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McAllister out - what next for Leeds?

Paul Fletcher | 15:28 UK time, Monday, 22 December 2008

Not exactly great is it, getting the sack a few days before Christmas?

But football is not a sentimental business and Gary McAllister has paid with his job for failing to live up to the huge expectations at Leeds United.

There is a pressure to succeed at the Yorkshire club that doubtless is in part due to the fact that Leeds were playing Champions League football at the start of the Millennium.

Those days are long gone, most fans have come to terms with that, but they still expect better than League One. And having failed to get out of the division last season, promotion is the only aim this time around - and a run of five straight defeats in all competitions has clearly been too much for chairman Ken Bates.

mcallister438.jpgThe 77-year-old is hardly known for procrastinating when it comes to big decisions and the trend continues at Elland Road.

January will mark four years at the helm of the Yorkshire club for Bates and he is now looking for his fifth manager (including the month John Carver spent in charge).

Bates watched from the stands on Saturday - interestingly Gus Poyet also attended the game - as Leeds lost 3-1 at MK Dons.

The Yorkshire club had taken a sizeable contingent, many of whom left all concerned in no doubt as to their thoughts on proceedings.

It must have been an extremely difficult few weeks for McAllister, who turns 44 on Christmas Day, but he remained a dignified figure as the pressure mounted.

As a player he won the old Division One title with Leeds and although some supporters have accused him of lacking passion, those close to him will tell you that he felt fiercely passionate about the club and was absolutely determined to suceed as its manager. Just because you don't scream and shout on the touchline does not mean you don't care.

He leaves with a very decent record - Leeds won 25 of the 50 games the club played during his 11 months in charge and reached last season's play-off final. The team had been on the slide after Dennis Wise's decision to up sticks and move to Newcastle but Leeds improved after McAllister arrived and his first few months hinted at an upturn in fortunes.

Leeds started this season as the bookmakers favourites for the title and six straight wins in September hinted at a successful season.

So why did it go wrong?

Several 606 users point to the recent absence of key striker Jermaine Beckford through injury, while others felt that McAllister undermined his squad by talking about the importance of January's transfer window

Many share the opinion of BBC Radio Leeds reporter Adam Pope.

"Defensively Leeds have been appalling in the last five games and the repeat offence has been an inability to defend corners and set-pieces," Pope told me.

"In my opinion it is the players who have cost Gary his job."

Pope points to the performance of players such as Lubomir Michalik and Rui Marques. They have played at the top level but struggled this season in League One, failing to execute even the basics of defending. McAllister himself would not criticise his players in public but the fact he withdrew Michalik at half-time on Saturday speaks volumes.

Pope was caught out by the timing of the dismissal - he expected McAllister to be given a couple more games at least, especially given that the manager had lined up several players to arrive in January.

But, as with the sacking of Paul Ince at Blackburn, the notion of giving a manager the festive period to save his job is becoming increasingly redundant. The thinking now is that if a new manager comes in before Christmas he will at least have a few games in a short period of time to assess his squad before the transfer window opens.

So who will Bates bring in as the new man at the top?

Plenty of names have been linked with the job, though former Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd, former Preston and Derby boss Billy Davies, ex-Leeds and Tottenham assistant coach Gus Poyet and Blackpool boss Simon Grayson appear to be prime names in the frame.

The likes of Joe Royle, Peterborough's Darren Ferguson and Oldham manager John Sheridan have also been mentioned.

Boothroyd was extremely popular with the players at Leeds when he worked under Kevin Blackwell. He left for Watford and took them into the Premier League - at the expense of Leeds - and is currently out of the work after leaving Vicarage Road earlier in the season. Leeds United chairman Ken Bates

Poyet, assistant to Wise at Leeds, is also looking for a job after he left Tottenham when Juande Ramos was sacked. Poyet has no frontline managerial experience and if Bates is absolutely focused on promotion this season then his appointment must surely represent something of a gamble.

Davies is interesting. As with Boothroyd and Poyet he is out of work. I saw the Preston and Derby teams he managed in action many times and think he would be ideally suited to the situation at Leeds.

Most people would surely agree that United have one of the best squads in the division and he is superb at squeezing the best out of the resources he has. It is why North End reached the play-offs under his stewardship and the reason Derby won promotion to the Premier League.

His teams are organised and efficient but play decent football - a requirement demanded by Leeds supporters. What Davies does not have is the best track record when it comes to his relationship with his chairman. If Bates does give him the job it will certainly make for interesting viewing (preferably from a distance).

Betting on Grayson was suspended by one well-known bookmaker on Monday. Grayson, who started his playing career at Leeds, has taken the Seasiders into the Championship and kept them there during his three years at the club. He is a highly regarded young manager who has clearly done a decent job on a limited budget at Bloomfield Road - though he would face a very different assignment if he was to take charge at Elland Road.

Whoever gets the job hardly inherits a team in bad shape.

