Frustration Through the Window and On the Pitch for Leeds, Who Must Improve at Middlesbrough – by Rob Atkinson


What should have been – poor Daniel James robbed of his dream move to Leeds United

Last weekend, together with the finale of the January transfer window preceding it, was a period which hardly qualifies as a highlight of Leeds United’s season so far. Taking transfer deadline day first, we had the protracted Dan James transfer saga finally coming to a conclusion, but not in a good way.

All seemed agreed; Dan had travelled up to his native Yorkshire to conclude what was, evidently, a move he was very keen to make from Swansea City to Leeds. The lad duly passed his medical, and went from Thorp Arch to Elland Road for his unveiling as a Leeds United player. He’d got the Leeds kit on, and was being filmed for a video announcement – and then, from early evening until the 11 pm deadline itself, Swansea City simply “went quiet”, refusing to answer increasingly urgent calls from Leeds. Even the player himself tried to call his reticent employers, but to no avail. So, the deadline passed, and the deal fell through.

There were no winners here, despite some defiant glee from the Swansea fans, many of whom had been saying good riddance when they thought the deal was being done. Leeds United lost out on a valuable squad addition, the player lost out on a move he really wanted – and Swansea could well have lost most of all, as they now have a very disappointed footballer on their hands, one they had seen fit to leave cooling his heels for hours at Elland Road, in the dark as to exactly what was going on. As deals go, it was a bad deal all round. It would be very interesting to know what the Football League, taking their own sweet time to pronounce on whether Spygate amounts to a failure of good faith by Leeds, make of Swansea City’s idiosyncratic approach to transfer dealings. Quite possibly, we shall be denied this knowledge.

And then it was Saturday, and the much-hyped meeting of the Championships top two at Elland Road, with Norwich City intown. Sadly, just as the transfer window had ended disappointingly for Leeds, so this match turned out to be a veritable damp squib for the home side. Norwich City showed up in a determined frame of mind, ran hard, fought hard, took their chances, rode their luck in the first half especially, and ultimately emerged as fairly comfortable winners. They had exacted revenge, in all but perfection, for United’s 3-0 success at Carrow Road back in August, only Patrick Bamford’s late consolation goal preventing an exact reversal of that scoreline. And there might we, just possibly, identify a crumb of comfort.

The Norwich game had been frustrating from the very start, with Leeds battering away up to the interval and getting absolutely nowhere, while the Canaries annoyingly profited from two defensive indiscretions and, aided by two deflections, scored twice. After half time, United played as though they’d forgotten what football was all about, Norwich added a third through yet another deflection, and that was pretty much it. Bamford’s late header from a corner hardly eased the gloom, but it did give some cause for optimism about the rest of the season. Because Bamford, if only he can stay fit, is probably the most natural finisher on United’s books – and that cutting edge, for all of Kemar Roofe’s industry and endeavour, is what has been lacking to top off all the attacking verve Leeds have shown throughout this campaign.

It may well be that the Norwich game, as well as highlighting United’s deficiencies, might have shown the way forward. If, that is, Bamford can finally be accommodated within the philosophy of Bielsaball. And, with a lunchtime Saturday trip to Middlesbrough in the offing after the last week or so Leeds United have had, we can only hope and believe that this will be how it turns out.

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6 responses to “Frustration Through the Window and On the Pitch for Leeds, Who Must Improve at Middlesbrough – by Rob Atkinson

  1. After the FL “statement” it’s time for the LUFC lawyers to start earning their money. All disciplinary investigations are to be done within a reasonable time frame, as a former shop-steward, two weeks is usually recognised as the reasonable time frame. It’s been far longer than that already, I’d be demanding it got chucked out. Apologies for the rant but the FL really infuriate me, and yes I know I should be used to it by now. A bunch of clowns overseen by the idiot that is Shaun Harvey.

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  2. I think a draw would be OK Rob.
    If Bamford can survive ‘Boro’s defence, it will be a good sign for the rest of the season.
    Fingers crossed.
    Bamford & Roofe can be a good combination.
    We need Kalvin’s strength in midfield/defence.

    MOT!

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  3. Reality Cheque

    Here’s hoping that Storm Erik’s gales suit our style rather than Boro’s tomorrow afternoon Rob.

    Trying to keep everything in perspective Rob as Bielsa has been an absolute breath of fresh air and kept us in an automatic promotion place for almost the entirety of the last six months but I do not think his ‘spygate’ press conference and admissions to being a serial spy was his smartest moment in his long and illustrious career. The saddest outcome of it all is that one of the kindest, most honourable and honest men in football will be labelled a “serial cheat” by all outside of Leeds United Football Club so it really has to be a siege mentality from here on in.

    Our dip in form has coincided with the endless negative media coverage and EFL/FA investigation his presser attracted but will hopefully have now run its course.

    We’re getting to the business end of our season now and with the Blades playing tonight, Norwich involved in a “Gimme” of a local derby tomorrow and our tough game v Boro its possible that we could drop from having had a 3 point lead down into the play offs inside a week. So lets hope that our walking wounded stars manage to make the game and we can re-ignite our promotion push tomorrow. Come on you Mighty Whites. ALAW

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  4. Reality Cheque

    And breathe. Phew, we are still top two despite the EFL ref’s best efforts to give Sheffield United a win. Despite all the odds being stacked against us Bielsa WILL lead us to the Promised Land Rob

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  5. We have had so many years in the doldrums Rob that being positive and believing the glass is half full really is an uphill task. The Dan James fiasco was disgusting. No doubt any official investigation into this would make US look bad becausethat would be more popular all round. As for the Norwich game, I really do think they were flattered, they milked it, the press milked it. We were bang under par that day both as a unit and certain individuals but even so the football was there, the moves were there but we were outdone again by three succur punches, and we beat ourselves. Anyway, water under the bridge. I know we need strengthening, everybody does, BUT I honestly believe that fully fit we have a decent and strong enough squad to get promoted, if not automatically then the playoffs. I just hope we don’t burn out like so many pundits are just waiting for. Just discovering that right combination up front could make all the difference.To be where we are right now in the space of half a season with more or less the same guys as last year is a mark of pure genius from a guy that could well emulate the Don and Wilko. Let’s show our guys we are right behind them and blow the roof of these stadiums.

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