By Keith Ingham
Understandably the question on whether our top scorer Ross McCormack would leave was not far off people's minds when the referee blew his whistle on the final day of the season.
The twenty nine goal striker and captain was integral in keeping the club in the Championship so I thought I'd drop him this blog to hopefully withdraw his rumoured transfer request and stay for at least one last season.
I've never really done this before as usually most of the players who have left the club have done so quick as a flash but as your our teams captain and without doubt the best player at the club I thought I'd try. Your service as a player is second to none, you've been through the 'thick' stuff since you arrived. Underplayed mostly and usually used from the bench you have gained the trust of the faithful that shout out your name during games.
I know most players have 'shelf life' but you seemed different, settled with a young family you came across as very happy, although events in the club must have seriously made you wonder why you so care about the badge you regularly pull at and kiss. We know you had a lot of respect for Brian (McDermott) and you have shown it, the replacement of him by a virtual unknown must have, like the fans questioned where the club was going. Mr Cellino has a plan and it includes some harsh measures but something had to be done to stop the club bleeding money from every orifice.
It's very early into Mr Hockaday's tenure and although he speaks well and seems to have the backing of more than a couple of your colleagues, Luke Murphy and Matt Smith being just two I could mention. Wouldn't it have been a good idea to join your brothers in arms and try to work in Italy to make this club one that was fit and ready for the forthcoming 2014/15 season. If it hadn't worked out you could at least shown the fans you were willing to give the new regime a opportunity to impress you.
I know a footballers life is a short one and if chances come along to improve not only your professional status and financial security for your family but if you have to go, at least move to Premiership not another Championship club for a few more quid.
You are the Captain of one of the greatest club names in football, following in the footsteps of Collins, Bremner and Strachan to name but a few and carry the hopes of hundreds of thousands of Leeds United fans. Our loyalty to the cause is forever please show us some now.
Keith Ingham. A fan for over forty years.
M O T
By Keith Ingham
On Thursday the twenty sixth of June 2014 something wonderful happened after years of terrible designs by the Italian sportswear firm Macron... We finally got what we all have wanted, an all white kit, bar for a couple of navy blue 'touches'. It's definitely got fans of not only Leeds talking as the club revert to the kit synonymous with the clubs better times. Here's a look at some that have and still are loved and worn by the faithful
When Don Revie arrived at Elland Road he decided that the team would play in the colour of Real Madrid and although the team was a struggling second division side at the wrong end of the table he had the vision that better times were around the corner. Within a short time Leeds were promoted and wore the strip with distinction, although not winning the FA Cup in 1965 they returned to Wembley in 1968 to claim the League Cup with a 1-0 win over Arsenal. In both these games the owl badge was the club badge and the rise of Leeds continued with a title win in 1969. In 1972, still in White claimed the FA Cup all that changed was the badge which became LUFC, these were great times and although their were many near misses everybody knew you were a Leeds fan if you wore the shirt. My favourite ever shirt I still wear is the 1974 version they won the Division One title in, with collar and the 'smiley' badge.
As times changed so did the kit, Admiral added blue and yellow to the collars and edging as the club, now without Revie went for a more contemporary style. Umbro brought in more colour to the kit and continued to move away from the predominantly white as Leeds slipped down the league to finally end up back in Division two. The wilderness years in that league brought more variations of white, blue and yellow. Only when Howard Wilkinson arrived did the 'all white' strip return, it was more traditional with only a little blue and yellow trim with a white rose badge, after winning promotion the design was changed and the team became the last team to win the League Championship in 1992. Admiral returned but edged the shirt with blue and a material that felt like cardboard and was uncomfortable to wear. Asics brought back white in 1996 with turtle neck collar from there we were supplied by Puma who again went for White with blue and yellow.
The turn of the century brought back another of my favourites, the Nike home shirt, worn throughout the Champions League journey. I even saw one in the Barcelona club shop when I visited there. It was plain but it was Leeds and just a great strip. Admiral returned in 2006 with the Bet 365 effort worn in the disastrous play off final in 2006. Macron became kit suppliers in 2008 and Leeds's strip became a mix of various concepts of mainly white with varying amounts of blue and yellow trim culminating in probably the most controversial of the clubs recent times when they based it on a cigarette packet. Loathed my most fans but it still adorned many a Leeds fan. I wasn't sure at first but it was bought for me so I needed to show willing and wear it. We won one game when I did so that kind of sums it up. I was soon back in my 74 shirt.
