08th Jul2014

Ross McCormack signs for Fulham for £11 Million

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

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

Why should i sell Ross, he is our best player. If i needed McCormack money, id tell you i need McCormack money. We are not desperate to sell him. Why should i sell him? He has a 4 year contract, he’s our best player. If we do get an offer for a EPL club we should give him a chance to go to face a new level of the game. But i want to do something big for Leeds so i won’t be selling McCormack”

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.

We’re recruiting for new writers for the 2014/15 season. If you want to cover the ongoing soap opera at Leeds United then get in touch with us here. We’ll aim to get back to you quicker than a Paddy Kenny bleep test.

 

25th Apr2014

Leeds United on the Hunt for a real number 10

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

Massimo Cellino says we need a number 10 – I’d like to see if he has any links to Italian sides that could provide a create spark to get people playing. We don’t always lack effort, but it’s clear we do lack quality in this division. I’m baffled really as to how bad we are. Brian has switched players and formation so many times now, I think he even losing track.

It’s no secret that the squad plainly isn’t quite as good as we hoped it would be, fans are looking to reason why we’ve been so poor. Rift in the squad? Fall outs with players? Ross wants another new contract? Who knows?

One thing that struck me though was the lacklustre way we played and the lack of confidence we play with. Tom Lees banging another long ball towards a hard working but less fancied Noel Hunt who inevitably doesn’t make the header against a 6 foot 2 centre back. That’s one example that happens 5 times a game.

Brian is struggling to motivate the players at times perhaps. Confidence in any job (and it is a job) is such a massive part of having success. The annoying part is that sporadically it’s not always like this. Luke Murphy against Barnsley was a glimmer of hope.

I’d like to see some of the players being a bit more adventurous and trying things. It frustrates the hell out of me to see how we can’t or don’t want to create things at times.

No wonder Cellino is calling for a 10 – I watched Brown, Tonge and Murphy against Forest.  The amount of times they would decide against a forward pass in favour of Jason Pearce or Tom Lees was demoralizing to watch.

Sharp passing, quick passing, quick thinking means that Ross doesn’t have to drop back and play like deep. He can play 10 but we need him up top. We also need to cut out this full brand of football. Long balls, towards two strikers in Ross and Hunt who may or may not have been extras in The Borrowers at one time or other, are pointless.  I’m not against Matt Smith, but cross it, don’t heave it towards him, centre field from 40 yards or our penalty box.

A number 10 would bring Matt Smith into the game as a target man more, with Ross being the foil for that. Dom Poleon deserves more of a chance and could do well with a playmaker in the side.

I hope we see some big changes this summer – the amount of empty seats denotes a fan base that can’t wait to draw a line under this season.

Reporter - David Mays

22nd Mar2014

Leeds break their duck to put Millwall in the mire

by Right in the Gary Kelly's

Three points, what a relief! Probably the best way to sum up today, at this stage in the season and the run that Leeds have been on, the result was all that mattered today. In truth, it was a very even game, one that Ian Holloway will be ruing his team lost and in turn putting Millwall in serious trouble down at the bottom too. For Brian McDermott, it was a welcome result and one the players have owed both the fans and the manager, especially after the last two home outings.

Leeds were unchanged from their spiritied defeat at Burnley, McDermott obviously happy with the progress he saw at Turf Moor to stick with the same eleven. The first 15 minutes saw lots of Millwall possession but not a lot in the final third but worrying for Leeds fans, holes were still appearing in the centre of our midfield and defence, often leaving us exposed, Jack Butland was forced into a few early saves, including one vital one in which he just managed to save Jason Pearce from scoring his second own goal in two games.

The Whites had gone 4-4-2 with Matt Smith partnering Ross McCormack upfront with Connor Wickham and Alex Mowatt offering the width, which to be fair to them, they did fairly well.

Leeds’ first opportunity was no more than a half chance which Smith somehow managed to take. Wickham launched in a long throw and similar to Burnley the week before, Smith got up well but instead of finding his strike partner, this time he looped a fantastic header over David Forde to give Leeds the lead out of nowhere. Again, this was a great example of what a useful player Matt Smith is to us, people may not like the style of football it encourages but we’re not going to pass many teams off the park are we but with Smith we can bully them. Before the goal, Millwall were actually winning every header and competing well but being the size of Matt Smith you are bound to contest them well and he won the one that counts.

