Sunday, 12 January 2014
Is the Leeds United slump down to Haigh's takeover and the new players?
Hold on, don't explode until you have read the full article. I am not suggesting that the takeover is, per say, wrong, nor that Kebe and Stewart must take personal responsibility for the six goal tonking at relegation threatened Sheffield Wednesday yesterday - that would be absurd, not least because they were signed to enhance the attacking play, not to shore up the defence. But it probably is not a coincidence that with talk of the new take over and the signing of new players, the performance of the team has dropped off the edge of a cliff.
Before Haigh announced that he was riding in as the latest Whites' Knight, things were going swimmingly. Leeds were winning at home, drawing away, and moving up the table. A place in the play-offs looked more rather than less likely, and a tilt at automatic promotion didn't look impossible either. And the Leeds United McFeelgood Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond was tooting merrily as it rattled its way through the Championship backwaters.
Now I have taken some flack for using that metaphor, but its significance is now becoming apparent. From the very off, McDermott's strategy was based on team work, cooperation and the feel good factor. Time and again he talked about the Board, the fans and the players working as a unit; and he praised, and praised and praised. The Board were offering great support, the fans were offering great support too and the players were a great bunch. It was all smiles. All positivity. All about the McFeelgood Factor.
And then along came Haigh with his promise of new signings.
Now put yourself in the Leeds dressing room. You have been signed by Warnock and find yourself with a new manager with new ideas. But up until now, that manager has sung your praises and, apart from drafting in a few new players, has backed you to the hilt. Money is tight so the prospect of a flood of new players arriving is slight. In fact, McDermott even pledges not to sign players on loan when the August window closes because he prefers players with a long term commitment to the cause. How do you feel? Good I would imagine. Secure probably. Grateful certainly. Committed unquestionably. You want to play for this club and this manager: Leeds, after all, have a great history and even on a bad day 18,000 rock up for home games.
But then Haigh throws his take over pebble into the tranquil waters. Suddenly there is talk of new players and, on the back of a disappointing result or two, McDermott suddenly changes horses in mid season, abandoning the White Charger with the "Be Happy" motif, and climbing aboard the Black Beauty with the "Not Good Enough" banner instead.
Well how do you feel if you are one of the Warnock players? You look around the dressing room and think, hang on, even Byram can't get into the team because this guy has his own ideas about the side. Warnock comes out and claims he has left a good squad behind, and McDermott refutes the suggestion, effectively saying he left behind a pile of shit. Hang on, you think, a month ago I was part of a "great bunch of players", now I'm not good enough. I've run through walls for this guy! I've given by absolutely very best, game after game for this guy! And this is my reward!
What about McCormack? He has pledged his all to Leeds and signed a new contract. Then in comes Kebe, a Jimmy Come Lately, on higher wages! And Stewart! And God knows who else over the next fortnight. At first it is two or three players who are needed, then it is three or four, and then there's talk of five or six - and McDermott is talking about shipping out players too, with Reg Varney probably on the first bus to the old Third Division and young Poleon offered a skateboard to oblivion too. These guys are your muckers, your mates, your team mates, members of that "great bunch of players" who carried the club into the play offs.
Now divisions appear. Warnock probably chats to Reg Varney, Shit Brown and Hell Hadji on the phone - just friendly advice you understand for players he likes and respects. Podgy talks about what happened at QPR when there was a takeover and Warnock was shown the door. Young Byram mutters about how Warnock turned him into a target for Manchester City, yet he can't get into McDermott's first eleven. Warnock Junior complains that he didn't turn down West Ham and the Premiership to sit on the Leeds United bench.
And then Leeds have to go to Rochdale on a miserable day in January. Well stuff that!
Go back to that great McDermott promotion charge at Reading and only one player was signed in January and the team that thumped West Ham at Upton Park at the end of March was almost identical to the team that hammered West Ham in early December. That formula worked at Reading and it was working at Leeds right up until Haigh announced the new take over.
Understand now why I have been talking all season about the Leeds United McFeelgood Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond?
Posted by Hammersfan at 17:02