Lost: Teddy (Thrown Out of Cot). Leeds Utd Colours. Please Return to Garry Monk   –   by Rob Atkinson


Monk: my teddy went thataway


Professional football is a game of lines. Touchlines, goal-lines, defensive lines. Add to that: lines you do not cross. Mark that last one well, especially if you are a Leeds United manager under pressure (and is there any other sort?)

There are also things you can afford to lose, within reason. Football matches. Arguments with the owner (that’s probably the tactful thing to do). And there are things you cannot afford to lose, at any price. The respect and support of the fans. The respect and support of the local press who cover all aspects of the club.

In a car-crash of a radio interview with Adam Pope after today’s 0-1 home defeat to Huddersfield, Leeds manager Garry Monk crossed the line that separates professionalism from imprudent petulance. He is now in perilous territory, in danger of being turned upon by local press and fans alike. After what was really an abysmal interview performance, Garry Monk is bang to rights on a charge of lacking respect and professional calm. It’s a mistake that will not soon be forgotten, and one that will bear no repetition.

It’s easy to point at the fact that Monk is under pressure. But he is well paid to cope with that – and, not incidentally, to produce performances many times more convincing than his Leeds United team has been serving up. You can understand some early teething troubles from a new group of players. But to dismiss so contemptuously the worries and concerns outside the professional bubble of the football club – that passes understanding. It’s neither reasonable nor acceptable. 

With Cellino’s criminal record of revolving-door recruitment, the last thing I want to do is advocate hasty change. But when your manager loses the plot like that, with a respected local journalist too, then you scratch your head and wonder how Steve Evans might do with this squad. On the basis of today’s post-match demeanour, I’m really not sure that Monk is fit for purpose. I’d be delighted to be proved wrong, naturally. 

Things have to change at Elland Road, or another bleak – possibly disastrous – season beckons. At this juncture, the question is not whether there be change, but how far-reaching that change should be. On the evidence of today, as well as the obvious need to get rid of and replace the owner, there may also be a need to review the coaching situation. 

Being Leeds United manager is a tough ask. Many are found wanting. It may be that Garry Monk is showing signs that he’ll be just another who can’t cut it at Elland Road. 

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28 responses to “Lost: Teddy (Thrown Out of Cot). Leeds Utd Colours. Please Return to Garry Monk   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. Didn’t hear the interview but as I’ve said in previous posts ,, why have they gone from strength to strength with their managerial change last year and we are in this mess ,, something has to change

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  2. He had everything spot on, nothing game, no chances, 0 0 , lad should’ve been sent off, agree with all that. Popes question on what cellinos thoughts were, was dismissed rightly by monk, ask Bellini. Nothing wrong with monks responses, radio uddersfield should be ashamed, as should ref

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    • Mark Faulkner

      Did you watch the same game as me? What did Monk and his staff do with the team during the last two weeks? Huddersfield wanted it more and it showed,keeping the Log on and replacing Antonsson with Doukara,really? Only the 2 Swedes and possibly Bridcutt should collect their wages after todays performance,no fight and no passion. At this rate it’s looking like i’ll be getting my 25% discount!

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    • Not only the question about Cellino but also the one about identity which Monk rightly threw back at him. Pope squirmed and spluttered when asked to define what he meant by ‘identity’. And as for quoting ex-players – by whom he presumably meant the none too illustrious or sophisticated Radio Leeds ‘analyst’ – that was simply below the belt. Having said all that it was a poor game by two unattractive and ordinary sides.

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  3. Paul Williams

    Disastrous interview by monk was embarrassing

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  4. Gary Monks interview unfortunately could deflect where much of the blame for today’s defeat should go.
    I said it before the season started, and l have seen absolutely nothing to alter my opinion, with Green in goal our defence will always be suspect. He is not in the same league a Silvestri as a shot stopper. He has absolutely no command of the area, and his distribution is very poor.