This goal settled Leeds down who started to win a few more second balls, Luke Murphy, who has made great strides in recent weeks, harassed the Millwall midfield whilst Mowatt and Wickham offered good options out wide.

Leeds’ struggling defence was holding firm, Pearce in particular looking back to the Pearce of old, winning every challenge he went in for and Tom Lees also looking better. It was actually a Lees challenge that set up our second goal in the lead up to half time, a good sliding tackle from the man making his 125th Leeds appearance somehow set McCormack away. He has sometimes being questioned about his ability to score one on ones but the Scot made no mistake with this one; beautifully sliding the ball through Forde’s legs and putting Leeds two goals to the good.

It was static defending from Millwall but McCormack was alert and the finish was class, he knew exactly what he was doing it by putting it through the keepers legs as it was really the only way he could score from that position. Fresh from losing out to Danny Ings for the Championship player of the season, unfortunately in my eyes, it puts Ross well on the way to scoring 30 in the Championship, a great achievement in any side, let alone one in mid table.

Half time came and after an on field appearance from Vinnie Jones, including a well-orchestrated rendition of Marching on Together, I was expecting a quick tempo in the second half but in truth it just never really kick started. Leeds were happy to let Millwall play in front of them and look to chip away on the counter attack and the Lions were unable to create anything concrete.

On the hour mark, McCormack had a good opportunity to put Leeds further ahead from a similar angle but opting for power this time, fired wide. Wickham was also putting in a great shift down the left, often beating his man and putting Leeds on the front foot and on the other flank it was encouraging to see Mowatt and Sam Byram link up pretty well and whilst they over played it sometimes, there seemed to be a good understanding between them built up from their youth team days.

The game was meandering along when all of a sudden it was sprung into life with DJ Cambpell firing in an unstoppable strike from 25 yards which Butland could do little about. It sat up kindly for the striker but it was some strike, sitting right behind it in the kop, you could see it was in as soon as it left his boot. This left Leeds a nervous 20 minutes to see out and all of a sudden you could feel the tension as the defence dropped five yards deeper and whilst Millwall were still playing infront of them, it was now only right outside our own penalty box!

Introducing their big Austrian striker, they went a bit more direct and put a lot of balls on Leeds which tested them physically and mentally. There were a few hearts in mouths, including a major session of ping ball in the penalty box which I’m still not sure what actually happened there and a few knock downs which took last ditch clearances to keep Leeds ahead. McDermott brought on Michael Tonge and Noel Hunt to try slow down matters and run down the clock, something in fairness they managed to do well come extra time and also could have added to the score line when Forde spilled a cross to the feet of McCormack whose effort was cleared off the line along with the follow up but it mattered not as the whistle went straight after.

A tough match against a physical team scrapping for their lives, McDermott sounded very pleased after the game especially with his defence. The game shouldn’t paper over the cracks as there’s still a lot of work to be done, a better team could have had more joy today but that doesn’t particularly matter at the moment, what matters is that we broke our winless streak.

Stand out players for me were Pearce at the back, Smith up front and in particularly Wickham out wide. Not a winger, not by a long stretch, our loanee put in a great shift which was warmly appreciated by the fans, not only his attacking play; he beat more players than Kebe and Stewart have combined so far this season but also his tracking back was impressive. It’s a role I don’t want to see Wickham in, this guy is a great goal scorer but credit must go to him for doing as McDermott has asked and playing off Smith upfront and giving us width.

As for Millwall, I genuinely hope this is the last time we play them for a while. I don’t think any Leeds fan will be sorry to see them go down. After our first goal one fan somehow got onto the pitch before he was wrestled to the ground by police, as I was at the other end of the ground, I can’t really say how that happened or what he did but gladly, he was dealt with accordingly.

Millwall will be up against it for the rest of the season, no doubt about it but in Ian Holloway, they have a decent manager at this level who will get his team up for the fight. One can only imagine their disappointment when they won’t be able ‘welcome’ Leeds to the Den next season, not to mention the Met Police!

As for Leeds, it’s something to build on. A tough trip to Bournemouth ahead for us on Tuesday then another team towards the foot of the table in the shape of Doncaster Rovers. Today was a vital result as you don’t want to start losing to teams at the bottom as in no time you can find yourself down there too, similar to what happened to us last season. The rest of this campaign is about two things; one, sorting out this takeover and two, ending this season on a high and giving both us and the manager encouraging signs to build on for next season.

