Daily Archives: 18/06/2013

Best Leeds United Signing of the Summer

Nayls v Shrek

Nayls v Shrek

Leeds United will be linked with many new signings this summer, and the squad is definitely in need of a major tweak or three.  Or four, possibly five.  But it may well be that, for the medium and longer term good of our club, we’ve already secured our most valuable signature of this or many other summers.  Take a bow, Richard Naylor – who will now remain as the Leeds United U-18 Coach, charged with overseeing the development of youth players who will hopefully contribute to first team success in the not-too-distant future.

Fresh from the triumphs of last season, when his youngsters won their League and performed brilliantly in defeat at Anfield in the FA Youth Cup, Naylor has taken to this role like a duck to water.  With his input, the famed Leeds United Academy production line seems to be in the rudest health it’s enjoyed for quite some time.  Naylor only quit as a player last summer and has still to go through the formal necessities of obtaining the various coaching badges he will need to carve out a career in management.  But all the badges in the world are no substitute for natural ability and a way with young people that nurtures progress and success.  It is this intangible quality which seems to mark out Naylor as a potential coach to watch out for.

It is to be hoped that Naylor will make a big impact on the coaching and managerial side of the game – given his early achievements there’s little reason to doubt he will – and obviously everyone with a love for Leeds United will be desperate for Big Nayls to make his mark with his home town team.  Manager Brian McDermott is in no doubt that Leeds have got a winner in Naylor.  “If you look at the history of the Academy at Leeds they have produced some fantastic players and I think we have got a fantastic Academy,” said Brian. “Getting Richard signed up was very important to us, he is a Leeds man and he is a young coach.  I’m sure he is going to be doing his badges and working with the younger players, we are really pleased.  Richard enjoys coming to work, that is one of the things you try to create at any football club.  I certainly wouldn’t want to come to a place where you don’t have a bit of fun and you don’t enjoy what you do.”

Encouraging stuff, and music to the ears of anyone who believes the long-term good of the club is best served by excellence in the Academy – and an Academy is only as good as its coaches, whatever the talent that might be available in the youth ranks.  Naylor has made an excellent start to his coaching career, and appears to have a thorough understanding of the demands of his job.  Perhaps this is because, although he played most of his career as a central defender, he was a striker at Ipswich until the age of 25.  He therefore has top-level knowledge of radically different ways of playing; looking forward as a defender after previously operating with his back to goal as a striker.  This professional experience in two very dissimilar roles will maybe have given him a more complete and all-round appreciation of the game as a whole, something his young charges could well benefit from as they develop.

All the best for the future with Leeds, Nayls – may your association with your beloved United be a long, happy and successful one.

New Owner for Leeds United?

Dr. Marwan Koukash

Dr. Marwan Koukash

The BBC are reporting that the wealthy owner of Super League side Salford Reds, Dr Marwan Koukash, is looking to take over a football club.  Dr Koukash refuses to be drawn on the identity of the club he’s looking at, but describes it as “a huge club previously” which “just needs that little bit of extra investment to take it to the next level.”  Dr Koukash goes on to say “By bringing in the personnel that were previously associated with the club at its heyday and bringing people in who are genuine club supporters it will excite the fans.  Once I get the football club I will definitely have my own TV channel which will cover my three sports; racing, rugby and football.”

There is plenty there to encourage speculation, and in the knowledge that the current owners of Leeds United seem not averse to selling a controlling interest in the club, many Leeds fans will sit up and take notice when a wealthy Kuwaiti speaks of acquiring “a huge club previously”.  More intriguing still is the mention of personnel previously associated with the club “at its heyday”.  Leeds United supporters might ask “which heyday” as the nineties were an era of comparative success and prosperity, though not to be compared to the truly great era of the sixties and seventies when Don Revie created a global force in the hitherto humble location of Elland Road.  Some “previous personnel” might be welcomed back with open arms; others decidedly not.

It would appear that Marwan Koukash is looking at Championship level for his entry into the world of football; he admits that he almost bought a second tier club before he became involved in racing.  This begs the question of which other Championship club might fit the Koukash blueprint.  There are a number of sleeping giants in this league, as well as a few who are perhaps just big lads having a snooze.  Most neutral onlookers though would concede that Leeds United is by far the biggest name outside the Premier League, and it is this fact that makes Leeds at least as likely as any other club in the Championship to be scrutinised by a man who is willing and able to make the kind of investment which could elevate the club back to its accustomed spot in the top flight.

The time scale mentioned by Dr Koukash is “within the next month or so”.  If true, then some club is going to see big changes before Christmas, and whether this will prove a galvanising force to the new season, or more of a disruptive factor that could explode carefully-laid plans is a matter of some uncertainty.  Takeovers can be very, very good for a club, and they can be just the opposite.  Watch this space.