Jack ButlandTakeover confirmed (though still waiting approval from the Football League), the first new arrival under Massimo Cellino’s ownership is Jack Butland, who, not so long back was earning his first cap for England.

There’s been some suggestion Paddy Kenny has been carrying – or recently picked up – an injury which made Butland’s signing a matter of some urgency, but whatever the reason for his arrival before Cellino officially completes his takeover, I doubt many fans will be disappointed if he makes the starting XI on Saturday.

Before I get into the reasons a lot our fans will be pleased by a starting spot for a player who only arrived 48 hours before kick-off, it’s worth noting that I really don’t rate Paddy Kenny and the fans I speak of are the growing number who seem to share my position.

As with most things Leeds United, there’s by no means a consensus of opinion when it comes to Kenny, he seems to share a bit of an affinity with some sections of our fanbase who’ll insist he’s won us more points than he’s cost us, but his overall performance this season hasn’t been up to scratch.

The same could be said of most our squad in fairness, and while I’ll concede that Kenny has been a fairly reliable keeper for most of his time at the club and still puts in the occasional top-drawer performance, he isn’t getting any younger and certainly isn’t improving with age.

Sure, Kenny still makes the occasional game-winning save (which is his job, no?), but he’s been beaten far too many times at his near post this season, there have been far too many occasions when he simply doesn’t move to even attempt a save, instead turning to the crowd with some dopey grin passing blame to a defence who’ve protected him from more shots than most keepers have to deal with in this division, he has no command of his own area and I’d be willing to bet a taller, more athletic keeper would improve our defence more than any central defender can.

Which is why I’m so pleased by the signing of Jack Butland. His clean sheet performance in goal for Barnsley when we met earlier in the season made me wonder why we hadn’t improved on Kenny sooner (GFH being skint, it turned out) and now we have him on our books, albeit briefly, our last line of defence has improved considerably.

And it’s that significant improvement when we add to our current team that’s so vital if we’re to progress. It’s common-sense, I know, but common-sense has rarely been demonstrated at Elland Road these last few years because wasteful spending on pointless vanity projects followed by a lack of money has dictated our transfer policy. What we’ve done instead is constantly replace like-for-like, or worse still, proven quality with lesser or unproven players.

At the time, the signing of Paddy Kenny felt like the suitable replacement for Kasper Schmeichel had arrived a year late, but there can’t be many people reading this who wouldn’t rather have had Kasper in goal this season? There’s other examples of our counter-productive transfer policies too, like Luke Varney coming in as the goal-creating force who could match Robert Snodgrass’ contribution. Or not, as it turned out.

For once though, we’ve signed an indisputably better player than the one we’re currently fielding in his position. Whether that’s the Cellino way, or the McDermott-actually-given-some-backing way, who the hell knows, but long may it continue.

As for Paddy Kenny, he still has another season on his contract so we’ll probably see plenty more of him, but at least he now has quality competition at the club which may well give him a second lease of life.

  • henrymouni

    The fear with quality players is that they sink to our level!
    I don’t think he would come to warm the bench?
    He may fancy his chances for the world cup, if he does well?
    To be fair to Paddy, he has had a diabolical defence to contend with.
    If Jack Butland can dominate the box, and our defence, he will be most welcome.

    • Bob

      So glad we went for Butland and not Gomes as reported earlier this week.

    • Andrew Nattan

      Can we put this “Paddy is let down by a shit defence” myth to bed?

      I’ve just been on Squawka for the actual statistics.

      Leeds United – 7th best defence in terms of blocks, clearances and interceptions.
      Leeds United – 8th best defence in terms of defensive errors
      Leeds United – 14th best team in terms of goals conceded

      So we’ve got a team that makes more blocks, clearances and interceptions than most of the league, makes less errors than most of the league and still concedes more goals than most of the league.

      Seems to me then, that the problem is the bit that comes between the defence and the back of the net.

      • NottsWhite

        Perhaps the defence has this high amount of stats is due to the fact that they are overworked due to the midfield not providing protection to the defence and the inability of the team to retain possession…. Unfortunately Tom Lees is one of the major culprits (not the only one) for knocking aimless long balls and giving away possession. I agree that Kenny needs replacing however I feel that improvement of the midfield is more pressing

        • Andrew Nattan

          Good point. Our lack of a competent holding midfielder isn’t helping at all. Rudy’s better when he’s rampaging forward instead of picking up bookings, and Brown’s a joke.

          Murphy is a decent player with an eye for a pass, and Mowatt is pure class, but they need some protection. If they had a proper enforcer to look after them, our possession problems would be near enough solved.

