The perfect candidate to take over at Leeds United?

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Football fans barely had time to register the spate of transfer deadline day signings when it was announced yesterday that Leeds United had severed all ties with Simon Grayson, their manager of 3 years. The news arrived on the back of a 4-1 thumping at home to Championship form side, Birmingham City, and whilst it was sad to see one of the Football League’s younger managers leave the club, few outside of Elland Road could be surprised by the latest shake-up concocted by those presiding over Yorkshire’s fallen giant.

At the start of the season, the Leeds chairman, Ken Bates – a figure of controversy throughout his time at Elland Road – outlined his expectation for Leeds to be promoted in the current campaign having finished narrowly outside the Play-Off places last year. Despite a decidedly inconsistent opening few months in the Championship, the Whites found themselves in 5th spot at the beginning of December and, with Robert Snodgrass returning to his talismanic best, looked on course to continue to vie for position with the best teams in the division.

However, 5 defeats from their previous 8 outings, including a humiliating 4-1 defeat to local rivals Barnsley, has badly derailed the Leeds bid for promotion and left an ominous sense of déjà vu around the club after Grayson’s steering of the previous two second-halves of the season led to a sharp downturn in form that saw his side drop out of a seemingly secure Play-Off berth last season, and before that, almost threw away the comfortable lead they had earned in League One at the start of 2010. The warning signs were there and the Leeds board have acted.

This doesn’t give the overall impression of what’s going on at Leeds, though, as unconvincing transfer dealings, widespread dissent against Bates and Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, and wildly differing performances on the pitch have left Elland Road an unhappy and chaotic place to be.

Concerns were first aroused in the Summer as Leeds were unable to significantly boost the quality of players they already possessed, and following the expected sales of Bradley Johnson and Neil Kilkenny, lost Kasper Schmeichel and Max Gradel to richer clubs. Gradel was voted Player of the Season by the fans last year while Schmeichel had proved to be a consistently safe pair of hands and looked set to protect the backline for years to come.

Three players arrived in their absence – Andy Lonergan, whose performances have helped to justify his signing as a replacement for Schmeichel, Paul Rachubka, whose efforts led to him being shipped out to Tranmere following a calamitous goalkeeping effort in a 5-0 defeat to Blackpool, and Michael Brown, who, at 35, has confirmed fans’ fears and proven he is not capable of commanding the Leeds midfield. This was hardly an improvement to a side that ultimately, failed to enter the Play-Offs at the final hurdle last season and would be expected to go one better this campaign.

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  • Ailsa Barrow says:

    What a very well written article, very informative. I look forward to reading more from you. 😀 x

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