04th Apr2014

What next for these Leeds United players?

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

With TOMA 4.0 drawing to a close, there isn’t any great need for more literature on the subject at the moment. Football blogs traditionally have no need to discuss details of Italian import regulations and pre-pack administration, but are there to give an opinion on their team’s on-pitch performance, the manager’s tactics and the abilities of playing staff.

The one thing that the fans see is the team and the manager. So I would like to discuss my own opinion of some of the current playing staff, in the hope that we are able to talk about football and behave like an old fashioned blog. 

Lee Peltier

After a bizarre turn of events, our former captain officially joined play-off hopefuls, Nottingham Forest. Lee Peltier has often divided opinion; is he a right back or is he better in the middle of the back four? Last season it was obvious that he wasn’t captain material and the ‘something’ Neil Warnock saw in him seemed to be non-existent.  This season hasn’t been much better and if it wasn’t down to Sam Byram being injured for half the season, I imagine his chances would have been limited at best.

For me his only consistent contribution would be the ability to run a couple of yards with the ball, stop and then pass it backwards for Tom Lees to lump forward. He frequently breaks down our own attacks, taking away any momentum with it. Watching him try and adapt to the wing back role of the 5-3-2 era was one of the most unnatural and uncomfortable looking displays I’ve seen.

One of the most frustrating players I think I have ever seen play for Leeds, when he does occasionally, find himself in an advanced position, his delivery in general is on a par with that of Jimmy Kebe.

With another year left on his contract, do Leeds fans think that Lee has a future at the club? Is he good back up or would Tom Lees do? Brought in as a first choice right back, high up on Warnock’s shopping list, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of our higher earners, so I for one would be happy to see him move on.

Jimmy Kebe

Bringing in the pace man was supposed to give us more options going forward; instead we have watched him crumble. Seemingly unable to hack the pressures that come with playing for Leeds, the man who ‘didn’t come for a holiday’ needs to pack his bags.

After the justified boo barrage he received against Bolton the writing was on the wall. The combination of Peltier and Kebe down the right was laughable and we are now left with Cameron Stewart, who admittedly hasn’t been great, as our only winger. Kebe isn’t up for the task and Brian must know it, which also means that the systems that we can play as a squad are restricted. You can’t play with one winger.

I feel Stewart can improve, he’s young enough to learn how to cross a ball and has the skills to take a player on, but Kebe for me has become redundant. I’m not buying the ‘injury’ card that we’ve been given; I think he will make one more appearance for Leeds, in the hope that he can do something, anything, that isn’t what he has already shown us. McDermott said this guy had pace to burn, I haven’t seen it.

Seems like a daft question but do any Leeds fans think Kebe has been treated unfairly by the fans? Should Brian send him back to Palace and accept that he isn’t up to the task? Alternatively, would any Leeds fans like to see us make a move for Jimmy on a permanent deal in the summer?

Danny Pugh

The old faithful, Danny Pugh deserves credit for his early season displays; however the weight of carrying the rest of the squad seems to have taken its toll, with performances deteriorating.

Out of contract in the summer, I think he would be a decent and more importantly for us, cheap squad player if we signed him on a new contract. What do the rest of us think?

Noel Hunt

Most managers have their favourites and when Neil Warnock took the helm he unfortunately brought in literally all of his. McDermott however, came in from a long tenure at a decent Reading side and it was widely expected he would bring in some of his ‘favourites’, many players of which would slot straight into our starting 11.

Step up Noel Hunt.  Okay, I don’t think anyone was bowled over by the signing, but at least thought he would be a first team regular, with his textbook work ethic at least keeping him on the good side of the fans. This never materialised. He seems to do a lot of running on the pitch without influencing the game, not one of the only offenders this season, but considering he was brought in to bolster our front line and give us more attacking options, it is safe to say this transfer hasn’t yet paid off.

If the now famous Cellino rant is based on real honest-to-god facts, Noel Hunt is on 25k a week or at least one of our higher earners, which is totally absurd and quite frankly leaves me questioning the transfer acumen of Brian McDermott. So far he has signed two duds from his old club.

Sure he Hunt seems like a nice guy, but do Leeds fans think that he has been given a fair chance in the starting 11, or is he a waste of wages?

Aiden White

Our promising young left back/left winger/right winger/central midfielder and attacking midfield maestro has promised so much during seasons past, but the fact of the matter is now three Leeds managers have come in worked with Aiden White and we still don’t know his best position, he could even be a striker with his pace.

He has shown moments of brilliance for us, his goal against Everton last season the absolute highlight, but they are very few and very far between, and as a result he was loaned out to Sheffield United this season, before returning to West Yorkshire due to an injury.

I would say that White is a better left back than anything else, with his pace often getting us/himself out of trouble. I’d like to say he has a future with us, but his chances are surely running thin?