Reporter – Daniel Howard

04th Mar2014

Leeds United Player of the Month – February

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

An eventful month then you could say for Leeds, both on and off the field. With the proposed takeover of the club looming, manager Brian McDermott was sacked on the eve of the 5-1 demolition of Huddersfield, only for the club to release a statement confirming he was still in charge midway through the second half. Despite that result, United maybe haven’t followed up wins against The Terriers and Yeovil, as they would’ve liked.

Luke Murphy

A lot of pressure has been put on the 24 year-old as certain performances maybe haven’t lived up to the seven-figure sum paid for him in the summer, however he has looked very tidy and has been one of our most consistent performances in recent weeks. Although he was probably bought to play more as a deep-lying playmaker, Murphy has shown he can put himself about and win tackles too – this has been especially important with Rudy Austin’s failure to regain his best form.

Jason Pearce

One of Leeds’ best players this season without a doubt, and that didn’t change in February either. Whilst he may not fill many people with confidence with the ball at his feet, he’s certainly not afraid to put his head in where it hurts and it’s that sort of character The Whites are going to need if they are to put together a late play-off push.

Ross McCormack

Ross has been at the heart of more or less everything good that has happened on the pitch this season, and that was exactly the case again at the start of the month scoring four goals in two games. The last two games of the month saw him draw blanks in either one – a terrible record I know – but the Scot has been feeding off scraps. I’m sure the arrival of Connor Wickham will be a welcome one to McCormack, to give him that bit more support.

Brian McDermott

The month started in confusing fashion that lead to the gaffer not being in the dugout against Huddersfield, and it certainly would’ve been a lot easier for him to stay away from the club than coming back in the circumstances he did. McDermott oozed class in the following days and weeks and proved just how much it means to him to be manager of Leeds United. I think that the majority of fans would agree that he is still the right man for the job and given the appropriate backing, I don’t see any reason why he can’t build something here and get the club back to where it belongs.

So there you have it. Cast your vote on the poll below and we’ll announce the winner in the coming days.

Nominations compiled by - Alex Mulvey

Artwork – Phillip Mitchell

 

06th Feb2014

Sky Sports to televise Leeds United’s Potential Demise

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

Friday night – Deadline day. Usually a day where we can go out for a few drink with our mates or perhaps a meal with the woman in your life and not be in danger of missing anything to do with Leeds, a tradition that came to a crashing end last Friday.

By now we all know what happened then so I won’t waste my time in taking you back through that dark period just yet but as every day seems to pass, more and more is being revealed and closer and closer it seems that Massimo Cellino is to claiming his 75% stake in the club.

On the pitch, Leeds managed to put off field matters behind them the day after by thrashing Huddersfield but memories of that game seem to have been erased quite quickly as fans start to contemplate what life will be life moving forward as a Leeds fan, especially now Andrew Flowers has conceded in his attempts to purchase Leeds United.

The White’s travel to lowly (and slightly damp) Yeovil Town this weekend in yet another lunch time televised clash. This won’t be a shock to all of our fans who travel up and down the country in their masses no matter what the kick of time is or how far they have to travel. By the end of February Leeds will have played more games (18) outside of the traditional three o’clock kick off than during when most games are scheduled (17).

Obviously this is much more common now a days, especially in the Premier League where not only Sky Sports hold broadcasting rights, so do BT Sports. However; in the Championship this season, Leeds have been on TV seven times already, with three of our next four games also set to be broadcast live on Sky too, not bad for a mid-table Championship club eh.

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You have to wonder why Sky keep broadcasting our games in all honestly, apart from the Birmingham game and (unfortunately) the Sheffield Wednesday drubbing, the games have hardly been entertaining. It seems now a common denominator that if they are a stuck for a game to broadcast put Leeds on, after all, they know our fans will travel despite the obvious distances to some like Yeovil and that opposition fans will also turn up because after all, who doesn’t want to turn us over in front of the watching nation?

Sky’s decision to show three of our next four games too seems to have become a justified decision now due to the mess we have found ourselves off the field. Over the past few weeks, the club has made an absolute mockery of itself and has deserved a lot of criticism that it has received, ok it may hurt when Owen Coyle of all people is having a go about how poorly run we are but we can’t exactly disagree. Who knows what to expect by Saturday!

