Leeds United Manager’s Position: Stick or Twist? Have Your Say Now – by Rob Atkinson


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Leeds boss Brian McDermott – Yea or Nay?

Several recent articles on this blog have attracted a gratifying level of comment, with the usual mix of intelligent insight, passionate opinion and a smattering of the frankly bizarre.  These are the contributions that survived moderation, you understand – I do receive a lot of material from people who evidently hate everything about this blog and yet paradoxically cannot resist reading every syllable and then sending an abusive rant which they must know will never see the light of day.  Well, it takes all sorts…

One of the more recent themes has been a small but significant number of people who would clearly be glad to see Brian McDermott replaced.  This category of contributor appears disillusioned with BMac’s tactics, substitutions, recruitment policy – one irate individual even had a crack at his specs.  The recent availability of Malky Mackay, following his idiotic sacking by Cardiff City despot Vincent Tan, has also clearly had an unsettling effect.  Some would evidently be in favour of shipping Brian out to tempt Mackay in, which I suppose is a predictable reaction given the success the Scot enjoyed at Cardiff, before that club went mad.

This blog remains solidly behind Brian McDermott as boss, largely because the main things missing from our club over the past decade or so have been stability and continuity – some sort of consistent thread running through the shifting fabric of the club as it has experienced an era of volatility and change.  The change appears likely to carry on apace, which to my mind makes an even more persuasive case for retaining the services of this one man, identifiable with the team he is building and able to demonstrate a quiet sort of passion and determination to restore Leeds United to something more nearly approaching their natural level in the game.  Brian has been in the press himself in the last day or so, expressing his hope that he will be granted the time to undertake what is a massive task – and re-emphasising his own belief that he can deliver the goods, if properly backed with investment and patience.  In my view, he’s the best chance we have, and I do hope that the owners – whoever they end up being – will be able to resist the “new broom sweeps clean” approach and stick with the steady hand currently at the helm.

However, it is undeniable that many do not agree with this stance, so I would like to ask a simple question with only two possible answers: Stick with Brian, or look elsewhere?   

It would be all too easy to cite the case of a certain Glaswegian manager who took on the job of managing a certain club not too far from Manchester in the mid-eighties.  Although he eventually carried all before him, his first few years were uncomfortable to say the least, with that giant of a club finishing in the lower half of the table for three out of the first four seasons.  And yet I don’t think that case is analogous at all; the era of success eventually ushered in over on the wrong side of the Pennines had as much to do with the intimidating nature of the Glaswegian concerned as it did with his managerial ability or the time he was afforded.  The fact that an Australian tycoon bought the game and gift-wrapped it for this particular club had a lot to do with it too.  No, Brian’s case makes itself; he is of proven ability, he clearly wants to succeed and has a massive self-belief – and given the time and the budget, it would (in my opinion) be foolish to bet against him.  He’s the type of man who can rally support and inspire loyalty – but it’s undeniable that this past few weeks have been a very sticky time for him, and this dodgy patch has solidified a body of protest against the way he is doing his job.

So please, have your say – it’s just a matter of choosing one or other of two choices.  Any more detailed opinions can be submitted in the usual way – but I would ask contributors to this article to make sure that they have cast their vote in the poll below.  After a week or so, we’ll see what the numbers say, take a few of the more expressive comments on board – and maybe we can then have a more detailed debate about what’s best for the future of Leeds United.

I’ve made my opinion quite clear, but it’s all about diversity of opinion, so let’s have your agreement or disagreement registered.  Whatever anybody thinks, subject to the usual standards, their voice can be heard here; let’s see who feels strongly either way, without worrying too much about a party line, or what anybody else thinks.  We’re all entitled to have an opinion about what’s best for the club.  And – we’re all Leeds, aren’t we?

Many thanks

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29 responses to “Leeds United Manager’s Position: Stick or Twist? Have Your Say Now – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Did not feel like this last Saturday, but without doubt stuck with him and give him time, break out of our default mode! If he picks either Peltier, Pugh or Austin on Saturday I will start to have very serious doubts tho!

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  2. Brian McDermott is a good manager and he will be successful at Leeds United given time and he backing of the board. Like the managers before him he has not enjoyed backing to any significant degree, although, this may change after the takeover. I agree with Rob, the last thing that we want now is to create instability. But, there is another reason. BM is not here just for the money. He has taken Leeds United to heart, he wants to be successful for the Leeds United faithful, he want to restore Leeds to the top flight of English football. In brief, BM has the ability, motivation, commitment and dedication to succeed. Of course there are some good managers out there, but we have BM and I would prefer to show some loyalty in return and stick with him.

