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Grayson happy as Larry at Leeds

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Paul Fletcher | 10:36 UK time, Wednesday, 6 May 2009

I called an old colleague who now works for BBC Radio Leeds the other day to ask his opinion of Leeds manager Simon Grayson.

"Diamond," was the immediate reply.

I suspect that Grayson himself would wince at the description. When I asked the 39-year-old how he would describe his managerial qualities the quiet confidence of his previous answers gave way to a momentary uncertainty.

"I don't know, it is for other people to analyse," Grayson, whose nickname is Larry, told me. "Different people would have different opinions."

Leeds United manager Simon Grayson

Given that Leeds, defeated finalists in 1987, 2006 and 2008, are preparing themselves for another crack at the play-offs, their supporters would probably agree that much-maligned chairman Ken Bates has delivered to them something precious.

Leeds have lost just one of their last 15 games and have an ominous look about them as they push for a return to the Championship after a frustrating, perhaps humiliating but wholly deserved couple of seasons in League One. The first leg of their second-final tie takes place at Millwall on Saturday.

But Grayson's popularity rating is probably not too high in Blackpool, the club he walked out of after three successful years to take over at Leeds just before Christmas.

It was an unsightly mess, with Seasiders chairman Karl Oyston going public with the claim that he rejected five approaches from Leeds before Grayson eventually resigned. The clubs settled at a tribunal in early April, with both parties refusing to comment publicly on what transpired.

When Grayson arrived at Elland Road another season was in danger of going under, with Gary McAllister's dismissal coming on the back of five straight defeats that included an FA Cup reverse against non-league Histon.

So what did Grayson do?

"The players now are totally different to my first game in charge, at home to Leicester," said Grayson, referring to the attitude and self-belief of his players.

"You could sense the anxiety among the players and the fans, things were not right. We had to restore some confidence and make them believe they are talented players and get them back to some sort of level where they are maintaining performances."

Grayson strikes me as being an extremely pragmatic manager, one who is quick to identify a problem, work out what needs to be done and put a plan in place.

He decided it was important to start by keeping clean sheets, building from the back and get back to winning football matches. Then move towards the sort of attacking, attractive football that Leeds fans have glimpsed over recent weeks.

Grayson recalls certain training sessions where he thought that the players were starting to grasp what he and his backroom staff were trying to impart.

But if the Yorkshireman, elder brother of Essex cricket coach Paul, was to isolate one day when the season changed it was 17 February.

His team had been abject in losing 2-0 at rock-bottom Hereford and been subjected to some terrible stick - fully deserved in Grayson's view - from their own fans.

After the match Grayson shut the dressing-room door and let them have it. BBC Radio Leeds reporter Adam Pope recalls waiting and waiting and waiting for the manager to emerge. It was more than an hour before the manager returned.

Grayson is not a yeller and shouter. He has played for managers who have given it to his players every half-time and after every match. After a while Grayson used to switch off. It became white noise and lost its impact.

During his own managerial career Grayson has surprised his players by appearing calm when they might have expected harsh words, or losing his temper when they did not expect it. He subscribes to the importance of psychology in management.

In the dressing-room at Hereford it was raw emotion, pure and simple. He told his players they could go one way or the other.

"They could hide and duck away from the situation and not play for the club again, moving to a side lower down the league, or they could grasp the opportunity and use the stick they had quite rightly taken to prove the fans wrong," explains Grayson.

"As a group they have taken that opportunity and done really well from what could have been a delicate situation."Simon Grayson celebrates promotion with former club Blackpool

And so on to the play-offs and a semi-final tie against Millwall.

Grayson is no stranger to this part of the season, having won two finals and lost two as a Leicester player. He was the skipper as they defeated Derby 2-1 in 1994 and lifted the trophy. It was the Foxes' third play-off final in as many years and reward for their persistence.

As a manager he guided Blackpool to victory at Wembley in the 2007 League One play-off final. I interviewed Grayson ahead of that play-off campaign and asked him whether he would dust off his old videos.

