Can Leeds United Afford to Miss Out on Big Mick McCarthy or Chris Coleman? – by Rob Atkinson

Coleman for Leeds – or maybe Big Mick McCarthy?

It’s a blogger’s prerogative to change his or her mind, and just about all of the optimism and positivity I felt over the appointment of Paul Heckingbottom has now drained away through my boots. The aftermath of the Norwich defeat was probably the last straw as Tom Pearce, a brilliant young prospect of vast potential who has performed creditably  for Leeds United when thrown in at the deep end, was hung out to dry by his coach, who pointed the finger at an inexperienced kid when several so-called seniors were far more culpable. Et tu, Hecky probably didn’t flash across young Pearce’s mind – but nobody would have blamed him if it had. This was a despicable low blow, from a man who seems set on shifting the blame wherever he can, just to keep it from his own guilty door.

So much for Hecky, as far as I’m concerned anyway. But, surely, it will be difficult for the owners to move out a man who was only appointed after the closure of the last transfer window, appalling as his record of results over the whole season at Oakwell and Elland Road has undeniably been? It would be a bold move, to say the least. But the question needs to be asked: on the available evidence, including that unwarranted attack on young Pearce, who do we want in charge of team affairs, and having an input into player recruitment, during the crucial summer window about to open? It’s a good question, probably easier to answer, with an accusing finger pointing at the current incumbent, in terms of who we don’t want.

So, assuming for the sake of argument that the board does the brave, right thing, in shipping Hecky out, where do we then look? There is the highly-respected, no-nonsense figure of Mick McCarthy, erstwhile Leeds fan and Irish World Cup legend, a man who faces all of his challenges head on, a warrior of stern aspect with a deeply impressive brow hammered flat by contact with thousands of footballs and the occasional opponent too. There’s a lot to be said for Mick, he’s the Leeds type and would possibly be keen to grasp the Elland Road nettle.

But another intriguing possibility has sprung up this weekend, with the laughably disgraceful sacking of former Wales boss Chris Coleman by League One newcomers Sunderland. It’s a situation that would read better in reverse, with Coleman tearing up his Mackems contract in disgust and hot footing it out of there. Either way, another high profile former international coach is on the market, and surely that should pique some interest in the troubled corridors of Elland Road.

For my money, it would be Coleman by a short head, if only because he’s nearer the right end of his managerial career. Both Mick and Chris have points to prove, having left their respective previous jobs under different types and shades of cloud. But perhaps Coleman’s motivation would be keener, his appetite greater. And, despite the Stadium of Light fiasco, there’s little room for doubt over his ability.

Opinions welcome, as ever. Please refrain from making easy jibes over my Heckingbottom disillusion. These things happen, to any fan. And that’s what I am, first and foremost, a Leeds United fanatic desperately keen to give anyone coming into my club unstinting support. It’s not pleasant to have to jump ship so early, but HMS Hecky is foundering on rocks of its own devising, and I honestly think the man needs to go.

36 responses to “Can Leeds United Afford to Miss Out on Big Mick McCarthy or Chris Coleman? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Chris Coleman, of course! As well as for the reasons you mention, the Gary Speed connection is perfect for Leeds.


  2. David Dean

    You have turned my head,Rob. Didn’t know that re. Pearce. That sounds totally out of order as does his team selection. 3 wins since he took over. The same stats over the whole season and they would have been relegated. 13 points in 15 games. They would have had 39 points with 1 match to play. Above Sunderland but 2nd bottom. Get either of those two in, McCarthy my preferred choice.


  3. Getting rid of Heckingbottom can’t come soon enough for me. He just isn’t a good fit for Leeds either as a personality or as a competent coach. I will predict now that if he stays he will be gone by Christmas and yet another wasted season will pass us by.
    Either of the two mentioned will do for me.
    I just don’t like Heckingbottom and suspect neither do the players.


  4. Philip of Spain

    The team are gone,there’s just nothing there.Hecks adding nothing,motivation,plan B,team selection,plan A even,nothing.His record is abysmal.Yesterday was a duel of mid table dross and we even out drossed Norwich.Surely the taxis outside?His successor, who knows,can’t even guess,the minds numb with it all.


