It’s a League Cup Tale of Two Uniteds as Minnows Progress – by Rob Atkinson

Matt Smith - scored for Leeds to momentarily cause despair among the Gobshite Tendency

Matt Smith – scored for Leeds to momentarily cause despair among the Gobshite Tendency

To be more accurate, it was a tale of two alleged Uniteds – plus one City and what might politely be termed a franchise as Milton Keynes Dons and Bradford City saw off the ‘disuniteds’ of Manchester and Leeds respectively. On the face of it, the similarities in the two cases are striking.  The Pride of Devon were condemned by English football’s only even more plastic club to a pre-Christmas period of plain and simple League fare, unrelieved by any spicy Cup-tie delicacies. They must concentrate on recovering, under new management, from a wobbly start to that bread-and-butter marathon, and forget all about knock-out glamour until it’s time to get knocked out of the FA Cup.

Leeds have likewise been dragged down to the level of that other United from ovver t’hills. They, too, will be stuck with repairing a dodgy league position until the new year rolls around. They, too, are in transition, rebuilding under a new regime. But there the similarities end – in terms of the manner in which the two Uniteds departed this season’s League Cup competition, anyway. Leeds, for the umpteenth time this season, were reduced to ten men, due on this occasion to foolhardy rashness on the part of Luke Murphy, who gave the ref every opportunity to brandish a second yellow. Murphy let down his team-mates, his coach and indeed his club, all of whom were relying on a united performance. The remaining ten stalwarts delivered though, and in the end Leeds were somewhat unfortunate to lose, as was pointed out by coach Hockaday afterwards – to depressingly predictable storms of social media abuse – about which more anon.

Man U, for their part, had no dismissals to cope with. They were simply out-played, out-fought, out-thought, thrashed out of sight by a team nominally two leagues inferior. Their much-vaunted manager, the former World Cup coach of the Netherlands, left out some supposed big-hitters, despite the lack of European distractions. Man U contributed in full measure to their own downfall, but the wretched MK Dons, a club whose origins leave the nastiest of nasty tastes in the mouth, nevertheless thoroughly deserved their crushing victory.

So the two Uniteds are no more, in this Cup competition at least. Life and the League Cup will go on without them, though there will be a few regrets on all sides about a third round draw that could have been a Roses clash at the Theatre of Hollow Myths, or which could have seen either minnow land a big fish instead of nibbling away at each other. Such is Cup football.

What remains to be said, other than that, in summary, Leeds were slightly unlucky and Man U got exactly what they deserved? Well, quite a bit, actually.

I’ve been rather quiet this season so far, due to some family health problems and various other slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, all of which – I’m glad to say – are being properly addressed. But I’ve still been keeping an eye on things, shaking my head gloomily at times, brightening up at bits of exciting transfer news at other times – and tut-tutting away as a middle-aged fan who remembers better times is wont to do. It’s been quite a good and exciting season, really – except for those pesky occasions when some fool has blown a whistle and we’ve actually tried to play a game of football. Big mistake, that. But the over-riding impression of this season so far, for me anyway, has been the clatter and clash of bandwagons being jumped on, over and over again, by far too many people who really should know a lot better.

The people I’m talking about, for the most part, manifest themselves in social media – Twitter being a particular offender in this respect. Some alleged Leeds United fans out there need to take a long, hard look at themselves after some of the unprecedented abuse being heaped on the head of a man in Dave Hockaday who is totally unable to defend himself and has managed to weather an ongoing storm with what can only be described as impeccable dignity. Hockaday has copped for the lot, from school playground stuff like the oh-so-clever plays on his name (Whackaday, Hockalot, Shockaday – and all the other dismally unfunny variants), to far more serious abuse from the kind of people who feel free to say what they like from what they gleefully feel to be safely unaccountable positions. I’ve seen fans freely expressing a hope that we would lose at Bradford, so that Hockaday might be sacked. Some of the bile and spleen vented has been utterly disgusting and degrading; some has been frankly laughable. The other day, there was a veritable Twitter-storm because Hockaday mentioned that Leeds would “inevitably” be back in the Champions League some day. He expressed a desire to be involved in that. And the world and his scabby dog seemed to join in an unseemly scramble to pour contempt on those innocent and sincere words.