Grayson immediately quipped that Betamax was a thing of the past but that is not to say that his experience will not prove useful.

He will insist that his players do not become carried away or change their habits. They must not lose sight of the hard work and application that has got them to this point. "If you start doing things differently you will come unstuck."

But he will also stress that his players must enjoy being involved in the play-offs, especially if they reach the final at Wembley on 24 May.

"I told my players at Blackpool not to have any regrets because it might not come around again," said Grayson.

Grayson himself knows that there is a pressure to deliver at Elland Road, restore the club to something like their former standing. He points out Manchester City as an example of another club that has recovered from an unwanted spell in League One. It is a measure of his common sense that Grayson quickly adds that Leeds are where they are for a reason.

Nonetheless, Leeds are not an ordinary League One club. While staying in London between away games at the start of April the entire squad went to see The Damned United.

Grayson found it slightly surreal to be watching a film about a man whose job he now has and a club he is charged with taking back through the divisions. But if it is something that concerns him it does not show.

"I felt when I was offered the job I could be the one to take them back to the heights and prove to be successful but time will tell I suppose," he said.


  • Comment number 1.

    Oh joy, cue a million anti-Leeds comments on here

  • Comment number 2.

    Larrys done a terrific job. Peterborough are very lucky he wasn't our manager at the start of the season. He immediately sorted out the defence which was shocking before Naylor was brought in.

    I pray we go up, mainly because the likes of Delph, Beckford and Snodgrass are too good for League One and I fear other clubs higher up the leagues would agree.

  • Comment number 3.

    grayson is brilliant so far, just hope if we do go up this year and say for example consolidate for a couple of seasons in the championship hope he is still given the time to take us back to the premiersahip were we belong

  • Comment number 4.

    I was worried this season would be another terrible campaign following last season's play off final defeat to Doncaster. Following a season of relative success in the Championship culminating in defeat to Watford, we were completely deflated and crashed to relegation the proceeding year. I was worried this would become an accurate patterned prophecy...until Grayson came in and turned us around. I am very, very, quietly excited about these play-offs - but we're Leeds don't expect things to run smoothly!

    Marching on Together!

  • Comment number 5.

    All fans other than LUFC, please play nice! We're not that bad, just a league 1 club with some aspirations and a strong fanbase (that really do get bored of reading the same old anti-lufc comments over and over again).

  • Comment number 6.

    From a purely selfish point of view, I hope Leeds fail in the play-offs so I can visit Elland Road next season with Brentford. A new ground and all that.

  • Comment number 7.

    hopefully 3rd time lucky

    c'mon boys!!!!


  • Comment number 8.

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

  • Comment number 9.

    Leeds need to get back into the Championship and indeed the Premier League. It's a club perfectly suited for a billionaire buyer. Huge potential.

  • Comment number 10.

    Leeds need a couple more seasons in League 1 (or hopefully below) to fully crush the unrealistic mindsets of their fans. They are no longer a big club and it's stupid to say they are. I hope with all my being that they miss out this season, and for many seasons to come.

  • Comment number 11.

    I simply ask 'abcisthealphabet'. Why is it unrealistic for us to want to play in the Championship and hopefully one day again the Premiership. Manchester City seem like a perfect example to me.

  • Comment number 12.

    For the 1st time in years I'm certain we have the right man in charge, even if we don't make it this year Larry is the man to move us back in the right direction.

  • Comment number 13.

    Is abcisthealphabet Rod Liddle in disguise? Same banal comments. Sure we deserved to be in Division 1, but if we make it back to the Premier League within the next 2 or 3 seasons, we will have got there on merit, same as Hull, Stoke, Sunderland...and any other side you wish to mention playing in that league.

  • Comment number 14.

    Larry has been a good manager for us. He has turned us around especially after the shambles we had become in defence. The team is playing with confidence and are only lost once (a injury time winner by the League 1 Champions, Leicester)in 15 games. He reminds me of Sean O'Driscoll at Donny (who beat us in last seasons play off final). Just quietly going along doing his job without all the mouthing you here from some managers these days.

  • Comment number 15.

