Either Leeds United recently employed a Leprechaun to administer huge doses of luck when all hope seems lost or I’m at a total loss to explain today’s events.

For the first hour or so, Leeds United were second best. Behind thanks to an Andy Lonergan blunder and incapable of stringing half a dozen passes together, there was no creativity, no inspirational leading figure and absolutely no chance we were going to take anything from this game. In short, there was no belief – not from the players and certainly not from the fans.

It was painful to watch. As news spread that Robert Snodgrass has ended contract talks with the club, citing a lack of ambition and broken promises as his reasoning, the cries of the dissidents were understandable. What we were witnessing was the death of a football club.

The seven year long asset-stripping, under-financed reign of Ken Bates had clearly taken it’s toll. The fans had lost faith and the players had too. As easy as it is to point to Simon Grayson’s tactics and failure to motivate when your team is struggling, there is little anyone can do in this situation. All the tactical wizardry in the world won’t change the fact our players have lost all faith in the club itself.

Ken Bates had his say of course, pointing to a £2m overspend on the club’s £9m “transfer budget”. The only problem with Ken Bates’ definition of a transfer budget is that it’s actually our wage budget, but we’ll cover that wonderfully crafted piece of misdirection in a separate post (now published here).

Anyway, as one man’s yawn contagiously spread around The Kop, the epically proportioned bit of luck Leeds United required started with Alex McCarthy who was sent off for handling outside the box. This seemed an incredibly basic error for such a hugely talented goalkeeper to make, leaving some fans to question which side he was playing for – had he taken pity on us?

That was followed by Ipswich Town’s centre-back passing the ball to Robert Snodgrass who must have felt embarrassed by the charitable equaliser he was allowed to slot home. 1-1.

Soon after that, Ross McCormack put Leeds ahead as Ipswich Town’s replacement goalkeeper got caught in two minds making it far too easy for Leeds’ top goalscorer to add a second. Paul Jewell’s defence had crumbled and his team were masters of their own downfall. 2-1

That just left Luciano Becchio to round things off and bring an end to the most bizarre twenty five minutes of football you’re ever likely to see. Even Paul Rachubka’s meltdown paled by comparison as this had spread throughout Ipswich’s entire team almost instantaneously.

In summing up this match, words fail me. The only way I can describe it is that this could be the only time in the history of professional football where a team has won 3-1 and their highest player rating was 4/10 – and even then I think I may have been generous.

Finally, the comedy on display almost overshadowed the dissident protests. Large numbers of fans gathered before the match to call for an end to Ken Bates’ reign and there was no real let up inside Elland Road either. The chants were a common theme, banners found their way in and stewards ejected some fans as tensions rose.

Despite the result this was a dark, but nonetheless necessary day for Leeds United. Seven years since Ken Bates “saved us” (from administration I presume…? oh wait…) our homegrown club captain has been sold and Robert Snodgrass is looking set to follow. At the start of this season our optimism was based on the midfield trio of Max Gradel, Jonny Howson and Robert Snodgrass.

Two down, one to go…

New feature: Rate the players v Ipswich Town here

Photo Credit: Alex Knight Photography

  • Tyler75

    Thank you Alex McCarthy !

    It seems to be coming to light that the ‘acceptable’ fee we ‘negotiated’ with Norwich was £750k plus ‘add ons’. So Ken’s not only a compulsive liar but also completely useless at realising maximum value from a key business asset – I thought that amongst his many and varied personal failings he was at least supposed to be a good a wheeler-dealer, a tough negotiator , a commercial operator ? Obviously this is yet another Ken myth.

    Get ready for Snods to be sold for an ‘acceptable fee in excess of £100,000′ with payments spread over 5 years and depending on Snods scoring a hat-trick in either the Champions League or World Cup Final.

