Ahead of Saturday’s clash with Championship strugglers Sheffield Wednesday, Keith Ingham spoke with Lee Siddons a family friend and my old boss.
Can you describe your First match for us?
Gunny one this, over 35 years ago so actually can’t remember lol!! Best early memory was going to see Weds v Newcastle in Division 2 as it was back then in 1983. Both teams promotion contenders but Newcastle title favourites ( Kevin Keegan, Terry McDermott, Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle in the starting line up!!) Over 41,000 there and the Owls won 4-2 in one of the best attacking games of football I’ve ever seen.
Which players stood out that day?
Waddle was amazing for Newcastle for the right reasons, Keegan stood out as a cheat, playing the ref at every opportunity- on the Weds side Bannister and Pearson were fantastic on that day.
If you could turn back time, who would you want back at Wednesday?
Probably Hirsty for his goals and firepower or Sterland for his passion (much needed this season!)
Both our respective teams have had poor seasons looking back, is it poor coaching or players to blame?
I think Carlos should have gone at the end of last season, I think he’d lost the plot at Hillsborough however I think the main issue for us this season has been long term injuries- we’ve had a full first team out at times.
Carvalhal is a success at Swansea City after loosing his job with Wednesday, good coach or lucky because the players at Swansea are better?
I think Carlos has done well at Swansea as the players there have reacted well to his tactics and he has gone in with a new enthusiasm.
What’s your opinion of new Head Coach Jos Lukakay?
Lukukay- honestly not impressed, our form has worsened since his arrival!
Your two teams to reach automatic promotion this season?
Wolves and Cardiff
Your prediction for the playoff final?
Villa beating Fulham
Three to go down this May?
Burton, Sunderland and Birmingham hopefully!!
Your prediction for Saturday’s game?
2-0 to Leeds unfortunately, no idea who will score for you!!
I’d say good luck but I wouldn’t mean it- WAWAW!!!
We’d like to thank Lee for taking the time to answer our questions and wish him the best of luck for the remainder of what has been a poor season in Yorkshire.
By Keith Ingham
Birmingham sack another manager - Cotterill goes after 26 games in charge of which 14 were defeats. If memory serves me right he’s fifth manager in 18 months, incredible.
Ex-Leeds Head Coach Garry Monk was confirmed later in the day as their new manager on a three and half year deal, his backroom staff from his time at Leeds(Clotet, Beattie and Flahaven) will join him there. His first game in charge of City will be at home to Middlesborough on Tuesday.
Tweet from Leeds United.
The thoughts of everyone at @LUFC are with the friends and family of @acffiorentina captain Davide Astori following the sad news of his sudden passing #FootballFamily.
Absolutely heartbreaking news that the captain of Fiorentina had passed away in his sleep. An autopsy will determine the cause of his death.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
On this day in 1972: Still one of the best displays of football ever seen in the history of British Football. “It’s almost cruel” Barry Davies BBC MOTD.
Leeds 7 Southampton 0
Heidi Haigh on the disappointing trip to the Riverside, the bad weather doesn’t stop Sky televising a game or most of the Leeds fans that intended to go
Thank you Heidi.
Eunan O’Kane on the Middlesborough game:”If we continue to play like that then we’re miles away but if we can pick ourselves up and get back to the performances like we had (against Brentford) last Saturday then maybe we’re not so far. The only way we can put it is that we were second best for the whole night, we deserved to be beaten and maybe they could have scored a few more goals. It was a very deflated performance from us and we got what we deserved in the end, which was nothing.”
Appreciate the honesty, but O’Kane is one of number of players that recently have fallen well below the standard Leeds fans expect and pay a bloody lot of money to watch them play. ‘Talk is cheap’ comes to mind, it would be better if he and a few other let their feet speak more than their mouths.
Paul Heckingbottom on Wolves:”They are the best team in the league so far, a big crowd, and a big atmosphere. There is no reason why you wouldn't be 100 per cent up for this game and excited about it. It's one of the games you would love to be play”
PH; Expecting a response after the Boro defeat:”I'd expect a response and if there isn't one, it'll answer a lot of questions. We will see on Wednesday night, when things are going well it's easy.
PH; Wiedwald:”If you want to be successful in football especially, especially at a big club, you have got to challenge yourself. Everyone suffers a loss in form.”
PH; Injuries: Roofe and Lonergan out for the Wolves game, Hernandez back training and will be considered for the game.
As depressing as it is to report, Leeds United were given a footballing lesson by a team destined for the Premier League.
The gulf in class is obvious, but the way Leeds gifted them the two goals is so galling. Time after time this defence has failed to do the job they are very well paid to do, bloody defend! It’s back to the drawing board for Paul Heckingbottom, but at least that’s the tough start to his Leeds tenure out of the way.
Hecky gave Bailey Peacock-Farrell the start many fans have been asking for since last Friday’s heinous display by Felix Wiedwald.
Two more changes to the team that played without conviction at Boro were Hadi Sacko and Adam Forshaw for Eunan O’Kane and Ezgjan Alioski who were dropped to the bench.
Leeds started brightly but found Wolves in a resolute mood, slowly the team at the top of the league upped through the gears and Peacock-Farrell had saved excellently from Cavaleiro. Jota and Bonatina both had chances before the opener came from a corner, Siass heading in Douglas’ corner with the Leeds defence in complete disarray. Leeds lost captain Liam Cooper through injury, Mathew Pennington replaced him.
Wolves split the Leeds defence time after time and only bad finishing and Peacock-Farrell kept the score to one, he again saved brilliantly from Bonatini, when the player was through one on one with the youngster. A second goal was coming and it arrived just on half time, another corner found Batth’s head, his effort crashed back off the bar but Boly headed in the rebound with the Leeds rearguard again flat-footed. 2-0 to Wolves at the break.
