Various news outlets, including Sky Sports New and the Yorkshire Evening Post, are reporting that Leeds United fans wait for Brian McDermott’s successor will come to an end today as Massimo Cellino unveils David Hockaday as the new Whites boss.

The extent of Hockaday’s powers remains to be seen, Cellino has stated on several occasions he intends to hire a coach to lead the first team instead of the more traditional management role we more commonly see here in England which usually gives the boss of a football club control over transfer targets, contracts and so forth.

The ‘European model’ Cellino intends to use instead generally means someone else deals with player signings and contracts, leaving the “manager” to simply coach the team, train them and select the line-up and tactics.

If Hockaday is to become Leeds’ new Head Coach, he’ll be something of an obscure choice having very little experience in such a position and none whatsoever at this level. His only management role to date was at lowly Forest Green Rovers, where he was relegated from the Conference and only narrowly missed out on relegation from the Conference South the following season. His overall win record with the club stands at a rather uninspiring 33%.

Perhaps the appealing part of Hockaday’s CV is his experience developing players. He was responsible for setting up the first English football academy at Cirencester, going on to win a National College Championship and seeing his idea adopted by professional clubs around the country.

By 2000, Hockaday was working as the Under 18 coach of Watford where he is credited with helping to develop quite a few big name players, including Manchester United striker Ashley Young. He was later promoted to first team coach and helped Watford to promotion in 2005, only to be fired by Aidy Boothroyd two years later. Since then, Hockaday has had coaching spells with MK Dons, Southampton and Cheltenham Town.

While parts of Hockaday’s CV are indeed encouraging, particularly for a club like Leeds United who have a great history of producing our own players, there’s no escaping the feeling he’s being hired because he represents the cheapest option for Cellino and that means he’ll be starting out with an awful lot to prove.

How Hockaday copes with a club as high-profile as Leeds United, where he’ll constantly be the subject of media scrutiny and have to deal with the lofty expectations of one of the country’s biggest clubs will be his greatest test of all. Many talented and experienced managers have failed spectacularly on the path Hockaday is set to travel, but motivation shouldn’t be hard to come by, after all, this will be the biggest job of his lifetime and a make or break moment for his career in professional football.

Hockaday - Right man for the job?

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61 Responses

  1. Bluesmab

    I think that this is arguably one of the worst appointments that I can ever recall at Leeds. Cellino is really putting his reputation on the line. Why sack zbM to bring this nan in? I am sure test some fans will walk away. I never thought that he would bring in a top coach, but in ever expected thus. You could not make it up!

    • John Drake

      He probably couldn’t lose as many, or in as poor a manner than the team under Brian McD did, could he?

      • Bluesman

        There are far better coaches out there. This appointment is rock bottom. If this is the start of things to come we will be the shit by October, never mind Christmas. Cellino is making us into a joke!

      • lufc31

        It’s clear to me that Cellino just wants a muppet opps sorry puppet and we’ve had a manager since the day Cellino took over leeds. If I knew that’s all he wanted I would of gone for the job :)

      • Pez

        I thought that if you apply for a job with a CV that clearly demonstrates that you lack experience and the skills required at a particular level then your application goes straight in the bin?

        This appointment is an embarrassment to everyone connected to our club. We have better coaches already here therefore If the new format is to go forward with a coach then why go and recruit Hockaday? Did he come from the job centre?

      • henrymouni

        Anyone who watched yesterdays press conference, will be very worried.
        Mr C admitted he did not know Mr Hockaday.
        ‘Someone’ mentioned him to Mr C at a hotel, and he appointed him on gut instinct only.
        He did admit that he could be wrong (as he has been MANY times before).
        Mr Hockyourvaluables said that WE the fans, had to win HIS confidence!!
        It is common for ‘ordinary’ folk, to think that people with a lot of money are smart, intelligent & wise.
        They are not!
        Massimo looked out of his depth, and I can only see trouble ahead! AGAIN!!!LOL

  2. Helen LUFC

    I’m surprised why fans feel confused by this appointment? He’s a coach, which Cellino wanted; the clubs got no money, so he’s cheap; he will in way oppose anything Cellino wants to pass at the club, unlike McDermott; and the sale of McCormack to line Cellino’s pockets will be undertaken with minimum fuss. Cellino was never going to appoint an established name to take over and block him having his say in the club he’s invested in. Carbone will be the real man with power,in footballing terms, but won’t be taking the flak, like McDermott did. There will be no expectations in terms of transfer spending from the coach. We can’t replace the existing squad, so need to get them to start playing. Why can’t a footballing coach do that? Warnock was an established name in football at this level, look at the garbage he produced; McDermott no better. Worst comes to the worst if he fails he won’t cost a lot to sack, so it’s a safe appointment for Cellino and a club that is skint.

