By Andrew Butterwick
After the cup capitulation at the Etihad speculation has been rife as to the future of Warnock and what's the next step in the ownership saga. Cyberspace has been alive with suggestions as to who will pick up the poisoned chalice that is the Leeds United's manager's job after Warnock departs LS11 and returns to his beloved Cornwall. Poyet and Adkins were many people's choice before that arch fascist and calm, cool and collected manager, Di Canio, departed his Swindon job in a blaze of vitriol and joined the list of possibles.
The challenge for GFH is to select a manager who will fit a more longer term strategy rather than one who's the current flavour of the month. I would rather see a manager come in with a brief to build the club based on a clear footballing philosophy that is sustainable and rather more pleasing to the eye than the current Hoofball we seem to have adopted. A mixture of strong defensive qualities mixed with a pass and move belief, underpinned with a rod of steel down the centre of the pitch would fit the bill. Once the footballing fingerprint of the club has been defined then we can select a manager to fit that profile rather than try and pick up a popular, available manager who brings his own style to the club. If we took this approach then the footballing footprint could be built from the academy upwards with all teams playing in an identical style. It's just a thought and I don't pretend to be a football expert. I'm just a fan, but after witnessing year after year of directionless management at the club with no apparent master plan that has got us absolutely nowhere it's about time we tried something a bit different and with some logical thinking behind it isn't it?
Of course Warnock is still in the chair and the small matter of facing Blackpool at home is what's hopefully occupying his mind. How does he get some purpose back into a side that have given up 3 points at Boro and been thoroughly outclassed at City in the last week? Fans confidence will be as low as a centipede's stomach especially against a Blackpool team who have enjoyed lots of success against Leeds in recent matches. I know they have not had the best of seasons and currently languish 2 points below us in the table a fact that should give some hope to Leeds but I'm not sure there'll be lots of home fans rushing to put their hard earned cash on a much needed win for the mighty whites. It's certainly a difficult one to call.
So where do Leeds go from here? The play offs are out of the question unless Leeds pull off a comeback of similar proportions to the 4.3 victory at Southampton. The off the field connotations are multiple and are by no means settled. Until Leeds have some real financial stability it's difficult to see anything other than pain and frustration for followers of the once mighty Leeds United. Batten down the hatches and fasten your seatbelts severe turbulence ahead on Planet Leeds. Hopefully there will eventually be a chink of light at the end of the tunnel that will at least lay the foundations for next season?
By Andy Gregory
Name: Rob Atkinson
Tell us a bit about yourself:
51 year old Freelance writer, opinionated but devoted to Leeds, passionate in my likes and dislikes, very well aware that we have an inadequate team and management, but equally well aware that Leeds
United is the greatest football club in the world.
How long have you supported Leeds? Since 1975, so that’s 38 years.
What is your favourite memory?
Probably of the first goal I saw us score live, Billy Bremner’s great strike against Barcelona in front of 50000 at Elland Road in the European Cup semi-final in April ’75.
Favourite player past and present?
Present: probably Sam Byram.
Past: Billy Bremner
If you could bring one player from any era back to the club, who would it be and why?
It’d have to be John Charles, who I only saw play in a testimonial curtain-raiser when he was bout 60. But he was the best centre-half AND best centre-forward in the world, and remains Italy’s greatest ever foreign star, ranking higher than the likes of Platini, Maradona and even Ian Rush.
Best goal scored by a Leeds player?
Eddie Gray’s second against Burnley, when he beat the whole defence twice, put the kettle on, had a cuppa, then nonchalantly slotted past the keeper. Naturally, Eddie himself thinks his best was his first goal in that game, an audacious 40 yard lob.
How would you sum up our season so far?
Bitterly disappointing, and a betrayal of the fans’ trust and expectations.
Which player has impressed you most this season?
Sam Byram. From nowhere to an ever-present. He has a massive future, hopefully NOT with Norwich City.
Which player have you been least impressed with?
Paddy Kenny. He hasn’t lived up to the hype.
How would you describe our current team?
A team of fragments, which should be doing a lot better than it is.
What are your thoughts now on GFH?
It’s not been a good start. There are worrying signs that they feel they can pull the wool over our eyes.
Where do you think we will finish this season?
Mid-table anonymity: dull, but preferable to the excitement of a relegation battle (which is still a danger)
What is your view on Neil Warnock’s time at Leeds?
I think the job and the expectations surrounding the club have proved too big for him. I also feel he has been let down by just about everyone above him in the club’s management structure, and by quite a few below him, and on the playing staff. He’s deserved better, but he’s basically not a manager of a Leeds United calibre.
Should he remain with us until the end of the season or leave now?
I think he should be eased out now, and I think he’d be quite relieved to tell the truth.
