Could the Leeds United Chairman be Trying to Pass the Buck? – by Rob Atkinson


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“The buck stops here” is a phrase that was popularised by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who kept a sign with that phrase on his desk in the Oval Office.  But where does the buck stop in football, and more specifically – where does it stop at Leeds United?  We don’t have a President – the last candidate for that position was bundled into a car and dispatched into exile in Monaco; he hasn’t been heard from since.  The next most likely candidate for stopper of the buck is the current Leeds United Chairman, Salah Abdulla Nooruddin Nooruddin.  Mr Nooruddin’s views on just where responsibility lies for the present state of the club appear somewhat ambiguous, as witness the tweets that accompany this article, specifically the one issued in the wake of the Millwall defeat.

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Leeds United is a football club quite unlike any other, as we all know – but it nevertheless shares some characteristics in common with more run-of-the-mill outfits. One of these foibles is that any praise or appreciation of the fans as a body of support; any suggestion from the suits at the top that the turnstile fodder at the bottom are not merely that, but are in fact salt of the earth heroes of whom the players, staff, directors and tea-ladies are in respectful awe – any such sentiment expressed at times of tension particularly, can be relied upon to go down well.  A well-timed word or two to this effect might even buy a stressed Chairman some useful time and room to manoeuvre.  It’s been done before.

That explains the honeyed words in the earlier tweets.  But Salah appears to have emitted the most recent tweet under some duress, in response to some angry hectoring from irate fans who can see this season falling apart.  And, looking beneath the surface of that tweet, it begs the question: just how wise or otherwise was this tweet?  What is Salah actually saying?

To say in so many words that the club are trying to bring in a striker AND a winger – a necessity I’m on record as specifying a few days ago – is encouraging.  We can but hope that, thus committed, Mr Nooruddin and Co will make good on this statement of intent. The rest of the tweet though is a little more problematic, with – once you start to dig – a few more layers to it.  “BUT with current squad we should have won today!!!” says Salah, plaintively.  Based on what, exactly?  The lack of width and creativity is nothing short of legendary this far into the campaign.  Squillions of pixels and fonts have been expended on setting out the extent and effect of that problem.  Leeds United are well known among those who love them as an impotent force, firing blanks; one that, to quote the hackneyed cliché, couldn’t score in a brothel.  This is why we need the early Christmas present Salah was coyly referring to.  It’s perplexing that the Chairman should so bluntly be stating that we should have won.  Who’s he blaming exactly?  The players themselves? The manager himself??  These are shark-infested waters, and Mr Nooruddin should be well enough aware of the esteem in which Brian McDermott is held by the supporters, to keep his toes safely out of them.  Such sentiments, expressed by a layman, could easily be misconstrued.

The view of the massive majority of the support is quite plain, and it sits very well with the characteristics of the modern game, dominated by big money and overseas owners, whether rich or not so rich.  The supporters, by overwhelmingly common consent, do not blame Brian for the current situation.  They do not even blame most of the players; they know there is some residual deadwood left over from the old regime, and they know that reinforcements are urgently needed.  Given all this, many – perhaps most – of the supporters will view the Chairman’s blithe assertion that the current squad, with all its deficiencies, “should have won” a highly competitive Championship away game, as somewhat naive, a little bizarre, slightly bonkers.  This is not really Salah’s area.  Salah’s area is to listen to that nice Mr McDermott, to take on board his wisdom concerning the personnel we need and then to set about obtaining those personnel with as little fuss and bother as possible and without undue delay.

That’s the role of the executive as opposed to the expert professional, Salah.  That’s division of responsibility, that’s delegation up the line.  All you have to do is make what the manager wants possible – to somehow find the money without which it’s NOT possible.  It’s a vital, pivotal role.  And that, Mr Nooruddin, is why the buck stops with YOU – so please.  Do not even think about passing it.

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28 responses to “Could the Leeds United Chairman be Trying to Pass the Buck? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Philip Allen

    Well – timed words indeed. Like I said on one of your earlier posts, these GFH guys are like politicans, good with words but only in it for the money, a disgrace.The players are a disgrace also. They get paid very well to go and play football, show some team spirit, fight for the shirt, and the least they can do is give the fans who turn up week after week some hope. They shouldn’t be allowed to collect their pay check this month. Brian must be wondering what he has let himself in for.

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  2. Philip Allen

    Brian better be careful also. Morison for Hunt – New deal for Ross Mac (How much more are you on Ross?) – A Man U reserve – Two league one players – The only winger we had , shipped out to Sheff Utd – Didn´t want to pay peanuts for Burke – but at least he´s good with words too.