Sky Sports will now also have the added luxury of announcing live to the country (again) how deep in sh*t we appear to be and advertising Ross McCormack to all watching clubs as we stumble to defeat against The Glovers. Ok, we might not lose, in fact I’m pretty confident we’ll get something out of the game but the rest of what I said is true, deadline day proved this. Their pundits have no problem in commenting on the situations without facts as after all, it’s what they’re paid to do but since Deadline Day, my respect for Sky Sports as a reliable reports news channel has died a little.

As we all know, McCormack issued a statement with them saying he was happy at Leeds and didn’t want to leave after the Cardiff bid was turned down. Immediately after this statement, Sky carry on talking about the possibility of McCormack leaving! Then obviously, the infamous Brian McDermott “sacking” and Ross’ next chat with Sky Sports.

Our skipper got some unfair flack for doing that interview, notably by Simon Jordon who’s attack on McCormack was quite unbelievable. The fact he was the only man who seemed willing to speak up and inform the fans as best as he could was a testament to him, particularly as club captain. Unfortunately, Sky used this as a perfect platform to basically bait clubs into bidding for the Championship’s top goal scorer, we had effectively become victims of their big day being an absolute snooze fest, desperate to see a big transfer that they could say they called. Not long afterwards news broke that apparently six clubs had contacted us about the availability of McCormack, a figure I also begin to doubt.

We hear a lot about these “Sky Sources” when in reality, it’s most likely a bloke standing outside the training ground with a scattering of fans lined up behind him doing what they can to get on camera (bravo to the two Norwich fans). It could be Barry Chuckle behind the scenes informing us of this “breaking news” for all we know! My point is if clubs want too, it’s easy enough to do business under the radar, if they leak the news; it is more often than not, intended or impossible to hide. Leeds had no intention of selling McCormack last Friday and the Scot had no intention of leaving, no story.

The point of writing this is to issue a point, that with us being on TV three of the next four games a lot is bound to happen in this time and it’ll almost be inevitable that Sky is on top of it. We’re bound to hear things we may not like, listen to people criticize our team or fans without knowing the actual facts of the situation regarding the club. Whether it’s Peter Beagrie praying that we lose, Don Goodman doing his best to hide the fact that he really doesn’t seem to like Leeds or some guy in the studio working with little or no facts on our situation, you have to take what they say with a pinch of salt.

The men you listen to are the ones that have been reporting on our situation with great honesty and professionalism, members of our local press like; Adam Pope or Phil Hay. Whilst Sky do a fantastic job of broadcasting football, they often let themselves down by employing a lot of now clueless people to talk about matters they have no idea about, especially below the Premier League.

Gary Neville (probably the best Sky pundit ironically) summed our situation up nicely when he said we were being “messed about” something we are indeed used to. Now though, Leeds are entering a crucial time in their ownership struggle and now is not a time for speculation and for opinions off football nobodies, it’s a time for facts. In the meantime, all we can hope for is that after our three televised away trips, people are talking about our good performances on the pitch and not our diabolical situation off it. I live in hope.

Reporter - Daniel Howard

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25th Jan2014

Will Leeds Keep Hold of Captain McCormack?

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

Leeds United chairman Salah Noruddin has confirmed that a bid of around £3.5 million for leading goalscorer and captain Ross McCormack has been rejected.

The bid, received from struggling Barclays Premier League side West Ham United, is a result of the Hammers search for a prolific striker. To date, they have managed to net 22 goals- just four more than McCormack’s personal tally to date.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce boosted his attacking ranks with the re-signing of Carlton Cole in October 2013, but has signified intent to sign another sharpshooter to complement Cole and returning star Andy Carroll.

The four-year contract in which Leeds tabled to McCormack in the summer provided a platform to fight off further bids, in concern of Middlesbrough’s £2 million attempt just prior to the signing of the contract- which is believed to have made McCormack the highest paid player on the Leeds United roster.

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Managing director David Haigh supplemented Noruddin’s comments by stating: “As a club we showed our intentions as far as Ross is concerned during the summer.”

West Ham’s interest has stemmed just days after Leeds manager Brian McDermott awarded McCormack with the captain’s armband, taking over from Jamaican international Rudolph Austin. McDermott stated: “I actually spoke to Ross in April and said ‘we need leaders and you are leader.’ Whether he saw himself as a leader then I don’t know.