Now, just imagine. What if Hockaday had faced the interviewer’s mike and had said “There’s not an earthly of Leeds ever getting into Europe again, not unless there’s a war. As for the Champions League – don’t make me laugh. And if they did, well – I wouldn’t want any part of it. Stuff that for a game of soldiers!” Would he have been applauded for his disarming frankness? Would the various social media have been abuzz with praise for his words of wisdom? No, of course they bloody wouldn’t. The fans would be outraged at such defeatist nonsense, and quite right too. So why go for the guy’s jugular when he expresses the naked ambition and belief in a brighter future that should be burning hot in any true fan’s heart? It makes no sense, and it reflects even less credit on those who, mindlessly sheep-like, follow the masses onto that overloaded bandwagon. For heaven’s sake, it’s nothing less than pathetic. And it grieves me to say this – but after what’s been said and written lately, I’m thoroughly ashamed of many, many Leeds fans right now.

It’s already been the same in the wake of the Bradford defeat. A few saner souls have pointed out that Murphy was an idiot getting himself sent off, that we battled well for an hour when a man down, took the lead and were only undone by a worldie and then a crap header that zipped through our keeper’s legs. AND we should have had a penalty when Poleon was taken out by the keeper – no, don’t listen to Don Goodman, he’s rabidly anti-Leeds and spouts nonsense. So, a few have broken the ranks of the silent majority – and they’ve highlighted the positives of the Bradford match. But many, many more of that knee-jerk faction of jerks have simply resorted to more abuse, more insults, more demands for the sacking of a guy who’s been there five minutes, and has spent that short time coping with the least helpful circumstances imaginable. That’s disgusting, ridiculous and completely unforgivable.

I’m old enough to remember demonstrations in the West Stand car-park when the fans had had enough and wanted Adamson Out, or on another occasion, Eddie Gray Back. I’ve seen little if any of that this time around. It’s mainly those big, brave Twitter types, sniping away from the safe anonymity of their keyboards, pouring their brainless vitriol onto the head of a man who probably will be gone soon, and who should, anyway, probably walk of his own accord – because he’s up against more than the opposition in the other dressing room every day of his working life. I’ll not comment on whether he’s a good enough coach – there hasn’t been the time or the proper circumstances in force to make a reliable judgement on that. But the players seem to like him – and aren’t they the best ones to ask, normally?

Back to the Bradford game. Once Luke “Stupid Boy” Murphy signed his own dismissal warrant, there were three possible objectives for Leeds United. In ascending order of importance, least important first: get to the next round of the Cup. OK, we didn’t make it, so what. We weren’t far off, in the end. Secondly; secure local bragging rights. I’d argue we managed that, making a good fist of a rearguard action against a spirited and motivated Bradford, and taking the lead against those formidable odds. Relative to the Man U debacle, we’ve no need to be ashamed of the effort and commitment of our ten warriors at Bradford. But the most important objective was to use an adverse situation to kick-start the bonding and gelling of this new group, under a new coach. The hour of battle against superior numbers in a hostile atmosphere will have gone a long way towards getting that process under way – and that really IS important, with the vast bulk of this nascent season still ahead of us.

In truth, I’m sick of the current situation, sick of the poisonous atmosphere in that odd virtual world, which is so much less apparent in the more old-fashioned world where fans still go to the match and get behind the shirts – I’m sick to death of so many of Leeds United’s yappier, dafter and more deluded fans – a vociferous but less than cerebral group I can only describe, rather impolitely, as the Gobshite Tendency. It’s a toxic mix, for anyone who loves the club, and I really am less than happy with it right now – so I shall return for the time being to looking after my family and parents as they struggle with real problems, far more intimidating than the daft footballing ones which seem to provoke such nastiness in some people. I’ve had enough, for the moment. So, as on a few occasions before, I shall take refuge in the past. I’ll write some nostalgia pieces, starting with one I promised a while back to my good mate Andy Gregory, of the excellent “We All Love Leeds” blog. We beat Southampton 7-0 in that one – but if Twitter had been around then, I’m sure there’d have been some eejits moaning that it should have been eight or nine and calling for the Don to be sacked. Just now, it really is that daft and annoying.

So – see you back in the Seventies, maybe. 

54 responses to “It’s a League Cup Tale of Two Uniteds as Minnows Progress – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Rob,
    As many always look forward to your blogs, as many do and more should besides! Oh for reincarnation and bring back the Don…..and I was there too what about our Jacks goal in that 7-0 ROUT,took it from near the back all the way forward and scored!


