Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino on course for friendly Championship encounter

Written by Staff Writer

(CNN) — Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino addresses supporters on the eve of the new Premier League season, saying he wants to show he’s not a “pig” following recent controversies.

The Italian is currently appealing against his conviction for offences related to illegally changing the club’s ownership in 2014.

It comes just two years after the 58-year-old was convicted in an Italian court of embezzlement. He was later acquitted of those charges.

He has been banned from being involved in football for the last 14 months, while funds to buy Leeds have been blocked by the Football League, but this uncertainty has not affected Cellino’s ambitions for the club.

Cellino is still hopeful of doing an “Acme” deal with fellow Italian Andrea Radrizzani that will provide a cash injection for the club.

But he has urged fans to give him another chance, “I wish that I can be here to manage my team.”

‘I’m a pig’

Prior to that appeal, Cellino told supporters he was not a pig, following accusations made by midfielder Garry Monk that he stood “like a pig in the middle of the tunnel” during a game last season.

Monk alleged Cellino made comments about a “kid” and “little kid” and also said some players didn’t want to play for him.

It was Cellino’s argument that he only waded into a tunnel confrontation after he was told the “son of a b***h” was still in it and hadn’t come out yet, in a statement on the club’s website.

Monk denies making the comments, which were captured by television cameras.

“It was Garry Monk who mouthed the comment and directed it towards me, not the other way around,” he said.

“I’m here to take the reputation of this club back, not bring it down, and am committed to making Leeds United great again.”

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