Not quite the pre-season showing of strength we’d all hoped for last night as Leeds United crumbled away to Bury and left with an embarrassing scoreline of 4-0.

With just one seemingly disastrous result, any optimism the Leeds faithful may have had ahead of the 2010/11 season has vanished and it’s back to the drawing board as the “inadequate” defence, midfield and forwards are scrutinised.

But should we really be all that concerned? After all, this was only a friendly and on display was a team who still aren’t 100% after a lazy summer celebrating promotion. It’s only natural that it’ll take  a few games for Leeds United to get back into gear. We’ve had extremely poor friendly results in seasons past, and it’s had no effect once the real stuff got under way.

Anyone wanting further proof that friendlies give no indication as to how good the team are needs only to look at Newcastle United’s faltering pre-season campaign last year. Most of the country were writing Newcastle off after some terrible pre-season results, including a 6-1 hammering at the hands of Leyton Orient. But the Geordies turned it on when it mattered and stormed back into the Premier League as champions, as the friendly results were quickly forgotten.

To sum up, a 4-0 hammering to Bury wasn’t ideal, but at the same time it means absolutely nothing. Friendlies are for the sole purpose of gaining fitness and working the kinks out. It does seem that Leeds United have plenty of kinks to work out at the moment, but it’s better to find that out now with time to heal before Derby visit Elland Road on opening day.

Keep the faith!

37 Responses

  1. Arnie

    I agree pre-season friendlies are often meaningless. But the facts are these – we’ve spent next to no money on transfer fees this summer and the spine of the team remains weak especially when we are attempting to compete in a higher league.
    Grayson seems to banking on one injury prone, aged defender (Naylor) to be fit for the start of the season, while the only other decent central def we have (Kisnorbo) is crocked and out for who knows how long.
    The defence was taken apart at times towards the end of last season by some fairly average League One. Similarly, our midfield was run through at times and desparately lacks a strong ball winner. As for the attack, every LUFC fan knows we haven’t properly replaced Jermaine Beckford and his goals, presumably because Grayson hasn’t been given the money to do so.
    Middlesbrough have it right this year – they’ve spent money on the spine of their team and may well reap the rewards as a result.
    All the pundits say the Championship is a wide-open league this year (it may not be in years to come). So why not speculate to accumulate in terms of player investment? We’d get the money back in spades should we ever reach the Premiership. We can but dream!

    • l l l leeds

      yYou sound like Peter Ridsdale with your spending plans, Arnie.
      Think about it…

  2. Shaun malone

    Am wiv u forever tss keep the faith but it welcome back earth what ever happen last season is the past time look to future and think larry will now up the fitness so can run all over teams and be like durcel bunny and run forever main thing is pre season games are mainly fitness and tryin things out the main pre season game is wolves we no the strongers team thn and what way we line up tactis and formation

  3. jesmondwhite

    Problem with the Toon comparison is that they shipped a lot of under-achievers out before the start of the season, after a dressing room showdown after the 6-1 Orient result. There was a huge shake up as a result of that match. These are luxuries that we simply don’t have. We have a threadbare squad and insufficent time to put things right. I don’t think we can write this off as ‘just a pre-season blip’. I think it’s more worrying.

    • Dje


      I agree with the differences between Bury and Leyton Orient experience, but I had a look and Newcastle did in fact play what became the backbone of their standard starting XI during last season:

      Newcastle United (against Leyton Orient):

      26 Tim Krul,
      2. Fabricio Coloccini,
      3. Jose Enrique,
      4. Kevin Nolan,
      7. Joey Barton,
      9. Obafemi Martins,
      11. Damien Duff,
      17. Alan Smith (capt),
      18. Jonas Gutierrez,
      21. Habib Beye,
      27. Steven Taylor

      • Matt BB

        but there was the opportunity with that group of players to actually get something out of them extra? Theyre clearly a good class of player but light years ahead of us, two key things for that side. They didnt know who the manager was going to be so pre season will have been a disaster, martins went very quickly after, as did Duff.

  4. Dje

    Someone else pointed out on another site (‘straying’, I know) that if pre-season games were solely about fitness and trying new things out, then they would be conducted as ‘behind closed doors’ instead. Instead they are supposed to be about showcasing the new arrivals and wetting the appetite of the fans who have (paid and) turned up for ‘what might be’ in the forthcoming season. An utter optimist (of fool) might also argue that they are also about entertainment – but few of us are that deluded and can readily handle a defeat or two along the way, not a 4-0 to Bury though. Tis too much.

