Whilst Leeds’ 2-1 win at Turf Moor on Saturday was tainted by the one man rebellious strike of Andy O’Brien, The Whites faithful can take some encouragement from the show-stopping performance of Alex McCarthy.

It seems to be a running theme at Leeds United, that as one player falls from grace, another steps up to fill the void. Hoisted onto a pedestal by the mere mortals they were sent to please, the selected few have only a limited amount of time to enjoy the praise and encouragement before the same fans that elevated their status take out their hammers of reckoning, smashing away at their pedestal until they come crashing back down to earth.

It’s once they’ve landed back on earth that the true test of a Leeds United player takes place. A reactionary fanbase at the best of times, the Whites faithful and the stoic, hard-working Yorkshire spirit they’re built upon can quickly turn on a player they feel isn’t pulling their weight.

When Jonny Howson was criticised for his alleged anonymity, the Leeds United skipper appealed to fans for understanding, admitting that the deeper-lying role he’d be playing was limiting his attacking chances. His insistence that the role was ‘for the good of the team’ however was something Leeds United fans quickly came to appreciate and a more tolerant, understanding fanbase emerged.

Perhaps one of the most extreme examples of how quickly a player can fall from grace is Robert Snodgrass. Back in March, a poll on this site rated Robert Snodgrass as the best Leeds United signing since relegation, but a slow start to the season left Snoddy promising improvement when angry fans accused the Scottish winger of looking disinterested.

Accepting blame, promising improvement and responding to fans concerns are key to successfully rebuilding pedestals at Elland Road. We’re pragmatic enough (most of the time) to understand how unrealistic our expectations can often be, but our anger is seldom derived from league position.

As hard to comprehend as it may be for some players, stuttering along with half-hearted displays, steadily accruing enough points to keep us in a respectable league position isn’t always enough. It’s the heart-on-their-sleeve crusaders that really excel at Leeds United, the players who literally bleed for the cause, who chase down every ball and suffer as badly in defeat as the rest of us do.

It’s why we’d take another Billy Bremner over a George Best, Luciano Becchio over Jermaine Beckford, or Andy Hughes over Ashley Cole.

It’s not that Ashley Cole, Jermaine Beckford and George Best wouldn’t be valued additions to the club, but losing with the other three is so much easier to handle because there will never be a point where their effort and commitment is brought into question. They’re players we can relate to, who want exactly the same thing as we do and will put their body on the line to achieve it.

Andy O’Brien once had his own pedestal at Elland Road. It was built upon his German tank like reliability, that came crashing down following his return from injury. Whether his crumbled pedestal played any part in this weekends antics is open for debate, but the team suffered as a result of his refusal to play, and that’s simply unforgivable to Leeds United fans.

If the fans wrote an induction booklet for new arrivals at Elland Road, three simple words would be scrawled across the front cover – Side Before Self. It’s the one thing we expect above all else, and such an important Leeds United philosophy that it really should be written on the shirts.

Alex McCarthy’s body-on-the-line display against Burnley means the youngsters stock is quickly rising at Elland Road. Expressing his desire to stay on beyond his initial month long loan will do him no harm either, but McCarthy has only seen the best side of Leeds United’s fanbase thus far, and like Tom Lees, Adam Clayton and other new incumbents to the Elland Road hype, it’s how they deal with the crushing blows of merciless fan criticism that will really test their mettle.

Following the examples set by Jonny Howson and Robert Snodgrass I’d suggest, is a good place to start.

  • Gryff

    “one man rebellious strike”
    I like it!

    Andy O’Brien hinted to YEP that he was worried about making a mistake, that he felt had he made a mistake at Leicester he might have got the boot. At the risk of adding to the metaphors of the article: I guess when you feel you’re on a knife’s edge every day you’re going to look to get off that blade one way or another.

    I must admit, a day or two before he refused to play I had fallen into the trap of including him with Bruce, Bromby etc. as defenders who hadn’t exactly been brilliant this season. Never thought about how many chances he’d been given compared the Paddy and O’Dea, but he’s not really had a chance to prove himself either way this season. We’re definitely fickle as a fan base, but I like it that way: supporting Leeds is like watching some terrible soap opera…

  • Chareose

    A good post, i agree.

    However I would say as Leeds fans our expectations do seem to be sky high sometimes and when a team put together on peanuts fails we are ultra negative and sometimes even vindictive, look at Painter as an example..Johnson another… Even Beckford suffered from fan critisiscm and evidently couldnt deal with it the season we got promoted.

