THE DAMNED UNITED was a highly successful book that was made into a movie in 2009 and is now a stage production at The Leeds Playhouse. It was about the very controversial 44 day reign of Brian Clough who took over from Don Revie at Leeds United in 1974.
Over 40 years later, this week at an employment tribunal, LEEDS UNITED and its owner MASSIMO CELLINO was damned YET AGAIN. He is 'IL DUCE' , the arrogant and pompas Sardinian owner of the club who previously helped ruin the island club of Cagliari Calcio. Through his family trust Eleonara Sport he is the majority shareholder of United.
There are many broken promises such as his intention to buy back the Elland Road ground and the training complex at Thorpe Arch. Lucy Ward age 41 had been the LUFC Academy and welfare and education officer for 17 years and loved her job and the club.( Massimo hates no 17 and won't allow a shirt with that number). She had played for Leeds United and represented England u 21's when only 16. She took legal action after she was dismissed within 5 minutes of her partner, Leeds United manager Neil Redfearn, being fired, because, as Cellino claimed , 'They came as a pair'. She claimed unfair dismissal and sex discrimination.
Cellino had made sexist comments about women to former Leeds United's womens manager Gary Cooper and others. 'Why do women want to be in football?. THEIR PLACE SHOULD BE IN THE BEDROOM OR THE BEAUTICIANS.' In fact, shortly after the LUFC womens team was allowed to play an end of season fixture at Elland Road, he had the women's club dismissed with no future patronage or connection. In fact Cooper and others had little time to form an independent Leeds Ladies FC in time for the next season, and they have gone FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH!!
The tribunal, that lasted 2 1/2 days, proved that Leeds United DID unfairly dismiss Ms. Ward. Her barrister, Nicholas Randall QC, in his closing submission. questioned why Massimo Cellino had chosen not to give evidence. He described the case against his client as ' A FIT UP JOB !' 'You must presume that Mr. Cellino would give damning evidence about his own attitudes'. 'THIS HAS BEEN AN UTTER, TOTAL SHAMBLES.' 'It is atrocious to say that these two people came as a pair. It's the oldest dinosaur comment you can imagine.'
Cellino fired most of the staff at Thorpe Arch, including cleaners and security staff, and because of that players got sick and the place was closed down while it was DEEP CLEANED. The tribunal heard that none of the senior staff had any legal training in dealing with disciplinary procedures and conducting investigations. Ms Ward spent two months in Canada last summer as part of the BBC coverage of the FIFA Womens World Cup, at which England won third place., and it was claimed that she did not have permission to go to Canada.
One of Cellino's POODLES, former Leeds United executive director ADAM PEARSON, was accused of lying by Nicholas Randall QC. In his summing up the tribunal chairman Judge Stephen Keevash said, ' We consider that the dismissal was unfair and that there was a GROSS unreasonable breach of the ACAS code of conduct.' Adam Pearson was deemed not to be a credible nor reliable witness. His evidence was described as EVASIVE AND INCONSISTENT.'
Club secretary STUART HAYTON, who had denied that there was a CULTURE OF DISCRIMINATION' at Elland Road, was also judged to have given evidence that was found not 'ENTIRELY CREDIBLE'.
Lucy Ward said 'THEY COULD NOT WIN SO THEY ATTACKED MY CHARACTER. . ' I WAS TREATED LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT.'
Cellino, who has been battling the Football League and Italian tax authorities for years, should be in the dock once again as whether he is a FIT AND PROPER person to be involved in any aspect of English football. One of the club's other directors, his 24 year old son Eduardo, has been charged by the Football Association with a social media charge of making offensive remarks to fans, calling one 'A SPASTIC' and 'A MORON'
The panel will reconvene in June to decide upon any punishment and monetary compensation and costs..