So my friends we have now reverted as close as we probably can to the strip that made us so proud, all we need now is a team to do the same and 2014/15 might just be a better season than recent years, I can hope that anyway. Never thought I'd say it but well done to the club and Macron for as I say in the articles title just about getting it 'white'.
M O T
By Keith Ingham
The appointment of David Hockaday as Leeds United's first team coach has risen more eyebrows than any appointment I can remember. The fifty seven year old former Forest Green Rovers manager was the surprise choice of 'President' Massimo Cellino, who since attaining the club has been plugging the holes in the good ship Leeds.
Let me say first and foremost I'm all for giving a man a chance but I'm afraid the credentials of Mr Hockaday leave a lot to be desired. He mainly played his football in the lower leagues and after his playing career finished he moved into coaching and was part of Aidy Boothroyd's back room staff that ended Leeds' playoff hopes in the that forgettable final in Cardiff in 2006. He moved to MK Dons then followed Martin Allen to Leicester. In 2007 he joined Southampton as a youth coach and in 2009 rejoined Martin Allen at Cheltenham Town.
His first managerial appointment was in September 2009 when he guided the non league side to the FA Cup third round for the first time. That season his team was relegated but then reinstated following the relegation of Salisbury City. He was not the most successful manager and in October 2013 after a run of eight defeats in nine games he was sacked and has been unemployed every since.
Massimo in a slightly madcap press conference, in which he struggled to open a bottle of water stated that sometimes 'you need to open a watermelon to see what it's like' and other slightly bazaar comments. It seems that Hockaday will 'work his socks off' to prove Massimo correct but his comment that that he 'will earn respect but the fans will have to earn his respect too' went down badly with most fans and a poll has already said that over ninety percent of Leeds fans were against the appointment of Hockaday.
Time will tell if Massimo is correct in appointing a football 'nobody' and expectations of the fans have certainly not been raised by recent events. If more 'quality' players are brought in and more importantly Ross McCormack is kept maybe the fans will warm to the slightly over confident man from Sedgefield. Myself I'm not convinced and expect a early annulment of this agreement but I've been wrong before.
On On On
By Keith Ingham
There are certain players that join football clubs epitomise the teams they played for. Andy Hughes did so from the time he stepped through the gates of Elland Road, the same day in 2007 when as Denis Wise so aptly put it 'not only did they cut our balls off they took our legs too', when after going into administration the Football League took points away from the club to leave them starting the season minus fifteen points.
Andy started his career in Oldham then moved to Notts County, Reading, Norwich (yes we got one off them) and after his three year stay moved on to Scunthorpe United then Charlton Athletic. He played over one hundred times for Notts County, Reading and Leeds, the midfielder who was so versatile and is still is adored by the Leeds faithful gave me a little look into his world when he kindly accepted my invitation to answer a few questions that I asked.
Your first football memory? Playing with my Dad in the back garden then watching Maradona the World Cup in 1986.
Funniest football moment? Too many to mention.
The present situation at Leeds United? As a fan the situation is not ideal and they need to build and recruit well for this coming season but this is why we love Leeds, Ups and downs, Ups and downs.
Best player you've played against? Paul Scholes, former Manchester United player.
Hero as a boy? My Dad
Your all time eleven?
Snodin (Oldham) Kisnorbo (Leeds) Upson (Reading) Shawy
Sidwell Howson (Norwich) Huckerby Snodgrass (Norwich)
Beckford (Bolton) Dean Ashton
To name a few I've played with but there has too many to mention.
Favourite Leeds teammate? All of them!
Favourite stadium? Elland Road
If you weren't a footballer what would you liked to have done as a profession? Policeman or in the Army.
What would you like to do after you've hung up your boots? Would like to coach then manage a team, I have my B licence and now working towards my A licence. I've have called the club to offer my services but they have not returned my calls.
