“We go out and we sweat blood, we’re hard-working, we are hungry and we are honest. That’s what the Leeds fans want – that goes for any league you’re in.
“So we will go out there and give everything and more for the cause and people will applaud that and they’ll be happy with that because we’re going to give them everything we’ve got.”
At last, a giant stride forward towards preparing for the new season at Elland Road. Leeds United have a new management structure and the pivotal role of Head Coach within that structure will be filled by the experienced Dave Hockaday. That is official. Now, let’s get right behind Dave and do our job of supporting Leeds United.
It’s far too easy to sit back and carp, criticise and generally whinge about the fact that our new Head Coach is not the biggest name in football. This blog will not choose that lazy option, I will not be climbing aboard any convenient bandwagons. Mr. Hockaday has the job; he will now have to set about proving that he can do it. His first interview showed the necessary appetite and determination; he spoke of wanting to see the desire for success in players’ eyes. Now that’s a sentiment that should strike a chord with Leeds fans – as a crowd, we’ve always prized guts, desire, effort. Whether Dave Hockaday can instil these qualities in his troops is for him to demonstrate; in the meantime, the very least he deserves is the respect of us all for stepping up to the plate – and also our full support as he gets stuck into his remit.
The internet is abuzz with why-oh-why merchants each peddling their own brand of negativity or look-how-cool-I-am cynicism. What, precisely, will any of that gain for Leeds United? Even if they turn out to be right, all it gets for them is a chance to say I told you so. (And if they’re wrong, they’ll just subside into silence). We simply don’t know yet how this will turn out. But there are several good reasons why we shouldn’t slavishly join in this premature brandishing of egos. And those are equally adequate reasons why the people currently indulging themselves in an orgy of pessimism (and thoroughly enjoying it from the sound of it) might just be utterly wrong.
Consider; where did Jose Mourinho spring from into his sudden sunburst of glory and fame? He was Bobby Robson’s interpreter; not exactly a ready-made and world-class candidate for the title of “Special One”. Who did Leeds United turn to in March 1961, after the likes of Raich Carter and Frank Buckley had failed to lift the club above humdrum mediocrity? A veteran player on their own books, that’s who – a man on the point of applying to Bournemouth for his first managerial job. Bloke by the name of Don Revie. I’ll bet there were gloom and doom merchants then, shaking their heads and calling on the board to look elsewhere, look to proven experience. Good job they stuck to their guns then – isn’t it?
People say that Hockaday has failed at non-league level. Those same people might be aware that he did OK at Watford, especially in a certain play-off final at the Millennium Stadium in 2006, when the Hornets stung the Peacocks 3-0. But they ignore that, and emphasise the downside, his record at Forest Green. I’ve just been reading Harry Redknapp’s book – he did some time in non-league – and didn’t pull up too many trees. He was at Bournemouth when they fell out of the second tier in 1990 as well. But he’s done alright apart from that, ‘Arry – hasn’t he?
We just don’t know how the Hockaday appointment will pan out. What we do know is that he’d better succeed, or – according to the Cellino script – he’ll be out of the door. Cellino’s track record is a matter of public notoriety, but Hockaday is evidently up for the challenge; he has his player targets which he’s already discussed with il Duce – and he wants to hang on to McCormack. He looks clear-eyed and realistic to me, and he deserves the chance he’s been given; moreover, he deserves the backing and support to take that chance, as he intends, with both hands.
It’s time for the negativity and moaning to stop; indeed, it’s embarrassing that it’s even started before the guy’s had the chance to so much as find his desk. People are citing fans of other clubs, taking the mick. Come on – surely we’re better than that?? Surely we’re bigger and stronger than to be bothered about what fans of lesser clubs think? We Are Leeds, after all – that still means something. Let’s not lose sight of it.
It’s time to March On Together now. We have our man, for better or worse – and we can’t yet know which it will be. Give him a chance, get behind him, support the club and its staff on and off the pitch in the way Leeds fans are famous for – loud and proud. Let’s make Elland Road a fortress again, an intimidating cauldron of noise and passion. Forget fans of other clubs, forget bandwagon jumpers and joylessly negative bloggers. It’s time to stand up and be counted.
We Are Leeds. Now let’s all get stuck into making next season as good as it possibly can be.