Brian McDermottIt just had to be Brian McDermott, didn’t it?

Following the loss of Nigel Adkins to Reading despite the best efforts of voluntary chief scout Neil Warnock, it was inevitable that modern-day Leeds United would merely have to settle for second best.

Only last week, we were told that the numbers of potential candidates were in double figures although quite why the reigning champion of Europe, as well as a manager who was only courted by a Premier League side a matter of weeks ago, would be tempted by a mid-table Championship club is anyone’s guess.

Even Mark Hughes, still recovering from the drying of his signature on Jose Bosingwa’s three-year Queens Park Rangers contract, was considered out of reach. Whilst his monstrous self-esteem only carries slight dents after his adventure on the Loftus Road Ghost Train, his levels of enticement are severely drained.

Yet he is still above Leeds United.

Despite the reflections of what could have been, there is much to admire about Brian McDermott; the last manager to escape this division with a league trophy in his hands; the current LMA Championship Manager of the Year; a recent winner of the Premier League Manager of the Month award.

Watching his Reading side intruding the elite league of English football this season, you could not help but sense an enormous feeling of unity and cohesion between players and manager. It is clearly an aspect of management that McDermott prides himself upon and is likely to ensure a repeat of his predecessor’s public, distasteful denouncing of Tom Lees at Portman Road never occurs during his tenure.

“Players need to feel special, valued and respected,” he told FourFourTwo magazine last November. “I don’t believe in having a blame culture… I’ve tried to create a calm and open atmosphere… you have to create an environment where they’re comfortable and relaxed.”

It is a principle that, if results work in his favour, will no doubt emerge as the outstanding factor of McDermott’s repertoire.

However, observing the former Reading manager on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday a fortnight ago, for all his (albeit predictable) tributes to Leeds United’s ‘amazing history’ and support, you failed to feel inspired by the potential appointment of a one-club man.

At the wrong club.

Is his deep emotional attachment with Berkshire too intense to allow him to succeed elsewhere?

It is a query that will only be answered by the first club to appoint the meek McDermott following his Reading departure, which consequently begs the question: Are Leeds United currently in a position to offer a 52-year-old an extended period of soul searching?

Whilst McDermott is by no means a misguided choice of manager, there is evidence to suggest that the ‘not football people’ of GFH and the fellow members of David Haigh and Salem Patel’s millionaire free-for-all have perhaps been a tad hasty in their signing of a replacement for Neil Warnock.

After all, the club statement in the immediate aftermath of Warnock’s exit outlined the desire for a ‘flexible approach, so as to ensure that we make the right appointment’ that ‘may will be (made) after the end of the season dependent on the availability of the club’s preferred choice to become the next manager’ with ‘no fixed timescale’ on proceedings.

The choice of language hinted towards the heralding of a wrangling summer saga of top-flight primadonna proportions – not the sprint we appear to have witnessed.

It would not be unfair, then, to suggest that Haigh, Patel and Co. may have been harried into a decision by the club’s threat, illusionary or otherwise, of relegation. If Leeds had managed to secure a point or – in their wildest dreams – stolen three at Charlton Athletic last weekend, would GFH have been on the verge of appointing McDermott prior to the visit of Sheffield Wednesday?

You suspect not.

Neil Redfearn’s open dissatisfaction regarding his shoving into the depths of a relegation scrap, you feel, also dictated the pace at which GFH took action.

And so arrives Brian McDermott, who now has only five games to discover that the vast majority of his adopted squad desperately lacks the quality required to return him to whence he came, further bittering his taste towards Anton Zingarevich’s wielding of an axe.

Unlike the previous regime, McDermott will ensure a collective, unified assault on glory is implemented, allowing those in the Revie Stand to emphasise the word ‘together’ in the Leeds United’s club song once more.

Whether the club will march on under McDermott’s stewardship, however, remains to be seen, for this is yet another chapter in the Leeds United’s history that raises more questions than answers.


48 Responses

  1. Jim

    A bit early for hypothetical over-analysis isn’t it?

    Here are the facts: McDermott is the right appointment at the right time.

    Now get behind the man and get behind the team. MOT

  2. John

    Exceptional piece of writing.

