And the new Head Coach of Leeds United… is you? What would you do?

After another dull display at Chesterfield, Leeds United will play Swindon Town today, Glenavon tomorrow (which is probably going to be a “B” squad, followed by a weekend match at Dundee United. During the Chesterfield match, nobody could really figure out the formation due to the players not holding their shape. Between Phil Hay and Thom Kirwin everybody was trying to figure out what shape we were trying to make out there. However, this week, I’d like to hear from you.

You are the new Head Coach. Using the squad we have currently (and yes you can include Viviani) what team would you bring to the upcoming matches and what formation would you have us playing?

Is it Hockaday or are Leeds still missing something?

As we near the end of pre-season in England David Hockaday’s United now sit with a win, a loss and a draw under their belts. Obviously results in pre-season don’t really matter; the games are played to improve fitness and experiment with new tactics and players. That being said I could happily accept a loss if I was seeing consistent form in the games and a generally good performance; most Leeds fans would agree this has not been the case. When I was casually asked about my appraisal of United’s tactics across the pre-season games I was able to confidently reply with “not good.”

 

From what I’ve seen the team and tactics don’t really seem to have changed much from last season, except at least then a much more experienced manager was at the helm to make changes during the match and analyse the situation on the field. Hockaday stated (rather prematurely I would say) that the team who would start against Chesterfield this past Saturday would be the team to start against Milwall in the first match of the season. Hockaday’s starting XI consisted of only one of the new signings made by Cellino in this transfer window; so has The President just simply been wasting his money, Hock? Now all of Cellino’s new faces (short of Taylor) made an appearance after half time, but is that what we’ve bought, a bunch of bench warmers?

 

Now perhaps this is the case, perhaps we are still waiting for the missing piece and the new players are good but only in a pinch. However, the back pass wonder Steve Morison should not be starting on the wing over a better prospect such as Doukara; nor should Warnock, who has been told he is free to leave, be starting over new signing Berardi. Not to mention Rudy Austin returning to the role of captain cannot be good for either team or player, I thought we had learned this lesson already. I do appreciate the inclusion of Cook and Dawson to the squad, as well as Hock’s philosophy that “if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.” Unfortunately Hock’s tactics do not seem up to scratch and really it seems unsurprising; McDermott was accused of being out of his depth and he was far more accomplished than Hockaday.

 

Despite having said all this I will admit that we are left with another possible conclusion and it is simply that Cellino still has not quite managed to fill the necessary gaps in the squad. Looking at Wootton flailing around on defense and Morison constantly looking like he belongs in a pub team instead or even a Conference team does make me feel sorry that the Hock doesn’t have as much to work with as he should. Obviously Byram has been a stand out, as have Murphy, Cook and Smith, but aside from some decent work from Bianchi and Austin the entire squad have looked poor.

 

This brings us back to our original point; is the Hock working with a poor squad or is he out of his depth, issuing poor instructions to decent players. Time may well give us the answer, but hopefully this answer comes before it gets too much later. Obviously Cellino is free to replace his coach whenever he sees fit, however it would be unfortunate if the damage had already been done.

You’ve Only Come to Watch The Leeds – Football Played the LS11 Way

Just imagine. A positive team of positive players. A team of players whose default action is to play a positive pass instead of quaking on the spot and hoofing it. A team that breathlessly wins 4-3 instead of scraping home 1 nil with a dodgy penalty. The return of the ‘glory days’ would be marvellous, but a rekindling of the Leeds United spirit is my greatest wish. I want to see football played the LS11 way.

Watching Leeds comes with a certain set of expectations Continue reading

Improving Atmosphere v Managing Expectation

There definitely is an improving atmosphere in the air at LUFC this season. The arrival of Massimo Cellino, the improving financial situation at the club, the proposed repurchase of Elland Road and the influx of new talent, be it untested in Championship football and even with no sign of a serious striker on the horizon yet is still a good beginning!

The start has been promising but there is a blimp on the Cellino’s radar, the baffling choice of head coach and assistant could prove costly. The jump from Forest Green Rovers to Elland Road is a bridge too far and many suspect will see LUFC start the season with one arm metaphorically tied behind the collective back. The friendlies against Chesterfield and Dundee will reveal much and the Millwall fixture!!

The Leeds faithful have experienced a decade of misuse, abuse, financial skulduggery and owners putting profit before club. Having an owner with a proven football track record who loves the game and wants LUFC back in the premiership is almost too good to be true.

As a result Cellino has been given a strong if tentative green light, the expectation for the coming season is incredibly high and the sense of trepidation is so palpable you can touch it! This is the danger point, the Leeds faithful have been here before, do right by them and they will follow to the end of the world, the reverse doesn’t bare thinking about.

Managing this expectation is going to be one of MC’s biggest tasks. Should this expectation be let down for the want of a serious striker, the right head coach or not bringing in enough decent players in general, when we are told there is money in the pot, then the good will, will swiftly turn to anger and bitter disappointment.

How Massimo manages this expectation is down to him, one way would be to use the official website to inform fans of news/transfer speculation on a regular basis even if it is only to quash the rumour control that players we want to keep, are appearing on another clubs radar.

Why have I written this? Mostly to try and reassure myself that all will be well, to stop my heart thumping and chin hitting the deck whenever another news article predicts doom and gloom ahead, another transfer falling through or speculation of another top players being sold! The joys of following the Whites!

Whites set for Chesterfield test

Tactical mastermind Dave Hockaday has said that he will start his team to face Millwall, as it stands, on Saturday against Chesterfield. Is that what we need? Yes. Did he need to tell the media that? Absolutely not. I have been trying throughout all this to remain as positive as possible, I have been satisfied with some of the players we have signed so far and was hoping that we might turn into a half decent side, but whilst we have The Hock in charge does it really matter who we sign? Take Tuesday night’s defeat to Mansfield for example, I mean absolutely no dis respect to Mansfield when I say this, but this a game we should have won. Does it matter? Not particularly, I can’t say I ever read too much into pre season results but when we play so poorly and then our manager turns around and says we dominated the game is a total head scratcher. Whilst I personally believe that we should support the team and all that, I also believe that when I spend thousands of pounds a year following the team around the country, I have a right to voice these concerns and be as negative or, in my opinion in this case, extremely realistic that we could find ourself a difficult time over the next few months. As far as Millwall go, they don’t need much homework, if we don’t get any stronger players in then the team from Saturday will go to The Den and start for us, all they have to do is send a scout, see how we shape up and then it’s job done for their preparation, school boy error from, Dave. Continue reading