7 October 2014 12:41
Former Leeds United favourite Paddy Kisnorbo believes that controversial ex-owner Ken Bates would be welcomed back to the club.
Leeds are now owned by Massimo Cellino, who has been the subject of regular headlines since buying the Yorkshire club in February and involved in a string of court cases, including one he won against the Football League to officially take charge of United.
The Italian – known as a ‘manager eater’ in his homeland for his propensity to sack coaches at former club Cagliari – has already parted company with Brian McDermott and Dave Hockaday and there have been numerous unconfirmed reports of player disharmony.
But Cellino still receives a welcome reception in Leeds – something that Bates rarely experienced in the city.
The former Chelsea owner bought Leeds in 2005 but was disliked by the Elland Road faithful, who organised numerous protests – in various guises – against him throughout his eight-and-a-half year tenure at the club.
Kisnorbo feels that Cellino’s failure to significantly invest has hurt Leeds, though, and believes that Bates would have treated the club better.
“I think it [the current situation] is disappointing,” Kisnorbo, now the captain of A-League outfit Melbourne City, told Perform.
“Leeds – it’s one of the biggest clubs in the world for me. Great support base, big club, big fans, great history. And it is disappointing through the current owner who is doing what he is doing.
“In the Championship, besides Blackpool [who got promoted on a shoestring budget in 2010], I think you need to invest to go up and that’s plain and simple.
“I think with this current owner – I don’t think he understands the expectation of Leeds fans and what Leeds, as a club, need.
“I don’t think it’s for the best of the club and for the Leeds fans, which is disappointing. I love Leeds as a club.
“When the old owner was there, Ken Bates, he wore that club on his sleeve. And people [fans] were saying how bad it was then.
“I bet you if people could [get] him back, they would. He made that club his own and he treated that club like his own family.
Andy Keogh had two stints at Leeds United and is also saddened by the club’s plight.
The Republic of Ireland international – who first joined Leeds at the age of 15 – witnessed United’s European highs first hand.
Keogh left in 2005 but returned in 2011 for a six-month loan from Wolves and feels that the Elland Road outfit deserve to be in the Premier League.
“I was there from when I was 15…I signed when they were in the [UEFA] Champions League semi-final,” the now-Perth Glory striker told Perform.
“It is sad the way it has gone. Hopefully [with] this new owner they can get back to where they belong.
“Every time I’ve been playing for them or playing against them, the fans are amazing. It’s one of those special clubs in England.
“If you think of the Premier League – you think of Leeds United.
“Someone needs to just get that club sorted and get it back up there. The city deserves it.”