By Mark Rasdall
Neil Warnock can count. He's worked out that Leeds United have nine games left and therefore "There's 27 points left and we're in a lot better situation than we were two months ago."
Mathematically he's correct and, when you look at some of the performances from LUFC as a team in the last two months he's correct there too. We have certainly battled for every point but then so have other teams. Look at Billy
'job done' Davies's impact at Forest. Yes, Brighton - where injuries have played a huge part - and Boro' - where inexperience has shown - are currently doing a Cardiff, but they're still in with a realistic chance of promotion, and with sufficiently more points than we have to put them in that position and us in tenth place.
In short, we have left it far too late to mount a realistic challenge and have left it far too late in games to make the correct tactical changes to hang on to winning leads which, again, the team has battled really hard to achieve. Some us us have recognised this - despite the secret hopes of every Leeds fan - for some time - and are planning ahead to next season. There seems to be a backlash on the various web forums whereby people aren't supposed to say things like this but tow the line instead and 'get behind the team.' Well, I get behind the team from kick-off until the final whistle in every single game I watch. I also look for the constructive at all times - sometimes when a sad reality is hitting me hard in the face like that game at Bolton all those years ago when Viduka threw in the towel early on but none of us did, even when we all knew we were doomed. We are Leeds after all they throw at us.
But I am also a Leeds United fan of more than forty-five years' standing and I have every right to say what I think outside of matches and here it is again: We do not currently possess sufficient quality in enough players to take us to the next level; certain players are not good enough to play for us in the Championship, let alone the Premier League; the modern game has passed our current manager by in terms of tactics and proactive use of substitutes; our best players such as Sam Byram will be sold in the summer by owners who have shown themselves to be spineless, inconsistent and without access to the kinds of funds we all thought they did. The official site crows about Ryan Hall scoring for the Development Squad. We brought Dom Poleon back early from his loan stint. Have you seen them play for the first team?
But, we can begin to turn this round now. We do have many good players who, with the right coaching could be very good indeed; we could try harder to hang on to them instead of allowing our corporate heads to be turned so easily; we could get a different, tactically much more astute manager, in now - one who better understands the modern game; we could do all of this and have a full pre-season with manager and those players who really are good enough to play for Leeds United.
This won't happen, of course, any more than we will be in the Play Offs. Why? Because Warnock can count on GFH not wishing to get involved in severance/compensation at this late stage in the season when they (and we) know that Warnock will retire in the summer anyway. Warnock can count on a substantial salary until then. He can't lose whether Leeds win, lose or draw.
So, once again we, the loyal, paying fans, are the losers. I do think we're in better shape as a team but, frustratingly, after yet another night of missing chances, Warnock patronises us with his "it's all still very much to play for" comments. He publicly puts pressure on McCormack to take his chances while still insisting that Becchio was holding us back as a team (how often was he the one who saved us in exactly the kinds of games as last night's in the past?)
We'll always be there and, for Leeds United fans, there's always something to play for while the world keeps going round: it's called the next game that we all look forward to so much. But nothing's going to happen this season; not with Warnock. Yet another season has been squandered and battling on the pitch or battling through traffic, rain and snow to watch our beloved club is not enough to take us up. Money talks and money counts, apparently.