    I agree that the old school players would just get up and get on with it after being victimized but at the same time, since relegation I sometimes think we have lost touch with reality and try to compare lower division players to the likes of Batty or Strachen even if its subconsciously….

    We are definately guilty of over reacting and being hyper critical

  • Dje

    I seriously can’t see McCarthy staying beyond an extended loan. His wages would be far higher than Rachubka’s, and he’s as much chance of displacing Federrici (or however it’s spelt) at Reading as Lonergen at Leeds when he comes back.

    I noticed the LUFC site was talking up Rachubka’s performance in the reserves against Blackpool today, shoe-horning him for a quietly-quietly as she goes return to warm the bench once Lonergen is fully fit and functioning for us. That or Maik Taylor on a short-term contract.

    • TSS

      Two quality keepers does sound a little un-Leeds like, doesn’t it?

      I suspect we’re paying 100% of his wages too, as Reading held all the cards and would have simply refused otherwise. We might get another month, but anything long-term is unlikely.

      • Gryff

        Though TBH I felt Higgs was a good L1 backup for Ankergren (who was a different matter!)

  • Colin

    I’d like to add Grayson onto the list of merciless criticisers as well. I’d argue that Grayson causes most of the fear and pressure on his defenders. One bad game can mean being dropped from the team into oblivion. Unless you’re O’Dea, in which case, you can make as many errors as you like.

    After the first bad team performance against Soton, Connolly wasn’t even dropped to the bench. He was out of the team.

    Grayson continually berated his defence and that can’t help confidence.

    As for McCarthy, he does look good, but I think a lot of that is because we’re used to Grayson bringing in some flops. Any keeper would look good compared to Rachubka. Which begs the question, why couldn’t Grayson get a McCarthy first time round rather than a Rachubka? Reading can, so why can’t Grayson.

    • TSS

      Reading brought him through the ranks mate, something Leeds have always done well too.

      Luck of the draw as to which players work out and in what positions. Cairns may be just as good, but he’s a little young to be playing regular first team football I think.

      We’ve been through Grayson’s signings many a time (extensively so on the forums I recall) and it’s nowhere near as bad as our fans make out. Every team signs the odd dud player, and it’s more difficult at Leeds because of the added pressure they’re under. Rachubka is a perfect example of that, he performed well pre-season, and was a solid enough back-up keeper, but he melted under pressure.

      Maybe we should implement psych evaluations before signing players?

      • Colin

        TSS – Personally, I’d say that Grayson’s signings have recently been shockingly bad. Lonergan apart, no-one recently has replaced an existing player – the only one’s he’s brought in have been warm bodies to fill the squad and burn wages. Paynter, Michael Brown, Varynen, Forsell, Rachubka – that’s £1.5m (at least) a year of wages we’re just pissing away. There’s no chance of them ever starting in a Leeds shirt any time soon unless we have some sort of injury crisis.

        If a Championship manager has over £1.5m to spend on wages on players that won’t play, then he’s got enough cash to spend on the team.

        • Dje

          I tend to agree with you Colin regarding this latest batch of signings. Maybe the more spectacular flops steal the light: Paynter, Bessone, Rachubka (although he was never meant as anything more than a spare part) and take the shine of the better successes – McCormack and Lonergan.

          I do think we have an odd relationship with our signings at the moment, but this is mostly to do with fans and Grayson not seeing eye-to-eye.

          Being over-demanding Leeds fans, we like to cry out for the big signings (if only in name, clearly not in fee!) and get uppity when we sign squad players instead (ie. the last couple of seasons).

          Whereas Grayson, a lover of his first XI and a devil-take-the-rest attitude to the wider squad, prefers to apparently sit on his new signings for up to a year before really using them (loanees aside, who are invariably given too much immediate first team football with very mixed results).

          It took us nearly a full season to use McCormack. We have never really fully used Sam (albeit injured for a while), Somma, Forssell, and Nunez.

          Nunez is utterly mystifying really. We play him, he scores, we drop him as we have changed our playing formation – which is faire enough – but then instantly offer him a three year contract, he signs, and we can’t fit him into our first team squad?! Mind blowing.

      • Irving08

        The issue is not Grayson’s signings, but the mediocre use he makes of his playing resources.

