premier-leagueAah, the Premiership… Remember it? The land of milk and honey and massive TV deals and even bigger wages? The land of blanket media coverage and marquee matches, of worldwide shirt sales and £4 pies. It’s been a while, a loooong while since Leeds were in the top flight.

So what will it take to get them back to where their large and loyal fan base feel they belong?

Try this list on for size.

1) 2) and 3) Stability, Stability, Stability

The soon-to-be-retired (and not overly lamented) Alan Hansen will forever be remembered for his bold and utterly wrong assertion that ‘you’ll win nothing with kids’.

Nope. What you’ll win nothing with is a chaotic club where the manager never gets the chance to lose the dressing room because he’s not in-post long enough to even find it. Where the only transfer policy involves an enormous revolving door and a set of rotating knives. And where the fans’ demands for instant success create neurotic players on the pitch and a siege mentality off it.

Leeds’ owners GFH Capital might not have won over the hearts and minds of all the fans, but to an outside eye they are generally doing the right thing. The first (and biggest) Right Thing was the removal of cuddly Ken and his cronies from the club. Bates is to football clubs what his distant cousin Norman was to motels. Finally severing his ties to Leeds will hugely improve the club’s efficiency, transparency and stability.

GFH are making the right noises regarding bringing in new investors, about the need to grow slowly and within budget. They might not still be entirely trusted or in any way loved. But if you think the grass is greener elsewhere, there are so many examples to the contrary. Coventry anyone? Or Blackburn?

4) Give Mcdermott just enough money

Okay, so GFH don’t seem to have given him any money, but recent reports suggest there will be sufficient loosening of the purse strings to allow the manager to get some loan players in and, more specifically, A STRIKER.

But he really doesn’t need a free hand. The man has a proven track record of making do and mending, of getting the best out of what he’s got. At the moment, he’s not got enough. But he doesn’t need too much either.

His tenure at Reading was a great example of creating a team that was more than the sum of its parts. That’s what he does. When he’s given more, the wheels come off.

Some managers thrive when they’re given free rein. Others are best when the world and his wife are against him. McDermott produces solid, hard-working and, at times, attractive teams with just the right amount of workmanlike pros and the odd stellar signing.

GFH need to give him enough rope to climb up without hanging himself.

5) Don’t look back

One of McDermott’s least considered utterances is available here.

Where do you start with a story like that? It’s everything that’s wrong with any club that thinks harking back to the glory days will help them to return.

Leeds were once feared because of what they achieved on the pitch. You don’t recreate that kind of mentality by aping it. You have to earn it all over again.

Leeds were once the best team in the country and, but for some oh so seventies subterfuge, would have reigned in Europe too.

Now, they’re nowhere near any of that.

Move on. Remember what was fondly and work for what could be again feverishly. Anything else is divisive and destructive.

6) Expect less, enjoy more

This is the natural successor to point number 5.

Okay, so a Leeds fan has high expectations. They love a club that has the support, the traditions and the history of one of the country’s biggest and best.

But nobody would suggest that the current squad is one of the country’s biggest and best. Not even Ken Bates.

Probably.

Tailor your expectations. Trim them to reality. This team needs your support on its own terms. Realise their limitations and try to help the players exceed them.

They’re probably not good enough to get Leeds promotion – and the bookies odds rather back this up – but they’re more likely to lurch towards relegation if they sense your frustration overwhelming your support every time they step on the pitch.

Think of them as children which, let’s face it, most pro footballers are. Now and again, they need admonishing, but mostly they respond to praise and encouragement. And weekly trips to the Ice Cream Factory at Pizza Hut, which is probably beyond the budget of the current regime, alas.

7) Ruthless is more

So, McDermott gets in three or four loan signings, two of which are strikers who start banging in the goals. The team gels, they go on a run, promotion beckons, edges ever closer and then, finally, it happens. Leeds are back in the Premiership! How to stay there?

Give him half a season then, if things are not the pinkest side of rosy, sack McDermott.

It sounds wrong, cruel and against that stability mantra I trotted out at the top of this piece.

But McDermott is one of those managers who will only take you so far. Think Nigel Clough at Derby. Or, more pertinently, Nigel Adkins at Southampton.

When the board ditched Adkins, Southampton were doing really rather okay in the Premiership. But they sacked him anyway. Hands were wrung, howls of protest emitted. Many considered the move beyond laughable.

Well, in the words of Bob Monkhouse, they ain’t laughing now.

