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. More »
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; More »
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 More »
The cruel answer is, even with Tom Lees gone, they’ve got plenty to choose from. Unfortunately there is a solid foundation in that answer; the Boo Boys will always find someone, one special scapegoat, to blame for everything.
It’s not a new thing. I’m old enough to remember going down to Elland Road and hearing Terry Yorath getting the flak. Admittedly Yorath was never the most talented of midfielders, and he had a lot to live up to, standing in the shadow of Bremner and Giles. But Don Revie saw enough in the Welshman to keep him in reserve for years when he could have undoubtedly gone out and bought another perhaps more gifted understudy. Fact is – check it – come 1973-74, Yorath played more than a bit-part in one of our most glorious campaigns, when we picked up the Title for a second time. The season after, he was instrumental in surviving the brutal path that led to the European Cup Final. But did that spare him the Boo-Boy treatment? Of course not – as post-Revie fortunes dipped, Yorath became a target for the disenchanted of Elland Road, and the player was forced to seek pastures new.
Luckily for them, they had another scapegoat ready and waiting in Ray Hankin, the beefy striker who was fine and dandy when he was scoring 20 goals plus in a season playing off the human battering-ram, Joe Jordan (1977-78) but not so popular when he had to take on Jordan’s role and provide the brawn for John Hawley to provide the 20-odd goals. I remember someone telling me ‘he’s not fit to wear the shirt’. And that phrase seems to be have been rolled out ever since as an excuse for boo-ing our own players.
As we entered the desperate 1980′s, there was seemingly a scapegoat every season from Peter Barnes in a wretched relegation season (just because he coast a shed-load of cash, it didn’t mean he could keep us up single-handed) through to Mervyn Day in our promotion season. Mervyn, it seemed, wasn’t good enough to wear the shirt even though he helped us up as Champions in 1990!
There have been countless examples of Boo-Boy targets post-Wilko – obviously. Too many to mention here to be honest. Michael Bridges springs to mind. When all was going shit-shaped about 2002/03, Bridges made his stuttering return from a career-threatening injury (at the second attempt at least) and found himself the target of barracking from his own fans. Two years or so before, he’d been the toast of Billy’s Bar having been top scorer in the season that secured a place in the Champions League. Bridges got injured in that European campaign and sadly, wasn’t the same player again. But he was one of our own, trying to help the cause, the cause being that of survival in the Premiership. And still he was barracked by his own supporters, even becoming a figure of hate for some when he inevitably left the club.
Here’s the thing – some of us, and I’d say most of us, don’t think you should barrack your own players to the extent that they want to leave. Course they need to know if they’re not doing it (yes you’ve paid your money, you pay their wages, you have the right) but not to the point of making the thought of even coming onto the pitch at Elland Road a mountain they’d prefer not to climb. Even the most intellectually challenged of fan can surely see that the targeting of a player does nothing for the team as a whole. No? Hardly a moral booster for the player playing alongside a dispirited Morison or Hunt when we need all hands on deck.
Oh, and one last thing. There was a player in the latter part of the Wilkinson reign who himself became a target for the so-called Boo-Boys, having been one of their darlings for many seasons, a member of the victorious title-winning side, no less. He went through a decidedly indifferent period with a dip in form that marked him out as an easy target for the ‘seriously disenchated’ faction of United’s supporters. That said, the whole of the team went through an indifferent patch in the second half of the 1995/96 season; yet this particular player was seemingly singled out. He left the club at the end of that season. Stand up and come forward those of you brave enough to admit boo-ing Gary Speed in that forgettable season. Hmmm, thought not.
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?
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.
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
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!
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.
The joys of Social Media and t’internet. Whether it be Phil Hay’s transfer updates or the latest Youth Team goals, your average Joe now has a vast array of Leeds-flavoured info at his fingertips- but is this a good thing? The dire defeat to Mansfield prompted the latest onslaught of keyboard-criticism, and poor old Dom Matteo is licking his wounds after being hung out to dry by the Daily Terror. I pose the question- Is the accessible and widespread nature of social media harming our club?
Social Media is absolutely everywhere. If you scour the endless Leeds-related Twitter pages you’ll be sure to learn of a new turn in the transfer market, discover an insightful article, or find out how the Under 7′s got on in the Thomas The Tank Engine trophy. Gone have the days when your only chance for a spot of debate and banter was down the pub on Matchday- this is Leeds United in a digital age.
So the main thing people have been saying about our team is ‘We need a midfield general’ or ‘We need a skilful midfielder’ etc. I agree with both these statements as I think that for the last few season we really have been lacking that ‘Oomph’ in midfield. We hoped Luke Murphy would fulfil one of these roles after his high cost transfer but in my opinion he has failed to impress (yet).
I’m going to list 3 players that play in England at the moment who I think would benefit the team in one or both of the aforementioned traits.
It’s going to be a summer of change once again for Leeds United. I still think we need four to six players to even think about competing for a top half finish.
We could go into a season without any natural wingers for the second consecutive year. January last year looked promising when we signed Cameron Stewart and Jimmy Kebe. Both failed miserably – Kebe is back at Crystal Palace and Stewart has joined Championship side Ipswich Town.
We also need a “replacement” for Ross McCormack after his £11 million move to Fulham.
Here are 10 players we feel who would dramatically improve the side, bringing either goals or width – both of which we need.
What’s the over-riding feeling this Leeds fan is getting from the Cellino regime? I think there were several hints last season, as soon as il Capitano entered the building. The guy doesn’t suffer fools, doesn’t like to fanny about, and has a built-in bullshit detector. In a nutshell, he’s not a man for nonsense. And that’s an ethos that seems to be shaping our club, and hopefully our new team.