  2. Ropey Wyla

    All the best to you and your family Rob.
    By the way, if you keep hitting that poor nail on the head like this, you’ll get done for GBH, still, better than getting done by GFH! MOT


  3. Very good assessment of the whole situation Rob. When I was a kid in the 1950’s my old man said that Leeds fans were the worst on the planet and never satisfied ,always moaning about one thing or another. It takes time for a whole new squad to gel, it is not as though we are trying to get a couple of new signings to fit in, at the moment we have 12 to sort out which is a huge number. Hockaday says that during the international break we have a couple of weeks to use to work on sorting everyone out. Let’s hope he does otherwise he could be on his bike. Watford took their time to get sorted when thy had a mass influx of Italian players but eventually got in to the top 6. We still have 42 league games to go so every chance for things to get infinitely better IMO.


  4. Jeremy Adams

    I admire your optimism in the face of adversity but you don’t address the issue of why Cellino picked a complete unknown, with a track record of failure as a manager to be the new saviour of Leeds. True, Hockaday did well at Watford as coach but he’s not really a coach here at Leeds, he’s stuck between that and a managerial position, it’s more than being a coach and he’s not proven himself above that level. We have every right to question why Cellino thought this was a good appointment.
    Second, four red cards in five and a half matches, or something like that. That is Hockaday’s fault, (unless the players are trying to get sent off, something that wouldn’t surprise me with this current regime.) Hockaday is responsible for drilling into the players the right way to play, so far, Byram’s red card apart, we’ve seen some insane challenges from Leeds players. If I was Leeds boss I would have come down hard after the first red card yet we continue to make unbelievable challenges that result in red cards, these are professionals, you can excuse the heat of the battle every once in a while but so many red cards in such a short space of time makes me think the coach is asking his players to “put themselves about, and put a shift in” a complete 1980’s philosophy.


    • I’ve deliberately not commented on Hockaday’s suitability or otherwise. That’s for him to prove, either way – if he gets the time. Highly doubtful, I agree. But what I’m totally against is this constant virtual pillorying of a man who can’t hit back, who just has to take it with such dignity as he can muster (and he’s a world beater there) – and who must wish that Macron made tin hats. Poor sod, I feel for him. And I’ve nothing but contempt for certain so-called “fans” right now.


  5. Belfast White

    Well said, Rob. Well said. All of this negative vitriol does no one any good. With such huge changes and turnover of playing staff, a little patience is required. I hope the Hock is permitted to survive the next match and then the 2 week international break to spend time training with the new players and see what improvements he can make.
    On a more important note, I wish you and your family improved health in the days to come and some personal respite for you.


  6. I hope all goes well for you and your family . Look forward to more of your posting when you have time. Yes all you wrote above is so true. There is alot of Key board warriors out there sitting in there lonely darken rooms with yesterdays delivery Pizza still half enten on the floor besides them.Banging away there drivel on some thing they have no idea about.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yet again Rob the voice of realism through the fog of nonsense, I’m all for free speech, but some of the twaddle being spoken by these so called fans is a joke, Mr Hockaday has more furrows on his brow than the recently ploughed field by me, but when he sees what he has recently I’m not surprised! And the sharpened sword of Damocles is hanging above his head, just waiting for the thing to drop, I would be worried too! As for Mr Goodman he is more remembered for his ridiculous barnet than any football intelligence, another fool to be ignored. Good to have you back Rob, don’t forget the spice !!


  8. David Dean

    Once again I agree totally re The Hock. Cellino is impetuous and will fuel the mindless tweeters. What can sacking him now or on Saturday – even following an appalling performance against Bolton – possibly achieve? I am not suggesting The Hock should be in for the long haul, that would be a miracle, Massimoses would have to see the burning bush for that to happen, but 70 days isn’t enough time to find out where the local butcher shop is!


  9. Aussie Dave

    Oh crap Rob. Don’t go mate. You’re the only one who makes sense of this rabble….keep writing pal. Don’t let the tossers beat you. That’s what they want.

    Where’s my wine glass, sod it all….


