Leeds United MUST Stop Their Ruinous Bargain Basement False Economy – by Rob Atkinson


Leeds Fans

Unrivalled support – the part of football where Leeds still rule

In the wake of Paul Heckingbottom‘s long, drawn-out, yet curiously unceremonious dismissal from his job at Leeds United, it’s important now to face up to certain unpalatable truths. The next United manager will be the club’s TENTH since 2014, giving our beloved club the unenviable title of “Highest Coaching Turnover” in that spell. That is a shameful record, a record of poor judgement and consistent failure under the auspices of successive owners. Leeds United are bang to rights on being the authors of their own misfortunes.

As a footnote to this latest sacking, somewhere amid the flurry of departures as the entire coaching staff was shown the revolving door, one of the men to leave, his contract not being renewed, was “Set Piece Coach” Gianni Vio, appointed with fanfares towards the end of the unfortunate Thomas Christiansen‘s abbreviated reign. Vio was somebody’s bright idea, yet another that didn’t pay off. It’s Leeds United who have ended up paying, over and over again, the price of rank bad decision-making, as contract after contract has had to be settled. You can see the financial folly of this, quite apart from the public humiliation of our club, when you consider that invariably it’s not just one single sacking, but a batch of them. So you multiply the cost of the settlements to be paid as contracts are more or less honoured. Then you start the costly process again – rinse and repeat.

The thing is, it’s US, the hapless, helpless supporters who are really getting rinsed. We have to suffer the slings and arrows of mickey-taking mates who follow less accident-prone clubs. In one dank corner of the national press, a certain bogroll of a “newspaper” which shall remain nameless has even had the audacity to suggest that Leeds fans must take part of the blame. With the possible exception of the dimmer end of the Twitter following, that’s arrant nonsense. Leeds fans as a vast congregation can do nothing but stand back helplessly, watching one slow-motion car-crash after another. It really isn’t good for the morale of the troops.

At some point, either now or, if not, then in the very near future as I earnestly hope, the powers that be at Elland Road must learn from the catalogue of mistakes that they have made and then repeated ad nauseam. False economy, shopping for bargains instead of concentrating on the quality end of the market, has cost United millions. They’ve set out to achieve success on the cheap, whether they’re buying players or hiring coaches, and ended up being massively expensive serial failures. That doesn’t make for good reading or writing, and the really nasty part is that the people responsible don’t take or even acknowledge the blame that is undoubtedly theirs. That’s the real sickener. And of course, they can point to that moron-market rag which is cheerfully blaming us, the real beating heart of the club.

This cycle of making do, paying up, lamenting and then doing it all again must stop. It’s time that Leeds United got serious about the business of making a success in football. Happily, there are a few behind the scenes signs that preparations are underway to make just such a quantum leap in ambition and aspiration. Capital injections, and the spreading of the net internationally to land a new manager, offer at least some cause for cautious optimism. Likewise, the names mooted as transfer targets have an unfamiliar sheen of stardust about them. It well be that Leeds United are on the point of growing up and getting serious about Life.

I certainly hope so, because surely the fans of this still great club cannot take much more of being made to look fools by association. Last season was an example of passionate support, home and away, with Elland Road packed out and the travelling army invading most of the country in their usual fanatical hordes. It was a level and intensity of support that the club did precisely nothing to merit; you have to question, though, whether another year of complacent apathy on the part of Leeds United will not see a dropping-off of support. It’s almost heresy to suggest this, but even football fans of the loyalest strip have their limit.

Perhaps Leeds will now go for a name and a reputation big enough to demand that enough time and money is provided for them to work their own brand of magic. Whether that will be Marcelo Bielsa, Claudio Ranieri, or some other high profile appointment, it is now vital that Leeds should depart from the ruinous path of false economy they’ve been travelling for so long. We must instead speculate to accumulate, not dwelling on the old nightmare of “living the dream”, but instead doing what is necessary to compete in a savagely dog-eat-dog league, to emerge, finally, into the daylight of the top flight – where this club belongs.

Carpe diem, Leeds. Seize the day, as you have yet another chance to do. Get it right, before you run out of chances. It’s time to march on together to success, instead of trudging towards the next dispiriting failure. The future starts here – and, this time, we must succeed.

