Sam Byram Presented With Bewildering Choice of Relegation Battles – by Rob Atkinson


Byram - spoilt for choice?

Byram – spoilt for choice?

For a young man still learning his trade after graduating from one of football’s finest academy setups at Leeds United, hot prospect Sam Byram now looks to have a tempting choice in front of him; he could be fighting relegation with either Sunderland or West Ham United this coming season.

Of course it might also be that Byram will prefer to continue his development at Elland Road, where great changes are afoot with a new head coach promising fast, aggressive, attacking football. This is surely just the kind of menu to have a pacy young wing-back, effective all the way up and down the right flank, licking his lips and champing at the bit – if I may be permitted to mix my metaphors. But the lure of the Premier League has seen United shorn of many a promising young talent before; our Sam would be in illustrious company if he decided his future would be best spent elsewhere.

This blog’s opinion, for what it is worth, is that any deal for Byram should be sanctioned only if the benefits to the club are absolutely irresistible. From that point of view, the rumours suggesting that Sunderland might be prepared to offer their richly-talented forward Connor Wickham and a cash adjustment not unadjacent to £6 million would have any discerning Leeds fan urging the club to snatch the Mackems’ hands off. Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything has given its opinion on a couple of previous occasions that a nominal right-back (albeit with attacking ability) as sumptuously talented as Byram is a distinct luxury in the Championship. A player like Wickham and a cool six mill besides would provide a wealth of options in terms of building a team that could challenge at the top end of this league. If Sunderland are that keen to capture Byram, then it’d be extremely tempting to roll out the welcome carpet when they come a-calling – and make sure they get the worse of any bargain. This is something that Massimo Cellino notably has form for, with last season’s brutal mugging of Fulham over Ross McCormack being the obvious example of seeing coming a club with more cash than sense.

From Byram’s point of view, though, it’s hard to accept that he couldn’t do better than clubs likely to be scrapping away at the foot of the Premier League. Names of much greater pedigree than Sunderland or the Hammers have also been whispered as possible destinations – Liverpool, maybe, or even Manchester City. Again, Cellino would be expected to drive a hard bargain, if Byram were to be winkled out of our clutches – and at least we’d have the admittedly dubious satisfaction of seeing yet another Leeds old boy strutting his stuff at the top end of the top league.

It’s always difficult, contemplating the loss of a home-grown star – thankfully, there is no sign of the supply drying up, and this is likely to have to provide one of our club’s main income streams until that glorious time rolls around when we, too, dine at the top table in the swanky restaurant that is the Premier League. Things will be different then – or so we must hope. Leeds would be looking to storm the top flight for the third successive time, following promotion in the early sixties and late eighties and the subsequent swaggering domination of the game enjoyed by those two great sides.

Whether it’s feasible to expect a hat-trick of such achievements must be open to the gravest doubt, given the radically different landscape of football now as opposed to then. But it’s in the nature of Leeds to gatecrash cosy, elitist parties and make their presence felt. Those previous two promotion outfits have surely written that into the club’s DNA – and now, as then, we have the same promising knack of producing our own, sparkling talent.

Perhaps Sam Byram will be leaving this summer – or perhaps he will pen a new deal and stay. Either way, whatever happens has to be for the good of the club, and in the longer term at that – no short-sighted squinting at the immediate future should get in the way of a focus on lofty ambitions beyond the next season or two. This blog hopes that the lad will stay, but is philosophically accepting of the possibility that he might well be seduced away.

And, whatever his destination, surely Leeds fans will wish him all the best – especially if any deal done helps United lay the foundation for a brighter future. That, much more than the future of any individual player, is what matters above all to anyone with the interests of Leeds United at heart. 

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32 responses to “Sam Byram Presented With Bewildering Choice of Relegation Battles – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Mate, not seen anything linking connor wickham to a switch for Byram……… I cant see that being likely, for me its more likely to be straight cash, in which case it should be resisted as cashing in on our better players has never got us anywhere, it certainly didn’t when we sold McCormack and used the money to purchase a team almost all of which became surplus to requirements by the end of the season…………

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  2. I will read the whole article – but first I just had to say what a fantastic headline that is!!!

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  3. So let me get this right, he can stay in the championship, or take a chance in the premiership…. hmmmm….

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  4. Hi Rob, I agree with your post. In fact when Bale left Southampton for Spurs he was no way any more forward in is is game that Sam is and he cost £30,000,ooo+ and when he faced us Sam played him off the Park.
    If Sunderland or any of the clubs after him sould pay 20mill and there top player included in the deal.

    Barry

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  5. Remember Milner!… A jewel of a similar vein to Byram, equally valuable too, selling Byram now might seem a good idea, but his current valuation will, in the future, seem like peanuts as is the case with Milner’s £3.5m. Keep him to integrate with the likes of Mowatt, cook, etc and the world is our oyster. £5m or 6m might seem good now, but promotion is the real prize, and we need our quality players to achieve it. Don’t go Sam, be part of the new Leeds United. Be there when we arrive in the promised land…

    Listen to uncle Rob, relegation battles are so boring!