Leeds might have lost their last five games but they are still ninth in the table, just five points off the play-off zone.

The noises coming out of Elland Road are that an appointment could even be made before Christmas.

That could mean one family's plans for Thursday being hastily rewritten but then everything must cede to the quest for promotion at Elland Road.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    A quick route back into footy for Paul Ince perhaps?

    He could do with learning his trade lower down the leagues.

  • Comment number 2.

    i heard graysons got it.

    but yeah, dissapointing that mcallisters gone, unsure whether wise would have been kicked out after the same results, but thats ken bates.

    the article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/leeds_united/7784953.stm
    about the chief executive seemed to say the board were fully behind mcallister and blamed it on the players, so what on earths changed? its dissapointing to know the people behind the club don't seem to know what they are doing.

    however, if grayson is the new manager, i urge my fellow leeds fans to get behind him, hes got out of this league before, please dont just be so pessimistic about it it, but knowing leeds fans, they don't know any other way.

    up the mighty whites!

  • Comment number 3.

    Our (Leeds) goal without a doubt is to get back into the Premiership.

    We need to a get in a manager who, if possible, has experiance in all three divisions and get some stability with our staff.

    On this note, Billy Davies is not a bad shout. He wouldnt be my personal favourate, but he would fit the bill of what we need.

    I also hope Macca gets back into the game sooner rather than later because i love the guy and he does like to play football, which is good to watch. I only wish he had been given more time as im sure he would have brought in a couple of good defenders over January.

  • Comment number 4.

    PANIC!

  • Comment number 5.

    Spot on with that assessment, Fletch.

    I would have gone for Davies but it sounds like Grayson's got it and I'm not disappointed. He's got a great record at Blackpool and has plenty of reason to care about LUFC. If he's willing to drop a division to manage us, that deserves respect.

    I still reckon Macca would have got it right in the long run, but you can't really blame Bates for not wanting to spend another season in League One waiting for him to sort the defence out.

    Let's hope the new man comes in and shores up the backline and gives us a rare run of Christmas wins!

  • Comment number 6.

    Paul Ince would be perfect for the job. Hes a master at the lower leagues, has ahd a bit of premier league experiance (albeit very small time) but can get leeds up no doubt. If leeds dont get him then they've shot themselves in the foot really

  • Comment number 7.

    I am grieved by the sacking of Gary Mac. I am sure he would have got it right for us. I just pray now that its not going to be Gus Poyet or any former man utd players.
    Hope Gary gets straight back in to management. He should go and see his old mate Gordon at Celtic for a job.

  • Comment number 8.

    Lovely bloke Macca and had us playing the best football we've seen in a few years as well as bringing through young exciting players - however as many have pointed out, football is a results business and its fair to say that defensively we have been shocking with only 5 clean sheets all season and there wasn't much sign that it was about to be put right anytime soon. To be fair to Bates - you can't accuse him of being indecisive !

  • Comment number 9.

    I think it's very poor of us to have got rid of Gary Mac. He was the appointment I wanted after Wise left, and he appeared to be taking us in the right direction last season. I had every confidence this was just a temporary slump, and given some funds in January to buy a defender or seven who can actually defend I thought Mac would have turned it around.

    On the new appointment, I wouldn't be surprised if we found out today, Bates never makes rash decisions and will have had someone lined up probably for a couple of weeks now.

    Grayson would prove an interesting choice, he's worked wonders at Blackpool but how would he fare with the expectation that comes with managing Leeds? Effectively we're a Premiership club that hasn't quite realised we've had two relegations in short succession.

    P.S. Could you imagine if Roy Keane was given the job?? Troops would be redeployed from Afghanistan to Yorkshire!

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm not sure the second half of this blog is going to be relevant for that much long.

    It is looking very much as though Blackpool boss Simon Grayson will take charge at Elland Road.

    How do you think he will do?

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm sure the relevancy of the second half of this blog has been undermined by a bit of slap-dash editing - the paragraph to do with Simon Grayson appears to be incorrectly inserted in the midst of your discussion of Billy Davies' merits.

    Unless I'm mistaken and it was Grayson who took Derby into the Premier League (which I'm not).

  • Comment number 12.

    djconnell - that has been sorted. Thanks.

  • Comment number 13.

    How much money is the new manager going to get to sort out our defence? That will determine how well he does I believe, as we seem to have two centre-halves who don't know how to head the ball...which is somewhat problematic...

  • Comment number 14.

    Nice one, Fletch - good to see Beeb writers take pride in their work.

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm just gutting McAllister has been sacked. He was a great captain, and revived the team last season when it looked like the playoffs were gone.

    He's done a great job this season playing some very attractive football. But yes, the last few games have been poor. I'm just shocked he's gone so early.

    I haven't watched Blackpool all season so I don't know what this new guy will be like. I just hope he can play attractive football and start winning.

  • Comment number 16.

    Hold the back page - more breaking news.

