By Andy Gregory
Name: Rob Atkinson
Tell us a bit about yourself:
51 year old Freelance writer, opinionated but devoted to Leeds, passionate in my likes and dislikes, very well aware that we have an inadequate team and management, but equally well aware that Leeds
United is the greatest football club in the world.
How long have you supported Leeds? Since 1975, so that’s 38 years.
What is your favourite memory?
Probably of the first goal I saw us score live, Billy Bremner’s great strike against Barcelona in front of 50000 at Elland Road in the European Cup semi-final in April ’75.
Favourite player past and present?
Present: probably Sam Byram.
Past: Billy Bremner
If you could bring one player from any era back to the club, who would it be and why?
It’d have to be John Charles, who I only saw play in a testimonial curtain-raiser when he was bout 60. But he was the best centre-half AND best centre-forward in the world, and remains Italy’s greatest ever foreign star, ranking higher than the likes of Platini, Maradona and even Ian Rush.
Best goal scored by a Leeds player?
Eddie Gray’s second against Burnley, when he beat the whole defence twice, put the kettle on, had a cuppa, then nonchalantly slotted past the keeper. Naturally, Eddie himself thinks his best was his first goal in that game, an audacious 40 yard lob.
How would you sum up our season so far?
Bitterly disappointing, and a betrayal of the fans’ trust and expectations.
Which player has impressed you most this season?
Sam Byram. From nowhere to an ever-present. He has a massive future, hopefully NOT with Norwich City.
Which player have you been least impressed with?
Paddy Kenny. He hasn’t lived up to the hype.
How would you describe our current team?
A team of fragments, which should be doing a lot better than it is.
What are your thoughts now on GFH?
It’s not been a good start. There are worrying signs that they feel they can pull the wool over our eyes.
Where do you think we will finish this season?
Mid-table anonymity: dull, but preferable to the excitement of a relegation battle (which is still a danger)
What is your view on Neil Warnock’s time at Leeds?
I think the job and the expectations surrounding the club have proved too big for him. I also feel he has been let down by just about everyone above him in the club’s management structure, and by quite a few below him, and on the playing staff. He’s deserved better, but he’s basically not a manager of a Leeds United calibre.
Should he remain with us until the end of the season or leave now?
I think he should be eased out now, and I think he’d be quite relieved to tell the truth.
Who would you like to replace him? Nigel Adkins.
Which game are you most looking forward to this season?
Wendies at home, IF Dave Jones is still their manager.
Score prediction for the Blackpool and Blackburn games?
Sneaky 2-1 win v Blackpool, depressing 0-2 defeat at Blackburn.
What team would you put out against Blackpool?
The one that played against Spurs, playing the way they played against Spurs.
Anything else you would like to add?
I’m very worried right now, and I expected for most of last summer to be entering 2-13 a very happy man. I dared to dream. Now, it seems to me that those in control of Leeds United are more concerned with managing the expectations of the fans, whilst still retaining their support as customers. This seems to involve the same tired old deceptions over transfer policy, and a succession of pleas by both owners and manager along the lines of “Judge us when… (insert next convenient landmark point in the season)”. A fresh start is needed. TOMA2, sustained investment, Nigel Adkins and a positive start to 2013-14, please.
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