I could perhaps go through the entire squad like this, but this will do for now. Are there any players that you think deserve to be praised (apart from McCormack) or criticised for their contributions this season?

With a lot of talk about matters that we don’t always see or understand, for myself at least, it makes a nice change to pretend to be a normal club.

Reporter - Joe Glover

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03rd Apr2014

McDermott – That Joke isn’t funny anymore

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

After witnessing his sides eighteenth defeat of the season on Tuesday night, Brian McDermott called suggestions he should resign from Leeds United as a joke.

From a personal point of view, I like Brian, he has obviously had to work under extremely difficult circumstances and put up with a lot of things he shouldn’t, but if there were a responsible and decisive owner (we can dream) sitting in that boardroom right now, how many people could confidently say Brian McDermott would still be the manager of the club?

It hasn’t just been the results though; it’s more the manner of them, the performances. Just when you think we’ve hit rock bottom, we’re 3-0 down after 30 minutes at Bournemouth. Coming off that defeat into the Doncaster game it was as if nothing had been worked on since that Tuesday night.

McDermott has stuck faith with this 4-4-2 system, although not playing with natural wingers and he’s been reluctant to change personnel, despite shipping so many goals – Lees, Pugh and Austin have been especially poor in my opinion and the tactics at the moment just appear to be lump it up to Smith and see what happens if he wins the header. It’s not good enough and we showed what we could do when we got the ball down, played players in positions they’re comfortable in and put the opposition under a sustained period of pressure in the second half on Saturday.

The point I’m making is that we seem to wait for things to happen before reacting, we wait until we’re two, three, four down before changing the system or the players, by which time it’s too late to do anything about.

Like I said, I like McDermott and I would like to see us give a manager time and be patient for a change because I think that’s the only way you’re going to have sustained success, but I don’t buy into that the current off the field situation should affect the way we play – we’re not going to go down (avoiding administration and a subsequent point deduction), we can’t make the playoffs, so why can’t the team play with a bit of freedom? Look at Charlton, fourth bottom and scrapping for their lives – at almost every opportunity their centre backs split and Poyet came deep to get the ball of them and build from the back – you can’t tell me that they they’re a massively confident team at the moment either.

McDermott did make much needed changes for Tuesday’s game but some quite baffling: Wootton at right back was far too narrow and so Byram was having to do both roles on the right hand side. He also subbed Matt Smith off at half time who hadn’t done much wrong and then only used two subs, despite a few players clearly struggling. One thing’s for sure, Leeds need to start picking up points again because Brian needs to buy himself some time if he’s to have a good go with this club when the mess off the field is finally sorted out.

Reporter - Alex Mulvey

31st Mar2014

Bates or Cellino – Who do you trust?

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

You don’t get much bigger scoops as an internet radio station than (unsolicited) and potentially libellous telephone interviews with Ken Bates and Massimo Cellino.

Listening to what one of my fellow writers described as `The ghost of Michael Jackson’ questioning Bates on why he sold Leeds United to GFH, and for said Spectre to then get Massimo Cellino to really let rip about David Haigh – plus conspiracy theories, has set the internet alight.

In some quarters,(and you can virtually guarantee it really is happening) some will even be looking fondly back at the Bates Era.. yes really.

An avuncular white bearded chap ran our club then, with his lovely wife, he was careful with his money, and kept the club going on a sensible basis. He was occasionally prone to outbursts, but no worse than your Grandad after a couple of Mackesons Stout and a bad afternoon down at the bookies.

And so they’ve surfaced again post the Bates interview. Bates questioned the amount of Money GFH actually had at point of purchase. That his wife had to lend them £1m? Shocking. That they now need to get out the way and let someone who really cares about the club run it. He claims that Haigh and Flowers approached him to join their bid to buy the club under the Sports Capital banner – but then veered the other way slating David Haigh as ignorant as he’d taken a rain check on that evening’s dinner date in favour of an engagement with a branch of the Leeds United Supporters Club – personally David on both counts I’d have stayed in and watched Casualty with a six pack of Stella than do either of those in your current position!..

It highlights to the listener questions around Messrs Haigh and Hunts earlier missives on keeping Ken Bates well away from the club later on last Year. Whether GFH were ever a long term bet. With most Leeds fans lapping this up its easy to forget one thing, and the interviewer put Bates on the ropes with just the same question – Why did he decide to sell to them?

So for all Kens rambling and ranting about the injustice of the current situation we should all cling to that. Plus who hasn’t made excuses last minute to a dinner date we really couldn’t go through with, for you & I its a bad dose of the flu, for David Haigh it was a supporters club dinner move on love, just move on.

Massimo Cellino (or a superb impersonator), similarly caught out by White Leeds Radio (which kind of sounds like a right wing supremacist station) has the benefit of no back story (well not yet) at Leeds.

