Ross McCormack today signed for Fulham FC on a four year deal for an ‘undisclosed’ fee – believed to be in the region of £11m. Our most productive goal scorer, McCormack’s 29 goals prevented Leeds from relegation last season. He stood out as our best player, our inspirational leader on the pitch.. Here we go again.
Granted extra time off by the club earlier this week, and reportedly fined a week’s wages for not joining the squad on their pre season training camp in Italy, McCormack has only ever looked like he was leaving Leeds this summer.
Cellino at his press conference unveiling David Hockaday as his new head coach was unequivocal
The club appeared last week to refuse the transfer request too (not that this was even formally confirmed) The above of course smacks of the right noises but as has happened so often in recent years (Snodgrass, Howson, Delph, Becchio, Beckford) money talks.
Many will lament McCormack’s sale to a rival but Fulham are far from that.
They are not a yo-yo club like Norwich, QPR or Palace, a well established Premier League side with plenty of reserves even before the parachute payments kick in, their revenue and cash will dwarf that of their rivals. Sure, if they dont escape in two seasons time their lowered gate receipts and higher running costs will cost them with no TV Money coming in – but for now they’re the big fishes in the championship Pond.
What of the £11m fee? Well on the face of it £350,000 spent with such a large return seems a good punt in my view, far better than any of the Harvey / Bates brokered bargains for Norwich City. But our two favourite football executives of course left us with a further mess – Two seasons of no season ticket money, which means that £11m will most likely plug up the £9m loss we made last year, or put more squarely, stem the £1m a month we have been losing.
It’s a positive because any additional cash is money we dont need to borrow – so it’s cheaper for us, and it means that yes we probably will have some money to spend on the likes of Silvestri, Bianchi, Bellusci, dare I mention Becchio?
Leeds United are rebuilding nearly from scratch at the moment, and the sale of McCormack though not welcome solves a number of issues for the club. There will be no prolonged contract renegotiation this summer, there will be some money in the pot to play with, where previously there seemed to be very little indeed (why else even consider the likes of Andre Blackman? In fact order him a taxi now – please)
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Ross McCormack has been a good servant to Leeds United, and seemed to love playing for us, that said if he can’t see a clear route to playing in the top flight then of course hes going to leave. The appointment of a better known coach with a track record of promotions – or an up and coming Eddie Howe or Sean Dyche type coach may have persuaded him. Ross until now has been unusually quiet, but the timing of his alleged transfer request on 20th June 1 day after our new head coach was appointed to me says it all. We may say – give him a chance but the players dont have to, and the worst thing David Hockaday could have in his ranks is a player who doesnt believe in him, dissent spreads through the ranks like poison.
What of the future? Who will score Leeds’ goals?
Matt Smith had a creditable season last year reaching double figures, not just a lumbering target man, smith showed good vision on many occasions and worked hard for the team, he may well be one to shine. Elsewhere Dominic Poleon, Robbie McDaid, Lewis Walters and Lewis Cook fly the flag for the youngsters coming through – though it may be a bit much to ask of them at this stage. Noel Hunt seems least likely to succeed, never a prolific striker at any of his clubs he will surely only play a supporting role, unless he is sold on. Steve Morison remains on our books too but for me falls into the same category, expensive, and not productive enough.
It’s likely then that Leeds will need to invest some of the McCormack money, for me Becchio is too similar to Smith, and we possess too few creative players to have 2 traditional centre forwards. For me if Leicester were willing to listen Chris Wood would be a good bet to replace McCormack as would Jamie Vardy (dream on)
What is abundantly clear though is that Leeds are at a cross roads selling a talisman like McCormack and something needs to happen – reasonably fast now. Over to Mr Fix it Nicola Salerno, and our dynamic coaching duo of Hockaday and Lewis.
Right noises aside, this takes me back to a conversation held with our ill fated former owners GFH Capital in December 2012. They asked at the time – what did Leeds fans want most? The answer came back a side to make us proud again.
I’ll re-hash that response now to our current owner. Leeds United want to be proud again of their team again top to bottom, not to ber a laughing stock appointing awful managers, and signing atrocious players whilst selling off the family silver to survive. The £11m for McCormack is good money – but please use that to make a difference to the club. No more cast-offs, no more second best, no more cheapskating. We are Leeds United and need to start acting like it.
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