    The press conference was enough to convince me that McDermott is the right man for the job, but you do feel it was a decision forced by Leeds United’s unfortunate predicament.

  3. Tony

    Stop whining and get behind the new manager. He wasn’t my first choice either, but he is the man that has taken the Leeds United gauntlet and he deserves 100% backing from the fans now that he is here. Judge him on his results.

    • TSS

      I don’t think there was any criticism of McDermott, Ollie points out the man has all the right credentials, it’s the perceived dithering and indecisiveness of those above McDermott that worries.

      Just another indication of how desperately we need to appoint a new chairman in my opinion. I have no faith whatsoever in Shaun “3 administrations” Harvey while both Haigh & Patel spend way too much time outside the country to run a football club.

      I know someone will point out Bates is still Chairman, but has anyone seen or heard from him lately? Really need to get someone in to take over the chairman’s seat ASAP.

      • spellz

        Yeah I agree, whatever happened to Adam Pearson? I thought he was genuinely interested.

      • TSS

        He denied any interest, said he’s happy where he is for now.

        Steve Parkin rumour still going strong but the YEP said he’d lost the Saudi backer he was bidding with and was looking for new investors to team up with, so it’s sounds as if we’d be in exactly the same situation we are now with him – albeit with a lifelong Leeds fan as majority owner.

      • spellz

        I hope someone takes the seat soon so as a unit, fans, manager and chairman can move forward in the same direction, UP.

      • Ev

        LOL so a completely different situation then because a majority shareholder thats a leeds fan is more likely to do whats best for the team and not his pocket or the pockets of his shareholders like GFH undoubtedly will when ten million gets offered for Byram in the summer…. I cant emphasise enough that talented youngsters are what keeps you up if you get promoted because they can ADAPT. If you sell them for a fast buck and get some jearneymen in then your sowing your own doom as far as im concerned……..its a short termist ideal

      • Tare

        Yep SH was in this media conference maybe a little bit out of order. As I have been there sometimes then it seems that his body language told me more than spoken words; there is some kind of Chaiman issue going on? Chairman who has decision power and dosh to do that is needed for sure.


  4. Craig Sweaton

    I think it shows that no success is expected over the next year and that the club would like him to work his “scouting magic” to bring in cheapies. To me it shows a lack of gfh’s commitment. Hope I’m wrong cos I just sent off my season ticket application! Lol

  5. Richard

    Back to good old LUFC negativity, within what 5 hours of announcement? And how did you come up with Mark Hughes being above Leeds United?

  6. spellz

    I dont usually refer to Wiki but here is the facts at his time at reading :-

    Following the sacking of Brendan Rodgers, McDermott was appointed manager of Reading. In his first season as manager of Reading he led them into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time in 83 years, a run that included knocking out Liverpool at Anfield. The following season he repeated the feat, this time with an away win over Liverpool’s city rivals Everton. McDermott lead Reading to a Championship playoff final, where they lost toSwansea City, and the following season Reading were promoted to the Premier League.

    At the end of the day he is young obviously shrewd with his signings and most importantly is not afraid to try and be ambitious in his aspirations of success, in my eyes a positive appointment like I said in the previous post we need to remain in this division and launch our attack on the auto spot next season under his management and secretly I am really looking forward to it. M.O.T

  7. henrymouni

    It is great to hear that we have appointed Mr McDermott, and even better that we have done it now.

    Plenty of time to prepare for next season.

    • TSS

      Agree it’s the right time, too late if anything. Warnock should have been sacked months ago, there was simply no point hanging on to a manager who had failed to commit to the club beyond the end of the season and wasn’t getting results.

      The next 5 games provide an ideal opportunity for McDermott to assess the squad he has, that’s a luxury few managers get. It should leave him well-prepared for the summer months.

  8. Ev

    Firstly id like to welcome Brian to Leeds and I think he was a good choice but only time will tell how it will work out. I will give him my full support.

    However with regards to one comment made during the press conference about selling players….. 9 times out of ten when clubs sell their star players (especially youngsters) they dont replace them with similar quality or potential…. I can think of virtually no clubs that have successfully done this…. even the likes of Arsenal have failed in this regard.