    Blackpool have rejected an approach from Leeds for Simon Grayson.

    Back to square one? I guess time will tell.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm surprised no-ones calling for Ken Bates' head in all what's going on. :-~

  • Comment number 18.

    Gary Mac's a legend and would have sorted it out given more time... ha ha ha Leeds, I recall a time when Liverpool were behind you in the league 7 years ago, now we're top of the pile and you're nowhere... see ya

  • Comment number 19.

    As always, players perform poorly and the manager gets the boot! I listened to Leeds V Histon in the FA cup and for the first 20 minutes Leeds were under pressure and struggled to clear their lines.
    Histon had several corners one after the other and the defence and 'keeper were awful!
    No surprise that the team have played poorly since, defenders under performing and injuries to important players.

  • Comment number 20.

    how about lawrie sanchez?

  • Comment number 21.

    Liverpool won't be 'on top of the pile' in May though, much as I hate to say it Manc's or Chelsea to win it.

  • Comment number 22.

    I don't really feel anything for Leeds, being a Liverpool supporter that is hardly surprising, but I did like McAllister (again, being a Liverpool supporter thats hardly surprising).

    Personally I feel he should have been given more time. Leeds aren't the same team that were playing champions league football at the turn of the millennium and Bates needs to realise that. To people like me they are fallen giants, but to the kids growing up now they are simply a league one club.

    They need to stop acting like they are owed a position in Englands top flight and start carving one out for themselves. Chopping and changing managers has never worked for a club in Leeds' position and it won't work now.

    The way to climb the leagues is to find a strong, confident, experienced manager and back him till he comes good with the squad of his making. Giving him one and a half season before seeking an replacement will not only damage this seasons hopes of promotion, but it will also damage the chances of getting a good replacement. Who will want to join a team in League One that gets rid of managers as quickly as Real Madrid?

  • Comment number 23.

    The facts are that although many brilliant players get their coaching badges, they aren't prepared to do an ' apprenticeship' with clubs in the lower divisions, hone their skills and management craft.
    'Management' is the key word here , their are 'leaders' and followers, not everyone , even in industry or commerce can either supervise or manage, lead an inspire.
    I think the Premiership in particular and big clubs such as Leeds ( has beens.... ? ) need to look at men who like Fergie, Cloughie and others cut their teeth on small clubs first. I know Ince did a spell at MK Dons, but he had barely learn't the job.
    For me 5 years at the bottom end is absolutely the minimum time needed, these days more than ever.

  • Comment number 24.

    Whilst being disheartened by the removal of Gary MAc, it's undoubtedly the right move. I wish Gary all the best and much success with his next club.

    All the same, we've spent this season playing with a different line up each game and a floating midfield 4 or 5 with no fixed left / right / central positions which works a treat for the other famous team in white, but not at all at League 1 level. The defense has shipped in so many goals as it has no protection from a midfield that is overplaying, reluctant to get in wide positions and just too intricate for this league. Consequently our full backs spend more time over the half way line (how many assits does Fraser Richardson have??) than Bosingwa & Cole but this has exposed our calimity keepers and spellt disaster lately.

    Onwards and upwards, hopefully with Davies or Boothroyd, either would be most welcome!

  • Comment number 25.

    Im sad to see Gary Mac go, I think he'd have got it right had he been given January to buy in some players capable of a tackle to sure up the defence.

    As for a replacement, I would like to see someone experinced that knows exactly what to do. I don't think a club of Leeds history should be giving managerial postitions to the unproven like Poyet if they want promotion... its to big a chance to take.

  • Comment number 26.

    Why not Roy Keane? He is experienced at getting teams out of the lower leagues and held his own in the premiership until recently. He would attract the right attention which would get Leeds noticed again and bums and guarantee crowds - if only for the abuse!

  • Comment number 27.

    re above - bums on seats

  • Comment number 28.

    i was at old trafford many years ago for a youth team final and the behaviour of the leeds fans was scandalous,singing songs that were ofensive beyond belief,so excuse me if i find the current leeds situation slightly amusing,football can do without leeds and the sooner they vanish into the conference the better.

  • Comment number 29.

    Aidy has to be manager - the best young English manager - better than Southgate. Leeds is one of the most special clubs in English football - a special manager deserves the job so I'd give it to Aidy. Top manager, top bloke and wont give excuses. He wants to learn, he is ambitious and is very likeable. He WILL be a future England manager.

    Leeds deserve to be in the Premier League - while we have teams like Bolton, Blackburn, Fulham, Wigan - they are nowhere near as big as Leeds. Aidy is the man to take Leeds to the Premier League.

  • Comment number 30.

    Funnyitsonlyagame,

    Many years ago Britain was at war with Germany!!! Luckily I don't tar all Germans with the same brush, and I suggest that you get out more!!

  • Comment number 31.

    peter_lpool:

    "They need to stop acting like they are owed a position in Englands top flight and start carving one out for themselves. Chopping and changing managers has never worked for a club in Leeds' position and it won't work now."