    • WoodyUK

      @Tyler75

      Strange that the United Arab Emerates national rag is the only paper on earth covering Rob Snodgrass’ dissatisfaction with the team, management, ambition etc and ‘breaking’ the news he’s ended contract talks. More likely a foreign journo that knows sweet Fanny Adams pondering how he’s going to fill back papers space, reading forums and concocting a scoop. I’m not reading too much into it (or the £750k fee for Howson) but I bet some nasty tabloid follows the scoop. The rest of the article is spot on, huff, puff and masses of luck today but after this week I think we deserved something to go our way. After conceding 4 in 2 games, declaring his love for Ipswich’ opposition then managing to handle the ball what looked 10ft outside his area I’m guessing McCarthy will not be top of the pops with the Tractor Boys supporters tonight but all I can say is God bless ya son, come back up to Elland Road any time you want.

      • Dje

        @WoodyUK@Tyler75 The article is written Duncan Castles. He’s written a couple of hundred articles on English football for that UAE newspaper, so not quite the foreign hack we’d hoped he was.

        As to Howson’s fee I always thought £2m upfront was unrealistic. Once Howson is match fit for Norwich, at tops he’ll be set for ten games this season for them. At £2m that’d be £200,000 per match plus his wages. Not even Man Utd or City would be comfortable with that. £750,000 puts it at £75,000 per match – but comes with the benefit of snapping him up before the bull market would have started in the summer after his signature on an absolute free. A good bit of business … for them!

        • WoodyUK

          @Dje@Tyler75 Just Looked at Castle’s Tweets. Howson wanted £25k a week !!!! £1.3m a year for a Championship player. Jesus I never realised just how over inflated wages were in the Championship. If the salary budget is £9m that makes Howson’s demands for 1/6 of the total pot seem obscene. Having said that I don;t know where Castle was getting his info from.

        • Dje

          @WoodyUK@Tyler75 I’m no expert but I imagine player’s agent go in ‘large’ to start with on negotiations. £25k is too much for us sadly, but we really need to start considering who are our key players and putting them on the thick wedge of our wage bill. Three or four key players – like we had at the end of last season would make us a contender for promotion.

          If you go all egalitarian and put all our players on £7k a week you will end up with the dismally average Paynters, Connolly’s and Rachubka’s of this world. This wont stop the real jewels in the squad from still demanding their larger share. And if they don;t get it, they’ll be off and we’ll be left with over paid dross and no chance of gong up (let’s call that the 2012-13 season). We’ve really blown our wage spread.

        • Dje

          Surely Howson is on more than £4,000 a week. That’s got to make him one of the least well paid Leeds players in the starting XI. Sorry, was…

        • TSS

          @Dje Standard negotiating practice. If Howson is indeed on £4k per week and wanted £15k (well paid champ player), he’ll start at a figure where the middle ground meets his actual demands.

        • Dje

          Surely his agent would have figured in a wage increase for any promotion though! We all new we were expecting to be out of League One as soon as possible.

          [I wonder if other fans spend so much time and intrigue over what their club players are on?! We really need an inside man, preferably a dull accountant type!]

        • Dje

          Surely his agent would have figured in a wage increase for any promotion though! We all new we were expecting to be out of League One as soon as possible.

          [I wonder if other fans spend so much time and intrigue over what their club players are on?! We really need an inside man, preferably a dull accountant type!]

        • Dje

          Surely his agent would have figured in a wage increase for any promotion though! We all knew we were expecting to be out of League One as soon as possible.

          [I wonder if other fans spend so much time and intrigue over what their club players are on?! We really need an inside man, preferably a dull accountant type!]