    • Mark

      A safe appointment for whom? This guy has no track record whatsoever other than getting a non league side relegated, and almost relegated again the following season. Make no mistake this is a catastrophic appointment, a truly dreadful day in the history of Leeds United. If Cellino really wants promotion by 2016 this isn’t the way to do it. How does a “coach” of such limited experience or success possibly inspire, motivate or earn the respect of any of the other players or staff at the club. His appointment, if confirmed, is a complete joke. I thought we had plumbed new depths under GFH, obviously not. When this ridiculous appointment backfires (it’s a matter of how many weeks) what then. Maybe we could hire a PE teacher from a local school, he/she couldn’t be any more a laughable appointment than this.

  3. tim campbell

    You are right TSS in saying Waccaday sorry Hockaday is the cheapest option. With all the obvious restrictions you have mentioned such as not signing players, I wonder how many more well known choices out there would have wanted the job anyway. As I said on the YEP yesterday with hockaday there are zero expectations so in a strange crazy kind of way it just might work. Certainly a different format to anything we had before. Let’s hope he’s keeping all his cash for the new signings

    • Chareose

      That logic would follow if you made the assumption he actually had any talent. Based on his CV and performance he doesn’t ????

  4. Paul Snowdon

    If it’s a cheap option Cellini wants, then promote Gibbs. If he wants a cheap option with a proven record, then hire Noel Blake. But not Hockaday. This is just depressing.

  5. Anthony Dickinson

    What I want to know is … who are the 9% who think Hock is right?

  6. Cohen

    This is interesting, with MC’s track record for finding no name coaches and making them known, we could be in for a surprise. I am very keen to see this guys formation and tactics as ive heard that it is a quick passing game he prefers. NW was a big name but the football produced was very poor. I would gladly wait 2 years to get into the prem if Leeds become an exciting team to watch. because in the end thats what you pay for and expect.

  7. northernoctopus

    There are many better, more talented options than Hockaday. We should be picking up a young talented manager on the up, not a clapped out failure on the way down. He was reportedly sacked by Boothroyd after the players complained and you just have a look at any Forest Green forum to see that he was not liked by the fans. How on earth are the players going to respect someone who many see as playing for inferior clubs and coaching inferior teams? He is the man nobody wants.

  8. Ron

    If we lose Ross McCormack, which looks very likely, it really won’t matter who is ‘coaching’ us. In fairness to this guy, I hope the fans give him a chance. With regards to fears of not signing players because of his appointment, in this division money talks and Cellino will be the deciding factor. Celliono wants a ‘Yes’ man and we as fans need to accept the new normal.

  9. SVS

    This is a very poor appointment. How can the players have any respect for him?.

  10. Uniteds21

    Some real inteersting comments – no matter how bad this guy is he cannot be worse than McD record since Christmas!!! We have tried the so called names but they havn’t worked so lets give the guy a chance. Helen – I take exception to your comments that Cellino is selling Ross to line his pockets; the man has done nothing but put money into the club and he will have to put alot more in. Ross wants to go; it is as simple as that – have we all forgotten the come and get me plea in the last hours of the Jan tansfer window. Hopefully MC is going to ensure we more than what he is worthe rather then giving him away as we have done in the past. MOT

    • Helen LUFC

      Cellino is only putting money in to the club to get money out, he’s not doing it out of the good of his own heart or for the love of the club, he won’t even spend any time in Leeds much. He will realise there is money to be made from the club, as have previous owners, with fans turning up regardless each week. Selling Ross isn’t bad business, either, as he has only had one decent season and to get five or six million for him is amazing considering how poor he was the two seasons prior to this. Hockaday might be a good appointment, and who cares if he can’t inspire some of the rubbish players we have at the club? They nearly got us relegated last season, why would Cellino keep them anyway? I hope his appointment will mean an influx of younger, hungrier pros that want a challenge, unlike Warnock or McDermott’s approach of the ‘old boys reunion’ routine. The club has needed shaking up, this is definitely the start of it. Hockaday might fail, so nothing new there then? Good look to him, and it is at least refreshing Cellino is trying something different.

