The dust is settling, the lads have jetted of to sunnier parts of the world for a well earned rest and Garry Monk still isn't tied down to at least a three year deal.
Some things change but others unfortunately don't, please Mr Radrizzani let's gets a signature off this man before somebody else does. Time is of the essence my friend!
After meeting a few of the lads and lasses that have served Radio Yorkshire so well, it got me thinking what makes a team that can guarantee you a top six place in the Championship. Here's an article rating what we have and what we need.
First you need a experienced back line, in Rob Green, Luke Ayling, Pontus Jansson (he'll sign!) and Gaetano Berardi you've got that much needed experience and the bonus that they've played together, well nearly for a full season.
Add another two centre backs (Kyle Bartley) and one other you've got a bloody good back line, plus Liam Cooper, who for some reason is out of favour with some fans but I believe him to be an able back up. Lewie Coyle and Tyler Denton are experienced youngsters to cover both right and left back.
Defensive rating B+ (with Bartley in it)
It's the midfield where I hope Mr Radrizzani invests MOST in, only O'Kane, Dallas, captain Liam Bridcutt and youngsters Kalvin Phillips, Ronaldo Vieira definitely remain. Pablo Hernandez at this point hasn't had the option taken up on extending his contract yet.
Eunan O'Kane was vastly underused and showed when he played late in the season what an asset he could be, given the opportunity. Remember, he's an established Republic of Ireland international so it's not that he's a poor player, more poorly used.
I've had countless conversations about Stuart Dallas as he also has enough international caps to fill a hat shop, but came back from the World Cup and his wedding half the player we'd seen previously. A fully fit, motivated Dallas would be in my opening eighteen come August time, whoever was signed.
Phillips and Vieira have 'come on', especially Ronaldo but do we really want two great potentials playing forty plus games?
Of the players that have left I can only see Hadi Sacko maybe returning in another season long loan, Pedraza maybe needs another season under his wings in Seria B to be considered again, unless another loan spell could be agreed.
Leeds need a player, like a Gordon Strachan who would make people think "Leeds mean business next year".
Bags of experience for definite and one that players can look up to, Jonny Howson anybody?
Midfield rating: D+
Definitely an area that needs improving if the club is serious about challenging for a top six place.
When you've a striker that has just banged in thirty goals clubs will be looking at him, but Chris Wood has stated previously that he's looking forward to another season with Leeds, it might be worthwhile, mind you to offer him a few more quid to keep the vultures away (Remember Snods, Beckford, Howson, Cook etc).
What we need with Wood is another option, somebody who would push the New Zealander to continue where he left off, these players don't come cheap but they are out there. Fletcher, Murphy at Newcastle, maybe even Rhodes at Wednesday, if they don't go up.
Although I have acknowledge the efforts of Kemar Roofe and Souleymane Doukara none of the above will guarantee you fifteen goals next term and that's what we need. Marcus Antonsson is a player we've not seen the best from, goals at Fleetwood and Sheffield were not enough to convince Garry Monk to keep him involved in the eighteen.
Attack rating: B- (Chris Wood mind you gets a A+) After midfield, key to our chances of improving on seventh this term.
So the squad needs an upgrade, but not as radical as most previous pre season's.
Quality investment in the key areas I've mentioned could be just enough to get Leeds to the promised land.
By Keith Ingham
Garry Monk's looks ahead to the last game of the 2016/17 season at Wigan Athletic and his future: Leeds will be without Pontus Jansson who is suspended, Liam Bridcutt and Marco Silvestri are out injured, indicated how important it is to win the last game of the season, squad is focused on the game, if Leeds win the points total (77) would, under usual circumstances be enough to qualify for the playoffs, Leeds are a massive club, this season has shown how big they could be, will speak to Andrea Radrizzani after the game with Wigan.
In regards to his future, Monk said; "I’ve heard a lot of rumours this week but nothing’s been decided yet. I’m still to speak to the club but I’ve had contact from Mr Radrizzani. He wants to sit after the game and discuss all the issues, I’m looking forward to talking to him. There’s a lot of things to talk about and a lot of things that need putting in place. I know what my views are on what the squad needs. Until we sit and discuss that and the club’s views on how to do it, it (Radrizzani’s thinking) won’t be clear. I know from working with this squad every day."
