The football season is over; Leeds United will not kick another ball in anger until sometime in August, with the obvious priority of pre-season training and friendly warm-up matches coming in July, before the start of the Championship business. Naturally, the club’s manager/coach/whatever you might call him, will have urgent business over the summer; a raft of important issues to resolve. But, equally natural is the fact that, when the heat of weekly sporting conflict is off, even a man in McDermott’s stressful position, with the heavy responsibilities he bears – even he should surely be allowed to prioritise family matters – especially when the foremost of those matters is the illness of his mother and his consequent understandable desire to be at his family home in southern England after news of her admission to hospital.
It’s the kind of situation that will make anyone re-think their priorities – but the state of affairs at Leeds appears to be such that it’s thought fair play in certain quarters to throw mud at McDermott, even in these sensitive circumstances. That’s bad enough when it’s just club officials doing it, or when the new owner is angling to get the manager out – but it’s even worse when ill-informed Leeds United fans are thus inveigled into joining in what seems likely to end up as a witch-hunt.
Sources close to McDermott claim that he has an eye on Leeds United business and that he has been contactable since heading home. Leeds United spokespersons appear to differ on those matters. But it’s a tawdry and disgusting state of affairs when a campaign against a man with his mother’s health on his mind should be carried out by those at the club who clearly have their own agenda, and who seem unwilling to let a small matter like a sick mum dissuade them from launching their insidious and – there’s no other word for it – snide attacks.
This does not show Leeds United in a good light. It reflects poorly upon the men in charge, who appear to be neglecting sensitivity and compassion for a full measure of malice and vindictiveness. McDermott evidently has enough on his plate, without penny-pinching executives attempting to lever him out of his job – and at the same time avoid the inconvenient necessity of paying him off. It might even be counter-productive as a tactic – constructive dismissal cases have been founded upon far flimsier bases. As a Leeds United fan, somebody whose regard and love for the club will always transcend and out-last the presence of any individual employee, I nevertheless find myself rooting for Brian – and hoping that his seemingly inevitable departure from the club can be managed with dignity, without any further rancour or ill taste – and with McDermott receiving everything that he is due to under his contract. That’s only fair.
The current situation at Leeds United stinks. That’s not Cellino’s fault – blame has to be laid at the door of the incompetent and self-serving people who have apparently been running a great club into the ground over the last couple of years – and of course there’s Bates before that. But Cellino, if he is to appear as the saviour of the Whites, must avoid sinking to the level of those whose mess he’s now trying to clear up. If McDermott is doing his best to fulfil his duties as best he can, whilst also fulfilling his obligations to his family and specifically his ailing mother – then he should either be left to get on with it, or – if that’s the way the wind is blowing – replaced properly. Not by a campaign of smear and innuendo, when the truth of the matter appears fully to support Brian’s current actions.
This blog would ask any Leeds United fan inclined to jump on a Cellino-sponsored anti-McDermott bandwagon to think very seriously about what they would do in Brian’s position. Let’s face it – you’d hasten to your Mum’s bedside, wouldn’t you – having made what provision you could for any obligations under your professional contract. Anyone would. You’d worry far more about the man who wouldn’t – the man who’d coldly proceed with business, without a thought for his mother. Would you want a man like that in charge at Leeds United??
Brian McDermott deserves the sympathy and support of the Leeds United fans in his current thankless situation, even though he has not asked for it. Instead, he’s copping for loads of abuse on social media from supporters of the club who seem inclined unquestioningly to believe everything they’re being told by Leeds United. Well, if you’ve read this blog, or the YP article linked above – now you’re informed. We may well be notorious football nutters – but we’re human beings first – aren’t we?? Of course we are.
So, for God’s sake, let’s start to act like it.