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Leeds United, my team. A team I am extremely passionate about along with thousands and thousands of others. This season has been yet another rollercoaster ride in terms of been a Leeds United Fan. With starting the season fantastically been sat top of the league and been chased by the rest of the League one pack but yes. Disaster struck again causing pain for us fans.
In top form throughout christmas Leeds draw Manchester United in the FA Cup yes a dream game an opportunity to show without doubt the best team in England what Leeds were all about. And yes we took the game to them and won 1-0. Absolutely brilliant. WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE HOW I FELT THAT DAY! but now I wish it had never happened and we concentrated on the League as since that day we have been well and truly in relagation form. Going from top of the tree 13 points clear to just clinging onto secfond place and only there on a plus one goal difference to millwall.
I hope and i really do hope we start to pull our fingers out and get some results towards the end of the season because I dont think I can go through another year in the Play-Offs.
JUST A MESSAGE TO ALL LEEDS FANS. NEVER STOP BELIEVING! SUPER LEEDS
Leeds United were once a very mighty football club and in the 1960's and 70's under manager Don Revie were a very successful side winning (the old First Division) league titles,the FA Cup and also the League Cup. Fast forward to now and they are in a division two leagues below the Premiership (League One). They are doing pretty well this season and are currently second in the league with two games in hand on leaders Norwich and are on course for promotion. They also knocked out Manchester United in the FA Cup and took Tottenham to a replay before losing out. This was in no small part due to their star striker Jermaine Beckford, a man who started his youth career at Chelsea but was picked up by Leeds from non league football and has been a big hit. He has though attracted attention from the big clubs as would be expected.
To the club itself and I will only outline a brief history of the club as this is probably available online if you need to find it all. They were founded in 1919 and they play at the Elland Road stadium which has been their home since they were formed. For most of their history they have competed at the top level of English football. As I mentioned earlier they were hugely successful under manager Don Revie in the 60's and 70s'. Shortly after Revie's departure though they were relegated to the old Division Two in 1982 and returned only in 1990 managed by Howard Wilkinson and went on to win the league in 1992. They competed for places in Europe and in consecutive seasons before their financial decline got to the semi finals of the UEFA Cup and the Champions League. They gambled with their finances and on success which later proved to be their downfall and is the main reason why they now find themselves in League One.
So exactly went wrong to bring them down? The answer lies in their strategy to buy players by borrowing heavily. They did not have a wealthy benefactor or owner but they spent more than 40 per cent of their annual turnover (£37 million) in 1998-99 on new players in just one summer. Leeds used a deal whereby they would be lent money to buy players and would pay back with interest over the course of the players contract. If they could not pay back then they would have to sell the player in order to help repay the money. If the players value had declined though the bank would claim the difference from the club. In order to reduce their risk Leeds insured themselves with an insurance company. They continued purchasing players with a then British transfer record purchase of Rio Ferdinand for £18 million. They reached the semi finals of the champions league but the decline began the following season. They were dumped out of the FA cup by Cardiff in disastrous fashion . Eventually manager David O Leary was sacked and Terry Venables was brought in but players were being sold in order to repay debts-Rio Ferdinand, Jonathan Woodgate, Robbie Fowler , Robbie Keane and Harry Kewell amongst others and then went on a disastrous losing run which eventually ended with relegation for the team at the end of the 2003-04 season. After reaching the playoffs they were not successful and the following season were relegated again after a 10 point deduction after going into administration. They faced a further 15 point deduction in League one after almost going under but Ken Bates took over and they got to the play off places under Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet. They both left for other clubs (Newcastle and Totenham to take up different roles) and were replaced by former player Gary Mcallister. He has since been replaced by Simon Grayson who is their current manager.
They seem to be a bit more stable at the moment compared to the previous decade and look to be finally on the up after years of turmoil and trouble. Their team has had to be completely rebuilt from scratch. They were one of the first big clubs to really get into financial trouble with more of them now in the news. They gambled big like some of the others have recently and paid for it. Portsmouth look to be following their path soon and if other clubs are not careful with the management of their finances and wage bills they could also follow suit.
Developments at Leeds United football club always make me wonder. Being a life long Leeds fan, in my opinion they seem to mis-manage running their business and seem to make decisions that are frankly odd, bad or just make no sense whats so ever.
I mean this in the nicest possible way, I just often end up smiling or scratching my head at what happens there and it's nothing new either.
Take today for example, having sacked manager Gary McAllister after just less than a year in charge in which time he took them to the Division 1 playoff final, they appoint Simon Grayson.
McAllister was a very popular player when he played for them in the early 1990's forming a successful partnership in the midfield with the likes of Gordon Stachan, Gary Speed and David Batty. Those glory days!! How I live on them now.
I feel the decision to sack McAllister was very hard but sadly understandable one. You don't like to see anyone lose their job, but football managers must have the most precarious occupation in the world. All it takes is a few bad results, maybe a bad or unlucky break or two and you are looking for new employment. It is not the players who bear the brunt of the fans protests when results are not going you way it is always the managers.
Loyalty by both managers and players seems a thing of the past too. No longer do players stay at one club all their lives, they employ agents who will try and get their player the best deal possible and look to other Clubs to get what the players wants.
I understand the decision because Leeds are a Club that want the 'Glory Days' back and you can't get those if you are two divisions below the big money and having an average season.