Recognising a person’s limitations is one of the key arts of management. Helping them exceed those limitations is another. Realising when their race is run and acting upon it is perhaps the toughest art to master.

McDermott is a great manager for the Championship. He’s not so bad at keeping a team in the Premiership. But taking a top-flight side to the next level has thus far eluded him.

It would just be nice if he got the chance…

  • Mike

    This piece, although i agree with most of your points seems to somewhat contrast yesterday’s, especially point number 6(which i do agree with).
    That being said i agree with most of these but #7, how are we sure that McDermott is limited to low/mid table premier league when he really only got half to three quaters of a seasons chance at it with a freshly promoted team?

    • TSS

      Different writers. But I don’t think the articles contradict each other in the slightest. I put the blame on McDermott, the board and the players, all of whom need to improve things quickly. Five defeats in six games can’t be blamed on any one single factor, it’s absolutely unacceptable and needs to be addressed quickly. And every single person at Leeds United has a part to play in that turnaround.

      Now, that doesn’t mean I want McDermott to be sacked. Far from it. But I refuse to jump aboard the blinkered bandwagon who refuse to accept he has any responsibility for our form. No manager can be a hero in victory and blameless in defeat, it doesn’t work like that. If McDermott is responsible for the wins, he’s also responsible for the defeats.

      The irrational nature of football fans (generally speaking) never ceases to amaze me, it’s amusing how bulletproof managers are early doors (much like Warnock was) and how reluctant fans are to accept any criticism of their methods. The piss-poor defending and lack of organisation across the entire team comes down to McD and the players, it doesn’t matter if they’re the best in the league, they’re highly paid professional footballers who can and should be performing better than they have been. That was my argument.

      As for GFH. Yes, they do need to be spending more on improving this team, there’s no doubt about that. But that doesn’t give McDermott and our current players license to perform like a Sunday League outfit.

    • jamspoon

      #7 is a bit harsh on BMcD. Reading did not spend to stay up and Brian won the dreaded Manager of Month not long before his sacking. Also who’s to say he has not learned lessons ready for his second stint in the Prem. (Primarily tell the club to spend a bit of cash).
      Anyway, aren’t we getting a bit ahead of ourselves?

  • spellz

    I think you have nailed it with this article, I agree highly.

    Stability should be the main focus as long as we retain it then we can build off of that to reach for success, if we do get there I feel we need to have a team worthy of playing away at premiership grounds and picking up points.

    It all stems from stability and investment for me as long as we can start giving teams in our own division the fear factor we might possibly start to be respected as the football club we once was and not the circus of events our football club has been over the past years.

  • Leeds4Life

    Anti-BMac propaganda sickening and disgraceful… Are you getting kick-backs from GFH to tee this up or a scum supporter in disguise?

    • TSS

      LOL. The single craziest comment I’ve ever read on this site. My word, what an overreaction.

      • Matthew

        I’m surprised anyone could call you a Scum supporter TSS. Good that you didn’t over react in response to such a horrible insult lmao

    • Flippin-Pop-It-Bruva

      Did you actually read the article or just look at the pretty premier league picture?

  • Dr Zen

    Somehow I doubt “get a few loans in and put a smile on your dial” will actually get us anywhere. And the “stability” message completely jars against your belief that we should sack McDermott if we struggle in the Prem. I recognise you note that but you still seem to think that the short-termist approach that most Premiership teams indulge in actually does lead them to success. It doesn’t. Continuity is really important in football. Teams generally do well when they have been together for a stretch of time; bring in a whole new team and you get Sunderland. And they generally do well under a manager they trust, who is trusted by the board.

    This: “McDermott produces solid, hard-working and, at times, attractive teams
    with just the right amount of workmanlike pros and the odd stellar
    signing.” should say that that’s what he produced at Reading. We have no idea what he would or could have done with money in the bank.

    The sad truth is, we’re a long way short. And that’s largely because we have a pile of crap players. They didn’t become crap at Leeds. They were always crap. You’ve hailed the signing of most of them as a masterstroke and scoffed at the few commenters who pointed out they were crap. Some are only a little bit crap and if we added some quality, it’s not impossible for the side to be whipped into enough shape to creep into the playoffs. But loan signings rarely add that quality for one reason or another. Unless we are bringing in someone of genuine quality who just happens to be on the outer at a big club, I doubt any amount of loans is going to help all that much.

    So step one, in fact steps one to seven, is “spend some money”. Without at least some investment, we’re going nowhere. We are right now about where we should be. We need a decent few million spent and that’s been true since Grayson.