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    • Thats true i did wonder if the decision on burke would come back to haunt us….. BUT we are speaking from hind sight…. ,most fans would have said we needed a winger a few months ago but would have agreed with BMC decision not to rush and buy the wrong players…. now ofcourse we second guess every decision…….. Its time to go back to basics for BMC

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  3. Nicely written. I sure hope that Mr. McDermott feels our support, because our new president isn’t exactly showing it! And judging by the above tweets, I think he may need to actually study up on the game a little before his next one.

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  4. This run of form has certainly got me baffled. It’s almost like were a mid table side with virtually no investment. I wouldn’t worry too much though. Win against Bournemouth and we’ll be back on course for the 11th position I predicted.

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  5. A month ago I would have backed Leeds United to have won yesterday’s game. Yesterday morning I was suggesting that a draw was the best we could have hoped for. That’s how far we have fallen in terms of expectation.

    I’ve never trusted GFH. An eternity to complete due diligence and then, having bought the club, they find holes in the accounts. For all their rhetoric about long-term stability and so-called improvements everything smacks of short-termism.

    With regards to McDermott, nice guy, more transparent than previous incumbents but you have to question his team selection and at times his tactics. We’re almost a quarter of the way through the campaign and he still doesn’t know his best team or formation. Granted the pool at his disposal ain’t that great but even so….

    Whether he’s trying to be loyal to the current squad or not he is making Warnock-esque mistakes by saying that the current crop of players is good enough to turn this around. 5 defeats in 6 games suggests they are not. We’re not stupid, we know what’s required.

    In my opinion both GFH and McDermott are culpable for our current situation.

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    • no…..the reason hes changing formation is because hes trying to make a silk purse out of a cows ear….. Everyone goes on about wide players but if you drill into that a bit more it basicly comes down to midfeild players who are mobile and can make something happen…..Murphy would be a good player if he had decent mobile midfeilders to spray the ball out to but hes useless whilst we are so congested and narrow….. Smith cant be judged until we have players who can cross…….. A few guys have defended Warnock but for me hes been dreadful, based on his career at Aston Villa, hes a confidence player and hes way too brittle to cope at a big club where theres a lot of pressure… White deserves a long run in the team and some decent coaching (ask eddie grey to help his crossing game ffsakes). We need to stick with Diouf, last season leeds were just as useless as they are now…..the difference was the form of Diouf and Byram….. Diouf needs to play on a wing, the same way Warnock played him. Tongue is too slow, Green should play next to Mowatt who is our new Howson box to box midfeilder

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  6. Brilliant article Rob. Salah Nooruddin should either get you on the board or nip round to you for Yorkshire Tea and scones and a bloody good chat! These words are full of wisdom and I quote “Given all this, many – perhaps most – of the supporters will view the Chairman’s blithe assertion that the current squad, with all its deficiencies, “should have won” a highly competitive Championship away game, as somewhat naive, a little bizarre, slightly bonkers. This is not really Salah’s area. Salah’s area is to listen to that nice Mr McDermott, to take on board his wisdom concerning the personnel we need and then to set about obtaining those personnel with as little fuss and bother as possible and without undue delay” So Salah, get round to Rob’s now, he has put the kettle on!!

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  7. This squad are not good enough, BM has now come out and stated so. They did not turn up, they are not up to this standard. We don’t have a decent team. BM is between a rock and a hard place. If he buys players that he doesn’t want now (I know the window is closed) or in January he won’t be able to afford the players that he really wants further down the road. This is what Leeds have been doing for years now. Selling their better players, cashing in and then replacing with mediocre, second rate players. They have not been building up the team, they have been building down! They are still building down if the truth is known! OK BM has brought in some players who he believes are capable of making the grade, but where are the players who have made the great. The proven goal scorer, the creative midfield dynamo. This is not Leeds United, this is not the way that Leeds United do business! Salah Nooruddin is not Leeds United, but I do hope that he is starting to learn what being Leeds United means. The only thing good that has come out of this is that Bates has gone, hopefully, for ever!

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    • McDermott says the squad needs more quality but equally he has increasingly said that the current crop is good enough to turn things around. I find that worrying.