He reveals the wage packets of Hunt and Murphy (allegedly) in excess of £20k a week, Mcdermotts salary, and a quite staggering wage bill of £18m per annum for our current set of under achievers.

He talks of Snakes and Thieves robbing Leeds United, and on the fact of it its hard to disagree – Ken Bates? David Haigh? According to the person interviewed (if it indeed was Cellino) well they don’t fare much better – worse that they are in cahoots.. borne out somewhat tenuously by Ken Bates earlier interview.  Cellino’s rant though did praise supporters (like Bates did) and has nothing but scorn over their treatment by GFH, and of the leagues treatment of him.

Both interviews though should send a warning sign to supporters, warming to these two grumpy old men. In terms of Bates is he really so naive (particularly as a radio station owner) to take an unsolicitied call and answer questions more or less in the public domain on such a contentious matter? Like wise Cellino!

Bates is at the root of many of the issues GFH have failed to deal with irrespective of their skill set to do the job at hand at leeds or funding. Ken Bates rationale – well if it wasn’t for LUST and the North East Corner at Elland Road putting off truly wealthy individuals he’d have found us better buyers? Really? this doesn’t sound like the language of December 2012 of a Bates legacy.

Bates mortgaged season ticket sales for the construction of the magnolia monstrosity, starving the club of cash (when it was already only breaking even) Bates chose GFH Capital as his preferred bidder and went through a tortuous due diligence process with them.

In short trusting his genuine feeling for Leeds and blame of others is wishful thinking, he’s at the root of most if not all the issues we have to face now. If Leeds do go into Administration he will be at the core of that.

In terms of Massimo Cellino, calling out the players for wanting to leave (McCormack) and slating wages of others including the manager is always going to be a populist topic when the team aren’t performing. We shouldn’t forget that this is potentially a critical insight into his workings as a businessman. He’ll cause complete bedlam if he does purchase us and carries on this way with an unsettled squad, and little professionalism around very private matters.  McCormack may or may not have made those comments to him, but lets not forget Cellino came in and rocked the club to its core on 31st January when he sacked McDermott. We can’t blame Cellinos actions for the teams performance but that single act completely undermined the Manager, and respect is everything when you are in charge – McDermott is now a lame duck. We can see it – and so can the players – thats all down to Cellinos random dismissal then repeal of it..

Yes the club needs passion, and it needs rid of leeches be they players or board members – Just who is our Chairman again? – but it also needs togetherness, not a blame culture.

As for White Leeds Radio – well we all wait with baited breath for their next instalment.

Reporter - Matthew Brown – Bolton

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27th Mar2014

Leeds United Academy Named in Top 10 – Time to use it!

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

It’s been an interesting few weeks to be a Leeds fan. It’s almost like we can’t really enjoy M*n Utd’s demise. One thing that remains consistent though, is the quality of players that our academy continues to produce.

A lot of talk has been about Lewis Walters this week, and Neil Redfearn and Richard Naylor are doing a great job behind the scenes.  I think we can take a lot of encouragement from the fact that instead of letting things like ownership of the training ground, stadium, and a complete mess at the top – the football side of the club is still going strong from age group level.

Today the club have announced that the academy has been named in the country’s top 10 for developing young talent, which is great news for the future and also a real positive in terms of the ambition of the club and what we want to strive for.

In uncertain times we can always rely on the strength of our academy and personally I’d like to see some of the youth given a chance at the back end of this season, pre-season, and the start of next season too.

Players like Simon Lenighan, Chris Dawson, Lewis Walters and co need to be developed and pushed on, because we’ve had loanees and old stalwarts still frequenting the squad and first team for too long, and this isn’t great for the development of our own.

These guys, you would hope, know what the club is all about and have lived and breathed it from a young age, and the right mix of youth and experience could see some positive changes in the attitude of the squad.

I watched us battle at Burnley and nearly turn them over. I think we’d all like to see more of that in spades, and get some positivity back into the performances with some energetic young players who are playing for their futures.

We don’t necessarily need a new manager in my opinion, but we need a change, events at the club have left many fans deflated and weary, and it has shown in the playing staff too at times.

Once we get back to some normality I think we should fast track some of the top youth players and begin a long project of clearing out the Browns and Pughs of the squad to make way for players that can match players like Ross McCormack, Matt Smith, Sam Byram for energy and enthusiasm.

In terms of the captaincy, we need a leader, and Ross leads from the front. The trouble is though, I’m not sure how many players are following him at the moment and we need to change that.

The younger players in the squad will no doubt look at players like Ross and want to emulate his success, so they could only benefit.

My point is why do we develop the youth and not play them?

They and the Leeds United Ladies teams seem to making great progress at the moment. Let’s give them a go once, there’s not much to lose at this point in the season.

Reporter – Dave Mays (@TheBestNumber10)

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26th Mar2014

GFH Capital a Legacy to Rival Ridsdale

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

Imagine your boss walking into the office one day and asking you and your colleagues to work as normal, but with the provison that they may not pay you that month – or next month.

