After Uwe Rosler became the fifth manager sacked under Massimo Cellino at Leeds, the maverick Italian is about to go a step too far by appointing Steve Evans.
You know what to expect when you’re appointed Leeds manager. Working under Cellino all-but guarantees that your cards are marked from probably the first second you walk through the door.
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) October 19, 2015
Brian McDermott, David Hockaday, Darko Milanic (remember him?), Neil Redfearn and now Rosler have all fallen victim to Cellino and his villainous ways. Redfearn’s 33-game spell in charge is easily the longest of the Italian’s reign – but that would likely have ended sooner had fan power not kept him in the position for as ‘long’ as it did. Hockaday and Milanic were less fortunate: Six games they lasted. Unpopular appointments they may have been (certainly in Hockaday’s case) but how can any manager stamp their authority on a club and implement their ideas in such a short space of time? The simple is that they can’t.
I actually thought Rosler should have been given longer – and I wrote last week how even in defeat against Brighton Cellino must resist the urge to wield the axe.
But winning just two of 12 games in charge and no home wins in six matches (including three successive home losses) probably meant the writing was on the wall for Rosler. Perhaps in this instance, Cellino didn’t have much choice.
Yes, chopping and changing coaches might be the Italian way of doing things, and that’s partially why it’s so frowned upon in this country. It’s also the reason why the Football League were so insistent that Cellino passed the Fit and Proper Owners Test before rubberstamping his ownership of the club back in January 2014.
But whilst that stance is alien to so many, it’s also insulting to Leeds fans. Seeing their club turned into this media circus is not good for their image and their status in the game. It creates bad feeling among fans.
Above all else, it’s certainly not helping Leeds United climb the league ladder. It also creates a bad vibe amongst would-be managers. Leeds United as a club might still be an attractive proposition for many, but working under Cellino is far from that.
Pretty soon, Cellino will (if he hasn’t already) exhaust all the good will that exists at Leeds. It’ll also exhaust the list of potential coaching options open to you. And when you start doing that, the calibre of coach options dwindles.
And so to Steve Evans… The Scottish coach – sacked as Rotherham manager just three weeks ago after a relatively-successful three-year stint in charge – took Leeds training on Monday morning following the departure of Rosler.
But even he spoke out against Cellino last October when he said: “If you take the job under Massimo, you know the rules; he picks the players, you coach the players. “[As a manager] I pick the players, whether they come, whether they go and I want my chairman to support that. The minute he doesn’t support it, I go.“
We can all ask why Evans would, just 12 months later, go back on his word and work under Cellino, but then I think we all know the answer. This is the Leeds United job, and this is easily the biggest appointment the currently unemployed Evans will have encountered. Therefore, of course he’s going to say ‘yes’.
But Cellino is risking the little good-will he has left by appointing the Scottish coach – who is, I think it’s fair to say, one of the most unpopular managers around.
Yes, it’d be easy to pick holes in his appearance, but that’s not what we do; playground name-calling is not what makes him unpopular.
This is what makes Evans unpopular:
His prickly style, his ability to wind up opposing fans, his ability to seek out confrontation, exposing himself to females (true story), the fact he’s collected numerous FA bans for insulting officials (including a 10-match ban whilst Crawley manager).
And that’s before we mention the fact that while as Boston manager, he was suspended from the game for 20 months for financial irregularities and has been charged for fraud. This is by criminal courts by the way, not the FA.
So I’d ask Cellino to think extremely seriously before appointing Evans.
As a friend and colleague of mine wrote on Twitter this morning, Evans will, if nothing else, make Leeds a club you love to hate again.
Seems many people had begun to feel nothing but indifference towards Leeds of late. Steve Evans will sort that out, if nothing else. — Ian Watson (@IanWatson1) October 19, 2015
In many ways, I wish Leeds United were hated. That’d be a sign of our success. Now sadly, we’re little more than just a club that rival fans love to laugh at. And that’s what hurts the most.
Discuss Cellino’s decision to sack Rosler and the appointment of Evans on the Leeds United Your Say forum.