Tag Archives: Peterborough United

Karma Nails Steve Evans as Leeds Win on a Cold Day at Rotherham – by Rob Atkinson

A succinct message to Steve Evans, late of Peterborough United

Sometimes, revenge is just so ridiculously sweet, it could honestly give you diabetes. Today is one of those days when the karmic wheel turned and stopped in just the right place for Leeds United – and on the worst possible outcome for their one-time coach Steve Evans.

Having failed to be the success at Leeds that he’d confidently expected, Steve was perhaps predictably less than enthusiastic when asked to comment on the prospects of success for the latest occupant of the hot seat from which he’d been so unceremoniously turfed out a few managers ago. The upshot was that poor Steve – although unable to deny that Marcelo Bielsa has a well-deserved global reputation as a genius – felt impelled to accentuate the negative. Would Bielsa be able to get a result when the going got tough and winter had us in its icy grip, he wondered out loud. Would he, to quote the classic example, be able to succeed on a cold day in Rotherham? How Steve must have congratulated himself on that conundrum, dreamed up as we all basked in late summer sunshine. He couldn’t have been any more pointed if he’d mentioned that these foreigners don’t like it up ’em.

Marvel, then, at the delicious irony of today’s events in Leeds United land. It was a cold day – not a Tuesday, as Steve had specified, but still, cold. And Leeds United were due at Rotherham where, glory be, in arduous circumstances against a fighting foe, they did indeed get a result, the 2-1 from behind win putting them three points clear at the Championship summit. So far, so good – but, taken in isolation, not Karma.

So let’s look at the other side of this deliciously fateful equation. What was Steve doing today? Well, the former Leeds coach was in charge of a struggling Peterborough United, at home in League One to Charlton Athletic, coached, with yet another succulent morsel of irony, by Leeds legend Lee Bowyer. The result was a 0-0 draw and evidently the last straw for the Posh powers that be. So, on the very same day that Bielsa did what Steve gleefully doubted he could, Evans was sacked, gone, unemployed. Sadly, he just couldn’t do it on a cold day at London Road, and he paid the ultimate price, with that little extra surcharge of karmic humiliation.

It’s a hard life, Steve, but forgive us if we have zero sympathy to spare. If you’d been just a little less smug in predicting failure for Bielsa, there might have been some compassion around LS11 when your own chickens chose the very same day Leeds won at Rotherham to come home to roost. Perhaps you should have been more circumspect, but that’s not really your style, is it. So I’m afraid it’s a case of, in the late, great Windsor Davies‘ immortal words: “Oh dear, how sad, never mind”.

Leeds go marching on, then, and their future looks bright, though nobody should expect United fans to be as smug as poor Steve Evans was. Maybe he’ll think twice in future? And maybe he’ll be in work again soon enough – though it’s highly doubtful if that would be at a high enough level for him to have to worry about getting a result on a cold day at Rotherham United.

Fergie in the Running to Take Over as Leeds United Boss? – by Rob Atkinson


Fergie for Leeds? No, thanks

A new name is doing the rounds as speculation as to the next Leeds United team boss rages on. Former Argentina and Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa is still the heavy favourite – but, since he resigned as manager of Doncaster Rovers the other day, Darren Ferguson, son of you-know-who, is being spoken of as a possible contender.

Any Leeds fan with any recollection of Ferguson at all will possibly treasure the memory of his almost tearful reaction to a defeat against Leeds while he was in charge of Peterborough United some years back. Certainly, this is the image of Fergie Junior that I wish to hold dear, rather than any possible involvement with Leeds United going forward. After names such as Bielsa and Claudio Ranieri have been mooted, the appointment of a relative obscurity such as Darren would be rather like missing out on Abel Hernandez for your main striker, and settling instead for Jerry Mbakogu. Actually, that could be an unfortunate choice of simile…

We’ll just have to hope that this story is an example of some hack or bookie having had a little too much sun, and that Leeds United will not be looking to catch a former Donny boss on the rebound.

