Paddy Kenny 'sacked' by Leeds owner Massimo Cellino after new owner discovers he was born on the 17 May - Cellino's unlucky number

Kenny has been left at home for the pre-season tour of Italy amid reports that the goalkeeper has been sacked or his birth date

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The Independent Football

Leeds United could be on the lookout for a new goalkeeper after new owner Massimo Cellino reportedly told manager Dave Hockaday not to select Paddy Kenny, because he is born on an unlucky date.

The Italian owner, who completed his takeover of the Championship club towards the end of last season, is said to have such a dislike of the number 17 that he no longer wants Kenny to feature in the first team because he was born on the 17 May, according to the Guardian.

He is believed to have had the number 17 seats at his former club Cagliari removed and replaced with 16B such is his dislike of the number, and should the report prove true, Kenny could be on his way out of Elland Road.

Kenny is currently the second-highest paid player on the books at Leeds, earning a reported £10,000-a-week, and he has been left at home while the rest of the squad fly out to Italy for a pre-season tour.

The Englishman has also caused concerns upon his return from the off-season about allegedly being overweight, but Cellino is said to have reacted “emotionally” when he discovered Kenny’s birth date.


The previous wearer of the number 17 shirt at Leeds was Michael Brown, who was released at the end of last season, and Celllino’s belief that the number is unlucky goes back to his spell in charge of the Italian club where he says the team won just once in 20 years on the 17th of any month.

In a recent interview, he says how asking the club’s supporters to wear purple – another dreaded hate of his – caused them to win because “bad luck is like algebra”.

“The whole stadium was purple on the 17th,” said Cellino. “We won because I think that bad luck is like algebra: minus and minus is positive. Purple and 17 … they became positive and we won. That’s the only time.”

The 57-year-old completed his takeover of Leeds in April after he appealed the Football League’s decision to block the move, using his previous conviction for fraud as grounds for the denial. Since the move got the rubber stamp, Cellino has sacked former manager Brian McDermott, appointed former Forest Green Rovers boss Dave Hockaday as his replacement, despite having no Football League experience, and closed the club’s canteen as a means of cost-cutting.

The club have signed free agent Stuart Taylor to replace Kenny, while Cellino – who will handle all transfer business – will look to flood the squad with cheap Italian imports and free transfers to keep the club’s expenditure as low as possible.