  • LeedsForLife

    Maybe there are some fans who should think about Side Before Self instead of shooting their gobs off and undermining morale again and again and again.

  • saltburnwhite

    richard naylor (good servant and what we needed in league 1 8/10) FAIR SIGNING (FREE)
    patrick kisnorbo (again good servant in league 1, fading now though 8/10) FAIR SIGNING (FREE)
    max gradel (cost approx 220k , sold for approx 2mil , cult hero 10/10) EXCELLENT SIGNING (200K)
    shane higgs (Steady away keeper , compare him to chubbs and he looks like a good signing) FAIR SIGNING(FREE)
    jason crowe (Again unfair critisism from fans steady away for league 1, moved on at right time) FAIR SIGNING (FREE)
    leigh bromby (Has been a good servant not great not bad good back up) FAIR SIGNING (200K)
    neil collins (Absoloute donkey , tony adams younger less talented brother) TERRIBLE SIGNING (FREE)
    kasper scmeichel (POTENTIAL,POTENTIAL BUT NOT WHAT WE NEEDED AT TIME, HOWEVER 1 MILLION POFIT)EXCELLENT SIGNING (FREE)
    billy paynter (nice bloke , should be working in a chippy though!) TERRIBLE SIGNING (FREE)
    paul connolly (Completely underrated,gives his all but still gets fan critisism,for me a solid signing) FAIR SIGNING(FREE)
    fede bessone (Awful , awful , awful ) TERRIBLE SIGNING (FREE)
    lloyd sam (Still to prove his worth but solid sqaud player) FAIR SIGNING (FREE)
    alex bruce (Could do better! not a CB , could have been an ace DM,We’ll see) FAIR SIGNING (150K)
    adam clayton (Graysons best signing and cam in under radar, maybe graysons got a good eye after all) EXCELLENT SIGNING(150K)
    davide somma (Cult hero , still to prove on a regular basis though) FAIR SIGNING (FREE)
    ross mccormack (Excellent player , great signing full stop) EXCELLENT SIGNING (350K)
    ramon nunez (Potential but too lightweight , needs games to prove worth) FAIR SIGNING (FREE)
    amdy faye (Past it , never played ) TERRIBLE SIGNING (FREE)
    paul rachubka ( Poor old paul ) TERRIBLE SIGNING (FREE)
    michael brown (Never plays UNPROVEN , so dont know , class clown so good for morale) FAIR SIGNING (FREE)
    andy lonergran ( This bloke plus 800k profit on kasper, need i say more??) EXCELLENT SIGNING (200K)
    mikael forssell (Again unproven for leeds , needs games but could be good) FAIR SIGNING (FREE)
    mika vayrynen (50 international caps , unproven for leeds , needs games as above) FAIR SIGHNING (FREE)
    danny pugh (Immediate impact , looks much better second time around) FAIR SIGNING (N/A)

    SUMMARY
    24 PERMANENT SIGNINGS
    5 TERRIBLE SIGNINGS (20.8%)
    14 FAIR SIGNINGS (58.3%)
    5 EXCELLENT SIGNINGS (20.8%)

    SIMON GRAYSON MANAGERIAL STATS FOR LEEDS UNITED
    NET SPEND (1.25MILLION)
    TRANSFER RECIEVED FROM OWN SIGNINGS (3 MILLION)
    PROFIT (1.75 MILLION)
    Leeds United-December 2008-Present- PLAYED 157 WON 80 DRAWN 38 LOST 39 WIN PERCENTAGE (50.96%)

    I HAVE COMPILED THIS LIST MYSELF WITH THE HELP OF WIKEPEDIA & MATHS!!

    SO BASICALLY FELLOW LEEDS FANS …THE MORALE OF THE STORY IS WE HAVE A GOOD MANGER, NO AN EXCELLENT MANAGER GIVEN BUDGET AND HIS AGE , HES STILL LEARNING!
    BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR …
    YOU DONT SERIOUSLY WANT MARK HUGHES DO YOU!!!!!!!!!(WORST MANAGER EVER!)

    • Colin

      Naylor 8/10? How many games did he play in his final season? Where is he now? Is he playing well? How many times did his mistakes result in a loss for Leeds? How many times was he dropped by Grayson because he was a liability in the previous game?

      A Captain isn’t a Captain if he doesn’t play. 8/10 is a ridiculously high rating. He was absolutely awful in his last season.