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  3. 10 managers in 10 years.
    It is cheaper to sack the manager than improve the squad.
    Managers have been lured here, with promises of money to improve the squad, but instead the squad has been weakened and our ‘best’ players sold.
    ‘Best’ being anyone Bates could get money for.
    Brian arrived with the same expectation of support, but up to now, not a lot has changed.
    A new manager arrives and the performances improve for a time.
    The new manager starts to think he is working a miracle and all he needs is 1 or 2 ‘icing on the cake’ signings to make us a promotion candidate.
    Ego I suppose, but when the slide comes they are engulfed in panic and a realisation that they are not Gods, and the squad never was much good in the first place.
    Too late and in the end they are glad to leave/escape.
    The owners are responsible for our poor squad, and without real investment (look at the clubs at the top of the league) we are doomed to fail.
    Even clubs like Burnley have built up a good squad over recent times.
    The club must keep Brian, and support him properly.
    We need to clear out a lot of players, and rebuild the squad.
    If they don’t, all their good work with the fans, will have been for nothing.
    Put the team FIRST!!!

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  4. Rob a lot of fans I think had a knee jerk reaction to the last two results. Myself included read Your article it makes good sense now that the dust has settled this takeover needs to go through as quickly as possible Brian needs to know if he can move on a target with funds in place or this club will remain in limbo if what happened with Ashley Barnes is true the sooner the better I can understand fans frustrations with Brian at the moment how many times have we being asked to be patient but I think we need to be a bit more patient but I think we need to stick with him

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  5. David Smith

    Definitely stick with McDermott. His job is just starting and he is proving himself. Our club needed to be “renovated” from the very foundations. Not only are we looking at the team but also the very structure of the club. For too long Leeds United has not kept up with the progress other clubs have made to the internal processes and facilities.
    Brian is still dealing with players on contracts that he did not bring into the club and probably knows that they are not a good fit for Leeds so due to those contractual obligations he can only have an effect on new players and the infrastructure of the club.
    We can all see the McDermott effect on the club with Redders joining the first team, the Academy players having a progress channel to the first team etc.,
    Give McDermott time to effect the actual playing content of the first team with his own “players” and then the revival of Leeds United can seriously begin.
    Change the manager and the whole process starts all over again with additional expense involved, wasted time and fans still waiting for progress.

    McDermott has bought in to the MOT of the club so lets MOT with McDermott!

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  6. Tony Duddy

    I have to agree with you in the main, that it would be probably more idiotic to send Brian his P45 than to swap our current top goal scorer for a crocked south east Londoner who would rather play for Millwall than us.

    I would like to see however Brian make the decisions that no (ok most) fan could argue with and that in my mind has been seriously lacking, for me, since Reading away. In that instance, I was dying to see Diouf play, he was on the bench but no sign of him on the pitch apart from the half time warm up and even then he looked skill.I think the way Diouf has been treated is extremely disrespectful to the the most skillful and highest honoured player since … well since whom? He came into preseason with an illness that cannot be his fault and the sending off prior to that just sealed his fate with our Brian as if he was looking for any excuse. No wonder he’s had so much leave but unlike our recent striker that left, Diouf hasn’t said a word against the gaffer.

    I really think Brian lacks certain man management skills & he does not know or he can’t handle players above a certain star rating. I hope this isn’t down to a clash of egos as that would bode well for what we need if we make the PL.

    Anyway like I said, I just want him to make decisions no fan can complain about, not all the time but more right than wrong. So far that record ain’t looking too good so c’mon Brian, get your finger out make make yourself a legend already !!!

