There are too many freebies on the go for some fans. More of the same they say; I don’t think so. Warnock’s history at wealthy QPR shows this is a man looking for bargains before splashing the cash – he is a Yorkshireman after all!
Warnock’s first summer in charge of QPR saw him make the flagship signing of Jamie Mackie early on for an undisclosed fee. Paddy Kenny also followed for £750,000. But by the start of July three other signings had been made – and they were all frees. Leon Clarke signed from Wednesday, while Shaun Derry and Clint Hill (neither were getting any younger) both signed up on Bosmans. The rest of the summer saw Warnock focus on more expensive signings. Bradley Orr, Adel Taarabt, and Derby’s Rob Hulse were all signed. With a decent team to build on Neil Warnock had completed his summer signings – 8 players, 3 on frees.
Warnock’s first summer at Leeds has been a bit more complicated. Flagship signing Jason Pearce signed for around £500,000. Paddy Kenny looks likely to follow for £500,000. Highly-rated full-back Adam Drury and Paul Green (too expensive for Derby) have both signed on frees. So far, we stick to Warnock’s plan at QPR. But how will the rest of the summer go? We’re promised a takeover with news that fairly heavy-hitting parties are showing real interest. But there’s no guarantee that Bates will sell.
And here’s where the worry begins. Neil Warnock signed 8 players to improve the competent squad already in place at Loftus Road. Two older players left on frees (one re-signing in October with no better offers elsewhere) while one went for small money to Bristol City. Leeds might need even more signings.
We know that Leeds has sums to do to break even and that our strategy under the current owners has, for the last few years now, been to sell off players to break even. That isn’t the whole story – we only need to do so because the club continues funding loss-making businesses to the tune of millions.
The difference at Leeds is that Kenneth Bates seems to have won the battle with Warnock. Warnock has not climbed down and has insisted he is funded in the signing of one or two players, but it seems clear serial-football-failure Ken Bates has got his own way over promotion-specialist and professional manager Neil Warnock.
As rumours surfaced that Warnock was set to walk, QPR fans could only say:
“Ken Bates tells Porkies shock!!!”
“[above quote] – Possibly the most consistent thing in football today.”
And with this victory comes the prospect that Neil Warnock will fall into the trap the talented young manager Simon Grayson fell into: agreeing to selling players to fund purchases. Sell whoever you can get most for and give (for example) 75% back to the team, cream 25% off to fund failing businesses. This fills Leeds’ established strategy.
Despite promising signings, probable cash-flow problems, and the hopeful signs of a takeover, Leeds are being linked with a £2.5m sale of their top-scorer last season. This move will surely see Robert Snodgrass cease giving Leeds second, third, fourth chances and play unmotivated until January when he’ll be sold? Meanwhile talented youngster Adam Clayton has been refused a suitable contract and is being shipped out of the club against his will.
If this was what Warnock really wanted it would be one thing, but his history suggests it isn’t. He praised McCormack’s ability to come on and change games, he played Clayton virtually every match, he knows how vital Robert Snodgrass is to any hopes Leeds have of promotion. Instead this seems to fit into Leeds’ well established strategy. Johnson and Kilkenny couldn’t agree new contracts, fans justified this – we’d get in better players, those two were clearly being too greedy. Kasper Schmeichel left – we’d get better players, he was clearly being too greedy. Max Gradel said he was happy to sign a new contract but Leeds sold him for around £800,000 – we justified it by speculating we couldn’t afford his new contract. Jonny Howson has now been forced out – Ben Parker said as much – and we justified it; better to sell him for £750,000 than lose him next summer for nothing.
Now that Ross McCormack, the club’s top scorer, is rumoured to be on his way to newly promoted smaller neighbours Huddersfield, we are once again justifying it on Twitter and on forums. Better to sell him now than lose him later. When Robert Snodgrass leaves because he’s sick to death of giving the club third and fourth chances, will we justify that in the same way as we justified Jonny Howson’s sale? Howson left because we sold off a fantastic talent in Max Gradel, and other good talent in Johnson and Kilkenny and Schmeichel with no adequate replacement. Snodgrass will leave because no matter how good Warnock is at wheeling and dealing he can’t improve the squad by selling our best players.
And this is where I do something rare and take a leaf out of Clarkeonenil’s book and get angry… When Robert Snodgrass leaves how will you, YOU personally, justify it? He cost too much to keep? He was being greedy? Better to let him go for money now than for free later? He wanted Premier League football which we couldn’t offer (hmm wonder why)?
If YOU can justify these things then YOU are missing the point. These players aren’t evil usurpers trying to extort the club of money. They care. First team players among others, whose identities we can’t reveal, approached the largest independent group of Leeds fans to tell them that they too were sick of the way Leeds is being run and wanted to stay and lead this club to promotion. That would be the crowning point of many of our players’ careers. But they can see all too clearly that without change at the very top, they are headed to exile and that slow poisoning of their reputations that Neil Warnock talked about after being deposed by certain elements at QPR.
So are YOU going to sit back and accept it when Kenneth Bates turns down good offers from good suitors because he can make a few million from Clayton and McCormack? Because he funds a couple of good signings for half the money and that pacifies you? And when Snoddy leaves in January and we get another good signing? I’ll tell you now those good signings will be the next to go because we’re running out of even competent players. Neil Warnock said the team he’d walked into would be relegated if it played another season. Now we’re selling the best players from that team – how will YOU justify it?
Say NO to selling our best players!
I don’t know what to do, but I do know YOU have to get angry. Stop putting a brave face on things and start expecting what you have a right to expect from this club that you are funding!