Who would you like to replace him? Nigel Adkins.
Which game are you most looking forward to this season?
Wendies at home, IF Dave Jones is still their manager.
Score prediction for the Blackpool and Blackburn games?
Sneaky 2-1 win v Blackpool, depressing 0-2 defeat at Blackburn.
What team would you put out against Blackpool?
The one that played against Spurs, playing the way they played against Spurs.
Anything else you would like to add?
I’m very worried right now, and I expected for most of last summer to be entering 2-13 a very happy man. I dared to dream. Now, it seems to me that those in control of Leeds United are more concerned with managing the expectations of the fans, whilst still retaining their support as customers. This seems to involve the same tired old deceptions over transfer policy, and a succession of pleas by both owners and manager along the lines of “Judge us when… (insert next convenient landmark point in the season)”. A fresh start is needed. TOMA2, sustained investment, Nigel Adkins and a positive start to 2013-14, please.
Thanks to Rob for taking part in this weeks interview. If you would be interested in doing an interview, or would like to find out about other ways you can be involved with our site, then check out our "Have your say" page to find out how... MOT!
By Keith Ingham
On Monday Neil Warnock passed the 12 months mark of his tenure at Elland Road. It's not been the easiest year for either the manager or the long suffering Leeds United fans. There is a long list of reasons why this 'marriage' didn't work.
Firstly you cannot in all honesty wait from May until to December for a interested party to finally sign on the dotted line. This hampered him without doubt but it is not the only reason why it's been unsuccessful. His playing players out of position and a constant blame culture of everybody but him has 'ruffled' the feathers of the most ardent Leeds fan. He has hinted that the 'reasons' for his unsuccessful stint in Leeds 11 will come out in a book in June, heard this before see the David O'Leary book after the Bowyer and Woodgate trial.
I'm of the opinion that when we appointed a generally respected manager a lot of fans thought he might be the answer, but the same problem remained: Mr Bates. He has bought in players he has said were 'first choices' so the argument he wasn't backed at all holds not a lot of water even though it's known we missed out on a few of the top targets he wanted. He has treated some of the players with a lack of respect examples being Aidy White and Luciano Becchio, this could be another reason the teams performances were not as they should be under a manager who's been in the game long enough to know that some players need handling different to others.
We face a massive game versus Paul Ince's new club Blackpool and he's bound to get a warm welcome as he was associated with a certain club across the Pennines. With 8 points separating us and a Playoff place and 9 from the bottom three it's a 'must win' game because it's not worth even thinking about if we drop down the Championship.
So 12 months have gone and the 'Warnock experiment' for me has been a failure, simple as that.
On On On without Warnock
By Andrew Butterwick
Match day dawned with bright sunshine and a harsh frost covering the delights of Selby. Cup games have their own special excitement and you don't get any better than cup games against the champions of England in the their own back yard. To say I was looking forward to this one is to state the bleeding obvious. I wasn't the only one getting caught up in the heady drug of cup fever though. Platform 2 at Selby station was alive with match chatter and the reassuring hiss of cans opening despite the early hour as the extended Leeds family prepared for the assault on Manchester. The Happy Chocker, Bro Chris, Quiet One and the beer monster Jusser were with me as we clambered aboard the packed train and headed for Manchester Piccadilly.
Everybody accepted we were massive underdogs. The amount of money that City's owners have underpinned their journey from perennial under achievers to champions is eye watering even in these days of obscene salaries and transfer fees. In comparison the first player that the Blues bought when their wealthy Middle East saviours, Abu Dahbi United Group, arrived was Robinho at a cost of £32.5m. GFH's first signing was Michael Tonge for an undisclosed fee. These harsh facts were conveniently stored in an inaccessible corner of our brains as the pre match optimism kicked in. After an epic fail for the new tram service from Piccadilly to the Etihad, they seemed to have vastly under estimated the number of fans who would use it, we caught a cab and arrived at the magnificent Etihad stadium.
Warnock had made 4 changes from the Boro game with Diouf, White, Ashdown and Austin starting in place of Morison, Green, Kenny and Norris. The 6,100 Leeds fans in the away end tingled with anticipation as the game got underway. What we needed was to hold our own for the first twenty minutes against a very strong City side but it was the home superstars who made their mark from the very first second. Leeds started nervously unable to cope with the slick pass and move play from the champions and with only 4 minutes on the clock Leeds were behind. Silva, Aguero and Tevez all featured in the build up as the giant Ya Ya Torre sliced through the Leeds defence before rounding Ashdown and sliding the ball into the net. 1.0 City. This could be a long afternoon I muttered to HC. The blue tidal wave continued. Tevez clipped a shot just round the post and then Silva nearly found the net with a clever shot. Leeds defenders didn't know whether they were coming or going and we'd only played ten minutes.
