Tactful Ben White Unable to Give Real Reason He Wants Leeds Move – by Rob Atkinson

Potter or Bielsa? Tact is needed to answer that

Certain things in life just aren’t done, usually for very good reasons. “Never draw to an inside straight” is an old poker aphorism which has entered the wider language with the approximate meaning of “don’t take unnecessary or unwise risks”. Away from the gaming table and into polite society, etiquette demands (inter alia) that port should only be passed to the left, and the fellow who has the bad breeding to do otherwise is marked down as a low cad. These are situations to be avoided; common sense in the former case and fine table manners in the latter mean there is no other choice, if you wish to be accepted as a person who knows what’s what.

Similarly, in other walks of life, behaviour is dictated by what can be accepted as exemplary upbringing, good sense, respect for your elders and betters and – by no means least – tact. Tact is extraordinarily important, for anybody who wishes to get ahead without ruffling too many feathers along the way, always bearing in mind the need to be nice to people on the way up, lest you meet them in a vengeful mood on the way back down again.

It will be a good few years before Brighton’s promising young defender Ben White has to worry about what will happen to him when he’s over the hill and on the slippery downhill slope that awaits us all. Ben’s best years are ahead of him, years in which he will wish to realise his massive potential and maximise the rewards he can hope to gain from what should be a stellar career. In order to do that, White must surely realise the importance of getting the best he possibly can in terms of education and experience in the formative phase of his football life. His magnificent season as a loan star in the colours of Leeds United will have brought it home to Ben that what he can gain under at least one more year of Marcelo Bielsa’s tutelage, combined with the guarantee of playing time that would not apply at a “top six club”, is highly unlikely to be replicated elsewhere. In short, right now, Ben White needs Bielsa’s Leeds just as much as Bielsa’s Leeds needs Ben White. But, sadly, it is impossible, for reasons of tact, to put out of joint the nose of Graham Potter, the coach at White’s parent club Brighton.

Egos, self image, prickly sensitivity and envy – all of these play a part in any competitive environment, professional football more than most. The last thing Mr. Potter will wish to hear from young Ben is that he feels his professional development will be better served under Bielsa at Leeds than in his current situation in Sussex. As admirable a club as Brighton undoubtedly are, and whatever the merits of the manager who has seen fit to put a price tag of £40 million on the head of a young lad he deems unworthy of a top contract “until he sees him in training”, you can’t blame Ben White for identifying Bielsa and the culture he’s nurtured at Elland Road as the prime mover behind what has been a meteoric rise to prominence since his United debut at Bristol just over a year ago. Clearly, Ben wants to prolong the experience, that’s utterly understandable. But how do you go about explaining this to current employers who have you in a contractual bind? Tact forbids being too pointed about such a business, and that’s the dilemma facing Ben White.

Ben White, still hoping to remain Ben of the Whites

Those of us with the best interests of Leeds United and Ben White at heart – and those interests are arguably identical – will hope that a way can be found through this maze of conventions and manners, tactfully of course, towards a solution acceptable to all parties. And Graham Potter’s feelings needn’t end up too bruised, it’s just a matter of him being able to accept that, whatever his talents, he’s no Marcelo Bielsa. After all, who is? Perhaps White’s agent can find some tactful way of making the situation as perceived by his client crystal clear – without ruffling those seagulls’ feathers too much.

Marching On Together

19 responses to “Tactful Ben White Unable to Give Real Reason He Wants Leeds Move – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Excellent analysis


  2. what a load of bollocks. You know nothing about Brighton or the premier league. Back down to the championship where you belong ! Big club lol


  3. mrbigwheels

    You are on form and have indeed set out the most logical structure to this position before all concerned. Time is surely the healer here and may I suggest, it is worth remembering that the tortoise won the race….