"I’ve got a clear understanding. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it here, getting my teeth into the job and trying to make it work and I think we have, now it’s a case of everyone being smart and understanding the best opportunity to build going forward. Next season’s a big season, you've seen how competitive the league is and it’s only going to get more competitive. The club have to be ready to do the right thing and make sure next season is one where we can fight."
This day in history; Leeds are Promoted as Champions of Division Two after a 1-0 win over AFC Bournemouth, Lee Chapman with the winning goal.
We've met before
Wigan 0 Leeds 1 Champ March 15
Wigan 1 Leeds 0 Champ April 14
Wigan 1 Leeds 1 FA Cup 3rd Round Jan 06
Wigan 3 Leeds 0 Champ Feb 05
Wigan 0 Leeds 2 FA Cup 6th Round March 1987
I've said elsewhere that 'my season' ended on the referees whistle at the end of the Wolverhampton Wanderers game at Elland Road, it hurt and still does that other teams and not us will play in the playoffs next Saturday and Sunday, good luck to them but you won't see me watching the games.
My earlier blog gave a few reasons why I thought we weren't going to be in there but now we need to finish off our Championship campaign with a little style, if possible.
Wigan Athletic are relegated to League One already and remember not so long ago (2013) they lifted the FA Cup after beating Manchester City with a last minute goal. The same season they were relegated from the Premiership. Now they face the ignominy of relegation along with Rotherham United and it has to be seen if their players have anything left in the tank.
Pontus Jansson and captain Liam Bridcutt sit out the final game due to suspension and injury. Many of the eighteen on duty may or not return to their parent clubs after their loan spells end, it is hoped at least Kyle Bartley is on Andrea Radrizzani's summer shopping list, but a lot will depend on whether Swansea are relegated from the Premiership.
'Dead rubber' games usually don't provide much entertainment, I hope this game is different as the Leeds fans especially deserve a win to end their travels with, they are the best fans in the world in my opinion.
On this day, forty five years ago Leeds United won the 1972 Centenary FA Cup at Wembley, the 1-0 win over Arsenal is still regarded as one of the greatest days the club has had and still the only time the famous trophy has been won by Leeds.
The cup final win came after two previous attempts in 1965 and 1970, after a replay ended in defeat. I was twelve years old and I still remember Allan Clarke's headed goal and Mick Jones being helped up the Wembley stairs by Norman Hunter to collect his medal.
A superb day.
With the news being confirmed that want-away full back Charlie Taylor refused to pull on the famous white shirt for what could be his final time; all I have to say is good riddance to bad rubbish.
We've known for some time that Taylor had lost the fighting spirit we once saw from a young lad fresh from a loan spell at Fleetwood.
From the academy quartet of Cook, Byram, Mowatt and Taylor we're now set to complete a full house of departures. Of the four, we can probably agree that three of them had moved for the good of their career.
Cook and Byram had opportunities to progress in a higher division with more money and Alex Mowatt's career was being threatened with stagnation after not being in the fold under Garry Monk.
However, what stinks to high holy hell is the utter disrespect and arrogance that Charlie Taylor is showing the club that has given him a career in football.
Whether or not he believes that he deserves to be challenging higher in English football is irrelevant at this point. Taylor has been piss poor for a good portion of this season and has been outshone by a player who is not playing his natural position on his less preferred side.
What we are witnessing now is a spoilt brat not getting his own way and taking it out on the club that gave him this opportunity in football. Whereas you have a player that didn't know the history of the club coming from abroad like Berardi who clearly shows his admiration for what the club stands for and what it means to the fans.
I've heard a lot of people talk about Billy's age old saying; "side before self, every time" and this rings true in this situation. Taylor hasn't cared for 12 months now and although hypothetical, some standout performances from the left back could have made a real difference. We all saw what he's capable of against Brighton.
For me Charlie, walk away with your head down. The rotten apple you've become has left a bad taste in the fans that called your names mouth and we don't need that in our new dressing room.
You'll become a forgotten man in a team that plays for the shirt and what could have been a blessed career for the team you support will now become cold nights sitting on a bench.
Adios Charlie, it's unlikely you'll be missed.
By Ryan Ingham
Ahead of Sunday's final game of the season Editor-in-Chief Ryan Ingham spoke to Wigan fan John Perry who manages the @talklatics account on twitter.
