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Jack Wilshere, Harry Kane and Mesut Özil participate in Bizarre “Time To Go, Massimo” Protest Video

Though the exact origins of the clip are unclear, we’re guessing it took some fairly elaborate trickery on one Leeds fan’s part.

by Will Magee
Apr 21 2016, 1:43pm

PA Images

Before we address the latest "Time to Go, Massimo" protest video, let's get one thing straight: Jack Wilshere, Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Mesut Özil do not care about the plight of Leeds United Football Club. With Leeds last gracing the top flight in the 2003/04 season, those players have never played a league match against the Elland Road outfit. It's highly unlikely that they have strong personal opinions about Leeds' decline in recent times. We doubt they're much more than vaguely aware of the bizarre antics at the club over the last few years, and they probably don't know the first thing about Dave Hockaday, Darko Milanič and Steve Evans – despite the latter's persistent attempts to break the world record for references to oneself in the third person.

Likewise, on the evidence of this video, they don't have a clue who Massimo Cellino is.

In case you're in the same boat as Jack, Harry, Dele and Mesut, let us give you a brief overview of the current situation at Leeds. Massimo Cellino has owned the club since early 2014 and, in the meantime, has failed a League Owners' and Directors' test, been temporarily disqualified as the club's president, made a series of ill-advised managerial appointments, and sacked five coaches in turn. Add to that a string of empty promises about promotion and investment – not to mention Leeds' underwhelming performances on the pitch – and it's hardly a surprise that he's deeply unpopular amongst the fans.

Disgruntled supporters have recently formed the "Time To Go, Massimo" protest group, hoping to force Cellino to sell up. Demonstrations against his ownership are ongoing. However, one fan has decided that the campaign needs some high-profile backing to boost its momentum.

Accordingly, the fan in question has somehow managed to rope Wilshere, Kane, Alli and Özil into participating in a protest video calling on Cellino to leave the club.

Judging by the players' incongruously cheerful delivery here – Dele Alli even gives a thumbs up to the camera, accompanied by an innocent smile – we can only assume that they've been tricked into recording their protest messages by means of low cunning and subterfuge. How did the mastermind behind this clip pull it off, we wonder?

Perhaps the author of this dastardly scheme told the players that his nephew, Massimo, was terrified of his first trip to the dentist, and needed encouragement from his boyhood idols to go. Or that a workaholic colleague, Massimo, was trying not to take his holiday, and required a push in the right direction. Or that his best friend, Massimo, was estranged from his ailing mother, and really needed a coaxing message from several multi-millionaire sportsmen to go and visit the old girl on her deathbed. Or that the ghost of an 18th-century Italian swashbuckler named Massimo was haunting his house, and must be urged to depart into the great beyond by several Premier League footballers.

We'll probably never know but – whatever was said – it worked a treat.

The clever ruse also seems to have worked on Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, the artists otherwise known as Ant & Dec. They've recorded perhaps the most cheerful protest video of all time, and look as if they think they're encouraging someone's elderly Italian grandad, Massimo, to finally go on the Mediterranean cruise of a lifetime.

The same goes for Adam Woodyatt. Altogether, there's now a formidable celebrity alliance against Massimo Cellino. Will he be able to withstand the collective condemnation of Wilshere, Kane, Alli, Özil, Ant & Dec, and Ian Beale off Eastenders?

He probably will, yeah. Still, it was worth a go.