I suppose by at least doing it now you give the new manager a chance to bring his new style of Management in and new players so that you can in theory challenge for promotion. That's the theory anyway, as managers do not suddenly become bad or incompetent overnight.
Nothing particularly wrong there on the face of it with this new appointment at the Club. Grayson has been a manager with Blackpool for six years in which time he took them up to the Championship via the 2007 Play offs. So on the face of it it looks like a good decision.
This popular Yorkshireman who began a 17 year playing career at the Elland Road club, which will endear him to the fans to start with. He played in over over 500 appearances for a variety of clubs including Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers.
However, Leeds approached Blackpool asking permission to speak to him earlier this week. This was flatly refused as they were keen to build in the good foundations he had set in place, not to mention the busy Christmas period is practically upon us and this is no time to be managerless.
Then yesterday Grayson handed in his resignation at Blackpool, this was also reject by the Club. Yet now Tuesday afternoon he is announced the new Leeds manaager. It makes me wonder what was happening behind the scenes, maybe I am a bit cynical but these days I distrust all these involved in football equallly.
Blackpool are quite understandably a little miffed. They are now threatening legal action against Leeds United. So is this another example of Leeds mis-management?
After all only a few years ago this well supported Yorkshire club were in debt to the tune of over £80 million and managers and chief executives were sacked. Having previously be spending money like there was a bottomless pit off it.
This left the Club bankrupt and in most other businesses they would have gone not only into administration but out of business too. Somehow they survived and despite being relagated twice they survived in business.
I suppose we shouldn't sympathise too much with the managers who lose their jobs like this, they are usually very well paid better than you or I and often sign long contracts that entitle them to a great redundancy package.
So what happens now at this once powerful Football Club? My hope obviously is Simon Grayson somehow puts a run together and guides Leeds to Promotion either automatically or Via the play-offs.
I feel sorry for Blackpool and hope they find someone decent to manager them very soon. But I fear for them now in that very competitive division and few bad results for them too could leave them in the dire straits.
It remains to be seen if this capture of Simon Grayson is a master stroke or another act be a desperate club trying to revive their fortunes.
What I'm sure about is this story about him leaving Blackpool for Leeds will run and run. As nothing involving Leeds United can ever be simple or straight forward, experience has tought me that!
Good luck Simon Grayson!! and thank you for all your hard work Gary McAllister, maybe he should apply for the Blackpool job?
Thanks for reading all. Happy Christmas!!!
CPTDANIELS December 2008
I must say I was suprised this morning when i heard that Leeds United had parted company with manager and former player Gary McAllister. He took over in January of last year after Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet left for Newcastle and Tottenham respectively and guided the club to the play-off finals. This season hasn't gone that great for Leeds, currently in ninth and with five successive defeats the owners decided to get rid of McAllister; I feel he should have been given more time. McAllister was one of Leeds best ever players and to sack him as manager when he had a win percentage of fifty percent is extremely harsh. I just hope it doesn't dent his legendary status at Elland Road. I also think that many people underestimate League One, especially this season, there are about eight or nine teams all capable of promotion.
It is quite clear that Leeds want promotion this season as they strive to return to higher leagues. It will be very interesting to see who they appoint, they're a big club and as a result will be able to attract some top managers. I believe that David O'Leary will be in the frame for a return and i'm sure he would be very interested in it. Steve McLaren is another one who could be tempted, although I think if he was to give up his role at FC Twente of the dutch league then it would be for a premiership or at least championship side.
I suppose we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
Thanks for reading.
Leeds United based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Our home is Elland Road were we have played since the club was formed back in 1919.
Under the management of Don Revie in the 60's and 70's, Leeds won numerous domestic and european throphies in arguably the best era Leeds United fans have ever witnessed. Don Revie was appointed in March 1961 and only a win on the last day of the season saved Leeds from the drop. Revie turned the team around, winning promotion to the First Division in 1963-64. Between 1965 and 1974, Revie's Leeds never finished outside of the top four, won two League Championships (1968-69 and 1973-74), the FA Cup (1972), the League Cup (1968) and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups (1968 and 1971). This was also backed up with a record number of 2nd place finishes, during the same period Leeds were runners up in the League five times, losing finalists in the FA Cup three times, runners up in the Fairs Cup once, and losing finalists in the European Cup Winners Cup. Revie's last season at Elland Road was in 1974, and he left Leeds to manage the England national team.
Brian Clough was appointed after Revie had left, The team performed poorly under Clough and his reign as manager only last 44 days.
He was replaced by Jimmy Armfield who guided Revies ageing Leeds team to the 1974/75 European Cup final were we lost out to a strong Bayern Munich team. Armfield was then dismissed and Leeds had a string of managers including names like
Clarke, although spending freely on new players couldnt avoid relagtion at the end of the 1981/82. Clarke was thn replaced by ex leeds star Eddie Gray.
With no money to spend on team development, Gray had to turn to the youth set up but unfortunatly was unable to guide Leeds to the top flight at the first attempt and he was then sacked in 1985. Up stepped Leeds United legend, and when i say legend this guy is an idol of mine, an asolute legend. Billy Bremner! Bremner like gray couldnt guide leeds to promotion but got close in 1987 reaching the play off final just to be defeated by Charlton Athletic. IN 1988 Bremner was fired and up stepped Howard Wilkinson.