    Leeds are a big club. Attendances better than a lot of premiership teams, home and away, in league one. A 'big' club is decided by history, fanbase, and potential for success. Leeds have all three of these - the huge size of the fanbase will attract buyers one day. Relative league position does not determine the size of a club: no disrespect to Hull fans, at all, but earlier this season they were higher placed than Manchester United. Does that make them a 'bigger' club?

    And if you bring consistent league position into it (I'm not using this as an argument), then have a look at this:

    I don't think we deserved to stay down last season. The 15 point reduction was unfair; we had the points taken off us the season before, and without that would have finished in the automatic spots. But then again, I suppose we might not have played so well without the -15. Ah, forget I said that, separate argument. Haha :)

  • Comment number 16.

    How can people say Leeds shouldn't be in the champ, and then the prem soon after? On the last day of the season, against the mighty...Northampton, yes Northampton town, they got 35,000 fans. That's incredible. No doubt they'll fill elland road for the play-off home leg.

    They've rightly been punished for their overspending, but the time is right for a step up to the championship.

    I'm an MK Dons fan, and i'm sure we will get Leeds in the final, i won't really be too bothered if we lose, though i'de be ecstatic to have championship football just around the corner. leeds will prosper in the championship, i'm all to fearful that we certainly would not.

  • Comment number 17.

    We have won almost 70% of our matches since Larry took over. He's given the lads confidence in their abilities and has them playing for the shirt again. We've won our last 11 home games proving Elland Road as the fortress it is.

    The atmosphere for the second leg in front of over 37,000 fans will be incredible. Marching on together!

  • Comment number 18.

    Hmm - it seems I might have misjudged how Grayson is regarded in Blackpool - at least among the club's supporters.

    Glenn Bowley, chairman of the Blackpool Supporters Association, sent me an e-mail this afternoon, within which he said the following.

    "Simon is, and always will be a legend at Bloomfield Road. His popularity rating at the seaside is only beaten by Jimmy Armfield. The reality is that Simon not only left for one of the biggest teams in the country but it is the team he supported as a kid. The respect and gratitude we have for Simon cannot be put down in words. He made us love our club again and believe. For this his popularity will always be high."

    So there we are - and thanks for that Glenn.

  • Comment number 19.

    abcisthealphabet sounds like a man u fan lol.
    If LUFC are not a premier league team then why are we pulling 25-30k fans for games?
    I am and always will be a life long Leeds fan and pray we get back to where we should be. The premier League is the right place for us.

  • Comment number 20.

    As Blackpool fan I fully agree with Glenn's email. Larry was always going to go to Leeds when they made the approach, and no doubt Oyston only did what he did to try and fill the coffers some more.

    Good luck to Leeds in the playoffs, it would be good to see Larry back at Bloomfield road even if it is in the other dugout. We might even have a proper away stand for you!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    Liverpool fan - but Leeds are my second team... (my parents have supported them all their lives). I feel that Leeds are a brilliant team to watch and no doubt deserve to win the play offs - their home form is phenomenal. I'll be behind them 100%!

  • Comment number 22.

    No team has a right to be in the Premiership or the Championship - you're there on merit. That's why Leeds are down here - they got relegated from the Championship without points deducted.

    Just because Leeds have a lot of fans and history doesn't mean they should be in a higher division either. Some Leeds fan's arrogance regarding this is why they are not liked.

    If they go up via the playoffs then fair enough; they've deserved it.

  • Comment number 23.

    Good blog Paul

    its about time we've had this kind of manager some one who keeps his head down and knows what he's doing

    we've had so many false dawns since being in league one

    under wise brilliant start and hit top of the table at one point then the rot kicked in.

    then came macca
    took a few games too get a win then picked up and made the play offs unfortunate to lose the final and then eventually lost the plot :(

    but now i feel a lot more confident that we will make the ccc this time around

    good blog

  • Comment number 24.

    Paul, you have not misjudged how Larry is regarded with a large number of the Blackpool FC supporters.

    He took us back to the second tier of English football for the first time in 30 years and for that we will be forever grateful.