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  6. Well said, Rob, shimmeringly brilliant as usual. You are my hero, I worship you. Why can’t I be like you???!!??????

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  7. I do enjoy reading these posts of yours Rob, ideal world i would keep Sam, somethings a changing down that LS11 place. The cogs, the complex mechanisms, those hidden gems forever present longing for the right momentum. That motor, no motor is too loud, a purr, nay a hum is what i feel starting to resonate through Leeds 11. Sam , Alex et al. A core, nucleus to what is to follow. I want teams to fear our Leeds United. To wince when drawn against us in cups, To know a match against LEEDS is just that, not a purchased imported midfield but an engine that revs with the fuel of Yorkshire blood. Them Yorkshire Lads , they can have a go you know. Were famous for it!! I do hope we have a good season, that despite a few school boy errors masimo has made the ship it seems some what better balanced than before. That was a clever title mate. I do hope he reads. its nice to read replies to articles that are not goading sarcastic crap. It disappoints when i read the bickering betwixt United lads, Its a long reply and a bit off topic. But in reality i think we are building a strong foundation, one to be added to and strengthened, loosing Sam i fear would halt or unsettle the afore mentioned momentum in some way. Money could of course be to good to turn down, some things you cant buy though. That magic doctor feelgood factor, We have got it at the moment, quiet musings before the roar. Come on Leeds, Come on Lads. Always proud. CJ 72

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    • I wish I could share what sounds like nascent optimism and belief, so beautifully expressed. But I have this hollow feeling; I fear that cock-ups lie ahead, not too far up the road. Not unusually, I hope that I’m wrong and that my erudite reader is much closer to the mark. Thanks for such a finely-crafted response – MOT.

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  8. Philip of Spain.

    Allegedly, Sunderland have just put a bid of 8mill.in for him.That will mean he’s off but why move to a team that you rightly say,look like relegation fodder every year.?We all hope he stays but..…..

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    • Let’s see. Stay playing in the championship or move to the prem with a bumper pay rise.

      What do you really think he’d choose.

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  9. What is to say Sunderland will be in a relegation battle this season? Dick advocaat at the helm, who also plays fast attacking football, I can’t see it looking that bad. Probably at least mid table next season. You only have to look at Sunderland run of games since he took over to see there has been a big change on wearside. You obviously didn’t follow Sunderland closely enough last season.

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  10. Between the Lines

    The money from McCormack was largely wasted on a series of flops (hand picked by MC & NS). Could history be about to repeat itself with Byram?

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  11. If I was in his shoes I’d have to give the premiership a shot rob ,, and given the choice between those two I’d pick West Ham… But from a fans point of view , if he has to go then 6m plus wickham sounds like a fair deal …

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  12. Wickham and cash…can I have some of your drugs please !!

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  13. Milano whites

    Great read again Rob. I hope Sam stays but can we transfer some of the library (kop) fans to scum cos they get very upset these days if you say nasty things about the Mankies…MOT with the South Stand and family corner…MOT/YRA

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    • Thanks Mr Milano 👍 Tell me more about this curious Kop primness??

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      • milano whites

        T’was the last day v Rotters Rob. I was unfortunately in a silent N8 trying to get some banter going. After 30 mins the head steward ask me to accompany him and warned me that ‘our’ fans were complaining. Threw my ticket at him and left in disgust. Outside I told some lads who gave me a free ticket for the East family stand where I had a top afternoon singing and chanting. Even learnt some new expletives from the youth. Will avoid the kop even though that’s where I went as a lad. Always in the South Stand these days…MOT/YRA

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      • Depressing stuff. I watched the 91/92 season review on my iPad while I was away – the passion from the Kop was something else. When Batty scored against Citeh, the crowd at the Gelderd End went absolutely mad, it was mayhem. At times during the 89/90 promotion year, it was even madder and better. The Leicester game being a case in point, and Bairdy’s winner v Newcastle. Great days, sadly we’re unlikely to see that kind of thing again. So many younger fans will never have experienced an atmosphere quite like that at ER – the Bristol Rovers L1 promotion clincher being the closest we’ve come this side of the millennium.

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      • milano whites

        Yer right Rob…at least the South Stand lads still give it a go…MOT/YRA

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  14. Any ambitious club does not sell it’s best players,and thios lad has immense promise. If we do sell him where will the money go? On new players,quality ones? I doubt it. What happened to the money we mugged Fulham for McCormack? Hmm. Our mad owner claimed he was forced to sell McCormack as he “disrespected him!”. Hope it’s true.

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  15. News today looks a bit more positive as far as Byram is concerned. I know it is too early in the off season to draw a conclusion but as long as sheriff C stays quiet and lets some of the new people get on with doing a professional job then there might, just might, be some hope.
    On a side issue – it is always good to read a blog where the writer can actually write….I read one today where the author actually wrote the word “thunk” [sic] (think) in some stupid made up supposed transfer story.
    Keep up the good work; at the moment it is the only light in the Leeds tunnel.

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