The massed ranks of Leeds fans were singing loud but with an increased sense of irony as their team succumbed to Mancini's magicians. City were 2 up on 15 minutes after Tom Lees breathed on Aguero as he went past him and ref, Clattenburg, gave a harsh penalty. He dispatched the spot kick with ease and suddenly 90 minutes seemed a hell of a long time for Leeds to play against the champions. This was men against toddlers.
The rest of the half saw a procession of blue control as City completely dominated proceedings except for one Ross Mac free kick that the home goal punched away. The irony in the Leeds songs got deeper the longer the half went on......."Michael Brown is not for sale" boomed round the Etihad followed by "You're not that special, we lose every week" and when "Stand up if you hate Man U" got an airing the whole stadium joined in. Encouraged by the mutual singing the away fans then started the Poznan and that swung round the ground like a rumbling Mexican wave. Leeds survived to half time with the score only 2.0. In truth it could have been a hell of a lot more.
Hopes weren't exactly high as the second half kicked off but I did offer a token piece of optimism. "Well if we can nick the next goal......................." at least that brought smiles from all around. Morison replaced Ross Mac and Norris swapped with the injured Brown. It took only 6 minutes for City to kill the game with a third goal courtesy of Tevez. "Now this could get embarrassing" I hissed. The stats on the big screen showed we had managed only one shot on target. At 3.0 we were sinking fast but that didn't dampen the spirits in the away end. "Lets pretend we've scored a goal" was the next ditty followed by mass celebration then another Poznan followed by "Shoes off if you hate man U" we might not have a very good football team but we have definitely got Premier League fans.
Leeds continued to struggle to get any sort of hold in the game. The victories against Everton and Spurs seemed light years away as City tore Leeds apart without getting out of 2nd gear. Mr Warnock was advised to take a trip back to Cornwall by the frustrated fans. City got a 4th in the 74th minute but the game was already gone. There wasn't a spark of hope from the Leeds team as the game limped to a 4.0 conclusion in favour of City. The Leeds players and home fans applauded the away fans at the end. At least the mauling on the pitch was taken in good humour. The walk back to the station didn't dilute the frustration in witnessing another disappointing display away from Elland Road. City are a very talented team and would always beat Leeds if they played to their ability. The resources the Blues have at their disposal are huge and it shows on the pitch. The resources Leeds have at their disposal are minuscule and it shows on the pitch. Did any Leeds player stand out today? No. A lot played to the limit of their ability and you can't ask any more than that. It's no disgrace to lose to a team like Man City but it's hugely difficult to see a time in the near future when Leeds United will be in a position to challenge for promotion into their league let alone compete with them on level terms.
Neil Warnock was upset with the fans chanting for him to go. My view is that his time is up. He's not moved the team on during his tenure if anything we've gone backwards but the lack of stability and lack
of funds off the field are an ever burdening millstone around the neck of this club. Whoever replaces him will have the same issues until normal service is resumed off the pitch and the club returns to some sort of financial robustness.
A strange day really. The atmosphere and banter were first class but the capitulation on the pitch was depressing. Next game up is Blackpool on Wednesday a game I will miss due to work. Last time I missed a game we beat Stockport County away back in the League 1 days. Hope the same happens this time.
By Steve Barras
Following Neil Warnock’s admission that the play-offs are almost certainly out of reach for Leeds United there has been a major out cry for his removal from the Elland Road hot seat. He has less than six months on his contract and he has recently spoken of his frustration at living so far from his family in Cornwall so surely now is the time for GFHC to call time on him and get a new manager in for the remaining three months of the season, this will give the new man time to assess the midfielder burdened squad and start making his plans for the future of LeedUnited football club.
Whether its Nigel Adkins, Paulo Di Canio or my favourite for the job Gus Poyet and considering the apparent lack of funds that our new owners are preparing to pump into the playing staff, he needs to take a good look at our academy and the prospects that we have on offer. I think we have talented players that could follow the still wet footprints of Tom Lees, Aidy White and Sam Byram, I think we certainly have one player who could immediately make the step up to the first team in Chris Dawson, the newly capped Wales u21 international has currently made sixteen appearances for the Development Squad and the under 18’s scoring seven goals, including a hat-trick against Burton Albion in the F.A Youth Cup, a game the under 18’s won 6-1.
The Leeds u18’s squad are currently on an eleven match winning streak, they have scored thirty-eight goals and conceded just nine in those games and they currently sit top of their league. The goalscoring prowess of Luke Parkin (10) and Lewis Walters (11) this season has certainly done the two players no harm and the solid looking back four made up of Afalobi Coker, Smith Tiesse, Lewie Coyle and Jake Skelton have done a great job of keeping the opposition at bay with the help of goalkeeper Eric Grimes, team captain Alex Mowatt has also earned rave reviews. Obviously different players have stepped into the team as players have struggled with injuries or been called into the Development Squad. The latest Development Squad game’s had no less than eight regular u18 players featured which left a younger than usual u18 team to face Leicester City and Barnsley, games which ended 1-0 and 3-0 to Leeds.