Howard Wilkinson got Leeds back up to the top flight in 1989/90 season. He guided Leeds to a fourth place finish in 1990/91 and guided us to the League title in 1991/92 season! Also helping Leeds win the chairty shield in 1992!
1992/93 season was a poor season with an early champions league exit and eventually finishing 17th norrowly avoiding relegation. Leeds were unable to achieve any consistency throughout the following seasons and Wilko's position was not in a strong state after the 1996 coca cola cup final defeat against aston villa. Leeds could only finish 13th in 1995/96 and Wilkinsons contarct was terminated.
Leeds then appointed George Graham, Graham helped Leeds into the UEFA Cup in 1998, Graham then moved on to Tottenham Hotspur (MUPPET!) Leeds opted to replace graham with assistant David O'Leary. This was the start of a good thing!
O'Leary instroduced alot of promising youngsters to the fold. O'leary and assistant Gray helped leeds to a 3rd place finish guiding them into the UEFA Champions League!
In the UEFA Cup Leeds reached the European Semi Finals for the first time in 25 years and were drawn against Turkish Galatasary. Leeds lost the game but the defeat was overshaddowed by the death of two innocent Leeds fans. Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight were stabbed to death before the game. Leeds was only able to draw the return leg at elland road. A minute silence is held every year at the closest home game of the season to the date of there deaths. R.I.P Chris & Kevin. they were top blokes.
With O'Leary in charge Leeds had a successful period not finishing outside the top 5. O'Leary and Ridsdale then had a public fall out which resulted in O'Leary losing his job in 2003. O'Leary was then replaced by
Terry Venables who couldnt turn Leeds around, then stepped up Peter Reid and then Eddie Gray had another pop. This season Leeds qwere relegated to the second tier of english football for the first time in 14 years. Grays spell as boss was terminated and Kevin Blackwell took over
Blackwell guided Leeds to a mid-table finish and guided us to the play-off final in 2006 only for us to be beaten by Aidy Boothroyds Watford team. The season after Leeds were struggling at the start of the season Blackwell was sacked and for a spell without a manager Dennis Wise finally was appointed by old chelsea pal Ken Bates at E.R. Wise was unable to get Leeds out of the relegation zone all season and was relegated. Leeds had to enter administration which we was deducted 10 points and finished bottom of the championship.
After huge arguements, our first season in the championship was hard times with the football league not wanting us to go back up at the first attempt. Leeds were deducted 15 points for not following football league rules which was a joke. However Leeds had a great start and wins after wins helped Leeds up the table. Gus Poyet left us though to join Spurs new set up and we started to struggle this then ended up in Wise leaving for Newcastle to sit in a nice office in london! Batesy then appointd Gary McAllister which I feel was a great appointment and he helped leeds seaon get back on track. Macca guided Leeds to the playoffs and then to the playoff final which we lost to doncaster rovers :( gutted! But macca has made a few strude signings so far and i feel next season will be our season.
Leeds United football club according to my housemate are a team on the up after the struggle that they have faced in recent years not only with their relegations, but with bad owners and finance. This would appear to be true as despite having fifteen points deducted at the start of the season, as i am writing this they are currently in third position in coca cola league one.
What strikes me most about Leeds as an outsider is the loyalty of their fans, who have stuck by them despite there poor performances in recent years. They regularly get over attendances of over 20,000, which is way above the league one average. This fan base will be valuable if they get promoted this season, as the championship is a tough league to stay in.
To conclude, despite Leeds problems in recent years, their loyalty of their fans is a brilliant bonus for them and means that they certainly are a team on the up.
It's a sad day when one of the biggest clubs in England is all but relegated to the third tier of football for the first time in their history. It is even worse that a certain section of so-called Leeds fans felt that they should show their despair and anger at the club by invading the pitch, a minute from time.
The glory days of reaching the semi-finals of the Champions league are over. I remember one of the pundits on Sky Sports stating that "it's only a matter of time before Leeds United win the Premiership". This of course never did happen and to be honest it is hard to see that it will ever happen.
So what went wrong, it's basic economics that you can't spend money you just don't have but i guess this was overlooked by the Leeds United board a few years back. Leeds had some of the top players in Europe at one point including Rio Ferdinand, Harry Kewell, Alan Smith, Mark Viduka and Paul Robinson. But with increasing debt Leeds had to sell pretty much everything, incluing the kitchen sink. The slippery slope downwards happened pretty quickly...from just escaping relagtion with a good win at Arsenal one season to finally been relegated to the Championship.
The number of manager changes at Leeds United is ultimately questionable. From the sacking of David O'Leary there has been Terry Venables, Eddie Gray, Peter Reid, Kevin Blackwell and now Dennis Wise. Neither of them have stayed for very long. The players are the same, Leeds have mainly survived on using loan players because they have no money and this means that they could never form a strong team connection with all the chopping and changing.
At this time last year Leeds were in the Championship playoffs and were one game off returning to the big time but they were destroyed in Cadiff by Watford. A year later they are sitting in the bottom three, three points behind Hull City with one game to play. They need to make up a minus nine goal difference on the last day and I am sure you will agree 10-0 victories don't usually happen in football.