Youve got mortgage or rent to pay (whether you’re the office manager, the office junior or a salesman) it’ll worry you, your thoughts turn to financial survival.

Some of us have had that in our working life during the course of the last five years certainly its been a little more widespread than it ought to have been.

But Brian McDermott last night in his post match interview appeared to suggest his own doubt(s) over the current situation at the top, the affects it was having on the players – who were talking about it daily, and their concerns over their financial security.

It’s very easy to dismiss these concerns as coming from greedy spoilt individuals paid in a week what some of us earn in a Year, to turn out quite frankly some atrocious football, but their concerns ultimately are like yours and mine, providing for their families and meeting their (admittedly far more sumptuous) commitments.

Leeds United’s board have done little to bring clarity to the current ownership situation, at the root of this financial uncertainty. They allowed (by all accounts) Cellino to bank roll the club for the last two months, settle their debts, so instead of owing several people money they now owe one man – an awful lot, plus one wonders why they let him bankroll the club at all – surely that would have come off the amounts they would have benefited from via sale? It suggests a cashflow issue.

David Haigh may well have said Administration is out of the question, but the facts are not bearing that out. The manager and players are in the dark, the guy bankrolling the club has said he wont do so any more.. so how is Administration out of the question?

Anecdotally Leeds lose £1m per month at the moment, in no small part down to Ken Bates ridiculous funding arrangements for the construction of the East Stand Corporate boxes.

Bates’ answer to plug the £8m gap in the cashflow last summer would probably have been to sell Sam Byram and Ross McCormack, sign cheaper replacements (or no one at all) and hope for the best.

On the face of it you wonder now if that might not have (financially at least) have been a better option than the route taken by GFH Capital which was to enhance their contracts, but do seemingly nothing to ameliorate the cashflow losses still taking place, and wait for an investor to come in.

In fairness they must have already been courting interest from the Haigh / Flowers Consortium and hoped that might go through, but it seemed the closer both of them got to the balance sheet – the more they realised the offer needed to change – but GFH Capital weren’t for the turning, and instead plumped for Cellino’s money – dismissing out of hand Together Leeds, and royally pissing off Andrew Flowers.

That decision has jumped up and bitten them squarely in the backside.

Cellino has gone through something of a charm offensive, seen now by most Leeds fans as a loveable rogue who’s made a few mistakes along the way’ heck – even dear old Ken went to court with some regularity – it’s just part of being a high net worth individual isnt it?

Well no it isn’t, are Abramovich, Lerner, Ashley & Co sued for fraud and tax evasion regularly? Well if they are we haven’t heard about it, and they seemingly do things by the book. Even Ken Bates visits to court were not generally financially rooted.

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The Football League have taken an age to decide on Cellino’s viability, and the decision is not popular.

They’ve based their rejection on the Tax Evasion ruling last week in Sardinia, where Cellino was supposed not to have paid import duty on a yacht. He has a further one upcoming concerning a Range Rover. Then there are spent convictions, the controversy around the Stadium construction in Cagliari..

Quite how GFH Capital thought these matters would be overlooked beggars belief. The Football League has just seen Carson Yeung jailed for money laundering – did they really have a choice other than to apply the letter of the law here? Who’s fault is it? GFH Capital’s for ignoring other bidders in favour of Cellino or The Football League for doing what everyone on 31st January expected (and mostly hoped) they would do?

It gets worse.

If the YEP are to be believed GFH Capital are locked in talks with Cellino to pay March’s wages with an insistence on a six month committment made by Eleonora Sports to cover running costs the point of debate – but if there’s no purchase – why would they do it?

If Cellino doesn’t pay the wages – what could GFH do? Spend money on suing him?

Surely the key issue here is to pay the staff’s wages or see their contracts broken and many leave on freebies – again falling foul not only of the FL but also the FA and PFA.

What of the appeal Cellino and GFH Capital propose? How long will that take? One suspects longer than 1 month end to end – the key argument – if you dont pass Cellino the club will fold..

That’s not an argument, the point under question is should he be allowed to run the club, the football league have shown how much levity they will show Leeds in these situations basically every time we’ve ever had to go to them and ask for help. Basically none.

The answer is to go to them with a sensible proposal and a bidder who will pass the test. Flowers and Haigh would pass, Mike Farnan was already passed as a Director of Manchester United. Why didnt GFH Capital see this coming?

The worst part now is that a new buyer at Leeds will face a situation similar to that met with by Gerald Krasner (remember him) in 2004.

A Club losing money, up to its eyes in existing debts and with a dire team that couldn’t win in a one ticket raffle.

Purchase of the club would involve repaying Cellino, Ticketus and paying GFH Capital for the privilege! In short the club would be more attractive in Administration – with its debts written off.