Lastly, did you or do you still wear a Leeds t shirt when holiday and would you come back to the club if the opportunity arose at a coaching at any level? Yes I wear my Leeds t shirt and in a heartbeat I would come back to coach.
I think I speak for all Leeds United fans that not only was Andy a fantastic and loyal footballer but those who have had the pleasure to meet him, he is a warm and genuine bloke who is still given legendary status by the faithful at Elland Road.
Thank you Andy
M O T
By Steve Barras
If you rewind the clock, back to the 12th April 2013 you would find Elland Road in a state of optimism, a state that has very rarely been experienced in the past decade. Brian McDermott had just taken over the managerial reigns of Leeds United from the tactically inept and roundly criticised Neil Warnock and was making all the right noises in his opening press conference.
Unveiled by then majority shareholders of the club GFH, he revealed that he didn’t want to come back into management at that particular point of the season and he wouldn’t have done so if it wasn’t a club of Leeds’ size and stature, he would rather have waited for the summer. Leeds though were in danger of being dragged into a relegation battle and needed a steady hand on the tiller and McDermott was that steady hand.
Joined in the Elland Road dug-out by his trusted no’ 2 Nigel Gibbs the day after they both signed their contracts and against Sheffield Wednesday. It was a debut victory for the pair, two goals from Luke Varney giving Leeds three valuable points and McDermott showed his tactical nous by moving Varney up front after the break. That win and the bearhug shared between McDermott and Neil Redfearn sent Leeds fans into a land of optimism for the summer. Surely we were heading for the promised land and leading the charge was McDermott and GFH Capital.
The summer arrived and despite McDermott saying he wanted the bulk of his shortlisted seven players in place before pre-season started, his first signing (Matt Smith) wasn’t announced until the 10th June and the following signing (Luke Murphy wasn’t announced for nearly a month and we started to see the first cracks in what was to ultimately prove to be the beginning of the end of GFH.
Luke Murphy’s arrival in Leeds was meant to have sent a signal of intent across the decks of other Championship clubs and it was certainly a surprise to see Leeds shell out a seven figure sum on one player but with the gift of hindsight would he have brought Murphy in if he had known about a certain Alex Mowatt lurking around Thorp Arch.
Another million pound man arrived after the start of the season, Scott Wootton was brought in from Manchester United, he scored on his debut but has been largely missing since, unlike Murphy he has the excuse of not being picked for the squad of eighteen.
The problem with McDermott’s signings was that they were M.I.A for a lot of the season and particularly around Christmas, Noel Hunt continues to be the prime example of this.
After a shaky start to the season, McDermott went on a Reading-esque run of form that saw us catapult up the table to fifth before Christmas then our usual holiday form saw us on a run of five straight defeats which included an embarrassing defeat at Rochdale in the F.A. Cup then a 6-0 thrashing in Sheffield which prompted an all out mug and DVD memorabilia session from the Wednesday-ites.
January arrived and the circus really started then, rumours that the King of Corn, Massimo Cellino was wanting to buy a majority share of Leeds from the now widely ridiculed GFH were ultimately true but before officially taking over he sacked McDermott and Gianluca Festa was the man to take over, he had arranged for Festa to sit alongside McDermott in the dug-out for Leeds’ 1-1 draw with Ipswich.
Gibbs was asked to take the team for the 5-1 win over Huddersfield whilst GFH and Cellino tried to figure out whether McDermott was in fact jobless and who was actually in charge of the club.
The following day McDermott was reinstated but a terrible run of form really put the writing on the wall for McDermott and he looked and sounded like a dead man walking towards the end of this season.
Leeds finished 15th and Cellino asked the infamous question twelve days after the draw with Derby, “Where’s Brian?”. A quick phone call would have told him all he needed to know however but it seems the relationship between our former manager and our President was fractious at best and they only communicated via post. Sixteen days later Leeds and McDermott parted ways amicably, the reason given was that Cellino wanted a head coach rather than a manager.
Without the lies from GFH and the constant belittlement from Cellino I think McDermott would have made a success of his time at Elland Road but his players didn’t perform for him and it looks like a few players were undermining him in the dressing room.
Cellino’s parting words for him were true, he really was the right manager at the wrong time, enter David Hockaday.