    I remember us having a woeful preseason under Peter Reid when, if I remember correctly, we lost every match we played. People then talked of it ‘only being a pre-season friendly and all about fitness’ – sure, see where that ended.

    There’s a bit of overt-optimism in see parallels with Newcastle and Leyton Orient too. Firstly the sitation is different – they had just been relegated from the refinery of the Premiership and it was read as a ‘tough love’ lesson in playing the brutal glum stuff associated in the football league. Comparatively we have just been promoted and are expected to be seasoned pros in the sort of football that exists in League One and Two. Besides, Leyton Orient were only one division below Newcastle, Bury are now two below us.

    Secondly, if it was so easy to get the sort of league form Newcastle found on the back of being humbled by Leyton Orient – after the ideal naval gazing opportunity on the back of a 6-1 defeat – then wouldn’t every time be delighted to get one of these results in their pre-season? Can you see Ferguson talking up a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Grimsby as a “welcomed kick-up the ass?”

    I noticed GOM bemoaning the moaners too. It is a sad state of affairs if by quibbling over the ramifications of a dire pre-season performance might be an omen of things to come you are seen as a manic depressive doom-and-gloom-merchant. I’ve utter faith that we will put in a better performance against Hartlepool and probably win – but you should still take what lessons and warnings you can from the Bury match, to do otherwise is sheer complacency and smacking of arrogance.

    • Matt BB

      Come on fergie wouldnt welcome a kick up the a*se hed be blaming the referee and talking down the importance of the game!

    • Marc Butterworth

      Writing the result off is not being complacent or arrogant Dje. It is just taking it on the chin and accepting it for what it is….a poor pre-season result, nothing more.

      The facts are that we were playing a team two divisions below us, yes, but Bury will have gone into a game against Leeds like it was thier dream come true and thier world cup final. Our players will have gone into the game looking for a nice leasurely trot round the park for 45 minutes or so. Summed up perfectly in a 60 second spell when a Bury player went straight through the back of Snoddy, which brought about an angry reaction from our players. The only thing our players need to realise is that teams like Bury do not look at these games as mere friendlies, these players could go the rest of their careers without playing another team like Leeds. Our players just need to get themselves a little more motivated for these sorts of games, thats all. We underestimated them and didnt get motivated for the game. That was the problem.

      • Dje


        It is complacent if it is just disregarded as a pre-season game and the boys turn up at office today and get on with their fitness training as if nowt happened last night. Fortunately Grayson thinks otherwise: “It hurts and it should hurt everyone connected with the club, mainly the players”.

        I can see how it can be read as arrogant too – if we dismiss the result as ‘only Bury’. I think the days of Leeds coming to town as being the other league team’s ‘cup final’ are over – christ more of our fans turned up for it than there’s did – they were that interested in us! Ask yourself how far down the football pyramid we’d have to go down before a 4-0 defeat didn’t matter? York City? Ossett Town? You and ten mates who fancied a kick-about on the park?

        I disagree that they were looking for a pleasant trot around the park for 45 minutes too – largely on account that we could only muster six subs last night – so at least five outfield players knew they were in it for the long haul. I mentioned in another post yesterday that professionals shouldn’t need motivating when they go 2-0 away at Bury, it’s called professional pride and you either have it or you don’t.

        But I agree it is only one game – and I reckon there’ll be a response from it. Of course a more despondent reply might consider that we’ve played three games since Beckford left and mustered one goal in total, and that we’ve conceded five in three games and that averages the sort of weakness we had at the back between January-May last season, but hey-ho head-in-the-sand and roll on Derby.

    • TSS


      I noticed GOM’s post afterwards. Not often we agree on much, but he makes a lot of good points.

      I notice we both draw parallels with Newcastle’s 6-1 drubbing last season. A battering like last night may well serve as the ‘welcome back to reality’ moment teams often need after a successful season. Better to right the wrongs now, than to have to figure them out during the season.

    • Marc Butterworth

      mikelufc ???? wtf ???? “A completely wasted season”, “grateful not to get relegated” “Larry is not doing his job” ??? Are you taking the piss ??? All this on the back of one poor pre-season result ???

      Fuck me…….

      • Dje


        Lol – I think you’re quoting a reply to the wrong website, mate!

      • Dje


        Ok, I take it back – spotted Mikelufc’s comment further below!

