THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Owner Massimo Cellino quick to fire coaches

icon leeds sad12 September ~ Earlier this week, the Football League's chief executive Shaun Harvey (who happens to be an ex-employee of Leeds) called for the Italian authorities to reveal the full written judgement of the tax evasion conviction of the club's owner Massimo Cellino earlier this year. Meanwhile, a replacement for former coach Dave Hockaday still hasn't been found. The former Forest Green manager was unceremoniously sacked just six games into the new season and the only surprise to fans was that he lasted that long.

Hockaday's side's early season performances were disjointed, culminating in the pathetic capitulation and a heavy defeat at Watford. The fans never took to him in the same way that the vast majority took to his predecessor Brian McDermott – to the extent that he seemed like a dead man walking even in pre-season friendlies.

Although Leeds may have dramatically fallen from grace over the last decade or so the fact remains that they are still a big club, with a large fanbase and even bigger expectations, a challenge Hockaday simply wasn't cut out to deal with.

To handle a club of Leeds' stature requires vast amounts of managerial experience and supreme self-confidence. Former crowd favourites Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Robbie Fowler, who both applied for the job earlier this week, might have bags of the latter, but neither has enough management know-how to guide the club forward.

It's also doubtful that highly respected and currently unemployed young managers, such as Steve Clarke and Roberto di Matteo, would be interested in trying to rebuild their stalled careers at a club overseen by the famously trigger happy Cellino, who at Cagliari went through 36 managers in 22 years – he's already fired two Leeds managers in the space of around eight months, living up to his nickname as "the manager eater".

For now Cellino claims that he's happy to stick with academy boss Neil Redfearn as caretaker coach. Under Redfearn the team seemed reinvigorated in the home win against Bolton and he appears to have found a formula to accommodate the 15 new players that were brought to Elland Road during the transfer window. But in the longer term the club would be better served with Redfearn returning to oversee the academy, where he has a good track record of developing talented young players.

So what options does that leave? According to the bookies, Italian coach Rolando Maran is a strong candidate for the job and the odds on Paolo di Canio becoming the next Leeds United manager have now plummeted from 40/1 to 6/1. Last week a betting shop customer even placed £100 on David Moyes being the next Leeds manager. It may sound like a crazy idea, but given the rollercoaster history of the club in recent times it should not be discounted. Simon Creasey

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