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  7. sniffersshorts

    Ah that’s better Father Rob is back in the pulpit, gathering his loyal flock with use of English prose and words of wisdom, to make us all believe once more …… firstly we are definitely cursed that ruddy gypsy who peed on every corner of the elland rd pitch, as we are lead to believe, well she should have slashed on the whole ruddy pitch maybe it would have improved play, or dear I say it we would have folded years ago….. and all worshiped the false prophets across the hills and far away ….. oooh cast me to hell and damn fire for eternity ….. so I digress a little …… why sack McDermott who is going to do any better !!!!! really? he has inherited Warnocks shebang and got better out of them than Warnocks hoof ball…. funny a few weeks backs he was ranting again what a fine bunch of lads he had put in place, and look isn’t going so well …… I told you I am the messiah ….. well oh dear its all gone tits up again like we new it would with your journeymen and ragtag vagabonds of the lower leagues. I think now after seeing the best and the worst of this team, we all want better. I really think they know it aint Brians fault …… we are shit and we know we are must ring through their Brains ….. school of football excellence Mr Green are you kidding me we know his head is squarely up his jacksie …. really I laugh the other side of my face you knob wallet. Thinking back on past managers other than The Don god rest his soul, Sargeant wilko, I am and was a Oleary fan, sorry, (RISDALE BURN IN HELL!!!) , Shut that door behind you Grayson, and perhaps George Graham. most of the managers we have had have been well not that good and I love sniffer and Billy they were my gods …. terry BLOODY venerable really Jesus what a load of shite that was, and now McDermott I for one like the guy, he talks sense, he is not full of himself, he really loves this club and wants us to succeed …. maybe McCormack as capitano will relieve Austin of what is always a responsibility and we may see him back… I feel for him as he has made the effort in the past apart from his wayward shooting which is sometime cringeable ….. hes got the ball again he shoots doh it hits the corner flag ….. see its that gypsy piss again….. does anyone know a gypsy who drinks gallons of beer and can sort the rest of the pitch out please …. so I am ranting again about a load of old tosh, well timothy I have my opinion …. don’t sack Brian …… ummm perhaps I should have kept it short at three words …. WE ALL LOVE LEEDS

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  8. I’m with you, Rob. To mix religious metaphors, I’m sure that some of us were hoping that BM could walk on water and lead us to the Promised Land: his team selections and tactical decisions over the last couple of weeks suggest that, while the latter may be true, the I former most certainly is not. That does NOT mean that we need a change of manager. The guy is a breath of fresh air and a class act: a man who wants to do the right thing, but in the right way. I also have no reason to believe that the same cannot be said about DH.
    When you see some of the obnoxious individuals currently owning and managing clubs around the country, you come to realise how
    LUCKY we are to support our club – and it’s many years since we’ve been able to say that!
    Unfortunately, there’s a horde of poisoned dwarves (mostly inhabiting the Comments section of the YEP) who cannot wait to vent their collective spleens every time things don’t go according to plan. Why do they take such glee in their abuse? Who knows, but (as the current status of your poll shows) they are in a significant minority.
    Come on, Brian, don’t give them anything to whinge about tomorrow!!!

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  9. Having met the man and felt the passion that he already feels for LUFC, I can say with confidence that if the club decided to bow to pressure to change him, it would be the biggest mistake that any Leeds board have made for many years … the club is crying out for someone to bring stability and consistency , and in my opinion, he is that man and everything he tries to do is for the betterment of Leeds United.
    The calls for the likes of Paolo de Canio to be brought in are absolutely ludicrous … the club would become a laughing stock, Malky Mackay, an excellent manager who was treated unjustly and abysmally by Cardiff, but BMcD achieved exactly what he did by gaining promotion at Reading. What would be the difference … Malky Mackay was allowed to spend a shed load of money, to date BMcD, not very much at all.
    There are times however, when I too question some of his team selections but, I and many others, often questioned the team selections of Don Revie, Howard Wilkinson and David O’Leary … it’s one of the pleasures of being a football fan, knowing better than the manager does, at least in our own minds.
    Support the manager and his team!

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  10. This is now the acid test for McDermott…..I personally think the next three games are pivotal. Lose all three we could be staring at a relegation dog fight….win a couple and we are back on track.
    I want McDermott to succeed…..when he arrived at the club it was like a breath of fresh air….the guy oozed optimism. We all bought into it.
    However this is a results business and points mean prizes. As much as most want to paint us as a poor side, we do have a strong (ish) squad…..one that should be roughly where we are now…..just outside the playoffs but with a shout of getting there. The key now is making sure we stay in this position. That is mcdermotts job…..the next three games will show what he is made of. Just how much character and ability has the man got to turn us around. Time (the next three games) will tell.
    I have his back for the moment and I really want this to last ! I hope it does !! Marching on together !!

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  11. using my words again rob, all that i have said but you wouldn’t have it at the time get rid and gelt malky in, bm should never have got job in first place was always wrong choice, at least if malky comes and does a warnock and bm getting their old players in, it will be from a pl side

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    • Paul you’ve made even more than the usual twat of yourself, so this is one of those times your comment makes it through – just so that it’s not only me laughing at you.