What have been your most memorable moments as a Latics fan?
We've had some incredible moments over the last 15 years in particular. The highlight is undoubtedly our FA Cup win in 2013, we've had some tough times since but I wouldn't swap that day at Wembley for anything.
Who has been your favourite player in the clubs history?
Emmerson Boyce, without a doubt. Probably the only real legend we've had in the modern era, he was our captain when we won the cup in 2013 and was instrumental in our various great escapes from the premier league.
Who has been your standout player this season?
Probably Dan Burn, who we signed last summer on a free from Fulham. He had a very shaky first couple of months, but since then he's been tremendous at centre half. Strangely enough, we've actually got a better defensive record than most mid table sides and Burn is a big factor in that. I'd be shocked if he's here next season.
Will Griggs fire seems to have died out this season, poor service or poor performance?
I'd say a mixture of the two, in fairness to him he's been struggling with injuries for most of the season, but 6 goals was far less than we were expecting from him. That said, since we lost Yanic Wildschut to Norwich in January even the best strikers would struggle to score goals in our setup.
Any memorable moments against Leeds?
Probably beating you 2-0 on boxing day 2014. It was a rare win that season!
What's your option of your performance this season?
Very poor, I think most fans expected us to be mid table based on the squad we had. But we lost key players such as Chris McCann and Jason Pearce over the summer, and their replacements have been poor to say the least. In total I think we've signed about 20 players this year, there's probably only 2 or 3 that have actually worked out.
One to watch for next season?
We signed Omar Bogle from Grimsby in January and his first couple of months here were excellent. Since then, he had a dip in performance and picked up and injury, but I think he could be great for us in League 1. He's quick, powerful and can finish too, basically everything we've lacked for the majority of this season.
Prediction and scorers for Sunday's match?
I'd imagine both sides will rotate their sides a bit due to having nothing really to play for. Hopefully there will be goals, and an entertaining game at the DW for once.
I'll go for a 2-2 draw, Bogle and Colclough for us.
Wood with both for Leeds.
We'd like to thank John for taking the time to answer our questions and wish him the best of luck for next season and a speedy promotion back into the Championship.
By Ryan Ingham
Burton Albion v Leeds
Team News: Three changes: Charlie Taylor, Ronaldo Vieira and Souleymane Doukara replace Gaetano Berardi, Liam Bridcutt and Alfonso Pedraza. Marcus Antonsson on the bench.
Team: Green, Ayling, Bartley(c), Jansson, Taylor, Vieira, Phillips, Roofe, Hernandez, Doukara, Wood.
One win in six games has probably ended Leeds' chances of a top six place, the 2-1 defeat at Burton Albion virtually guaranteed that next season we will again be in the Championship.
Our luck was out as replays showed that a first half goal by Chris Wood showed have stood, it was ruled out for offside, despite a Burton player on the line when it crossed the line, Leeds had other chances, Hernandez the guiltiest player missing the clearest opportunity, Ayling, Jansson and Roofe also had chances but they went wide or over the bar.
Leeds will look back at defeats at Barnsley, Brentford and here as part of the reason why they fell short this season. Two second half goals by Sordell and Knighly in a two minute spell were enough to claim the three points, although Leeds pulled one back through Bartley it wasn't enough.
Kyle Bartley scores Leeds' goal
Two games to play and only a horrendous couple of results by Sheffield Wednesday or Fulham will give Leeds a slight glimmer of the top six, in reality we know it's gone already.
Down and Dejected: Luke Ayling.
Garry Monk: "I think it is an extremely unfair result on my players to be honest, second half there was only one team on the front foot. We started it extremely well and we were pushing and looking the most dangerous team, their (first) goal came right against the run of play and it was a mistake from ourselves and they got the goal from it. From there we lost our composure a bit, I think it was the shock of them scoring when we were on the front foot. They got a second in that short period and we had to fight right to the end, we perhaps didn't have the right quality in certain situations today but we didn't deserve to lose that game."
Nigel Clough: "We have had a few big results recently with the win at Huddersfield and bouncing back at Birmingham and this one today. This result is right up there - to get us to 51 points in the Championship and with the amount of pressure Leeds put us under in the last 10 minutes to see it through means this has to be right up there. To get the first back-to-back wins in the 44th game with Leeds going for the play offs again shows how the players have pulled it out of the bag at times incredibly."