I see him as a talisman and a leader. He has matured an awful lot. Everyone knows what he thinks about Leeds United,”

A talisman and a leader are indeed indicative of the qualities in which Ross has demonstrated since McDermott’s arrival last April, and this, combined with his seemingly inexhaustible ability to create and finish chances that have fallen his way are undeniably factors which have influenced Sam Allardyce in pursuing the Scot.

In an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Press in November, McCormack stated that: “I signed a four-year contract because I definitely believe that within that contract we can get this club back into the Premier League. When we do that I’ll be a happy man.

“You’ve got assess it – would you rather go to a Premier League team who might be in a relegation fight or do you stay here and try to become one of the top goalscorers ever at this club? It was a no-brainer and I’m privileged to play for such a big club.”

Amongst a week of anxiety and angst for United fans, one thing is assured- Leeds supporters around the world will be breathing easier with news that Ross is staying at Elland Road- for the foreseeable future at the very least.

Reporter - Nick Ansell

16th Jan2014

Leeds United’s captaincy curse – Step forward Ross McCormack

by Right in the Gary Kelly's

Yesterday was probably the most interesting press day up at Thorp Arch so far this season. With lots of questions fielded to McDermott about the proposed block on Ashley Barnes’ transfer and the usual questions on the possibility of incoming players, the most unexpected moment came when our manager informed us that Ross McCormack would be taking over from Rodolph Austin as club captain.

The recent form of Austin has put his place in the team in serious doubt, kind of similar to the situation we had with Lee Peltier last season, you can’t just play your captain because he wears the armband, he must be in the team on merit. Unfortunately, the captaincy seems to have weighed Austin down.

Let’s just go back to the start of the season, the sight of Austin leading our team out was something that would have excited a lot of us, me included. ‘The Beast’ was in fantastic form for the first few weeks of the season, easily our best player, putting in combative and explosive displays in midfield proving to be as effective in breaking up play as he was going forward. Whilst not being as vocal, his man of the match performances spoke louder than words.

McCormack on the other hand, whilst he had started the season pretty well, he wasn’t exactly lighting up the division as he has done for large periods. I’m sure many guilty people out there will remember unfairly slating McCormack after his performance against Huddersfield. This was the kick start of McCormack’s season; after four goals against Charlton, the Scot could do no wrong and whilst he has found things tougher over the last few weeks, he still looks our sharpest player most likely to make something happen.

The fall of Austin has been spectacular to say the least but he cannot be blamed for everything. This is a player who plays in a dynamic way in a role that requires constant movement and Austin quite simply has ran out of steam. McDermott should have rested him weeks ago, instead Rudy has just been a spectator in games, Sheffield Wednesday was verging on embarrassing for the Jamaican.

Personally, I think McDermott has done the right thing in giving the armband to Ross, he’s gone on record in the past at how proud he was captaining Leeds in what was just a pre-season friendly and with his close relationship to the club and its fans, it’s a logical choice. It will also give Austin a chance to take a backseat and try find himself in an attempt to recapture his best form. When he was initially approached about the captaincy it was well documented that he was hesitant in taking it and Austin did seem slightly overwhelmed by it all, our bad run of form seems to have taken its toll on Rudy, he simply didn’t have the answers.

As for Ross, all we can hope is that it has the opposite effect on our striker, which to be fair I think it will. McCormack has never struck me as a man who lacks self-confidence, even during a barren run he has the ability to lead by example and do something special to inspire his teammates. Since Jonny Howson left the club, we’ve had a real problem in finding a long term captain; Robert Snodgrass had the armband for a short while before leaving for our parent club and Peltier’s appointment by Mr Warnock still has us scratching our heads. Hopefully McCormack can break this recent curse and lead Leeds well without it affecting his own form.

It’s a tough job but at the end of the day you need eleven leaders out on the pitch, a special captain comes around every now and again and Leeds in many ways have been fortunate in the past to have had exceptional captains; Billy Bremner, Gordon Strachan and Lucas Radebe to name the obvious. McCormack might never reach the heights that those men did but if he’s the person wearing the armband and scoring a shed load of goals the year that Leeds make it back into the Premier League, he will have undoubtedly wrote himself into our history books.