Dennis Wise said he would take full responsibility for what has happened at Leeds but he has ulimately been failed by mistakes made a long time before him. So what happens now, well Leeds do have a strong base of fans willing to sing "marching on together" to any side sporting a Leeds shirt at any level of football but no matter how much singing the fans do, the financial problems that remain are still a problem. Rumour has it that leeds may well struggle to survive as a club in a lower division, this would prove the death of a proud club.
I felt that The People newspaper summed up Leeds United today. On the back page was a full page picture of the pitch invasion yesterday and the headline " the club that died of shame" on the next page was a picture of Alan Smith, formally the golden boy of Leeds United, celebrating with Wayne Rooney as Leeds' arch rivals Man Utd moved five points clear of Chelsea to pretty much seal the Premiership title.
"You've Lived the dream" said Risdale to Leeds fans. Well, the dream it's over.
First off I would like to congratulate Kevin Blackwell for the simply magnificent job he has done at Leeds United over the past couple of years. He has managed to bring a club on the brink of extinction to the brink of success - missing out on promotion in the play-off finals.
When Kevin took charge of the Yorkshire outfit they had been relegated from the premier league, sold all of their players bar three, in over £100 million debt and got through three managers in just over a year. Things looked ominous, and he was a brave man to take on such a task as trying to restore Leeds United fortunes.
His first task as the newly appointed manager was to assemble a team for the upcoming season, and had to do so without any money. He somehow achieved this and managed to win the clubs opening fixture against Derby by one goal to nill.
Another barrier that he had to deal with was the massive expectation of the Leeds United fans - which with a champions league run only four years previous wasn't going to be easy.
What I admire most about his actions though was how he brought in players that were required for championship football, unlike the other teams that were relegated, Blackwell insisted that we were no longer a premiership side and gave the fans a new expectation - survival.
After a team of free transfers managed to finish mid to bottom half in the league it had to be considered a success.
So far everything was brilliant, he was doing a great job - but now for the discussion can he get Leeds promoted?
Last season thanks to the takeover from Ken Bates, Blackwell had money to spend and spent £5 million on five new strikers, as well as bolstering the midfield and defence. Leeds easily outspent every other championship outfit, so you must ask why were Reading so much better than us last season?
Chelsea have proved that money should make a difference, so is there a problem with the Blackwell's tactical knowledge?
I feel all will be revealed this season and it is essential that Blackwell buys well in the transfer market and bolsters a midfield that will be far weaker with the loan signings Douglas and Miller going back to Blackburn and Man Utd.
So Kevin the pressure is on, as a Leeds fan I expect the super whites to get promoted this season - automatically!
Just a brief opinion to say what amazing fans this club has! 4-0 down at home to Arsenal and still singing their hearts out. It?s amazing they can still support their team so strongly after their plummet from the top of the premiership and the semi finals of the champions league in recent seasons to bottom of the Premiership today. They still fill the stadium week in ? weak out to see a team drained of confidence and numerous star players. The mass exodus at Leeds has been beyond anything I have ever seen. Imagine Arsenal without Henry, Pires, Lungberg, Vieira, Wiltord and Bergkamp. This kind of scenario has hit Leeds, a club formerly, arguably as good as Arsenal in former seasons. With stars such as Jonathan Woodgate, Lee Bowyer, Harry Kewell, Robbie Fowler, Jimmy Flloyd Hasselbaink, and the infamous Rio Ferdinand, Leeds were challenging for the Premier League and very nearly reached the final of the Champions League. However, recent failure to even qualify for the Champions League and inferior Premier League form contributed to crippling debts and many player departures at Elland Road. Their finances depended on Champions League qualification. The sackings of the once successful David O?leary, and the memorably not so famous Terry Venables, meant huge compensation pay outs, meaning further debts, and consequently, further play sales. More to be added soon. Any suggestions? Please comment fairly and honestly
At the start of the season not many people would have put money on Leeds United being involved in a relegation dogfight in the Premiership. Following an appearance in the Champions League semi-finals just a few years ago and a mass of highly paid stars, Europe should have beckoned, but this season is one that their fans will want to forget. It has indeed been a turbulent year for Leeds. So far they have lost two managers, one chairman and several players. While some may call that careless, as a PLC they find themselves £70 million in the red. This is despite the selling of Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United for £30 million and Robbie Keane to Tottenham for £7 million and Jonathon Woodgate to Newcastle for close to £10 million. Leeds face one growing problem that many top clubs now have been left with. They have many highly paid stars and a big debt. The only way to get rid of the debt is to sell the assets, the players. By selling they lose the performance. Facing either debt or poor performance they are going to lose either way. At the start of the season former Irish international David O?Leary was sacked in pretty unceremonious fashion. With this came a hefty pay off. The chairman at the time Peter Ridsdale blamed poor performance below expectation and O?Leary for spending silly money on transfer fees and wages. Terry Venables was appointed new boss, but he also came with a large wage with him. Unfortunately this appointment did not help results on the pitch. A general feeling of underperformance surrounded Leeds, they have gone out of both cup competitions to First Division sides, gone nowhere in Europe and dropped down in the league. Venables quit with just a few games remaining this year with safety still not guaranteed. Former Sunderland boss Peter Reid was appointed until the end of the year with a pay package depending on how many games were won under him. Ridsdale himself quit following Venables departure to be replaced by John McKenzie. This was
