jail, because they been ripping off the fucking fans everyone. With Compass**, with the stadium, with the training** centre, with insurance, with the fucking Virgin Island company, Cayman Island company. They…You know ,they bought a player last year….”

TNS “Which player”

MC “From League One. I don’t remember his name. And they paid, the player, one million and a half. From League One. And they give him £22,000 a week. Fuck me! He wages was thousand seven hundred pounds a week, they give him £22,000 a week. From League One. Are you fucking crazy?

TNS “Mad”

MC “They bought a forward, they called Hunt, I remember his name, Hunt. From Reading. That’s the club where used to play McCormack, you remember? Where used to coach McCormack? This player is being [borrowed?][bought***] from Reading at one million eight hundred thousand pounds. He’s got £25,000 a week.The player they [borrowed/bought], he was aging*** [Unintel]

TNS “I know, it’s ridiculous. Luke Murphy”

MC (and very excitable] What are they thinking?*** Who put the money? The fans? Season tickets, errr, matchday ticket, err jersey. All the shit. GFH, they never put one fucking pound. “

TNS “One pound”

MC “Never. Nothing. Ever. No money. Just debt, debt, debt”

TNS “How much money have you given GFH?”

MC “Errr…. Less than £10M as of last night. And to the club the same.

TNS “Thanks Massimo, I think you are… I think it’s going to be a big blow if you don’t get the club”

MC “And believe me that money from me is not money come from… from rubbish. That’s money that belong to my company. For a long time. Is true money. I did that with a good purpose. Believe me.

TNS “Thanks Massimo, I think you’re great”

MC “I hope so. Thank you”

TNS “So um, good luck tomorrow Massimo.

MC “OK, don’t worry. Ciao”

TNS “I really hope you get the club”

MC [unintel]

TNS “Will you get the club tomorrow? One last question, will you get the club tomorrow?”

MC “I beg your pardon?”

TNS “Will you get the club tomorrow? Will you win?”

MC “Yeah”

TNS “Yes?”

MC “In fact, what I think, I think that unfortunately I’m going to win. You know why I say unfortunately? Because I’m just buying a lot of work, a lot of debt, and I don’t doubt that. But never mind, I engage I can walk out, you know?”

TNS “You can turn us into a great team Massimo. Come on Massimo. Believe in yourself

MC “Oh the team is-a shit. It’s a great club. It’s a great club. The only thing thats worth in the club, the only thing that works in the club, the only that that is not a club.. asset***, are the fans. They don’t own even one pair of t-shirt, they don’t.. they have nothing. The fans are the more important thing in the club. Because the people that going round the background they don’t understand , the only thing that… the treasure in Leeds… are the fans. Where do you fucking get the club that’s taking a risk like that with twenty five thousand people going to see their match. Where else in the world? Where?

[Unintel] that love the fucking club. Its not [unintel] so there is no money to buy that. You can buy club with a lot of money, big stadium, big players, but if you don’t have the fans… who you play for? Tell me?*** You play for yourself. You don’t buy fans my friend. The people that don’t have familiarity with soccer they don’t understand where are the really assets. The only asset nobody can take you that is worth a lot, a fortune, there’s no money to buy, are the fans. You don’t buy the fans. Never.”

TNS “[unintel] crosstalk

MC “Worldwide. The fans, they’re not for sale. They are feelings, you don’t buy feelings. You can buy a bitch, for one night, but you don’t buy the love, my friend. And there’s a lot of love for the club. That’s more important, big than you can reali.. you are never alone [unintel] … you have always company.”

TNS “OK. Umm, thank you Massimo. I think that’s all I um.. you’ve cleared that all up there”

MC “I hope you’re a nice guy. I felt so with you. I shouldn’t talk with you , I don’t know what you’re going to do. Anyway I talk with you what I think


TNS “OK, that’s no problem, I think err, good luck tomorrow Massimo”

MC “OK, thank you”

TNS “Thanks very much, goodnight”

* * * * Edited to make corrections received: * * * *

** - Thanks to LAD and Dootch for corrections/amendments at the points marked!

*** - Thanks to DCTFUK for the extensive refinements suggested in post #285 of this thread.


Edited by Armchair White