By Keith Ingham
As I witnessed yet another poor performance culminating in a 4-2 reverse against the manager's former club Reading, coming so soon after the previous Saturday's hammering versus Bolton. The manager promised us a reaction in his paragraph in the club programme and on various media, we got a reaction but a bloody poor one that shames and shakes the foundation of most Leeds United fans I know. How a team post Barnsley can turn into Championships turnips (I was going to use another 't' word but thought it might offend) from a 'potential' top six team is beyond this fans understanding. There are problems we all know behind the doors at Elland Road, being looked after by a company that only bought us to make money for THEM is obviously a big problem as most teams around the top of the Championship are or will be losing a vast amount of money come the end of the season, it's that sort of business.
I've backed many managers in my time when all seemed against them. Jimmy Armfield was not the most popular choice but he dragged a team after the debacle of forty four days of Brian (Bloody) Clough to the European Cup Final in Paris, 1975. Even past heroes were slated, Allan Clarke had the 'hot seat' when his team departed the old Division One, a league where we were Champions twice in 1969 and 1974. I remember seeing the hurt in his face when we finally were sent down. Jimmy Adamson came with a decent record but his team of average players didn't endure him to the faithful and some of his signings were dire to say the least. Even ex England managers couldn't give Leeds the Midas touch, Terry Venebles found that even the national side was easier than looking after the team in Leeds 11. David O'Leary had his critics within the club and supporters after he decided to publish a book giving details of the year in which Bowyer and Woody got involved with stupid activities in the Leeds City centre. He never recovered from the unrest it caused and was duly sacked.
This brings me to the latest in the manager chair, I welcomed Brian McDermott with open arms, a football man who many thought was unfairly treated at his last club, Reading. At first the bromance had good beginnings with a never to be forgotten win versus Wednesday followed by a narrow, but important win versus Burnley. It saved us from going into a serious battle against the drop. This season hopes were high even dressed in two horrible kits and we started well with decent, even good displays. But somehow the wheels dropped off and even switching to 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 whatever you think the formation was, teams seemed to know what to expect and beat us. Post Christmas and into the New Year we slumped to new depths as Rochdale, Wednesday, Bolton and now Reading inflicted deep wounds into Leeds. I agree with the manager that somewhere along the line we must stop hiring managers short term and he has worked in conditions many would have walked away from, especially when the club sacked him in a mad twenty four hours pre the Huddersfield fixture. The handling of the club by GFH, David Haigh and his mates has been a farce from start to finish and someone, if not 'Dom' Cellino has to grab the club by it's collar and put into a mentality that the fans have. We're LEEDS aren't we!!.
I fear thar the Football League may turn down the Italian and open a can of worms that nobody can close. As I write Adam Pope, the respected BBC Radio Leeds commentator has asked questions of GFH about the current financial state of affairs at our club. I doubt answers will be forthcoming and the immediate road to Administration is not far away, if the club is in fact losing nearly a million pounds a month. These are dark days being a supporter and I left Elland Road with a very heavy heart last night. Whether Mr McDermott will survive this I am not sure, mistakes have been made by him in his recruitment of players and in my opinion failure to use the likes of Dominic Poleon and El Hadji Diouf when he said we didn't have any wide players. The later is on a high wage and has the ability to play a pass of quality that most of the current holders of the first team shirts cannot do. The manager also seems like a few before him to have his favourites within the squad. I'll be back but I fear for the future of the club I so love.
M O T