Don't blame it on the Larry!

Another defeat in what most fans expected to be a tricky first season back in the Championship resulted in yet more pointed fingers. It seems this time, the knives are aiming in Simon Grayson’s direction, which is no surprise really as we’re quickly running out of players. So far this season, the list of villains includes;

Richard Naylor – Too slow, old and clearly out of his depth in the Championship.

Federico Bessone – Brought in to occupy the troublesome left-back position, but as shown no indication that he knows how to tackle.

Neill Collins – Goes from superb to hopeless in 90 minute cycles.

Jonny Howson – Needs to “step up a gear.” Goes missing during the games and often gets caught in possession.

Neil Kilkenny – Too lightweight and disappears when Leeds are on the back foot.

Bradley Johnson – Brings a bit of weight to the midfield (too much some might say) but has an irritating tendency of shooting from 50 yards when he has much better options available. His shots usually end up on the roof of the stadium or being shielded by a supporter in the top of the Kop.

There’s plenty more besides, but we’d be here all day. The only players that seem immune from criticism are Robert Snodgrass and Davide Somma, who can do no wrong in the eyes of the Leeds United fans.

When every player on the pitch fails to perform like we saw last night, there’s only one man left to blame – Simon Grayson. It’s not the first time he’s been blamed for our poor performances either, and it’s understandable that he should be. After all, he’s the one that picks the team and sets the tactics!

Criticising the manager for the wrong approach is one thing, but the knee-jerk reaction of calling for his head every time we lose is beyond the extreme. For the first time in years we have a stable manager that understands the concerns of the fans and is willing to accept responsibility when things go wrong. Furthermore, he’s performing exactly as we demanded he did! At the start of the season, Leeds United fans agreed that a mid-table finish was a realistic aim and correct me if I’m wrong, but 10th in the table is pretty much bang on the money?

Quite why anyone would chose to be manager of a football team is beyond me, because you really can do nothing right. A mid-table finish usually involves plenty of defeats along the way and any fan that is unable to accept that there are teams better than us in this division needs to wake-up and realise it’s not 2001 any more.

What we saw last night was the best team we’ve played this season teach us a lesson in football and they thoroughly deserved the three points. They’ve been in this division longer than we have, they have a strong team that was masked behind a 22nd place start to the season and the new manager has finally got them playing to their capabilities. We probably did underestimate them, but anyone who had seen them play prior to last night would have done the same.

So yes, we were thoroughly outplayed last night. Yes, Simon Grayson is partly responsible for that performance and yes, we do need to learn from our mistakes. What we don’t need is a mob of Leeds United fans undermining the credibility of our manager and calling for his head.

This, after all, is the same manager that masterminded a memorable win over Scum at Old Trafford. This is the manager that stopped the rot and finally dragged us out of League One. This manager has provided us with many more memorable moments besides, and he’s done all of this on a shoestring budget whilst the competition continue to snap up the players we need. More recently, this manager has guided us to a respectable 10th place start, despite the absence of several key players!

He will inevitably get it wrong from time to time and this season will be a difficult one of mixed emotions, but we have to stick with him and allow him to continue the steady progress he’s made in charge of Leeds United FC. So by all means blame it on the Howson, blame it on the Naylor, blame it on the Grayson and blame it on the boogie if you feel inclined to do so, but let’s at least try and keep things in perspective whilst we do so!