    Thank you for your concern peter, but if Liverpool instead of Leeds were the subject of the blog, I think you would object violently to your own point!

    Leeds' standards should be high - the Prem is where they should be, and in due time I believe they will achieve it. As for chopping and changing, Wisey left on his own, so McA is their first sacking since Blackwell right?

    That being said, I agree that mangers should be given more time - if Blackwell had been retained they might've gone up already!

  • Comment number 32.

    id personally like to see aidy boothroyd or billy davies get the nod

    i liked macca as much as the next person, but being realistic, macca knew we had defensive problems as far back as the crewe game, and still it hasnt been sorted.

    hopefully we'll see him at elland road again after he gets some more experience.


    few years down the line - strachen and macca pairing dont sound too bad to me!

  • Comment number 33.

    Very sorry for Mcallister, who had a bad run of injuries.
    No surprise to see Ken Bates acting like a Victorian mill owner and casting him out into the cold three days before christmas.
    Leeds-you deserve better than this (which is some statement from a Blade)

  • Comment number 34.

    Saw an interesting shout yesterday for Joe Jordan. He certainly has accumulated some good experience, even if it has not been as outright manager, and may relish the opportunity to move into a front line role with a club he knows well.

    I agree that appointing Poyet would make no sense given that urgency to achieve promotion must have been one of the main reasons behind axing Gary Mac and not giving him the time to build a long-term platform.

    Finally, good article but I would disagree with the comment that "decent football" is a "requirement demanded by Leeds supporters". I'd say it's historically almost been the opposite with the impatience of the home fans often forcing a more direct style of play as the frustration transmits to the players.

  • Comment number 35.

    Oh and on Grayson - are we sure he's all that good if he thought Stephen Crainey was worth signing........

  • Comment number 36.

    IF Beckford was not injured Leeds would have been sailing right along an Macca would still be employed. Having said that Blackwell should have not been fired in the first place.

  • Comment number 37.

    I think that in football there will always be a manager picking up praise for the job he is currently doing. At the moment that is Grayson last year it was Paul Ince and look where he ended up. Yes Simon Grayson has to take some credit for helping Blackpool punch above their weight for the past 18 months but does that mean he is capable of building a squad and effeciently signing the players that will transform Leeds United from a mid-table League One team to a premiership team.
    Billy Davies on the other hand successfully compiled a squad in one season capable of taking Derby to the premiership and also as Paul said was excellent at Preston.
    Aidy Boothroyd also should be overlooked because of the money he through on rubbish players like John Eustace and Will Hoskins as what is to stop him throwing money down the drain at Leeds as well. Also if Leeds fans want to see thier side play football steering as far away from the side Boothryd created at Watford is a must where for a year the main tactic was kick it to Darius Henderson.

  • Comment number 38.

    Nevermind Billy Davies. if they can hold off on an appointment till the end of january, the panto season will be over and Billy Pearce will be after available. I think he'd be great for them.

  • Comment number 39.

    I am really sorry to see Gary McAllister go. He had the club's best interests at heart and was passionate about the club he had captained with distinction. He badly wanted to achieve success at Leeds and in a manner reflective of his footballing principles. He deserved far better from his players. We have been treated to some lovely attacking football this season but our defending, at times, has been shambolic. Only time will tell if Bates was right to let him go but I'm feeling pretty deflated right now. I wish Gary McAllister well. A decent, honourable man and a decent coach.

  • Comment number 40.

    Marko, is that the same Stephen Crainey who Larry (Grayson) got playing to such a degree that he won Player of the Year last season?

    As a Pool fan, I'd be gutted if Grayson left. The lad has made very few poor signings, and has the team playing football - I went to Leicester last season for our first game in the Championship, and my uncle, who's a Leicester fan, said that watching us was liking watching Leicester under O'Neill. Works for me!

    Time to big up Aidy Boothroyd, I reckon...

  • Comment number 41.

    This is proof that a player, who has been a legend at a club, should never go back as manager. As Bob Paisley said "There are two types of manager, those that have been sacked and those that will be sacked". Joe Jordan would be mad to take the job. (Billy Bremner, Eddie Gray anyone?)

    I'm not at all surprised that Macca has been sacked but I'm very disappointed. They have played some wonderful football this season and he should have been given more time. I don't trust Ken Bates at all. He is not a particularly competent business man, or football chairman, and he certainly isn't endearing. Chelsea were in a right mess before he sold them to Abramovich.

    I can see us lurching from manager to manager. Last time leeds were in the doldrums we got through a lot of managers in quick succession. Then we hired Howard Wilkinson. However, success is no guarantee of keeping your job as a football manager. He got us promoted; won us the league title; got us to a league cup final and still got sacked!

  • Comment number 42.

    dkings:
    "Thank you for your concern peter, but if Liverpool instead of Leeds were the subject of the blog, I think you would object violently to your own point!"