    So for Leeds fans to proclaim the potential sale of Byram to Man city as good value is both nieve and short sighted….. What happens if we get promoted ….do we go out and spend 10 million on a similar calbre player with half the potential and even less loyalty ???

    The answer is keep your skilled youngsters or face mediocrity in your long term future…… The reason Wilkos leeds made the transition to top flight and carried on up the ladder was partly because they kept the kids (batty and Speed)

    • TSS

      It’s not that simple though unfortunately. If we were in the Prem, I’d wholeheartedly agree, but in the Championship it’s not the same.

      If we sell Byram for £10m then there’ll be a dramatic decrease in quality at RB, but the 5-6 players we could buy with that cash would hugely increase the team’s overall quality.

      Take Byram out and add 5-6 players of George Boyd’s quality, do you honestly think we wouldn’t be a better team on balance?

      Also, if it’s a deal which includes a loan-back to Elland Road then we really would be dancing. £10m to spend and Byram back for the season would go a long way towards making us serious promotion contenders.

      There’s a lot of ifs though. Firstly, Byram is under contract, ultimately the decision is his regardless of whether the club wants to sell or not, and secondly, it depends on whether the money would be reinvested or used to service the holes in our turnover which Ken Bates left behind.

      PS – You can’t compare Wilko’s situation with football today, there was no Sky Sports money creating a huge gulf in finance between ourselves, the Premier League and half the teams in this league benefiting from parachute payments.

      • Ev

        Yes and this is the argument used everytime we sell one of our young players. A/ Your assuming that money WILL get plowed back into the team rather than IB bank shareholders and B/ Leeds surely have the ambition to go up and STAY UP ?? or have you lost hope TSS >? If we want to stay up you need young players because they are the ones who will adapt best. Both Don Revies team and Wilkos team kept the youngsters when they got promotion….so i guess it jiust comes down to how ambitious our owners are,,,,

      • TSS

        In fairness, I said it was based on a lot of “ifs”.

        There’s another one fans always refuse to consider too – what if Sam wants to go? We’re talking Man City here, they’re a very big club who will win silverware. It’s hard for football fans to get to the grips with the idea that there are bigger clubs than Leeds a lot of our players would rather be at, but that’s the grim reality of modern football.

        Again, both Don Revie and Wilkinson managed in an era you can’t compare to today. The gulf in finances between the divisions didn’t exist back then, nowadays you need to be in the Prem until you have the kind of money to build and retain a Prem squad because your players will leave for the Bentley’s and Cheshire mansions. That wasn’t the case in Wilko’s era.

      • Flood

        As a leeds fan and season ticket holder, I really hope we get relegated. Clowns such as Patel, haigh and bates will then realise they can’t bleed us for any more money and piss off. Look at Chester city. An example to us all. They have risen without baggage and are owned by the fans!

      • Lufc1979ish

        I think people have unfairly tarnished GFH with the same brush as bates, yet my instincts are telling me that we need to wait and see. They haven’t been at the club long, they have reduced ticket prices and I hope they give the manager some money to spend. Yes they may be in it to make money, but lets not be naive enough to think they bought LUFC just to sell byram who wasn’t even known about when negotiations started. I think GFH want to get us into the premier league to reap the rewards and then we the fans also win. Or at least lets just wait and see before we get the knifes out.

    • Morcar's Hill

      Absolutely. Mowatt and Dawson – gonna be the new Bremner and Giles

  9. Captain_Peacock

    Oh dear, oh my, the ne’er sayers are out already – before the ink has even had time to dry on McDermott’s contract! I watched the press conference in full and saw a shy, humble man burning with desire and a hunger to succeed. To prove a point if you will. Let us not forget that our 2 most successful managers were uncomfortable in front of the cameras – Messers Revie and Wilkinson. Both did their talking behind the scenes and the players actions spoke louder than words. We dabbled with brash young managers in the past (a certain Mr Clough) and look what happened. I too originally wanted Adkins but let us not forget that Nigel Adkins’ Southampton finished second behind Brian McDermott’s Reading last season. Ihonestly believe we have at last found the right man to tie up all the loose ends at the club. He has done everything from manager, coach, youths and scout. It doesn’t matter if it with one club or 50 clubs. In fact, I would go further – to have done every job at one club proves he must have done something right! Let us get behind him and all of us play our part in moving this great club in the right direction. MOT