    However, the way he left BFC was totally offensive to the people who gave him his break in football management.
    Numerous loan players departed the week he left, the budget for this season and part of next season already spent (at Christmas). If it was not for Tony Parkes and Steve Thompson as well as the clubs owners backing the pair we would have been relegated.

    Some day the whole truth will out and I hope Larry is big enough to say he and Mr Bates could have approached the whole situation in a more professional manner. Maybe we the supporters will one day have an apology for the shoddy way he departed.

  • Comment number 25.

    We have no divine right to be a Premier League team but the fans do believe that one day in the not too distant future that is where we will be playing, and why shouldn't they. I'm sure Leicester, Forest, Southampton fans also believe the same.

    Grayson has done a fantastic job since he took over at the club and long may he continue to do so.

    Bring on the play off's, I can't wait!!!


  • Comment number 26.

    Fletch, as a Pool fan, I instantly clicked on the link to this blog when I saw Larry was the subject and instantly jumped to the comments when you mentioned his apparently poor regard on the Fylde coast.

    Glenn Bowley said it better than I ever could, and I got a wee tear in my eye reading what he wrote. The man led us to the Championship, playing the best football I've ever seen us play, winning ten games on the bounce. I honestly wish him all the success in the world at Leeds and I don't know any Seasiders who wouldn't*.

    It's nice to see the Leeds fans squarely behind him as well, but then I can't say I'm surprised...

    *Well, as long as he gives us six points next season - with the Blues going up, we need to find them from somewhere!

  • Comment number 27.

    As an Irish leeds fan i travelled over to Elland road for the first time in 4 years in February. I really did not know what to expect. My girlfriend got me tickets as a christmas present and due to her lack of interest the match was against bottom of the table Cheltenham. I feared the worst, an empty kop.

    When i arrived at Elland road nothing had changed, people flooded the Peacock and the superstore and a crowd of 25k or so turned up for that game. I was astonished. I really hope we get promoted and i think Grayson is a fantastic manager and just what the administrator ordered! I still don't like Ken Bates but he has brought stability, and for that i appreciate his work.

    I miss the LUFC v. MUFC matches at the highest level always a fiery encounter. And i beleive Grayson could be the man to take us to the prem and indeed manage us in it. If we get to Wembley i will yet again be marching on across the atlantic!

  • Comment number 28.

    @27: 1st time in 4 years eh? Sounds like fair weather supporter behaviour to me!

    I'd welcome Leeds back in the's always a handy 6 points after all.

  • Comment number 29.

    It has taken some time but the solid fiscal policies of Ken Bates now seem to be coming to fruition. Gone are the days of pipe dreams, vanity spending and the delusions of grandeur associated with previous administrations. Instead we have a sensible and structured recovery program, healthy crowds and a burgeoning belief in good times ahead. I admit to being sceptical when Mr Bates took control of the club - but his mature and considered stewardship of our beloved club has been nothing short of superb in these troubled economic times. Ken Bates, we salute you!

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm quietly confident about the future. I know Ken Bates wasn't wanted at the beginning, because of his past, but he has stablized the club and that was the important thing. The thing i'm confident about is the Youth Academy, i know we have a lot of good youngsters coming through, and we don't have to sell anymore, it just needs Leeds fans to be patient.

    I live in an area where there are a lot of Liverpool, Man U and Everton fans, and they all say the same thing, they want Leeds to be in the top flight again, and not for an easy 6 points.

    All clubs have supporters who live far and wide,and can't get to games for whatever reason,and to say they are a fairweather supporter because they haven't been to a game for 4 years, is unfair. I haven't been for 5 years, but i have never been a regular at games anyway, but i'm not a fairweather supporter. A lifelong fan, yes!

  • Comment number 31.

    The Premiership without Leeds United is like a pantomime without a Baddie. It just doesn't seem right!

    In reality, they ALL want us back.

    Good luck in the Play Offs.

