By Mike Courtney
It's been a good few weeks down Elland Road way. A three match unbeaten run under Redders which included an away win midweek, our 1st since 2011, has seen us rise from just above the relegatation zone to mid-table and within striking distance of the playoffs. Not that I'm reading too much into League Tables at this time of year as a couple of victories can see you soar up the table while a few defeats can see you plummet towards the drop zone. At this time of the year its all about keeping within touching distance and not getting detached. But most importantly for Leeds it's about a new squad of players finding their feet, beginning to gel and gaining confidence from positive results.
As we saw in the 2nd half at Bournmouth there is plenty of talent in the squad and when they got up a head of steam they played with confidence and no little skill to easily dispatch one of the best footballing teams in the Division and thoroughly deserved the 3 points. It was great to see the strikers hitting the target and this can only add to the confidence of Doukara and Antenucci. The highlight was Bellusci's free kick, not many of us saw that coming and neither did the Bournemouth keeper, but to have that weapon in his locker will strike fear into the opposition. Not since the days of Ian Harte have we had a free kick specialist and maybe the Italian centre back can fill that void. Wasn't it ironic that Harte was on the receiving end Tuesday night.
Getting the goals was great, our first time scoring more then one goal in the League this season, but keeping the opposition at bay was more important. In the first half we were under the cosh and would have been further behind if it wasn't for Silvestri. He really is a find and based on his performances so far could be a huge star in the future. He has kept us in games and without his shot stopping and commanding presence we wouldn't have gained 7 points from our last 3 games. He has been the star man for me this season so far.
There is a slight worrying trend occurring though. We seem to be starting games on the back foot. For the first half against Birmingham we were poor and the same was the case at Bournmouth. It was the same under Hockaday and if that trend continues we won't keep getting away with it and it won't be long before we are turning round at half time 2 or 3 down, like we could have been Tuesday night. I'm sure Redders has addressed this and hopefully we can get off to better starts in games as the season continues and starting with the visit our neighbours on Saturday.
Saturdays game gives us a good chance to continue our good form of late. Huddersfield are in transition with a new manager in situ. A bit like ourselves really but I think we are a bit further along and coming off the back of a good run under Redders we should be able to gain another 3 points. Derby matches are never easy and it will be a good test for our foreign legion. The pace will be frantic early on and this is why we need to start quick and get on the front foot. If we can do that I feel we could run out easy winners. Based on the 1st half performances of late though that's not a certainty but with the backing of 30,000 or so home fans and the confidence running through the squad from our good run of late the players should be up for the challenge.
There is an old adage that says never change a winning team. But there is also a case for freshening things up. We have a strong squad with plenty of options in most positions now. Byram is back from suspension and came on late on against Bournmouth as we reverted to 4-4-2. His replacement at right back, Berardi, hasn't done much wrong but I feel Sam is a better option especially in an attacking sense. Cooper also came on for Warnock and did well at left back and could be given a run there. The midfield did well and if Redders decides to keep the same formation, which was a kind of Diamond with Doukara at the tip, but also resembled 4-3-3 at times, then I don't envisage any changes there. Sloth was unlucky to lose out as I felt he did well enough against Birmingham, but when Doukara and Austin came on that day we did get going in attack. Mowatt might be fit to return after injury and he was another who performed well against Birmingham so there are plenty of option around the middle. With Montengro and Adryan also chomping at the bit to get game time we are in a good place squad wise. Redders will most likely stick with the 11 that started against Bournmouth and with options on the bench I do think we will be too strong for Huddersfield and should gain another 3 points to continue our rise up the table. Take Leeds to win 3-1.
Away from the onfield matters the managers spot is still up for grabs. Milanic and Sabella the latest to be mentioned. If we win tomorrow then I think Cellino should give the job to Redfearn. I hear a lot of fans saying that his role at the Academy is too important to risk losing him but at any club the 1st team is the most important entity. He has served his time and promotion from within is something that happens in most organisations and I think the time is right to give Neil the job. He is obviously capable of doing it, he has proven that this time and the previous times he has taken the reins. He knows the youngsters coming through, he has got the team playing well and winning matches and seems to have a good relationship with Cellino. Surely they can come to some arrangement about returning to the Academy if things don't work out. In the meantime Naylor could be brought back to the Academy to keep things going there. Neil is a great coach and lets face it that is what Cellino is looking for.
