BRIAN MCDERMOTT insisted today he wanted to carry on as Leeds United manager after an extraordinary weekend where he appeared to be ‘sacked’ by the English Championship club.
McDermott was ‘fired’ on Friday by a lawyer working on behalf of prospective owner Massimo Cellino, who is in the process of buying a 75 percent stake in the second-tier side.
The 52-year-old was therefore unsurprisingly absent from Saturday’s 5-1 win over Huddersfield Town at Elland Road, which was watched by former Middlesbrough defender Gianluca Festa, the man it appeared Italian businessman Cellino had lined up to replace McDermott.
But McDermott told a news conference today he wouldn’t quit his job.
“For me, walking away would have been the easy thing to do. I wasn’t interested in that, I want to be Leeds United manager,” he said.
McDermott banned Festa from sitting with him in the dugout during the midweek draw with Ipswich Town, and refused to take a number of Italian players given to him by Cellino, who also owns Serie A side Cagliari.
But to add more confusion it emerged McDermott had been invited to the game and declined, before the League Managers Association (LMA) said on Saturday McDermott had been sacked by someone who had no authority to do so.
Leeds responded to the chaos enveloping the club by saying McDermott was still in charge.
Current Leeds owners Gulf Finance House Capital (GFH Capital) confirmed the news Cellino has agreed to buy a majority stake in a statement ahead of the Huddersfield game, but the deal is reportedly still subject to Football League approval.
And McDermott stressed he was going nowhere.
“No one will be invited to the dug-out or dressing room to talk to the players unless I okay it. I’m assured I talk to GFH and GFH only.”
He added: “Whether it was illegal or not I don’t know but whoever sacks the manager has to own the football club.”
And he urged the Football League, the umbrella organisation for England’s 72 professional teams immediately below the Premier League, to be thorough in its oversight when it came to club takeovers.
“The Football League have to get the situation right on the duty of care for who runs clubs. It’s one of the most important decisions they will take,” McDermott said.
“It’s so important they do their due diligence and the right people own clubs.”