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28 responses to “Leeds United MUST Stop Their Ruinous Bargain Basement False Economy – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Carpe Diem indeed! There has been far too much “mea culpa” over the years…

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  2. Yep Rob. That pretty much sums it up. Time for Radz to roll the dice. Next season will be tough enough with well funded clubs like Villa, Derby , Boro and the three relegated Prem teams to deal with.
    It’s never dull with Leeds but I just want to see some real quality and dare I say a bit of flair return to the club. Get Biesla/Ranieri, spend £50 mil on quality players added to the promising youngsters and tear this bloomin’ league apart !! MOT

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    • I’ve heard that money might be tight at Villa, but I take your point. It’s time to go for it, before we get seriously left behind. At the very least, we need to climb aboard that parachute payments gravy train – but I actually think that if Leeds went up AND GOT IT RIGHT – then we might very well take off and fly high. MOT

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  3. That’s the frustrating thing. If Leeds were to get back we would make an impression and not just be happy finish 17th or whatever.

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  4. Tim Campbell

    On a positive note there is a bevy of quality managers available to us at this point in time. But as you rightly said Rob, this has to be seen through to its expectant conclusion for once. Quality manager in, backed significantly in the transfer market, and hey presto!! Couldn’t be that difficult, could it?🤔

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  5. Tim Campbell

    I’m only going off info picked up over the past few weeks. But we have the San Francisco 49rs £10M, Radz putting £9M into the pot, and all season ticket money going towards transfers. Whether any other dosh will be thrown at this venture is anyone’s guess, but I have the feeling after a full season at the helm, Radz understands that doing things on the cheap rarely works

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  6. Paul Cranswick

    I take your point, Rob, in that the club needs to shed its cheapskate ideology. We need a manager with the cojones and desire to put us where we still, rather amazingly, believe we ought to be. Howard Wilkinson had this attitude that Leeds could compete at the very top table and so did David O’Leary.
    We need a manager who won’t be overawed by the task and the somewhat unreasonable expectations.
    The club will need to spend a little bit of money but not necessarily ridiculous sums. Someone of the ilk of Ranieri or Bielsa would have the presence and command sufficient respect of characters such as Orta to be have the final word on the playing squad and to have it shaped to their order without too many missteps.
    By trial and error I do hope that Radz is learning.

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  7. Chadnooky, have you looked at the age profile of Derby’s squad, a lot over thirty in it? Aston Villa has money problems and Middlesbrough have not got player selection anywhere near right, since they last got into the Premiership. Stoke and West Brom were at the bottom, because their squads were not good enough and I cannot see them spending enough to correct that. They will buy some over priced lower league player to put bums on seats. Barry Fry must see them coming.

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  8. Reality Cheque

    A spot on critique of the “buy cheap, buy twice” mentality of successive owners Rob. Like you, I hope and pray that we appoint an experienced, successful new head coach who will be backed financially in this window to bring in much higher quality players. However, a couple of things concern me which is making it difficult to convince myself that we have, or are about to, go for gold. Firstly, the rumour that will not go away about us having agreed to pay 4.5 million euros for Jerry the Carpi forward who managed little over half a dozen goals playing in the Italian second division with no experience of playing in British football’s most unforgiving league whatsoever, and secondly, we have lowered the bar so much lower with our pre-season friendlies schedule that I am not sure we are serious about attracting top quality players nor raising the standard of our existing squad.

    I very much hope that we are about to wake up from our nightmare to find that all our wildest dreams have come true! Is our “exciting summer” going to actually materialise Rob?

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  9. I agree with your views Rob…..but i know fans heads have been turned by all the big name managers being banded about, Bielsa and Ranieri but they’re untried at Championship level….I’d rather go for a safe pair of hands like McCarthy or dare I say it Bruce….. with the right financial backing they have the experience to take us up.

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  10. Life is LUFC

    Well you have said it all in this piece.
    False economy…they have no idea what the phrase means. I think they are a bit lost with the words Football and stability as well.
    How do we stop these owners from putting their grubby little fingers in the pies and make them leave the job of managing the players to the coaches, not to mention the picking of the players. I believe it took the Don three years to get his team together and look what happened when it did come together.
    Radz you supply the money and leave the rest alone.
    Orta if you have to be there do as your told and buy who the coach tells you to buy, not who you want to buy.
    All of you stop wrecking the careers of these managers with your constant sackings.
    Again all of you stop WRECKING our football club and bringing it into disrepute. We are all getting damn well sick of you.