Andrew laments on our journey to Burton and the prospects for the last two games
Superb as usual, just a shame that we've hit a bad patch just at the wrong time of the season.
This day in 1975 Leeds United draw 1-1 in Barcelona and progress to the European Cup Final in Paris 3-2 on aggregate.
Trevor Cherry remembers the game
Thanks to the YEP.
Lionel Messi hits a late winner, his 500th goal for Barcelona in the 3-2 win at Real Madrid.
Barca lead Madrid in La Liga on goal difference.
Heidi Haigh's tries to lift the mood with her blog of a rare visit to Burton Albion. We'll be back next year!
Thanks Heidi, always lifts my spirits.
The deadline for season ticket holders to claim back a refund for not reaching the playoff positions will be moved back from the 30th of April. There is a mathematic chance that Leeds could still be involved in the 'hunt' when they play Wigan on the last day of the regular season. Further details will be released next week, after the final home game.
The Premier of the film: "Do you want to win?' is staged in Leeds. Guests included; Howard Wilkinson, Vincent(Vinnie)Jones, Eddie Gray and Gary McAllister.
The film celebrates the the rise of 'Sgt Wilko's' team, including Promotion year 1989/90, 1990/91 and the the Last Champions of Division One in 1991/92.
Irritable? Wife/partner/kids getting on your nerves more than usual? You've got the missing the playoffs blues! Believe me it hurts.
The season might have been better and a improvement on the usual fare the long suffering fans have to deal with, but after the last international break only five points have been added to our points total and that's the reason why Huddersfield, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham will playoff for a chance to be one hundred million pounds plus richer and Leeds will still be in the Championship in 2017/18.
It's not sour grapes, it's a fact and now do we actually care about what happens in them? A Bradford City fan I know through work was more pleased Leeds missed out on the top six than his team getting into their division's playoff positions, it's that mentality that leaves me bemused and a little perplexed.
There will be many who share my view, others may not, but surely having a near neighbour in the Premiership is good for football in West or South Yorkshire. It also gives us something to aim for next season, if one of them are successful.
The football season ends next Sunday for me with the game at Wigan Athletic and even though there will be good games to watch on the TV, the very fact that it won't be Leeds in them will make me reach for the remote and probably watch something else. I'm away for the final, so I'll miss that too.
One thing that needs to be done is tie down Garry Monk to a good contract and give him a few quid to spend, without him there next season would feel like another new beginning and we've had far too many of those recently. Change for change sake has put Birmingham City on the brink of relegation so that idea of sacking a manager when in seventh place wasn't the best the owners had.
Losing a manager of Monks capabilities will not only be a halt in our step but a leap backward in what could be classed as a rebirth of football in Leeds. We haven't seen a side play with such pride and passion for some time and it's about time we reward that from which is came, Mr Monk himself.
Leeds won 22 games under Monk, our best ever in a single campaign, even Howard Wilkinson didn't do that.
Only a fool would not try and keep that going and Mr Radrizzani hardly looks a fool, just pray he's listening and looking how the fans feel about the situation. We missed by what could be a matter of goal difference or three points if Fulham beat Sheffield.
Next year as Del Boy would put it "We're going to be millionaires" with the right recruitment he might be saying that about Leeds United FC.
As we look back to 25 years since one of the best periods to support Leeds we value the small decisions that Sgt Wilko and co. made. There's no reason that with the right backing we could be looking back in 25 years and thinking the same.
We will match on, but only with the right man leading the charge.
By Keith Ingham
-Leeds have kept 10 clean sheets in their last 13 league matches at Elland Road.
-Chris Wood has been directly involved in 29 goals for Leeds this season, higher than any other Championship player (25 goals, 4 assists)
-Hoolahan, Tettey and McGovern to miss out. No Jarvis or Thompson in the squad.
-Norwich today take on their fifth team in the top 6 in the past 6 games. Wins against Reading and Brighton. Losses gains Fulham and Huddersfield.
Against Norwich: DDLWW
At hom to Norwich: WWDLW
Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, Vieira, O'Kane, Roofe, Hernandez, Dallas, Wood. Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Taylor, Coyle, Phillips, Sacko, Pedraza, Doukara.