        • WoodyUK

          @TSS@Dje Even £15k a week is a lot (over £3/4m a year or 1/12 of our wages pot to put it another way – a lot for 1 person in a 28 player squad). I don’t understand why we are not negotiating contracts like Blackpool started a few years ago. x for championship and y if we get promoted then back to x if we’re relegated again. Would motivate the team to over perform (some would say with our squad we have done that for a few seasons any way). i also don’t understand why the club didn’t re-negotiate when Jonny became a first team regular and get him to sign another 3 year contract. Also (as they have done with the new USA winger) get a 1 year option on a player. I am certain some of the highest earners at the club are probably also players that don;t even start any more (i.e. Paynter, O’Brien and Connolly)

        • Dje

          @WoodyUK Blackpool’s wages seem sensible – especially if the club is likely to be yo-yoing between the Premiership and Championship. But it only works if the Championship level is competitive enough to attract the players to get you promoted. That’s where we are failing.

          I still think the jewels in the squad need to be on the going rate of the division and not just the club, not some misplaced appeal to loyalty and one-day-soon-we’ll-all-be-in-the-Premiership-lads!

          But yes, I’m sure you are right about some of our highest paid squad members being non-players. Although listening to Grayson today it sounds like we are paying a whack for Delph. I just hope he is worth it.

        • Gryff

          @WoodyUK@TSS@Dje Castles is relatively reliable. Also works for Telegraph in UK IIRC.

          Howson’s 25k p/w was what he wanted full stop. In the Premiership believe it or not, that’s actually a below average wage. For the Championship obviously quite high, but then when you look at the £7mil development of the East Stand which has achieved next to nothing, we could afford to renew his contract and probably Snoddy’s, BJ’s, etc. entirely by the development.

        • Tyler75

          @WoodyUK@Dje Colin, I think I read somewhere that £25k p/w was the average Premier League wage, so with the massive boost in income they got rom going up, no reason why they can’t afford it and it’s not as if they’ve got players on a £100k p/w that would drain the budget. Also ckubs in Championship like West Ham & Leicester are paying that and more for some of their players.

        • WoodyUK

          @Tyler75@Dje You have to remember a large number of clubs in the Championship have an extra £15m a year to play with (exception being Portsmouth) from parachute payments after relegation from PL. Also some of the clubs like Southampton and Leicester have wages which have no bearing on income due to very rich owners who are trying to do a Chelsea/Man City on the cheap. That skews the maths a bit and makes them better candidates to get back up than us (also they don;t have the drain on resources for renting their ground or training facilities, why Oh why invest in Exec Boxes when you could buy back the ground and stop paying approximately £3m a year in rent – Ummm stupid question and one we’ll never get an answer to because Ken doesn’t know who the owners are LMAO)

  • Chareose

    According to reports I have read Snodgrass has ended contract talks with Leeds United. He intends to leave, probably in the summer.

  • Tare10

    Well this doom and gloom discussion is always a popular choice to handle. But to take any positives is likely to be dampen with furious verbal antidotes. A win is a win and nothing will change that truth, personally I have watched and supported the Mighty Whites since dream team of DRs 1969. To hell with moaning against management, upper and/or lower. Players come and go, managers come and go, owners come and go so what the heck is this bullshit arousing here. The LU Club will always be the One and personally I would not change that to anybody. There has been some sarcastic comments of zombie KB but the fact is as we all mortal human beings know time is running out.

    JHs departure, I hope that the team will respond with strong attitude and show the doom seekers that they are wrong. No player is bigger than the LU team.

    Tare

  • Radders

    Can we please seperate matters on and off the field! It was role reversal from Portman Road, and I would much prefer the 3 points. Middlesbrough are falling like a stone at the moment with their performances and we are not far off. Leeds fans are good enough to lift these players I better performances, and we certainly still have match winners if they can turn their form around. Let’s continue to protest outside the ground! Let’s be honest any money not spent, ken we give it to Leeds united as debt and not let his own pockets be effected.

    • TSS

      @Radders Matters off the field directly effect those on it – especially when key players are being sold.

      • Radders

        @TSS I don’t disagree with you, but do think we can get behind the boys at home. Need to match it with our away support I have seen an been party to

      • CommanderCody87

        @TSS@Radders “Matters off the field directly effect those on it – especially when key players are being sold.”