Quite how we have contrived to be in such a financial mess is hard to warrant. GFH Capital are an investment bank. Surely they knew about the debts the Bates regime had literally just acquired, the running costs, and accounted for that in the purchase price, and in terms of securing funding to run the club through a loss making period? Surely?

Surely they must have investigated the likelihood of Cellino being approved before all other suitors were turned away? Surely?

Yet again the supporters are the clubs only asset a guaranteed £500k-£600k per home game.. plus merchandise in terms of pure P&L and yet it is they who’ve come off worst in all of this.

Brian McDermott may well not currently be able to manage a picnic in a supermarket, but he has done the right thing and stayed in charge – refusing to quit because like most fans he believes that the club can be great again.

Shame on you the board of Leeds United for such utter incompetence and disregard to the supporters – shame on you worst of all for letting us all believe you could get us back to where we needed to be…

Reporter - Matthew Brown – Bolton

23rd Mar2014

Leeds United in a Cup Final

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

Yes it’s true, Leeds United Ladies have reached the final of the County Cup and represent the only chance Leeds United has of winning silverware this season. On a foggy, damp and cold night at the West Riding County HQ LULFC beat Wetherby Athletic Ladies by 3 goals to nil with a typically passionate and hard fought display. Emma Bentley led the line in dominant fashion scoring twice whilst Jodie Hartley and, in her debut game stepping up from the reserves, Danni Lowe controlled the midfield with ease allowing play maker Olivia Thackray the opportunity to express herself like only she can. Abbie Lee scored the other Leeds goal which was just reward for her tireless work up front alongside Bentley.

Wetherby did not just make up the numbers and often played some decent football forcing Leeds keeper, Sian Binks, into a series of great saves but the result justified the LULFC team efforts on the night and gave them the chance to bring well earned cup glory to Leeds United when they take on local rivals Bradford in the final – more details to follow next week.

Match Report

In strong wind which made conditions difficult to play in the Ladies managed to end a recent run of defeats being held 1-1 at home by Wolverhampton, a result which didn’t really help the girls in their fight to avoid a relegation battle with games running out but one which was probably fair on the day with both teams fighting for valuable points.

Wolves opened the scoring early in the game building on the pressure they had mounted from the kick off but that only seemed to inspire a more positive attitude and approach by Leeds Ladies and Danielle Witham equalised quickly after some nifty work down the left. The game had all the passion but less of the quality as the strong swirling wind played its part in making it difficult for either team to put together a pattern of play which might see the points go either way.

Both sides had chances but both keepers made excellent saves when called upon and only the bar prevented Olivia Thackray late in the second half. Points really do make prizes now for the girls who will be hungry for wins in the weeks to come to pull clear from the battle for survival below them.

Ladies set for Elland Road

The girls will play there game against Blackburn Ladies on the 13th April at Elland Road and it would be fantastic to have as many supporters in attendance as possible so if you can come please put the date in your diary, its a Sunday afternoon with a 2 pm kick off. I promise you pride and passion on the pitch and hopefully some of the men’s team in attendance to show their appreciation and support for the girls too.

This is a great opportunity for parents with younger kids to come along to Elland Road and enjoy the Leeds United experience in less boisterous surroundings than Men’s team match days and at a much reduced cost so why not make it a family occasion and get generations of Leeds supporters involved? We are all Leeds aren’t we?

Player profiles and match reports should return as normal from this week as I am just about fit for purpose again after a short spell in hospital, thanks for your patience MOT

Reporter – Gary Cooper (LUST Chairman) Images - Mick Stuart


21st Mar2014

Vinnie’s Gonna Get Ya…Again

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

“Jones quits Dons for Leeds” As a headline in the summer of 1989, it had me confused. Checking CEEFAX and Teletext on an hourly basis was the late 80’s equivalent of refreshing your Twitter timeline, and no less addictive. But as a 15 year old Leeds fan, this one perplexed me. First of all, why were we signing someone from Aberdeen, and more importantly, who on earth was this “Jones” person?

It turned out not only Aberdeen were known as the Dons, but Wimbledon were too. And in an even bigger shock to my 15 year old brain, the Jones was Vinnie Jones. THE Vinnie Jones, famous at that point for “that” picture with Gazza, and generally just for being a bit hard, a bit mad, and extremely unpredictable. And yet Howard Wilkinson had signed him forLeeds? Had he gone mad too?

Looking back at the dates, it’s just struck me that it will be 25 years this summer since I read that headline. I can’t remember any other CEEFAX headlines, ever. Yet that one has stuck with me. And it’s a decent analogy for Vinnie Jones and Leeds United. His time with us was brief, but those who witnessed it have remembered it. And Vinnie hasn’t forgotten us either, as his return to Elland Road on Saturday will confirm again. So what did Vinnie bring to the Leeds United promotion winners of 1989/90 then?

