Hockaday’s appointment a test of Cellino’s judgement TSS June 21, 2014 Leeds United 85 Comments 91% of fans who voted on The Scratching Shed’s poll said they don’t believe David Hockaday is the right man for the job, a result close to the 85% against his appointment on a similar poll the Yorkshire Evening Post ran. Not since Brian Clough followed Don Revie has an appointment been so controversial, yet despite a fanbase largely against his presence, Hockaday believes he can succeed where more experienced men have failed. To do so, Hockaday won’t just have to convince the fans he can take Leeds United forward, but he’ll also need to convince the players he’s qualified to lead them. The new Leeds United Head Coach does have experience of promotion as a player, winning four promotions from the three divisions below the Premiership with Stoke City, Swindon Town and Shrewsbury, on three occasions going up as champion. But it’s a trend Hockaday hasn’t been able to repeat as a manager, failing miserably in his only management role to date with a well-funded (relevant to their level) Forest Green Rovers side who he relegated in his first season, narrowly missed out on relegation again in his second season, finished 10th in his third season and was sacked in his fourth after losing seven of the opening eight games. Those kind of statistics won’t inspire much confidence in the likes of Ross McCormack. His role at Leeds United is a little different to his role at Forest Green insofar as he’ll act as Head Coach and have no power beyond the coaching, selection and the tactical approach of the first team, and it must be said, his career as a coach reads better than his career as manager. But this role falls somewhere between the two, Hockaday will still be the man in overall control of the first team, dictating tactics to players and highlighting their mistakes, for them to respond positively to that, he has to be able to command their respect. I’d like to think our players are consummate pros and will give him every chance, but they’re looking at the same underwhelming record the majority of our fanbase has been concerned by and when Hockaday starts telling Sam Byram how to play football, I fear it’ll be a bit like the guitarist from McFly giving Slash instructions on his solos – if he can’t guide Conference players to success, what can Sam Byram learn from him? It’s an uphill struggle Hockaday faces to earn the respect of players and fans alike, but in many ways, he’s in a no-lose situation. For Hockaday, this is the opportunity of a lifetime and no one will blame him for accepting the job. Expectations are incredibly low and the pressure isn’t on Hockaday so much as it is the man who hired him. While Leeds United’s new head coach will want to prove himself capable at a high level of football, the real test here is of Massimo Cellino’s judgement. Did he just hire the cheapest “yes man” he could find, or is there something special in Hockaday the majority of our fanbase have failed to see? Only time will tell.