      Too right Grayson is still learning. That Burnley side were poor and we should never have won that game. Snodgrass stole us the 3 points.

      Michael Brown – Fair signing? No, he’s shit and he’s past it. He’s an absolute stinker of a signing that pretty much shows Grayson’s judgement at its worst. It can be good, very good sometimes, but when it’s bad, it’s terrible.

      Oh, and BTW, how many of these wonderful signings are regulars for Leeds? 5 (Pugh, Lonergan, Connolly, McCormack, Clayton). 24 PERMANENT SIGNINGS. 5 OF THEM MAKE THE FIRST TEAM.

      Grayson’s been here 2 and a half years and he’s bought 24 permanent players and 5 of them are in the current team (officially 4, he hasn’t bought Pugh yet). Yeah, well done Simon. Well done.

      • TSS

        8/10 for Naylor – I’d have probably said higher than that in all honesty.

        The defensive problems of last season had less to do with individuals than it did the system we insisted upon playing – an all-out-attacking masterplan that left our two central defenders to deal with pacey strikers and wingers several times a game. It was basically a 3-0-8 formation, Lucas Radebe and Jonathan Woodgate would have been leaking goals in that system.

        This season we’ve added a lot of balance to the team and played to our strengths. Brum was the perfect example for me, there was no way we could attack like we usually do and expect to get anything from that game, so we played a deep line and it suited our less-than-speedy backline. Had we done the same with Naylor in the team, you’d have got the same result, but we didn’t, we expected him to be a 100m sprinter.

        The year we got promoted Naylor was solid. We mostly played to our defensive strengths, knowing that we could hold players back, hoof the ball forward and let Beckford, Snoddy, Luci and Gradel do the rest. First year back in the Championship we just went mental on attack and ignored the defence – almost worked too, though it did leave a lot of capable defenders looking like idiots.

        Also worth noting that Naylor (like OB) had injury problems, and I personally feel was brought back when not entirely 100%.

        A lot of blame falls on SG for last season, but you can’t really argue with what we achieved considering our expectations beforehand, and he’s definitely sorted out that problem this season. If you remove the Rachubka-induced blip the defence has been pretty solid(ish).

        • Gryff

          I’d add that, while Naylor did make many mistakes, Bessone’s mistakes put him under pressure as well as injury. Looking back at a highlights compilation when Naylor left, most of his mistakes were to balls coming from Bessone’s area.

    • Bubionwhite

      Not a bad summary … one question, Ramon Nunez too lightweight? Have you watched Iniesta, Xabi and Messi … total lightweights!

  • saltburnwhite

    The point is colin you clearly have made your mind up you dont want grayson ..what happens when we sack him?

    Ill tell you what , we will have a succession of managers and no success!!

    It is not often the law of averages is wrong , but when it comes to modern football management it is ! There are only 2 clubs that will ALWAYS be at the top ,and that is due to having the longest serving managers in the whole of the country , fergie & wenger .

    They had time to make mistakes , and implement structure , develop their sqauds , theyve had bad times and good …but in the end they have both turned their respective clubs into dynastys , leaving a very easy job for whoever takes over when they retire .
    These are the only two clubs that will always sustain success and that is because their respective boards believed in a vision and gave them time to work.
    you name me one club who has had success like they have by changing managers every year??

    do you realise grayson is the same age as roy keane ! hes VERY young and if you want a successful club you need to have faith

    ..if it doesnt work it doesnt work but at least if we stick with him for a few more years we have tried something different to the other 88 football league clubs !

    Just a quick quote for you regarding fergies first 4 years in charge of manure
    c1990.

    With just one top-half finish in four seasons and Liverpool still dominant fans were growing restless, one memorable banner saying: “Three years of excuses and it’s still crap…ta-ra Fergie.”

    I hate man U as much as anyone but you have to admit ……..they were right!!

    • Dje

      “stick with [Grayson] for a few more years” is ridiculously generous in the football world.

      Grayson is an amphetamine manager – one who is always looking for ‘going on a good run’ of victories/unbeaten/clean sheets and working with a limited dozen players in the wider squad. For this he has been a master and is good enough to get us promoted for two-thirds of a season. But then the high wears off and we flounder for a third or so the season.

      Can Grayson learn the tactical and management nous to get us over that final third? I’m not sure; but what I am pretty convinced of is that he is only as good as the morale of the XI or so players he entirely relies on. The first time he starts to lose the confidence of a few key players (and all managers do at some point) and he’ll be a lamb to the slaughter.

