Tag Archives: loan window

Could the Leeds United Chairman be Trying to Pass the Buck? – by Rob Atkinson

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“The buck stops here” is a phrase that was popularised by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who kept a sign with that phrase on his desk in the Oval Office.  But where does the buck stop in football, and more specifically – where does it stop at Leeds United?  We don’t have a President – the last candidate for that position was bundled into a car and dispatched into exile in Monaco; he hasn’t been heard from since.  The next most likely candidate for stopper of the buck is the current Leeds United Chairman, Salah Abdulla Nooruddin Nooruddin.  Mr Nooruddin’s views on just where responsibility lies for the present state of the club appear somewhat ambiguous, as witness the tweets that accompany this article, specifically the one issued in the wake of the Millwall defeat.

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Leeds United is a football club quite unlike any other, as we all know – but it nevertheless shares some characteristics in common with more run-of-the-mill outfits. One of these foibles is that any praise or appreciation of the fans as a body of support; any suggestion from the suits at the top that the turnstile fodder at the bottom are not merely that, but are in fact salt of the earth heroes of whom the players, staff, directors and tea-ladies are in respectful awe – any such sentiment expressed at times of tension particularly, can be relied upon to go down well.  A well-timed word or two to this effect might even buy a stressed Chairman some useful time and room to manoeuvre.  It’s been done before.

That explains the honeyed words in the earlier tweets.  But Salah appears to have emitted the most recent tweet under some duress, in response to some angry hectoring from irate fans who can see this season falling apart.  And, looking beneath the surface of that tweet, it begs the question: just how wise or otherwise was this tweet?  What is Salah actually saying?

To say in so many words that the club are trying to bring in a striker AND a winger – a necessity I’m on record as specifying a few days ago – is encouraging.  We can but hope that, thus committed, Mr Nooruddin and Co will make good on this statement of intent. The rest of the tweet though is a little more problematic, with – once you start to dig – a few more layers to it.  “BUT with current squad we should have won today!!!” says Salah, plaintively.  Based on what, exactly?  The lack of width and creativity is nothing short of legendary this far into the campaign.  Squillions of pixels and fonts have been expended on setting out the extent and effect of that problem.  Leeds United are well known among those who love them as an impotent force, firing blanks; one that, to quote the hackneyed cliché, couldn’t score in a brothel.  This is why we need the early Christmas present Salah was coyly referring to.  It’s perplexing that the Chairman should so bluntly be stating that we should have won.  Who’s he blaming exactly?  The players themselves? The manager himself??  These are shark-infested waters, and Mr Nooruddin should be well enough aware of the esteem in which Brian McDermott is held by the supporters, to keep his toes safely out of them.  Such sentiments, expressed by a layman, could easily be misconstrued.

The view of the massive majority of the support is quite plain, and it sits very well with the characteristics of the modern game, dominated by big money and overseas owners, whether rich or not so rich.  The supporters, by overwhelmingly common consent, do not blame Brian for the current situation.  They do not even blame most of the players; they know there is some residual deadwood left over from the old regime, and they know that reinforcements are urgently needed.  Given all this, many – perhaps most – of the supporters will view the Chairman’s blithe assertion that the current squad, with all its deficiencies, “should have won” a highly competitive Championship away game, as somewhat naive, a little bizarre, slightly bonkers.  This is not really Salah’s area.  Salah’s area is to listen to that nice Mr McDermott, to take on board his wisdom concerning the personnel we need and then to set about obtaining those personnel with as little fuss and bother as possible and without undue delay.

That’s the role of the executive as opposed to the expert professional, Salah.  That’s division of responsibility, that’s delegation up the line.  All you have to do is make what the manager wants possible – to somehow find the money without which it’s NOT possible.  It’s a vital, pivotal role.  And that, Mr Nooruddin, is why the buck stops with YOU – so please.  Do not even think about passing it.

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In Demand Icelandic Star Striker to Sign for Leeds? – by Rob Atkinson

Alfreð Finnbogason

Alfreð Finnbogason (SC Heerenveen)

Don’t shoot the messenger – this is very much a rumour.  But, there are rumours and there are rumours, and this one has the flavour of possible authenticity about it.

Alfreð Finnbogason is a full Icelandic international currently on the books of SC Heerenveen in Holland’s Eredivisie.  On the face of it, a move to Leeds United might seem less than likely, though stranger things have happened in the loan market, where normal rules are suspended, with the transfer window proper tightly shut till January. Finnbogason has been the subject of a bid in the region of £4 million from an un-named Bundesliga side, and when Celtic came enquiring after a replacement for the departed Gary Hooper, they were told to find £5 million, or go back whence they came.

On the plus side: Finnbogason seems to have a desire to play in English football; he is in a hot streak of form that has stirred interest far and wide; his wages are at a level that might not turn even a Leeds owner’s face too sickly white with shock – and, perhaps crucially, the source of this rumour came with the confident advice to slap a bet on the lad being the next Leeds United signing.

