Former Leeds United striker Billy Sharp has detailed what life was like during the club’s difficult years in the Championship.
Sharp joined Leeds from Southampton during the 2014/15 season. At the time the club was owned by eccentric Italian businessman Massimo Cellino.
The owner sacked six managers during his three year spell at Leeds and under Cellino the fans often became disillusioned with goings on at the club.
Sharp would only play one season at Elland Road and speaking to Talksport, he detailed his first meeting with the former owner. One that certainly seemed to fit with the Italian’s infamous persona.
“Cellino said my name & said ‘I thought you’d be taller!'"
“I thought ‘oh no, here we go again!’”🤣
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) August 16, 2020
“I remember driving from Southampton to sign and I was so excited. Not because I wanted to leave Southampton, I was gutted, but I was excited. As a Sheffield United fan you’re supposed to hate Leeds but I was looking forward to the opportunity.
“I got there at about 8:30pm at night. I remember going to where the suites were in the upper section of the ground. The lights were on sensors so they kept coming on as I walked past them.
“Right at the end of one of the corridors was Massimo Cellino, in a green leather jacket. He was smoking and blew a puff of smoke in the air. As I got closer he said my name and said, ‘I thought you’d be taller!’ I was thinking, ‘Oh my God here we go again.”
“There was no water”
Leeds finished 15th that season and were almost dragged into a relegation battle, in what was a disastrous campaign. Cellino sacked two managers and off the field the club was struggling.
Sharp detailed how the players were washing their own training kits that season and how even water at the training ground became scarce.
“At the start of my time at Leeds we were washing our own training kit. We weren’t getting fed. There was no water in the facilities which were amazing.
“The swimming pool and the jacuzzi, all the luxuries that not many training grounds have got. There was no water. We used to have a kick-about in the empty swimming pool, use it like a five aside pitch.
“There were such great facilities at an amazing club but it wasn’t being run right. After six games, we’d gone into a second manager.”