Hockaday stays at Leeds

  • Last Updated: August 24 2014, 20:21 BST

Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has given boss Dave Hockaday an unexpected lifeline after changing his decision to sack him after only five games in charge.

Watford beat Leeds on Saturday
Watford beat Leeds on Saturday

Cellino earned his unflattering nickname of the 'manager eater' during his time in charge of Cagliari, where he went through 36 managers in 20 years, and he has already looked to pull the trigger during his short time at Leeds.

Hockaday - the man he appointed to much derision in June owing to his limited experience - was set to be his next sacking in the wake of Leeds' 4-1 defeat at Watford on Saturday, but 57-year-old Italian Cellino has had an unexpected change of heart.

Cellino admitted in local media interviews that Hockaday was set for the exit door, before the club's official Twitter account said on Sunday night: "In response to recent media speculation the club can confirm that David Hockaday remains the head coach of Leeds United."

Cellino attempted to sack then-Leeds manager Brian McDermott within hours of verbally agreeing a deal to buy a controlling stake in the club with GFH Capital at the end of January.

McDermott stayed until the end of the season and departed by mutual consent at the end of May.

Sunday was Hockaday's 66th day in charge of Leeds, having been given the job by Cellino to much surprise, with the Italian saying at his unveiling that he could not remember who tipped him off about the former Hull defender whose best managerial return is a 10th-placed finish with Conference side Forest Green.

Team Score Team
Watford 4 - 1 Leeds
Leeds 0 - 2 Brighton
Leeds 1 - 0 M'boro
Leeds 2 - 1 Accrington
Millwall 2 - 0 Leeds

Hockaday insisted he was not shocked to get the call from Cellino, though, citing extensive coaching experience with the likes of Southampton and Watford.

When he oversaw a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough in his first home game in charge last weekend, he appeared to be proving a point.

Defeats to Brighton and Watford since then have turned an already-upset support against him, however, with chants of "This club's too big for you" heard at both games.

It appeared that Cellino thought the same thing on Saturday night and Sunday morning

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Cellino said: "Yes, I decided to sack him. I said 'he's finished.' But I learned a long time ago to wait on a decision for 24 hours."

Hockaday has been keen to point out that his remit is to coach the players and not negotiate transfers and Cellino, who has signed some 11 new faces, added: "If I fire the coach I should fire myself because I haven't signed enough good players. How can that be his fault."

As a result Cellino has opted to stick with what he has, adding: "We are missing four or five players still. We are not good enough. I am the president so I should only sack myself, not Hockaday.

"I want to do everything too fast - I want 15 new players, I want to be in the Premier League, I don't want the old coach, I want a new one. I want to build Rome in 12 hours but it doesn't happen. If another coach comes in and we have the same problems, we are back in the s***. So I'll wait."