      Either he learns new tricks, we get lucky enough this season to carry us up, or when it is time to say goodbye – we all have to agree that it is time to say goodbye.

      Sticking rather than twisting worked for Ferguson and Wenger, but what about Dario Gradi or David Moyes? – both decent managers working miracles on limited resources but neither have reached unsurpassable heights from which you could say no one could have done better. There’s (almost) always another.

      • Colin

        Dje – Spot on. Re. morale and confidence of the players – Matthew made the point that McCarthy was all smiles. If he stays for a while, that’ll change. Did anyone watch the faces of the traditional Leeds players – there were lots of frowns and shouting from Connolly, Clayton, Lees and Nunez that were captured on camera.

        • Dje

          Yep, that was by biggest concern with the Burnley match. I could have taken a defeat, no problem, I could have taken a poor performance and put it down to an ‘off day’, but in the first half we played as if we had something else on our minds, or somewhere else we’d rather be, and reminded me of some of the dark day performances under O’Leary through to Blackwell.

          I’m hoping that the post-match comments about O’Brien are the reason, and the players were just that little bit enough in shock and surprise of a fellow comrade giving up the ghost (possibly out of the blue, possibly not) and that explains the distraction and irritation let loose between players.

          But, I still reckon O’Brien would have been a popular enough figure in squad and there really could be some animosity let loose from this episode. Whatever it was all about, if there is a slice of sympathy for O’Brien amongst a few key players then I think this really could be the beginning of the end for Grayson. Despite all the talk of players not being bigger than the club, a few key players are bigger than Grayson, as witohut them we are quite an ordinary squad without the financial backing to replace them.

      • Irving08

        Completely agree.

    • Colin

      saltburnwhite – it’s not that I actually want Grayson out, it’s just that I don’t think Leeds’ performances would fall off the cliff if Grayson left. Long term, I just can’t see Grayson taking Leeds to the top reaches of the Premier League.

      I think Leeds need a modern manager with a quality support team of coaches and a long term plan of developing the way we play.

      I think Grayson is old school and that probably comes from his managerial education at Blackpool and League One Leeds. I don’t rate his support team. I doubt that Glynn Snodin or Ian Miller can teach new skills to the likes of Snodgrass and Howson. I think Grayson is slightly fearful of adding to his coaching staff in case they turn out to be better than him or better liked by the players.

      I don’t think Grayson has any further tactical ideas than the ones we’ve already seen. I think he has set the team up incorrectly on occasions this season.

      We know and he knows, that he should be using Becchio, and Howson is not a defensive midfielder and should be moved to a more attacking position. But, he doesn’t know how to make the transition from Becchio on the bench and Howson in DM to where they need to be. Ultimately, the only time that will happen under Grayson is when the current team setup runs out of ideas and crashes to a halt.

      Let’s take Burnley as an example. Burnley were poor and Grayson set the side up badly. His tactic was use the flanks, make the pitch wide and attack down the wings. LB and RB were pushed far too high up the pitch to allow them to support Snoddy and Sam. That takes Howson and Clayton out of the game. Clayton didn’t know what he was meant to do and Howson was running around like a lunatic trying to close the ball down and Connolly was exposed. As soon as Burnley started attacking all of our players are sprinting back to help out. rather than passing the ball around and letting the ball do the work, we let Burnley have the ball and we ran after it. That just tires out our players. Keogh and McCormack were just run into the ground and knackered in the second half.

      Burnley put a man on the keeper to annoy him at set pieces. Why didn’t SG know this? Usual situation, Howson has to sort it out. He’s the one who came in between McCarthy and the Burnley ‘annoyer’.