a popular decision for him to go, eventually he did bow down to the pressure. Relegation would almost certainly see the end of Leeds United, for some time at least. With such a large debt the only thing keeping them alive must be the TV revenue from Sky that only the Premiership gets. This in terms of tens of millions would be lost if them dropped down to division 1. Sunderland are defiantly down so far, with West Brom also playing in the Nationwide leagues next year. That leaves West Ham, Bolton, Aston Villa, Fulham and Leeds for one more spot. Villa and Fulham are all but safe, but is West Ham did manage the great escape Leeds would almost be favourites to replaced them. At the moment Leeds are 17th, just one place and three points above the relegation zone. They have 38 points, Bolton above them on 39 and West Ham below on 35. Leeds have a game in hand (they play tonight at the time of writing), so with three games left in the season there are still nine points to play for. Leeds should be safe with their points and team. In theory that is. Their recent form does little to inspire ? losing to Liverpool and Southampton and drawing with Tottenham. Only a 6-1 win against Charlton, themselves on a bad run bucks the trend. What is best is to write the whole season off and start afresh. Unfortunately the money problem remains. More players may have to be sold to ease the wage bill and get the fees in. Young keeper Paul Robinson may be the next to go. Arsenal are rumoured to be interested, although just about any decent Premiership sides would be interested in the future England star goalkeeper, one of the only really bright performers for Leeds this year. The money problems still remain for Leeds. The appointment of McKenzie will please people involved. Now Ridsdale has gone they can move forward. Hopefully some of the fringe player on bigger wages can be cut or reduced, and the sale of Woodgate will be the last. Having taken in all the money from transfers
and lost their wages Leeds can remain in the Premiership where the big money is made from TV and tickets moving onwards and upwards. Looking at some of the players Leeds have sold you can almost make you own team. The two centre backs Rio Ferdinand and Jonathan Woodgate are potentially the defensive pair for England in the future, cost a combined £40 million when sold. Both are technically very good defenders, Rio has pace, both good in the air and on the ground. Rio was brought by Leeds from West Ham for £18 million, one contributing factor to their debt, while Woodgate came through the youth system at Leeds. Lee Bowyer hit the headlines along with Woodgate for all the wrong reasons with the trial for racial assault. Perhaps a move away from Leeds was designed to forget this part, but one part of the trial is often forgotten. Both players were acquitted by the jury, eventually. Some people are still intent to bring this up, let their football do the talking. Bowyer is now at West Ham having been sold by Leeds for a very nominal fee, simply to take off his wages. Robbie Fowler has also left to go to Manchester City for £6 million. This was nearly half what Leeds paid for him from Liverpool, probably sold well below his real market value. He has had trouble with injuries this year, but has scored goals at the highest level, and for every club he has played for. Also a full England international. Robbie Keane was also sold for a cut price fee of £7 million. He has also played at the top level for Ireland in the World Cup and scoring some great goals. Still some very good players remain at Leeds. Along with Robinson, they boast other stars including Harry Kewell, Alan Smith, Mark Viduka and Ian Harte. Harte is a full Irish international at left back. He scores a lot of goals with his left foot from set pieces, but has had a disappointing season. Lucas Radabe is a very experienced South African defender who has had serious injury worries, but is now back playi
ng. In midfield old pros like Jason Wilcox, Nick Barmby and Paul Okon have been around, while Dominic Matteo and Danny Mills in defense are still good enough to play in the Premiership. Harry Kewell and fellow Australian Mark Viduka are two of the bigger stars. Kewell is a fancy and tricky midfielder who scores his fair share of goals and has plenty of skill, while Viduka is a powerhouse forward. Alan Smith is another bright talent at Leeds, but needs to work on his attitude and discipline. He gets in trouble far too much, but has a great deal of talent and can score goals. James Milner this year beat Wayne Rooney to become the youngest ever goal scorer in the Premiership, and like Rooney has a bright future ahead. If only Leeds can hang onto him he is a real star for the future, as are McMaster, Keegan, Richardson and Harpal Singh, one of the few Asian top level footballers. So having ridden through this period most Leeds fans will be happy for the season to be over. I seriously doubt that they will get relegated, West Ham need nothing short of a miracle now and Bolton look a better bet to go down anyway. With all the changes hopefully they can move away from selling players and look to the future. Peter Reid is a good manager, he took Sunderland places before this season and has plenty of experience. Anyway, who wants a boring old football club? Makes life much more interesting
Now, first off, if you absolutely loathe football and even the merest thought of reading a football opinion makes you physically ill, then you have my permission to skim to the end of this opinion, I know Mel my other half will. (Just make sure you VU it lol) I am writing this opinion because as I sit here with the FA Premiership table up on Teletext, I am becoming more depressed by the second looking at my team (Leeds Utd)’s miserable league position. As we sit in 16th place, just two places off of the relegation zone, having lost a whopping 17 games, I close my eyes and float back just two years ago when we were serious contenders for the Premiership crown. We also made it to the Champions league Semi-Finals, and only a poor performance in Spain denied us a place in the final. Back then we had top class players like, Rio Ferdinand, Olivier Dacourt, Lee Bowyer, Jonathan Woodgate and Robbie Keane. This season, all Leeds fans looked forward to a successful campaign, especially after the £11 million signing of goal machine Robbie Fowler from Liverpool. But just two weeks before the season started, Our wonderful (Fat Cat) Chairman (Peter Ridsdale), decided to sack our current manager (David O’Leary) and replace him with Terry Venables. No one could understand why, under David O’leary we were a force to be reckoned with, outshining at times even the great Manchester Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool. Then after a fairly good first few games when we thrashed both Manchester City and West Brom, things seemed to be going to plan, until Peter Ridsdale decided to step in and single handedly destroy our team. The first big blow was the sale of star defender Rio Ferdinand to our bitter rivals Manchester Utd. We did on a bright note double the money that we paid West Ham for Rio two years prior and walked away with a British record sale of £30 million. We just got over the shock of this and our league form took a mighty dip and after losing seve
