Now Leeds United MUST Start Acting Like the Big Club They Are   –   by Rob Atkinson

Leeds Fans

Leeds fans expect…

Leeds United‘s season is over, many will feel prematurely. The chance that was there was untaken, the nettle ungrasped. United have sadly, in colloquial parlance, bottled it. 

The reasons for this will be gone into often and deeply enough over the next few weeks or so. The nature of the game, and of football pundits and supporters, demands a post mortem to follow such deep disappointment. Heads will be scratched, brows will be furrowed. Arguments will run hot and cold. So mote it be. This is the aftermath of failure, and it’s a necessary though painful ritual.

At the end of all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, though, the reasons for failure will be seen as stark and simple. Leeds seized defeat from the jaws of victory, plummeting from a handy position with a disastrous late run of poor displays and awful results. The seeds of failure were sown in January, when manager Garry Monk‘s prescription for consolidation of a play-off berth (with an outside chance of gate-crashing the automatic promotion party) was bizarrely rejected by men in suits who thought they knew better. What a bitter harvest we reaped from that insensate folly. 

It must not happen again. The manager must be listened to and heeded – if he’s going to have to accept that the buck ultimately stops with him, then he deserves the tools to do the job. Monk asked for reinforcements and was betrayed, there’s really no other word for it. That harsh lesson must be learned, because it’s going to be even harder to get out of this league next time around. 

Leeds United is a huge football club, a true institution of the game. Yet they have been taught the ABC of ‘Acting like a Big Club’ by comparative minnows in the shape of Reading, Huddersfield and Fulham. Even by the moderately sizeable Sheffield Wednesday. That’s nowhere near good enough, and it’s vital that Leeds should be the ones laying a marker down this summer. Anything else, and smaller but hungrier clubs will eclipse us again. 

I expect next season to be intense. Aston Villa will be strong, having laid solid foundations. It’s likely that we’ll face many Yorkshire derbies, depending on the outcome of the play-offs. Middlesbrough, bolstered by parachute payments and battle-hardened by recent Championship experience, will be thereabouts. Add in Sunderland, Derby, and all the teams for whom beating Leeds is where it’s at – and you can see that it’s impossible to understate just how strong and well-prepared we must be. It’s going to take every ounce of effort, character, guts and determination – and a significant financial outlay. 

This summer will decide Leeds United’s prospects for next season. It’s vital now that we step up, and win promotion soon. It would be a tragedy – nothing less – if this great club were to celebrate its centenary in two years time, below the elite level of English football. We simply have to stake our claim to enter a second century as one of the country’s select band of top clubs. 

It’s time now for Leeds United to think big again, to act once more like the big club they undeniably are. Time for Leeds to prove that they’re a big club. An almighty struggle awaits and we just have to be ready. 

Marching On Together, back to the top. It’s there for Leeds, if they want it badly enough. And that’s the big test now for everyone connected with Elland Road. Can we do it? Of course we can. But will we? Will we be bold, brave and brazenly assertive enough? Will we stump up the price of promotion and earn our golden ticket to the Promised Land?

That, fellow fans, is the £25 million (minimum net squad investment) question. 

19 responses to “Now Leeds United MUST Start Acting Like the Big Club They Are   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. Yes, now the Bates’ legacy is over and, after the ten year period for repaying creditors following the 2007 administration is ended, we can move on… Perhaps! Nothing is settled until it is settle right. Bates’ legacy of corruption will haunt this club (like the destruction he promised) as surely as the Gypsy curse that Don believed.


  2. i agree with your article but the investment has to be £25m excluding bartley and pontus. anything less will;eave us badly exposed… again


  3. 100% spot on rob, I was dismayed in January when no investment came for the run in , I have put that down to joint ownership and lack of real knowledge about what it takes to win this league or even get into the playoffs, but this summer needs to be the turning point for this club and it’s long suffering fans, no more excuses, he’ll be solely in charge and he has the backing (or so we’re led to believe).. no more false dawns, it just feels that if the nettle isn’t grasped then it’ll mean another decade in the wilderness..


  4. Yes, the investment has to come but to me the most important thing is stability and that has to start with Gary Monk. Just the mere thought that a new broom may come in fills me with utter despair and I’m afraid if that happened we would once again become the laughing stock of the football world. We would deserve everything we get.
    We the fans have been treated like mugs for far too long and patronising comments that we are the the best around does not wash when our cries for help just fall on deaf ears. To me Radrizzani is just another name, and he will be just that until he shows he cards and puts his money where his mouth is. If he wants our respect he had better earn it. You can’t build without foundations and Monk has put these into place this season, now give him the resouces, the investment and the tools to go forward. We have come so close to what we have dreamed of for a decade, please don’t torture us for another year.


    • Torture??? You said we just had a “brilliant season” a few blogs ago Popeye. I would have thought you would be still floating on a cloud. Anyway,the fact that Monk brought in three lightweights in January doesn’t really help his case. Also I’ve said before,one up front isn’t going to win you promotion. There was never a plan b last season for when we were struggling to put teams away. Why wasn’t antonson or even Roofe upront with Wood? For me our failure to finish in the top six is due to either Monk or that £5m we would have had to pay the creditors. The latter reason would seem ridiculous considering the riches that lay in wait in the Premier league though.


