Pointless Appealing: Leeds Must Accept O’Kane Red and Move On with Business – by Rob Atkinson

EOK nut

Eunan O’Kane – bang to rights for sheer stupidity

One of the less controversial aspects of the defeat at Portman Road, where Leeds failed to make the most of an unremarkable Ipswich Town side pretty much there for the taking, was the straight red dismissal of Eunan O’Kane for violent conduct. The video evidence is incontrovertible; O’Kane, despite the inevitable protests, is bang to rights and was positively begging to be sent off; the referee, only yards from the incident, was always going to oblige.

What leaves a nastier than usual taste in the mouth is that this particular piece of lunacy, which went some way towards ensuring that his team-mates, employers and supporters would end up empty-handed, came hard on the heels of what now seems a rather sanctimonious tweet expressing disappointment over the equally stupid transgression of Samu Saiz a week earlier at Newport. People in glass houses shouldn’t thrown stones, we might reflect. To his credit, O’Kane himself left the field without protest; the expostulations have come from other quarters. Meanwhile, the whole sorry affair threatens to deflect us all from the more important issues arising out of this and other recent failures.

The uncomfortable fact is that, in the last three league games, Leeds United have failed to score one single solitary goal, That’s over 270 minutes of huffing and puffing to no effect, during which time they have contrived to lose to Birmingham, who were swatted aside 3-0 by Derby yesterday, and gain one point from a Nottingham Forest side who set out to stifle Leeds and comfortably managed it. Leaving aside the inglorious FA Cup episode at Newport, Leeds are suffering in the league, which is far, far more important. The loss of Saiz for six games deprives us of much of the limited cutting edge we’ve had and, without quality reinforcements during this window, the fear is that the season could be fizzling out rather early.

What appears to be happening, in line with the predictions of many much earlier in the campaign, is that the lack of depth in United’s squad is being exposed by a smattering of injuries and suspensions. These are occupational hazards of an attritional league programme, and will happen to any but the most fortunate of clubs – but the difference at the top end of the table will be the deeper resources of those who have invested sensibly in quality, providing competent back-up for most positions. United’s over-reliance on young, raw possibles, like Jay Roy Grot for instance, is ample proof that their recruitment at first team level has been – so far, at any rate – inadequate for the rigours of a Championship season.

One transfer move that has been completed, and for a player seemingly ready to step into the first team picture, too, is that of Yosuke Ideguchi, a highly-rated midfielder whose signing is seen as something of a coup for the Elland Road club. How strange it is then that, after a work permit was unexpectedly forthcoming, Ideguchi’s loan to Spanish side Cultural Leonesa has still gone ahead. One thing Leeds United really needs, to allow them maybe the luxury of playing two up top, is a combative box-to-box midfielder which might permit such a change of shape. On the bright side, the welcome signing of Laurens de Bock will provide options across the defensive line, with the versatility of Gaetano Berardi possibly allowing him to be more effective when freed from his unaccustomed left-back berth.

And it really is important to look on the bright side, after what has been a dismal January so far, especially on the field of play. The next two weeks, and this is no exaggeration, will define the rest of our season. The word from the club is that they are working hard to bring in players, with a striker high on the shopping list. As Leeds fans, we should perhaps avoid being distracted by pointless and futile appeals over daft red cards – and hope that the powers that be down LS11 way can see the urgency of the situation in and around the first team squad. The play-offs are still somehow a tantalising possibility, offering at least the chance of an exciting climax to the campaign. It’s down to the club now as to whether or not they have the ambition to seize the day and give us all a second half of this season to relish.

Really, after the start to 2018 Leeds United have provided, that’s the very least we deserve.

16 responses to “Pointless Appealing: Leeds Must Accept O’Kane Red and Move On with Business – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Statetheobvious

    Agree with most of what you say Rob and unfortunately it is usually at this time of year when we implode through a series of so called own goals and lack of investment in the team. We are undoubtedly recruiting well at U 23 level but urgent team ( Not squad ) strengthening required now because for me promotion is there for the taking.


  2. There is something that makes me feel uncomfortable about this Orta -Bravo – Leonesa – Aspire Academy arrangement. Who is pulling the strings about where players go because none of it makes any sense for Leeds IMO.
    If whoever makes the decisions are not prepared to put some real money on the table for a proper striker instead of continually ferreting about in the bargain basement then they might as well not bother and we can declare yet another season well and truly over right now.
    wolves will go up because they set out their stall and the owners took good advice, spent the money appointed a good MANAGER and had a plan. All we seem bothered about is bringing in Under 23 players and that hasn’t exactly been a success to date.
    Will I see Leeds at the top table again in my lifetime – probably not..


