Leeds' Italian takeover plunged into doubt following Brian McDermott debacle as a second consortium makes fresh approach

Italian businessman Massimo Cellino had agreed a deal to become the majority shareholder but McDermott's reported sacking and subsequent reinstatement has put the brakes on the sale

Leeds' owners are understood to be poised to open talks with another consortium as Italian businessman Massimo Cellino's takeover bid floundered.

Gulf Finance House Capital agreed a deal to sell 75 per cent of the club's shares to Cellino's company, Eleonora Sport Ltd, on Friday.

But after the Cagliari owner's failed attempt to sack manager Brian McDermott later the same day, it emerged his legal representatives had been escorted from Elland Road premises on Monday.

McDermott, who stayed away from Leeds' 5-1 derby win against Huddersfield at the weekend as the club's latest takeover saga plunged into farce, reported for duties as normal on Monday morning after GFH Capital confirmed the 52-year-old had not been sacked.

He was unable to end continued speculation who will take control of the Sky Bet Championship club at a press conference, but it is now understood Sport Capital, whose takeover deal collapsed last Thursday, have joined forces with another British consortium, Together Leeds.

Following reports the same solicitor who had told McDermott he was sacked via a telephone call on Friday night, had been led out of Elland Road by the club's current managing director David Haigh, it seems a second takeover bid is far from a formality.

GFH Capital agreed a similar deal with Yorkshire-based consortium Sport Capital in November, but after a two-month exclusivity period that deal collapsed last Thursday.

Together Leeds, which includes former Manchester United director Mike Farnan and former Hull chairman Adam Pearson, who left his position as commercial director at Elland Road in 2001, had been hoping to enter into talks with GFH Capital.

After returning to the training ground, former Reading boss McDermott said he could not walk away from the club following the scenes of support shown by fans during Saturday's 5-1 win despite receiving advice from "big people in the game" to do so.

He said he had been given written assurances by GFH Capital, but still had no idea who the club's owners would be when his side face Yeovil in a league fixture on Saturday.

When asked if his position was more secure than it had been on Friday, McDermott said: "I've no idea. I can't answer that question."

Of his assurances, he added: "I've got them written down, so that's the most important thing and I needed them.

"Basically I'm responsible for all football matters at the club."

McDermott refused to apportion any blame for the sequence of events.

"It would be easy for me to sit here and say that I've been let down and start blaming people," he said.

"I would suggest that this situation should never happen to a football manager or to staff and players. It's not right and let's hope it never happens again."

McDermott added: "What comes in the future, I don't know.

"We're still up in the air. There's still obviously talks (going on), there's rumours about rumours, there's been a lot of speculation about all sorts of things."

 

PA

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