      I’d prefer to see SG use Howson and Clayton to control the tempo and let them dictate the play. No need to rush, no running around at 100 mph. Howson and Clayton are class acts, they know how to keep the ball and pass it around. Let the opposition do the chasing and let our attacking players catch their breath. If Jonny has the ball in midfield and there’s no pass on, fine, pass it to Clayton, pass it to White or Connolly and just keep the ball until an option becomes available. It’s not that hard. What Leeds did is ping the ball upfield, lose it and then it’s headless chickens time and it’s all hands to the pump as Burnley attack and you’ve got Howson and Clayton trying to close down 3 players and Kis and O’Dea preparing themselves for another battle.

      hey ho! rant over. sorry :)

      • Irving08

        I share your reservations about the quality of our management. Asking myself the simple question of whether best use is being made of our playing resources – regardless of how we came about them -I come to a negative conclusion. To my mind we have 8 or 9 players who, if deployed most effectively, are more than good enough to get us out of this division: Lonergan, White, Lees, O’Dea, Clayton, Howson, Snodgrass and Keogh (or Becchio) and, possibly, McCormack. The key offensive players in this list are Howson and Snodgrass – they are each match winners -and the team has to be set out in a way that maximises the return from both. Now for a brief period in the second half against Blackpool, when Snoddy was in the middle and Howson moved up alongside the right of him, when I thought Grayosn may have stumbled across something really exciting formation wise. All it needed, I thought, was for him to deploy McCormack on the left side, with Keogh or Becchio alone up front for our team shape and personnel to fall into place: with Clayton and, say, Pugh playing deep and a very promising centre half pairing in Lees and O’Dea taking shape, White (our third key offensive resource) would be adequately covered during his forward moves….In short, we arrive at last season’s most effective formation with, in my view, overall better players, being used to team’s best advantage. Yet what do we see ?…weak management and uncreative thinking. Most damningly, Kisnorbo is selected, just because Lees, who is plainly the better player, had to miss a game: so our most effective central defensive partnership for two years is put aside: next Snoddy is put back on the wing instead of being freed to use his full creative resources in a more central position; then Howson is told to lay the journeyman again when it is plain to everyone that he needs to play in a more forward position; White has to stay back because of inadequate cover ……and in three or false moves we are back to win one, lose one etc. The fact is that the whole at Leeds is considerably less than the sum of the playing parts and it is the manager and his staff who are to blame for this. The question is: can they put it right ? And it is a question tht canot be postponed because you can be sure that Snodgrass, Howson, White – all intelligent as well as talented lads – aren’t going to hang around for another season or two waiting for someone to come up with the answer.

  • Matthew

    I don’t think we’l keep McCarthy either. If by some chance we get promoted via the playoffs we may get him but anything more. Doubtful.

    Either way his reaction once the game was over said it all, the guy was all smiles and you could sum it up in emoticons as XDDDDDDDDDDDDDD XDDDD

    He is obviously happy here but once Lonergan is fit and ready, someone like Maik Taylor will likely be the No2.

  • steve holmes

    Excellent article; very well put together and constructive.

  • TimLUFC

    Was just thinking something regarding the keeper situation and signing McCarthy permanently, because I like many think he is way better and deserves way more than to sit on the bench as a number 2. Anyway heres my question;
    Could it ever work for a club with two outstanding keepers, to give them alternate games? I know its an odd idea and has never been done to my mind, but some advantages would be;
    -would keep both happy
    -defence would be used to working with both
    -if one got injured other would be instantly ready to fill the gap
    -both players would develop

    Its probably the stupidest idea ever, think I was just fantasising about bein able to accomodate both Lonners and McCarthy!

    • Dje

      Most clubs a reasonable amount of keeper rotation – occasional resting first choices, and giving the bench warmer a run-out in the cups etc.

      The problem with your theory of rotation on an alternative game series is that it doesn’t offer any competition for the number one spot, and they’d lackadaisical and make errors.

      Lonergan and McCarthy wont be both at Leeds on a long-term basis simply on account of excessive and needles outlay of wages. As someone else said, Maik Taylor will probably come in and offer good enough competition for the No.2 spot (and years of experience to pass on to Cairns).

      If we get promoted, McCarthy might well be one worth returning to (although remember, he has only had one proper game with us, so beginner’s luck?!), but one step at a time…

      • Gryff

        Even competition for the stopper spot is a strange one. As a striker, so long as you score every few matches or create a few goals you’re fine. As a midfielder that’s even more the case since there’s nothing solid to judge you by. As a defender, like O’Brien said, you’re scared to make a mistake – the pressure’s on.

        As a keeper? Well – just look at Rachubka.

        Competition between the likes of Martyn and Robinson is fine for a time. But even Paul Robinson started flapping over crosses and lost it after a while. Keepers are the one player I think you need to show virtually unlimited faith in unless they completely lose it.

        • Dje

          Yeah, Rachubka was unlucky as he never really managed to show us that he could be a good keeper before demonstrating that he could be a very unreliable one. That courts people to think – wrongly – that the calamity against Blackpool is his average performance.

