Brian McDermottIn the past week, Brian McDermott has done what he could only have dreamt of if Ken Bates was still chairman. He was given permission by David Haigh and co. to sign two players, albeit for no money. Dexter Blackstock (an actual striker who can score goals) was signed on a short-term loan from Nottingham Forest, while former Hearts captain Marius Zaliukas, a free agent, joins too.

While both are useful players to upgrade what is a squad packed with middling players, we definitely need more. Losing 3-2 at Huddersfield in a game we should have won comfortably should be all the proof that GFH Capital need to give McDermott the funds needed to at least make us look like we have at least a little ambition of breaking into the play-off places.

On a wing and a prayer

Even though we’ve scored six goals in the past two league games, they all came against opposition who are somehow worse at defending than us. Against both Birmingham and Huddersfield, we should have found the net a few more times, but relying on Luke Varney to deliver the goods up front is too much to ask, but we’re not only lacking up front.

Although we look more adventurous this season, we are very short when it comes to having speedy out-and-out wingers who can whip the balls in for big Matt Smith and co to help fire us up the table. Playing Ross McCormack out of position is a problem, while El Hadji Diouf isn’t always fit enough to deliver for the course of an entire game.

Left behind

While we’ve been busy looking for freebies and staying put with players no-one else wants, other Championship clubs have been busy strengthening. After turning down the chance to sign Zaliukas themselves, QPR decided to sign another free agent in USA international Oguchi Onyewu, while others’ spending before the summer window closed has made us envious in the extreme.

We’re unlikely to spend megabucks in January, but if we can somehow find enough money to at least sign Blackstock permanently (if he follows up his debut goal last week with a few more) plus a proper winger or two, we might be able to creep up the table without anyone noticing. Another austere window will probably see us cast adrift, facing yet another season stuck in the second tier.

  • Steve

    I do agree that we should be spending more money but if you look closely, only qpr spent big money on players. Even then, they did free up a lot of wage money by sending out top earners and selling samba for 12 million

    • mrbigwheels

      QPR haven’t got many options other than an immediate return to th Prem.
      Their house has more than a leaky roof with signs of cracks in the walls even.

      We are stuck with at least five that McD wishes he hadn’t got, worth nothing either physically or financially and frankly someone needs to make a statement and pay two of them out….. at least.

      • Chareose

        QPR isn’t a good example as they are walking promotion…. As for Leeds, can you imagine if Mowatt hadn’t come through and Byram was still injured ?? The youth system is making things look a bit rosier than they are…..

        • John

          No, because our youth system is part of things as they are, not something separate. We’re always going to get a player or two a year through from it.

          • Chareose

            Not of the calibre of Byram or Mowatt…. prior to that it was Poleon, lees, White………… they are not comparable

          • Irving08

            But all of them are more than capable of doing something at this level. Of your supposedly lesser talents White for one will flourish once he’s free of us.

          • John

            I really hope White comes back and stays. It’ll be him, Warnock and possibly Taylor in that position next year, and he can play games on the wing too. I think he’s potentially a squad player for the next decade, even if we spend most of it in the Premiership. Should be told he can expect to finish in his 30s having played maybe 300 games for us.

            I think Lees is underrated too, I’ve seen him play well. Against Everton for example, a game in which White also did well. The problem for most of our players is that there’s been poor leadership on the pitch. We now have a very inexperienced team, so I’m really hoping that ‘Mad Dog’ Zaliukas makes a difference. (“He’s come a long way, from punching Chris Finnigan in the face to captaining Leeds to the promotion and FA Cup double.” Then I woke up.)

            But on the other hand if Blackstock signs permanently I think Poleon will be on his way out. I don’t rate him.

          • Irving08

            I can agree to all of that. Did BM make Austin captain because he thought McCormack could be off ? Are you sure it wasn’t the brother that was on the end of a bit of bish-bash ? Blackstock could keep McCormack on his toes, which is no bad thing. He might even make Brian regret that 1.6 million…….

          • John

            I doubt Blackstock is here as a replacement for McCormack. More likely he’s either a striker with pace to come off the bench or a target man. I don’t remember seeing him play so I can’t guess at which, but I have read that he has pace. Besides, Ross is the best goalscorer.

            I think BM made Austin captain out of sheer desperation! McCormack, as a striker, wouldn’t be in line for the job. BM was really hoping to get an experienced centre back in. BM doesn’t appear to enjoy boat-rocking but I won’t die of shock if Mad Dog has the armband by this time next year – him or some other experienced signing.