  10. sniffers shorts

    Well none of us are happy at the moment …. We seem to have the shitty end of the stick and no luck on our side… Hockaday cannot stop the daft sending offs and murphy was rightly sick as a parrot …. Look those who have played know the passion can get in the way the lad was silly but he was only playing for the cause and that cause is leeds united. The scum were passionless at MK dons a pile of shite and van girl could not even admit to it , typical arrogant Manc ferguson attitude has rubbed off …. We gave away easy goals to mistakes well hang on you prat you were well beaten fair and square. We were untidy last night it was jittery and we are not gelling yet ! But we never gave up tried to play football instead of hoof ball in my opinion Watford were well contained prior to the sending off and they they then reverted to chance long balls and a ridiculous long shot that went in totally lucky, and the headlines are Leeds thrashed what bowl lacks the scum were trashed as they had no passion . Hockaday is doing alright I have been cursing but it’s not his fault , bringing new players in and launching them straight in to the team is crazy, but he is trying to appease his boss. We will not go up this year even with a different manager every month… This term is going to be bloody hard now but we must keep the spirit and passion going on on on as the boys sang last night great to hear them still singing even when we had lost …. Why because we never gave up on the pitch !!!!!!! Hope your troubles get sorted Rob take care man


  11. Hockaday is a thoroughly decent, likeable , honest and hard working coach. We were comfortable last night until stupidity from Murphy. The football is a bit predictable and uninspiring presently but I can see what he is trying to achieve. We just need some magic moments I thought Norris played well and put in some great crosses.
    Hock needs a bit of luck, you can see he has the players behind him and he needs the two week international break to bed all the players in.
    I know it’s nice to look backwards and I have been there and seen it all from John Charles onwards but supporting the team into the future is the only way to bring the success we all crave


  12. Having watched the game on TV I was actually surprised how good Leeds played. I was led to believe they were utter shite. So I was a bit disappointed really. How you can blame Hockaday for Murphys tackling and Smith being a League 2 striker I don’t know. Excusing those two aside, Leeds would have won at a canter.


  13. Pattaya White

    Welcome back Rob your well written well thought out words have been badly missed .All the best to your family .
    I agree with your assessment of these so called fans constantly kicking Hockaday when he is powerless to answer back .
    Some sites like Lee Chapmans Sofa are so anti Cellino that they are desperate for the Hock to fail , just so they can use it as a big stick to hit Cellino with . I just don’t know what they want , he has brought in 12 new players , with more to come and ditched some of our big earners and hopefully a few more will go soon . Some of the quality of the players are open to question , but as with all dealings in the transfer market , you never know until a player actually signs and settles in how good or bad they will be . It stands to reason that not all 12 will be huge successes , but if say half of them are it will be a great improvement on the so called “championship class” players brought in by the last few regimes .
    Look forward to your next post Rob take care MOT


  14. Rob, this is EXACTLY the article I would have written. If I had a blog …..!

    All I would add is that it’s taken over ten years of mismanagement (to put it mildly) to get the club into the position it’s in now; for anyone to expect that to be turned round in half a dozen games is sheer lunacy. But, as Alan said, Leeds fans have always been a miserable bunch. Going back to the Southampton 7-0 (I was at that game, too) it’s often forgotten that the previous home match was a 5-1 win against the Red lot, with a crowd of 45,000 or so, and the side riding high at the top of the table. The crowd for Southampton? About 32,000 ….. the people of Leeds really don’t deserve a decent football team, for so many reasons ……


  15. HI Rob, sorry to hear about your family problems, I hope that you get some comfort on that front. Family are far more important than a game of football. I agree that DH needs some space to either sink or swim but had no idea that he was getting vitriolic abuse on social media. I have never, and will never, have anything to do with TwitFace or whatever its called, so most of the stuff you have written about has passed me by. Lets hope DH doesn’t read it either. Best wishes, Kev.


  16. Andy Cliff

    Hi Rob,
    Thanks for the article and all the best to your family. I had wondered why you had been silent for so long this season. I agree with everything you have said and could not have put it better myself. We always needed patience this year and would look to results and lineups after the international break to judge the potenial of this season and Cellino,s masterplan for promotion. Being exiled here in Serbia it has been intresting to follow the transfer policy and see the trend of buying young potential talents to intrigate with our own potential and personally I can see a potentially extremely exciting young squad being assembled.. I ignore the socila media mostly but do enjoy a good laugh at the comments on the YEP pages.
    If anyone thinks Leeds is a circus they should be grateful they do not follow either of Serbia,s major clubs. Partisan or Red Star clubs similar to Leeds in a rich history and great support (but still in the dark days of the 80,s Leeds support) but lurch from financial crisis to financial crisis daily.Lots of great young talent here and I have seen all the premiership imports play here in the league before they got sold on for peanuts. Liverpools new guy will be a star. I still regret that we did not take Dejan Stankovic when we were offerred in part of an exchange deal by Inter but who said Venables could judge a player.
    Look forward to the seventies again, I,m gussing we saw many of the same matches. Thanks for all the great articles and all the best again with any remaining health issues.


