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.
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