            Am I not sure who was on the end of a bit of bish-bash?

          • Matthew

            Blackstock is here for competition and to keep our strikers on their toes. And to basically bang in the goals while our strikers find form. He’s not a replacement for anyone but if he does well here and Forest are desperate to get rid, his value would drop and a deal could be worked out.

          • John

            Competition? Toes? We already had competition up front, just no experienced striker with pace. I’m not counting on him banging in goals, he has the same kind of career ratio as Varney and Hunt, about 1 every 3.5 games. Our only main goalscorer type is Ross.

            Unless DB has been brought in out of desperation, then I reckon a deal has already been provisionally worked out. BM has said that he doesn’t like loan signings unless they can be converted to signings.

          • Matthew

            You can’t possibly call what we have at the club prior to Blackstocks arrival competition in the Strikers role. At a club like Leeds you want the best possible player you can get playing in each required role, not players that have only made the 1st team because there’s no one else better.
            How many strikers, yet alone players would you say without a doubt in your mind what so ever would you want to start? The obvious ones would be Byram, Mowatt, McCormack etc but beyond that?
            Competition is healthy, it kicks the lazy fuckers into gear and makes them work harder for their place. If you’re not playing week in, week out the chances of landing a contract at a GOOD club once your current one expires at low. Especially at this level

          • John

            Agree with you re the virtues of competition up to a point (though it shouldn’t be necessary), but I’d say that we had srtiker competition up front anyway. It’s been McCormack and any one or two others. Varney, Hunt, Smith and Poleon have all competed with each other. Smith is getting sharper but Poleon will need longer (or not make it) and Varney and Hunt are about the same, though Varney has maintained his goal ratio for us. (I know this might cause offence, but I don’t blame him for looking poor under Colin.)

            Who would I name? You mean ideally? There are only about 6 players (with first team experience I even want at the club!

            But if you must. I’ll even do an 18. Assuming 3-5-2:

            Kenny; Mad Dog, Lees, Wootton/Pearce; Byram, Murphy, Austin, Mowatt, Warnock; McCormack, Smith.

            If McCormack were injured, Varney would come in. Has done nothing wrong, works like a dog, and scores more than the others.
            Bench: Ashdown if fit; Pearce/Wootton; Green (need a front-of-back-4 player available when playing this formation, also cover for Byram; White, Diouf, Blackstock, Varney.
            Varney is ahead of Hunt because of goals scored.
            No Poleon, no Peltier (he’s the wrong right back for us, and is cover for centre-back only). No Brown, Norris, etc, etc, they are just reserves.

            There. Easy. Pick the bones out of that one! (Not by pretending that Diuof is super-fit rather than a knackered, wheezy old crock, please.)

          • John

            If 4-4-2, White in for Wootton/Pearce, Austin to outside right.

          • Iriving08

            No, of course not as an alternative, but we need competition in all positions. And I am sure you are right about Ausitn, but that’s because I do think BM was uncertain about McCormack’s future and, anyway, he seemed to see him as playing behind the main strikers, until he saw that didn’t work; so I am not sure about the strker point. Maybe he just didn’t want to overburden him wherever he played. Pearce would have been my choice as captain – and still is; though Austin does have totemic value. I think it was John Conteh, or the other way round.

          • john

            Good point. Those 2 are exceptional, but I think Lees and White aren’t bad in this division.

    • Matthew

      QPR has a loyalty problem, most of their decent players are mercenarys, they don’t care about the club or playing with QPR in the Championship, they view themselves as being too good for this level, though most of them played in a QPR side that was battered weekly in the Prem.
      Most had one eye on the door before the season was over.

  • derbyshirewhite

    If Aidy can persuade another half dozen to join him we might have some money left in January to compete for a winger. In the real world I guess it will be in the summer when GFH’s ambitions are tested.

  • markman

    Not sure what the matter is with EHD but he is an expensive option to have sitting around.We know BM is not his biggest fan.If a sensible offer comes in take it and free up and reinvest his wages in someone else.better still bite the bullet and pay him off,that would also make a statement.

    • John

      Why am I the only Leeds fan in the world who can see that EHD isn’t fit? He was told to come back fit after the summer, he came back with a virus or something and has looked knackered whenever I’ve seen him.

      I do think he should be on the bench, but then McDermott’s bench choices are the one thing he’s done that I don’t like. (We play with wing backs, but don’t put White or Green on the bench.)