    I think we all agree that that isn’t going to happen though, so it’s plan B. Let’s accept that we’re not particularly likely to go up. We could sneak into the playoffs, sure, and I hope we do, but let’s be realistic and say that 6th-12th is the band we’re looking at if all goes well. So BMD should be integrating the best of our younger players and giving them as much playing time as possible. They won’t always do well. They might slightly underperform the hardened pros sometimes. But they’ll become a team. They’ll play with each other, be tested together and next season, or perhaps the one after, they’ll be the nucleus of what will be a much better side. If the choice is play Poleon or get in an Everton reserve, I’m for playing Poleon every time.

    • Matthew

      I feel that GFH could of done more work over the Summer to give McDermott what he needs to build a side, we shouldn’t be desperately scrambling to plug the holes in the side 11 games into the season. It’s a disgrace really. Wouldn’t it be great to go into a season fully prepared with the right players? Forgot what that has felt like.

      • henrymouni

        It just shows you how little GFH have to offer when they allow the same team, more or less, as last season to takes us into this campaign.
        A squad so devoid of quality and football sense.
        You can coach a team, but once they step on the pitch you rely on them to play the game.
        They are pro’s with little sense.
        If 3 or 4 players all charge at the ball and get bypassed it is their stupidity not the coaches.
        Ball watching is stupidity not coaching.
        Missing open goals is not coaching it is lack of concentration.
        You need smart players, and real leaders.
        We need a new captain.
        When Rudi got the job we were told that he does not say much but leads by example!!! Enough said..
        It is not about 4 2 4 or 4 5 1 or 3 4 3.
        It’s about players with intelligence.
        Passing to each other is something they have been doing since they were 12 years old.
        Yet the passes are too short, too long, or we try to pass through the opposition not around them.

        You are spot on Matthew.
        This Summer was totally wasted.
        There is always a bit of ego at work with managers and coaches that they can turn a squad of underachievers into a top team.
        That only works in films.

      • spellz

        We can only dream, as we are always falsely promised a notable investment during the summer and fair enough to GFH for putting their hands in their pocket this time round but splashing out 1 mil on a lower league player that does not even play in a position we need filling is hardly substantial, I do feel their greatest work thus far has been to keep hold of Byram tthough that does show intent and for that I cannot thank them enough.

  • NottsWhite

    From the board we need investment and ambition however I concede that the investment has to sustainable and ambition has to not stretch us beyond our financial means. Recruiting players has to serve both the short term and longer term ambitions of the club otherwise you turn into QPR, who when promoted will spend vast amounts of money again to change the squad for the PL. The manager must be flexible in his approach in regards to tactics but also in regards to personnel. Persisting with players because ‘they want to fight for their place’ or ‘there confidence will eventually return’ shows great moral fibre however as a manager you have to have the ability and balls to determine who is good enough and who is not. From the fans there should be patience however this is earned through the club implementing a clear strategy that everyone understands and can see is progressing forward

    • henrymouni

      To be fair to Brian, he is persisting and supporting these players because he is stuck with them.
      I am sure if he could end the contracts of most of his squad he could.
      They are like limpets hanging onto the bottom of the ship.
      I am sure he knows who is good enough.
      When GFH said ‘one out one in’, they knew it was a forlorn hope for the manager.

      • NottsWhite

        Very true Henry, but money made available should be used wisely. The summer transfers did not address the immediate weaknesses in the squad

        • henrymouni

          The money made available was woefully short of what was required.
          We, then as now, needed 5 or 6 TOP players to step into the first eleven.
          We ended up with Hunt, a freebie, and 3 gambles.

          • NottsWhite

            True but 1million could have been invested better

          • henrymouni

            Yes.
            With hindsight maybe but I think The boss only saw them as a good risk, seeing as how he could not go for his original targets.
            I had high hopes for Murphy, Wooton and Hunt, and perhaps they will come good?
            Smith needs more time.
            If we had a good squad he could have targeted one Top player, instead of 4 maybe’s.
            We need proven Championship/Prem players now.

          • mrbigwheels

            Everything will be great Henry. I’ve been ‘dreaming on’…. Again.

            Although Brian had his legs chopped off by the ‘you know whos’
            when 6/7 new players were being talked about, I think we all got confused , including Brian infact because it appears ‘you know whos’ weren’t talking about 6/7 new players coming in pre-season….. No. They were talking about 6/7 new players coming in….. this season.