          I’m actually fully happy to have Rachubka as our second keeper once Lonergen is back and playing, to have him safely sat on the subs bench knowing that at worst he might have to come on in an emergency during one game before we get a new loanee in like McCarthy for however many subsequent games Lonergen would be out for.

          • Gryff

            Might be wrong, but I get the impression McCarthy was pretty expensive for a 1-month loan?

            Wouldn’t like to do it again if I’m right.

      • TimLUFC

        Yeah good answer dje, I knew it was a bit of a silly question anyway I spose, they need the competition and the pressure. Would just love to see McCarthy in a Leeds shirt but it’s not gonna happen and we are sooo lucky to have Lonners who is undoubtedly premiership, and international standard too. Anyway we are right on the verge of signing Taylor, if not there already. He’s old and has been outta the game for a while but will be fine till the end of the season I’m sure.
        Also like you said though, if we do go up to the prem this season, lets get McCarthy back as our number two for sure.

        • Dje

          Ironically your suggestion was too rational for football, Tim. It has something of the considered man-management in these times of austerity – rather than letting one employee be dismissed, make two employees share one full-time on part-time terms.

          To be honest I’ve always thought reserve keepers are expensive, and do a thankless task – thankless until they are called into action on the rare occasions, at which point they are either gonna be heroes or muppets. Considering teams finances and wage pressure, I reckon it’d make more sense to have half a dozen decent premiership up-and-coming keepers in a bizarre temp’-pool agency thingy. Have each Championship chip in with a small amount for their wages, working on the basis that if they get caught short for a keeper, or their current No.1 losses form, they can use one temp keeper for as long as needs be. Sort of Rent-A-Goalee.

  • Saltburnwhite

    @Colin
    I agree with you about the match day team set up , Grayson does need to learn to put round pegs in round holes , again I’m glad you agree howson is class and can see it’s the way he’s deployed and your not one of these howson haters.
    My point is this, it’s human nature to get bored , if you had steak every night for tea you’d crave Bernard Matthews mini kievs ..doesn’t make it right you just FANCY a change .
    Again I completely agree the backroom staff are shocking and I fear will ultimately be graysons downfall , if Huddersfield can get get a class coach in like ex Liverpool Terry McDermott why can’t we?
    This is truly where Leeds is going wrong and instead of calling for graysons head why don’t all fans try and make it known we support Grayson but he needs better help behind the scenes and that we should force the clubs hand to sack the crap coaches and get in some seasoned PROFFESIONALS

  • Matthew

    Speaking of which, sounds like there’s a good chance McCarthy will stay for the whole season. The more recent Bates interview implys the club are trying to sign someone for a season long loan with their host club demanding said player gets first team football every week.

    Can only be McCarthy in my opinion, most clubs, although their players want first team football wouldn’t make that a requirement for a Season long loan at least.

    • Gryff

      Is that a good deal, though?

      McCarthy’s a great keeper from what we’ve seen. Maybe he’s even better than Lonergan – I don’t know.

      But I do know that McCarthy is too highly regarded at Reading to be allowed to leave permanently. Do we really want to sign McCarthy for one year at the expense of Lonergan who would undoubtedly want to leave?

      Get one maybe slightly better keeper for a season, end up keeperless again in the summer? No thanks.

      • Dje

        Doesn’t sound like McCarthy to me. As you say, why upset Lonergen’s place in the team for the sake of a keeper who isn’t on our books and has had one decent match (seriously, he only really made two excellent saves and another routine one, so I wouldn’t get too over-confident).

        We’ve just signed Maik Taylor for two months – that’ll take us through to January when I imagine Grayson will reassess our reserve keeper needs. I’d have thought he will be hoping that Rachubka’s had one or two good games on loan or in the reserves and can justify using him as the back up and the point of signing him in the first place. Failing that, Taylor will probably be here to the end of the season.

        The potential loanee is more likely to be out field player, probably a defender, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is another striker as Grayson has a penchant for them. In which case, at least make him a speedy one as that is at least something we are currently lacking.

  • mattbb1

    i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, Grayson needs a good assistant, someone with some years on the clock, a Ray Wilkins type. He is evidently an opinionated and passionate manager, and his drive as a supporter to get us back up to the PL is then going to evidence itself in hairdryer type half time talks, and when players arent good enough in his eyes, instead of an arm round the shoulder, a banishment.