  5. LUFC Quej

    what I think is more worrying jesmondwhite, is that after only one poor result (in pre-season lets not forget), the same old doom and gloom fans are back out with a vengeance, already writing the players off as inadequate and spineless.

    Best support in the land? You’re having a bubble…

  6. Matt BB

    I know this was only a friendly, and that we made i think seven subs, but its ok for us not to ake these games eriously, our players though? I would have thought each and every one of them would be playing for his shirt next season? We have tougher games than this coming up so we need to look at our results on those before we sentence the team to a relegation scrap with Millwall.

    I imagine there will be a couple more signings and I welcome this scoreline as it perhaps shows grayson and bates that spending a little might be the prudent thing to do rather than the luxury bates seems to think it is.

  7. Bill Fox

    Seems Sunderland are about to buy Bramble and perhaps Campbell. Surley that means a loan deal for Killa is a runner??

  8. ash

    I was at the game last night, we was absolutly shocking didn’t perform defence was all over the place midfield no existing strikers had no supply so couldn’t really get going, I no its only a friendly and you can say newcastle lost 6 1, but I still think we need to strengthen are whole team otherwise its going to be a long hard season

  9. Mikelufc

    I dont think it is a case of doom and gloom,
    It is being realistic.
    Larry is unable to get them motivated, what’s new?
    Every game should be competitive, where is the players pride?
    Why are they not aware that failure to give less than 100% means they dont get picked and can possibly look for another job.
    A completely wasted season is what I foresee and we will be grateful not to be relegated.
    Unless it is a ploy to to lull the division.! :-)

    Problems in any business start from the top.
    Maybe there is no money but they can do their best every time, they can be as fit as possible and this will allow us to at least avoid relegation.
    This is Larrys job and he is failing again.
    I am not looking forward to facing bloody Millwall who will definitely be up for every game.

  10. Shaun malone

    Are just game to blow cobwebs off still plenty other pre season games to look good in could be one off but if lose 2or 3 games pre season or not thn many be worry we all have good and bad days Tht life we go marching on and on am gettin excited about derby oready

  11. Max

    On the plus side:

    – we had several players, who are likely to be first choices or thereabouts, out on short term niggles (Sam, Paynter, Naylor), plus a couple of squad players (Crowe, Martin) and Kisnorbo and Parker are out for while
    – it’s pre-season and the players don’t know each other that well yet, and they may not yet be fit
    – however Bessone played, he was a regular in a team that did well at the right level last season (the same could however have applied to Robinson when he came from Swansea) and most of the other new signings have at least respectable championship records.
    – this is a side which the L1 side of last season would have beaten comfortably, and we should be improved since then
    – there are still a couple of signings to make (we hope)

    On the minus side:
    – it was a 4-0 beating
    – Schmeichel played the entire game and let in 4
    – There is no sign of the aforementioned signings; Grayson obviously didn’t believe Howson/Kilkenny was his first choice midfield last year (I agree with him – I like them both, but for the same position, and I like Howson a bit more) and also didn’t believe Johnson was better in the holding midfield position than Doyle. So, even if he thinks his striking team is complete (and I don’t) he needs to sort out midfield. It’s feeling like, unless a trialist is signed, it’s going to be loan players for the remaining slots (his comment on Doyle was that the central defender – Collins – was a more important position to sign, which I took to mean he will look for a loan player in midfield).
    – On the subject of trialists – those Brazilians haven’t started yet?
    – If we are waiting to get rid of the transfer listed players before we make further signings – well none of those have gone either
    – Our central defence at the start of the season looks like being Bromby/Collins/Lees
    – And our attack looks like being Grella/Becchio/Paynter (Somma and Gradel being injured) and not one of these is proven at Championship level, and arguably only Paynter has done really well at the level below.
    – The academy should be generating at least one first team player a season. Lees. Elliot and Darville don’t look like making it to first choice status.

    If we sign a couple of decent players for attack and midfield I’d give them the benefit of the doubt, but right now it feels like we are going to try and field a mid-table L1 squad in the championship.

  12. jesmondwhite


    The Toon offloaded Beye, Martins and Duff very quickly, and weren’t part of the team going forwards. The main outcome of the Toon 6-1 match was that there was a fundamental shake up of attitude, so that the players who remained started playing together as an effective team. Leeds have their own lesson to learn from last night. It’s not doom or gloom as @LUFC Quej suggests. It’s a realistic assessment of a less than perfect squad.