  5. Orta…………..
    Neither of those managers will work as a head coach


  6. Life is LUFC

    I an unable to raise another thought.


  7. Leeds oldie

    I was supportive of heckingbottom ,but the result yesterday is the last straw, if the players can’t raise there game when there is no pressure it is conclusive to me that he can’t motivate this pub side. Take out BPF ,Pierce,and Pennington God knows were we would be. There has to be a clear out and a MANAGER not a coach be brought in ,who has the understanding of players needed to get out of this league.
    My choice only just but I would go for M.McCarthy, and bring back Kyle Barlett to partner O’Connor sell jansen ,Pennington to stay ,Coyle to return from Fleetwood and Pierce at left back good basis to work from


  8. Mike Durham

    I thought he’d left weeks ago to be honest!
    Mick McCarthy for me though ; the biggest job he’s had in football and the crowning glory of his managerial career when he turns around Titanic Leeds!


  9. I was one of many who thought Heckingbottom should be given the summer. No longer he simply is not up to it.
    Big Mick would do a good job and should be appointed ASAP.


  10. David Smith

    Agreed….Coleman for me as well ! Didn’t think I would be in the ‘rid Heckingbottom camp’ quite so quickly, but in all honesty what sort of manager/coach includes Lassoga & Grot as subs after they’re recent displays & demeanour & then brings them on again to little or no affect !! If we are to believe the latest news regarding Bartley, then my spirits are lifted somewhat, but no I’m sorry I say give Mr Heckingbottom the chance to take his kids away for an early summer holiday, which as I recall was an option he intimated on when he joined us back in January!!


  11. I hate to do this again but I’m not sure about Coleman or McCarty now. It seems I’m always disagreeing but Coleman hasn’t really done anything as a manager. He inherited the wales squad and they would have laid down their lives for the cause anyway for Gary’s memory. Fulham,did you do much there? Sunderland relegated. The problem I have with McCarthy is his temperament,a bit too huffy. Personally I would give Colin another go that’s if we don’t get Strachan. As we all know though,the problems are just as bad in the board room. A director of football who is too much “miss” and not enough “hit” and an owner who goes from one calamity to another.


    • I sort of agree about Colin. Probably the right man at the wrong time when he was at Leeds before. Immensely dislikeable and therefore just the man for United.


  12. Reality Cheque

    It is only my opinion Rob, but I am struggling to convince myself that Chris Coleman has the credentials and competencies to reverse our current decline. Yes he has achieved with international underdogs Wales, but all the foundations and tactical blueprint had been put in place by our late great Garry Speed.

    Our current squad of players have completely lost every ounce of confidence with even the initial brighter lights being dimmed to almost darkness. Consequently, whoever did replace Heckingbottom would need to be Mr Motivator and Mr Confidence-restorer personified. Sadly, Chris Coleman had the same brief when he took the reins at Sunderland but his ability to restore confidence, motivate, unify and invigorate his players was far from impressive.

    I am a big fan of Mick McCarthy but I think we missed the boat by not signing him when he was a younger man.

    I confess that I do not have any in depth knowledge of our U23’s manager but he does seem to at least possess the ability of turning a group of players amassed by way of Orta’s Europe wide “scatter gun” approach into a “team” capable of achieving an impressively high level of consistency within 6 months. If Mr Radrizzani were to call his own “judgement” into question again by again sacking his chosen head coach within months of appointing him, then I suggest that he gives serious thought to appointing a man who has achieved so much during his brief tenure and is right under his nose.

    It could prove that promotion from the academy is not restricted to players and what an incentive for the youngsters who have been progressing under his coaching methods with dreams of breaking into the first team and, like Neil Redfearn before him, he would know better than any else the qualities and potential of the production line at his disposal.


