By Keith Ingham
So the World Champions Germany were crowed in Rio at the magnificent Maracana stadium. The hard work for this victory started back in 2009 when the Germans won the Under 21 Championship when Neuer, Howedes, Boateng, Khedira (c), Ozil plus a strong squad did so well in the tournament and battered England 4-0 in the final. These boys were special and the German FA knew it.
Howard Wilkinson, around fifteen years ago approached the English FA with a model of how to transform the structure of the game, incredibly given Wilkinson's football pedigree he was not given the nod to implement his plans but the Germans did, although not completely the same, they overhauled their federation from top to bottom. Fifteen years later the fruits of these changes sit at the top of the international tree.
I'm suggesting that Leeds United should follow a similar formula with the likes of established youngsters Tom Lees, Sam Byram and Alex Mowatt leading the way, with Chris Dawson and Lewis Walters hopefully following them into the first team. There's others, Dominic Poleon has been in and around the first team for a couple of seasons and others travelled to Italy for experience. Matt Smith, hopefully will be leading the line, there is a small basis for hope. We will not in the near future be able to follow the Leicester's of this world by 'flashing the cash', Mr Cellino is hardly setting the imagination alight with his signings to present. They may indeed be good or great players but the Championship demands physical attributes which may be too much for the players brought in. I hope I'm wrong.
The one thing against the model shown to be a success with Germany is that previously the outgoings of promising players at Elland Road has been uncomfortably regular and this must put any plan at great risk. We did indeed try to build a team around Ross McCormack but it was a failure as others in the team didn't or wouldn't put in the effort to make it a success and in the end the money offered was just too much to turn down plus the player wanted to leave. The finances at the club seem better than for a long time and I'm hoping for a good season. Anything must be better than the dross offered up in the last two seasons. I'd settle for top ten this season and go from there.
Maybe this year it's time to indeed look at the World Champions and realise they've done all they have because of two things, faith in themselves and bloody hard teamwork. A great lesson for all.
Well done Germany, worthy winners of the 2014 World Cup.
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By Keith Ingham
After the weekend when Yorkshire, particularly West Yorkshire showed the world how fanatical we can be about sport, it seems the top scorer of one of the county's clubs Ross McCormack has been 'dazzled' by the promise of riches in the streets of London, West London in fact at Craven Cottage, home of relegated Fulham FC.
It wasn't a surprise he left, but where McCormack decided to ply his trade was. Fulham as I've said have just dropped out of the Premier League and although they have been tipped to challenge next season, people expected the Scottish striker to move to a either a established Premiership team or at least one of the teams going up from the Championship, Leicester and Burnley being linked just after the season ended.
Although as I said earlier it was no massive shock for McCormack to leave it leaves a lot to replace in the squad, not many others weighed in with goals last season. A prolific, at least up to Championship standard striker is definitely needed, because in my view there isn't one anywhere close to that in the present squad. The likes of Matt Smith and Noel Hunt, still without a goal in a competitive game will be asked to step up to the mark if Cellino fails to replace Ross and although Smith had a great first season, Hunt was seen as a massive disappointment.
We still have another couple of strikers I've not mentioned, Morison and Poleon are still on the books but both don't fill this fan with any confidence. Personally I'd sell Morison, as he comes across as somebody who didn't fit in for some reason at Leeds and seems uninterested when I've seen him play. Poleon although given limited opportunities has split opinion, he's a direct player but needs to see what is around him while in possession of the ball. A make or break season for the youngster.
Two deals this week have brought in two Italians, one a keeper (Silvestri) and a midfielder (Bianchi) both have played at under 21 level for Italy. They join Stuart Taylor who joined on a free transfer. The problem now is attracting a high profile marksman to the club. Already linked are old boy Becchio and Troy Deeney of Watford, these are two that would be welcomed as they both have good goalscoring records at this level, although Beechio may be a little 'rusty' after nearly spending his all Norwich City on their bench.
I'll miss the number 44, the pulling on his shirt and kissing the badge when he scored and it might seem worthless now he's gone but at least he had passion in the shirt we, as fans love. The season is around the corner and we wait to see if Mr Cellino can replace him but one thing is certain they are pretty big boots to fill. I'm not going join the criticism of the sale as eleven million is a awful lot of money for a twenty eight year old and maybe last season was his best he'll ever do.