    Quite the opposite my friend, you may not be aware but Liverpool very rarely sack a manager. Infact, Houllier officially left by mutual consent rather than being sacked so I support a team where chopping and changing managers is unheard of.

    I stick by the manager through thick and thing because I am a supporter, it is mine and my fellow supporters to support the team, and that includes managers and backroom staff. I also look at the best interests of my club and if Liverpool had a chairman like Bates then I wouldn't see that as the best interests of the club.

    Yes Leeds and McAllister weren't doing well, but what right do they have to get promoted? None. Given time McAllister may have changed it around, but now we'll never know. I can't see his replacement getting Leeds back in the prem in two to three seasons, and thats probably what Bates is demanding.

  • Comment number 43.

    having seen them play the mcdons as a 'neutral' (as a man united fan and a lover of football i hate both equally), the BBC radio guy is spot on - Leeds were defensively awful; 2 of the mcdons goals were gifted on saturday by poor marking. gary mac has to take the blame for that, and the way he spent most of the match legs and arms crossed sitting down in the dugout didnt do him any favours.

    paul ince would be a good appointment, might be a bit too soon though.

  • Comment number 44.

    Davies is the best man now for the job.

    He could take Leeds to the PL.

    And then? Well that would depend on funds.

  • Comment number 45.

    As a footie fan born in Leeds now living in Nottingham. I am fed up of seeing good managers sacked because their players for some reason stop playing good football.
    I felt really lifted last year when Gary Mc was made manager at Leeds and have watched them on many occasions and felt they did have a lot going for them but have like other teams sold their best players for the cash. If you live on a basic team its obvious if you get injuries you are not going to play as well.
    The secret of a good footballing team is to stick to your manager for more than a few months e.g. Alex Fergueson. Its like a family and needs the stability of knowing who is in charge. Mr Bates needs a reality check on where Leeds are and let the football commence and leave the finance in the background. Please.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    I think Kevin Keegan & Alan Shearer would be a great appointment.

    It sounds crazy i know but i honestly think they could do a job at Leeds and take them back to the top tier of english football. Shearer needs to coach a a lower level before he even thinks about taking teh Newcastle job. Also Keegan (when in the mood) will provide Leeds with that much needed enthusiasm the club needs to go forward.

    *** Then when Ashley sells Newcastle, Bates can bring Wise in as executive director of football***
    (above statement purely a joke)

    Also i don't agree with any bloggers critising the impact of Bates on your club. One particular poster is very inaccurate in stating that Chelsea were in a mess when he sold up. They were £80m in debt when he sold them and the deal made him £17m from a £1 purchase made in 1982. So i wouldn't neccessarily think that was bad business was it!

    Leeds should just be grateful that the fall from grace was not as bad as it could of been. Many experts and pundits believe that if it were not for the historical name Leeds has within the english game they would have been expelled from the league.

    I feel Leeds may go through a few more managers but will end up in the rightful place of the Premier League.
    (Man Utd Fan)

  • Comment number 48.

    I think it was the right decision for Leeds to sack McCalister. For me, its an obvious case of good player, not so good as a manager.

    Leeds were on course for promotion when he took over last season, i think they were top or second behind Carlise, i cannot see how they had an 'upturn' or how he lead them to the play-off final when they were in a much better position before he took over.

    I think the best appointment Leeds could make is Paul Ince. He did a great job at Maccelsfield and a fantastic job at MK Dons. He took over a talented squad at MK and got them playing stylish and direct football straight away after a few seasons of Martin Allen's long ball tactics had stopped the team playing to their full 'footballing' potential.

    MK Dons ended up winning the league and JP trophey and finishing above the Darren Ferguson's Peterborough who had a lot more resources (400k for a keeper?!). Ince is proven at turning teams around and playing good football at this level; exactly what Leeds need.

    Blackburn was perhaps a bridge too far, he was competing with some of the best managers in the world in the Premier League and without as much cash as some of the bigger teams, or the time to assemble his own squad. I dont think his time in charge reflected his managerial ability.

    As a MK Dons fan, i would be seriously worried if Ince was given the Leeds job. Whoever takes charge should be taking them up though.

    Was at the game on Saturday and Leeds' support was fantastic. I hope they go up (via the play-offs) as they dont deserve to be where they are now.

  • Comment number 49.

    Wrong Decision.
    Gary McAllister steadied the ship that Wise left and was so close to getting us into the championship.

    How many years did Leeds spend in the doldrums before Howard Wilkinson (now much maligned and rudely forgotten) get Leeds back to the top flight and winning?

    We've had so many managers thrown at the club to try and resolve the downturn - Venables, Reid et al.

    Gary got 10 months before the sack!! Good in season 1 (picking up from Wise's mess), struggling in Season 2. Ok, fair enough, not good enough, but I feel he would have got us promoted next season (09/10). It will take time and from watching him you felt that he is a Prem manager. Potentially he could take us all the way.

