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As Leeds United finally part company with Brian McDermott it's bring on the Italians

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It was clever media management that Leeds United chose the Friday evening when England were playing a World Cup warm up game to announce the worst kept secret in football - that manager Brian McDermott was leaving Elland Road. It hardly received a mention until Saturday.

Ironic also, given that England's first World Cup game is against Italy that Italian managers dominate the list of candidates to replace McDermott.

New owner Massimo Cellino tried to fire McDermott back in January and according to the Yorkshire Evening Post;

'For too long, McDermott worked for a club who operated at a base level of profes­si­onalism. When wages for the playing staff went unpaid in March, he and his squad read about the crisis in the press. They received no prior warning or communication from the club.

'When Benito Carbone, Leeds’ newly appointed technical advisor, appeared at Thorp Arch towards the end of April, McDermott was not told to expect him or informed of Carbone’s role. “I know as much as you know,” he told the media week after week. More often than not, he knew less than that.

'Towards the bitter end there was a train of thought which said McDermott was there, hanging on for a pay-off. Those of us who saw the strain he was under would say he was hanging on to a job he coveted and hated the idea of losing.

'Cellino refused to back him but made no immediate move to replace him either. They barely spoke. The situation was stressful and humiliating, more than a seven-figure sum of compensation is worth and in the background McDermott had the personal worry of his mother in Stoke Mandeville hospital, suffering from cancer.'

The aforementioned Carbone is a leading fancy but Cellino has already implied that Carbone, despite recently speaking about his ultimate desire to be a manager one day, will be charge of United’s under-21s next season and have responsibility for that and not the first team.

Cellino said: “I have always said that Carbone will be in charge of the under-21s next season and that doesn’t change now.”

Another name figuring prominently in the betting is former West Ham and Watford manager Gianfranco Zola, out of work since leaving Vicarage Road in mid-December.

The Sardinian was linked with the United post in April, although his agent Fulvio Marrucco rebuffed talk at the time of him potentially replacing McDermott.

Speaking in April, Marrucco said: “Absolutely not. But I think we will see him back on a bench in England soon enough, rather than back in Italy.

“The one thing I can tell you today is that Zola will not be Leeds’ coach for next season.”

Cagliari-born Gianluca Festa is also strongly in the betting with the former Middlesbrough and Inter Milan defender brought in as an advisor by Cellino in late January while he was in the process of attempting to finalise his move for the club.

Festa, an observer at first-team training at Thorp Arch, had been earmarked for a place in the dug-out before the home game with Ipswich Town on January 28, but in the event, didn’t take his place there.

Another Italian name in the betting is veteran coach Claudio Ranieri, who recently left Monaco having also had previous spells at many leading European clubs such as Roma, Juventus, Inter Milan and Chelsea. Another former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo - linked with Leeds once before - is also believed to be in the frame.

Other names mentioned in the betting include Neil Redfearn, who has managed the club twice on an interim basis, Tim Sherwood, Chris Hughton and former Whites boss Simon Grayson.

One thing's for sure, whoever takes the job can't get less support than McDermott whatever happens.

RT
 

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