      • Chareose

        Bit baffled about the Ross McCormack comments, first he was played on the wing or as a sub by Warnock and the previous season he got into double figures………….. Also a bit OOT about Cellino. Hes already paid in 30 to 50 million so it would take him years of treading water to make that back and its very unlikely that Leeds would make a profit. Cellino isn’t he to run leeds in the championship, He wants the premiership….
        Hockaday would signify Cellinos first big mistake however. Any money saved in appointing a cheap nobody will be lost in reduced season ticket revenue and loss of club momentum / prestige. I don’t see how it would help stability either as you know hed be gone in a few months.
        Someone needs to talk some sense into the Italian as I think this decision is born of his ignorance of the british game.

      • TSS

        “Hes already paid in 30 to 50 million”

        Nothing close to that so far, he paid around £6m up front (rest is over several years, which isn’t unusual) and a couple of million more in debt repayments. Circa £10m is more accurate.

        As to McCormack, I tend to dismiss comments made about any player being linked with a move away. I’m not saying this is true of the OP, but you’ll find that whenever a player is linked with a move elsewhere, a lot of fans start to justify it by claiming he’s not that important and we don’t care. It’s jilted lover syndrome. I’d understand if he left personally, he’s stuck with us through an awful lot of nonsense yet promotion still doesn’t feel any closer and he isn’t getting any younger. Hiring a “manager” with no real pedigree isn’t going to inspire much belief in him either.

      • Chareose

        hes also paid the players wages for a number of months and various debts amounting to millions and is committed financially for the rest of the cash required to buy the club………

    • TSS

      “We have tried the so called names but they havn’t worked”

      While true, the reason we haven’t had any success is because no one has spent any money for a decade and we keep selling our best players. No club succeeds under such circumstances no matter who the manager is.

  11. bd

    Just shows what a priority/important Cellino thinks a head coach is.
    If he really valued the reading coach he would have paid the compensation of £400,000.
    I expect a new coach every year as this is cellinos method.

  12. Blackpool whites

    How can we be looking forward to new season & fixtures when we appoint a useless nobody like hockaday. Can see a lot of empty seats at ER this new season. MOT.

  13. strandli

    Leeds fans who wonder about Cellino should consider the maxim: if it
    quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck, it’s a duck. here’s what
    he’s done so far:
    * reneged on a promise to buy back the ground
    * got ready to sell our best player
    * mooted closing the academy, for good
    * recruited
    a joke of a coach/manager, solely on the basis that he will be able to
    pay him peanuts – he might as well have appointed Taddy Albion’s coach
    * sacked dozens of staff
    * signed no players, and shown no indication of doing so
    * failed to organise a pre-season
    guy’s intention is to sluice as much cash out of the club as he can be
    slashing spending to the bone, in the expectation that mugs like us will
    continue to buy merchandise and provide him with 20k plus crowds, no
    matter how bad they get. Those looking to give him the benefit of the doubt I say – there is no doubt. Look at what’s under your nose!

  14. henrymouni

    I could not vote on the survey as I have never heard of Mr Hockaday.
    Mr Cellino is our manager, scout, commercial manager, general manager and press officer.
    He has no time to coach the team, so needs someone to do that, as cheaply as possible.
    He is very similar to Bates.
    Likes his yes-men.
    Thinks he knows best.
    He, like Bates, has money, but will spend little on the team, it seems.
    It is either a stroke of genius, or the biggest disaster since Bates, GFH & the clockwork sausage!
    Having two son’s on the board makes sense?? Should guarantee support for Mr C.
    I am losing interest in the whole business, but live in hope.

  15. MK_81

    Let’s hope for all our sakes that Hockaday is a great coach and man-manager despite a mediocre CV so far.

    I’m more interested in what players Cellino brings in to be honest- if he genuinely pulls a rabbit or two out of the hat as per various twitter rumours then that’ll change the mood. He’d better get his skates on though it’s been all talk and no trousers so far.

  16. Matthew

    However you look at it, whatever the angle you look at it, whatever state of mind you look at it, for the club the size of Leeds United, appointing Hockaday would be an absolutely disgrace to the name and history of the club.

  17. lufcboy

    We’re pretty much fucked before we even kick a ball. RM will be sold for sure, as for “The Hock” it just beggers belief. The only thing I can think of is that MC had a few quid on when the odds were 50/1.
    I was looking forward to the new season but all my optimism has just drained away. RIP this season.

    • Matthew

      I would get behind any manager with at least some experience and success at Premier League/Championship/League 1 level. But the very idea of having Hockaday is absolute lunacy, we’re not some small two bit team, we’re Leeds United, we deserve and should have better than this. I would happily have Redfearn or Gibbs instead, Redfearn has been loyal to the club and deserves the chance if Cellino is going cheap.

