A run that saw Leeds win just once in eight league games was ended last night as two second half goals from Luciano Becchio sank struggling Oldham Athletic. Leeds fans will now be hoping that the win will change the fortunes of a side that have struggled on all fronts since knocking Manchester United out of the FA Cup at the start of the year.

With a return to a more recognisable formation, Leeds looked more comfortable on the ball. Aidy White was brought in on the left-side of midfield and brought with him some pace and new ideas that Leeds have sorely needed of late. Upfront, Luciano Becchio was reinstated alongside Jermaine Beckford and the pairing proved much more of a threat together than they did playing alone. Despite a much better looking team and several first half opportunites, Leeds failed to capitalise and the scores were level at the break.

You could still sense the nerves around Elland Road despite Leeds United’s domination as the second half got underway. The weekends visit of Brighton had seen Leeds control the game almost totally, only to be punished by a controversial penalty late on after failing to make any of their chances pay. This time however, Leeds got the lead they so desperately needed and completely deserved when Oldham’s keeper failed to keep hold of Jermaine Beckford’s shot and Luciano Becchio was on hand to make him pay.

It didn’t take long for Leeds to double their advantage and put the game beyond the reach of Oldham. Just ten minutes after the first goal a good cross from Robert Snodgrass was met by the head of Luciano Becchio who grabbed his second of the night and gave Leeds United a much needed win. Also couldn’t help thinking that he was trying to prove me wrong by scoring with his head after I criticised the arial threat him and Jermaine Beckford collectively create.

Oldham knew they were beat and there was little effort made to try and get back in the game. Leeds had a couple more chances but saw out the game comfortably for a result that was never in doubt after the opening goal.

Corner turned?

I wouldn’t get too carried away just yet. Although Leeds United were much better than in recent weeks, Oldham represent the worst team I’ve seen us play all season. I think they’ve been resigned to relegation since the opening day of the season and are probably doing a little bit better than they ever imagined.

When we visited their three sided, sub-zero home earlier this season we walked them off the pitch with our reserve side and in all honesty, they haven’t improved since. I don’t want to undermine a much needed victory and a definite confidence boost for the players, but the big test will come this weekend in the local derby at the Galpharm.

Ups and downs…

Hard to really list any downs as the game was totally one-sided and Oldham probably made us look good. On the plus side however, it was nice to Aidy White get an hour on the pitch and he proved a useful addition on the left of midfield leaving the field in the second half to a standing ovation from the Leeds faithful.

The formation was massively improved too and it was nice to see Simon Grayson ditch his wild Christmas tree like formations and return to the 4-4-2 that’s done well for us so far this season (Mike Bassett anyone?). It was no surprise to see the two forwards look much more of a threat when played together than they did alone and it paid off as Luci did well to net a brace.

  • Sammy Becchio

    Very happy with the 2-0 win, after the first half, i honestly thought it was going to be one of those nights, numerous chances, no goals, but Luciano did what he does best and tucked away two poachers goals (we don’t need Dickov by the way)
    Please with the starting line up, Hughesy still worries me, he is steady, but is not the most natural with the ball.
    Will be interesting to see if Mcsheffrey gets recalled for Huddesfield game though, dont you think?Does anyone think he deserves a start just because he is from a prem side? Good Bench though last night, Johnson, Gradel, Mcsheff, Grella and Killa etc, looks like a strong bench.
    I’m hoping this is the corner turned, and our mid-season blip is over.
    Feb up of reading nagative things about Larry and the team recently, although the critisism may seem fair, we all need to get behind everyone (except Bates)at the club and get us out of this division. MOT

    • Duncan

      What does MOT mean, please?

      • TSS

        Marching On Together

        • Duncan

          D’oh!
          Obvious really….

  • West Stand Rebel

    I think you have as usual summed up last night’s match very well although Saturday will definitely be a better test of our current form. Tranmere Rovers for me still remain the worst side we have played.
    I know I like to rant on about my favourite topic i.e. my almost pathological distrust and disgust of our glorious fund manager. Indeed my son who will read this will go “Oh not again”
    However I was considering some stats the other day and I would be interested in others comments. This season our cup runs have been watched in total by 280371 fans. Lets say each fan has paid on average £20 a ticket that is a total revenue of £5.6m On top of that most of these matches have been televised bringing in say another £1m. Our share of these matches may be a third although I am not sure how revenues are split for cup games. Conservatively though we should have netted at least £2m.
    Now consider Walsall whose average gate is 3500 had virtually no cup run and whose total gates for the whole season will come in at about 63000. Yes the same Walsall who played us off the park last week.
    Uncle Ken has always told us his budgets do not include cup runs due to there uncertainty which is fair enough
    However the bulk of the cup money will have come in before the January window so how come we only bought one player for an undisclosed amount.
    Are millions being salted away offshore ? We need to know.