The under 18 results are below:
Leeds 4-0 Huddersfield Town
Leeds 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Leeds 6-1 Coventry City
Leeds 4-2 Derby County
Leeds 2-1 Crewe Alexandria
Leeds 4-0 Watford
Leeds 4-2 Wigan Athletic
Leeds 2-1 SheffieldUnited
Leeds 6-1 Burton Albion
Leeds 1-0 Leicester City
Leeds 3-0 Barnsley
I’ll leave you for today with the knowledge that I believe the last time a Leeds youth side went on an eleven game winning streak, the team featured the likes of Alan Smith, Jonathan Woodgate and Paul Robinson. Players that helped Leeds to the Champions League Semi Finals, I’d settle for promotion from this current crop of youngsters.
Marching on Together.
By Andrew Butterwick
So Leeds travel to Manchester for an FA Cup tie on a Sunday as massive underdogs. Well we have been there before and we all know what happened on that wonderful chilly January day so what's to stop us writing another page in the history of Leeds United and the FA Cup?
The magnificent Etihad Stadium is the venue this time for the battle of two old Roses rivals who both share a
pathological hatred of that team in red from across the city. Whilst this fosters a mutual respect between the Blue Mooners and the Mighty Whites once the game kicks off the sell out crowd will generate a spine tingling atmosphere that once again will remind the battle weary Leeds fans of what they are missing as they languish in mid table championship obscurity.
The Capital One and FA cup have provided Leeds with some welcome relief and a joyful Oasis from a truly frustrating and hugely disappointing season in the league this season. Capturing the scalps of Premier League Everton, Spurs and Southampton and scaring Chelski in the first half have defied logic after anaemic performances in the league against Watford, Barnsley, Forest, Hull etc etc. Against a background of off the field activities that continue to baffle the majority of fans and a manager who's lost a significant amount of fan's support Leeds United are still a club in flux. The game at Boro on Tuesday was the pinnacle of fan's frustration with Warnock that started with the debacle at Oakwell. His sarcastic clapping of the away fans singing "Warnock, Warnock make a change" as he dithered over making a substitution was the final straw for a lot of fans. My frustration was that the Boro team that secured the three points and cemented their position in the play offs were not any better than Leeds and emphasised the small improvement needed to get us into the coveted top six spot. Problem is we're a million miles away from making that change on current form and approach to each match and the responsibility for that sits firmly on Warnock's shoulders. If we don't pull off a miracle at the Etihad then our season is over and with it Warnock's Leeds career.
Bizarrely the very tactics that have turned off Leeds fans in droves this season have been effective against the fancy dans of the Premier League. Neither Everton or Spurs could cope with Leeds high tempo pressing game and succumbed to what fans refer to as Hoofball. Southampton reserves fell to the same formula and even Chelski's aristocrats were ruffled before Leeds tired in the 2nd half. So will it work at Middle Eastlands on Sunday? Leeds are 20 to 1 to beat City and you don't need to look any further than the City team sheet to understand why. Michael Brown against Silva, Norris against Nasri or will it be Barry or maybe Yaya Toure? Up front City can chose from Dzeko, Tevez or Aguerro whilst if Ross Mac or Morison escape from the blues stellar defence they have then to beat the peerless Joe Hart in between the sticks. So that's the case for Leeds getting absolutely mullered but is there another scenario?
Well the FA Cup's history is littered with famous giant killing acts that defy all football logic and in the dim and distant past Leeds have suffered their own embarrassments a plenty in this competition. Add to that the fact that Leeds have already dispatched a strong Spurs team into FA cup oblivion this year then Man City will approach the game with a large dose of caution. After all they have not had the best of times themselves since the turn of the year as their form has stuttered as they attempt to retain the Premier League title, in fact there are rumours that Mancini might be clearing his desk if City fail to beat
Warnock's warriors..........then again Warnock might be doing the same if Leeds lose!
So will the 6,100 Leeds fanatics be celebrating another dip into the Oasis cup come Sunday tea time? I'll be happy if we put up a performance to be proud of and compete against City's millionaires in their own backyard. We don't want to look back in anger on this one do we?
You'll not be surprised that I have a sneaking feeling we can continue our cup run and extend our season just a little bit longer. Anybody else want to dream? Varney first goal and Leeds to win 2.1 at 400 to 1.......got to be done! Guess what?
By Rob Atkinson
Manchester City vs Leeds United