          • Ev

            I think the concept of having a Defensive Ball winner in midfield is an outdated concept. For example Batty improved as a player when he left Leeds and started to play like a normal CM. In the modern age all 4 midfeilders need to work when they do not have the ball and all 4 midfeilders need to play and create. We need a dominant midfield creator that can get stuck in as well.
            That’s Will Hughes…… the little lad gets stuck in too just like Billy did.
            Wheres Dawson by the way >>??? Only issue I have with BM is Dawsons absence

          • NottsWhite

            Agree with you comments about midfielders but struggle to understand those who believe that Dawson is the messiah. I feel that he should be integrated into the matchday squad but not in the starting 11 ( not yet anyway)

      • henrymouni

        Andrew my bro!
        All your statistics say we are not a top six side.
        The reason we have so many goals conceded is because our poor defence is made poorer by a mediocre midfield.
        I can’t get the Rochdale game out of my head.
        We were outplayed and outfought all over the pitch.
        Paddy has saved us on some many occasions with great saves and speed off his line.
        He is one of the better players in the team.
        I am looking forward to see Mr Butland and am really happy we have him!!

        • Irving08

          But Henri, our defence has had to contend with our Manager’s tactical idiosyncracies, which left it severely stretched and thus exposed against the likes of Rochdale, yet despite this it is showing some impressive stats (Notts White) and, to my eyes, it has performed rather well since Brian retreated to 4 at the back. I have nothing against Kenny either; he’ s not a moper, which I like.

      • Irving08

        Of course: even the best defences require some protection from midfield. Ours gets none. Too often the defence is faced with an opposing midfielder who has succeeded in getting beyond Murphy and Austin.

  • Kentish White

    I don’t usually comment on these articles, but the title alone displays the fine yorkshire wit that makes our fans the best in the world.

    Terrific signing, we deserve it after the crap we’ve been through. Let’s just hope the Cellino train takes us back where we belong, without the usual detour of administration/league 1/player exodus.

    Keep the faith whites…. MOT

  • NottsWhite

    Pleased with the quality of the signing, which shows some genuine intent. The nagging doubt is that there are possibly more pressing areas of the team that require improvement i.e. centre midfield and striker. Let’s hope for some further additions to resolve these issues. In the short term I welcome the signing

  • oldschoolbaby

    It`s no surprise to me. In fact, such a move was inevitable after your recent post on Kenny. You are a man of great influence, TSS. Long may your individual player analysis continue

  • whiteblob

    Not sure I agree with all your points on Kenny but if this is the dawn of a new era then where better to start than with the keeper. Kenny is a decent championship keeper at best!

  • Colin

    Butland is a good signing but remember he’s only 20. Don’t get on his back when you see his kicking and distribution. It can be a bit wayward at times.

  • ropey wyla

    Stoke misfit Butland at 20 years of age better than the grown up, seasoned pro that is Paddy Kenny? You need your head read pal, goalkeeping is about experience. I’m happy we’ve signed a quality player to put pressure on another quality player (shame it wasn’t a goal scorer) but to suggest he is instantly better than Kenny smacks of the same kind of name hungry idiocy which started our decline and a lack of knowledge of the game.

    • Ev

      I don’t agree…. I have seen Butland play a number of times, He dominates his area far more than Kenny which is why at the age of 20 hes pushing for an England spot. For me hes similar in quality to Alex McCarthy. TSS is correct that this is the sort of quality we need to be bringing in. Will Hughes next ?? as if….
      The only concern is that we will get used to having him as we did with Alex and then when Cellinio gets his Cheque book out in the Summer, Stoke will tell us where to go or put a ridiculously high price on his head….

    • Sgt. Wilko

      ropey, Butland has played 1 game for us and stood out more than the games paddy (shoot past me at my near post please) kenny has ever done! i myself was a keeper, and let me tell you this for a fact, if a keeper gets beat at his near post the amount of times kenny has, then i am to tell you that his days are numbered, anybody with common sense can tell you that, also Butland came out to collect crossed balls from m’brough more times than kenny has done, just have a short think about it, majority of fans who see him play week in week out will say same as me, also, he must have bricks in his boots the way he just stands there at times! Then, he has the nerve to have a pop at the defence, yeah we dont have a great defence, but for a keeper to keep blaming the defenders will not do any good but harm, it will give no confidence at all to anybody, defenders or fans, keny has been given a new chance with us, but he has had no competition, unfortanetly, i would have prefered Ashdown in goal than kenny, why you will ask, well, look at all the cup games Ashdown played, never put a foot wrong, made good saves against teams from the prem! So, all said and done, its time for Butland to be signed, made our number 1, and either Ashdown, or even maybe Cairns to be number 2, and for us to cash in on kenny from a club near the bottom of the lge, or even for kenny to go back to the blunts! all said and done, us fans must stick together and keep on Marching!

