The Championship is a notoriously fickle league, often seeing multiple management changes in any given month. Last season alone for example, there were 23 changes of management. To most neutrals (and many of our own fans), it’ll come as no surprise to see Leeds United featuring high on that list.

The unstable management situation can be attributed to Massimo Cellino’s erratic personality, but that’s not the whole story. The changes at Elland Road are also partly a result of unrealistic fan expectations paying little consideration to the capabilities of our team. As with any Leeds United manager, only by winning a majority of games will fans be satisfied with Uwe Rösler’s performance, but if you look at Betfair Sport’s betting odds (a useful barometer of how the neutrals see things) for our opening game against Burnley, we’re already considered underdogs on home turf.

Burnley are expected to be one of the stronger teams of course and a lot can change between now and then, but Leeds really aren’t fancied for the current season and given Rösler’s only real chance of satisfying owner and fans is by reaching the top six, does he really stand a fair chance?

Going back to Simon Grayson, a man criminally scapegoated by Ken Bates for finishing 7th our first season back in the Championship (despite Bates providing nowhere near enough to improve the squad, all while selling key players) Leeds have been expecting managers to produce the extraordinary without providing them the tools to do so.

What football statistics need is some kind of weighted handicapping system to show the true value of a manager because the resources available to each given club dramatically alters what can realistically be expected of them. Man City or Chelsea winning the Premier League for example is always going to be a great achievement, but given the players and cash they have, it’s also expected. Would it be anywhere near as impressive as Leicester City or Bournemouth finishing in the top six? Of course it wouldn’t.

The difference of course, is that Bournemouth and Leicester City fans don’t expect to finish in the top six. Leicester will be hoping for a more comfortable season of mid-table obscurity while Bournemouth would happily take 17th. Their fans’ expectations are realistic because they’re broadly in-line with that of the neutrals. Meet or exceed those expectations and their respective managers will be safe and congratulated.

For Uwe Rösler however, he faces the unenviable task of trying to please an owner and fanbase who’ll only be satisfied with the Championship’s top six, despite the odds showing little faith in an improvement on last season’s finish. That disparity between expectation of neutrals and expectation of fanbase exists at some other clubs too, but rarely is it as wide as it is at Leeds.

At this moment in time, before Rösler has taken charge of his first game, it’s easy for me to say that 12th should be considered realistic and a fair performance, worthy of him keeping his job considering what’s available to him. But I can’t guarantee I’ll feel that way by the end of September because Leeds United have been too many years outside the Premiership and my patience has long since been exhausted. It’s for that reason, Uwe Rösler has the worst job in world football and if he’s to survive a full season at this club, he’ll have to perform above and beyond what neutrals would consider realistic.

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17 Responses

  1. henrymouni

    I think the fans expectations are the play-offs and promotion at a club like Leeds.
    We have always had the fans loyalty and patience!!
    We have hovered around ‘rubbish’ for most of the last 12 seasons.
    This is due entirely to the lack of investment and ambition of the owners.
    Right now we seem to have an excellent backroom staff of managers, trainers and scouts.
    However we are still waiting for some serious transfer activity, to bring the squad up to a competitive standard.
    That ‘special signing’ to galvanise the club and the fans.
    My head is spinning with all the players we are trying, and failing to get!
    Some things never change.
    While other clubs of ambition have recruited well and early, we have dithered!!
    Our starting eleven will probable the same as last season, with the exception of Chris Wood.
    Of course there is time yet, but I think that every season!!
    I am excited and ready for this season TSS, but I am not sure why?
    There are probably 10 teams, with better squads than us.
    Twas ever thus!
    I am looking forward to our new ‘up and at ‘em’ style.
    Lets hope we can keep it up for the season.

    • Ross

      I thought Uwe was bringing a ‘heavy metal’ style of football. This is the first time I’ve heard anything about n ‘up and at ‘em’ style.

      I think you are making it up to be honest.

      • henrymouni

        ‘Up and at ‘em’ is heavy metal Ross.
        It is going to be like the charge of the light brigade – with a better ending!
        Uwe will be shouting ‘Ramming speed’ if they start to slack.
        I suppose it will be like Wilko’s Leeds?

      • Ross

        Slack ramming speed? This conversation escalated too quickly quickly for my liking.

    • hampshire white

      Since Pearce, Austin, Tonge and Hunt have gone, there’ll be at least 4 players different from the starting game of last season! Perhaps we’ve moved further than you remember!

      • henrymouni

        I am talking about the starting 11.
        Only Austin would start and he is gone and has not been replaced.
        We have done well at shedding players, but where are the better players to replace them?
        We have not moved at all, and are probably weaker now in the starting lineup.

      • hampshire white

        Those four were in the starting 11 for the first game last season – I’m sad – I looked it up! Bamba, Mowett, Cook and Wood replacing the four above must be an improvement? Hockaday did have others to choose from, but they were the ones he went with for the opening game.

      • henrymouni

        No wonder the Hock didn’t last.
        Mind you he did not get a lot of time to assess the players.
        You need to compare with the players at the end of the season, not the beginning.
        Only Wood is new from last season, and we are minus Rudy.