  13. Gerard O'Hagan

    I agree totally with everything you mention in the article. I was willing to give Hecky a decent shot and thought he would do well, given the time but I’ve seen a decline instead of an improvement given that Saiz and other suspensions and injuries are back playing again. Slippery slope comes to mind.


  14. Who in their right mind would want to take up the job of managing a club like Leeds? No investment into buying proven Championship players, Orta buying in players of League One Caliber at best then leaving it to a manager to do what they can with those players.
    An owner who slowly seems to be losing the plot..
    The LUFC Circus continues to trundle on with yet more new Ringmasters being punted for the job!
    We Are Leeds, that’s for sure!


  15. Heckingbottom was chosen in my mind as it kept Orta in a job, someone happy to be a coach. He was not the right appointment and I am all for giving the right man time but Heckingbottom is not that man, if he stays it will be another lost year. The issue has been mentioned in the other posts, what good manager will we get on with Orta being in control of the playing staff? McCarthy, who I believe is the better choice when compared to Coleman, will last two minutes with Orta telling him who he needs on the pitch to succeed!

    Grayson should have been given the job in January until the end of the season but Heckingbottom’s willingness to bow down to Orta stopped that happening. The owner is trying to do the right thing for Leeds, the issue is that Orta is doing the advising.


  16. howard mackey

    Agree with you Hecky needs to be moved on blaming a young player is out of order,Mick McCarthy or Chris Coleman two good managers but like Chareose said neither will work as a head coach, unless Orta accompanies Hecky out of the door at E.R.
    Regards H.


  17. Scally Lad

    I’m please to read this, Rob. I have long said that our problem is less with our players than our management of them, and that Hecky is a loser – seemingly committed to turning us into Barnsley. And I agree with you that either Coleman or McCarthy would be preferable; what’s important is that we start looking at where the core difficulty is, and it’s at the top.


  18. Maybe Christiansen was far better than we gave him credit for, I have a feeling that he will go on to be successful. These are the same players that Heckingbottom has it the only reason we are not going down is due to the points we got before Christmas. The TV pundits harp on about how we need sweeping changes as the players are not up to the Championship as a defence to Heckingbottom yet they are the same players, if not better than when TC left. Was TC good or is Heckingbottom really that bad?


  19. king sniffer

    Me too I’m afraid. I have been adamant up to now that he should have the close season, but I’m now sadly of the opinion that it’s time to go – with the last nail in the coffin being the criticism of Pearce. McCarthy or Coleman would do for me – whoever has the guts to give us a go.


  20. Nice article Rob. My major worry is the board. This Mayanma tour is just plain crazy for every reason. It’s a volatile war zone, it’s a sitting bomb and who in the squad is going?. Is it the same guys who played so magnificently yesterday? The same guys of which at least half a dozen won’t be here next season, we hope? Radrizzani and this board are beyond belief. No true committment, no true investment and least of all no trust.
    Paul Heckingbottom has shown very little and I have always been on his side until yesterday. If a coach does not have the ability to instill a fighting spirit, to promote pride in yourself and a sense of belief, over and above skill then he should not be coaching. I like the man but not the coach. My choice would be McCarthy. Experience, passion, fight, and a need to succeed. He knows what the fans are pleading for, he knows how great the rewards would be. The fans are desparate for someone to bond with and I really think he could do it. Unfortunately, it’s the board that needs to take a good hard look at itself and start listening to the wealth of experience and advice hammering at its door from all directions. This season has to be the last straw.


  21. Ant Gilbert


    O connor pontus cpt bartley
    Ayling aloiski
    Forshaw howson
    Roberts mcburnie

    Manager : myself


  22. Kevin Weston

    Rob, totally agree with you. Until yesterday i was all for giving PH a chance with pre season etc. I could understand why he has been playing Grot and Eckuban if only to show Orta and AR “I told you that they were not good enough” although to be fair to Grot he’s still got time. Then yesterday turning up at the ground to find that both plus Lasogga were on the bench. This game and at home to QPR is the ideal chance to put Dalby and other younguns in the squad. Finally to have a go at Pearce. When he was taken off I thought it was tactical i.e. 3 at the back as we were chasing the game. I can’t see them sacking him as they would have to admit another mistake. I wouldn’t have Coleman and big Mick would have nutted Orta before the transfer window opened. Last season was a one off and even then we fell short and as for Bartley, i would have him back but this is a PR stunt, we can’t afford him.


