Windows of Missed Opportunity

One thing that has been said almost as often as “Happy New Year!” in Leeds in the last few years is how the club has failed to kick on in January. Certainly in Simon Grayson’s 2 years in the Championship with us, chances to turn what were promising seasons into opportunities to seriously challenge for promotion were not taken. Whilst hoping that GFH and Neil Warnock don’t make a similar mistake in 2013, Right in the Gary Kelly’s thought we would take a look back at the last 5 January transfer windows at Elland Road, and remind ourselves of just how pivotal next month can be…


In – Sorsa, Kilkenny, Johnson, Sweeney, Kenton, Sheehan, Michalik, Elding

Out – Thompson, Gardner

Verdict – As Dennis Wise left Elland Road mid January, and Gary McAllister took up the reigns, we undoubtably went for quantity over quality here. Only one signing stands out for me – Bradley Johnson – I never did rate Kilkenny – and what ever happened to Sebastian Sorsa? Still, at least we were signing players permanently at this stage…


In – Trundle (loan), Naylor (loan), C Dickinson (loan)

Out – T Elliott (loan)

Verdict – With Simon Grayson taking the hotseat from Boxing Day, his first task was to improve a defence previously built around Paul Telfer and Lubo Michalik. In came Naylor and Dickinson, and it immediately looked ten times better. I can only assume Grayson had been playing Football Manager 2005 the night before he decided to sign Trundle. Noticeably, “all” deals were loan deals.


In – Lowry (loan) McSheffrey (loan)

Out – Prutton

Verdict – Just two players in, both on loan, and neither of whom improved on what we already had. In fact 99% of Leeds fans would probably have been happier if we’d done nothing, and kept Prutton. At least Gary McSheffrey has been useful for the odd comedy Square Ball article in the last couple of years.


In – Z Thompson, Gonzalez (loan)

Out – Hughes, Robinson, Hatfield, Crowe, Collins, Bessone (loan)

Verdict – Whether a sign of Ken Bates’ rapidly reducing trust in Grayson’s transfer dealings, or Grayson’s poor judgement, this was a strange one. Allowing Andy Hughes to move on was, in hindsight, the worst move here. Hughes would (to this day) have been a better option at either full back position than some of the players who have filled the roles since. And bringing in a goalkeeper on loan when we already had 3 available was odd, to say the least.


In – Rogers, Townsend (loan), Delph (loan), Adam Smith (loan)

Out – Howson, Parker (loan)

Verdict – Even taking previous years into consideration, this plumbed new depths. Selling our Leeds born captain was one thing, but trying to replace him with yet more loans was something else. The policy quickly blew up in our face as one of them picked up a season ending injury, one disappeared back to Spurs as soon as Neil Warnock took charge, and the other’s head (quite literally) grew too big for his own shoulders. I’ll leave you to decide which is which!

So, looking at the last 5 years leaves me thinking 2 things. Firstly, the January 2013 transfer window HAS to be an improvement on recent years. Hell, we’ve already made one permanent signing, and it’s the day after New Years Day. Secondly, we can’t let this be another missed opportunity. Despite the defeat at Forest, the feeling is that we are very much still in touch. Two or three quality signings, and we would have a real chance. Lets not forget, we currently sit only 2 points off a play off spot.

So it’s over to Messrs Warnock, Haigh and Patel now. Let’s hope when the window closes at the end of January, I’m not adding another depressing paragraph to this article!

[info]Reporter – Ian Wylie[/info]

  • paul

    What Hughes would have still been a better option? best option was letting him go, he wasn’t getting 1st team football as he was already dropped for not having the pace to keep up anymore, and his performances were diabolical.

  • Lucas

    What a terrible selection of players we have signed in the Jan transfer window. Your post backs up how bad we have been in attracting players as the most of them have been a quick fix signing to get till the end of the seasons. Lets hope this window is a much more positive one MOT!

  • Max

    On one hand it’s difficult to sign decent players in the January window (unless from a team which has let contracts run down with those players it should be retaining, e.g. Leeds).

    On the other, I’m concerned that the GFH statements since the close of the summer window and once their interest was public, were that they were planning for the January window. No planning seems to have taken place (credit for the 2 loan signings before the end of the loan window, maybe). As far as the last few days have gone, 1 target (Woods) has signed for Leicester and 2 have been rebuffed.

    I don’t have too much problem with us being outbid – Leicester have been paying a number of players premiership wages, including Beckford, and I know GFH are not Man City level backers – but if we were planning wouldn’t we have tied up some acquisitions, ready for the window, rather than just wait until it opened to start talks?

    Hope to be proven wrong.

    PS: possession watch: Leeds 48% Bolton 52% (was 50/50 most of the game, tipped over after Leeds scored)