Vinnie was brought in to do a very specific job. To get the ball, and give it to the players who could damage the opposition with it. In other words, give it to Strachan, or send Mel Sterland bombing down the wing. And if we lost the ball, get it back, and start all over again! In a pre-season friendly, Vinnie clattered an opposing player, I think it was against Anderlecht from memory. Gordon Strachan went mental with him, reminding him that he had a job to do, and wouldn’t be able to do it if he was sat in the stands serving a suspension. And boy, did Vinnie listen. In the whole season, he picked up just 3 yellow cards, and no suspensions. Was this the same hellraiser we’d signed from Wimbledon? No, this was a Vinnie given a mission, a Vinnie who grew into his role as cult hero and positively thrived on it.  One thing I remember from watching Vinnie at Elland Road that season was the time he took to sign autographs and shake hands with the disabled supporters at the front of the West Stand. For a man dismissed in the press as a “former hod carrier” (to this day, I still don’t know what a hod is, or how you should carry one), Vinnie was full of surprises.

Speaking of surprises, Vinnie could play. He didn’t come to us with a reputation as a goal scoring midfielder, but 5 goals that season was a decent return for someone brought in as a ball winner. One of them, against Hull City at Elland Road in a classic 4-3 victory, has stuck in my mind to this day. A dipping volley from 25 yards, a finish that even Strachan himself would have been proud of.  He scored crucial goals too; the only goal in a 1-0 away win at West Ham, the goal in a 1-1 draw at Elland Road against Ipswich (a diving header if I remember rightly, and his first goal for Leeds), and the first goal in a 2-0 victory at home to Portsmouth, to settle the nerves as the end of the season and promotion grew ever closer. The fact that promotion was achieved was as much because of Vinnie’s contributions as it was that of Strachan, David Batty, Lee Chapman and the rest.

The following season proved that Wilko wasn’t one for sentiment, and Vinnie lasted only a few more games in a Leeds shirt, making his final appearance for us away at Luton Town, before being sold to Sheffield United. Leeds fans were shocked to see Vinnie leave us so soon, but it was a shrewd, almost kind, move by Wilko. Gary McAllister had joined in the summer, and Gary Speed had emerged. The famous midfield quartet of Strachan, Batty, McAllister and Speed was now in place, and chances for Vinnie would be limited. Rather than subject him to being a perennial substitute he allowed him to move on and be a hero somewhere else, with stints at Chelsea, a return to Wimbledon, and then QPR to follow.

Vinnie being Vinnie though, football wasn’t enough. Nobody who saw him strutting round Elland Road ever expected him to be a future Hollywood star, but that’s what he became. Just another challenge that Vinnie accepted, rose to, and handled with a plomb.

Vinnie will be back at Elland Road tomorrow. It scares me to think that a large chunk of the crowd weren’t even born when he played for us. But for those of us that were there, for that one fantastic season, the memories burn bright. The haircut – copied by thousands of school kids acrossLeeds– the sliding tackle on the mascot, things I’ll never forget. I can still picture him now, in that Top Man kit, the God of Elland Road for one season, and one season only. Welcome him back on Saturday, and remember one of the greatest seasons in Leeds United’s history with him.

Reporter - Ian Wylie

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21st Mar2014

A View From the Opposition – Millwall

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

The promotion push at Leeds United may have ended before it even started, meaning we have 10+ games left with not a lot to play for… exciting games are going to be few and far between for the rest of this season.

This Saturday’s tasty encounter has the potential to be a great game though. With two sets of passionate fans, this fixture is often both entertaining and controversial. Recent encounters have more often than not gone against Leeds, especially in League One, and after the battering earlier on this season you would forgive their fans for thinking they had a decent chance this time around.

Our man Joe Glover  asked a ‘wall’ season ticket holder, Martin Ward, what he thought about his side’s chances at our spot.

There is no love lost between Leeds and Millwall, do you think your side can replicate the strong performance against us earlier in the season this time around?

To be honest, it’s pretty unlikely. We’re playing better football than in the earlier part of the season and we defend a lot better but at the moment we CANNOT score. I’d be happy with a point and anything else is a bonus.

Will Steve Morison be a big miss for you on Saturday?

Yes. I know a lot of Leeds fans didn’t think much of him, the same with Norwich and some of ours, but under Holloway his link up play has really come on, (sadly not his eye for goal.

A lot of fans thought Morison could do a job for Leeds this term, are you happy with his contribution this season? 

I think he suffered, in fans eyes wherever he’s been because of his body language and the appearance that he’s not interested. I think he’s unfortunate in that sense because, to my mind he’s put a shift in every week. I rate him highly and I’d like him next season whatever division we’re in.

Are you happy with Ian Holloway and how has his appointment changed your expectations for your club in the future? 