    • TheReaper08

      Check the posted annual accounts for the company would be my suggestion.

      I have a question, if the manager didn’t ask to buy any players in January should the chairman just buy them anyway to appease fans who think he is a crook ?

      • West Stand Rebel

        Interesting but no accounts have been submitted to Companies House since year ended June 2008.

        • TheReaper08

          Then you will also have seen that the next full set of accounts are due on the 31/03. They could of course post them late but this won’t help the credit position of the company. My guess is they will be vaialble to view sooner rather than later.

    • tim the white

      If I am being charitable we could say it would be difficult to bring in quality players to a league 1 club. If we get promoted then we will really see the colour of money.
      It was £30 to see the Oldham match in the West Stand last night after a run of mediocre home games – that is obsene and also no concessions. I was speaking to a supporter who knows some of the ticket office staff. Evidently they have approached Bates about the pricing policy to be told ‘you do it my way or go up the highway’.
      The shareholders are in this for personal profit and they will take it all. Bates is quoted as saying he has just had ER valued at £49 million. That is a load of rubbish – the only value is in the land; who would want to pay for the freehold of a semi clapped out one use football ground?? I suspect this is part of a process to fatten up the cow. Who would follow on from Bates – his wife??

    • TSS

      Coin flip between Tranmere and Oldham, but Oldham came to Elland Road looking like they were resigned to defeat before we kicked off.

  • Craig

    This is a really tough one to comment on because we know so little. I also declare my own opinion that I’m glad we didn’t do more spending during the transfer window since I’m convinced we have what it takes to go up and would rather spend once we are promoted in the summer. OK, that is a risk but an influx of new players in the middle of a season often upsets teams and demoralises the players who get left out.

    There is also a lack of logic to your argument – you imply that Walsall playing us off the park wasn’t down to money – so how is us spending even more going to help? We were beaten because Walsall are on a run with their tails up, their tactics came off, the linesman was prepared to stick by a dodgy decision and we were tired.

    Where the money is going is a very good question. OK, I’m disappointed that a man who made so much from Chelsea isn’t willing to plough any of his own money back into football. My hope is that it is Ken’s backers who are insisting on anonymity and his hands are tied. My fear is that the profits are leaching out of the club. You have to say though that, on Ken’s past performance, he made his money at Chelsea by taking on a club in chaos, built shops and a team and then sold it to a Russian with more money than sense. He (apparently) didn’t take wages out of Chelsea and, with his personal fortune still intact, I’m sure he isn’t doing so with us.

    My belief is that Ken has taken on the task at Leeds because a) he has done it before b) he is a businessman up for a challenge and c) he knows the Football League despise him and wants to stay around for as long as he can.

    • TheReaper08

      I totally agree. I would like to clarify that I am no Bates lover but neither am I a Bates hater. I find myself playing the role of neutrality in this particular war, trying to see the frustrations of both sides and presenting a level argument based in fact.

      It is clear though that Bates is in this for two reasons and they are linked. The return to the Prem is the only way he will obtain the kind of return he is looking for. Those that think he is tucked away in Monaco sucking away the occassional million are misguided at best.

      Leeds are a huge club with poor infrastructure based in a one club city. It’s like a golden meal ticket but one that will only be fully realised upon return to the Prem and a high value sale probably to some foreigner with too much money.

      The other reason is a burning desire to stick it to Chelsea and preferably at Stamford bridge.

    • Duncan

      Just out of interest if Ken ‘No Spring Chicken at 79′ was to fall off the perch, who would take his place? Is there any sort of succession plan in place?

      • timm

        Im 99% certain his wife takes over?

  • Matt

    If he truly sticks by his philosophy then he will play the same team against them.

  • Matt bb

    Cash is king in all business now, that’s why bates wanted a favourable loan to buy thorp arch as opposed to putting his short arms into his capacious pockets. As a credit manager i would probably think twice before lending money to leeds, banks and investors would do the same, the best way of improving our position long term with no significant credit available is to post a strong set of accounts, we will probably do that now, and as boring as it seems it means that we are no longer the whipping boys of the football finance world. Making 3m from a cup run is most likely going on loan fees, players wages new contracts and rent. Boring isnt it… But you dont set out as a business by emptying your bank account and hoping more revenue is on the way.. On the other hand as someone in business i do wonder exactly where all the money went prior to us going into administration.