  3. James Waite

    Hi Rob,
    Very eloquently written. Some poor performances by the lads lately. We should be smashing teams like Ipswich, Brum and Forest. TC messed up with that “team” selection in the cup.
    Its time for AR to invest if he’s serious about making a promotion bid this season. I had a rough review of the acquisitions we made in the summer, at least 75-80% are not up to the job, and that’s being very generous.
    Plus, we had lost Bartley, Taylor and Wood who have not been adequately replaced. I don’t see us even making the play-offs without some good recruitment and also worry that Jansson, Viera and Saiz may go in the summer if they see that AR is not seizing the day.
    I thought Jansson’s performance yesterday showed a lot of frustration at the way things have gone.
    On a lighter EOK note, apparently this is how humanists greet each other, not many people are aware that Jonny Bairstow converted to humanism before the Ashes tour 🙂


  4. Reality Cheque

    The authorities will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of lengthening O’Kane’s ban in the event of an appeal. Take your medicine Mr O’Kane and apologise to your team mates, manager and fans. Meanwhile, Mr Radrizzani, can we please recruit some experienced talent for the first team who are capable of hitting the ground running and not 17 years of age. It is a pity our supposedly amazing Japanese international “box to box” battling midfielder wasn’t on OUR BENCH!! yesterday as a credible option for TC to plug the gap in midfield following the dismissal of O’Kane, rather than plying his talents in the Spanish second tier. Our recruitment policy isn’t exactly filling me with confidence and it seems like we are aiming to turn into a production line for more successful clubs to utilise whenever they have the need. Our obvious *here and now” weaknesses in the first team are not being addressed in return for the amazing support our fans have delivered thus far this season. ALAW


  5. It makes you wonder whether this latest implosion is by design as happened last season in my opinion? Or do we have two players in the squad who are really so stupid and selfish as to spoil things for everyone?


  6. Our team’s inability to convert chances seems to be the biggest problem Leeds face. Whether this is due to skill or psychological shortcomings is debatable. After the Millwall game it became obvious, to every other opponent, that Leeds is easy to intimidate. Mick McCarthy, as you’d expect, would have instructed his side up to ‘get in the faces’ of Leeds players – it was a strategy that worked. Leeds seems to have lost the Bremner “keep fighting” ethos and found, instead, a “poor me” mentality – the retaliatory petulance shown by Siaz, O’Kane and even Jannson in recent games are examples. Winning is a state of mind, one that Leeds seems to have lost. Recruiting a player with a ‘winning mentality’ (another Bremner or Strachan) to galvanise the team will make the difference between success or failure this season… What are the chances of that happening, M. Radrizzani?


  7. I’m a bit concerned about our upcoming fixtures. The ‘wall at home next week. They are a team we have mixed results against at the best of times. Their away record is poor but form doesn’t seem to count for much in the EPL. If it did I might win more on the fixed odds!
    After Hull away we face Cardiff, Blades, Bristol and Derby. In March, Smoggies and Wolves. Most of these games are on Sky (bad vibes). We could really do without the pointless red cards as the squad is lookiing weak .Millwall will be fired up and we’ll need real fight and desire to get a result. I just hope Vieira is fit because our options at the mo are pretty limited. MOT.


  8. One thing that appears to have been overlooked in all this sending off issue Rob is the part played by Mr. Knudsen who charged at O’Kane when the incident was nothing to do with him, then, following what can only be described as a ‘coming together’ bearing in mind that O’Kane is considerably smaller than Knudsen and had to jump to make any sort of contact, throws himself to the floor apparently feigning death and convincing the ref. to send O’Kane off. Whilst I would never condone O’Kane’s actions, I do believe that displays such as Knudsen’s should equally be rewarded by the minimum of a booking. Such theatrics are cheating and have no place in football.


    • I think you’re right. But, days after expressing disappointment in Saiz, O’Kane was under unusually heavy and self-imposed pressure not to be an arse himself.


  9. Philip of Spain.

    A bit late Rob, but the thing that really,really sickened me by the whole incident was that Ipswich player applauding the sending off.What a pillock whatever went on before.


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