ral games to teams like Sunderland and Birmingham we began to pick up again under Venables. After beating Man Utd at home and then being the only team to defeat Newcastle in their own backyard (and still are this season) Peter Ridsdale decided that the £30 million from the sale of Rio Ferdinand just wasn’t enough. The sales of several key players soon followed at ridiculous sale prices, below is a brief summary of the players we have sold this season compared to how much we paid for them and how much they are valued at. Rio Ferdinand – Paid £18m from West Ham – Sold to Man Utd for £30m – valued at £25m Lee Bowyer – Paid £2.5m from Charlton – Sold to West Ham for £100,000 – Valued at £10m Robbie Keane – Paid £11m from Inter Milan – Sold to Tottenham for £7m – Valued at £10m Olivier Dacourt – Paid £7m from Auxarre – Loaned to Roma with a view to a permanent £6m move – Valued at £15m Robbie Fowler – Paid Liverpool £11m – Sold to Man City for £6m – Valued at £11m Jonathan Woodgate – Product of the youth team – Sold to Newcastle for £9m – Valued at £15 Clearly you can see that apart from Rio Ferdinand, we are selling all of our top players for alarming prices, no wonder the club is in such a poor financial state. There are also rumours that Paul Robinson, Alan Smith and Harry Kewell are set for moves in the summer. This coupled with injuries to the likes of Michael Bridges, Dominic Matteo and various other key team members means that we just can not win football matches in the Premiership. Peter Ridsdale then decided to ignore the fans fury at his total destruction of our team and blame our poor results on Terry Venables. Venables was then sacked last week and replaced until the end of the season by Peter (I almost single handedly got Sunderland relegated) Reid. Leeds Utd have
been ravaged by politics and money grabbing backroom staff, I honestly do not know where the club can possibly go from here. I fear that even if we do avoid being relegated this season, it will be an absolute certainty next season unless we spend big in the summer, and that looks very unlikely. The concept of running a successful football team is surely to try and bring in quality players and keep them happy, not to bring in quality players and then sell them 8 months later for half the price you paid for them. Also, is it not a good idea to get a good manager in place and keep them to build you a great team? Surely not to bring in a manager and then sack him for your own mistakes and bring in someone else. The football team is going nowhere under the watchful eye of Peter Ridsdale and until he goes, the team is going to go from strength to disastrously weak. At the moment, we are showing the classic signs of a team about to be relegated, selling our best players, changing managers and above all else, losing games. We are probably as good now as your average division one side, which from one of the best teams in Europe just two years ago, is an alarming fall from grace. It is not a good time to be a Leeds Utd supporter but I’ll stick with them whatever happens. Thanks for the read or skim. DEANO!
Leeds United, a team that for the last few seasons in the English Premiership, were always in the top 5 in the league under David O' Leary. He spent an awful lot of money (I think it was around 100 million pounds) and didn't win a single trophy. The chairman, Peter Ridsdale was expecting to get quite a lot of return on his investment, but didn't really get that much, apart from respectable league positions and getting into the Champions League once. This then led to the departure of O' Leary in the summer of 2002 and the arrival of veteran manager, Terry Venables. I'm pretty sure he didn't expect to have the sort of season he's had and neither would any of the Leeds United fans, or even me. The season started of pretty badly and there was a chance that if their poor run continued, they could end up in a relegation battle by the time May rolled around. Suddenly, they started get on a good run of form and get out of the danger zone, but an exit from the UEFA to the hands of Malaga in the Third Cup meant that the European dream was over. The team currently lies 13th in the table, which is pretty appalling by this clubs standards, however, you can't really blame Venables too much for this. The club is in extreme financial trouble and he is having to sell off several first team players. The board don't seem to be very clear with the fans or the manager about this and it could very well lead to El Tel resigning in the near future. In the summer, they had to sell off Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United for 30 million and Robbie Keane to Tottenham for around 6 million. And recently, in the January transfer window, they have sold off Lee Bowyer to West Ham, Olivier Dacourt has joined Roma on loan to get him off the wage bill and for the the transfer to be made permanent in the summer. Yesterday, Manchester City signed Robbie Fowler for 7.5 million and it seems as though Jonathan Woodgate will move to Newcastle Uni
ted before the end of the window for 8 million and a further 3 million as an appearance fee. This total will probably end up being over 50 million, which is an incredible amount of money. Even then, who is to say that the club is in a decent financial state after this? The debts may start to creep up again before the end of the season with the high wage bill they have and it is almost certain that they won't make it into Europe this season. What does this mean for Leeds? I'm not totally sure, but it certainly isn't good. Peter Ridsdale obviously had a huge plan for Leeds United and took big risks in trying to make this work, but it hasn't and the club is now feeling the effects of it. The business plan wasn't a careful one and clubs all over the world, especially teams like Lazio, Roma and Fiorentina have been victims aswell. The financial situation in world football right now is not very good at all and only teams like Manchester United and Real Madrid can afford to splash out 20-30 million for a player now. I hope for Leeds' sake that if they do end up selling Woodgate, this will be the end of it and they can start to think more about on the pitch work, than off the pitch. Several key first team players have been shipped, so we will just need to see if they can manage to survive without them and then improve on their league position.