One thing’s for sure, McCormack will be a proud man on Saturday and that we all wish him well.

Reporter – Daniel Howard

05th Jan2014

Leeds United’s 2013 Player of the Year

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

An eventful year for Leeds United, as it always seems to be one way or another. Leeds ended the 2012/13 campaign looking over their shoulder at relegation before Neil Warnock was sacked and replaced with current manager Brian McDermott. The summer saw The Whites spend a seven-figure sum on Luke Murphy – the first time they had done so in over seven years, a strong signal of the backing new owners GFH. A big thanks must also go to the owners for the schemes they are implementing within the community of Leeds to get fans to reengage with the club again, cheaper tickets has meant bigger attendances, which has led to better atmospheres and you cant help but feel that plays a massive part in the results at home especially. We ended 2013 with Leeds United feeling once again like our Leeds United – we do have genuine optimism going into this year. We haven’t had the best of starts but we’re confident McDermott can turn it round.

Paddy Kenny 

An ever-present behind a defence that has often changed formation and personnel, the experienced shot stopper has been nothing short of brilliant this year and has proved to be one of Neil Warnock’s few successful signings. By keeping United in games and securing points for them, Kenny has shown you can’t underestimate the importance of a quality keeper.

Sam Byram 

Came from nowhere really at the start of last season and surprised not only us, but also the whole championship by the standard and consistency of his performances. Sam was unfortunately injured at the end of last season after playing in almost every single game, and as a result of that he missed out on going to the under 20 World Cup with England, nevertheless rumours still persisted linking him with the likes of Manchester City, which just shows how good he has been. The 20 year-old will be looking to kick on once more and regain his place in the starting 11 to show us all again just how good he is.

Ross McCormack

Endured a difficult year up until April when Brian McDermott took over where he was given the license to roam behind the strikers and makes things happen – a role that he continued to occupy until around October, where he was reverted to playing as a central striker once again. That role change has seen the Scot become the leagues top scorer with 17 goals to date and is arguably playing the best football of his career, if this form continues, don’t be surprised to see Leeds continue to climb the league. I wonder if Mr Warnock has finally realised that McCormack’s best position is on the field, not the bench.

Jason Pearce

The no-nonsense centre back came with a big reputation from Portsmouth and struggled to live up to that billing in the first few months of wearing the famous white shirt; however in the last year Jason has come into his own, nailing down a regular starting place and showing exactly what all the hype was about. Pearce never backs out of a battle, is rarely beaten in the air and loves a crunching tackle, almost as much as we love to see one and at only 26, you would think his best years are still ahead of him – lets hope his level of performance can continue long into the new year.

Danny Pugh 

“DANNY, DANNY PUGH. DANNY, DANNY PUGH!” What odds would you haven gotten on Leeds fans singing that at the start of the season? Some say his comeback has been better the supposed one of Jesus, others still don’t believe in the myth that is the return of Danny Pugh. Pugh gets on this shortlist because 1) he’s Danny Pugh, and 2) because of attitude to get back in the reckoning – he’s in that starting line up on merit now and doesn’t look like giving it up anytime soon, if he stays injury free, there’s no reason why he can’t be an ever-present 

So there you have it. Cast your vote on the poll below and we’ll announce the winner in the coming days.

Nominations compiled by - Alex Mulvey / Artwork – Phillip Mitchell

 

23rd Nov2013

Leeds United’s play-off charge continues with 3rd straight win

by Right in the Gary Kelly's

Leeds United carried on from where they left off before the international break with a hard fought three points over 10 man Middlesbrough. Goals from summer time Boro target Ross McCormack and the ever impressive Jason Pearce moved Leeds into the top six for the first time since defeating Bolton in September.

Leeds made two changes to their starting line-up; as expected, Lithuanian international Marius Zaliukas replaced the injured Scott Wootton and Alex Mowatt returned from injury to replace Michael Brown. In front of a crowd of 30,367, the game started open and at a fast pace with both teams pressing.

Aitor Karanka clearly came to Elland Road with an eye on all three points, playing an extremely attacking formation, with two dangerous front men in Marvin Emnes and Kei Kamara, supported by two quick wingers.

It was Leeds that should have took the lead though in the opening five minutes; the ball fell to Mowatt on the outside of the area and whilst his effort on goal was scuffed it fell to McCormack whoes instinctive header went wide of Jason Steele’s goal, much the the delight of the Boro fans. Although it wasn’t easy, you felt our red hot marksman would have been disappointed he didn’t add to his tally.