  4. Leeds Target Ben White Can Win Everything at Brighton, says Legend Potter – by Rob Atkinson. Only Legend Potter I’m aware of was wee Harry….so what makes this Potter a Legend? …and while saying ‘Can win Everything at Brighton’ it should be noted that in one season with Leeds he (White) won a Championship Medal and was ever present….how long has he been on BHA books now, played how many first team games? …then again, how long has this Legend Potter guy been in charge, and what exactly has he won during this time? ….winning a Relegation Battle does not count lol


  5. Gerald Hobbs



  6. Tactful should work both ways! He was LENT to Leeds, who should be grateful they could borrow such a good player to help them get promoted rather than continuously slagging them of for wanting to keep one of their best players. The club and fans always knew how good he was which is why for his development he was loaned to such a good coach and team. Agents always chase the money. And this fiasco is likely to be more damaging for such a young player than Brighton’s coaching which had a good reputation. I believe Leeds owner said Brighton were the blueprint of the club to follow, so maybe start loaning some of your youngsters out to clubs like Swansea. I guarantee Leeds won’t let them go for peanuts, and £25m, for a potential England central defender is peanuts these days, especially when top six clubs start sniffing around.


    • You say potential England player, yet he hasn’t played a minute of top flight football due to Brighton’s neglect of him.


      • By neglect, do you mean not being thrust straight into a Premier League Game without the right preparation, which is what his loan to Leeds was all about. Read through all your Leeds fans reviews after he’d played one match for you, they realised what a special player he was already, before Bielsa improved him even further. If you took your time to study the quality of Brighton’s Category 1 training facility and coaches, you may be a bit more educated about how he’s been nurtured rather neglected. He has done a great job for Leeds as they have for him, which is what the loan was all about. Good luck this season, because whoever Ben ends up playing for, both teams will need it, things have moved on a lot in the last fifteen years. I also suspect most Leeds fans think he will play for England one day, but there are no guarantees, I agree. Fact is, if a top six side want him, which is more likely to be next summer if he continues to improve, then neither Brighton or Leeds will have much of a say in the matter, contract or not.


  7. These articles are very hopeful, and I can understand as you really want to sign Ben White.

    If you put yourself in Brighton fan’s shoes, you would see that we knew exactly how good White was when we loaned him out and we never had the intention to sell him, it was so that he got the opportunity to play first team football.

    In that situation we are both doing each other a favour, you are getting our player for a year and he is getting valuable experience to play regularly to push for a place in our first team, but he is still our player, if we didn’t want him we would have sold him.

    Yes you did a great job and well deserved to be back in the prem, but also take a look at what is going on at Brighton. We play similarly attractive football and Graham Potter is a young manager with a lot of potential and has received praise for the way we have played from Klopp and Guardiola. He had also given the chance for young players to break into the first team, look at Lamptey and Connolly.

    Brighton are a club where White will get a chance and will fit into the line up. He is still under contract with us and I understand you boys want him, but we do as well, so we will have to wait and see what happens.

    Sometimes it feels like you let your ego get the best of you, try to stay humble as we have stayed in the prem the last 4 years and struggled in most of the seasons, but still stayed up. Most teams go down in the first few seasons.


    • You don’t mention what the lad himself wants, nor the progress he’s made under Bielsa who, whether you care to admit it or not, is unique. Maybe you don’t care about these factors. Sometimes it feels like you let your ego get the best of you, try to stay humble.


  8. Life is LUFC

    I hope Ben has the sense to do what HE wants to do with his working life. He is happy with what he has done so far and what he has achieved. The last three seasons has seen him go from strength to strength under the training of good coaches, each set of coaches has prepared him to move on and up. He is now at a crossroads within his working life to decide his next move. That decision should on the whole be his with well grounded guidance from the best possible place and that place will probably be from his parents.
    Agent….no, too self interested.
    Football clubs…..no, same reason as above.
    Yes I support Leeds United and would love them to always have what is best for them. BUT these lads are human and young and need to be given space to think about and make what could be life changing decisions to themselves. These lads need to get it right and if possible the first time round.
    Now let life take it’s own natural course and what will be will be. Good luck Ben and do what is right for YOU.


  9. Uncle Dave

    I think Brian potter and his Brighton will get relegated. His Phoenix club will go down in flames and the singed seagulls will have to have a firebrand sale.Next season, we will get Ben ‘ the white ‘ White for about £8 million. Adidas will produce an all white trainer simply called Adidas Ben and Brian potter will get the push ( in his wheelchair ) and will spend the rest of his days in the Sussex branch of the British Legion telling anyone that listens, ” I used to be a top manager at a big club you know? I had ambition and dreams. Toblerone anyone? “


  10. Glamorgan white Karl

    Ben hasn’t asked to leave (shame). I wonder what might happen if he’s not in the team in the first few games,
    Guaranteed game time at Leeds, maybe not at Brighton.


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