  17. You’re right, Rob, to argue that Hockaday deserves time and to criticise the keyboard cowards. The fundamental problem, I feel, is that Cellino regards the manager, or ‘head coach’, merely as someone to get the players fit and tactically prepared for matches. As Arsene Wenger said when Arsenal were about to play Crystal Palace following Tony Pulis’s departure, “the guy responsible for delivering the results should be the same guy responsible for buying players”. I very much doubt that Hockaday had any idea what he was getting when Leeds signed Berardi, Bellusci, Benedicic, Bianchi, Sloth and Antenucci. They were surely the president’s choices, or Salerno’s, not his, and there’s a very real danger that they may be overrating Italian football in much the way that Fergie accused Wenger of doing with.France.

    As such Hockaday is likely to be perceived as a a stooge by some players.
    I felt he should have used his substitutes better last night; it was clear some players were knackered in the final stages, and the introduction of Ajose or Poleon (earlier) after our goal might have given Bradford more concern about our hitting them on the break. Personally, I don’t think Hockaday will survive many more beatings – Cellino’s history at Cagliari suggests he thinks nothing of sacking a coach. Yes, there’s loads of time to turn things around, but I’d feel more confident of doing so if we had been signing these players 4-6 weeks ago rather than reacting almost in panic to every loss.

    Meanwhile, warmest regards, I’m sure, from all in this wing of the Leeds United family to you and your “other” family.


  18. stevegibson40


    Well said on all points, very good article. Best wishes for the future health and happiness of your family members who are suffering at this time.


    Steve Gibson



  19. hi rob , good to see you back fella and I hope all goes well indoors…
    with regard Mr hockaday , firstly I don’t do twiter , or face book , or any other sort of social media where people tell thier “friends / followers” that they are now making a cup of tea etc , but I can imagine the sort of abuse Dave is getting and you’re right , its disgusting… but on a football blog such as this I can only say I really think cellino has made a big mistake giving him the job , yes he’s been a bit unlucky with the sendings off, but in murphys defence , he was only trying to do what the crowd get on his back for not doing , boss the midfield… I went last week against brighton and in hockadays pre match summing up he said they were a very good passing side and we couldn’t allow them time and space , 100% right , only we did allow them time and space and the reason for that laid squarely at hockadays feet… I knew we’d lose at watford and I also felt we would last night too , he just doesn’t inspire the team or the fans rob..


    • Well, the article wasn’t about Hockaday’s suitability Mr O – I was simply railing against the storm of abuse and its juvenile character. But as regards the head coach position – who are we going to get? What self-respecting manager (if I might use an old-fashioned term) is going to take on such a restrictive brief?? I think the ideal man for Leeds right now, with Malky Mackay having put himself beyond the limits of good taste, is Tony Pulis, or possibly Steve Clarke. Would we get them?? No chance. The top drawer will remain closed and locked to us, unless Big Mass revises his policy of hands-on involvement.


      • Mr orange

        I understand rob , and you’re right to point this out , its disgusting the way some “fans” are reacting…
        yes pulis would be my choice too but he’s not going to come to a club where he’s bound to fall out with the owner within days of arriving , cellino needs to understand this is not a 5 thousand a week family club in Italy and start looking at his own tactics as owner of Leeds utd


  20. Hi Rob, welcome back hope you and your family are now going to be well so we can all enjoy your posts.

    In support of Philby’s post I worry that an opportunity to get the fans on side was missed last night. As Cellino said his most valuable purchase was The Fans. Had Dave Hockaday chosen to play the majority of new / young players and we had lost that would have been OK as no bragging rights for Bradford against a new team or he could have thrown himself on our mercy and played his strongest 11 and shown us and hopefully Bradford what we are capable of. Instead he played last years also rans who admittedly should still have won this game but didn’t and hence missed a great opportunity to get us all onside. He should not have underestimated the strength of feeling generated in game like this we all have to work and socialise with our neighbours it is also about our pride.


