Two weeks is a long time in football.Just two weeks ago Leeds United had thrown away a precious 3 points at home to Derby County, Ross McCormack was letting Neil Warnock know what he thought of his team selection, and it was of course all Tom Lees fault. The resulting exit of Warnock – earlier than he wanted – finally showed some urgency on the part of GFH Capital to arrest what was fast becoming a slide towards a relegation battle. The defeat at Charlton saw the search for the next Leeds United Manager ramped up tenfold, and, just a day before a pivotal game against Sheffield Wednesday, Brian McDermott was unveiled. How many of us thought we would be sitting here 2 games later, with 6 points in the bag?
The appointment of McDermott may have been hastened by a run of 4 straight defeats, but those 4 defeats could turn out to be a massive blessing in disguise. Had we picked up a win at Charlton, it’s more than likely that GFH would have persisted with Neil Redfearn in the caretaker role, probably until the end of the season. The danger with that would have been similar to the Nigel Adkins scenario – a man clearly suitable for the job is offered a role elsewhere, and the chance is gone. I’ll be the first to admit that McDermott was not top of my list, even though he was the top of the ex Premier League betting to join Leeds but let’s face it; us fans always have ideas above our station. When you take the time to read what others say about him – particularly Andy Hughes – and what McDermott says about the Leeds job, you realise that there is no better fit for the role. He talks about players enjoying themselves, and wait for it….entertaining the crowd. To quote from the official site:
With two wins in his first two games as Manager, Brian says it’s not just about the victories, it is also about entertaining the fans and gaining the victories in a certain fashion.
“That’s what we are here for, we want to get victories but we want to entertain as well.” said a defiant Manager. “I’ve learnt so much since I left Reading, and I hope Leeds United have got a better Manager for what happened to me at Reading. There is no doubt about it I’m hungry and very driven, and I’m enjoying working with the staff and the players here.”
As entertainment has almost become a dirty word at Elland Road in the last 15 months, fans would be forgiven for being sceptical. But a quick look at the way we have performed in the games against Wednesday and Burnley, and equally importantly the fans reactions after the games, shows that we are indeed being entertained. Chants of “We’re passing the ball” summed up what we’ve had to put up with under Warnock for so long; Leeds fans are not demanding 5-0 victories every week, just, er, some decent football! A telling tweet from The Square Ball summed things up nicely last night…
You know what? Maybe Colin was right. Maybe these players ARE decent. It was just him that was tactically inept
Summed up perfectly in 19 words. Warnock insisted that we had a far better squad when he left us than when he took over. But he didn’t dare actually let them play football, and so it’s only become apparent now that he’s gone. From what we’ve already seen in just 2 games McDermott will not only let them play football, he’ll pretty much insist on it. Already we’re seeing players who looked jaded and finished for the season enjoying a rebirth. Rudy Austin looks back to the player he was at the start of the season, El Hadji Diouf is at the hub of things again. And no-one is blaming Steve Morison for missing two chances at the weekend. Far from it in fact – McDermott spoke of how he’s known of Morison since he played non-league football, and knows he will be a big player for Leeds. Did you catch that down in Cornwall? Don’t blame someone when they make a mistake, help them.
Up next we have a trip to Birmingham. As we’ve not won an away game in the league in 2013, we would have been approaching this with trepidation just a week ago. But you get the feeling that trepidation has gone now. You look at the table and think that if a couple of results go our way we could maybe…but stop. The squad we have is nowhere near good enough for the Premier League anyway, so let’s forget that for now. Let’s just enjoy these 3 games. Free of Warnock, free of hoofball, and with a Manager who wants to play football. Let’s start thinking ahead to next season, with a man in charge who will put Leeds United first, not someone hell bent on achieving one last personal milestone at the expense of our enjoyment.
It’s been a long road to this point, (almost) free of Bates, and free of Warnock. The future starts here. Supporting Leeds was fun once, it’s time for it to be that again. Brian McDermott – the man who can bring the smiles back to Elland Road. It now wouldn’t be a surprise to see betting tips for next season place Leeds United favorites for promotion
Reporter – Ian Wylie