        Agreed. Fans trying to overturn the Chairman (delusional) is only going to hut the performance of the players. Who in their right mind would want to sign a contract with Leeds while this is going on?

        Ken Bates is a grade A muppet, no doubt about it but he will leave when he’s good and ready.

  • Dje

    Lol – cheery prediction then!

  • Dje

    I was only kidding, Matthew. Birmingham are definitely favourites for that match. Hopefully that takes the pressure of our squad though – as in footballing terms they were expected to beat Ipswich today.

  • Dje

    It raised a few eyebrows, but playing Pugh at left-back wasn’t an utter shock (he is our only other fit left-back). It left White to be an impact sub. I think the logic was that with Townsend’s pace we wouldn’t need White’s pace to overlap down the left flank.

    [That or our manager was too weak to drop our only new money signing of this transfer window, Danny Pugh?!]

  • WoodyUK

    @Dje Or Pugh is a more solid right back than White, doesn;t offer as much going forwards but with Snodgrass, Clayton, Delph and Towsend we should have been tearing their midfield apart.

  • Dje

    @Colin To be honest, I’d take a draw. But only a 0-0 though, so it’d be a good morale boost for our loose defense.

  • Denis Dalby

    You couldn’t make it up!

  • Phil Glenn

    Was that wanker bates at the game today ?? Anybody know.

  • Duncan Massey

    He’s on holiday in South Africa.

  • The Scratching Shed

    Denis Dalby I know mate, I’m still in shock I think. Truly bizarre game of football.

  • Hogan8901

    lads I hear Bates is in South Africa. I’m a lifelong Leeds fan from SA. Get me his itenerary and I can make arrangements for him to not make it back… Maybe get some $$ out of him while I’m at it ;)

  • Gryff

    “Either Leeds United recently employed a Leprechaun to administer huge doses of luck when all hope seems lost or I’m at a total loss to explain today’s events.”

    We’re the biggest club in Yorkshire: God’s own country.

  • banditsteve123

    One or two things got me thinking today i have read a couple of articles today that state snoddy has stopped contract talks because he was over looked for being captain from howson and the money he was offered was still short of wat other players are getting at the club plus he was told the club were going to sign good players in the summer.One last thing at the end of todays game snoddy went to all sides of the ground to wave to fans and he was the last to leave the pitch was he saying his goodbys

    • TSS

      @banditsteve123 I didn’t see it, was already on the steps when ref blew final whistle but it wouldn’t surprise me. I can’t see us holding on to him.

  • banditsteve123

    he just looked sad when going down the tunnel.On a plus point today i thought thompson played well but why the hell is pugh in before white

  • banditsteve123

    can you imagine the fans reaction if snoddy was sold this week i have a feeling thats why rogers came in

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  • Ok, these may be the three luckiest goals we will ever score: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbZq4UXH_cs

    Cherish them guys – not sure how much more we’ll have to smile about this year.

  • Captaincrash

    Only just heard ths Snoddy news – devastating yet sadly understandable.

    Today was tetchy and pretty indicative of a lack of belief on and off pitch, we got lucky.

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  • FanPower2012

    Can’t lose Snodgrass. He was easily the best player on the field yesterday, not only attacking wise but was keen to show his defensive abilities. We all know who the problem is. Time for a Boca Juniors…the fans take over the team.

  • CommanderCody87

    Paul Dews has already said that the news about Snodgrass is bollocks.

  • number1inyorkshire

    NOT SO FAB DELPH ,AN-DROSS TOWNSEND

    Add that to a capitulation of sorts

    3-1 was a good result

  • gigsinparis

    Everyone is down at the moment but there are still a bunch of positives.

    – I would have taken someone’s arm off if they offered me 7 points from the first three matches of 2012 and we’ve got them all without turning up.

    – This league is still there for the taking.

