Former Leeds United captain Steven Warnock has revealed how their previous owner Massimo Cellino forced him to leave the club.
The left-back joined the Whites from Aston Villa in January 2013, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract at Elland Road, where he would go on to make a big impression as they looked to return to the Premier League.
That never materialised but they were progressing until Cellino came in a year after the defender arrived at the club, and from that moment onwards everything changed at the Yorkshire outfit, both behind the scenes and on the pitch, as the chaos ensued.
Warnock would make 67 appearances in his time at Leeds, finding the back of the net on three occasions, but as things changed in the background, he grew more disenchanted and ended up leaving to sign for Championship rivals Derby County for an undisclosed fee in January 2015.
The retired former England international has now shone some light onto why he departed the club when he did.
“I was at Leeds and we had the infamous Massimo Cellino come in,” The Daily Express quote him as saying.
“That just changed everything for the worst for me. When I went into the club it was in a bit of a difficult position but there was still a good feeling around the place.
“He came in and suddenly just wanted to turn over everything.
“We had to bring in packed lunches in. It was embarrassing. For a club of Leeds’ size.
“We used to pay for our meals at Leeds and he stopped at everything, even that! He wouldn’t hire a chef that we were paying for. He wouldn’t have one come in. He told us to bring our own lunches instead.
“It just comes to a point where you think ‘this is comical’. And that was a bad time at Leeds, when he was there.
“There’s a lot of things that went on behind the scenes that people don’t know about. Sometimes it does filter through to the players.”
Cellino eventually sold the club to current owner Andrea Radrizzani last year. After a tough first season in charge, the new custodian is seeing an upturn in the Whites’ fortunes with the club top of the Championship under Marcelo Bielsa, and with hopes of a return to the Premier League in this campaign getting stronger by the match.
Whether Leeds go on to achieve their aim of promotion or not, you sense there will be no repeat of the behind the scenes shenanigans that Warnock and his teammates had to put up with.