“Lowest wages” - Massimo Cellino explains bizarre Leeds United decision | OneFootball

Icon: Football League World

Football League World

·3 December 2023

“Lowest wages” - Massimo Cellino explains bizarre Leeds United decision

Article image:“Lowest wages” - Massimo Cellino explains bizarre Leeds United decision

Former Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has admitted he appointed Dave Hockaday as the club’s head coach in 2014 as he was the cheap option.

Dave Hockaday was given surprise Leeds opportunity

Cellino spent three years as owner of the Whites, and it’s fair to say it was a hectic period, with Leeds ultimately falling short of winning promotion as had been the aim.


OneFootball Videos


During his time in charge, it’s fair to say Cellino was unpredictable, but there’s one decision that stands above the rest in terms of just how left-field it was.

Of course, we are talking about the call to appoint Dave Hockaday as the new head coach back in 2014.

Hockaday’s only experience as a manager had come in non-league with Forest Green, where he didn’t exactly have a remarkable record, as he had lost more games than he’d won over a four year period.

Massimo Cellino explains Dave Hockaday appointment

Furthermore, Hockaday had been out of work for around six months before he was given the Leeds job, so it must rank as one of the most bizarre managerial appointments English football has seen.

And, speaking to the Daily Mail, Cellino opened up on why he turned to Hockaday, as he acknowledged financial reasons were a factor.

I didn’t know who to appoint. I had to take someone to do pre-season. I was lost — and I took the coach with the lowest wages. I’ll never forget. We were playing Middlesbrough and it was 0-0. Then Hockaday took out (Souleymane) Doukara, who was playing well and he put in a midfielder, which was a brave move. We won 1-0.

After the game, I said, “Hey, Hockaday, give me five, you are better than I thought. You took one striker away and put another one in midfield to control the game. That’s something the best coaches understand, not the worst”. Then you know what he told me? “I took out Doukara because he was injured”. I said, “So you’re s*** still!

How did Dave Hockaday do at Leeds?

As you would expect for someone who was making such a huge leap up in terms of quality, Hockaday struggled to get going at Leeds, and he only took charge of six games.

In that short period, they won two and lost four, with the fans putting pressure on Cellino to bring in a new boss, which he did.

What happened after at Leeds?

Things didn’t calm down at Elland Road after Hockaday’s departure, with Cellino constantly changing the manager as he looked to find the right formula.

Neil Redfearn would succeed Hockaday on a caretaker basis, with Darko Milanic then named as the new boss, but he would last just six games as well.

Redfearn would have another spell, with Uwe Rosler and Steve Evans also taking charge, but nobody could guide Leeds back to the top-flight.

Even Andrea Radrizzani, who bought the club off Cellino, wouldn’t get things right straight away, but the inspired appointment of Marcelo Bielsa would eventually transform the Whites.

View publisher imprint