  • spellz

    After reading the comments, I must say although he is young Butland is a genuine talent in goal, the first time I saw him play I believe was the olympics where our usual shit England set-up was being dominated he was the only player that actually stood out strongly correct me if I am wrong it was a while ago but I think it was against Brazil and he only stood in for Hart as he was injured but put in an amazing shift, the only other couple of games I have seen him play he was solid but I do think Kenny can hold his place I would have preferred adding some depth to our strike force though, with the likes of nogoal cunt in our ranks we really do need it.

    M.O.T AA

    • henrymouni

      Kenny has an ankle problem that will only recover with rest and treatment.
      I think this is why another quality goalkeeper became a priority.
      Butland could start tomorrow?

      • spellz

        In that case I hope he does start tomorrow, there is no harm in having two quality keepers regardless of what has been said about Kenny here he is a quality Keeper he might be a bit lazy at times imo but is still a fantastic shot stopper, once again though I would right now rather us have some strikers fighting for places as our current set bar McCormack are poor.

  • Lufc79

    Off topic but I’m in London and would love to get a ticket for the QPR game in with the Leeds fans so do you know anyone who is willing to sell me a ticket who can’t make the trip them self…….if so pls respond to this post……thanks…….And for what it’s worth I think Butland is a cracking talent and I would like to welcome him to the club…..

    • normanstan

      Hang a round boozers shepherd bush and might get spare, ticket that is.
      Happy days.
      Grimes U18 grt prospect also

      • Lufc79

        Nice one that was going to be last resort…….let’s hope for a good result tomorrow afternoon…..MOT

  • Albert

    Excellent move, one real area of weakness covered another 7 to go. Let’s hope we purchase him outright.

  • desssss

    mom today. Showed real quality where most did not.
    Why Hunt and not Smith?
    If only those who rationaly see Byram as not the uncritisable golden child could extend that to our manager.
    It was good to get a pint at half time but those chicken balti pies were filth.

  • Irving08

    It would be even better to sign a Manager of real quality. I do not recall ever having expressed public disbelief in one of our Managers (I sat out the Blackwell years), but equally I have never been bored quite as much by one since Adamson. I thought an undemonstrative Manager was what we needed after the histrionics of Mr Warnock, but
    I didn’t reckon with the numbing effect of a Manager like Brian. It’s bad enough having to endure the dreariness of Radio Leeds, but listening to BM – and watching his teams – is becoming unbearable. Where is the passion ?

    • henrymouni

      What worries me Irv, is that BM thinks the team are playing well!?
      I remember NW saying we were brilliant, when we were on the crest of his slump!!
      He must think that Rudy is playing well, and Murphy too.
      I would rather have Mowett and Brown or Green at the moment.
      He also thinks the back four are playing well?
      I thought Noel Hunt had his best game yesterday, with little or no service.
      How is it possible for a team to play for 90+ minutes and not get one shot on target??

      • Irving08

        I know Henri. Maybe we were wrong and the team played well against H’field because he was not there. Mischievous thought, I know.

    • PMH

      With respect, Irving, the managers job isn’t to entertain you with his “passion.” His job is to select, train, organize, and motivate his team. Right now, BMcD is getting average Championship performance out of average Championship players. Fans tend to blow hot and cold and the manager is a genius after a couple of wins and a dunce after a couple of defeats. Looks to me that this manager is average. (Warnock was average too.) If you dump him you are most likely to get another average manager, but disruption in the process. We don’t need that right now. When the team is built up a little more, and stabilized, then if we don’t see improved results, say one month into next season, then we can think about replacement.
      Challenge: Name the undeniably brilliant unemployed managers who would replace what we have now. … I’m still waiting.

  • mrbigwheels

    I am tired of waiting for constructive football to be played. I said it months ago Brian is too ‘nice’ for Leeds, possibly too soft in approach and I am now positive in my opinion that after yesterdays match….. it’s time to go Brian. If Mr Cellino is successful in his takeover this coming week I would expect him to go into the Club and sack a few, here and there…. I am tired of the same old…
    Cellino maintains we don’t know how to manage a Club and playing team in this country?…. Quite frankly I can’t wait for some shake up, as long as he’s not bluffing his stated intent for the Club and is total in his commitment.

  • Matthew

    Our ball retention has been genuinely frightening lately. Middlesbrough were passing the ball around, yeah okay they didn’t create much but they were doing more than we were. I found myself thinking Michael Brown or Alex Mowatt would do more on the pitch than Kebe yesterday lol

  • leedsusa

    Yeah, a real Gem