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  5. Well said. Right now we are going down, that’s the clear reality of what will happen if something massive does not take place at this club. I said before the season, promotion, no chance, playoffs, no chance, rebuild, recruit, strengthen, an absolute must and if we achieved that and ended up mid table I would be satisfied. If I remember, I was crucified and treated with contempt on many sites. What would you give now??
    I am going to find it quite amusing reading all the comments from the sack Evans brigade and the guys who contributed to the man being treated like a piece of garbage and shown the door when it was quite clear this was the guy who could have taken us back. They are probably the same fans we have who think they are Gods gift to football and would probably moan a bucket full if they were season ticket holders at Barcelona or Real Madrid. Now we going to be subjected to another sacking, another humiliating and sickening change. Another mug for the slaughter. No money to be spent, just the same old third rate attitude to what I am now a fan of, a third rate football club. Do your worst Cellino. I feel just like I did after Colchester United, Sunderland and Bayern Munich. Look it up. You just cannot make me feel any worse.

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    • I very nearly wrote an article called Come Back Steve Evans, All is Forgiven. It would have been ironic, as it’s Steve who should be deciding whether he can forgive LUFC.

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      • Doesn’t the fact that Evans is currently unemployed say it all? We were led to believe by the man himself that he had job offers coming out of his ample arse. No one wants him and its high time people stopped “wanking on” about him. Also,why should it take a season to rebuild? Newcastle have done it in a matter of weeks without spending a great deal and with a coach who has no championship experience.

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      • Newcastle’s net spend looks moderate, but they’ve offloaded some Premier League players for zillions, so they’ve been able to recruit some top talent for this league. I expect them to do very well, which is hard, as I have a good mate who supports them.

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  6. I’ve never heard a coach or manager tell a local radio correspondent to mind his own business before and Garry Monk seems to disrespect every team who beat Leeds, by saying that if they didn’t score, then the game would have been a draw.
    The main problem at Leeds though, is the lack of long term planning and preparation for this season and also getting players signed in time for the pre-season and not still signing players throughout August.
    As soon Leeds were safe under Steve Evans last season, Cellino should have got rid of him then or given Evans the Leeds job for this season and a chance to plan for this season. Instead Cellino had Evans dangling in uncertainty until late May, before sacking him and then Monk was not appointed until 2nd June. That’s what’s wrong at Leeds no proper planning or Coach stability, as everyone knows in the football world.
    Huddersfield are top of the league due to having a manager for ten months and they signed practically all of their eight or nine new signings, well before the start of pre-season and have gelled as a team.
    Far too many teams are making Leeds look like the away team at Elland Road these days.

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  7. Steve Evans did just ok. Both he and Gary Monk for reasons known only to themselves chose to play players in positions where they are obviously uncomfortable. Mowatt as a winger, time and time again has proven his talent is wasted. Evans played both Mowatt and Cook on the wing even when we had wingers available. Monk has played Mowatt and Hernandes on the wing, both are infinitely better as a traditional no 10 prompting behind the front 2.
    Ì can not accept why professional footballers cannot cross a ball. We unfortunately have a surplus of them. It is little wonder that or two stickers get scant returns, the service to them is virtually none existent. Until they learn to cross a ball, they should not be selected.and spend match days practicing until they can.

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  8. Oh despair’ despair, despair! I forced my 2 sons and 2 nephews into becoming Leeds fans but all they have ever seen is the crap whereas at least I witnessed some of the glory days. To be honest I cannot see those times ever coming back so I have left my kin with a lifetime of disappointment. How bad is that??

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  9. Totally agree. Because he was late in being appointed, the new players were late in arriving for some, there was no pre season. You cannot put 11 new players into a team and expect them to turn into world beaters, it takes time to create understanding.
    I was never an Evans fan, but though he did òk. I personally thought he could have done better had he not constantly changed the team, and kept playing players out of position, when players who could naturally play in those positions were not given the chance.