            To address this misunderstanding Brian is introducing several ‘starlets’ from the Academy to get back on track…. with numbers in, sort of thing and although a few problems have occurred, like five defeats out of six, I have seen ‘the plan’ and a few more ‘starlets’ are due in…. shortly.

            Clear as a bell now. Phew!. Amazing what you can do when ‘the plan’…. is soooooo flexible. Who needs a budget when it’s so easy to change things around to be a winner!.

            It appears the players are not too happy with this though and…. Have gone on a go slow, with 2/3 chasing the same ball and some on strike.

            Hope that helps.

          • henrymouni

            It does explain a lot Mr B!
            I shudder to think what would happen if our lads went on a ‘go slow’.
            If your deep sleeps start to get longer. I will wake you up if something good happens – Could be a while mind!

          • John

            I think BM was told 6 or 7 would be OK and had a budget. Then stuff happened and the budget was cut – after he signed Murphy and Hunt and moved Morrison out. At the time he signed Murphy, he would have expected – if I’m right – to get more. This could have meant 2 or 3 million more in fees. Hunt was certainly not meant to be the main striker, he was meant to be someone’s partner. Smith was added cheaply as a battering ram option while we’re in this division. Wootton is a good young player who was added fairly cheaply and should be good value, at least while we’re in this division.

            Does that look better? If I am right – BM might just be clueless at transfers. But past evidence says he isn’t.

  • mrbigwheels

    Surely 5 and 6 have to be achieved to enable 1,2 and 3 to kick in truly and purposefully to achieve repeatable progress in this division?.

    I never realised ice cream and pizza would go a long way to ‘sparking up’ a player!.

    Great Plan, by the way.

  • John

    Yes, it might be nice if he got the chance. He hasn’t had it yet, so I think we have insufficient evidence to say that he can’t take a club further than he did Reading. As for point 5… a certain Revie started by banging on about Real Madrid! We wear white precisely because of Revie’s delusions of grandeur. I agree it’s one of his least-considered utterances. I think, I hope, that BM has a plan of his own, and he’s looking for exactly the right players. And the less money he has the less he wants to waste it. I think he wants to be Revie 2. Exactly the right way to go about it as far as I’m concerned. This plan involves a passing game, a side before self ethic, resilience on the pitch, attention to detail, building with kids and selecting additional players with extreme care.

    What’s not to like, apart from the players he inherited? Let him get on with it and see how far he gets. I think he deserves the rest of this season and the next 2 just to get us up, because not as many of Warnock’s players as people think will leave us this summer. Hardly any, actually, considering that Pugh and Brown were Grayson’s. I think maybe only Norris, Ashdown and Diouf go this year. We’ll have our season ticket money back, but GFH may well drop prices a little further so we’ll have maybe 2 M and savings from wages this summer – not enough to complete the job.

    Anyone know when Norris, Pearce, Peltier hit the end of their deals? The last 2 would be on 3 years, yes?

    • henrymouni

      I think Norris & Peltier both have 2 years left.
      Pearce has 3 years left John.

      • John

        2 years including this year for N & P? That’s what I thought.
        So Pearce was signed on a 4 year deal? That rings a horrible bell, I think you may be right. Maybe someone will want to buy him…
        Thanks henry

    • PMH

      Trying to duplicate Don Revie tactics is a recipe for disaster. These are different times, and it is now three points for a win, not two. You have to find the tactical recipe for your actual players, not for a team that has been gone for 40 years. My team needs to score more goals than the opposition, and I don’t give a damn how they do it.

      • John

        Neither did Revie, at least for the first few years! Agreed, times are different, but the things I listed are still relevant.

  • Tare

    Well my thinking is that LUFC 2013-2014 is not as good as I think but not as bad some fan may think. This pathetic defending is allmost like reminiscent for the Aidy White performances: listening the Boss words what to do when playing and that will make it so nasty. Good players moves and positioning comes from the spinal cord nothing more or less. Yep tactics but when opportunity rises well it is time to shine and make yourself hero.

    This my view is still that we have Chris Dawson and EHD for the midfield places and there is absolutely no reason to use them at this situation. Yep McD is the Boss but I have watched International scheme + English “war on pitch” (like Tony Yeboah mentioned in his interview in Telegraph 1996) football.

    CD has it and who would be better Mentor than EHD, We nee creativity for sure up front but with present formation okay happiness is easy when dreaming.

