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