COMMENT By Will Butcher
There was a time when Leeds fans were fond of Italian owner Massimo Cellino.
He had just signed 15 new players at Elland Road in his first summer as owner in 2014, and had owned up to making a mistake with his first manager; Dave Hockaday.
Hockaday’s sacking saw the arrival of Slovenian manager Darko Milanic, a complete unknown to English football. An air of optimism surrounded the 48-year-old.
His knowledge of European football, experience in the Champions League and a possession-based philosophy had given fans hope that they would play witness to attractive football at Elland Road.
Just 32 days later the Slovenian was axed, and Leeds’ first impressions of Cellino were set.
Three draws and three losses was not enough to save Milanic, despite being a domestic champion as manager of Slovenian club Maribor in four of the five seasons prior to joining Leeds.
The Yorkshire giants have since seen Neil Redfearn, Uwe Rosler and Steve Evans sacked by Cellino as the former Cagliari owner maintained his reputation as the axe man of top level football after overseeing 43 managers in 24 years with his old Serie A side.
Following two years out of the game for Milanic, the former Sturm Graz boss has returned to manage Maribor and continue as the club’s most successful manager with 10 trophies to his name.
Just three losses in 22 league and cup appearances this season under Milanic has seen his second spell with the Slovenian outfit start in emphatic style, as they look to secure their 14th Slovenian title.