Love affair with McDermott hits rocky waters TSS July 26, 2013 Leeds United 112 Comments I wouldn’t say I’ve fallen out of love with McDermott, but the honeymoon period is over and I’m starting to notice a few little flaws. I’d say they’re slightly irritating right now, but anyone who has been in a failed relationship knows how quickly a few minor quirks can become the fuel of outright hatred. Over time, we exaggerate the severity of these flaws and they slowly drive us mental. Luke Murphy is one such annoyance. I don’t understand why we spent £1m on a position where we have a ludicrous amount of players if there’s no money to spend elsewhere. McDermott himself has acknowledged the need for wingers, yet he decided to splash out big money (by Leeds’ standards) on a position where we should be clearing players out before adding more of them. I appreciate that time was an issue with the Murphy transfer and Leeds were forced into action by interest from elsewhere, but McDermott must realise that every other position on the pitch is more in need of strengthening than central midfield. There’d have been no major crisis had we failed to sign Murphy, we’d have been plenty strong enough in the centre of the park with or without his signature. By signing Murphy we appear to have hindered our ability to strengthen in the areas of real concern. That’s bad judgement in my opinion. Our priorities seem to be confused. This leads me to questioning the owners for sanctioning Murphy’s transfer. McDermott can probably be forgiven if he didn’t think it would effect his ability to strengthen elsewhere, but the owners should have questioned why we needed another central midfielder when we have more cover in this position than most Champions League clubs. But maybe they did? Maybe McDermott assured the owners that he would clear other players out? It’s not an unfair demand for the owners to make. Signing players is easy, anyone could do that. But managers have to be able to clear players out too. It doesn’t matter how bad you think these players are, or how overpaid they may be, they’re professional footballers. They didn’t fluke their way to that position, they made it because a professional football club thought they were good enough and paid them to serve. A big part of a managers job is the trading of professional football players. It’s one of the key differences that separates him from a coach. In McDermott, Leeds United have signed someone I believe to be a very good coach and an exceptional scout, but I’m not entirely convinced he’s ruthless enough for management. He just seems too nice. On the list of greatest sinners McDermott may rank a few places below Adolf Hitler, but excessive niceness is a flaw. We’re a week away from the new season and the clear-out we all knew was needed has failed spectacularly. All the while, McDermott keeps telling us that he’s waiting to see what happens – a worryingly passive statement to make in pre-season. Sitting and waiting for the phone to ring has failed to clear anyone, it’s time to change tack. The most worrying thing is that the players don’t seem to understand they’re not wanted. I doubt many agents are scouting new clubs for their clients while McDermott keeps playing them all in pre-season. Even Ryan Hall, the only player McDermott seemed to have shut out has been reassured that he can have a future with Leeds. Leeds were in a similar situation last year. Fans were lambasting the quality of player Simon Grayson left behind, sympathising with the job Neil Warnock had to do in clearing them out while praising the additions he managed to make (many of whom are now considered “deadwood”). But Neil Warnock approached the situation head on. His first move was to issue a list of players he considered surplus to requirements leaving no room for emotion and no fifteenth chance to prove themselves. Leeds United no longer required their services, other clubs were alerted to the availability of these individuals and agents knew they had to find their client a new club. You could argue the result was somewhat mixed, but it was certainly better than what McDermott has managed to do so far. Players knew where they stood, clubs knew who was available and Warnock managed to make a lot of transfers happen. I’m not saying Neil Warnock was a better manager because he was always a bad fit for Leeds, nor am I calling an end to the love affair with Brian McDermott. But clearing out players was one area in which Warnock got it right and it’s difficult to not look back on that fling and wish McDermott shared a bit of Warnock’s ruthlessness.