By Mark Rasdall
Football deadline day has not always been kind to Leeds United fans in the past has it? We have all worried about securing new players and, much more so, about losing those players who can be sold for high fees now or for their high potential in years to come. Too often LUFC has, despite the club's PR campaign to the contrary, been all too willing to give in to the cash registers in the finance department rather then the differences our youth products could subsequently register on the pitch.
All clubs are vulnerable to approaches in spite of the 'we don't need to sell' or 'we won't make panic buys' protestations. Some are spending next year's TV money now and others are looking for sell-on fees at a later date. I wonder how many Barnsley fans are salivating at the prospect of a sell-on fee for John Stones as opposed to still watching him play for them week in and week out?
I'm delighted to say that, for once, Leeds appear to be doing their business quietly and conscientiously and behind the blinds of this particular transfer window. Adam Pearson has to have had a lot to do with this and clearly has a positive influence on Cellino. Whatever actually is going on behind the scenes, I am pretty confident that our main characters will remain in place - at least until January!
And why would any of our young players wish to leave? Bremner, Lorimer and Gray all believed in the vision of Don Revie; Woodgate, Robinson and Smith did the same under Howard's 10-year plan, winning two FA Youth Cups on the way to the first team. Why would they not want to become part of a great home-grown team?
Uwe Rosler has young talent in abundance and with that goes a tremendous responsibility. Cook, Mowatt and Taylor have signed up for the vision of the future. We all still talk about the Glory Years but, for them (and us) those years are ahead not behind. Watching us win at Derby for the first time in 13 years and with a team of under 25's - apart from Bamba, our outstanding captain - makes me truly believe that youth will prevail for some years to come.
I read over the weekend that Paul Hart may well be taking over at Thorp Arch. I used to watch him play at the end of the 'Seventies and then witnessed the first flourishing of that young youth team in the 'Nineties that he and Eddie Gray built together. He was under tremendous pressure when he signed from Blackpool because he was effectively replacing Gordon McQueen (who, himself, had previously had to help to fill the huge gap left by Jack Charlton). I always felt fairly safe on the Kop behind Hart's defence. He had real presence and I am sure he will have again if he does take on the development of the next generation of Leeds United youth.
Paul Hart himself signed on transfer deadline day in March 1978. There was a lot less hype then of course and much less money. Clubs did not speculate in quite the same way and players' agents had a fraction of the influence that they do today. Hart just got on with the job in hand and it feels that the whole club is now doing that. We are building. We are a long way away from completion but I hope the fans will support Rosler - and Pearson - in this process.
Youth development has worked for us in the past and produced two of the greatest Leeds United teams we have seen. It may not be very glamorous on Deadline Day but they can knock us down and we will still come back. I feel that we are a very long way now from being dead behind the eyes of the accountants - and it's such a good feeling
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