By Mike Courtney
What a difference a week makes. New manager, two home wins, team playing football not hoofball and optimism aplenty around Elland Road. Oh how we could have done with this change weeks ago. As Macca himself said, its a pity there are only a few games left. If there were six more I really think we could have made the top six.
All this just backs up my view that the Warnock Era was a pure and utter disaster. Looking back at Warnock's reign the only positive I can find is Sam Byram, credit where it is due he did give Sam his big break. I for one wasn't aware of Byram this time last year and he has been the find of the season, our best young prospect since Aaron Lennon. The sky is the limit for young Sam and I just hope we can hang onto him for another season because I do believe that with McDermott at the helm we can really make a push for promotion next season.
What we need from the Board now is a bit of financial backing for the new manager. Cardiff have shown that you need to spend if you want to get out of this League, £60million is the figure being bandied about that Vincent Tan has spent over the last three years. I'm not saying we have to spend that much, we don't want to go down the Ridsdale road to ruin again, but we do need to spend on some quality players to make that final step. We also need to hang onto our top players, like Byram and Lees and not sell our best assets. Think of the players we have sold since promotion to the Championship in 2010; Howson, Beckford, Gradel, Snodgrass, Johnson, and Becchio, yes I know some wanted to leave and some were out of contract but if we had managed to hold onto at least half of them where would we be now?
Our squad at the moment is thin on the ground when it comes to quality, but with the right manager and the right style of football we could and should be in the top six of what can only be termed as a very poor division. I do believe, even though it is early days, that McDermott is making all the right noises and he could be the man to get us into the Premier League. The passing game epitomized by Rudy Austin's goal against Burnley, his non blame culture that he is promoting, his appointment as Redders as u21 coach and also a coaching role with the first team will ensure that the quality youngsters coming through will be given their chance.
All these are positives for us fans and it gives us real hope for next season. Yes I know, we have been through all this before, new manager, new hope, new optimism but always a false dawn and empty promises from the board. But this time I feel it could be the start of something good. McDermott has been there before and got Reading up to the top flight so he knows what is required. Next season won't be easy with the likes of QPR, Reading and possibly Wigan, Sunderland or Norwich coming down with their coffers filled with parachute payments. All the more reason for GFH to back the manager with the funding required to get the players he wants.
WE have just three games remaining this term and as we are relatively safe and with little or no hope of a playoff spot it'll give the Manager a bit of time to assess what he has and allow the players to play with a bit of freedom as he imposes his fresh new style of play on them. The signs look good at the moment and an away win at Birmingham tomorrow will keep the Elland Road faithful smiling and dreaming of better things to come next season. WE can live in hope.
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