New We All Love Leeds writer Þorleifur Ananíasson takes a look at the Byram contract situation from over the pond.
I am Leeds United. supporter in Iceland since the promotion season in 1964. I started support the club because all my friends supported Man.United., Arsenal or Liverpool and nothing did give me more pleasure then Leeds beating these big Clubs. Also playing in all white I thought was cool, they did have the talented player Albert Johanneson and I did like what their strong defense, quick wingers and some kind of arrogance under the excellent Don Revie. Simply, they made life uncomfortable for the big clubs.
The Don produced the golden team mostly from home grown players, Gary Sprake, Paul Reaney, Terry Cooper, Billy Bremner, Jackie Charlton, Norman Hunter, Peter Lorimer, Allan Clarke, Mick Jones, Johnny Giles, Eddie Gray and Paul Madeley. Only Clarke, Jones and Giles brought and in reserve Mick Bates, David Harvey, Terry Yorath, Frank Gray, Rod Belfitt, Terry Hibbitt and Jimmy Greenhoff etc. all home grown.The effect Don Revie had with this team on the Club and football in England was immense and when you think about Leeds United before and after Don, it is just like before and after Christ.
Since this days we have had our ups and downs but most of the ups are times we have been able to build a team around a group of our own home grown players like the David O'´Leary years.
Now we are maybe starting a new era after selling our best youngsters like Jonny Howson, Fabian Delph, Aaron Lennon and James Milner in recent years. As players like Cook, Mowatt, Phillips, Taylor and Byram plus many others are on their way to the first team.
And there we have the matter of Sam Byram that everyone is talking about this week. Out of contract after the season and unwilling to sign a new contract making Massimo Cellino angry and parading it in the papers. All this has taken a toll of Byram, maybe the best youngster in the team and he has lost his confidence and his place against Middlesbrough at the weekend. I would hate to loose him for small money in January or after the season. A player that Premiership Clubs were ready to offer 8-10 m pounds for not so long ago should not leave so easily.
I am sure his loss of form is mainly down to his agent, who has not been easy to communicate with and seams like a greedy man that is trying to get as much as he can for himself even at the cost of ruining the future of Byram.
Byram's love for the club and his teammates is weighting heavy on his shoulders and it's not that he thinks the club is too small for him, he just wants to stay with the club or at least leave on good terms.
The club have been calculating him leaving for a while with Scott Wootton and Geatano Berardi the other right backs at the club recently signing new contracts, Wootton to the end of 2017 season and Berardi to the end of 2018 season.
But the future of the right back position if Byram leaves is current captain of the u-21´s Lewie Coyle. He will take the place of substitute Wootton after next season and if all goes to plan he will then push Berardi out not later then at the end of the 2018 season.
Sam Byram has played out of position on the right flank to help out the team for the last few months. Now the club have signed 3 wingers, that place has been covered and there is no need for Byram to play there any more. I hope Uwe Rosler gives Byram a chance at right back his best position, the same position that Premier League clubs are ready to pay big money for.
Geatano Berardi is a decent right/left back but at his best Byram is twice that player. If he responds to his bad form Leeds United will have gained a top defender until January at least, and again in the after the transfer window if the impossible happens and Cellino decides to grow up and offer Sam a decent enough wage to stay on at Elland Road.
By Þorleifur Ananíasson