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  11. I want a squad of youth and experience, good solid decent players who are prepared to sweat blood for 95 minutes. I want a coach who can instill the belief and train this squad to play exciting, attacking football and defend like the Alamo. A coach that encourages and rewards without favour and is not frightened of weiiding the axe when justified. As for the fans, I want constructive criticism and not this gutter insults some are too eager to spew out.
    I hope Radrizzani has learnt a hard lesson because this next season will truly be the severest test. It’s not much to ask for is it? Whoever comes in has the world at his feet if he can pull it off.

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  12. Hi there u7785. You could Have a point re Derby, Villa and Boro. No one is going to walk out of this league. But Leeds also finished behind Preston, Sheffield utd. Millwall and others off the back of 4 wins in the last 20 or so games. Without some sort of investment those teams mentioned will still have better squads than Leeds.
    MOT as always.

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    • If I might butt in here, I wouldn’t agree that those clubs have better squads than we do. Our problem, as I see it, is that the whole has tended to be somewhat less than the sum of the parts. For any effective team unit, that ratio needs to be reversed, as other Championship clubs have achieved. Not that we don’t need an injection of quality, but I feel the task of getting our elements of talent to function as a cohesive unit is at least as important.

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  13. AR has made a lot of mistakes since he took over and in such a short space of time too. One more and he needs to go too. Funnily enough i bought my son an Argentina kit yesterday just as a change and because I can’t bear nike so that ruled out the England kit. It must be an omen. That Bielsa sounds just the job too. What relief today has been though,why did we have to go through 4 months of that for crying out loud.

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  14. Scally Lad

    I continue to worry that Radz’s incentive to undertake the heroic path is going to be undermined by his business success. With bottom-half-of-a-second-league table of less than mediocre players and managers, he’s making big money and filling ER. He has little incentive to be visionary.

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  15. Spot on Rob
    IMO this is the biggest moment for our great club in the last miserable 14 years and I have to believe if we can attract a quality manager that person will have insisted on a big enough transfer budget.
    At the same time I think Andrea is a very smart businessman but was found wanting as an inexperienced owner which led to last seasons debacle. In all fairness to TC & PH they were given a weaker squad than the previous season with all the hype and expectations of a top 6 finish.
    Like you I think our support last season was amazing given the dross served up which I think was partly down to the hype and early promise and also Andrea buying back our beloved Elland Road.
    So now it really is crunch time for Andrea as anything other than a quality manager backed by quality signings will be seen through very quickly and crowds will dwindle.
    Come on Andrea now is the time to take Mighty Leeds back to the top table

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  16. I may be being a tad harsh on our squad and perhaps giving too much respect to our rivals squads. Certainly the crazy number of sending offs and injuries to key players did not help last season. Cohesion as you say Rob is what was lacking. How many times did we use the same back 4/5 ? Goalkeeper woes, mis firing centre forwards , many mid field combos and difficulty in accommodating both Saiz and Hernandez. Some good individuals but we never quite got the balance right. Still, I’m excited by recent developments as well as young Ronaldo’s cracker for Ingerland. MOT

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  17. king sniffer

    Personally I think Bielsa is a typo and they’ve missed off the last syllable of his name – “bub” 😜

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  18. wetherby white

    The embarssing turnover of managers has for me been as much about the appalling owners of Leeds United as the managers themselves. Yes there was the ridiculous appointment of Hockaday and a few foreign managers whose names I struggle to remember now, but there others who were badly let down by the people who employed them. Grayson was the best example whose promotion winning side only needed some decent investment and Im sure could have kept on going. Like him or loath him, Warnock was another whose buying the experienced player policy could have worked if the likes of Snodgrass hadn’t been sold from under his feet. What he’s achieved at Cardiff proves that just back the guy properly and he will do you a job. We had three of the worst sets of owners in football history, all following each other with for my money, Bates and toad Harvey, the worst. Heres to the future, whoever he may be!

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