  18. Robert Foster

    Seems Hockaday has made a massive step down to try and get a failed managerial career off the floor.

    • henrymouni

      Seems we will all be taking a step down Robert.
      Could Cellino be worse than Bates??
      Ah well!
      Where is my dinner?

  19. Scotty1970

    Absolute mockery our club has been through some dark times in the last decade but I think this is about as low as we can sink the fella was sacked from a non-league job what does that tell you I think we may be playing forest green at this rate and I don’t think that’s by them winning promotion more like us been relegated!!

    • henrymouni

      Still nothing official Scotty.
      While we are in the dark we live in hope, but it does seem that it will be him.
      I wonder how Mr Hockaday feels, knowing the fans are not keen.
      It is certain that Massimo knows how the majority of fans feel, but does he care?
      We may have more coaches than players?

  20. King Billy

    It’s pretty clear that by appointing a stooge and a back room assistant Junior Lewis that Cellino will be in charge of everything but fitness and conditioning. I hope so because these two have very little experience at managing at this level. Also MC has a fierce reputation of hiring and firing coaches.

    • henrymouni

      I think Mr Cellino will be involved in the fitness too, King Billy.
      I heard a whisper that he will be asking the players to cycle to both home and away games.
      That will save a bit of money also!

  21. henrymouni

    He has got the job so I wish him all the very best.
    I listened to his first interview, and he sounds as keen as any new coach.
    He is grateful for the chance, so won’t give Massimo any trouble.
    He wants to assess the current squad!
    That won’t take long.
    Onward and upward!

    He has even brought his own helmet, for meetings with Mr C

    • mrbigwheels

      Always cheerful Henry… well done.

      He’s working for free until Christmas according to the new LUFC model.
      Onward and outward.

  22. mrbigwheels

    Cheapest option!…. I don’t think so… How many f””g Jokers do you get in a pack of cards?… Five obviously.

    And… there’s worse to come!. Bates is laughing his head off… over the road.

    • henrymouni

      Great to hear from you Mr B.
      What worries me is that, even at a lower level, he has a terrible track record.
      His win rate is around 32%.
      He did a crap job at Forrest Green, even though he had a ‘big’ transfer budget.
      Indeed, they would have been relegated if not for ‘a technicality’.
      If he was coming with a good record from the lower leagues, you would hope he could do well.
      It beggars belief!
      How will the coaches we already have react to him as their boss?

      He needs a total transformation in his career to date!!

      • mrbigwheels

        Thanks Henry…

        Nothing to worry about… I think Cellino will manage everything apart from the kit.
        Kings Lynn Town look more exiting for me at the moment… at least their manager has League experience…
        The five live team seem to be giggling a bit and Danny Mills is puzzled… ”join the club mate”…
        Can see a few jumping ship pretty quick. Don’t think Cellino will be bothered if most of the present coaching staff bugger ‘orf’ right now.

        Wish Hockadoo all the best… We mustn’t forget whose in charge!.


    • Matthew

      While I don’t think we will be relegated, if this is the calibre of person Cellino is going for, we won’t see the Premier League anytime soon, I think we’ll just have to accept mid table mediocrity for the foreseeable future.
      Would have hoped that Cellino would put his ego aside and appoint a proper manager, someone who will work side by side with him if he wants to be hands on, but at the same time someone who won’t be a yes man and will assert himself. If basically mortified at this appointment, but at the same time, it is what it is, we’ll just have to accept that he’s here.

  23. PMH

    Those eternal optimists who had their hopes up that Cellino would spend money and improve the club, can now come back to earth. ALL the evidence was that the new owner had terrible judgement, and now we see it first hand. Of course, you never know what will happen, but the chances of this coach commanding the respect of the team are slim. My guess is that he was hired to be fired, the scapegoat when things go bad. Here is my plea: don’t blame Hockaday, it’s not his fault he got hired. Was he going to turn down the job? Whatever disasters ensue, it is directly down to Cellino.

  24. mrbigwheels

    I don’t feel any better or have a more constructive view today of this appointment.

    Having watched yesterdays press conference with MC and launch of the ‘new man’, I can only say they both looked and sounded like they’d met on, had sex, and were both sat there looking and sounding… full of crap……

    Yesterdays appointment is not the main event. Sit tight and have a strong one.

    • Matthew

      Admittidly Gerrands assist for Suarezs second goal was pretty good, for a Striker like Suarez, Gerrard set him up perfectly with that header, not even Hunt would have messed that up if that was us lol

  25. Mike

    Not every coach started at the top..