    • PMH

      Fitness is the only logical explanation for Diouf not playing because he is the team’s most skillful player. That said, he should be out there doing his 30 or 60 minutes every game until he can hack the 90. This team is not good enough to have the talent on the bench. McD needs to make this happen: that’s his job.

      • henrymouni

        It does seem odd PMH, seeing as how we have being playing so poorly, for the most part.
        We can only assume that BM has very good reasons, that he is keeping to himself?

        This is what he looks like:-

  • henrymouni

    It is difficult to compare spending/ loanees from club to club.
    It is really about need.
    We need a winger or two.
    We need a strong leader if defence – let’s hope we have found one!
    We need a strong captain.
    Rudi is a captain ‘who leads by example’ we are told.
    For that to work you need to be performing every match.
    Not 1 in 6.
    We are not too far away but our need for top players is greater than QPR’s, who have them.
    As do many other of the clubs above us.
    No doubt we will keep Barnsley from relegation again this season!!

    • mrbigwheels

      Ah Henry. TSS has found a free slot at last.
      We’re back rocking and rolling with pictures even.

      Come on the Whites…….

  • Andy

    i personally believe that we should wait until the next summer transfer window. The only reason is because of all the deadwood which would be removed from the squad to free up extra dollar. Next year i believe that we will be a top 6 squad if we sign wingers and another CB if zaliukas leaves. MOT

  • NottsWhite

    I think it is unlikely that there will be any significant transfer activity in January as our financial position has not changed since the closing of the window in September. The belief that when a number of the deadwood move on in the summer we will be able to make significant recruitments may be a bit misguided. GFH have already indicated that the club has a high wage bill and therefore it is not a given that all freed wages will be reinvested back into the playing squad. Unless GFH bring in investors then there will be no money for transfers and we will again be shopping in the freebie/loanee market. I do not have an issue with this if we are at the front of the queue to snap up the quality however on past occasions we have been slow out of the blocks. The revelation by BMcD on sky this week that we have little or no scouting network would go some way to explain why we react sowly to getting in transfers. BMcD is working to resolve this issue however you still require money to compete for the better players in terms of fees and wages. Hoping that 7 released players will be replaced by 7 quality players on similar or less wages with little or no transfer fee would be a big leap of faith

    • John

      Too right! It will take another 2 years to sort this mess out, because a lot of our deadwood wil be with us next season. Then we’ll need time to bed new players in.

      Next year I think we have wages back from Diouf (£10,000 a week), Brown (£5000), Pugh (prob not much – remember Colin saying that losing him and Rogers would free up enough for one signing), Drury I hope, and maybe Ashdown and Norris. Some of this money may have been allocated for wages of players already signed – Smith, for example – and then there are those with extended/improved deals – McCormack already, Mowatt soon.

      I think we also have 3 million plus from season ticket sales. However, GFH are bound to want to silence some of the fury about high prices so I reckon more like 2 M, enough for one good signing!

      Oh, and there is that FFP business, meaning that IF GHF want to lose money next year they can only do so by 3 M or something. So with the above that makes 5 M, IF we borrow for transfers. That isn’t 7 quality players. (We won’t even be releasing 7 – obviously the Turnip twins will be decluttered but kids don’t count, as we’ll just sign a couple more on pro terms).

      Which is why I reckon we won’t borrow for transfer fees. I don’t even want us to. Of course, there’ll be season ticket money again for 2015-16 and that’s a more realistic time to expect promotion.

      FFP is actually a GOOD thing because it’ll be easier for us to progress when we do go up. In the meantime I’m as frustrated as everyone else, but there’s always a chance BM will nick promotion next season or even this season, and cup runs could give us money to spend. In fact I think Nooruddin and co. (who I greatly dislike, to be clear) are counting cup money making the difference and getting us reinforcements.

      People should also remember that because of the concentration of money in the Premiership we can’t sign a Bobby Collins and an Alan Peacock, or a Strachan and a Sterland. Teams scrape their way up now, there’ll always be a pack of clubs chasiong promotion with one or two above. So we may not look like a promotion side even when we do go up.

      • NottsWhite

        I am not sure that GFH do want to lose money in line with FFP (for that I do not blame them) as they are a business, therefore I retain the view that money for transfers will not be available unless significant commercial activity i.e. naming rights to the stadium or investment is forth coming.

        • John

          I think they’re willing to invest cup money and season ticket profits in order to get us into the Premiership and make the big money (the plan is probably to take 10 million or so a year out and spend the rest on buying the ground (if that’s possible…), getting into Europe and so on before selling the club on.