    • Ev

      I agree, i loved his press conference…. he was asked direct questions on selling players and responded correctly. Im happy that we have employed a good manager and a good man. The only concern i have is that the board does have the clubs best interests at heart rather than their own pockets or their share holders. Its another reason why we need Parkin on board asap because thats our best chance to keep hold of sam byram….. If its down to shareholders and banks it will be money first every time unfortunately and in someways im jealous of Portsmouth for now being completely owned by the fans….. Atleast they now know that EVERY decision made at that club will be in the interests of the football team….

  10. Northumberland LUFC

    An excellent appointment, BMc will bring so much to Elland Road IMO and in turn this will have a massive effect on the positives of Leeds fans far & wide, the players, and the clubs progression.
    He’s been appointed at the right time, as others have said previously he has time to assess the squad. However, he deserves to be given time and patience from everyone, fans and board alike. We aren’t going to become premier league all stars overnight.

    Marching On Together

  11. darlo andy

    I think it is a good appointment. i hadn’t previously been overly enthused over McDermott, but couldn’t tell you who i felt was better for the job. Having seen the press conference i was impressed by what he had to say and it might just be a good thing to have an understated manager who lets his record do the talking rather than an arrogant idiot. I have a good feeling about it.

  12. Alex

    I dont agree with your final statement “for this is yet another chapter in the Leeds United’s history that raises more questions than answers.” its not really justified.

  13. Lufc1979ish

    Oh what a shame some people think mark Hughes is above Leeds united or mark Hughes deems himself above Leeds united. Personally I think as a manager he’s been a massive failure and I’m delighted he thinks he’s above us. In fact I couldn’t be happier. Welcome to Leeds united Brian McDermott. Good luck fella!!

  14. Reiver

    Love all the positivity and the unbridled optimism – not unlike Warnock’s appointment. How long will it last I wonder? McDermott is the best we can get – the best we can afford. Beggars can’t be choosers.

  15. Mcmarshon

    Have to laugh about all this parkin stuff. I played golf with his cousin last week, he told me that the offer is there on the table. He wasn’t in Dubai scratching around for investors, actually in kuwait for the horse racing ! Main issues are with the ownership of the ground & thorpe arch, all very understandable. To hypothesise, would you buy a car engine with nothing to run it in ? No, I wouldn’t either. Until that is sorted, i.e. in with the sale or an option for later then it simply wont happen. He has the money, the deal needs to be right for him, and why shouldn’t it be ?

  16. Goodngone

    The last thing Leeds need now is negativity so the new appointment should not automatically be thrown in to the same pot of bad feeling some fans feel about GFH.

    When you say ”for this is yet another chapter in the Leeds United’s history that raises more questions than answers” you don”t explain why. What questions does it raise that can’t be answered?

    He’s a PROVEN manager already in my opinion. Give him a chance and give us all a chance without being so negative.

    On and on….

  17. Kevin Robinson

    McDermott was my man for the job before Warnock had even stepped down. I believe he will work to understand what makes the players tick, how to play to our strengths, also incorporating a style to please the fans at Elland Road. I also believe he won’t need to buy too many players in the summer. Warnock being a manager who confused our good footballers with out of date, long ball tactics. Long story short, roll on the glory days back to LUFC! MOT!!

  18. Darren

    McDermott is equal to Adkins really, so I don’t understand the negativity. Also, with regards to Mark Hughes………… He is a terrible manager and would never be accepted by fans at Leeds. No idea why you even mention him to be honest. I hope that Brian Mc can repeat the success he achieved at Reading with Leeds and we can get back where we belong. ON ON ON

  19. number1inyorkshire

    i am Yorkshire through and through but listening to Harvey makes me want to reach for the whippet and flat cap .. he is no ambassador for either Yorkshire nor leeds united …
    Anyways back to McDermott he is the right man for the job however ,he will not be should he get us promoted …..
    Some players and managers have a top limit of their ability Warnock been a prime example of that McDermott is the same ..
    It would have been better to go and get someone with a premier league track record than to sack McDermott when we struggle should he get us up …
    It would have cost more now but in the long run it would have been cheaper ….