Teen Goal Machine Could be Leeds United’s Latest Rough Diamond – by Rob Atkinson

Shaquille McDonald - eleven goals in three youth games

Shaquille McDonald – eleven goals in three youth games

The intriguing name of Shaquille McDonald appeared on the Leeds United Development Squad team sheet today, for the away game against Coventry City at Nuneaton.  Intriguing not just for the relatively exotic name – this is a lad with a serious goal-scoring record at Peterborough United – a record that persuaded the Posh to hand him, at the age of 17, a four-year contract.  He was apparently regarded as “the future” by chairman Darragh MacAnthony, and there were high hopes of a young man who once scored eleven goals in just three youth games.  Sadly, those bright hopes seem to have been dashed as far as Peterborough United were concerned, and the long (and some say lucrative) contract was torn up by mutual consent after only four months, following an incident in which the police were involved as well as, allegedly, a baseball bat.

That all sounds quite serious, but full details are not known; there’s a hazy smoke of hearsay and speculation around what actually happened.  The whole affairs screams “attitude problem” – but the lad is seventeen, after all.  I can’t think of that many seventeen year-olds who don’t have an attitude problem to some degree, although admittedly most manage to weather these without necessarily resorting to baseball bats.  The outstanding statistic is that burst of eleven goals in three games – it’s hard to believe that this is a guy lacking in ability, maybe even in the kind of poaching instinct any club would be grateful for.  There certainly question marks around this trial and it may well come to nothing – but it does show that Brian McDermott and his developing scouting team are casting the net far and wide in the search for rough diamonds to polish.  So far, it’s difficult to question anyone’s judgement – the awesomely-effective Marius Žaliūkas was a property being avoided like the plague by many supposedly good judges, but he’s come to Leeds and looked the real deal.

Gboly Ariybi

Gboly Ariyibi

Shaquille McDonald managed 60 minutes of today’s Development Squad game (a 2-1 win for Leeds) – so it remains to be seen whether the club will be looking at him further.  But looking for talent they most certainly are – another young prospect recently taken on board was ex-Southampton winger Gboly Ariyibi (pictured above), about whom good things have been said.  The search for more established talent will have to wait until January, and will depend upon the outcome of all this exciting talk of takeovers and daring to dream.

Any progressive club will be looking at least as assiduously for future talent as they must for ready-made stars, so it’s good to see a few outstanding prospects being – well, prospected.  If the future is going to be as bright and White as we all hope, this kind of forward-thinking approach is essential – and it’s reassuring too that the club is not put off looking at raw talent by any slightly shady circumstances surrounding that talent.  Even if this lad’s shot his bolt at Peterborough, he was deemed good enough to be offered a long contract and that goal record rather speaks for itself.  It’d certainly be a good one to snatch from under Fergie Junior’s nose, if he DID turn out to have what it takes.

Exciting times at all levels at Elland Road.  They promise to get more exciting still over the next few days and weeks.

Is Leeds United Hater Adrian Durham All That? – by Rob Atkinson


Adrian Durham – what’s he actually for?

His radio “career” in a tailspin of ever-increasing ordinariness, his Meisterwerk book, laddishly titled “Is He All That?” (click here to read the rave reviews) selling like ice cubes at the North Pole, Adrian Durham – self-styled “World’s only celebrity Peterborough United fan” – has lurched unwisely into print again today, in well-known tabloid snotrag the Daily Heil, for whom he contributes a pisspoor weekly columndesperately trying to weave some credibility about his transparently inane ravings.  It’s car-crash “journalism”, the kind of reading that can make your eyes bleed and your teeth curl.  You wonder if Durham’s middle name might perhaps be “Excruciating” and you speculate as to what, exactly, is going on under that ginger moss covering his skull.  “Not a lot” would sum it up.  A glance at the interior of poor Adrian’s bonce would doubtless reveal that the wheel is running, but that tragically the hamster is dead.