Thanks for the memories Ross and good luck at your new club
On On On
By Russ Vernon
Leeds United have completed the signing of goalkeeper Marco Silvestri and midfielder Tommaso Bianchi.
Silvestri has signed a four-year deal from Italian Club Chievo and he's the 2nd keeper to join the Whites in the past seven days as Leeds signed Stuart Taylor from Reading on a free-transfer.
Bianchi has signed a three-year deal at Elland Road from Sassolo with an option of a fourth.
Both Silvestri, Bianchi & Taylor could all feature on Thursday against Italian amateur side FC Gherdeina.
Meanwhile club captain Ross McCormack has completed his move to Fulham for a fee believed to be in the region of £11m.
The Scotland international who netted 28 league goals for United last season as signed a four-year deal with an option of a fifth with the cottages.
Leeds say: "It is with regret that this decision was reached but the player no longer wanted play for Leeds United."
McCormack made a total of 158 appearances for the club and scored 58 goals since joining from Cardiff for £350,000 in August 2010.
All at We All Love Leeds wish Ross McCormack all the best for the future and thank him for his time at Elland Road.
By Ryan Ingham
With McCormack now sealing his move away from Elland Road, in an £11million deal that seems good for both parties. The all too familiar feeling of a cult hero leaving our club is sinking in once again.
In the last 5+ seasons and since our relegation from the top flight, we have seen our 'season heroes' depart from the club in some questionable manners. Whether that be asking to leave our sinking ship or being forced to walk the dreaded plank of disappointment as the Leeds Twitter followers latch on to your somewhat prosperous escape.
Below is a squad that is built by players who have forced a move away from LUFC, been forced out of the club or have been that terrible in the shirt that they needed a mention.
Disclaimer: this article may cause; anxiety, uncontrollable tears, anger and resentment.
Goalkeeper - Scott Carson
Defender - Rio Ferdinand
Defender - Roque Junior
Defender - Jonathan Woodgate
Defender - Lee Peltier
Midfielder - Robert Snodgrass
Midfielder - Bradley Johnson
Midfielder - Jonny Howson
Midfielder - Harry Kewell
Forward - Alan Smith
Forward - Ross McCormack
Max Gradel - a fantastic player when he got in his swing. He terrorised the defence for Leeds until he eventually grew tired of the broken promises and waltzed off to France at St. Ettiene, always to be rumoured to return.
Neil Kilkenny - little Neil was a strong performer for Leeds, helping the team to promotion before finally leaving for not getting offered a good wage.
Luciano Becchio - after having a brilliant start to the season with over 20 goals, Becchio asked to leave and was granted his request to join Norwich in a deal that saw Leeds gain Welshman Steve Morison (oh the humanity!).
Jermaine Beckford - what a brilliant striker! Beckford could score in a Nunnery and walk away disappointed that he'd not got a hat-trick. A constant performer who was the integral cog in our promotion from League One, scoring the goal that got us up. This would be his swan song though as he'd already agreed to join Everton at the end of his contract. His goal scoring and personality would suffer from then on.
By Ryan Ingham
Never in my years of twitter have I sat and frantically refreshed the words #lufc as much as I have in the past two days. My thumb is sore and I have gained square eyes trying to generate a perspective on this turbulent pre season.
With our star striker asking to leave and enough Italians to make a Yorkshire goodfellas linked to our once enticing club, I haven't a clue what's actually going on. Like many Leeds fans I've hit Wikipedia like a drunk girl hits the deck in heels, it's not graceful. The problem with scarcely known players joining our club is the mystery of whether they will actually be any good.
Leeds in the past have been troubled with plenty of unknown entities turning up for training and not really hitting the ground running. If you whisper the name "Roque Junior" at Elland Road each LUFC fan can be seen shivering in terror at the mistake we made in signing him.
I'll now drop a few names into the pot and see if any jump out at you; Pavoletti, Bianchi, Silvestri and Bellusci. Apart from small stories and links from twitter pages we don't know if these deals are in place or as usual it's a wind up. The YEP have already reported about two of these players (Silvestri and Bellusci) and both do seem to be an improvement on what we currently have in the squad.