  2. markman


    you say he has the worst job in world football,hardly,he has the cushion of a contract.
    most managers worth their salt would crawl over burning coals to manage leeds.

    As for next season,we have not sold the previous years top scorer and with at least 2 more arrivals
    whom i am sure will be superior to those they replace and the boys with an other year behind them
    a top 10 finish is realistic.

    • TSS

      Worst in terms of expectations relative to what he has to work with. Hardest probably a better word, but that’s my error.

  3. FRED

    If Rosler stays for the full season, then that means that Leeds will have been successful on the pitch, but if there are ANY bad runs of form or slip-ups, which there could be, then I can see the hugely impatient Cellino showing Rosler the exit door, which is crazy, but that is what you get with Cellino as the owner.
    Rosler really needs to bring in some pacey wide players and an experienced, ball winning midfielder, very quickly, just to make Leeds a real threat, every time they play a game and not an occasional threat, like the very mediocre Leeds team of the past few seasons.
    Leeds are dithering in the transfer market and I would have made wingers and a midfielder a top priority, even before signing Chris Wood and why are Leeds wasting valuable time in trying to sign another back-up goalkeeper ?
    Rosler only has a chance of success, if he has completed all of his signings before the the pre-season trip, just so that the new players have plenty of time to bed-into the team, so that the team hit the ground running, at the start of the season, but nothing ever goes to plan at Leeds and Cellino will still expect constant wins, at the start of the season, even if the squad is incomplete.

  4. NottsWhite

    Until Leeds strengthen the squad with players who improve upon what we have got then Rosler will struggle to meet expectations. Wood was a step in the right direction, Bamba was a good signing but we had him last year. Apart from that we have the same team as last year. There is still time to improve however the quicker players are brought in the better

  5. Craig Millward

    TSS, your article reminds me of an interview, I think on the R4 Today Programme, a number of years ago in which a statistician did exactly what you allude to – correlate the performance of managers in the top league with money available to them. There was only one manager whose performance could not have been predicted – who? Brian Clough. Twice.

    • Scally Lad

      It’s a good predictor. We can look at the pounds that Massimo spends on developing the side in comparison with the spending of other Championship sides and we can be fairly confident in predicting where we will finish in the table.

      • henrymouni

        Listening to Massimo’s latest interview, he is no longer looking for promotion this year.
        Steady progress always sounds good, but it usually means, no money to spend!
        The shirt money must be going in other directions?

  6. PMH

    I know little or nothing about Rosler, What I do know is that managerial musical chairs is how NOT to run a football club. Unless there is serious misconduct or clear evidence of total incompetence, a manager needs around two seasons to build a team.That requires tolerance of the ups and downs of team form, as well as discovering that some promising players don’t fit the system. It includes patience with the inevitable loss of talent to Premiership clubs, It also means we have to cope with injuries to key players. Let’s face it, a lot can go wrong that is outside the control of the manager.

    Of course, all of us veteran fans can’t wait for Leeds to get back where they belong. As TSS says, we have long since work through our lifetime reserves of patience. Nevertheless, patience is exactly what is required here.

    And to answer the question. The length of the new managers tenure at Leeds depends almost entirely on the owners psychiatric condition. Only if he takes his meds regularly will this be a good year for Leeds.

    • henrymouni

      Good points PMH!
      The sad truth is that when a new manager takes over he is given promises of money for team building, which never materialises.
      Bates did it over and over, and Massimo is doing the same.
      So the manager has to work with a squad that is not good enough to challenge at the top, and sees the best players leaving the club.
      No allowance is made for this, and as the team slides he gets the chop!
      Then another new manger arrives, and it all begins again.
      Mr Rosler was promised players of his choosing, to replace the many players who have left.
      What he gets is 2 more strikers and a goalkeeper for the U-21s.
      Sol re-signs, but he was here last year, so to call him a ‘NEW’ signing is incorrect.
      We have some fine, young midfield players, but they need help, and we have lost Rudy, and Murphy for 6/8 weeks, and no pre-season for him!
      Like Sam last year. It takes months to catch up.
      Our poor defence is still sadly intact, and Mr Rosler is expected to turn them into good speedy, thinking, players.
      Redders tried to create a pressing team, and it worked for a few games before we ran out of steam, and began to slide.
      Our rivals have recruited well.
      Derby, who had a better squad, and had a better season have brought in 5 good seasoned players. They are ambitious and determined to give it a real go.
      This long term slow build up has been going on for 12 years and we are no further on.
      Indeed we have gone backwards.
      Getting the players super-fit sounds OK, but there is no substitute for quality.
      Every ‘top half’ team we play, starting with Burnley will be as fit as we are, but with better players.
      We will win some games, but we will not dominate.
      Before the season starts we are full of hope and dream about success, but reality will soon kick in.
      Patience is for teams with no ambition.
      Massimo said this would be the year we would go for promotion.
      Now we are asked to be patient AGAIN!!
      What are we waiting for??????


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