    Right now we will probably get in some poor chap on a big pay day of get Leeds promoted or bust. Let's be realistic, forget promotion for now, get the right team in and move forward.

    I'm really upset because if Beckford was fit, Leeds would have scored goals and Leeds would have done the job. It wouldn't have cured the defensive crisis but it would have given Gary more time.

    If Leeds are a club that gives a manager 10 months then we will stuggle for a long time yet.

    Was McAllister was the right man to take Leeds to the Prem 10 months ago. Yes said the board. Then who really believes that the new guy gets more time than the end of the season.

    Bates, who I respect, has has 5 managers already. I don't agree with the decision but plaese stick with no.6

  • Comment number 50.

    DrBrumTangerine (#40) - I didn't realise that about Crainey no! Grayson must be an absolute miracle worker to have made him into player of the season material as he was truly shocking with us, following in the footsteps of some other "great" left backs we've had: David Robertson, Nigel Worthington, Didier Domi......

    On a more serious note, it sounds like Grayson is held in very high regard by Blackpool fans and you would have to wonder why he didn't want to take the risk of moving to the environment as it currently is at Leeds at this stage of his career.

    I think a reality check is needed by supporters now though. We should be keeping a closer eye on the relegation zone than worrying too much about going up, at least for this year. Time to consolidate and rebuild (because Beckford and Delph will go in January) before pushing for promotion next season.

  • Comment number 51.

    Interesting blog this one,

    First of all no team "belongs" in the premiership. Wigan, Fulham et al are all in there on merit, the arrogance of some Leeds fans think its there god given right to get back there, trust me it's not.

    There is a long que of big teams all waiting to get back and i'm sure you are aware that the Championship is the hardest league to get out of.

    When SWFC were in league one, it was a real culture shock. It wasn't until we brough Paul Sturrock in, that's when our fortunes changed.

    Youe need someone who is good with cash but also has the ability to play at style of football that will get you out the league.

    Pretty football is hard to implement at lower league level, Sturrock played a direct style that was perfect.

    Boothroyd would be the best bet to get Leeds up this year, if you are looking for good footy, Grayson is the way to go, although Macca was unluck in the first place.

  • Comment number 52.

    Agree with many of the points raised by lots of people Davies, Ince, Grayson all good examples of managers doing a good job outside the Premiership.

    I'm a Luton fan and if Crainey can become player of the year at Blackpool having seen him play admittedly only once in that 5-1 game a couple of years ago, then Grayson must be an awesome coach.

    Luton and Leeds seem to have shared managers, captains, relegation and now ENOCH the greatest non-league capture ever....(nearly, but he is a legend in my eyes!) over the past couple of years, so believe it as a follower of lower league footballer we do take note of the mighty Leeds, and i have a couple of friends who are die hard Leeds fans.

    At this point some Leeds fans need to realise that they dont have a god given right to waltz through things. Yes last season they were extremely unlucky; but you have to ask yourself why did Mr Wise jump ship from potential manager of the year award to sit in a cozy office in London/Newcastle?

    Gary Mac, did a good job at Coventry and did and good job at Leeds, a bad run yes, but most Leeds fans on here recognize the team have played much better football this season. However just because 30000 people support your team doesn't mean you will win the league, the fact that Leicester are down there MK Dons and Peterborough probably have resources to match you and they came up from the bottom tier last year, will mean you have a chance of being in the play-offs. Throw in Millwall (under Jackett) Oldham (under Sheridan) Tranmere(under Moore) Scuny, and the surprise package Stockport you have to accept that 3 teams of about 8 or 9 will go up.

    Bates' reaction is one of usual panic, hence why he won very little at Chelsea aside from saddling the club with massive debts.
    I hope you go up with Enoch scoring 20 goals, but if you dont its down to Mr Bates not Gary Mac.

  • Comment number 53.

    Davies. He has a proven record of working wonders with two different teams, the only reason he's out of work is because he succeeded too quickly at Derby.

    Both Preston and Derby have histories as well so he'd be aware of that, plus he'll cost nothing.

  • Comment number 54.

    To all those posts saying we think we have a god-given right to go up, we don't think that and I don't think any Leeds fan on here has even suggested that.

    However, because of the history, fan base and rivalries that Leeds brings we feel that our 'home' is the Premiership, that's where we belong. And you even have fans of other teams saying the same thing. We all know that we will have to fight tooth and nail to get there.

    We have an above average League One squad (well, from midfield onwards anyway!) and we're capable of putting a good run together and getting in the mix towards the end of the season. I don't think that's arrogance, that's realism.

  • Comment number 55.

    Above average squad?

    You have one main player out injured and have managed to lose 5 in a row, that doesn't suggest your squad is above average.

    At the moment Leeds are a mid table league one club, no history or fanbase can alter that.