Have to be honest, the jury is still out on that one. He inherited an absolute mess but has brought in ‘his own’ players and has done nothing to turn any of it round in the half season.  I think he needs a clean slate to build his own team.

Are you happy with the performances of your team this season despite the poor results?

As I said above we are playing good football now but with no end product. Also we’ve got a squad full of journeymen and ‘wage thieves’. Whatever division we are in next season we need a bloody good clear out and start again from scratch. We have a youth policy that is now beginning you filter thorough slowly so we need to rebuild.

Do you think you will survive relegation?

Ask any Millwall supporter and if their honest they’ll say we’ll go down, (especially looking at the teams and their points and games in had around us). But ever the optimist, a small part of me says we’ll avoid it and the ‘run’ starts on Saturday…

Who is your key player?

Martyn Woolford. On his day he is real class. Scored against you lot at the Den.

If you could sign any Leeds player, who would it be?

We’ve got him.

Do you fancy your chances on Saturday?/What score do you think it will be?

Like I say, the ‘run’ starts on Saturday. A point would be great up there and you’ve conceded as many as we haven’t scored in the past few weeks. Probably 1 late goal in it. To us?

This Saturday promises to be a feisty affair, the atmosphere should be great, especially in the South Stand, so let’s see if we can drag our players through this one and save face. I fancy us for a win, but as long as we don’t get battered it would be an improvement. Surely the 200 Millwall fans can’t go home with all three points…?

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16th Mar2014

Cellino is what we need but not what we want

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

So the Football League will announce their decision on Massimo Cellino’s purchase of 75% of our Club “within 10 days” of their statement on the evening of Thursday 13th March. Anyone with even a passing interest in developments so far can see that this is nothing more than a move by the Football League to give themselves a chance to act on the outcome of Cellino’s forthcoming court case (or “Yachtgate”, if you prefer). So with a decision almost upon us, how have things shifted since Mad Friday, the 31st January?

After the events of that night, you would have struggled to find a Leeds fan anywhere who viewed the Cellino takeover as a possible positive. But as things have moved on, and more and more has become known of GFH Capitals “running” of our Football Club, opinions seem to have softened somewhat. Do we want someone with Cellino’s past to own a controlling interesting in Leeds United? No, probably not. But at this juncture, is there a better option? Again, probably not…

Much was made of the Mike Farnan led consortium, and the alternative they offered to Cellino. GFH Capital’s refusal to even enter into negotiations with them meant that we learned very little of what their offer involved. I personally liked the way Farnan came across both in interviews and on Twitter – he sounded like a man who actually wanted the best for LUFC and was willing to back Brian McDermott, and remove any traces of GFH to achieve this. His consortium sounded like exactly what we wanted, but is there ANY chance of it happening? If the Football League say no to Cellino, would he be willing to just match his offer, on the spot, without any due diligence? Would you?? Added to the fact that Cellino would also want the money back that he has been ploughing into LUFC (anywhere between £6m and £10m depending what you choose to believe), and suddenly Farnan’s consortium would not just need to match an offer somewhat higher than they themselves originally bid, but they’d need to find up to £10m on top of it. The chances of (1) that happening, instantly or (2) GFH being able to fund us sufficiently for the time it would take for further due diligence would seem somewhat remote. Despite David Haigh’s protestations to the contrary, could we avoid administration? It seems unlikely.

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So back to Cellino. He might not be what we want in an ideal world, but we don’t live in an ideal world, do we? Being realistic, he is a man with no shortage of available cash, and a man who wants to invest some of that cash in Leeds United. He has already said he would buy back Elland Road – we’ve been promised that before, but as he promised to do it quite quickly, this should be an easy one to call him on if it doesn’t happen. He’s also been big enough to sort out the mess he created with Brian McDermott. We all make mistakes (admittedly most of us don’t make them on that level, but a mistake is a mistake). I also found myself agreeing with his comments about wanting to kick each of the players individually after the Bolton game. Too right!! It’s about time somebody said it exactly as it is – if you’re going to put in a performance that discredits the Leeds shirt, then you deserve something more than a sad emoticon on twitter! Perform on the pitch, or risk the wrath of your potential new owner. If you’re not good enough, he will get rid of you and find someone who is. The same applies to McDermott to some degree – I think it’s good that Cellino and McDermott have a working relationship, but just because he has been “un-sacked” I wouldn’t expect McDermott to receive any special favours, and nor should he.

Much has been made of Cellino’s policy at Cagliari of buying good, young players and selling them on for a profit. Doesn’t this happen at every Club in the world to some degree though? Unless you’re Barcelona, there is always a bigger, better Club to play for…

The future might be an uncertain one under Cellino. It might see Managers changed on a regular basis, and players bought, developed into better players, and sold on for a profit. But as that is what we’ve been used to anyway, would it really make much of a difference to us? The alternative, currently, is an even worse outcome. The possibility of administration would bring not just a points deduction, but also the threat of relegation. The only way we would avoid one of these two outcomes is for a kind, Leeds United loving billionaire to appear on the horizon, and propel us to Manchester City levels of finance. If that person existed, do you not think they would have materialised by now?