    Tare

    • John

      Dawson was injured and has been put down a level. No doubt they think he isn’t ready. Who better mentor than EHD? Someone who can play a whole game might be a good idea! Come on, EHD just isn’t fit. He comes on as a sub, huffs and puffs and achieves little, a shadow of the player who joined us, a man in his last season in Engish football. I agree it’s frustrating – for me, EHD should be at outside right, but if he isn’t fit he isn’t fit.

      • Tare

        Okay but the pattern of the game well what players we have in creative bracket here? Diamond or not but Dawsom/EHD would be crystal view for MF commanding. CD and EHD well good support and RM/MS scoring, Tare

        • John

          Can’t see Matt Smith scoring much but I’d like to see him given a run up front next to McCormack.

          Dawson’s already been on the bench this year and is probably in the manager’s plans. I expect to see him when fit.

          • Matthew

            You could make a drinking game out of the headers that have either gone wide, over or to the keeper from Smith. Put it this way, if you did, you and 20,000+ others would need treatment for alcohol intoxication :)

          • John

            I know, but maybe he’ll get better with games… it’s a straw I’m desperately clinging to. I think we need to give him and Poleon a run alongside McCormack.

            Was thinking about the contract situation. I suspect we can’t afford to cancel contracts, as we’d have to pay at least some of next year’s wages to do so and are already making a loss this year.
            Which is a shame, I think back to the Everton and Tottenham games, in which it was made abundantly clear that Pearce and Lees are a fine centreback partnership, that Pugh, Brown and Tonge could play, etc, etc. I can only conclude that a significant number of them just can’t be bothered, enougn of them to leave the rest of the team no chance to sort things out.

            If I had my way, I’d form a firing squad….

          • henrymouni

            “Firing Squad”.
            I’m sure Ken Bates has already considered that solution John!

  • PMH

    Thanks for a thoughtful and nicely balanced article. As you point out, the challenge is satisfying a fan base who has been tormented for too long, and have no patience left. You can’t blame them, but we are not going to get a quick fix. Accepting our mid- division fate for the moment is going to be tough, especially when we are only a few points from the threat of relegation back to league one.

  • Irving08

    Point 5 is trite and,in any case,wrong. Where do football clubs – like individuals and societies – get their identity from other than their history ? As a Leeds fan of 55 standing, born to a Leeds man, I embrace all of our history, which is perfectly encapsulated in an anthem of incomparable poignancy, amongst songs specially written for English football clubs. Drawing inspiration from our one period of undisputed greatness is both natural and desirable. Of course, football cultures, like all cultures, must change to meet new challenges, but they do not thereby wipe out their pasts. Revie’s team was borne of a way of life that has, to a great extent, disappeared, but the type of characters it bred, tough and defiant, at their best highly skilled, and realistic, together with much of the physical environment, remain. I for one am glad that we have a Manager who recognises value in this heritage.
    Points 1, 2, and 3 do, to some extent, read like the comments of an outsider. I do not recognise most of my fellow fans in the ones demanding instant success you write about. On the contrary, we strike me as remarkably forbearing and forgiving lot, albeit with a dry and often sarcastic sense of humour. I also do not share all of your views on GFH. The ownership of LUFC is not essentially more transparent than under Mr Bates, while it is too early to say if they are running the club more efficently or not: it will take more than cutting a couple of loss-making lines to judge that. Still, they do not appear to be megalomaniacs – fund managers are generally not cut from that sort of cloth. Yet I do doubt if they are made of the stuff that builds football clubs. Moreover
    their stated aim of creating a dispersed share ownership concerns me. Where will the direction come from ? From the Manager ? At Reading BM enjoyed the support of a self-made millionnaire and single owner. Together they drove a team of modest abilities to the Premiership. It seems, at Leeds, that Brian will have to do most of
    the driving himself, at any rate under present and foreseeable ownerships.

    • Matthew

      I feel that progression ultimately will yield success, even if we have to wait a while for promotion, to me its not just about going up, its about seeing a clear sign that this side is improving which will reflect in the league too. If we look at our performances recently and our league position we’re no better off than we were under Colin. The right attitude off the field will only get you so far, it needs to be backed up with strength on the field too. We should never be losing to teams like Millwall either, it’s like a kick in the balls to every Leeds fan out there and it’s fucking embarrassing.

      • Irving08

        But Mathew, when we have been successful in the past, we have been driven by a dominant figure on the board, as well as as by a strong Manager. I don’t see anyone like this on our current board and their apparent wish to spread the ownership around does not fill me with optimism. Brian has a quiet determination, but that will not be enough to compensate for weak leadership elsewhere in the club. He would need to be a Wenger for that (or Billy Davies, perhaps) !