Middlesbrough looked to move the ball around and as the name of Gary Speed started ringing around Elland Road, the teesside team started to impose themselves. The United defence were forced into some good blocks and defensive headers but the better chances were still falling to the men in white. Lee Peltier in particular had a testing time against the pacey Carayol who often got in behind early on.

Rudy Austin tested Steele from distance with a crisp strike, then a few moments later, McCormack did brilliantly out wide to work space for himself to cross into the path of Dexter Blackstock but our loanee steered his effort over the bar from close range.

The deadlock was almost broken by the unlikeliest of sources. Danny Pugh was found by McCormack who opted for power in his strike but Steele was equal to it. Surely it was only a matter of time before Leeds went ahead? It was a matter of seconds.

The resulting corner was won impressively by Lees at the back post and queue McCormack to pouch his 13th of the season, heading in at the back post. I’m sure every Leeds fan wanted to see Ross score today just to rub it in Boro’s faces a bit more and after a little badge thump and thumbs up to the Boro fans, the game continued.

The travelling fans moods wouldn’t have improved just before half time either when the referee pulled out the red card after a poor backpass was chased down by Blackstock and Steele committed to winning the ball outside of his area but only achieved cleaning up the striker. At first I was unsure what colour the card would be as there were covering defenders and Blackstock was going away from goal but the challenge was cynical and probably did deny a goal scoring opportunity.

Not only did we now have the numerical advantage but Karinina was forced to take off an attack threat in Emnes in order to bring on his substitute keeper. Leeds went into the break in front but anyone that thought the game was over clearly forgot our recent home game against Bournemouth where the three points had to be earned not given and today was exactly the same.

Leeds came out comfortably and were knocking the ball about well when the sucker punch came. A rapid counter attack saw Pugh beaten by Adomah who then put in a great ball for Carayol to smash the ball past Kenny and all of a sudden it was game on again.

To Leeds’ credit, they didn’t drop their heads and carried on pushing forward. The impressive Mowatt wasn’t far away from his first goal in a Leeds shirt with his low effort was tipped wide for a corner and it was from another corner that saw Leeds quickly retake the lead. A short corner saw Peltier briefly turn into Lionel Messi (bit of an exaggeration I guess) with a quick turn to work space onto his left foot and his deep cross was met by Pearce at the back post, the type of chance the Pearce of old would have probably nodded over.

In truth, once Leeds retook the lead it was going to take a lot of Boro to come back again, the threat of their attacking quartet was blunted after the red card and we could deal with them a lot better in the second half. Zaliukas stepped out of defence time and time again to win the ball and break up Boro’s attacks, which took a lot of pressure off those around him.

Whilst Leeds could have had more, Boro struggled to test Kenny, a strike from about 30 yards out the only one of any significance but whilst it was 2-1 there was always going to be a few nerves around the place. The substitutes all did their bit; Matt Smith, Sam Byram and Michael Brown all did well in running down the clock with McCormack also doing well to win throw ins and free kicks until finally the result was confirmed.

All in all, I would say it was an accomplished performance, whilst you would always like to score some goals against teams down to 10 men it’s not always that easy and on other days we could have had a few more. When you’re on a winning streak it’s important to keep it going, no matter how you play, the confidence can only go up after a win.

I thought Danny Pugh did well again; he put some dangerous balls into the box as well as sticking to his defensive duties combatively. Mowatt put in a decent shift and was unlucky not to get his first goal for the club today as he had a few chances, although he did try to attempt the ‘Hollywood ball’ a bit too much today, he will learn and he’s clearly got the ability it’s just picking and choosing the time.

For me though, Zaliukas was the best player on the pitch today. He’s the kind of defender we’ve been crying out for for some time; a player who reads the game well, brings experience to his relatively young central defensive partners and he was constantly barking instructions (hopefully in English) to those around him which is something I know a few people have wanted from a Leeds defender in the past. Click the link below and have your say on who impressed you in today’s win and see if you agree with us.

https://twitter.com/RITGK/status/404316229454028800

So up to 6th and a trip to Blackburn to look forward to next Saturday, how many are going again?

Let the good times roll.