Today’s effort saw him revisiting his favourite prejudices as he flailed about, hopelessly trying to plug a book that is turning out to be as well received as Custer was at the Little Big Horn.  Adrian supports Peterborough United (Peterborough United are thought to be considering an official denial of this) – yet unaccountably, most of the targets for any venting of his bile-engorged spleen tend to move in circles far, far above the mundane milieu of the London Road outfit.  He has a go at Arsenal, he has a go at Man U.  He “thinks” – for want of a more appropriate word to describe his mental activity – that Italy’s four World Cup triumphs were undeserved, that Arsenal’s “Invincibles” were over-rated and that the 1966 World Cup Final was “a rubbish game”.  All views, you may have noticed, that would be calculated to get irate punters calling in to his TalkSPORT “Drivetime” show to disagree with him – which is that lamentable station’s chief tactic for stimulating some sort of interest in their drivel-based output. Rumour has it that TalkSPORT’s motto is “Spout bollocks and count the cash” – and they certainly do seek to profit from the fact that there’s a lot of easily-annoyed mugs out there.

After having his little dig at Man U – always a good way to get some controversy going, as I’ve found myself – Durham turns his attention to Leeds United.  “In my book “Is He All That?” one of the most enjoyable chapters to write was called: Don Revie’s Dirty Leeds United”, he gobbles smugly.  Then, after the fashion of such talentless hacks, he lamely recycles all the old myths – assassins, filthy, studs, elbows and punches.  It’s all been said a thousand times before, and infinitely better than Mr Durham could manage in his wildest dreams.  But hey, he enjoyed writing it, which is something.  Reading it, to judge from the Amazon reviews, must be as enjoyable as a sharp attack of diahorrea in a space suit.  So what is Durham’s problem with Leeds United, that he should drone on and on, ad nauseam, about the fact that he so enjoys hating them?  Leeds are, in fact, a club that is almost universally hated.  There’s nothing new here, nothing to see; it’s just a convenient and overcrowded bandwagon for the lazy and the inadequate. Hating Leeds is a boring cliché, the only compensating positive is that it has become a badge of honour for the club’s supporters. Couldn’t Durham have aimed to be a little more original?

It really is quite odd, this claimed level of antipathy from such a nonentity as Mr Durham, supporter of such a pallid club as Peterborough.  There have only ever been six league meetings between the two clubs, Leeds winning four with one win to Peterborough and one draw.  In the Cups, Peterborough caused a shock (though not much of one with the dire Leeds side of that season) in 1986, knocking the clueless Whites out 1-0.  Twelve years earlier, Don Revie’s United had cuffed the little upstarts 4-1 on their own ground.  In the League Cup, there have been two meetings, both victories for Leeds in 1988, by 2-1 and 3-1 for a 5-2 aggregate.  It’s not a long mutual history that the two clubs share, understandably so, given their vastly different pedigrees.  The head-to-head record is lop-sidedly in favour of Leeds – but does this really account for Adrian’s much-trumpeted attitude?  It seems unlikely, leaving us to conclude that he is after all merely using the populist vehicle of hating Leeds – and particularly the Revie “Super Leeds” vintage – to inflate his own deeply mediocre career and take him to heights that his pitiful lack of talent would otherwise deny him.

It’s all grist to the mill of those Leeds United fans who tend to glance sidelong at the latest nobody to profess hatred, and then give us a brief refrain of “We’re not famous anymore”, which is the Beeston take on post-modernist irony, if you like.  Usually, such minor irritants as Durham can be dismissed as one might swat a fly – it’s not as if he has a lot going for him as a person, after all. Leaving aside his gingerness, which no self-respecting Leeds fan would have a go at – after all, we owe massive respect to the likes of Billy Bremner, Gordon Strachan and, erm, David Hopkin from our illustrious history – there’s just so much to ridicule about this puffed-up little gob on a stick.  Look again at those book reviews on Amazon – vicious, harrowing stuff.  But the downside of all this is that Durham has, by fair means or foul, obtained for himself a platform of sorts – and he seems to want to use it to pump vitriol at our beloved Leeds United.  Still, I suppose even the hard-of-thinking have to fill their time somehow.