  20. Dr Zen

    McDermott’s as good a choice as anyone available or likely to be available in the summer. I hope he does snap up some quality players on the cheap. At our level, the ability to grab someone good at a bargain cost is priceless. We know GFH don’t have millions to pump into the side. We all wish we could see some genuine investment but I don’t think it’s likely to happen. So a decent manager who can work on a budget sounds good to me.

    • henrymouni

      Exciting times!

      The only worry I had was that in his press conference he said he has known Gwyn (what does he do all day) Williams for years, and had seen him at many games scouting for players.

      I wonder who he was scouting for??

  21. Oliver Harden

    For the record, I think McDermott is an astute appointment with the ideal credentials and personality for Leeds’ current situation, even if you get the uneasy feeling that GFH are very much learning as they go along.

    To clarify the confusion regarding the ‘more questions than answers’ part of the conclusion, the article is littered with a handful of suggestions, rhetorical questions and points (not necessarily my own beliefs) that I think are worth exploring, or at least noting, amid the sheer elation of Messiah McDermott’s arrival.

  22. Notfamousanymore

    Stick or twist is always a hard call. Would we have been better waiting til the end of the season? If we had waited, would we have been better grabbing McDermott or Adkins? It’s all hypothetical.

    I do agree that GFH chose the wrong time to dump Warnock. December 1 would have been better and give a new manager a run at the Jan window. Certainly after the capitulations at Barnsley and hull, and the public failure of relationships with some of the players culminating in the Becchio fiasco.

    Given where we are and given Redfearns obvious discomfort with being a caretaker – McDermott was a decent call. Better than Coyle or McLeish. Certainly better than Hughes, and I don’t know where you got the idea Ollie that Hughes was ‘above us’. The guy is serially incompetent.

    Better than Di Matteo? Don’t know. RDM would have been a big statement of intent.

    I’m happy this morning with my club- something I have not thought for a while.

    Agree we need some proper club/ board leadership though. And maybe a director of football. Dominic Matteo? Eddie Gray?

  23. CorbyWhite

    Very poor, negative article. Mark Hughes was NEVER a contender for the job.

  24. Grav Prosser

    He would have been my first choice. Ahead of Adkins or Hughes. McDermott is charting new waters in terms of modern football management. If we stay up I can’t wait for next season.

  25. Irving08

    Once Warnock had persuaded GFH that it was time for him go – instead of staying to ensure we stayed up – the field of feasible candidates sudddenly narrowed. Even GFH could not risk us going into these last games leaderless. Personally I am relieved it is not Adkins, Hughes or whoever; though doisapointed it could not be Poyet. Still we have a Manager with echoes of Don Revie both in the way he talks and in what he says. Also Mcdermott’s forte appears to be improving players and we haven’t had a Manager since McCallister who can do that. The spineless, selfish and shameless individual who has just left us complained in his Indy column today that he had put on weight, ascribing it to worry. We all know different.

  26. Griff

    I will not be reading you articles again, this was my first time. I really struggled to read your, slandering article with lack of commas and full stops. The


    sentences left me unable to keep up with what you are “trying ” to say.

    I think, especially after the excellent start, Brian McDermott is the Manager who will take us up, in a couple/few years ! Have a nice life, signing off , Griff.

  27. Dilip khednah

    Early days. Just got to wait and see if he brings and players to the team and,at the same time, which players will be leaving us. It looks hopeful,I just hope he can turn things around and get us back to track for next season. But it does look hopeful.

  28. Reiver

    It’s a daft question that can only be asked around Christmas time; he has a lot of work ahead of him rebuilding the squad. I am far more optimistic though than when Warnock was given the job. It remains to be seen what backing, if any, he is given by the owners. He did well at QPR on a budget but he has taken on a far tougher job at ER.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.