Reporter – Daniel Howard

12th Nov2013

Will Leeds Keep Hold of McCormack?

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

Even as we ride the crest of the post-Charlton wave surely some of the more pragmatic amongst us must have even subconsciously asked the question “will we keep hold of Ross McCormack in January?”

Bat Crazy question? Surely McCormack’s just signed a new deal? Surely he’d want to stay – even if a suitor came knocking from the top flight? Right?

And to all intents that instinct would be right. But As Leeds United have slowly turned the corner after the international break, and indeed won four of their last six games, that old chestnut of the January transfer window will surely come to the fore once again.

It’s killed our season before; remember Howson’s departure to Norwich? Becchio’s, to erm Norwich. We could go on but wont for sanity’s sake, and of course down to the fact that we should at least try to enjoy some positivity for at least another 24 hours!

McCormack’s displays have become eye-catching to say the least. Birmingham, Yeovil and Charlton have showcased his talents as a striker possibly playing below his natural level. Ross’s detractors will point to a lackluster showing at Huddersfield but two things. 1. The entire team was dreadful that day (well except Sam Byram – and we’ll come on to him later) 2. Even Lionel Messi has an off day.

Goals are the most precious commodity in football. McCormack will indeed not be `Becchio Cheap’  in January, he has those contract years to run, but every player has his price. We’ve had to get used to that at Leeds, many many times..

Look at the foot of the Premier league, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Stoke, Fulham.. desperate for goals, and indeed desperate to stay up. a Player like McCormack is their first stop. Clearly a battler if playing in the Championship, and clearly someone with an ambition to play in the top flight, with too many snubs from his international boss (and we’d expect more from you as an ex-white Gordon!)

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The offers will almost certainly arrive if the current rich vein of form continues, and then it becomes a question of what the player wants to do? Becchio was forthright enough, he realised at 29 this may be his only chance – he took it. Speaking purely as a Leeds supporter myself, I’d like to think Leeds could fulfil his ambitions, if not this season – then next, and that he could be the player we build our promotion charge around. Moreover, selling McCormack and hoping (as Warnock did with Morison) that a replacement might slot right in and bang in the goals is a stupid gamble to take.

My other hope is that GFH dig their heels in and ignore the £££ signs, their Q3 results will be out soon so we may well see the state of their financial health, but our new owners have maintained their `long-termist’ view, namely players will be bought and sold with this in mind, not a quick buck. It was painful for most Leeds supporters to watch Howson and Snodgrass orchestrate Nahh-ridge’s comeback against West Ham – it could have been us there… So we can but hope.

Other prized assets are becoming more attractive by the day. Alex Mowatt, Sam Byram, Dom Poleon, Tom Lees, Rudy Austin. All of these players have risen in stock, we cannot pretend they will not attract attention, and we cannot ignore the fact that those players collectively may be worth in the region of £15m-£20m.. These are numbers we cannot ignore if we need to claw our way back into the top flight. But the real question surrounds a truly sustainable approach.

Would that money realistically `ll’ be available to spend? We have bills to pay, a season ticket cash cow, bled dry for the remainder of the season, rent to pay.. loans to repay. A truly long termist approach might seek to hold on to those players (or at least most of them) and wait for expensive contracts to run-down to the end of the season lightening our load, and freeing up cash to add to the squad.

One of our most astute signings this season has yet to be completed – Luke Dowling, our soon to be Chief Scout. Not only will he seek out new faces for us to acquire, he has previous when it comes to clearing down the wage bill. We can thank Luke for David Norris, Luke Varney, Jamie Ashdown and Jason Pearce as he was in charge of player acquisition and disposal at Portsmouth.

And oh how we need him now with a bloated midfield and players who have been on the transfer list for over a season. The refreshing of our squad is vital, and has been overdue for at least three seasons now. It has hamstrung our progress, and seen us miss out on players due to our already onerous commitments.

When Leeds were stuttering under Warnock we saw our best players leave. Under McDermott Leeds are playing better football and have the potential to go one better and get into the top six, so those players will be more attractive still.

So the questions abound.. Will McDermott sanction the sale of some of the family silver, in the hope that he can purchase enough quality to get us into the top six? Or will he stick to his guns, and go for promotion with what he has – and hope for some more backing from GFH?

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde –  We can resist anything but Temptation..

Reporter – Matthew Brown-Bolton

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