Marco Silvestri- a young Italian goalkeeper who has represented his country in the Under 21's and has plenty of first team experience for clubs including: Reggiana, Padova and Cagliari. At 24 years old he is still at a very young age and can only improve if he gets his opportunities and confidence up. Reports are saying a fee of £450k could be agreed and this could be a bargain.
Leonardo Pavoletti- the 25 year old has just come back from a very successful loan spell at Varese where he bagged 24 goals in 33 matches. He has now returned to parent club Sassuolo where he is seemingly not wanted. As I was writing this twitter again exploded with the news he had followed fellow compatriot Bellusci on twitter, with people saying the pair are signing for the whites imminently. I suggest checking him out on YouTube, the guy can finish!
Giuseppe Bellusci- at 24 year old his experience does not come from his age but his 99 appearances for Seria B team Catania. Dubbed as 'the Warrior' by his clubs fans he has been a strong centre back in their squad. Today has seen the defender retweet and favourite a lot of tweets from LUFC fans fuelling the speculation he is on his way. A friend of his even tweeted saying something on the lines of "good luck at Leeds United". I for one think he could be a brilliant addition to a somewhat unstable defence which sometimes lacks fight.
Tomasso Bianchi- 25 year old and can play at centre mid or on the left wing. Apparently a player with a good passing ability and has had a good season behind him on loan at Modena. Another player from the ranks at Sassuolo so unless a double deal is made I can't see us prizing two players away from the same club.
Along with these players we have been linked with Daniel Cacia- Chievo, Nichola Murru- Cagliari, Ibraimi- Cagliari and Mirco Antennuci- Ternana Calcio. With a lot of unknowns coming in I remember the year we were relegated from the Premiership and we simply did not know who was going to start the first game of the season. But with the likes of Mowatt, Murphy, Pearce, Byram, C. Taylor, Smith, throw in a few of the youngsters and skipper McCormack (if he does stay) then we should have a platform for a side that takes a year to gel together and pull out some good results. I'm not promising fireworks but neither am I condemning us to a relegation brawl.
A final word on our new Head Coach. Yes, as we can all agree this is not a popular appointment and we were all scratching our head when we found out he was in the running. But every manager has to get one chance at the big time. We need to get past the fact he hasn't been a Champions League winner or even a JPT finalist but he's had a good coaching experience and I for one want to see what he can do with a big(ish) club.
Let's get behind the boys as we always do and cheer any of the new lads that want to pull on the White shirt this season and show that we are the force that drives this club not a Sardinian Ferrari merchant who was bored with his Fiat.
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By Sean O'Connor
We’re well into the knockout phases of the World Cup. Unbelievably, Costa Rica have defied all the odds to make the quarter final, whilst the likes of Messi, Neymar, Robben and Benzema have all lit up our TV’s with some truly dazzling performances.
Sadly, none of our players are flying the Leeds flag in Brazil this summer but that’s a far cry from the glory days when World Cup winners were bursting out of the Elland Road changing rooms.
But we’ll be back in the big time soon enough and in the spirit of nostalgia, let’s take a look at the Whites who have shone on the world’s biggest stage.
Representing Leeds and his native South Africa in both the 1998 and 2002 World Cup, Lucas Radebe had an illustrious career, spending over 10 years at the top of his game and captaining his nation and club to relative success.
A Leeds legend, he turned down the chance to join Manchester United, whilst Leeds Brewery even immortalised him with a special brew – the Radebeer. His World Cup efforts sadly didn’t see him-or his nation- progress far but he did get himself on the score sheet when he equalised against Spain in a 2002 group match.
One of the Premier League’s most prolific strikers, Mark Viduka guided the Whites into the upper echelons of the Premier League as well as the Champions League Semi-Final back in 2001.
On the international circuit, he was just as vital for Australia, leading his side in the 2006 World Cup where the socceroos earned their first ever Finals victory.
The 26-year-old will certainly be disappointed not to be featuring in the 2014 World Cup Second round fixtures after Greece snuck through the group with a 90th minute penalty in Fortaleza to send his Ivory Coast team packing.
Gradel – who left Leeds in 2011 after 22 goals in 63 league appearances – took part in his first major tournament this summer, starting in the 2-1 defeat to Colombia alongside the likes of Yaya Toure, Cheick Tiote and Wilfried Bony.
