Neil Warnock is back in town and it’s probably no coincidence that “sources close to” him have been quoted in two papers in 24 hours. Or even that “sources close to” unnamed Leeds players (we can guess who!) have made the unprecedented move of communicating their despair with the club’s current position.

Friday’s story in The Mirror read like a very public ultimatum:

Warnock came back from holiday to find that none of his targets have been landed and may even quit if chairman Ken Bates does not deliver the promised cash.

The straight-talking manager claimed he had been offered a budget to give Leeds a shot at winning promotion to the Premier League when he joined in February, but the reality has been different.

Warnock teed up a handful of moves before leaving on his summer break, and many of those targets have now gone elsewhere – or stayed at their clubs.

Sources close to the 63-year-old claim he is ready to resign if there is no immediate progress.

 

And this morning the YEP has quoted his “associates” (was his holiday in Sicily?) saying:

Warnock is deeply concerned by both the lack of signings made last month and the threat that a shortage of transfer funds poses to his plans for the summer.

Leeds were unable to finance the £400,000 fee originally negotiated with Portsmouth’s administrators [for Joel Ward].

Interest in Derby County midfielder Paul Green was also stifled, despite the Republic of Ireland international being available on a free, and the YEP understands that proposed talks between Warnock and Portsmouth’s David Norris have been delayed due to a lack of available money.

 

And that comes on the morning after unnamed Leeds players told the Leeds United Supporters Trust they:

are as disillusioned and disheartened as the fans at the moment, feeling undervalued by the club and totally frustrated by the lack of ambition Leeds United are showing. Many players have read and fully agree with the aims of L.U.S.T.’s Vision Statement, and want us to get their views out on their behalf.

While they want to stay at Elland Road, the players feel completely undervalued by the club. We understand that some of the contract offers the club has been making have offered a miserly increase in weekly wages, offers which do not come close to what players could earn elsewhere. They feel that they are nothing more than commodities to Leeds United, and they have compared their disillusionment to that felt by the fans in recent seasons. Their view is that the club does not care about either the players’ or the fans’ opinions enough to share their ambition.

 

All this pressure comes about two weeks after initial rumours of a takeover in the offing, and 12 days after it was confirmed by the Supporters Trust that they had spoken to two parties who were interested only in a full-takeover of the club, and that one had put a bid on the table. The mood appears ever more nervy as fans seem to understand that takeovers take time, but fear the worst with no hint of news whatsoever, even a confirmation that the interested group are still in negotiations. The prospect of another year under a Chairman whose vision fans do not feel matches theirs, and whose attitude has recently been deemed “chilling” by a judge [pdf file], and who has been appraised as an “unreliable” man with a “Stalinist approach” by respected barrister Simon Myerson, does not seem to be seen generally as a good thing.

There’s a further question of where the club will be this time next year if major investment is not found. Average gates have dropped by around 4,000 the season after a multi-million pound loan was taken out for a corporate development, and the club looks to be physically unable to purchase new players without selling our best talent for the second season running. This situation took a team from 7th to 14th last season, where will it be next season? Meanwhile projects around Elland Road are still loss-making on the most recent published figures, and with a reported £3-4m legal bill (and the order to pay 30% of the opposition’s bill), the sums simply don’t add up anymore and the future at Leeds looks worrying without major external investment soon.

Patience is important for fans this Summer, but “The Return of Colin” has made it clear that the playing-staff won’t wait forever.

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