    • Dje


      Fair enough – 8/11 of the starting line up is still a considerable amount for me. The point I was trying to make not very well was that it wasn’t a 6-1 defeat for a bunch of Newcastle youth players and trialists, but predominantly those that won the league for them thereafter. I agree that there was ‘a fundamental shake up of attitude’ in the Newcastle camp after that result – only that there is no guarantee that the same will happen now in ours. Are our players as vocal, opinionated, passionate and arguably downright aggressive as Smith, Nolan and Carroll (violent too)? Time will tell.

      • Matt BB

        @Dje we’ve lost our violent streak only Max seems keen to keep that tradition alive!

  13. les irwin

    friendlies mean nothing in terms of league position etc but that was a 3rd match in which we have scored 1 goal conceeded 5, now the one person who has left thus far mr beckford has left a 30 goal hole and he hasnt been replaced there is only 1 stat in footy that matters, goals scored FACT that is the first position to fill based on its the only position vacated then work round to position streghthening defenders,etc etc etc read into this defeat what you will and we all have differing views mine is that this will not with this present team be the first view of defeat we need some QUALITY .IN MIDFIELD, DEFENCE AND UP FRONT .AS CLOUGHY WOULD SAY A SPINE RIGHT THROUGH THE TEAM .WE HAVENT GOT THAT YET

    the good news is bates has banned the dreaded vuvuzela thank god for that there is a god

  14. Craig

    Ah, the Brazilians have arrived. I wonder if any of them will feature in a pre-season match.

    • dje

      They took their time to arrive. Maybe they booked their travel arrangements with Goldtrail; let's hope it produces a gold trail for Grayson.

    • Matt BB

      @craig I imagine they will feature in the XI’s we are playing against Gainsborough and Bradofrd Park Avenue but I wonder what the value is in bringing in 16 year old Brazilians (as I understand some of them to be) we just arent using our academy and thats usually where our best players come from (Delph, Howson, Lennon, Milner) whats happened there?

  15. Matt BB

    irrespective of this friendly we all know several more signings are essential. i really cant see kilgallon coming back..we should by now have brought in our beckford replacement cheapskate leeds united strike again..

  16. DAVE A

    What a great summer it's been. Leeds promoted and a season in the Championship to drool about.

    Oh dear 4-0 to Bury and now I'm all tense again!

  17. Colin

    I watched the extended highlights and Leeds weren't all that bad. Howson, Gradel and Snodgrass looked sharp, Kilkenny and Bradley Johnson were okay and Schmeichel couldn't really do anything about any of those 4 goals. The midfield and the GK situation looks like it's sorted to me.
    Becchio was awful, Somma off target. Grella showed skill but no final product, but looked the best of albeit a bad bunch of forwards.
    The defence though looks very very ropey – Bessone had a shocker, but I guess everyone does once in a while and the rest were just poor. As fans of this site know, I'm Naylor's biggest critic, but he could have sorted that defence out against Bury.

    I'm not too worried about the result. Leeds had most of the play, Bury were lucky. For me, the midfield is okay and the GK is okay, whether it's Schmeichel or Higgs. But the defence looks very weak and as for attack – Beckford would probably have got a hat trick in that game.

    I think we do need another Beckford and as for the defence – as daft as it sounds – if we could get someone as good as Sol Campbell, even if he's 45, he'd be worth every penny.

  18. Dje


    Good insight, Colin. Unfortunately no one ever got anywhere with just a good keeper and midfield. Leaking goals from an insubstantial defense, and failing to score from lack of quality upfront leads to a major headache!

  19. Matt BB

    @colin hey we have an old defnder who’s good at organising the defence but doesnt have a great deal of pace! I do think youre right though we need a solid player, good passer of the ball, and i though the nod about keith andrews was a good one in that respect.

    Thats very lucky too – 4-0.. somethings wrong with our preparation, i expect grayson to sort it out however.

  20. Marc Butterworth

    Can we all stop panicking now that we have stuffed a full strength Hartlepool team 5-0? Or do only the bad results reflect what sort of season we will have?

    • Dje


      What, an inconsistent one? Agreed.

      Wonder if we’ll play those first four games of the season with a rolling 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation. Becchio on his todd waiting for the support to arrive.

    • TheReaper08

      @sirquej It’s only what I expected, they apparently had a proper dressing down after the Bury debacle so if there hadn’t been a major reaction I would have been more worried than I am now.


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