      You seem to be under the impression lately that the contents of my blog are merely a rehash of your own cretinous dribblings. Nothing could be further from the truth – I’d be ashamed to rely on an intellectual pygmy such as yourself. The stuff you send in to respond to EVERY single article is the mindless and envious output of the truly warped and clueless. Your insistence on posing as a Leeds fan is likewise as convincing as an Ashley Young dive, and the fact that you blither with rage every time I have a pop at the scum tells its own story. This is why most of your inane drivel doesn’t get posted, yet you keep sending in comments aimed at other posters, seemingly under the impression they’ll be seen. You are a deluded moron with all the deductive power of a turnip.

      On this occasion, you seem to have come to the tiny-minded opinion that I’m advocating the replacement of Brian. If you were able to read properly, you might understand I was merely putting the question out there, and that I’m a strong supporter of BMcD. Yet again, you’ve made a complete arse of yourself, as I’m happy to demonstrate.

      Back to the spam bin with you now, you’ve had your five minutes of attention. You’d really be much better off worrying about the excellent job Moyes is doing of reducing the scum to also-rans.

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  12. It was I who remarked on BMs D&G glasses. I am the guilty party,mainly because although he seems an alright,affable bloke i don’t think he’s the real deal+it’s a bit “blingy”. In my opinion there’s something not quite right about his PR exercise with the supporters, it’s over the top for a start. Putting a decent side out would be a good PR exercise Brian a side who know what they’re doing and can play within their limitations. Also,can anyone remember reading or hearing of warnocks over 30s signings saying they want to leave to get first team football? Thought not,no desire or ambition yet they’re still at the club and highly unlikely to feature. How many games did BMs mate noel hunt get before BM conceded he had an injury? Judging by BMs kneejerk reactions this week i think he’s been reading your blog for coaching ideas. Good bloke and all that,but he’s winging it.

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  13. Keep the manager, but dont sign there old boys it never works

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  14. Counte Of Monte Fisto

    Lots of things happen in games which we all react to positively and negatively in the immediate aftermath.
    In the cold light of day though I say stick with him, we need some stability and he needs to be backed to get his players in.
    That said I was utterly bemused by his team and formation selection against Wednesday (& Rochdale) & he needs to sort this out quickly, any re-occurrence of that formation tomorrow & I will come back and edit my comment!
    Overall though he has been good for the club and needs to be given a second chance. I can’t see us getting anything at all tomorrow but Leeds being Leeds you wouldn’t be surprised if we lost 6-0 or won 6-0

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  15. I can’t believe this is even a debate! Yes, the last two games have been a humiliation and I can understand people who have paid to watch that feeling upset, but to sack McDermott would be idiotic!
    I believe without a doubt that BMcD will get us promoted within the time frame of his current contact (so long as he receives reasonable backing). That is not blind faith, and I do think we as fans should question and critically analyse the decisions of the manager. But so far he has shown himself to be an intelligent and honest bloke who truly ‘gets’ what it is to be Leeds. He has a proven track record and is most definitely the right man to put the foundations in place for the long term, just like Sgt Wilko did.
    Those calling him tactically inept are way off the mark. He clearly wouldn’t have held down so many roles in professional football if he didn’t know what he was doing for a start! But let’s have a look at his decisions. Utilising the diamond formation helped keep us up last year and gave us a solid start this year. The lack of width was obvious but a change to 3-5-2 worked brilliantly. Anybody who has managed a team at a reasonable level should understand that systems need to be worked on over time so the players can become comfortable with their role. McDermott changed systems during an international break, allowing the players to work at it in training and a friendly.
    With regards to the last two games and the 3-4-3 yes, he got it wrong, but at least held his hands up, didn’t shift the blame ala Colin, and will put it right for Leicester.
    It’s easy to criticise with hindsight, but trying out a system to accommodate wingers without changing the back 3 was worth a try. After all, Pep Guardiola often played a 3-4-3 with a small central forward at Barcelona, and I wouldn’t call him tactically inept.
    It’s all about how we respond now, and I’m backing Brian to carry us through his first real sticky patch.

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  16. I’ll keep it short and sweet rob ,
    keep him but for gods sake back him

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      • Well, if we get the run around from a 40yr old tomorrow,he’s definitely on his bike as far as i’m concerned.

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      • That’s exactly what’s worrying me – but I think if it were to happen, you can’t blame BMcD for that. Phillips is just one of those guys, and he tends to pull a rabbit out of the hat on debut, whoever he’s playing – especially late on, as a sub. Scary, but definitely possible or even probable.

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