Bookmakers slashed the odds on Alex Sabella becoming Leeds United’s next manager to as low as 3-1 on Monday. The 59 year old coach had of course until recently been employed as Argentina’s national coach, guiding them to the thankless task of facing the finest German team since 1990 in the World Cup final earlier this year.
Sabella has Leeds connections of course playing for the Whites a total of 23 appearances 1980-81 as we drifted towards one of our earlier sojourns in the lower divisions.
Add one and one together and you can come up it seems with any number of variants. Sabella’s ex-Leeds… erm Yes, he’s a coach not a manager – well yes – go on…. He’s a continental coach… well yes – South America is a continent too – oooh yes!
These sarcastic tones may well be rammed back down my throat by the end of this week, but the phoney war of who will be next Leeds manager is getting to fever pitch now, sorry I mean tedious pitch.
Robbie Fowler, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Dominic Matteo, James Beattie, Beppe Sannino, Simon Grayson and Gary McAllister… every day the bookies seem to present a new flurry of betting. Let’s face it there’s been more use of the word ‘Slash’ on your average Leeds United News Now page than your average Guns N Roses weblog. .
Every day seems to see former Leeds players step forward one after another particularly, but the likelihood of a completely untried former player like Robbie Fowler being handed the job would probably be as big a risk as handing the reins over to an unknown from the conference and the 5th in command at Hendon – I mean that’d be ridiculous wouldn’t it?
All the while Cellino has been (for him) relatively quiet. Sacking the lamentable duo of The Hock and The Junior Lewis, may well have sent shockwaves through the Isthmian and Unibond leagues, with coaches looking over their shoulders nervously with such big names available again, but at Leeds Cellino has continued to sign (and sell) players. He’s seen Redfearn calmly marshall the troops to 4 points out of 6. Yes we were patchy in the 1st half at Birmingham, but Redfearn has blended our youth, experienced pro’s and new signings well.
Cellino showed good judgement in his comments (widely broadcast today) that he feels that Redfearn is vital to the running of the academy and that for this reason he wont be making him head coach. This is of course something one hopes he will not play fast and loose with, let’s face it his two best players this season, Cook and Mowatt are after all products..
Cellino’s exact turn of phrase is interesting though when he talks of his next coach.
But I’ve got ideas about what I’ll do. I’m thinking about a foreign coach, an international coach who I can work with. We need to meet and talk but I think he could be good for us.
This has of course got many pushing Sabella forward, but all you can be sure of is that Cellino has changed his mind (again) and now no longer seems to be thinking about a British coach. So we can effectively (for now anyway) rule out a good number of the coaches listed above. Rolando Maran, Beppe Sannino and yes Alejandro Sabella are therefore the more likely. But with Cellino you can only ever expect the unexpected.
The double threat to a coach remains of pervasive interference from Cellino and Nicola Salerno in terms of say over signings, and of inordinate pressure should there be any degree of instability in the squad borne out by patchy results., and yet the candidates keep stepping forwards one after another, arguably far more voluminous than at any other time the Elland Road hot seat has been vacant.
Is it alien for a Manager to have an overbearing Chairman in English football? Of course not. Just look at our dear old former Chairman (former) President Ken Bates, his interference certainly saw his relationship with Simon Grayson deteriorate; if reports are to be believed the constant tinkering of Gwyn Williams and recommendations for new signings would have been wearing on any manager.
Leeds aren’t unique though, notable hatchet men in the boardroom at PL level include former Aston Villa Dinosaur Doug Ellis, or Crystal Palace firebrand and Entrepreneur Simon Jordan, and I could go on but wont. The point is that Leeds probably aren’t as unique and basket-case like as the gutter press would like us all to believe. We have a foreign owner, with a bucket load of eccentricities, dynamite to the red tops, and he may well appoint another left field coach, but hopefully hes learnt that gut instinct alone isnt enough after the PR disaster of hockadays appointment. He was quick enough to act on that and acknowledges that a more experienced coach is needed.
Only Cellino though knows who the next Leeds coach is going to be. So I for one won’t be losing too much sleep over slashed odds, or former Leeds legends applying for the job..
Reporter – Matthew Brown – Bolton