        • Matthew

          But ultimately the performances on the pitch mean everything. We could have the best owners, best everything in the division but if we’re not living up to our full potential it means absolutely nothing. Although we’re doing more than hoofball lately, we just aren’t getting the results because of a lack of investment in the side AND the fact Bates has pretty much destroyed this team piece by piece over the years and really, it’ll take time and money to build a title winning side. If Bates were still here, Byram would of probably been sold, and we probably wouldn’t of had McDermott but our league position would probably be around the same. As I said, lack of progression.

          • Irving08

            I agree with you about lack of progression. It goes against the grain to say it, but in English conditions, an authoritative owner may be the only way to drive a club up the Leagues, especially one as restless as ours.
            Yes, just what was Bates trying to prove ? On the face of it, he missed a great opportunity to be mentioned in the same breath as our illustrious owners of yore. There is so much we do not know, one feels.
            I cannot wait for next Sunday to see what team Brian puts out !

          • Matthew

            It’d be easy to say that his age was going against him with regards to Ken Bates but I don’t think anyone but Ken Bates knew exactly what he wanted to do with the club. He seemed to invest all the clubs money on vanity projects and improvements off the field but nothing on it. Maybe he was naïve enough to think we’l get promotion with the squad we had? Perhaps he wanted to invest the clubs money(And get us debt in the progress) on the hope we’l get promoted and he’ll sell up for a healthy profit if the facilities are up to a decent standard in his eyes and we’re a Premier League side. Perhaps doing it all on the cheap was the Bates masterplan, it obviously backfired and destroyed the quality of the side in the process. Though I doubt he cared about the club, I’m sure when we were winning games and knocking out Prem sides in the cups it was catering to his ego. Regardless, for this season not be a bust we need at least 10 wins from 23 games, and a few more draws. Better to be half way there than to play catchup in the 2nd half of the season(Think 33-37 points from 23 games is respectable for a playoff chasing side assuming investment comes).

          • Irving08

            All are plausible explanations Mathew. He obviously didn’t trust Managers to spend money well after Blackwell’s failure to get us straight back up. So, he focussed on the bits of the estate that would impress future buyers, with ‘bread and circuses’ for those fans he calculated as too loyal to give up the ghost. He seems to have underestimated player power though.
            I hope you are right on in your calculations.

  • Matthew

    Did anyone else see this when someone asked the Posh chairman if he would buy us lol. Actually wouldn’t mind seeing someone like him owning the club, he seems to be a very open/honest guy on twitter and actually talks with the fans.
    https://twitter.com/DMAC102/status/389141988131364864

  • henrymouni

    2nd week of the International break.
    Anyone heard of any loanees coming our way??

    • mrbigwheels

      You would think Henri that something would roll out very soon but I have nothing to report in my crystal ball other than a change to ‘the plan’ is imminent.

      Hall is due back unless SU get happy. El Haj isn’t fit. Pugh, Dibble and Barney Magrew all had a stress free break with White seen fighting for his place. Etc.

      There has been very little income over the period and GFHC are putting in….. another £mill. To celebrate LUFC are starting a campaign of “Remembering the Past” which suits me as it’s Normans birthday and I will have the benefit of dreaming…. what a proper footballer looked like.

      Have a great ‘wet’ day Henri.

      • henrymouni

        I met Norman at a corporate table at ER, and asked him how he would handle Lionel Messi.
        “I’d chip him into the stands” was his firm reply!!
        Happy days Mr B.

        • mrbigwheels

          Thanks Henry. Met him in my latter school days in Harrogate. My idol ever since but alas never got his autograph. Will have to get myself upstairs soon. You have all the pictures and up to date info’… I’m sure. Do you know where Allan Clarke has gone. Understand he’s not been involved at ER for over twelve months. Was told he was banished after a fallout?.
          Also… Has our announcer/interviewer, Ben Fry been given the boot?. Any other gossip?….. seeing it’s raining and nowt on the go…… exept David Batty was spotted playing football with his dog in the park…. It is believed, reports the YEP, Brian was spotted eating his pack up, behind a tree, keeping a watchful eye on the ball skills…………… of the dog. Watch this Space!.

          • henrymouni

            Ben was a Director of Yorkshire radio, I think.
            He left when the station closed.
            I don’t know about sniffer Clarke, but he is a man of strong opinions.

