The day I met Massimo Cellino the guitar playing Italian attempting to guide Leeds United back to their former stage.
One of the reasons I love being a photographer is the variety of situations and people you find your self meeting and spending time with.
Last Wednesday, however, was one not even I could have made up. Imagine the scenario I was just finishing off a rather full on corporate shoot in the centre of Leeds when I received a call inviting me to come and take some shots of the new Owner, President, Chairman of Leeds United Football Club, Massimo Cellino.
Now this last minute call was not expected but then when I was told he was bringing his guitar and was going to rehearse with the Leeds band The Pigeon Detectives I was on was on my way to the Old Chapel rehearsal rooms in Holbeck quicker than the players heading out of this summers Elland Road transfer door.
In all my time spent dealing with the owners of football clubs and there has been a few in Leeds I have never got past the hard do not bother me exterior. I could not be more intrigued or honestly excited by this opportunity. From the moment he arrived and stepped out of his PA Debbie’s’ car to collect his custom built Fender from the boot I knew here was a man like no over in the history of the club.
Hail Massimo the axe wielding Italian. Striking up a cigarette and cracking open a bottle of Heineken while he plugged in his very expensive guitar, 1 of 40 if rumours are to believed. I could not help smiling and thinking this is football the old school way. Massimo is know doubt a hard nose business man. A man used to getting his own way making his own choices. For those two hours though he was one of us living his dreams. He was not the President of Leeds United, he laughed, he smoked, he drank, he smoked some more and he played his guitar. Only breaking stride to discuss 3 chord tunes and the power riffs of Guns and Roses. In between he talked about Leeds United his growing love for the City and the British game and his love of the Leeds people.
Time will tell for Leeds United and their new owner but for the two hours I spent watching and photographing Mr Cellino I witnessed a man who wears his heart on his sleeve and is passionate about life about football and about Leeds. This mixed in with his love of Rock and Roll the next coming months and going to be very different from what we have all seen down at Elland Road before.