Now that Brian McDermott has nailed his colours to the mast in acting swiftly to quash mounting speculation that his immediate future might lie in the Republic of Ireland hot-seat – it’s time to reappraise our manager once again. Rumours were running hot earlier today, with petrol being poured on the fire by the unscrupulous likes of the Mirror, who took a few random quotes from over the years to the effect that McDermott was keen on the Ireland job, and added two and two to make unlucky 13 – but that’s the Mirror for you. If Brian McDermott had been in any sort of a quandary over this situation, it could well have run and run, destabilising not only the preparation for this weekend’s game at Bolton, but also the whole platform being built for the season ahead. That would have been highly unfortunate to say the least, in a massively competitive league where the finest of margins will separate success from failure.
That McDermott has come out at the earliest feasible opportunity and – whilst acknowledging that he does have international ambitions with Ireland – scotched the immediate prospect of this happening by declaring his 100% commitment to Leeds United, reflects massive credit upon him. The terms in which he has outlined his determination to achieve success with Leeds, speaking of the warmth of his relationship with the fans as well as of the club in general and how it deserves success, will endear him even to any remaining doubters. If commitment and passion for the job in hand count for anything, then Brian McDermott is surely destined to be a brilliant success at Elland Road.
But the harsh realities of the club’s current, less-than-certain financial situation will dictate the practical extent of his ability to influence matters on and off the field. For the best coach in the world, results will be a function of resources – you cannot, as they say, polish a turd. The holes in United’s first team squad, apparent to anyone with any awareness of the demands of league football over 46 gruelling games, threaten to hemorrhage a lot of the possibilities from Leeds’ nascent campaign. However steady and solid the start has been, there is clearly the potential for a bad run which would leave the club playing catch-up on a steamroller as the sleek speedsters of the Championship elite pull away into the distance. Should this arise – according to normal form at Leeds United – Brian McDermott might well find himself trying to do a difficult job with a tin hat on, dodging brick-bats from know-alls in the stands and on social media too.
That we as a body of support are capable of this type of behaviour is simply a matter of fact; you just have to look at the twitterati campaign of scorn and abuse against Noel Hunt to realise that. McDermott is evidently aware of it too, and he has made a point of defending Hunt, which again is to his credit. This is a manager who has made all the right noises ever since he’s been at Leeds, and now he’s deferred what is evidently his ultimate professional ambition: to manage the country he feels most closely attached to. To say that he deserves our unstinting support is a masterpiece of understatement.
So, it may well be that this season might get tougher as it unfolds. There may well be trouble ahead. If that happens, then it is devoutly to be hoped that those of the tendency to dive on a keyboard, or chelp from the stands before their grey matter has been warmed up will pause, and reflect a while. Maybe they will cast their minds back to this week before venting their frustrations on a man who is trying to do what is right for our club, maybe they will have second and better thoughts and actually give loud expression to their support and backing for this man who has so completely devoted himself and his talents to taking Leeds United back where they belong.
Will Brian be given the time and space, the peace from the loud-mouth tendency that other managers have craved and not been afforded? We can only hope so. Our manager is inviting us to March On Together, and that should mean something special to any Leeds fan – so let’s do that, even if times get tough. That way, when United return to the top, perhaps we’ll ALL be able to say “We deserve it.”