Norwich: Ruddy; Pinto, Martin (c), Bennett, Dijks; Dorrans, Howson; Naismith, Pritchard, Jo. Murphy; Oliveira. Subs: Jones (GK), Whittaker, Jerome, Wildschut, Ja. Murphy, Klose, Maddison
Leeds’ playoff hopes were crushed in an entertaining display at Elland Road on Saturday as they were stunned by a very attacking Norwich City.
The home side started the game well and were nearly ahead within the first fifteen minutes as Eunan O’Kane showed what his side had been missing with a delightful chip over the Norwich defenders but the ball was just too much for an outstretched Kemar Roofe.
Leeds’ top goalscorer Chris Wood then had two opportunities to give Leeds the first goal but crosses from both Luke Ayling and Pablo Hernandez from the right hand side were just too high for him to capitalise.
Norwich then entered fifth gear and took control of the game and it wasn’t long before they were ahead as Steven Naismith was given too much room outside of the box and his shot flew past Rob Green.
Nelson Oliviera then added a second for the visitors as Leeds were caught napping and a suspected offside Josh Murphy was sent through and decided to square the ball to Oliviera who had an empty goal to tap the ball in to.
They always say bad luck comes in threes and again Nelson Oliviera was gifted the opportunity to take a shot just inside the area and perfectly curled the ball round both Kyle Bartley and Rob Green.
Leeds were given a saving grace just after kickoff as Stuart Dallas’s perfect cross found Wood who only had to tap the ball into the net just before half time.
The Whites came out for the second half an entirely different team and nearly grabbed a second goal as a perfect ball from O’Kane to Pablo Hernandez sent the Spaniard through on goal but his shot was just wide of the post.
Leeds then dragged their second goal back after a Hernandez corner found Pontus Jansson who’s header bounced around on the line until Kyle Bartley steam rolled the ball past Ruddy.
Head Coach Garry Monk then continued the tradition of bringing on Souleymane Doukara to make an impact and he nearly did as his cross from the left found Chris Wood who instead of taking the opportunity headed the ball down to Roofe, but the forward had no idea about the clever ball and the chance was wasted.
Monk’s next change saw Luke Ayling taken off for Spaniard Alfonso Pedraza who was probably playing his last game in front of the Lufc faithful and was gifted an opportunity to make the game level as the ball dropped to him on the six yard box but instead of volleying the ball he decided to lay the ball of to an unsuspecting Hernandez and the chance again was wasted.
Pablo Hernández then reminded fans why he deserves his spot in the Leeds team with a delightful free kick from just outside of the area which Ruddy had no chance in saving. Leeds were level.
Chances were slim for Leeds as news broke the Fulham could only grasp a draw with Brentford and the final chance fell to an outstretched Kyle Bartley as he slid in to a wayward cross but his poke went wide and Leeds’ next season was confirmed to the Championship.
In no way a bad second half and one of the most spirited performances at Elland Road we have seen in a very long time but unfortunately not close enough for the whites to capitalise. A lack of a third ball and a defence that just doesn’t seem to be communicating anymore were the main cause of Leeds’ frustrations.
Leeds players then continued the tradition of walking around the ground to applaud the fans support. With many players looking like they won’t be appearing for the club next season, it will be a very said time seeing some of them feature for other clubs.
- Garry Monk: Difficult that they have missed out on the playoffs. Reality is that the majority of the group were not ready to challenge for the playoffs. Have worked hard and improved and there’s a lot of young players that are having their first seasons and the foundations they’ve put in place will help them in the future. One game left at Leeds at the moment, respects when Leeds want to discuss the contract. When the time comes they’ll be views on how to take the club forward and it will be a discussion. Happy to stay if his conditions are met and there has to be an agreement.
When asked about if he’d prefer the contract talks be sooner he said yes but it’s not down to him. Said the squad needs to be changed and the recruitment is integral.
- Alan Irvine: First half was great but second was sloppy and unpredictable. Handed the game to them and very angry at the performance. Could have lost the game but didn’t take their reminding chances to kill the team off. First half showed what they are capable of for next season. Atmosphere was incredible and was a great game for the spectators.
By Ryan Ingham