A lot of the names being bandied about are high profile managers who will want full control and I'm not sure if Massimo is willing to relinquish the reins just yet. Redders is a good fit for what Cellino is trying to do so why not let him get on with it and keep the stability that he has brought to the 1st team going for as long as this arrangement needs. Wins against Huddersfield and at Brentford could potentially see us end September near the summit and with two home games in early October against Reading and Wednesday to follow we could be in for a good run. Of course this is Leeds and it could just as easily go all "Pete Tonge" but that is the beauty of supporting Leeds United, you never know what is around the corner.
Onwards and upwards MOT Leeds Leeds Leeds
By Keith Ingham
After a painful yet exhilarating session I returned from the local gym listening to the dulcet tones of Mr Adam Pope and on this occasion the very knowledgable Mr Ian Baird, ex Leeds United number nine of some prowess back in the late eighties.
To be honest it was not a game I was relishing, Bournemouth have a reputation of passing the round thing to each other, at speed sometimes and the last time we visited there, our arses were well and truly 'tanned'. The 4-1 defeat one of the less remembered times in Brian McDermott's tenure at Leeds. They again started on the front foot and tore into Leeds and were ahead on six minutes, Surman getting the goal and continued like they wanted a quick kill, Leeds wobbled, Silvestri saved brilliantly when called upon as the away side at times rode their luck.
Slowly after a torrid thirty minutes Leeds rallied and come more into the game, the impressive Lewis Cook, a midfield general if I've ever seen one, began to find their feet in the game he was aided by Tomasso Bianchi and Rudy Austin. Passes were to feet and the days of 'hoof ball' were a horrible memory. Leeds didn't force a equaliser but they matched their opponents in the latter part of the first half.
Two pieces of skill turned this match on it's head, firstly in the sixty seventh minute Tommaso Bianchi fed a delightful ball through to 'Sully' Doukara and he despatched it like a Exocet missile into the Bournemouth goal. The celebrations that followed showed a team committed not only to the club but themselves as a group, it was a special moment.
It was bettered with less than ten minutes remaining, Rudy Austin in full flow was brought to ground by a Bournemouth defender and as all looked around to see who would take it, up stepped Giuseppe Bellusci who hit one of the best free kicks I've ever seen into the net and celebrated with 'his mates'. Look at the photograph above and see the delight on the faces of the players. Antenucci made it safe with time nearly up. A fantastic win.
Neil Redfearn must take the plaudits for bringing together the group that seemed disinterested from the outside. I've seen enough to go from a ReallyworriedFan to a NotsoNegativeFan in the three games that Redfearn has been in charge. I just hope the 'togetherness' clearly on show on a Tuesday night down in Bournemouth stays with the team throughout the rest of the season. The new coach, whoever gets the job has a tough act to follow.
Well done Redders.
On On On
By Andrew Butterwick
As the only option of travelling 270 miles to get to Bournemouth in time for a 7.45pm kick off from work was a Lear Jet I opted for the cheaper option of watching the game from the comfort of the members bar at Elland Road and the LUTV beamback. The Happy Chocker and the Quiet One joined me for this new experience of watching the mighty whites and despite being rationed to one pie each, with no gravy or peas, we settled down to watch the game with cautious optimism. Could we start where we left off on Saturday? Could we avoid the battering we got last season at the Cherries? Would the live LUTV link last the full 90 minutes? All questions eagerly debated as kick off time approached.