    Derby, Wolves, Birmingham, Norwich, Forest, QPR, Sheff W, Sheff U, Ipswich the list of "big" clubs in the Championship is endless. If Leeds get promoted they will add themselves to this list, if they get back to the Prem then hats off, however just because once upon a time you actually mattered don't presume it will automatically happen again.

  • Comment number 56.

    Didn't I just say that we're going to have to fight tooth and nail to get there? I'm pretty sure I did, and made the point that we don't think it will automatically happen at all. I suggest you read the post properly before responding with bias.

    And it isn't down to Beckford why we're losing, it's because the defence is shipping goals like it's going out of fashion. With players like Becchio, Delph, Howson, Snodgrass and Robinson you have the core of an above-average squad for the division. We just need to sort the defence out and get a little bit of cover up front that doesn't include a big lump and a guy who was promising 10 years ago.

  • Comment number 57.

    Vinny Jones at 100/1 is my choice! No experience but he loves the club, and the players would be s**t scared of him so they'd have to play!

  • Comment number 58.

    Bangforyourbuck,

    I did read your post, apologies if my reply seemed bias.

    As most people have stated, if Beckford wasn't injured, Macca would have most likely kept his job as the attacking threat would have covered up your defensive fragilities, especially against Northampton and Colchester.

    You have named 5 players that are good players, however that doesn't equal an above average squad, simply a first eleven that when fit would match the front runners.

    Don't get me wrong there are level headed Leeds fans who realise it will take time to build before unleasing a assualt on the big time. However there are lots of people who still think Leeds are a big club.

    League tables do not lie, Leeds deserve their position, as do the other fallen giants.
    If they get back to the promised land then we can talk about how big they are!

    I was merely suggesting that if/when you get out of league one you will be presented with a league with much tougher opponents. Teams with parachute payments and Premiership quality players.

  • Comment number 59.

    I cannot help but feel Bates has got it wrong again. Its the first time in years we have got together a young progressive team. Gary Mac has only been at the club for 11 months he still has to field Dennis Wises signings (remember the guy who got us relegated from the championship). Gary would without doubt be equipped when we eventually go up to keep us there and even progress us to the Premier League. He has masses of experience winning Championships and playing at the top level.

    Grayson has done a half decent job at Blackpool but has not got the same contacts or experience. Assuming of course he gets the job.

    Anyone out there with a few quid to buy our club please come forward ASAP.

  • Comment number 60.

    Its a shame Mac has gone but 5 clean sheets in 30-odd games tells a story. Even without Beckford and Robinson we scored in all the recent defeats apart from Histon and with a better defence we'd have nicked a couple of 1-0's and still be in the playoff places. We shouldn't be relying on Becks and co banging in 2-3 (or more) goals every game cos we know we're going to concede.

    Whether Mac could've sorted out the defensive frailties in January we'll never know now, but he did have all summer to strengthen and only picked up Telfer who's very much in the twilight of his career. Having said that, Marques, Michalik and Huntington (when fit) should all be very capable in League 1 but we've still leaked goals all year. Just a thought - was Staunton employed to coach the defense? If so maybe he should've gone first instead of Mac?

    On the new manager front Billy Davies is a good shout, a decend mixture of experience (including lower-league) and passion.

  • Comment number 61.

    Boothroyd was at the game too. As was I. does that mean i'm gonna be the next leeds manager?

  • Comment number 62.

    The problem was, we were starting to struggle when Beckford was in the team anyway, the defence just seem to be getting worse each week. It's like they're regressing to schoolboys, and that's pretty unfair on schoolboys. I'd give my right arm for a clean sheet at the minute.

    I could bang on about how we are considered a "big club" but then most people would completely get what I mean and it would build up more animosity. So yes you are definitely right, the league table doesn't lie and we deserve to be where we are. But like I said we're more than capable of going on a run and hopefully getting into the playoff positions.

    If we managed to scrape through to the Championship the good thing is we are now profitable so could afford good standard players and we'd still have the pull to attract them, so anything could happen.

  • Comment number 63.

    I meant completely NOT get what I mean, whoops!

  • Comment number 64.

    The big club debate could run on and on.
    I completely understand what you're on about, my team Sheffield Wednesday are in the same bracket, however to even consider us being big again we have to get back into the Prem.

    It just grinds on me when fans go on about Wigan and co not deserving to be in the Prem because big teams like Leeds are languishing in lower leagues.

    I'm sure if you do get back up to the Championship you will eventually become a force, but fans are fickle. Start losing a few and that profit will start to diminish.

    At least the administrators came in at a good time!

  • Comment number 65.

    Bangforyourbuck;

    Im glad you mentioned Leeds fans dont feel they have a god given right to be in Premiership i dont know any Leeds fan that have said this. A club like Leeds should be higher but the simple fact is were not.

    We deserve to be where we are in the table with the current squad based on the performances - the squad is definatly above average for this league - thats why the manager got the sack.