  5. NickB(50yrsLU)

    Radrizzani will have to be very different from the previous three lots of owners for him to fork out £25M on players. Bates taught his successors well, that the only money to be made available must be from player sales; and we all know that much of that got diverted into hospitality suites, other ventures, back pockets, and settling law suits. I’m hoping that running out of legs in the last six weeks, what with suspensions and fatigue due to lack of squad depth, will make Radrizzani realise that going for promotion on a shoestring is too big a gamble. I’m glad we failed to make the play-offs, because we would have been stuffed by whoever we’d played, and it proves to a certain Massive Chump that you can’t gain promotion without appropriate player investment. If we can retain our back line – with the one exception we’re delighted to be waving a two-fingered goodbye to – we have to be ruthless in replacing players from midfield forwards who may have shown promise but ultimately didn’t fulfil expectations; or keep them on as reserves till they can pass, tackle, shoot and score. Someone needs to tell them that hitting the posts or crossbar is as useful as hitting the corner flags. We can’t go through another season with a stout defence, no holding, creative or scoring midfielders, or quality wingers, and a single striker who may never have a more productive year than the one just past. A team is eleven players, not six, and needs to have a good balance of the different functions, especially if it has aspirations to progress to the top tier. That is why the likes of Bournemouth and Brighton made it. It also needs a management team that can integrate and balance those functions, but, as yet, it’s only developed the one function. Will new faces with higher price tags do it, or is the present management ultimately incapable of producing a fully-functioning unit irrespective of who is on the pitch ? With no track record, this is an unanswerable question, and one that Radrizzani will have to ponder in the next fortnight.


  6. scalarenergysg

    Does anyone here feel that dropping out at the tail end was artfully and intentionally orchestrated? It seemed that some people like Radriziani and even the club itself had opportunity and financial incentives to not get promoted just yet. If it’s for the better, like stable ownership, a stronger and settled squad that goes straight for the automatics, plus not becoming premiership whipping boys when we are up there, then I’m all for it. There’s been a lot of enjoyable moments this season. Much more of that please, consistently.


  7. Belfast White

    Good read Rob & absolutely right. Hoping when Cellidiot goes Radz has the contacts to finance good squad investment. Think we need new quality in LB, CB. experienced DM, 2xWingers and Striker. Club could buy 4-5 good players to strengthen squad & excite the fan base. Then be smarter than MC with a couple of hungry young Prem loans. Has worked v well for other clubs.


  8. £25m looks sterp, Rob.
    The club must simply target quality players of the standard of Jansson, Bartley and Wood rather than bringing in the usual 8 or 9


  9. We must stop thinking of ourselves as a ‘big club’. We are a Championship club with big potential. Psychology not money is the key to our success. Remove the burden of playing for a ‘big club’ from the shoulders of players. And once we stop singing ‘Leeds are going up’ we might actually go up.


    • History and support comes into it too. Leeds is a massive club and needs players that can handle that pressure.


      • Grenville Hair

        To some extent Rob though I don’t see how a club out of its country’s senior division for 14 years can be thus described. That’s why Wilko dumped the posters of Bremner and Giles – create your own history. The more years that pass the more that perception wanes – nippers who remember the Revie era (including me) are past 50 now. How many people outside Leeds grow up supporting Leeds now? We need to get back to the top table – and fast.


      • We do, but global reach means that we’re still a massive club – and that won’t change anytime soon. Though I’ll admit it would be better for the health of this blog if we were in the EPL.


    • I think the Owner and Manager’s role is crucial in controlling pressure. I don’t think this means taking each game as it comes. The players have to be given a clear long-term goal (promotion) and nested goals (play off position by date x, home and away targets). I suspect we did not have any goals this season, at any rate, not at the outset (the bizarre season ticket offer notwithstanding). Talking of players, we need Championship players and not Premiership players, who can lack the necessary humility and resilience to play in what must be the toughest division in the world (demoted teams often do not prosper for this reason despite big bucks).


  10. wetherby white

    I hope when loser Cellino is writing out his season ticket refund cheques, the 20 ft neon image of January transfer window is something he can’t get out of his head. I felt at the time what a massive short sighted folly that decision was and that’s exactly what it turned out to be. A paltry amount saved and the countless millions of a return to the premiership lost. My heart of hearts told me that if we had stumbled into the playoffs, we lacked the quality to go all the way and another Watford/Doncaster day out beckoned. Two bits of quality in January could have got us over the line. Hope Radrizzani has learnt this lesson well and wont replicate same decisions in the future.


  11. Chris Wheeler

    With Cellino almost gone this summer really feels like crunch time and far bigger than missing the play offs which like Garry I don’t think we were ready for. Can we get the level of squad investment required without falling foul of FFP however. Will be interesting to see the fallout at the Wendies if they miss out on promotion again after splashing out £11m just on Rhodes in Jan and they may well fall foul of FFP. Above all I think a min 2 year extension of Monks contract with solid squad investment on top of keeping Wood, Bartley & Janson essential and we can’t come 2nd best in transfer market like we did over Cannos to Brentford debacle! I think Radrizanni’s back room staff changes show a clear statement of long term intent. Come on Leeds MOT


  12. Despite my opinion that it’s gonna be harder than ever, with many big names with big player budgets, i’m optomistic we can do well with a sane chairman!


Leave a Reply - Publication at Site owner's Discretion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.