The room was packed as the team news filtered through. Doukara and Austin started in place of the injured Mowatt and Sloth who dropped to the bench to join Byram who was returning from suspension. Leeds set out with a 4-3-3 formation presumably to try and counteract one of the best footballing sides in the division. The game kicked off on the slightly out of focus big screen and it didn't take long for a familiar sense of foreboding to wipe out any sense of optimism as the Cherries flew at Leeds like a super sonic express train. Barely two minutes had gone before Fraser galloped at the Leeds defence and fired a searing shot that Silvestri expertly tipped behind for a corner.
The home side applied suffocating pressure to the visitors with wave after wave of attack inspired by Fraser and Surman. Memories of last season's capitulation when they conceded three goals in the first 28 minutes came flooding back to haunt us. The inevitable goal came on 6 minutes when the ex Canary, Surman, pounced on a ball on the edge of the box and finished superbly to give the visitors a deserved lead. An uneasy silence descended on the room as we battened down the hatches for another battering at the expense of our South Coast opponents.
Bournemouth's speedy and forceful attacks yielded chances for Ritchie, Kermorgant and Wilson as a combination of desperate defending and outstanding goalkeeping kept the score at 1.0 as the clock ticked past the half hour mark. Ex Leeds left back Harte was exploiting the space down the left flank as Leeds tried to draw breath. Silvestri made a brilliant one on one save against Wilson when he looked certain to score. Leeds did have a couple of bright periods when Antenucci drove hard from midfield to create a half chance for Sharp before Doukara released Sharp but his cross came to nothing. It was Bournemouth who dominated the first half though and somehow Leeds got to half time without conceding another goal. "I'm glad I'd not driven all that f****** way to watch this" a rather frustrated fan muttered. Frustration was the name of the game as we contemplated the 2nd 45 minutes.
Redfearn didn't make any personnel changes at half time but his subtle tactical changes seemed to have some effect in quelling the Cherries domination. Now it was Leeds who were looking dangerous going forward................well sort of. Austin followed up a driving run with a poor shot. Sharp found some joy attacking the inside left channel and Doukara was coming deeper and deeper to get the ball. Lewis Cook had given the ball away a number of times in the first half but that didn't stop him trying to create something in the 2nd period. He has lovely burst of pace that he uses intelligently. Leeds were grinding their way back into the game as the hour mark approached. Silvestri still had to be on his toes to save a stinging shot from the illusive Fraser though.
Antenucci was again showing some lovely touches and tested the home keeper with a long range shot on 65 minutes as Leeds started to threaten the Cherries rearguard. Then out of the blue a superb piece of football changed the game. Bianchi strode onto a ball from the half way line and slid a laser guided pass through for Doukara who timed his run into the box beautifully before finishing in style to bring Leeds back on level terms. The room erupted in unexpected joy. 1.1 and very much game on.
Leeds picked up some much needed momentum from the goal and soon Billy Sharp was pouncing on an Austin ball into the box to worry the home defence. After the battering we took in the first half the sensible thing to do would have been to hold what we had and settle for the point but the home fans and team were now getting frustrated. They'd had a chance to win it and now Leeds were showing some attacking prowess of their own. Austin went on a typical run powering forward but not quite knowing where he was going until he was brought down 25 yards out. "What's Bellusci doing standing over the ball? This is in row Z FFS" a puzzled fan commented. What Bellusci did next will be remembered for years to come. He hit what can only be described as the perfect free kick which rose over the wall and then dipped just enough to leave a 1mm gap between the ball and the underside of the cross bar before hitting the back of the net. Everybody jumped off their seats in the Members bar whilst it was absolute bedlam in the away end at Bournemouth. 2.1 Leeds.......How?
Bournemouth were stung into action and threw everything forward at Leeds in the hope of making up for their wastefulness early in the match. "we'll get a third here" I gleefully predicted to the Happy Chocker. "I hope not he replied the Quiet One's got £95 quid riding on a 2.1 win" Sorry as the Quiet One was when Antenucci broke away on 90 minutes and ran half the length of the field before coolly slotting the ball past the keeper for the third Leeds goal the rest of the room was in football heaven. From 1.0 and down and out we had turned it round into an easy 3.1 win. Football is beautiful game at times. The referee's whistle signalled the end of the game and the members bar celebrated a very welcome win snatched from the jaws of another mauling from the Cherries.
Antenucci was my man of the match with eye catching performances also from Silvestri and Cook but overall this was a gritty and impressive team performance from Neil Redfearn's team. The team is still work in progress but there are all the signs that out of adversity this season might just be one of the brighter ones from recent years. Uddersfield up next. 30,000 inside ER with Leeds playing attractive and effective football... That'll do nicely thank you very much.
By Brendan Devereux
Leeds Ladies made the trip to the steel city this Sunday although by half time the fans thought they had come to the glass city. Straight from kick-off Leeds stamped their authority on the game as within the first 7 minutes Leeds had broken down the Blades defences & had 3 shots all narrowly miss the target. Leeds were in fine flow & it appeared Sheffield had no answer until after every tackle then a player went to the floor requiring treatment which broke Leeds flow & the game became a very stop-start affair.
Undeterred Leeds pushed on at every opportunity & 17 minutes in it was none other than leading goal scorer Hannah Campbell who tore through the defence before unleashing a shot from the edge of the area to give Leeds a very well deserved lead. Time & again as Leeds got a foot on the ball a Sheffield player went down which lead to one of the funniest things I’ve seen as the Leeds players forming a huddle while all the supporters began singing the Hokie Cokie.
Just before half-time it was perhaps a case of the Blades who called wolf as Hannah Campbell went 1 on 1 with the keeper & managed to poke it past her the ball trickled agonisingly wide as both players came clattering together. The Sheffield keeper was receiving treatment for some time which angered the travelling support as this tactic had been a recurring theme of the first half only to find out the injury was a suspected torn ACL & we wish her all the best in her recovery.
Leeds started the second half in the same ilk as the first as on the 53rd minute Kez with one of her trademark defence splitting passes put through Shelbey Morris who made no mistake & doubled the Phoenixes advantage. As Sheffield’s constant time wasting tactics began to grown on the players nerves a bizarre decision came from the referee as he decided to book Kez for waving while a free kick was being taken. As the free kick was brought forward Sheffield hit a high one into the Leeds area & managed to pull one back against the run of play.
Determined not to repeat last week’s result Leeds pushed on for a third to kill the game & were unlucky not to get the killing goal as Kez hit the post shortly followed by Bianca hitting the cross bar. The refs poor decisions were to have the final say in this match as Sheffield hit Leeds on the break in the 89th minute & their striker caught Erin White slightly late & the ref was the only person in the ground that seemed to deem the incident a red card offence.
The Phoenixes came away with all 3 points & a performance from start to finish. With Lauryn Colman looking comfortable between the sticks, Bentz & Erin a formidable defensive pair, Starkie & Hamill looking like veteran wing backs, Jemma White & Woman Of The Match Lauren Griffiths bossing the centre midfield & Hannah, Shelbey, Binx & Kez looking like scoring every time they had the ball. It is onwards & upwards for this soaring phoenix as we turn our attention to visit of Norton & Stockton this coming Sunday. So come down & be part of something special at Knaresborough, Manse Lane kick off is 2pm.
By Alton Harewood
SPOTLIGHT ON: Marco Silvestri
DOB: March 2, 1991
POB: Castelnovo ne'Monti, Italy
Height: 1.91m (6ft 3in)
Continuing the Italian connection theme Marco Silvestri, a former Italy Under 21 International, has proven quickly to be a fan favourite. Almost single-handedly guiding Leeds to a recent win against Bolton, Silvestri now has a huge weight laid upon him by the Leeds faithful.
During his fairly recent career since 2009, Silvestri has often been the third or second string keeper. By 2012 he saw some action at both Reggiana on loan from Chievo, more as back up, and then Padova on loan as a first choice and this continued when he was on loan with Cellino's Cagliari side.
He clearly impressed Massimo as his move to Leeds was consolidated fairly quickly in time for the limited Leeds pre-season.
With a clean sheet in his first outing, an achievement he repeated at Bolton, Silvestri has made a strong start and it should be noted that the Leeds losses have been more about defensive errors that the goalie.
Leeds fans have already been treated to photos and tweets from Silvestri's glamorous model "other-half" Sofia Jamal Eddine who hails from Morocco which should make for some interesting French/Italian heated conversations! Fans were left wondering if his cane roll hairstyle at the recent 1-1 draw with Birmingham was a result of his fashionista connection...
Silvestri looks like a solid buy for Leeds and seems certain to be a crowd favourite for his passion and strength. This was well demonstrated after the Bolton game when a fan ran on to hug a few players and a steward was over-enthusiastic in taking action, Silvestri stepped in on behalf of the fan and calmed the situation then waved his hands cheering the Leeds fans. Instant hero and a possible potential fan pick for captain? Time will tell.
Benvenido to Leeds Marco! MOT!
By Andrew Butterwick
A lunchtime kick off in England's 2nd city meant an early start for the Happy Chocker, Quiet One and yours truly as we headed to York to catch the cross country train for the latest episode in Leeds United's rollercoaster season. Neil Redfearn was still in the Head coach hot seat for this one despite rumours linking virtually every ex Leeds player in the last 20 years to the job. With rumblings from Football League headquarters of further sanctions against Cellino and Leeds United there was the inevitable air of rebellion and resistance amongst the long suffering Leeds fans heading to St Andrews. Anticipation of a Leeds debut for the much vaunted Brazilian, Adryan, together with another host of acadamy starlets in the squad helped the pre match refreshments go down with a strangely warm feeling. After all the turmoil in the club have we finally got the basis of a decent team at the mighty whites?
Not surprisingly the fit again Berardi replaced Wootton at right back in the only change from the Bolton game. Doukara and Adryan were on the bench. The sun was peeking through the grey Brummie skies as the game got underway with the boisterous Leeds fans in full voice as per usual. The opening exchanges were cautious from both sides. Leeds stuck to the Redder's passing game to try and prise open the Blues defence but whilst the ball moved elegantly between Gold shirted players often the final incisive ball went astray or Sharp and Antenucci strayed offside. Shea caught the eye for the home team and not just because of his weird haircut as he gave the Leeds defence some early problems with his intelligent running and good early touch. It didn't save him from the harsh humour from the away fans though "he's got bird shit in his hair" warbled the massed Leeds fans behind Silvestri's goal.
The half hour past with not too much action to get the adrenaline going although Cook did raise the away fan's pulses with a lovely mazy run ending with a shot just wide. The stalemate on the pitch meant the majority of the travelling support locked onto the young steward with a bright shock of Ginger hair sat behind the Leeds goal. Advice ranging from using Factor 50, getting out of the sun and pulling the young female steward by his side was generously given to the young lad. I thought calling him a shit Billy Bremner was a bit much though!
Back on the pitch the game sparked into life. An innocuous through ball towards the Blues forward, Wesley Thomas, saw him roll Bellusci far too easily on the edge of box before finishing with some aplomb into Silvestri's top corner. The home fans erupted as the net collapsed with the force of the shot. 1.0 Birmingham. The problem with the net was similar to what most Sunday league clubs have each week but the time it took to fix was farcical. The impatient Leeds fans first suggested that our Ginger friend sorted it out before declaring "We're Leeds United we don't need a net". After nearly 10 minutes delay the game resumed with Leeds feeling slightly aggrieved to have conceded after having the majority of the possession in the first 36 minutes.
The delay took some of the sting out the game as the game limped to half time. Bellusci nearly caught Silvestri out with an interesting back header before the break. Half time 1.0 to the Blues. The first half performance was encouraging in the way Leeds had passed the ball but too often we were let down by the final ball. Mowatt, Cook, Antenucci and Warnock all had decent first periods whilst Berardi gave the team a lot more balance with his ability to go forward.
Ex York City man Clayton Donaldson hit the side netting early in the 2nd half as Birmingham looked to put the game beyond Leeds. Shea quickly followed with a header and a shot that had the away fans grimacing but the score remained 1.0. The game was opening up now and Birmingham grew in confidence. Leeds could only manage a badly sliced shot by the misfiring Billy Sharp and that feeling of desperation started to creep into the travelling fan's minds. Then just when the game seemed to be slipping away from the mighty whites Leeds got some much needed inspiration from the impressive Mowatt. Yet another good passing move from Leeds found Mowatt 25 yards out and he thundered a stinging shot that Randolph parried away to safety. This lifted the crowd and all of sudden it was Leeds looking dangerous. Redders freshened his team up with the introduction of Austin and Doukara in place of Sharp and Sloth and both subs made an immediate impact.
Austin injected some pace into the midfield whilst Doukara showed some lovely touches as he dropped deep to pick the ball up and attack the now vulnerable home defence. On 66 minutes he danced into the Birmingham box and fired a shot just wide. The momentum was definitely with Leeds now but the Blues sub, Gray, soon had the Leeds defence back pedalling as he wriggled through and fired a low shot to Silvestri's left.
Leeds weren't to be denied though. Another multi passing attack saw Berardi whip a dangerous cross into the heart of the home defence...............they failed to clear as Mowatt picked up the ball and drove strongly into the box before sliding the ball past Randolph for a deserved equaliser. The away end exploded with joy as the 3,000 travelling fans celebrated uncontrollably. 1.1. The goal sparked a frenetic end to the game with Gray causing havoc in the Leeds defence with his quicksilver runs. One of which ended with a dive in the penalty area that Tom Daley would have been proud of. Thankfully the ref was of the same opinion and booked him. At the other end Leeds went agonisingly close to the winner when Mowatt headed a cross back across the gaping goal but no gold shirt got near it. Austin powered forward on a couple of barnstorming runs but all to no avail. Birmingham so nearly pinched it at the end as a header from Thomas went just wide after a good challenge by Bellusci. The game ended 1.1.
In the end a good point after being a goal behind and an encouraging performance from Leeds. Rome wasn't built in a day and the rebuilding of this team will take time. Patience, something in short supply at Leeds, will be needed though. After the young Ginger haired steward I thought Mowatt was the man of the match. That's something I didn't think I would saying this season. Cook again showed maturity beyond his years and Doukara showed some lovely touches. Antenucci needs to time his runs better to avoid the offside flag but his all round play is very promising. All in all more positives than negatives from the game.
If we can continue the style of play into the Bournemouth and Uddersfield games we should start to pick up points. No sign of Adryan today. Presumably we will ease him in gently to the harsh pace and rough and tumble of the Championship. Despite all the turmoil off the field the team is starting to gel together. Roll on Tuesday and the beam back game in the members bar.
PS We among many other fans have failed to get our Brentford tickets. Surely it should have been a loyalty game? Anyhow if anybody know's of any spare tickets........................
By Russ Vernon
Leeds United are set to be on the brink of another ownership crisis again if an impending Italian legal judgment goes against owner Massimo Cellino, The Football League have confirmed.
FL have said Whites owner Massimo Cellino would have to sell up if the judgement goes against him.
Cellino, 58, successfully appealed against the Football League's initial decision to fail him in its fit and proper person test after he was found guilty of tax evasion in March.
But if Cellino is deemed to have acted in a dishonest way when the Italian judge publishes their long-overdue written reasons, then United could be plunged into fresh turmoil.
Former Whites and Current Football League Cheif Executive Shaun Harvey has said: "It was made very clear that when the written reasons are issued as part of the judicial process, if it is clear in there that the act was one of 'dishonesty', then at that stage he would fail the Owners and Directors Test and as such wouldn't be able to be a director of the football club or exert any control. He is under an obligation to divest himself of his shares at that stage. Things would move very quickly. We'd obviously give the club a reasonable period of time to organise its affairs because you wouldn't want to put the future of the club at risk immediately that you had a decision. It's a matter the Football League board would have to consider at that particular time. But it's exceptionally disappointing that we haven't actually had the judgment, if not only to draw a line under the whole scenario so that everyone knows where they are. It's a cloud still hanging over both the Football League and the club, and Mr Cellino himself."
So Cellino could have to sell up at Elland Road and the fans will begin to wonder who will own their club next?
By Keith Ingham
The last day of July saw Tom Lees leave for Sheffield Wednesday, his remaining contract being paid off by the Sheffield club, thus ending a fifteen year association with Leeds which he played 135 games at senior level. His loyalty deserves a mention. Thanks Tom.
Well my fellow supporters August will go down as an indifferent start to the 2014/15 season. Their was limited optimism even before the first ball was kicked down in Bermondsey, a 2-0 defeat only confirmed the limitations of both the untried 'coach' and the underachievers of the previous season still being around the first eleven.
I witnessed a pretty decent passing display in the first half against Accrington Stanley in the Capital One Cup at Elland Road, possession football but with not much penetration. 'Sully' Doukara getting his first goals in a competitive game. Hockaday changed the personnel in the second half and we hung on after Berardi blemished his first outing by getting sent off for a reckless tackle.
The first home Championship fixture brought an inform Middlesborough team to the Theatre of Hope and with Leeds starting their new number 8, Billy Sharp was signed for around 600,000 and duly scored the winner late in the game and celebrated shirtless. Boro though would have felt hard done by, a disallowed goal and plenty of possession warranted at least a point. Leeds and their new 'coach' were just glad of their first three points.
The Tuesday following I witnessed up in the LUFC gantry one of the worst displays I've ever seen in the first half versus Brighton, totally outplayed by a very useful bright orange shirted team. The same midfield that matched Middlesborough went 'missing' as Leeds resorted to trying to plant the ball on Matt Smith's head and hoped something happened. It improved slightly in the second but the comments of Hockaday made post match raised a few eyebrows when he said we deserved at least a draw. We were well beaten by a better team, simple as.
The weekend game took us to Vicarage Road, home of Watford. Thousands had made the journey down to support and left totally deflated as Leeds slumped to a 4-1 defeat. The appearance of Giuseppe Bellucci at centre back was hopefully the answer to the defences fragility but after a decent sixty minutes, his first appearance and the hopes of three points disappeared after the Italian was sent off for a 'professional' foul, upending a Watford player. We left there with only three points on the board and rumours of Massimo Cellino about to call time on the brief reign of David Hockaday.
Hockaday survived to live another game, Bradford City in the Capital One cup hopefully giving him the chance to rescue his fledgling Elland Road career. David Norris not played in over a year surprisingly recalled in midfield. In truth the effort was there and Leeds played ok but after taking a late lead when Matt Smith scored his last goal in a Leeds shirt warranted huge celebration in the away stand, only for Bradford to grab two goals in a matter of minutes to claim their first win over Leeds at Valley Parade in a very long time. Massimo had seen enough, Hockaday was sacked at around quarter to eight on the Thursday evening along with his assistant Junior Lewis. Cellino admitted he'd made a mistake appointing the former Non league manager. We knew that Mr President but cheers for actually saying it.
Transfer deadline day brought the end to Matt Smith's Leeds United career. After he signed a new three year deal he was deemed expendable and for around 750,000 he joined Ross McCormack at Fulham. I for one was sad to see him leave. In came a talented Brazilian, Adyran although only twenty came with good reviews. Brian Montenegro another forward and Dario Del Fabro a defender made it fifteen players brought in since the transfer window opened. Quite incredible.
With Hockaday gone, Neil Redfearn was appointed caretaker until a suitable replacement was appointed. A great professional who has done so well with the youngsters at the clubs academy. He picked two youngsters, Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt who Hockaday had ignored in his time at the club, the later even putting on social media that he wasn't injured. A fine 1-0 win, a Warnock strike getting the points but impressive performances by Cook, Sloth and Silvestri the backbone of the much needed win.
There you have it, August in a nutshell, goodbye David it was an experience unfortunately for you and for us not a pleasant one.
On On On