Our very own World Cup winner, Jack Charlton played alongside Norman Hunter in the 1966 tournament in England when the Three Lions famously went on to defeat West Germany in the Wembley final. Jack served his country once again four years later as part of a squad that featured four Leeds men. Although in Mexico, the Germans got their revenge.
In total, the central defender made 762 appearances for Leeds, a club record and he tasted World Cup success once more when he led the Republic of Ireland to their best finish at a major tournament at USA 94.
Making 170 league appearances for Leeds, the no-nonsense forward joined a plethora of Whites stars that became affectionately known as the ‘Scottish Mafia’. Lining up alongside David Harvey, Peter Lorimer, Gordon McQueen and of course Billy Bremner, Scotland went unbeaten at the 1974 championships but exited the group stage due to their inferior goal difference.
Jordan continued to represent his country until the 1982 tournament, where he scored in a 2-2 draw with the USSR, and he still retains the title of being the only Scot to have scored in three successive World Cups.
By Keith Ingham
With the sale of Ross McCormack for around eight to ten million rumoured to about to happen, another of our star players decided it was better to ply his trade away from the Theatre of Hope and the fledging managerial Leeds career of David Hockaday. Without doubt these are troubled times at Leeds United, anybody who feels different in my opinion is looking through 'rose' coloured spectacles and is an eternal optimist, but that is how I see it others might not. Here is the list since Promotion in 2010, I didn't go back any further as not to cause anymore sadness.
Fabian Delph left before a ball was kicked in 2009/10 as Leeds saw the fee offered too good to turn down, considering the financial situation following the relegation to Division One and the fall out that happened after. Beckford leaving on a free after Promotion was achieved at the end of the same season was accepted because we knew earlier in the year there were 'rumblings' of his agent hawking Mr Beckford's name around the Premiership clubs and he'd got us up, his goals being a significant factor. You kind of knew something special was about to be broken up and believe me it has and will probably continue whoever comes through and starts to shine in the first eleven.
Before the end of 2010/11 season four of the heroes of the beating of the Salford Reds at Old Farmyard in that never to be forgotten day in 2010, Casper Ankergren, Andy Hughes, Jason Crowe and even Neil Kilkenny deserve a mention. Andy Hughes particularly was a favourite of mine and a gentleman when I met him in Harewood House in Leeds and is still revered by the fans.
After the season finished Kasper Schmeichel for a fee went to Leicester, maybe not a favourite but still a player that next season will ply his trade in the Premiership. One of the best headers of the ball, considering he was a midfielder Bradley Johnson also left on a free to start the exodus of Leeds players to East Anglia, Norwich were soon to become a thorn in our side. Max Gradel also left before the end of the first transfer window, another who could entertain and score his share of goals. We love wingers at Leeds, well I do.
The one that hurt the most was in January 2012 when the club captain and Leeds born Jonny Howson was sold again to Norwich just before the transfer deadline. Why it hurt so much was he'd grown up a Leeds fan and if you saw his reaction on scoring goals for Leeds he got what it meant to pull on the shirt. I was annoyed and felt betrayed by Bates and I feel his relationship with the fans collapsed totally with this sale. Ben Parker the ex Leeds player said he (Howson) didn't want to go, Bates' mouthpiece Peter Lorimer denied this in the Centenary Pavilion before a game soon after but we knew it was true.
Before the season 2012/13 saw Adam Clayton leave for the 'dog botherers', never a favourite during his time at Elland Road but one that was Robert Snodgrass, seemingly frustrated at the clubs lack of vision decided to join Bradley and Jonny at Norwich. The fee around three million was a joke for one of the best wingers / strikers outside the Premiership. The final dagger into the loyal heart was swapping Luciano Becchio for Steve Morison in the January 2013 transfer window, need I say more?!. One was just plain lazy and Lucy just didn't get many games at the newly named Leeds United b team.
What is left is open for debate, without Ross' goals we would have been a Division One club and the likes of Sam Byram and Alex Mowatt have both brought unwanted notice from the Premiership already, even in their fledgling careers. It is hoped that most of the money Leeds received from Ross will be put to good use now the transfer embargo is about to be lifted, without doubt we need another hero, and pretty soon Mr Cellino. Far too many have left.
M O T