Leeds United with the great Aussies Viduka and Kewell, with the former Kop hero Fowler are on the brink of collapse. How on earth, with the array of talent they have got, are they in such a dire situation? Well i guess there are several reasons and here they are. Former manager O'Leary spent a massive £100m on players which quite frankly are not worth the amount he paid for them. Seth Johnson, a £7m signing from Derby has not even done a thing. The likes of Dacourt and Batty who are the central midfielders, have quite frankly been dreadful. Ok i know Dacourt is world-class but if you are world class then you should be able to win loads of things. Kewell too is awesome on his day, argueabley as good as Giggs at Manchester United, however he is very injury prone and once injured fails to find his form a long time after recovering. Another problem with Leeds is that they have got too many good strikers. Keane Fowler Viduka Smith Bridges. Either one of them would be able to walk into any club and get regular 1st team football. And therefore these players must be on a massive wage bill and therefore causing the financial status of Leeds to be spiralling down. Also with all the money spent and not having a full stadium at every game, unlike the big 3 (Manchester Liverpool Arsenal) and also by winning absolutely nothing for 4 years and also failing to even get into the champion's league, has signalled an alarming situation for Vennables who is at the reigns now. And these expensive players are not small name buys. They are class players (apparently) and therefore must have very clever agents and hence must be on a very big paypacket. I feel though that Leeds have done a good thing in selling Rio as they have got many good defenders. Matteo Woodgate and Radebe are class defenders so i feel that you lot have made a lot of money out of the Rio sale What i feel Leeds shoould do now is try to get some bargain buys, also to offload so
me of their jokers in midfield because they are not going to be good enough to win trophies with all these offield problems. Also Leeds' youth system must be in turmoil as they are not bringing through any decent youngsters and that is very bad for their future. So there must be a much more greater emphasis on getting some good youngsters through the ranks to save on having to make big purchases. So now what is going to be the fate of Leeds? Well if they don't get their act together you Leeds fans can kiss goodbye any hope of success
After speculation galore Terry Venables was finally appointed as David O'Leary's successor. To begin with I was surprised we got rid of Mr O'Leary as, yes he had spent far too much (over £100million in 3 years), but he also had put together a cracking team, and was planning to build from this over the next few seasons. He had done all his big spending and as said he was going to build from these excellent buys. His buys were mostly excellent anyway. Perhaps there is a question mark over whether Seth Johnston is really worth £8million. But then look at the faith he showed in Rio Ferdinand making Leeds a profit of £12million in just 20months. Mark Viduka has had reported bids of up to £25million from some Italian giants such as Roma, considering O'Leary brought him for £6million, this again is great business by the Irishman. He stole Robbie Fowler from Liverpool and Robbie Keane from Inter, and we now have one of the best, if not the best strike force in the premiership. As we now boast of Alan Smith, Mark Viduka, Micheal Bridges, Robbie Fowler and Robbie Keane. Another one of his buys was to take Dominic Matteo from Liverpool, who was almost a reject there but now is putting in some of the performances of his life with Leeds. I put this all down to O'Leary. Ok, so Mr Risdale did the deed and decided to axe O'Leary, so we have to deal with this. But the way we have gone about it so far is surely very poor. Firstly failing to sign Martin O'Neil as our new manager, then going for Steve Mclaren from Boro!! What a joke Mclaren would be about my 40th choice as the new gaffa. We then landed El Tel, who yes is a legend, but also has his downsides. Such as a bit of a shady financial past, and this does not bode too well at a club that's in milions of debt. He stormed in and nicely got rid of our biggest talent Rio. Now he is considering selling Robbie Keane!! Suicide, Keane showed in the world cup he is probably the most
talented of all the Leeds strike force, and I will be absolutely gutted if he is sold to Spurs, please please don't! Why cant he just stick with the sale of Rio take the £30million gained from this and build the team accordingly. We have excellent depth in all areas of the park even with Rio gone. We do not need anyone else, at the same time as not needing to sell anyone else. I feel we are far to eager to be the closest challengers to Man Utd before we have even got better than Liverpool or Arsenal. The fact is that we are more in Newcastle and Chelsea's leagues at the moment, and the top 3 are somewhere in the distance. Yes we will reach them in 5 years, but let's not rush things just make sure we make that 4th place spot this season.