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  10. Come on Rob you are sounding like Adian Durham! First of all its not a question for Monk, ask the clown. I would be very uncomfortable if asked what my boss thought as would most people. Secondly, please please please understand that a new manager, eight games in with eleven new players has to be given time. Don Revie needed two seasons, even in today’s world you have to have a season. I suggest any of our previous eight managers if given a seasons head start would have got better results. That’s the issue we keep sacking them and simply starting again, it will never work. In the mean time leave the current manager alone, interviews don’t win games. Just a thought, would Don Revie have put up with those questions. Let’s be sensible, supportive and less reactive just to get a headline. If the clown sells we have a chance. Mot

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  11. At last we have a Manager who has told the impertinent Radio Leeds lot where to get off. Pope – backed up by the execrable Whelan and Hannah – has succeeded in drawing successive Managers into compromising conversations over the airwaves. Good for you Monk.

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    • It’s the sort of thing only the likes of Brian Clough could ever really carry off. Sadly, Monk is not remotely in that league – then again, who is? However Monk must have thought he was coming across, the effect was petulant defensive sulkiness.

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      • I agree that it could come across that way but none the less I think it needed saying.

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      • I’ve never heard a Leeds manager try that line of “I’m in the pros’ bubble and you lot outside don’t matter” before. It’s never going to go down well at Leeds. His PR, on that evidence, is shocking.

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  12. 1955southwesterly

    A barrister will never ask a question he doesn’t already know the answer to. Pope asked a question even he didn’t understand , and then asked for a self critique based on here say.
    I don’t blame Monk for not answering or questioning Pope! He was after a sound bite and didn’t get what he wanted.
    The press want a sensation, Monk terminated the interview, they got their “sensation”.
    Cheap shots both times.

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    • Popey’s not a barrister and this wasn’t evidence in chief. Monk disrespected Pope and, by extension, the supporters. He lost a lot of allies yesterday, and shortened his tenure at Elland Road.

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  13. We are in such a dire mess that it’s hard to know where to begin or what to do. For sure, Monk could and probably should have handled things better. Football by definition draws strong and opposing opinions. Problem for us is that it’s not just about the football anymore and hasn’t been for so long. We simply have no stability. Successive owners have inflicted their own brand of torture on us with absolutely no regard for anyone but themselves. We continue to witness our demise. It looks as though we are destined to sink further? The only thing I am certain of is that until we have an owner(s) who will restore order, purpose and sustained intent, we are doomed. Will TOMA happen, will we be delivered from the jaws of death? For sure, whilst Cellino remains in control, we have no chance. If he goes I’d like to (probably naively) think Monk can come good.

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  14. David Dean

    Monk sounds like a man about to walk the plank. Cellino has just been in the dressing room and spouted off and the Monk has taken his frustration out on poor old Popey – disrespectful and out of order and he deserves the sack for that. It is his job to face the media in a professional and dignified manner. They were poor yesterday but until Huddersfield scored so were they. Monk made valid points but the comments on Radio Leeds were also well over the top describing this as the worst performance they have seen. I thought they were much better defensively yesterday than all the matches I have seen at Elland Road for a long time. The problem is no creation and with Bridcutt and Philips as enforcers how can they create? Monk has worked on a limited budget to bring in 11 new players. They are not a lot better in quality than the players that have left. Therein lies the problem – under-investment in quality in the squad. Monk hasn’t got a magic wand. If he has been appointed as manager and given a year then that is what should happen. He will do as well as any other manager that we are able to recruit. This squad is only better in numbers – not quality. We can only finish half way and we have to be satisfied with that. We can’t have consistent goal mouth action and our excitment is now about how long the manager will last and if we have TOMA. Monk was 100% out of order, made mistakes in not changing tactics yesterday after going 1-0 down and again the players froze under the spotlight once they went behind but no point sacking him even if he deserves the sack. That is a 100% backward step and will likely keep us in a relegation battle for most of the season.

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    • It’s been refreshing to hear such a lot of common sense spoken by readers of this blog, even when the views expressed conflict with each other. Thanks, guys.

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