    • But if they should have won, as you say (and as I agree) – but failed to win, then whose fault is that? Hockaday is an easy target, especially on the morning after when we all benefit from 20:20 hindsight – but the blame for defeat IMHO belongs squarely at the door of Luke Murphy.


  21. Mark benson

    Let’s face the truth here rob. Hockaday is not a manager full stop. A coach yes. One who puts the players through training. Let him make the tea when tactics, team selection and style of play are discussed. Just because he makes reasonable soundbites should not allow him to stay in the job! He talked about the champions league and on the same day presided over a team knocked out of the league cup by a team from a lower league! He’s not up to the job and just because people are saying that on twitter or Facebook or your site does not change the fact. He should be demoted to fitness coach immediately and a head coach appointed. As will probably happen after Saturdays defeat. And I’m not being pessimistic just a realist. How bad do we have to become before people realise how inept this man is? Or should we be looking for a coach who is kind to animals,gives to charity, recycles and knows sod all about football?


  22. Having a nightmare today, live on the outskirts of bradford, constant gloats and texts about them winning their “european cup final”

    Cellino has to swallow some pride and realise he doesn’t understand English football as much as he thinks.


  23. Rob, without doubt Luke Murphy was culpable but not to use the subs to address the problem was the coaches issue. You are right we must be patient my point was he could have fielded a better team from the start and given us the opportunity to see progress in results as well as in playing style. And to be fair to Hockaday Van Gaal one of Europes premier coaches is having trouble with the best paid players in Europre adapting to a fairly well know back 3 system that even my under 14 team have got the hang of!


  24. After going to all the away games thus far, it’s occurred to me that Hockaday probably could be out of his depth, and makes questionable decisions, however the abuse is unjustified as he had the ambition and dream to take on the task . He clearly is not helped by the likes of Murphy, making mentally lazy choices on the pitch. I think if you took a poll of supporters, there would be at least a thousand different team sheets, but then again as Plumbers, van drivers, accountants, chefs, roofers, students, we all know better don’t we ? oh and social workers, journalists, hairdressers ……….


  25. I think the coach lives and dies by results regardless who he is.Its early days i know but the further we become adrift from the pack the worse the situation becomes.Over the next few weeks will decide if he is good enough for a club like Leeds.My gripe is he basically plays players from last season who just does not make the grade.So many players coming in and young players waiting their chance and being overlooked is quite simply not good enough.Its a hard place to play is Ell-and road when things are not going well yet the fans on the whole sing their hearts out home and away.Yes there are some and by that i mean the young who never seen the great team of the late 60s and 70s who know nothing else but the art of moaning.I pass over their vile abuse of players and i include Kebbe who must have wished he could crawl into a hole.Everyone who wears the shirt deserevs our support.So lets give it unreservedly.MOT


  26. Rob- this is the first time I’ve posted on your blog, I always look forward to reading your articles – I have followed many sites/blogs/local newspapers etc etc and can’t help to read some of the comments that follow. It seems to me there are so many people that actually will us to fail covertly hiding behind it should be this system / this player. / that manager / Etc etc – it’s tiring / we should be united – I’m not eloquent in my descriptors for these people of my writing – I love leeds – to see this happening to them and the fans constantly barracking (how can that help) and I read ” I’m entitled to my opinion Bollox ” I wish they’d understand how detrimental to the cause they are – of course there’s frustration and a desire to succeed. How united I felt as a kid watching leeds / rising from the old second division – how I respected and admired anyone with a leeds hat scarf badge whatever / now I feel we’re dissected and capitulating – it’s starting to hurt like the lost love of a first girlfriend .. I want success – I want us to be united. ( that word again) – if you are leeds the clues in the name . I’m behind the coach and the players – they will come good with time – should they not they will change – I would love however to be behind the force of leeds united fans – I also hate the abuse / I remember being in the kop and lads getting sparked for abusing players – anyways again to say I always look forward to reading your stuff — hope all goes well. -/


  27. Welcome back; you’ve been missed but I hope all will be well with you and your family.
    As usual, your comments are absolutely spot on. As usual I couldn’t have put it better. Leeds fans can, in certain circumstances, be amongst the best but by goodness the hysteria and vitriol in evidence at the moment places a fair number in the category of the worst. Supporters? Don’t make me laugh. I could just about sit through some of the football served up under Bates’ regime but the poisonous atmosphere was always the thing that kept me away. Go to ER on Saturday to see the Bolton game? I doubt it. I’d gladly see how the team is evolving and give them my support but not while I have to sit amongst numpties having a go at the coach and whichever player(s) they decide deserve their unfounded, ignorant criticism.


