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.