    • Matthew

      Heard Billy Paynter was coming in to solve our striker needs. And Paul Rachubka to cover for Kenny. And Roque Junior to solve our Defensive woes.

      • John

        One of those mature dating ladies is coming in. Oh, hang on, sorry, she’s already here. Been playing left back all season, apparently. Didn’t notice.

        • Matthew

          Put our 11 worse signings in a team this past decade or 2 onwards and have them play San Marino. Clash of the titans bro, Rachubka in goal, Paynter upfront, Brolin doing what brolin does best, Roque Junior at the heart of our defense. Goals galore man.

          • John

            Brolin doing what he does best? You mean setting up a table on the pitch and tucking into a big plate of doughnuts?

  • mrbigwheels

    Let’s go back to the top…. I’m boo’d of scrolling down.

    Ok…. Firing squads. Who is in the line up because we’re certainly going to need a big trench. Why is it I feel like John?. So many of the squad seem to do just enough, aren’t bothered or have some skill, (Mowatt), and can’t get it on due to the clueless/not bothered/play it safe old hands around them. We’ve seen them ‘do the biz’ in the cup runs… League matches, well, say no more.

    Yep, we need a firing squad!.

    • Matthew

      Speaking of Cups, decent goal by Snoddy tonight in the Croatia game. Ah yeah, Bates let him go.

      • Irving08

        More interested, to be honest, in Charlie Taylor’s latest loan-out. It is difficult to avoid the thought that Warnock’s recruitment could lead to the eventual exodus of many of our most promising younger players as well. Taylor, who is no stripling at 20, like White, should by now be establishing himself in the first team (White was under Grayson). They have the talent; all they need is a fair opportunity. Instead they find two ‘old ‘pros’, each past their best, and neither good enough now. My fear is that we will lose both Taylor and White, no matter what the managerial staff say or want. Which club will it be it be this time that benefits from our largesse – Oldham in the 1980s’, Norwich in the 200os, who’s next ? – Derby County ?

        • Irving08

          Oops, ……’old pros’, ahead of them….

          • John

            Diouf is on 10k a week until the summer, when he is free, AIUI. Old pros. We’ve got a few of those…

            Was thinking back to last year. This would be my team for the next six games: Ashdown; Byram, Lees, Pearce (capt.), Pugh; White, Austin, Brown, Tonge; Diouf, McCormack. Recognise it? McCormack on for Becchio, otherwise it’s the one that beat Everton. Everton changed their team for us but it was still a good one. They say we don’t have a left back who can push up and pass, that Lees and Pearce are a bit rubbish, that White can’t play on the wing (let alone score a goal worthy of Eddie Gray), that Brown is past it, that we have no pace, etc, etc. Well, that night proved a few lies. I can only conclude that some of these pros have been holding out on us. As we can’t sack most of the first team squad, I say give them 6 games. Leave White on the wing (most of the time) and keep McCormack in, otherwise rotate them. Austin and Brown are replaced by Green and Murphy, Pugh moves to outside left when replaced at LB in 6 games time. Smith and Poleon each get 6 games at CF. Diouf gets 6 at outside right when White can be spared for 6 games at LB. Etc.

            So all 5 left backs get 6 games at LB, at end of season choose 2. Etc.

            Having said that I’m sure Cairns isn’t going to make the grade, but Taylor and White could be useful. Maybe.

            May as well try all of the sods, tell them they can earn new deals if they do well. Clean slates and 6 games all round.

          • John

            Meant to say that if they fail their 6 weeks for any reason – e,g, Adam Dreary will fail, as he can’t possibly last 9 minutes (not a typing error) for 6 games in a row – they are exiled. Told, politely, that while we’ll help them with loans/new clubs, allow them to use our physio and train when no one else is around, that they are no longer members of any of our squads. We’ve got too many players.

          • Matthew

            I have a feeling Drury and Brown will retire at the end of this season. That or they will drop a division or two and finish up in the lower leagues. And unless they’re injured, when contracts are up, we should be getting rid and closing the door to players that have sat here fully fit collecting a wage and not playing. They haven’t earned their wage. Why should we care?

          • John

            Re Warnock, I was talking of exiling him from the squad, of sending him and others to a kind of Siberia within and never playing them or allowing them to train with other players. I doubt there’s much chance of getting Warnock to agree to leave, as reportedly he would only sign for us if offered 2.5 years.

            Drury and Brown are out of contract this year. Can’t see Brown ever retiring, but he’ll be out of Elland Road at the end of this season for sure.