    I peronally cant believe that we’re 5th, have a positive goal difference, and are in touching distance of the automatic spots, having lost Gradel and Schmeicel and people still think Grayson should be sacked.

    He has signed plenty of dross players, but even fergie and wenger have signed djemba djemba, Senderos, Kleberson and Arshavin. They all cost money as well.

    Our expectations are way too high. Its frustrating when we see a swansea or a norwich sweep through the championship seemingly winning all the winnable games, but if you speak to their fans they too reckon lambert and rodgers have shortcomings bnad have made daft signings occasionally.

    We do need to stick with grayson and that solidity is vital. We are gradually improving, and there are positive signs around our youth system and some of our signings. I am not thrilled by what happened in the games against Southampton and Blackpool but its time we got behind the team.

    On Andy O’Brien, clearly he doesnt want to play for leeds, i’ve read all sorts about him going through a breakup on the gossip sites, and bates refers to problems. Maybe he just wants to close this chapter in his life, good luck to him, and lets not tar and feather the guy.

    • Irving08

      There is no contradcition between being 100% behind the team and having serious reservations about Grayson. I have set out my concerns in an earlier posting in this thread, the nub of which is that Grayson is not presently making the best use of our playing resources, and that this is symptomatic of a somewhet ‘hit’ and ‘miss’ approach to laying out a football team.

    • Dje

      Arshavin? Arshavin as dross? You’ve been reading to many red tops, mate. Joint fourth highest assists rating in the Premiership last season, 2nd only to Fabregas at Arsenal – and that was when the prawn-sandwich brigade at the Emirates were calling him a waste of space!

      Thought you might have mentioned Torres instead, mind!

      • mattbb1

        was torres signed by any manager of note?! and i stand by arshavin as a flaky signing, yes he probably is class on paper but i think most arsneal fans would question whether he has lived up to expectations.

        and by the way Irving, i disagree with your sentiments on grayson, but i defend to the death your right to have them. We’re all supporters, but dont you think he deserves just a tiny bit of credit for getting us to where we are?

        • Dje

          That’ll be Ancelotti – twice Champions League winning manager, one time Premier League title winner, and hot favourite to replace Wenger at Arsenal – who signed Torres then. I’d take note.

          You can go with the fair-weather, glory-supporting (or not at the moment! (oh how those poor East London media-types suffer)) Arsenal fans assessment of the Russian if you want – personally I just wanted a cheap dig at that waste of money, Torres – but then there’s always be fans at every club who underrate the players who quietly get on with the job at top the passing/assist/fouls won charts. I think our lot are currently doing the same denigrating Howson, last week it was Snodgrass, next it’ll no doubt be Tom Lees or Becchio.

          • mattbb1

            have to agree with you there dje, players go from hero to zero very quickly, likewise managers, torres signed by benitez and ancelotti, yes, hardly lightweights, but in our ridiculous game just not good enough.

            i still think we expect champions league performances from our team, on championship wages. Thats the issue.

          • Dje

            I agree mattbb1 – we Leeds fans do expect too much, and are too prone to knee-jerk reactions, especially against certain players and Grayson. I’d always want to be with a club built on ambition, and be understood as critical rather than tubthumping and over-confident, but we do vilify players too quickly and that leaves ALL our players on the edge. MOT.

  • Dje

    Two hours to go before the loan deadline expires and still all quiet with LUFC. What do you think – O’Brien to be still with us? Dispatched on loan? Contract terminated?

    • CorbyWhite

      Considering how Grayson/Bates deal with contract situations. It will be a termination with a big pay off.

      • Dje

        True, we don’t have good form in such matters.

        I wonder if we are playing hard ball right now – putting pressure on O’Brien to accept either a contract termination or a loan to a non-Championship team (probably to a top League 1 team, or, more likely, the SPL), or to face being 32 and not-getting any football between now and the January transfer window arrives.

        After being far too critical of O’Brien in public upfront, any team going to take him on loan is going to squeeze us for the most of his wages contributions – and that being that I can see us being stuck with him till January. And then I wouldn’t be surprised if we terminate the contract (at cost) and he goes to West Ham.

        Either way, I really looking forward to hearing O’Brien’s side of the story because I’m sure it isn’t as clear cut as Grayson has been casting it!!

  • John Barrell Wade

    A good read, side before self could be a new chant!