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  8. Gfh have been riding on the back of the fact that they got rid of bates. They think that is enough to appease the fans. Well done and all that but it was them who came up with the phrase “The past is the past. Now as for BM being an innocent party,he’s had all summer to move on norris,pugh,tonge,brown and varney. Wasn’t it another famous american who said “a sign of madness is repeating the same task and expecting different results”? Step forward BM,hunt and varney. He’s continually selected hunt despite knowing that his “head isn’t right” due to off the field problems. Thats how much BM cares about the supporters. Phil jupitus will say something funny before hunt scores.

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  9. I want t support bm but lets b honest with the players he jas brought on he jas failed we spent 1m on a gamble in murphy and that gamble has failed and to sign his friend hunt is a joke I would not put him in our local sunday team he rarely starts our only real quality player on diouf and the only bits of pace weve got which our team is sorely missing in hall and white have been loaned out or doesnt get a game, he is also leaving it 2 late to make any good loan signings as most have gone. Further more he is continously piking the wrong team in my opinion and the style of football is still very poor and when struggling to afford to go to everygame is very annoying I would sooner see us loose by a few goals everyweek but b positive in our approach out first shot on target was 75mins yday not good enough, also its a sorry state of affairs when most fans think austin is our best player due to his efforts and commitment in my eyes this is the minimum we should expect from everyplayer. Last of all I am a die hard leeds fan and as long as bm is ther I will stand and support him at every game however these are my worries I would love to have manager that goes for it no matter what instead of playing for draws what does everyone else think ?

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  10. Kevin Wilson

    Both Mr Noorudin and GFH need to be careful. As i warned last year when they took control from Bates if they don’t provide the invesment in the team (as Bates didn’t) we the fans should be prepared for another campaign as we did against Bates. Anyone at Millwall yesterday can see the rumblings are already there. We are in for an interesting month if the current inactivity from the board continues.

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    • To take a slightly longer view, I think the club’s position at the end of the January window – and the transfer business that has been done or not done by then – will dictate the attitude and actions of the support from there on in. But I agree – much more of disappointment and let-down, and the fan-base might be thinking about putting on the war paint and getting militant. LUST are currently preoccupied with addressing the usual moronic behaviour of Millwall louts, and I’d like to see them engage GFH in a slightly more demanding way.

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  11. It is as clear as it can be, open your eyes people, BM is not up to the job, Dennis Wise was a better motivator, sadly it is time for a MANAGER not an apologist.

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    • Two clues here that Mike is a wind-up merchant.

      (1) he has a Daily Heil email address

      (2) the approving mention of Dennis Wise

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      • Maybe I am but the truth cannot be hidden Bobby lad, BM is a failure and the sooner this is faced the sooner the problem will be fixed but we are dealing with Leeds fans here who are completely adjusted to supporting substandard.

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      • Furthermore I do/did not approve of Wise, I said he was a better motivator then Brian who is apparently crap.

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  12. The players are lacking confidence, they are not being lazy, dont get the two confused….. Agree GFH need to be careful and i agree that they have not been as supportive as they needed to be when they evidently have cash to spare on buying property. Can anyone actually confirm if the club ARE GENUINELY constricted by the Fair Play finance rules or if its just a convenient cloak to hide lack of investment ?

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  13. Lets give dawson and more of the kids a go….. I mean what have we got to lose ?

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  14. Okay. Heads up.

    Q1. Which team, by the end of September:-
    (a) had taken only 11 points from 9 fixtures?
    (b) had just suffered 4 straight defeats?
    (c) was hardly scoring a goal a game?
    A.. Leeds 2013..

    Q2. Correct. Anybody else?
    A. Reading 2011

    Q3. That would be the Reading that went on to win the title 8 months later?
    A. Doh!
    ,
    And No, They didn’t sack the Manager. They let him kickstart the season by signing Adam Le Fondre for peanuts from under our very noses. A very astute piece of business as “ALF” has scored prolifically for them ever since. GFH to note

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    • erm yes but they had decent wingers….. we wont get a miracle without having the right type of players

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  15. Agreed, of course. I obviously wasn’t suggesting that we were on track for the title. Just that the right signing (in this case, an accomplished finisher) can, almost immediately, put flatlining results on an upward trajectory. ALF’s arrival clearly galvanised a Reading squad that, in quality if not numerically, was stronger than our present lot. Which explains why, in their case, the addition of one key player seems to have made such a vast difference. Maybe I could use a metaphor. In Reading’s case, ALF was one of the last pieces of the jigsaw. In our case, he would be one of the first. But I still rekon my original comment holds good. Basically, don’t sack the Manager. It would be wrong. A huge mistake. And it would be regretted.

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