  28. Good to see you back Rob and my best wishes to you and your family for improved and long lasting future health. As always Rob you have put into words what so many of us feel about all things allied to Leeds United, but do not have your literary skills. Hope you can take solace and encouragement from the largely silent majority who think and feel as you do about the situation at our once great club.
    Kind Regards.


  29. Things can change very quickly in football. A couple of wins and all the nay sayers will crawl back into their holes. Modern day football fans are so fickle it beggers belief. Rise above it all mate. Family issues always put the game we all love into perspective your right about that. Look on the bright side, at least there’s a proper United still left in the club!! One of these days we may even score a legitimate goal. Hope to read one of your masterpieces again very soon. NUFC.


  30. Sorry Rob, forgot to add, best wishes to your nearest and dearest .
    I wondered where you’d got to .


  31. Leeds have mustered THREE shots on target in 270+ minutes of football. How the hell are we supposed to win games with that sort of ratio? I do feel sorry for the Hock having to work with 14 (& counting) new players & only 10 men in most games, what’s the guy supposed to do? He deserves a crack a getting things sorted until the next international break. At least my other favourite team are unbeaten so far this season: WhoeversplayingScum FC


  32. Hi Rob good to see you . You thanked my wife Anne for the email I sent to ask if everything was ok as we had not seen any new blogs on your site. I wish you and your family well. Your blog is spot on, I am actually ashamed of some of the mindless , abusive comments , on some of the websites especially the evening post website. I find it difficult to express when there is such anger . I am as disappointed as any of them but try to see things with more objective view and hope that it will come good. PS I forgot that my e-mail had my wife’s name as the sender. I see David Hockaday and Leeds United have parted company. MOT


  33. well he’s gone now rob so the question is will cellino learn from this..? its to be hoped so because I think this next appointment is vital to save cellino’s judgement / credibility in the football community , to make a mistake is fine but I just hope a lot more thought goes into his next appointment or this could turn into a pantomime


    • I think he’s 1000% convinced of his own rightness and infallibility over matters footballing – it’s the Achilles heel in what is otherwise perfect saviour material for Leeds. Cellino is a perfect captain for the ship – but he needs to take on board a lot more about the art of delegation in specialised areas, the principle of staff command. I fear for the rest of the season, we might have three more head coaches yet!!


  34. Rob, in what universe is an egotistical, narcissistic, convicted fraudster perfect saviour material?


    • Winding-up orders dealt with, tax debts paid, actual transfer fees paid etc etc etc. If I look beyond yet more lazy references to the hackneyed phrase “convicted fraudster” – do I assume you were happy under unconvicted fraudsters GFH or Bates??


      • David Dean

        Me thinks that in time Big Mass will realise the Italia model will not work over here. He has deep pockets and has committed his life to Leeds for the foreseeable. He will have to dig deep into those pockets and appoint a decent coach who can work with him. He has passed through phase one – the Hock, who helped Big Mass in his honeymoon period. Now the Hock is surplus and it is time to move on to phase 2, hopefully someone who will get the best out of the talented players Cellino has brought in.


  35. Sorry my friend that’s a lazy non-sequitur.

    I refuse to accept a “hackneyed” Dubya Manichean world.

    Having money so what?

    The guy, to quote Mr Giles is, ” a headbanger.”


  36. David Smith

    Rob – well said as always, you’ve been missed! Sorry to hear about the family health concerns and best wishes to all for a speedy recovery.


  37. Saw the word “Orwellian” in this article and, after reading your piece that references Animal Farm (Pseud? Shurely Shome Mistake!) on Huff Post, thought about you.

    “Why do we love psychopaths and sociopaths?”

    [This piece references, Dr. Robert Hare, who’s work is the basis of much of Jon Ronson’s “The Psychopath Test”]

    Please don’t publish this reply to your site as I’m no longer interested.
    I have banned myself forthwith!

    I’ll just say good luck to you, your family and of course Leeds United.

    PS I hope you do get that healthy publishers’ advance you’re desperate for, but, if yesterdays punt is anything to go by, you aint getting it via Ladbrokes any time soon.



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