A Leeds supporter claims he was paid by the club to post positive messages on social media about under-fire owner Massimo Cellino in a bid to raise his popularity among fans.
Scott Gutteridge alleges he received £500 per month for his work with the Facebook group ‘In Massimo We Trust’ in an attempt to persuade disillusioned supporters that Cellino is not as bad as some say.
The Italian owner has recently introduced a ‘pie tax’ at Elland Road, but Gutteridge said about trying to raise the Italian’s popularity: “I was approached because of my IT/website design background by an unnamed member of Leeds United to assist in the creation and running of a group called Cellino In (now known as In Massimo We Trust).
“I was told I would receive a nominal payment depending on activity and contribution. It balanced out at £500 per month. The club felt that a positive influence from a small number of fans could go a long way and sponsoring this group would be worth their time.”
Gutteridge was later dropped from the group for leaking information. He added: “I started to realise what was going on behind the scenes. This was nothing more than propaganda with the wrongdoings being covered up by the club using the Facebook group to counter arguments. Leeds is a club rotten to the core.”
A Leeds spokesman denied the allegations, saying: “There is nothing in this. But unfortunately, because of the hysteria surrounding Leeds, groups of fans don’t believe what the club say.”
A number of other Leeds sources insist Gutteridge is telling the truth.
Tensions between supporters and Cellino are currently at an all-time high with a group beaming a giant anti-Cellino image on the club’s East Stand during their clash with Middlesbrough last Monday, while an aeroplane flyover protesting his ownership is also planned for Saturday week’s home clash against Bolton.