Leeds United is a club which hasn’t been short of difficulties in recent years. Disciplinary problems on and off the field have made running the club increasing difficult. Bowyer, Batty, Smith, Dacourt and Mills are regular visitors to the FA and Bowyer and Woodgate went one better ending up in court. However, the team seemed likely to implode when David O’Learly was sacked as manager of the club. The board realised the mistake in appointing an inexperienced and inadequate manager, but not before the club were left heavily in debt, and without a single trophy to show for £100m of player investment. Terry Venable’s has been left with fans and a board demanding trophies, no money with which to strengthen a squad which is weaker than their nearest rivals, and the prospect of having to sell his best players to reduce significant debt. The two years of his current contract will confirm whether Leeds are one of England’s leading clubs, or whether they will join the likes of Aston Villa who realistically have little chance of competing for major honours. Leeds had one of the most effective defences in the league last season. Goalkeeping hasn’t been a major problem for Leeds with Martyn consistent between the posts, and Robinson showing potential as a future England keeper. Based around Ferdinand, the defence played well as a unit. Rio is class but, as individuals, the rest of the club’s defenders have less natural ability. Leeds may have to start the season without Ferdinand after he submitted a transfer request. Stam and Hofland have been talked of as replacements and, if Rio leaves, a leader in the centre of defence will have to be brought in. Leeds look also set to lose Michael Dubery who has had to cope with tension with Lee Bowyer and a chronic lack of talent. After appearing in a documentary on the effect of foreigners in English football claiming his progress at Chelsea was damaged by foreign defenders,
he has failed to gain a place in the Leeds defence comprising two English centre halves. Without Ferdinand the Leeds defence is a collection of average players who lack genuine class and may struggle to play well as a unit without the organisation and leadership or Rio. The midfield is one of the most competitive in the league. However, it lacks creativity. Dacourt, Batty and Johnson all play well as aggressive holding midfielders, Kewell can run with the ball and Bowyer gets important goals from midfield. However, there is no quality playmaker in the side, and there is little link up play between the midfield and the forwards. Against the stronger defences, Leeds have lacked imagination when the direct approach has failed. Pushing Kelly and Smith into the midfield has often effected the shape of the side. The workrate and commitment is quality but there simply isn’t the natural ability that is needed at the highest level. Bowyer looks set to depart to Liverpool, removing the only consistent goal threat from midfield, Dacourt has been frequently linked with moved to Italy and Batty is well past his best. Leeds have the chance to rebuild the midfield, but the money to bring in the quality players needed may not be available. Leeds have been unable to compete with Manchester United and Arsenal in the league because their midfield is greatly inferior, and any revival under Venables will need a reorganisation in the centre of the park. The forward line is Leeds’ strongest asset with five first team forwards. Viduka and Fowler have worked well as a partnership, and Smith’s aggression can be an asset to the team. Keane has failed to settle at the club and has been linked with a move to Sunderland, and injuries have made Bridges’ future at the club uncertain. Leeds may look to sell at least one forward to bring in revenue to strengthen other areas of the team. However, Leeds don’t have a genuine world class
forward available to them unlike Arsenal, Manchester United or Chelsea. Fowler has to improve on his all-round game, and too often Viduka puts in average performances. Keane is the most talented forward at the club, but has never been able to score goals consistently at club level, even when playing in Division One. Leeds need a Hasslebaink or a VanNistelrooy to challenge for the title, not Michael Bridges. Arguably Leeds have been overachieving in recent years considering Ferdinand is the only member of the squad who could claim to be world class. Like the Leeds side of the 70’s, passion, commitment and aggression has seen them overcome their deficiency in talent. However, the league is much stronger than it used to be, and to win the league you have to combine aggression with quality. Too many of the Leeds squad are average players who lack the quality needed at the highest level. Arguably the current squad has reached as far as it can under the present playing staff. The money was available to develop the team, and securing Dacourt and Viduka for around £10m was effective use of resources. However, since then a lot of money has been wasted, with Keane and Johnson failing to justify significant transfer fees. Leeds have also been unable to bring the quality players for small fees like Solskjear or Veria, and the youth set up hasn’t produced the quality players that Liverpool and Manchester United have enjoyed. Now the money isn’t available to compete for international players, and Leeds may find more ambitious clubs are stronger than them this season. Unfortunately Leeds have spent £100m on players and failure to qualify for the Champions League has left the club needing to find £60m. Clearly players will have to be sold to make up the shortfall, with Bowyer, Keane, Dacourt and Ferdinand looking the most likely departures from Elland Road. However, selling the team’s main assets will take the club backwards
especially when the money isn’t there to replace them. The board made the mistake of giving a poor and inexperienced manager the budget of a club competing in Europe before entrance could be guaranteed. The decision to build a new stadium may also be a mistake considering the current position of the club. Considering in the mid-90’s attendance’s dropped, the board must be aware that failure to compete for trophies may see a similar decline in support. The Leeds board are obviously ambitious, but have attempted to expand the club too quickly, and the development is currently unsustainable. The club will have to rebuild without the previous resources that were available for O’Leary to waste, and currently they look as far from winning the league as they have been since ’92.
Leeds United Association Football Club are a world-famous English football club and are the only professional association football club in the city of Leeds. The club was established in 1919 following the demise of Leeds City. The club's nicknames are Leeds, United or The Whites. They currently play in the Football League Championship and play their home games at the Elland Road stadium. Although the club name bears the AFC suffix, the current badge displays LUFC, however previous badges have included the official suffix. Leeds rose to prominence under the management of Don Revie during the 1960s and 1970s, when they won a number of domestic and European trophies. After Revie's departure to manage the England team Leeds were relegated to the Second Division in 1982, not returning to the top flight until 1990, when they were managed by Howard Wilkinson. Leeds were league champions in 1992, (the last before the original Football League First Division became the FA Premier League), and this is their most recent major trophy. Currently, they are threatened with relegation to the third tier of the English football for the first time in their history.