It’s a name that might take some getting your tongue around, never mind the cost of printing it on the back of a Leeds shirt should he actually roll up at Elland Road; but the strangest names can swiftly become familiar.  Pierre van Hooijdonk, for instance.  If this lad, with the pedigree he’s reputed to have, were to fill the number 9 shirt for Leeds, then the season might be about to pick up very considerably.

Alfie Finnbogason – remember the name (if you can).  He could be the subject of a breaking news story coming your way quite soon.

Leeds Chasing Top Gun – But Who Will Supply the Ammo? – by Rob Atkinson

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Striker Who??

It’s now an open secret that Leeds United have listened to manager Brian McDermott’s warnings about the lack of a prolific striker at Elland Road, and that they have heeded his words of wisdom. Now, they are prepared – so we understand – to go out and secure a goal-scorer. Such exotic beasts do not come cheap.

Speculation is rife as to who the target might be. Old-boy Becchio gets a mention, as does Leeds fan Shane Long, out in the cold at West Brom. Reading appear to covet another reputed Leeds target in Billy Sharp – could this pave the way for Adam le Fondre, known to his fans as “Alf”, to breeze into LS11?

Whoever gets the nod might be expected to make significant inroads into Leeds’ manifestly limited wages budget – unless the loaning club are willing to do the decent thing and subsidise whatever fat contract their surplus striker is on. Paying a hefty amount of wages would pose a problem for Leeds – namely, how are we going to afford a winger, if we put all our eggs in the goal-poacher basket?

Because, make no mistake, a winger – or preferably two – should be as much a priority as any striker. Our existing strikers have starved for supply for most of the season so far. Ironically, the defeat to Burnley was notable for the amount of chances created and squandered, but this has not been the story of our campaign to date. With better supply, Hunt, Varney, McCormack and even Smith might well have weighed in with more goals. Getting another striker and neglecting to address the problem of supply from wide areas would be like purchasing a lethally-efficient gun – yet economising on bullets.

If GFH have been listening to Brian’s gloomy warnings, as we keep hearing in the Twittersphere – then let’s hope we’ve heard only half the story. Let’s hope that digging deep means really deep, and that the shopping list has “two decent wingers” scrawled at the bottom of it. Otherwise, in trying to solve our goal-shortage problems, we might just be adding to them.

New Striker at Leeds “By the Weekend” – by Rob Atkinson

A normally reliable source has stated that Leeds United will bring a striker into the club before the weekend, with several names under consideration. This comes after strong speculation earlier in the day that free agent David Bentley (28), normally a winger, might be offered the chance to resurrect his career at Elland Road.

Strikers who have been linked with United include Southampton’s Billy Sharp, Shane Long of WBA, Ricardo Vaz Te of West Ham, Adam le Fondre of Reading, among others. Brian McDermott was the manager who signed le Fondre for Reading during his spell as manager there.

With a Capital One cup tie at Newcastle on Wednesday ahead of a trip to Millwall’s New Den at the weekend, it promises to be an interesting few days at Elland Road.

Who would you like to see brought in during the emergency loans window??

Merry International Break, Leeds Fans – and a Happy New Loan Window

Come On, Engerland

Come On, Engerland

No club football this weekend for the top two leagues, which are suspended for the purposes of allowing the England team to demonstrate its plodding progress towards the World Cup next year – oh, and I believe some other minor national teams will be in action as well.

Me? Well I’m taking the opportunity to head off to the wonderful and beautiful East Coast of Yorkshire for some much-needed R+R.  It’s a lovely day, and I understand the weather is due to take a vicious turn for the worse tomorrow, so I imagine we’ll be looking around the shops in the various coastal resorts as I try to get a decent 3G signal and keep up with all the groundless rumours of wingers arriving at Elland Road.  Brian McDermott has made noises of intent, and some interesting names are being bandied about – Burke of Birmingham and Dobbie of Crystal Palace, for instance.  Burke and Dobbie might sound like a firm of apothecaries from a minor Charles Dickens work, but either or both would enhance our current squad and provide that longed-for element we’ve all been craving.  Width, gentlemen! (and ladies).  The thing is, another striker is also needed to benefit from this wonderful new dimension to our play (if it ever comes about), so our demands of the “Emergency” Loan Window appear to be high.

There is, of course, the option of seeing what our existing resources might do if deployed further forward.  White and Byram are both instinctively flank players, both have assets desirable in a “winger”, as they used to be known, and both might well be available for selection and champing at the bit on the other side of this International hiatus.  White has something to prove, having decided he wants to stay and fight for his place rather than settling for the exotic delights of Oakwell, and Byram has demonstrated his potential effectiveness in a wide attacking role last season.  With the defence having established a reputation as “OK”, it could be that these two players might be spared for a more offensive role if Leeds are unable to free up wages to bring in loan recruits.  Well, it’s a thought.

I’m off to the seaside then.  But I’ll be keeping my ear to the ground – if it’s not flooded.