Cellino would be nobody’s first choice as the owner of Leeds United, but when faced with the current alternatives, maybe it’s time we started thinking what we actually need right now, rather than what we want.

Reporter - Ian Wylie

13th Mar2014

The South Stand Revolution – Something we CAN control at our club!

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

With everything going on around the club our very own Joe Glover took the time to talk about one of the positives to come out of this season at LS11. The rejuvenation of the Elland Road South Stand….

I wasn’t familiar with the South Stand SS5 (@SouthStandSS5) Twitter page until recently, but I contacted the account holder and asked him a couple of questions about their aims. Only an active group since this season, they are looking to build a better match day experience for all of the supporters. If what they have already achieved can be replicated at the same rate in the seasons to come, ER will have one hell of a match day makeover.

Who are you and why did you decide to set up the twitter account?

My name is JT and I decided to setup the twitter account after some discussions with other fans following a very poor atmosphere against Yeovil earlier this season. We discussed how it could be improved and the thing we realised was that there were plenty of us who were up for it but we were spread around all over the stand, so the idea was simply to get all of us stood together and to build it from there.

It was the encouragement from older fans that gave me the motivation to run with the idea though and to try to make it work. Many of them told me that in the old days you could just find where the noise was coming from in the terrace and go stand there. These days it just takes a bit of organisation but the principle is the same.

Last year somebody did something similar in SS4 but he just stopped updating it all of a sudden. I tried to get everyone in seats next to each other and arranged for pre match meet ups so we could get to know each other and discuss ideas. I was surprised how many turned out for the first one and it has grown really fast since then.

To me the most important thing is that going to football games is meant to be fun. Too many people seemed discouraged by our home support and only went to away games or only attended home games every now and then. So we try and bring the away style of support to every home game.

What are you trying to achieve in the long and short term?

In the short term we just want to keep attracting more like minded people into SS5 and the surrounding sections. I have to admit I’ve been surprised at how popular its become in such a short period of time and we get great feedback from people all the time on the atmosphere we are creating.

In addition we really like visual aspect of support so are trying to get more scarves, flags and banners in the stands too. We always try to keep Leeds traditions in mind with everything we do and I think that’s very important. One of the best aspects of SS5 is the wide range of ages we have in there and all are just having fun and giving everything for 90 minutes to support the team.

Also, longer term it would be great to have some dialogue with the club. We seem to attract a lot of unjustified attention from the stewards and a few of our core ’members’ have had very harsh bans. I’ve tried to get the message to the club about what we are trying to achieve but with so much turmoil in the boardroom its not been easy. Thankfully LUST have shown us a lot of support and helped us out when needed. Through them we have made some progress such as allowing flags back in the ground and they have helped overturn a couple of bans I mentioned.

Have you always sat in the south stand?

No not always, but for the last few years I have. I tried loads of different sections all round the ground and have found it hard to find one with consistently great support in recent times. It made sense for us to do this in the South Stand as there weren’t so many season ticket holders in there so we could get lots of seats booked together and there were a few of us already in there from the SS4 movement. A lot of people are very loyal to the Kop which I fully understand; in fact its good as the best scenario for everyone is to have both these stands as loud as possible.

What is different about the south stand now compared to recent years?

I guess the main differences would be where the away fans sit and also its only fairly recently that season tickets were available in the South Stand. To me I don’t care that much about the interaction with the away fans, as long as we drown them out! But I know some fans really enjoy this aspect of it. Also, the stewards have become a bit more relaxed in the last couple of years about standing all game, which for us is of course crucial.

Are you behind the safe standing campaign?

My last point leads into this nicely, yes we are definitely 100% behind it. I think English football in general badly needs safe standing to revitalise support. I feel it’s starting to get a lot of attention and won’t be too long before it is launched in this country. I would love to see a safe standing section in both the Kop and the South Stand.

Do you have a message for other Leeds fans?

If you read this and you’re not convinced then that is fine, it’s not for everyone and we do want noise to come from all areas of the ground. But I mentioned Leeds traditions earlier and at the very least we would really appreciate if as many people as possible could join us in trying to slow WACCOE back down to normal speed and bring back ‘na na na na’ rather than clapping during Marching on Together!

Any comments or suggestions please e-mail us or contact us on twitter @SouthStandSS5

Safe Standing would be ideal for us, increasing the attendance and lowering the price tickets would be the ultimate, but I can only imagine we will see it at Leeds much later than we would want. For too long home games have been dull and whilst I’m not saying the chanting and away game atmosphere is for everyone if we could get all the stands active we can at least create some amusement for ourselves or maybe even spur on the team to be better.

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