Leeds brought Pablo Hernandez on after the break in place of Hadi Sacko, the Spaniard was surprisingly left out despite being fit to play. Bonatini was proving to be a constant danger and his header was somehow kept out of the goal by a desperate Leeds boot off the line. The only response Leeds offered was a Stuart Dallas effort that didn’t trouble Ruddy.
Jota shook the bar as Wolves continued to press Leeds, they did get the third their display deserved after Jota sent a through ball over the Leeds defence and substitute Benik Afobe lifted the ball over the onrushing Peacock-Farrell and into the net. Game over.
What did we learn from this display? It’s pretty simple, this Leeds side is not good enough and this season is effectively over. The playoffs are gone, only pride is left to play for.
It will be interesting that now the tough six game start for Heckingbottom is over how he now deals with the team’s that are either fighting to stay in the division or, like Leeds the ones that are treading water in mid table. It is hoped there is enough desire left in this mediocre squad to at least give the supporters something to shout and cheer about in the remaining games of the season.
Man of the Match: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, stood tall whilst older and more experienced players hid away.
By Keith Ingham
Paul Heckingbottom on training and the game with Derby County: “With us having three games in six days, there is not too much we can do on the grass, on Monday we had a split group with some boys recovering and some on the grass and on Tuesday we had everyone out, but it was light and a bit more tactical, reinforcing messages and building on what we have been doing.
“We have more or less a full squad now, I’ll name the team on the day of the game, as when you have a quick turnaround, it is important to see how everyone recovers. The lads who coming back from suspension have been working hard and we’ve given them quite a bit of attention.They have been topping up their fitness and been given a bit of individual information, but it is a big jump to go straight into first team, especially in this league.
“Derby are one of the teams I have seen a lot of and I think their result against Sheffield Wednesday was a blip, they have good personnel and since Gary(Rowett)has gone in there, they have been so difficult to beat.They have been really strong, they have a lot of pace and an attacking threat at the top end of the pitch.
“We are all looking forward to the game, we want to play in big games and not shy away from it.”
Hernandez on his future: ”I don’t know, I don’t receive anything new from the club. I can’t tell you anything about this, I prefer only to focus on the next games and give 100 per cent for the club. I can’t talk about this.
“Yes, obviously. I’m very happy here. I feel the fans and my team-mates, all the people, would like it if I stay here but it depends not only on me.”
Gary Rowett on his team to face Leeds: ”You could argue whether six (changes) was maybe too many but there were some players I wanted to get back into the team, whether that's for the long-term or not.
“Because we've got such a strong group, I think we can pick certain players for certain games. That's what we've done probably over the past 20 games and it has served us pretty well.It's always tempting and easy to keep the same team - and I've done it before.”
Ahead of tonight’s ‘clash in the cold’ we got the chance to interview Yorkshire Post cartoonist and big Middlesbrough Fan Graeme Bandeira about all things Boro.
Firstly how long have your affiliations been with Boro?
A few vague recollections from the early 80's but my first full season was 1984
Favourite ever players for Boro?
Juninho is the greatest player I have ever seen in a Boro shirt. He was sensational. Bernie Slaven - who is now a good friend, was a hero of mine and more recently Gareth Southgate who captained us to our first major trophy.
Memorable era or season which sticks out more than most?
The successive promotion seasons under Bruce Rioch and captained by Tony Mowbray after the club was liquidated in 1986.
Also the rather eventful season under Bryan Robson when we had Juninho, Ravanelli and Emerson and managed to get relegated after being docked 3 points for failing to fulfill a fixture. We also lost both cup finals, one on a replay after extra time! Some of our attacking play that season was breathtaking but defensively we were Sunday league.
Games with Leeds that stand out? (my first was the game in 1974/75)
That fateful day when we were relegated and Juninho was sat down contemplating his future. We needed to win on the final day but could only manage a draw.
Garry Monk...Bad appointment or not given the time he needed?
I don't think Monk was given enough time. I thought it was a hasty decision by Steve Gibson particularly after a good win at Hillsborough.
However I also believe that the players weren't fully onboard with Monk's philosophy or his aloof ways of dealing with players so whilst out of character I understand why the chairman acted in this way. We were falling below the expected levels of achievement but things sometimes take longer so I would have been happy for him to see out the season.
Tony Pullis...Is he the man to finish what Monk started?
Not really. They both have very contrasting styles and whilst we look to play with more aggression and purpose results are still erratic. I'd put this down to the personnel that we have rather than management. On the plus side we have a manager with a wealth of experience and he rules with a bit of fear and he seems to be getting more effort and concentration from players. I think he needs a full pre season to assess things and bring in his own type of players.
Is Paul Heckingbottom the man to stop the ‘revolving’ manager’s door at Leeds and your opinion of the appointment of the ex-Barnsley boss?
I think it's a good appointment. Underwhelming but steady and probably the right way to go. He did well at Barnsley. My only concerns would be how he works with Victor Orta and whether or not he is allowed to form a team of his own making. That could be problematic if the owner allows the Director of Football to dictate. With any process like that you end up with conflict and mixed messages and a team is not allowed to form and flourish.
Two to go up automatically and the team to go up through the playoffs?
Wolves and Cardiff look good bets right now to go up automatically and I really like the look of Fulham. I think their manager is exceptional.
Three for the drop?
Sunderland, Burton and Barnsley.
Score and Scorers for Fridays clash in the cold?
1-1 Bamford and Alioski
We’d like to thank Graeme Bandeira for taking the time to do our interview and wish him the best of luck for the season.
By Keith Ingham