    • TheReaper08

      Oh Matt bb,how long I have waited for someone like you to come along and explain that. I work for a well known German car manufacturer and all I hear every day is ‘Cash is King’ and as a business you must ‘Protect your credit rating’.

      Well done fella, good work.

      • Colin

        Reaper,
        Are you working for VW???

        I work for a car manufacturer also, but it’s American. I’ll give you a clue, it begins with F.

        • TheReaper08

          I’ll give you a clue on mine, it starts with a B, ends with a W and has an M in it.

          • Colin

            Oooo, look at you fancy pants in your Beemer!

            Very Nice! Got any jobs going? : )

        • Duncan

          Fiat!

          • timm

            I think all american car manufacturers begin with F these days. Fu**ed!!

  • Colin

    Here’s my thoughts on the Leeds finances. Forget Ken for now, because he’s admitted in court that he owns none of Leeds United. It’s 100% owned by FSF (Forward Sports Fund).

    FSF are actually in a good position because they don’t own the assets that are expensive, ie. Elland Road & Thorp Arch. So the only thing they have to pay for is staff and rent on ER & TA. If they take in more money than the current wage bill, then they make a profit. So I expect Leeds to report about a £10m profit at the next accounts.

    No-one would ever buy Leeds from FSF unless they owned EL & TA. I reckon the cost to but them both back is £20m.

    I think the plan is to spend some money to make Leeds an established CCC team, and the big one is the World Cup 2018. If England get it, then I expect FSF to work hard to buy back Elland Road and spend on making it the needed 50,000 seater that Fifa requires. That way, they will get a huge cash injection from the World Cup, because they own ER.

    So let’s say England get the 2018 World Cup, then I think it will cost £17m to buy it back and £5m to build it up to Fifa standards. So that’s £22m and I reckon FSF have £15m in the bank.

    If Leeds get promotion then I expect £5m cash injection into the team, leaving £10m in the bank, meaning FSF have to get another £12m in the next 2 or 3 years, which I think they will get. And if Leeds is a chosen city for 2018 then I’d expect a new deal with Leeds City Council for Thorp Arch.

    I think FSF are doing things the right way. And if Leeds get into the Prem in the next 5-10 years then they will have both Leeds, ER & TA and it’ll be worth £100m.

    I’m pretty sure that Shaun Harvey will eventually take over from Ken Bates, and with that, then FSF have no need to sell Leeds as it will financially make a profit every year.

    Incidentally I put the cup run as earning Leeds somewhere in the region of £2.5m.

    • TheReaper08

      I like your thinking Colin. I also think that a healthy balance sheet needs to be maintained in order to make the club look attractive to invest in or even buy.

      • Colin

        I agree, though I don’t see FSF selling anytime soon. Which is fine as they are ‘fit and proper’ after all!

        • Colin

          And it all depends on Leeds getting promoted this season. Come on Leeds, give Huddersfield a good stuffing!

          I notice it’s at 12.30. Is it on Sky Sports??

          • TheReaper08

            Don’t think it’s on sky, at least I can’t see anything. Where are you based Colin and what do you do for Ford ?

          • Colin

            Reaper, I’ve checked on Sky and they’re showing some crummy Premier League game!
            I’m based in Essex and I work in IT.

          • TheReaper08

            I am in Finance and Leasing in Hampshire, IT eh ? You guys earn the big bucks ;o)

  • Colin

    Also, the deal with Netflights.com increases substantially next season should Leeds get promotion. So that’s a massive cash injection. Netflights were taken over by Thomas Cook and with a new home kit next season (i think) then I’d expect Thomas Cook to be our sponsors next season.

    So a pretty lucrative sponsorship deal next season. Hopefully!

  • Matt bb

    The issue for me with bates is that he doesnt credit fans with the intelligence to explain to them why he doesnt spend more than £100k on a player, that’s insulting to us all.

    • timm

      I agree. My other issue is regarding next years season tickets. We’ve usually had our renewal forms by now & the fact that we haven’t got them yet just tells me that with our form up to new year, he was convinced we were going up so he’s not giving us the opportunity to renew at last years price. You only have to look at the attendance on tuesday to see how some of our fans react to his ‘strange’ pricing policy. I really think he should get the forms out now & give us the option to renew before a certain date, maybe April 5th at last years price. March is a crucial month for us & we’ll know a lot more about which league we’re going to be playing in next season in 4 or 5 weeks time. The decision to hold off could prove very costly for him if we don’t go up & he should realise that sometimes in business, less is more. Add to this the fact that from a PR point of view he can play the ‘rewading our great fans for their loyalty’ card!

    • TheReaper08

      Don’t you first need to know that the manager asked for more than that to be spent ?