Leeds turmoil continues as directors inform Brian McDermott that new owners-in-waiting had no authority to sack him

The League Managers' Association is seeking clarification from the club regarding McDermott's situation as the board are understood to be trying to reappoint his as manager

The farcical events surrounding the takeover of Leeds took a further twist today when Brian McDermott was told by club directors that the people who had sacked him had no authority to do so.

The League Managers' Association is waiting for clarification of the situation at Elland Road after a chaotic 24 hours.

The takeover of the club by Italian Massimo Cellino is subject to Football League approval.

An LMA statement said: "Brian received a call last night from a solicitor informing him that Leeds United were terminating his contract as manager.

"This morning Brian received a further phone call from a director of the football club stating the company on whose behalf the solicitor had contacted Brian are not the owners of Leeds United.

"In the circumstances, Brian was asked by the directors of the club not to take the match today and we are awaiting clarification of the situation over the weekend."

Nigel Gibbs, McDermott's long-standing number two, answered the call to lead the team against Huddersfield in his place.

It had looked as though Gianluca Festa, a lifelong friend of Cellino, the Cagliari owner who is close to buying United, would be a controversial figure in the dugout.

The events merely added to a farcical 24 hours at the West Yorkshire club, who on Saturday morning confirmed they had agreed to sell a 75 per cent majority stake to Cellino, subject to Football League approval.

Current owners Gulf Finance House Capital (GFH Capital) confirmed the news in a statement ahead of the Huddersfield game, although Cellino had already made his presence felt before then by attempting to remove McDermott on Friday night.

The ex-Reading manager refused to allow Festa to sit with him in the dugout during the midweek draw with Ipswich, and also refused to take a number of Italian players given to him by Cellino.

The mayhem continued as two of the club's main sponsors, Enterprise Insurance and Flamingo Land, said they would be withdrawing their backing.

And police were called to Elland Road on Friday as fans did their best to barricade Cellino inside the ground after some late-night talks. Those protests continued outside the ground ahead of kick-off.

None of that has stopped GFH Capital from choosing Cellino's bid over one from rival consortium Together Leeds, though.

A statement read: "Following recent media reports and speculation, GFH Capital would like to confirm that it has agreed to sell a 75 per cent stake in the club to Eleonora Sport Ltd, a company owned by the Cellino family who have many years' experience in football and who plan to invest substantially in the club including the re-acquisition of Elland Road.

"Eleonora will be working on completing the required Football League approval.

"The Cellino family is a well known Italian sports family, who have owned Serie A side Cagliari since 1992. They come to English football with an ambition to support Leeds United financially to take it to the Premier League and a belief that the club can sustain top-flight status.

"Since the agreement, Leeds United is in discussion with Eleonora Sport Ltd on a number of issues concerning club matters, including the structure of the management of the first team."

Cellino became the number one bidder when on Thursday, a consortium of club managing director David Haigh and Enterprise Insurance boss Andrew Flowers collapsed after two months of exclusivity to buy the club under the guise of Sport Capital.

Cellino could still face opposition from the Football League - he has a previous conviction for fraud - while a consortium headed up by former Manchester United director Mike Farnan says it is refusing to go away despite the statement.

"We continue to seek dialogue and have substantial backing with offers of support increasing by the minute," Farnan tweeted.

The Italian influence at Elland Road continues to grow despite that, though, with Cagliari confirming that Leeds had signed midfielder Andrea Tabanelli on loan from them, with Leeds later adding him to the squad list on their website. He was not named to face Town, though.

Cellino, 57, is an agricultural entrepreneur and is known in Cagliari as 'The King of Corn'. He has owned Cagliari for 20 years and had 36 managers in that time.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain