The new Head Coach is.....
Club Statement: ”Leeds United are delighted to confirm the appointment of Paul Heckingbottom as new head coach of the club. Heckingbottom arrives at the club from fellow Sky Bet Championship outfit Barnsley, having been in charge at Oakwell since February 2016. The 40-year-old has signed a contract running until the summer of 2019 and succeeds Thomas Christiansen who left the Leeds United on SundayAs a player, Heckingbottom had a successful career as a defender, with spells at clubs including Norwich City, Bradford City, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley.
“After hanging up his boots, he returned to Barnsley as a coach in their development setup, before becoming caretaker boss in February 2015, taking over from Danny Wilson. He took caretaker charge once again in February 2016, following the departure of Lee Johnson, before landing the job permanently.
“During his time at the helm at Oakwell, Heckingbottom led Barnsely to success in the Football League Trophy, before guiding the Reds to promotion to the Championship via the Play-Offs. Last season he steered the Reds to a 14th place finish in the division, on their return to the Championship and in total, oversaw over 100 games at Barnsley. Heckingbottom’s first game in charge of Leeds United will be Saturday’s Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.”
Barnsley's chief exec: "Yes, it was unexpected. Yes, it has come during an already complicated period. Yes, it will make things more difficult short term but our club is full of resources and it is certainly not dependent on one man alone." Not happy then!
Heckingbottom on joining Leeds: “We’ll get out on the grass because that’s important, there are some really big fixtures coming up and some which are going to define the season. I can’t wait to get started, it’s a big opportunity, a big football club and something you work hard for. I’m planning to make the most of it.
“When I spoke to Victor(Orta) and the owner (Andrea Radrizzani), it really aligned with what I was thinking and how I’d like to work. I presume that’s the reason they thought I was the right man for the job. I’m aligned with how they like to work and hopefully that will be good for us going forward.”
We wish the new Head Coach every success in his new post.
Pontus Jansson may be available for the game at Sheffield United, the popular centre half was carried off during the first half of the game with Cardiff City. If he is it would be a timely boost for new HC Paul Heckingbottom, he has Cooper suspended and Shaughnessy out injured.
Ex-Leeds centre forward Brian Deane reaches the half century today. Happy Birthday Big man.
Lasogga massively talking us up in the German media, saying he feels at home in Leeds. He also said he feels incredibly disrespected by HSV investor Kühne's "flop of the century" comment.
Every picture tells a story.
In a hard hitting interview in the YEP Andrea Radrizzani gives his reasons for sacking Thomas Christiansen, why Paul Heckingbottom was top of his list to replace him and his hopes for the future. Parts 1 and Parts 2.
Many Thanks to the YEP.
Paul Heckingbottom on the now and the near future: “I’ve got to understand the players and they’ve got to understand me, I guarantee all of the players are ringing people who have worked with me and know me, they will know more about me than they let on and as we keep working together, they will understand more and more.
“In the short term, I think this next month is going to be the really defining month of the season and we have to give everything to win points, we find ourselves in a position where we are on a bad run and have players missing through injuries and suspensions.There is an opportunity now for others and it is a big opportunity, because sometimes they have to be gifted like this and it is up to the players to take them.
“The boys that are available have a head start on everybody else, they have the chance to put a marker down and secure a starting place in the team. On the pitch I want us to be a really positive and aggressive team with and without the ball, you get nothing for being cautious, especially in the position we find ourselves right now, what have we got to lose? The next month or two are going to be really big and we have to try and catch up, so that approach is really relevant for now."
We’ve met before
Sheffield Utd. 2 Leeds 0 Apr 2015 Sheffield Utd. 1 Leeds 1 Apr 2006 Sheffield Utd 2 Leeds 0 Apr 2004 Sheffield Utd. 1 Leeds 0 Mar 2003 Sheffield Utd. 2 Leeds 1 Nov 2002
Leeds’ last win at Bramall Lane was in 1992, the 3-2 win coupled with Liverpool’s victory over manu gave Leeds their third Division One title.
Paul Heckingbottom first press conference: “It’s an honour, It’s been a whirlwind few days and it’s got me really excited. I think today is the probably the first time it’s felt like normal, there have been lots of things going off, lots of things to deal with and do.
“Monday was a strange day. I knew before training on Monday that things were happening but as it stood I was still Barnsley manager. I carried on there as normal, nobody knew, and then things started really moving on Monday night.Timing’s everything as they say and I’ve been fortunate enough to capitalise, but we’ve had lots of speculation over my time at Barnsley, whether it was players or myself.
“And I said all along when people used to ask me the question, I had opportunities as a player, a coach and a head coach to go but I didn’t really want to leave. This time everything was right and I’m really pleased to be here.”
He said he has Pontus Jansson available, returning from suspension are Kalvin Phillips and Eunan O’Kane, he has been especially pleased with Phillip’s attitude since he arrived. All the squad are in positive mood for the game with Sheffield United.
Leeds travel to Bramall Lane on Saturday lunchtime for a dinner time kick off with Sheffield United. Paul Heckingbottom’s new charges will be looking to register their first three points in 2018.
Thomas Christiansen’s reign was prematurely ended by Andrea Radrizzani on Sunday after a woeful start to the New Year, something had to give and it was no surprise results were his ultimate undoing, nice fella but it’s a results business and Leeds’ slide down the Championship table meant he had to go.
Heckingbottom has the job of lifting a under performing squad, minus some key players. Siaz, Berardi and Cooper are unavailable through suspension. Connor Shaughnessy, Ekuban and long term injury Luke Ayling out through injury.
Kalvin Phillips and Eunan O’Kane are available after serving their suspensions and it will be seen if Heckingbottom changes the favoured 4-2-3-1 formation preferred by Christiansen to one he more favours. Stuart Dallas hopefully will be considered more than he was under the last HC, the Northern Ireland international has let nobody down when called from the bench and as I keep saying he deserves a run in the team. Tyler Roberts, if fit may challenge the under performing Kemar Roofe for a starting place.
A big game for both teams, Sheffield and Leeds need to get back to winning ways after recent defeats. Maybe it’s too much of an ask for Heckingbottom’s first game to be a win, a draw might be the best Leeds can hope for. 2-2.
Chris Wilder on Paul Heckingbottom’s move to Leeds United: ”We’re friends off the pitch so I won’t be kicking any water bottles at him, his record has been outstanding at Barnsley so he’s a great appointment for Leeds and I expect him to do really really well.”
‘Eckie’s’ goodbye to Barnsley
Very sad news - former Leeds United midfielder Liam Miller has died at the age of 36 after a long battle with cancer.
Liam made 33 appearances for Leeds while on loan, scoring a famous winner at Southampton after Leeds had come from 3-0 down to win 4-3. He leaves a wife and three children.
Sheffield United v Leeds
Team News: Three changes; Dallas, O’Kane(c), Phillips come in, Hernandez drops to the bench, Ekuban returns from injury to the eighteen.
Team: Wiedwald, De Bock, Jansson, Pennington, Dallas, Forshaw, O’Kane(c), Phillips, Alioski, Roofe, Lasogga. (4-3-3 or 4-5-1.)
Leeds don’t do themselves any favours in game, yet again behind to a incredible ‘scissor kick’ by ex Leeds striker Billy Sharp(I knew he’d score!, it was his 200th goal in league football) he’d also scored early at Elland Road earlier in the season and was again given plenty of time by the generous nature of the Leeds defence to beat Wiedwald all ends up. It was not the best start and only Burton Albion away have Leeds conceded first and gone on to claim three points.
In reality this game, like the Millwall game should have been over as a contest by half time, Sharp proving once again that he still ‘has it’ at Championship level, the ‘fat lad from Sheffield’ and his teammates carved up the Leeds rearguard at will, but he and Clarke let the chances created go begging.
Sheffield could count themselves very lucky they weren’t minus a man due to a shocking tackle by Evans, his rash challenge left Alioski in agony. Leeds lost Kemar Roofe because of a earlier knock to his head, courtesy of a Sheffield player’s knee,Pablo Hernandez came to replace the dazed striker. Pontus Jansson in injury time should have levelled but Blackman superbly saved his header from a free kick
Something must have been in the visitors interval orange because Leeds were level within two minutes of the restart, Hernandez got around the Blades defence and his cross was superbly headed past Blackman by Lasogga, then Hernandez’s deflected shot just sailed past a post as Leeds upped the anti.
The winner came from the penalty spot, O’Kane tried to pull out of a challenge on Fleck in the penalty area but the Sheffield man went sprawling, Sharp netted the resultant penalty past Wiedwald. Leeds had a penalty claim themselves late in the game but the referee waved away the Leeds protests.
Lasogga puts Leeds level.
Like a lot of games, Leeds only got going when behind and although the second half was better Heckingbottom must get them to put in a ninety minutes performance before too long or Leeds’ slide down the Championship will continue.
Man of the Match. Pablo Hernandez, made the goal and impressed in the better second half by Leeds.
Paul Heckingbottom: ”As games run out, you get further and further away, that’s a fact. The beauty is we’re playing lots of teams above us so when we’re winning, we’ll be taking points off teams we’re trying to catch, that’s the beauty of this run(of games) People tell me how difficult this run is but you can flip it and look at it a different way.
We’re disappointed with the result, especially with the way we came back in the second half, It is something we need to look at. Sheffield United are a team who, in my opinion, are the best in the league at building momentum with their style of play, keeping possession and playing forwards. They got the ball in the box and they got a goal from it, I know when I watch that goal back there’ll be things I don’t want to see. They’re the things over time that we need to improve.”
Chris Wilder: ”We needed it, I’m sick of banging on about how well we’re playing and not getting results. People are looking at me as if I’m a bit of a nutter, going on about it. We were close against Villa but we didn’t deserve anything against Wolves, we’re at the business end of the season and we need to pick wins up. We’ve got one and we’re off and running.”
Andrew Butterwick reflects on a new man at the helm, unfortunately the key decisions and fates seem against us at the moment.
Thank you Andrew, surely soon things have to get better.
Targets for the ‘keyboard warriors’ today, step forward Eunan O’Kane, Kalvin Phillips, Kemar Roofe and to a lesser extent Ezgjan Alioski. Praise mind you for Pablo especially and after a shaky start the back four also get a fair amount of positive comments, especially Jansson and Pennington.
David Watkins reviews the Sheffield United game for the blog site matchwriteup.com. Very impressive site, have a look yourself.
Thank you David.
Mateusz Klitch on his limited chances at Leeds: "Of the matches I have played, I know that I can handle the level of the Championship. I did not have a good relationship with the coach, Thomas Christiansen. He happened to be fired after the defeat against Cardiff. What has happened between us? I do not want to go into details too much, It's only frustrating when you know you can handle the level, but do not get a chance to show it."
He’s certainly liked by the fans!
Heidi Haigh on Christiansen’s dismissal, the appointment of Heckingbottom, remembering a happy day back in 1992, Leeds’ last victory at Bramall Lane and her thoughts on yet another defeat there.
Thank you Heidi.
2018 so far has to go down as a bitter disappointment, no win so far and agree with the decision or not Paul Heckingbottom has taken up the baton left by Christiansen(who showed his class in his farewell massage),’Eckie’ talks a good game and has impressed in his interviews. It is hoped that the messages he puts over to the players are shown on the pitch sooner or later, starting with Bristol City on Sunday.
Everything mind you was put into perspective with the sad passing of Liam Miller at such a young age. Sometimes we need to remember it is a game and there are much more important matters than it.
Billy Sharp speaks about his time at Leeds and the turnaround of players during his time away.
By Keith Ingham