    We took two “bigger names” in the last two years and of course because of the name behind them we did better correct? “Proven men” fail just as easy as lesser known names, think that shows quite clearly in the avg lifespan of a coach now(what’s it 8-12 months if lucky?). So we find a guy we’ve heard of that’s been fired from 5-6(often times even more) other big jobs and where does that get us? If they were such high quality managers why were they fired so many times and are jobless for an extended periods of time?

    I’ll give a quick example: people preferred Gary Mac(probably because Leeds fans ALWAYS can’t let go of people that have moved on), his last mgr job was a caretaker in 2011 if he’s so good why has no one wanted him since? You’re aware his career manager winning % is 36% right? Like i said just an example, not an end all.

    • henrymouni

      We have to get behind him Mike, and hope he gets full support from Massimo.
      Certainly, he would have to be really bad to be worse than others we have had in the last 10 years, as you say.
      It would be very unfair to persecute him before he has a chance.
      We will have a lot of coaches at the club, so the players will get more attention!
      Massimo is a character, and typical Italian in temperament.
      It will be an interesting season, and we will have a ‘hands on’ President.
      Bring it on!!!

      • Mike

        Not only that but I imagine Nicola Salerno should be coming soon, he’s rejected Palermo in the last week and he’s really close to Cellino. They built their current squad together off of a short budget in comparison to many Italian top flight teams.

        Leeds supporters its simple, moaning and acting like children literally wont do anything to effect Cellino or what he’s going to do(short of stopping his taxi from leaving ER, but that’s for another day). If you love the club like I do, support the team you love through it all.

        Brian got one thing right when he said “We need everyone moving in the same direction”

      • Matthew

        I love how you’re so dismissive of opinions that conflict with your own, if you want people to accept your opinions, try being respectful of others.

      • Mike

        I’m just trying to view this objectively, how can you say Hock would fail if he hasn’t even coached a game? We have no evidence he’ll fail other than people’s opinion at this point.

        You’re entitled to your opinion just as I am to mine and all i was doing was stating my thoughts, clearly we do not agree here but you did the same thing i did, So Pot meet Kettle.

        Just think its unfair to count someone out before anything’s happened was all i was trying to say.

    • Matthew

      It might be worth noting that Grayson, Warnock and McDermott had no real backing in the transfer window and the squad technically was on a decline, it’s not that they were the wrong managers for the job, they simply did not have the ability to get this team promoted with the tools that they had and were all at a distinct disadvantage. While I despised Warnocks/McDermotts standard of football, I do wonder what they could have achieved if they had the right owner backing them. Also with regards to Hockaday, if he wasn’t good enough for Forest Green Rovers, what makes him good enough for us? I don’t support his appointment, it’s embarrassing, but I will accept that he’s here, and what happens, happens. I just see this ending badly and it’ll be yet another season wasted.

  26. Smiths fan

    Just wondering did anyone know that the Argentina coach in this years World Cup Alejandro sabella is none other than the man known as Alex sabella who lit up Leeds many years ago,maybe he can come back and lead us back to the glory days.

  27. lufcboy

    Don’t Knock The Hock LOL – Well it’s happened so I guess we will just have to live with it. BMD promised much, said all the right things but, delivered little, maybe The Hock will surprise us all. Lets face it he can’t do worse than he did at Forrest Green can he?? MOT

    • Matthew

      I just think everyone, Staff, Players, Fans, deserve one season, at least one without the bullshit, why can’t we just have one stable season with a proper manager, some investment and none of this bullshit? We know what will happen with Hockaday, when Cellino appoints his next puppet it’ll be yet another season wasted. Nothing would make me happier than to see us promoted this season, but we have at least one owner that will leave the bullshit at the door and get down to business? Hockaday isn’t a serious appointment, he has no experiencing managing at this level. This will come back to bite us hard, and some may say if we start the season well that Cellino did well, but we’re Leeds United, our season usually goes to shit by Christmas.

  28. IgDonWhite

    I think its the only option really, Massimo looks like he wants to blood the young uns in and try and keep a few experienced players in to keep a balance, he doesn’t want a manager who wants the earth to manage Leeds United. Because of our tradition at Leeds your not having a piece of it just to look impressive on your C.V, To be a better person at any kind of career you need to push yourself and with Hockaday at the Helm and with better players it could be a marriage made in heaven. just give him time, Rome wasn’t built in aday but Elland road has crumbled in the past and needs the core of the foundations to be re built (again).


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