    The fact that Gary added to our defence over the summer - we didnt lose anyone - is baffling why theyve been so poor this season, possibly man management?? who knows.

  • Comment number 66.

    Mind you if we lose Delph and Beckford in January then not so sure our squad is above average...

  • Comment number 67.

    Mikeowl - totally agree with you on fans saying some clubs don't deserve to be up there. Everyone there worked hard for it and deserves their time on the big stage. Besides, the Premiership would be a poorer place without your Hulls, Wigans, Boltons etc. That's the beauty of the league, it's sure as hell not for watching who out of Man U and Chelsea are going to win the title.

    Spadge - I also think part of the problem was too many chiefs. Between Mac, Staunton and Neil McDonald you had three people used to being the top man and I have a feeling the structure was all wrong.

  • Comment number 68.

    I think people need to realise that one of the main reasons Leeds United have failed to reach expectations over the last few years is the fact that we do not employ managers with any pedigree. Instead the chairman appoints untried untested, young managers in the hope of finding a gem. O'Leary, good but first job. Blackwell, Wise, McAllister(very little experience). Leeds United need a manger with a record of getting teams out of the league. People like Ronnie Moore, Billy davies, Simon Grayson and NOT Gus poyet. It wouldnt surprise me if Bates decided to save a few pennies and give Poyet the job. If he does we will be in exactly the same position next season

  • Comment number 69.

    Grayson confirmed!

  • Comment number 70.

    What what what??? What source, Sky? Just trawling the net at the minute trying to find out lol.

  • Comment number 71.

    Got it now. Well here's to him and hopefully some good fortune for us. Got to hand it to Bates, he doesn't hang around.

    He's probably already got in his mind who he's going to appoint in the summer!

  • Comment number 72.

    Lets hope he can teach the lads how to defend a corner and Bates gives him some cash in the Jan transfer window. Need a big push in Jan back to the higher reaches of the table!!!

  • Comment number 73.

    Crazy decision to Sack Gary Mac but it sums up why Leeds are where they are and why they are likely to stay there for at least one more season.

    The problems at Leeds will remain all the time Bates is there. Only a mad man would want to work with him.

  • Comment number 74.

    Grayson - pleased with that. Like someone mentioned hopefully sort out the defending.

    Anyone know who's likely to be his No.2? And anyone know more about the legal ramifications that Blackpool are looking to pursue.

    I hope Bates did this properly, dont need points taking from us again!!

  • Comment number 75.

    I'm sure they'll be ridiculously over-compensated for their troubles. Maybe Robbie Fowler could give them some of the money we donated to his pension.

  • Comment number 76.

    Just reading the article on the BBC Sport website now...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/leeds_united/7796182.stm

    It looks like it took him 2 years to get Blackpool promotion. Let's hope Captain Birdseye gives him that long and doesn't sack him in under a year like Macca...

  • Comment number 77.

    He'll be reasonable I think - minimum automatic promotion this season, Championship title next season then the double of Prem title and Champions League in 2011. If Grayson fails in any of that he's gone!!

    Bates is a realist...

  • Comment number 78.

    The present situation is nearly a parallel with that of early 1963 .....

    Struggling near the bottom of the old Second Division and with relegation looming to the Third Division, they took a risk and appointed ex-Man City player, Don Revie.

    That appointment was inspirational because just over 2 years later they very nearly won The League Champioship and FA Cup Double, with basically nearly the same set players!

    Its doubtful though whether the current players could achieve that whoever is appointed the next manager!

  • Comment number 79.

    I respect Larry Grayson and I’ve always liked him from his here at Leicester.

    I do wish Leeds United all the best and I genuinely hope they get promoted this season.

    I am, however, worried about our Boxing Day clash with them. New Manager Syndrome will kick in and despite Leeds losing their last 5 games and us winning 6 on the trot, form goes out of the window.

    I’d take a draw right now.

  • Comment number 80.

    I'd also take a draw! Can we send out memos to both to settle for it and we can all leave happy? :)

    MOT

  • Comment number 81.

    Forget Grayson or whoever;Leeds's main handicap is having Papa Smurf still hanging around the club like a very bad smell.......

  • Comment number 82.

    "What next for Leeds?"

    ---------------------

    Relegation.

  • Comment number 83.

    Grayson is a good coach. Blackpool have over performed under his stewardship. But Ken Bates has set another dangerous precedent. He says Grayson tore up his contract at Blackpool, resigning at 12.10.... and somehow managed to sign a contract with Leeds 5 minutes later. Odd that! Let's hope that Leeds do win some games - or uncle Ken may find some Leeds players resigning from their contracts - and signing for other clubs 5 minutes later!

  • Comment number 84.

    So 4 points from two games I honestly expected nothing from, not a bad start.

    Hopefully we can put a run together and make some ground up on those firstly in the playoff spots and (reaching for the moon here) the automatic spots.

    One can dream.

    MOT

    P.S. Everyone get their grubby hands off Delph!

 

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