As far as I’m concerned, if the dismal Mr Durham feels that his personal goals are best attained by droning on about football, Leeds United and other matters wherein he can demonstrate his zero level of knowledge and expertise – then so be it.  I’ve had my say on the man and his shoddy “work”, and I think I’ve been more than fair to him.  And the funny thing is, I always find it comforting, satisfying and instructive to look at those, like the useless Adrian, best-known for being Leeds United haters – Tony Gale, Man U fans, Ken Bates, Brian Mawhinney, Paul Scally, poor little Dave Jones etc etc – and reflect on, well…..what prats they are.  What pitiful, wretched excuses for human beings. There surely has to be a message in there somewhere.

Sly Barry Fry Ups the Ante as Leeds Chase Rowe

Posh Skipper Tommy Rowe - Leeds Target?

Posh Skipper Tommy Rowe – Leeds Target?

Football transfer rumours can be so trying when one party to any negotiations seems utterly determined to tap into the emotions and frustrations of the only group of people unable to influence the transaction in any way, shape or form – the hapless fans.

This rocky path is being trodden again according to reports today – first we hear that Peterboro chairman Barry Fry has decided to go public with news of Leeds United’s alleged interest in his club’s skipper Tommy Rowe.  The chosen Fry spin is calculated to heap the pressure on the Elland Road club – to smoke them out into the public arena despite the preference of United to transact their business under cover of secrecy, Matt Smith of Oldham being a recent example.  Fry though has the obvious selling chairman’s interest in trying to hype up the story and drive up the price – after all, Rowe has only a year left on his contract, and Peterboro will be understandably anxious about the prospect of their prime asset dwindling in value as time ticks away on that deal.

Barry Fry is a canny character in his loud-mouthed way, and he has opted for two lines that will have Leeds fans gnashing their teeth and tearing their remaining hair in displays of biblical anguish.  Firstly, he has raised the spectre of “Leeds don’t have enough money” – that alone is enough to touch ragged nerves in thousands of LUFC-obsessed souls around the world.  Even more mischievously, he has suggested that there has been a phone call from one K. Bates Esq. which is a not-so-subtle way of twisting the “finances” knife.  Fry will not be unaware that the best way to further rattle an already rattled Leeds fan is to mention Uncle Ken’s name in such a way as to suggest that his hands are still on the tiller (or his fingers still in the till).  The genial Barry will doubtless feel that if he can mobilise an army of naffed-off Whites fans into expressions of discontent on both the financial and Bates fronts, this will heap pressure on Leeds and force their hand, at least in terms of publicly confirming or denying the story.  Either way, Leeds preferred method of conducting transfers – silently until all is done – seems unlikely to be allowed in this case.

Meanwhile, Fry – a former Man U trainee – has further fanned the flames by confiding in Radio Leeds that Rowe – a former Man U trainee – is keen on a move to Elland Road.  He’s certainly doing his best to drum up interest in a likely lad – doubtless a good player, but not one whose name was exactly on everyone’s lips prior to today.  The effect is to stir up Leeds fans into a state of indignant pessimism over a player they would never have heard of as recently as Wednesday.  Is this a good way to do business?

If Leeds really are interested in Tommy Rowe, it remains to be seen whether they can do a deal, and if  so on what terms.  But the Barry Fry effect is likely to have a bearing on the transfer, one way or another.  Whether he’s doing his apparently want-away player, or indeed his club, any real favours is a matter of some speculation.  As a Leeds fan, I’d hope that the club will not be influenced by this kind of gun-to-the-head opening gambit.  There are plenty more fish in the sea, and Tommy Rowe’s most recent CV entry is relegation to League One.  Perhaps Leeds should continue to try to take care of business in their own way, and let the likes of Barry Fry hog headlines while he can, but ultimately reap what he sows.