          That and what you say – naming rights, new shareholder investment, and so on.

          I also believe that they won’t sell players to reinvest – it doesn’t always work and Bates will get a (presumably large) cut of sales anyway.

          • Irving08

            Will you explain the last point please ? The rest I follow.
            Maintaining current interest is not going to be easy. They will have to reduce prices further to persuade folk to continue to fork out for Championship football. Living standards are still going down. Only the asset rich are getting better off. The 20 odd year olds sooner or later will settle down to a life minus live ‘footy. Then who will be left ? Seniors – yes, as long as we’re around. Who else ? So maybe Brian has to nick it – he’s managing us in a way that suggests as much.

          • John

            When GFH were making their long, slow takeover, the YEP (I think it was them) reported that Bates had suddenly come up with a new demand: he wanted compensation for his investment if any of ‘his’ squad were sold. There was a similar thing about Premiership profits, as it would be ‘his’ players who won promotion.

            I suppose this is just one reason why no one else would deal with him…

            Anyway, I believe it. It’s Bates all over. When he left Chelsea he retained ownership of a flat overlooking Stamford Bridge, and that means that Abramovic – who he fell out with 5 minutes after selling to him – can’t change anything and would need a whole new stadium on a new site to get much more capacity.

            I also believe that he has done something similar to us and that we will never own Elland Road again. Don’t count on any relief when he dies, either.

            Or maybe I’m just a cynic, but it seems to me that I’m an optimist compared to most of you – I believe we have the right manager doing the right things, and that we are going to end up being successful on the back of BM’s work. (And by “successful” I don’t mean promotion and becoming an Aston Villa, I mean Europe and winning things.)

            Re nicking it, every single year in this division one, maybe two, clubs nick promotion. There are one or two certs and a pack. FFP won’t change that. So we could have a scruffy team and still get up, though I think we’ll be better than that. Just think – Murphy, Mowatt, Smith and Wootton are in their first 3 months at this level. How good will they and the other players be in a year or two?

  • Matthew

    I personally think it will depend on where we are in the league, if we have no chance of getting to the playoffs then they will probably just not bother, if we’re close to the 35 point mark, we might get a freebie. Even if we end up with 11 wins, 2 draws, and 10 losses, that’s 35 points and half way to the playoffs.

  • Reiver

    Sorry guys but I’ve already written this season off. It’s a waste of time speculating what may, or may not, happen. We’ll be treading water for a few more seasons yet, I think we’ve become virtually unmanageable.

    • PMH

      Defeatism. The team is still new and if it improves steadily then play-offs are quite possible. But, do not be expecting the second coming in January. One or two additions is not going to make a silk purse out of this pigs ear. A decent Championship team is the limit of what we can be.

  • Lufc forever

    Come back in 3 years when GFH Capital are expecting promotion.
    We never have a good, solid, well balanced squad, we either conceed loads and score for fun, or start to have a good defence and can’t score in a brothel. In January and next summer, we need some good investment to be recruiting players that are up there with the best in the league.
    Until then we need to start performing more like Burnley, they spent nothing in the summer and lost Charlie Austin and they’re on fire, just goes to show what can happen when morale is high and everyones working together.

  • Matthew

    I do think we over pay some players, especially as we’re just a Championship side, I know it’s not comparable but before Gnabry and Townsend got their new deals at Arsenal and Spurs respectively they were on around 10 grand a week. We have Drury, Pugh, Norris, Varney and a few others around that level. How are we getting value?

    • mrbigwheels

      Don’t know Matthew. My man tells me Billy Sharpe went for £20k/week.
      See why we could not sign him…. and he was on the list apparently.

      Only needs two bidders to attract a player, a mindset of what they’ll pay and a signature.

      • Matthew

        I know people rate him but considering his goal to game ratio, he isn’t worth 20 grand a week. If anything you could bring in at least 2 league 1 or below strikers that are prolific for about the same amount. If one fails, and one succeeds, you instantly have a player well worth the money.
        For arguments sake, if you offered player A that scored 20 goals in league 1 a 2 year, 8 grand a week deal, and player B that scored 15 in league 1 a 10 grand a week 2 year deal. Say on a free even, you lose nothing by trying.

  • Irving08

    Am I the only one who is ever so slightly bored by the new regime ? We have a quiet and thoughful manager, which is fine, just so long as it is balanced by an owner or owners with a bit of style, verve or just character: hell, almost anything would be better than the the bland, lower league fund managers we have at present, who don’t even bring any money bring to the table. Is this Bates’ revenge for our ingratitude ?!