  23. I felt the same way about hecky .I thought give the man a chance but i was wrong he will take us back into leauge one. should have kept tc till end season


  24. Whether Coleman, McCarthy, Colin ,Pep, Jose, or Arsene (he’s available how about that?) the new manager will need the funds to build a squad to his particular template. Grayson, Colin ,Monk etc were never properly backed.
    Since Xmas we have beaten ,Burton, Bolton, and Barnsley (all relegation fodder and all at home) and Brentford. Investment is essential and with average crowds of 30,000 + in a poor season not unjustified.
    What is it with teams from towns beginning with a ‘B’’? Without them we’d be playing Accrington next season!
    Post season tour to Myanmar!!! Is Ken still the chairman? I need a lie down. MOT.


    • Ha ha,nice one Chadnooky. I was just about to post a comment regarding Wenger. Why not? He doesn’t need the dough and its about time we saw how good these “Super Coaches” really are. His remit would have to be bringing through the academy players and buying local/English though. I cant be chewed with any more foreign mercenaries taking the p—. It would certainly get the city and area jumping as would the dream ticket of Strach and Mac.


  25. Kevin michael Murphy

    It’s time to sack orta and manager and bring in mc carthy


  26. Brad Twersky

    I’m going contrarian here. Maybe it’s because I’m American, maybe it’s because I am a big believer in the concept of players, not coaches, being the determiner of success…maybe it’s because I’ve seen too many coaches start off their careers utterly abominably somewhere, only to go on to great success…but everybody seems just a tad distraught and hasty, including our esteemed leader.

    Guys we’re all MOT here. So what if he was harsh to one of our youngsters? Even if this was a mistake…everybody makes them. How are we ever going to build something if we keep getting rid of our field generals after a year? And if that’s indeed what we want, then PLEASE stop writing about every new manager as the second coming of Jesus every time one is hired!


  27. Johnny Bangkok

    I agree Feckingbottom should go.. but I disagree it should be for another British coach. Get in a guy who can speak to Orta in his own language and can influence new player purchase as much as possible.. But more importantly who can control and get the best out of lost sheep Saiz. I say we go for Quique Sanchez Flores. Just been released from Espanyol and if Radders is serious for us to get to the Premiership, he would be my choice.


  28. Aussie Dave

    Rob – I too was excited about a young up-and-coming Yorkshireman steering us back into the Promised Land. I was a strong advocate for giving him time and his own team to start off next season, however, this current team has no pulse. There is no response to their Gaffer. This is not a good sign at all – time to go Paul Hecky.

    The number one characteristic the next MANAGER should bring to the Leeds table is the ability to attract good players to the club. Hecky wants to bring half of Barnsley FC to Leeds – below average players (it is highly possible McBurnie will prove to be a good player in the years to come) for a bargain. Can Coleman or McCarthy bring in the required talent. I’m not sure. One thing is for sure – if Mick McCarthy came in you can be sure he would have thrashed out his Manager model very clearly to Radz first. He would definitely want final say in signings and be very clear which leagues/countries they come from. Otherwise he wouldn’t come to Leeds – Mick’s no fool.

    My fear now is that they will now go for another foreign manager, as the English experiment has failed, so we could be in for another long settling in period before things change.

    I can’t wait for May to finish so we can get on with planning for the next season. My guess is when the team arrive back from Burma Hecky will get his Marching Orders Then



  29. McCarthy now! Heck out for fk sake. How much more do we need to see? Mick will kick their pampered asses on board. No other candidate! We’ve suffered this season. His record in this league says it all…


  30. McCarthy will go to Sunderland if not given control over Orta then God help us!


  31. We need to rid ourselves of Higginbotham he’s a loser with a losing mentality,get rid of orta too buying us second rate players


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