Radrizzani warpath may end with scapegoating Leeds senior man as idle claim looks threatening
Andrea Radrizzani only hired Paul Heckingbottom a month ago, but the Leeds United owner has already shown signs that he may turn the manager into a scapegoat as his current warpath shows no signs of dying down.
The Italian businessman has worked wonders to get the United fans onside in just under a year.
His decision to buy back Elland Road was one of the biggest boosts that long-suffering Leeds fans have had in the past few years after a string of owners that appeared to be more like chimps with machine guns rather than astute leaders of a big football club.
However in the last week, Radrizzani has started to make fans believe he is not that dissimilar to Massimo Cellino with a series of outspoken rants.
After losing 3-0 to Wolves last week he hit out at the Championship leaders and their “unfair” tactic of using super-agent Jorge Mendes to coax players to Molineux that would not look out of place in a Champions League starting line-up.
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He may have a point about that one, but being so outspoken at this stage of the season – when all hope of promotion is surely lost – it just shows him up as being a sore loser who is willing to point the finger at everyone other than himself and his own poor decision-making.
Now it appears that he may be willing to make Heckingbottom a scapegoat for Leeds’ misfortune.
The 40-year-old has overseen just one win in seven games since swapping Barnsley’s Oakwell for Elland Road, leading to Radrizzani to claiming idly that the senior man “needs to prove himself”.
It may sound like nothing, but it could be seen as a bit of a threat to the ex-Tykes boss, who may now have to tread carefully over the remaining months of the season before his position is most likely re-evaluated.
Rome wasn’t built in a day – Radrizzani will no doubt know that – but football is not a world where people can take their time anymore. Not many are able to reach the top by funding a mass overhaul of their Under-23s squad or developing links with Spanish clubs that no one in England had heard of until this season.
It’s about finding a complex balance and while Heckingbottom has not offered the instant boost that many would have wanted, he is definitely worth sticking by as Leeds look to rebuild for Radrizzani’s second term in office for 2018/19.