    • mrbigwheels

      No you are not.

      and Yes it is.

      Flamboyant activity without a solid base and an adequate depth of a transparent plan….. is quite annoying….. actually.

      If you’re going to entertain the masses… at least sell the show before thinking of taking their money…… ROLL UP, ROLL UP.

      • henrymouni

        GFH are about as exciting as the Leeds United ‘Goal of the Month’ competition Mr B.

      • Irving08

        They could at least don fedoras.

    • Wingnut

      Really? I much prefer the “boring” people we have at the top at the moment to Bates. We got lots of excitement from Bates, things like pouring millions of pounds we didnt have in to the east stand just so he could have a new suite and into the pockets of lawyers through the ridiculous things he said on Yorkshire radio, sold all our best players to Norwich, spent hundreds of thousands on a private jet and generally raped the club he vowed to bring down. This lot have shut down said radio station, lowered prices, brought in half season tickets, engaged with the community and younger fans, enabled BM to bring in a couple of decent loan signings, spent time raising money for charity, given Rossco an improved contract to keep him at the club and sacked Bates as early as possibly feasible. Its bloody awful having to put up with such boring owners!!! My god Irving surely it does not matter how our owners come across as long as they are solid and steady and can grow the club on a sure footing rather than the quicksand we got under Bates???

  • Ron

    GFH were quick to whet our appetites with ‘major investment’ chatter recently, however, if they don’t lock that in before January, then we can kiss this season goodbye. It’s too early to say the season is finished as we are now experienced Championship spectators and we know how unpredictable this league can be. I was more concerned this week with Big Mac confirming we had no scouting system. He dropped a subtle hint to the Arabs that scouting is where you can make good money, so I fancy they are backing him to the hilt on that one. Let’s reasses in 3 months time when the January window has slammed shut. Forget about QPR, they still have premiership money coming in. If you want to hear about a robbery, listen to this – Sky pays Hull £60m from TV rights, yet they only pay Celtic £2.2m.

  • spellz

    Forget speculating at this point about GFH and what they will spend we need to start winning games, we cannot keep relying on the transfer window when it goes tits up.

    As for looking more adventurous this season come on lets be real we have been adventurous as a day in the life of Garfield the cat.
    The boys and manager need to step up and do the white shirt proud and start playing for maximum points each game or expect another tedious finish this season.

    • henrymouni

      “we cannot keep relying on the transfer window….”
      We keep dreaming that we can participate in a transfer window.
      Our current squad can give a lot more, but will they?

      Maybe they will??
      Strong characters are needed.

      • spellz

        Precisely, fans always think we are going to buy our way out of trouble, we are not going to buy a whole new starting eleven which means that anyone new will still have to gel with the current squad and regime anyway so if they are not on form it wont help having any further acquisitions we are not exactly going to sign a world beater player who don’t need another 10 men with him.
        In all honesty our current squad need to start playing like they want it if we want to push up the table.

        • Matthew

          I think we need consistency more than anything, we have a squad capable of grinding out results but let ourselves down too often. Consistency will get you promoted via auto, or at the very most get you into the playoffs for a chance to get promoted. In this league anyone is capable of beating anyone, while teams are taking points off each other, we need to be putting points on the board. You only have to see how a fairly decent squad can get relegated by poor performances(Wolves, Peterborough etc).

  • mrbigwheels

    The only way forward is a realistic clear out of 5/6…. now. Whether a pay off or pay out is feasible?, then at least other opportunities arise within the squad. Said this on here last week, (or it seems like it) and if GFHC have powder with their shot, a big bang may occur with them sticking some serious money in to blend with the youth and give us supporters a positive, we’re with you boss, outlook through the rest of the season until some further culling can be done, giving McD every chance to challenge in this league.

    • Matthew

      By the end of the season we should clear a sizable chunk off the wage bill, which should give McDermott the money to bring in a few new players and offer any players hanging on for a better deal, a better deal even. I expect Byram and Mowatt to be tied down to longer deals.

    • Irving08

      Yes, a cull must be the priority. Too many experienced, horny old pros, littering the place. Clear them out and create upward mobility. BM needs to be clear-eyed, ruthless and show no mercy. His watchwords should be lean and mean. He should tell GFH in no uncertain terms: it’s me or them.

    • PMH

      I don’t see the logic here. Getting rid of players will not improve the team. The season is long and you may need the bodies. By all means replace them with better ones, if you can.