    -We are only 3 points away from 4th place

    – Only White has his contract up at the end of this season and so we’re under no obligation to sell the rest just yet.

    – Feb has a very good run of fixtures and could kick start a strong run-in

    – We’re not Forrest or Ipswich

    – Birmingham are in a dire financial situation (the Chairman’s assets have been seized) and may be forced to sell a bunch of their best players before we play them.

    – There’s still the very slim chance we could sign Andrews, Beckford, Lichaj and Ledger before the month is out.

    Think that’s it for the moment but all other suggestions are welcome…

    • Paul S Wales

      @gigsinparis I’m also strangely optimistic, but this month will soon end and an assessment will be forthcoming when it does. Fingers crossed

      • TSS

        @Paul S Wales@gigsinparis In form Birmingham and a transfer window we never spend in to cap the month off. Agree, 7 points from 9 is certainly a positive and it doesn’t matter how you get the result (10 men every game, poor performances) but we can’t carry on like this forever. The luck will run out.

        • Tyler75

          @TSS@Paul S Wales@gigsinparis We are currently in a mirror image of the start of the season when our performances weren’t getting the points they warranted and we suffered from sendings off from poor refereeing decisions; it really does seem to be what goes around comes around. Wouldn’t surprise me in a season of turmoil like this one that we got promoted via the play-offs – wouldn’t that be a very typical, perverse, Leeds Utd thing to do !

  • Chareose

    There is another problem we havent covered on these blogs, im currently living near Portsmouth and one of the issues they have is that different parts of the ground and site are owned by different people………. My fear at Leeds united is that even if a buyer came in to buy the club Bates may still want to keep some of the other facilities , hotels that hes used our money to fund…….. we could end up being charged extortionate rental rates for the stadium (that Ken bates probably does own)……

    And this will put a lot of buyers off buying the club……..

  • Paul S Wales

    After travelling up yesterday, I couldn’t believe my eyes at the dismal clueless performance of the first half. Grayson just seemed to stand there motionless on the side watching his LUFC career die a slow and painful death. That team out there yesterday has lost all confidence and I don’t think SG is going to get it back, even he looked like he’d given up. The sending off was a God send, and the team finally sprung into life and passed it about like they can do. The hoof ball game was dire to watch, and with no height up front, a pointless exercise. SG has done a great job to get us here, but someone else is needed for the final push. The body language from both team and manager yesterday spoke volumes and was sad to see. Those players are so much better than their 1st half showing, and they just need a fresh face to rejuvenate them and get them believing in themselves once more. If Ipswich had kept 11 men on the field I don’t think we would have come away with anything. Still need a couple of fresh faces in the team, but more importantly a direction and plan of how play. MOT.

    • TSS

      @Paul S Wales The unrest is at the lack of ambition and derisory contract offers – a new manager won’t change that. Look at the players that have left/are leaving;

      BJ – “I wanted parity with the rest of squad”

      Killa – Very unhappy with Bates, made that clear when he scored against us.

      Howson – Club lacks ambition, won’t spend, don’t believe they’ll get into Prem.

      Snoddy – Broken promises, derisory contract offer, lack of ambition.

      This has been a recurring theme. The key players keep leaving because the club can’t convince them to stay. That’s the unsettling factor, there’s nothing SG can do about that. Harvey and Bates negotiate contracts.

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  • Neil Watkins

    A win is a win ,But there is truely something wrong , We cannot keep on playing for a draw all the time , We have played better with 9 men !

  • SirRockAlot

    Starting to fear that the survival of Leeds United hinges on whether we’ll make it til Papa Smurfs death… It really saddens me to think these thoughts, but never the less – here they are. Can we really be wrong? Would’ve thought Peter Lorimer would set the records straight – but no… He defends the idiot that is responsible for the running of our club… I like to think I’m always the optimist – but right now I can’t in any way see the light in this very dark tunnel… Hope we’ll make it through… MOT

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