            I still think we may as well go through the permutations and give everyone a run. Surely there’s a playoff making team somewhere in this squad? If Brown and co. can beat Everton and Tottenham by playing a passing game, less than a year ago, they may be of some use now.

            Think you’re being unfair to those players – I’m sure Norris would love to earn his wage, but he hasn’t been picked. Agree we have to get rid of them when contracts are up. They are entitled to sit them out if not picked and we’re entitled to get rid at the end.

          • Matthew

            I have a feeling if things go right for us, Varney, Tonge, Green, Brown, Norris, Drury, Pugh won’t be offered new contracts. DIouf will probably go when his contract his up. The average age in this side will drop by quite a bit. If McDermott gets some cash I can imagine he’l get rid of Kenny if a decent Keeper is available before his contract expires.

            I’m all for a smaller squad with more talent, propped up with Academy players.

          • John

            I’d guess Colin 2 and Ashdown will be on their way too, as well as Kenny.

            Agree with you entirely. I bet McDermott feels as we do, the real squad is: Byram, Lees, Pearce, Wootton, Mowatt, Murphy, Dawson, McCormack, Hunt, Poleon, Smith. Reckon he’ll want 20 so that’s 9 vacancies.

            I’m not even sure that Austin and Peltier will have places once BM gets his way – it’s just that it looks like taking 2 years to get there, and since we are stuck with these players I think he ought to give them all a run. We aren’t likely to compete this year so we may as well see if they can be made to do a job.

          • Matthew

            I don’t think Warnock will leave, he’s contracted to us till the end of the 2015/2016 season(Though I agree by then we’l release him, and he probably won’t be playing much in the 2015/2016 season anyway, we’d have someone better in the LB position). Ashdown isn’t that bad and would be an ideal backup keeper for our next keeper after Kenny.

            While I agree some experience is needed in the squad, we have a ton of old players that aren’t playing week in week out that are costing us millions in wages.

            Which is why no one wants them, we’re paying over the odds for players that aren’t worth the wage they’re on and none will go out on loan to get a game. Shocking actually, we have so much deadwood drawing a wage.

        • Matthew

          I agree with you, I think Charlie Taylor will fade into obscurity till he is eventually released. He won’t break into the first team this season. White being released wouldn’t be a huge loss, Sad to see anyone go but these 2 are expendable. I think we’re more likely to see more promising academy players at 18-19 years of age breaking through instead of someone Taylors age..

          Also I think Zac Thompson will be another to go if he doesn’t get his chance this season. If I remember right he’s with us till the end of next season. Depending on who McDermott gets in to cover, I would give a good bet on Alex Cairns being released in time too. When Ashdown is fully fit he’l take his place above Cairns on the bench.

          • Matthew

            I also have a feeling depending on who McDermott signs that he may get rid of Diouf who will be 33 in January. I bet we hear noise that he gets offered a lesser wage contract and refuses as he’l get a much better one abroad(In my opinion) and by pre season next year(2014/2015) season he’l be gone. That being said with the contracts expiring at the end of the season, much of the deadwood will be gone.

          • Irving08

            They said Dennis Irwin and Terry Phelan were expendable too, Mathew ! Can’t agree with you on the two under discussion. Taylor, on the two occasions I have seen him, looks to have a bit of class; while White is perfectly capable of doing for Leeds what Townend is doing for England (and did for us), viz, run at people.
            I am not aware of any (wide) left-sided Academy players of equivalent quality. We don’t produce that much talent. I don’t have a view won the other two you mention, since I haven’t seen them play. Overall you seem a bit profligate with our home-grown resources Mathew.

          • Matthew

            If the manager doesn’t rate you, it doesn’t matter how good you are. I’m not calling them awful players, more that the club wouldn’t stand in their way should the right offer come in for them.

  • mrbigwheels

    Will Sundays match be a turning point?

    Assuming we are all sort of holding hands with each other at the moment, everything seems to be …. will they won’t they, do they don’t they…. I suggest,
    the result and mindset of all parties involved with this Club could bring our emotions and seasonal positioning to a once and for all conclusion of where LUFC, it’s Manager, Owners and Support are heading…. and the relationship thereafter, between all four.

  • colin shorthouse

    when will the supporters of our beloved club realise that ken bates still owns the club .we are getting the exact retoric .as we did before the so called takeover

    • henrymouni

      That is why they kept the great Ken on Colin.

      So they could learn at the feet of the master!!

      “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Suffering leads to Elland Road!”