    Come on Leeds!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    I disagree with the Pool fans that have already responded to this post.. There are ALOT of fans who dont agree with Grayson walking out on the club at that crucial time in the season. Was it not for some amazing loan signings from Tony Parkes we would no doubt be swapping leagues with Leeds.
    Grayson had no thought for that when he left the club and yes although he took us to the highest league placing for 30 years, he also had the clubs full backing from day one (and I dont mean transfer funds wise - WAGE wise). Players like Ian Evatt and Rob Edwards would have been totally unaffordable in years gone past.
    He looks for Pools results first after Leeds have played, he says the same about Leicester... Tony Parkes, new manager, new era... Lost 1 in last 9. We'll do without Grayson thanks.

  • Comment number 33.

    Grayson has been a revelation at leeds, the only way for us is up. 34,000+ on Saturday, we will fill half of Wembley.

  • Comment number 34.

    To be honest all those who say leeds dont deserve to go up are speaking oyt of there as* we have been in the champions league semis for god sake now were playing the likes of northampton town still getting 35,000 we have felt the pain of relagation twice and nearly liquidation we now have the chance to right our wrongs and get back to where we belong

    so to those other fans who dont belive we should go up all i have to say is MARCHING ON TOGETHER

    we know no one likes us but we dont care

  • Comment number 35.

    One Loss form 15 games thats good, its like 42 points out of a possible 45 points that is like 93.3333333% or 93 1/3 of wins and like 6.6666667% or 6 2/3 loss. Good run and at least Grayson is stayimg on at Leeds. Nice one Grayson. Go on Leeds. Score some more Jermaine Beckford.

  • Comment number 36.

    i love watching leeds fail. sorry but they dont deserve to go up.

  • Comment number 37.

    No one has a devine right to be in any league. We almost wiped ourselves out with the stupid buying and paying crazy money for players like Seth Johnson (£7m?).

    The club got what was coming to it, but it's us fans that suffer. Luckily, we're back on track for a slow recovery. If we don't go up this time I think we'll do it next time.

    The gap between us and where we were when we were on the never-never has grown even more now, though. We'll need someone that actually HAS the money to spend if we are ever to get back to where we were back in 00/01. That's a long way of though!

  • Comment number 38.

    36. At 10:27am on 07 May 2009, bestchelseasteven wrote:
    i love watching leeds fail. sorry but they dont deserve to go up.

    We loved watching you fail last night! Made my evening.

  • Comment number 39.

    We've taken our medicine and hopefully now we can turn the corner, get promoted, consolidate for 1/2 seasons in the CCC and then mount a proper assualt on the Prem and get back we we should be.

    The Leeds haters can mouth off about us, but the reality is, the more you dislike a team, the more you want a chance to play them - that's why I can't understand say MU fans wanting City relegated, you want to play and beat your rivals.

    Let's not run before we can walk though, one step at a time, beat Millwall(amendment to the above : I dislike them, but don't want to play then every season:) over two legs, then win at Wembley (and all Leeds fans with any sort of memory know we're not right good at that!), my fingers are crossed.

  • Comment number 40.

    To Leeds supporters - are you confident that you will go up through the play-offs?

    Simon Grayson won the League One play-off final in 2007 while a Blackpool player and certainly knows what it is all about.

  • Comment number 41.

    What has impressed me the most about Larry so far is his ability to get into the players psyche. Under the previous three managers, the playing staff appeared to wither under the pressure of playing in front of 30K+ crowds and the size of the Elland Road pitch (where you cant hide if your not pulling your weight), which was shown by the fact that Leeds only won the away legs in the previous two-playoff semis.

    Over recent matches, ER has become a fortress again and the players appear to relish the large attendances and a pitch that allows for their expansive passing game, something that finally bodes well for Wembley (fingers crossed we get there).

    The only area that I think Larry has failed to address is the Goalkeeper. As pointed out by Andy Ritchie, Casper is a vampire (afraid of crosses) and his distribution, as any devotee of ER will testify, is chronic. But the alternative, in Lucas, is not any better. It is here that I believe promotion will be won or lost and where my confidence begins to wither. But supporting Leeds is a test of resolve even at the best of times.

    I sincerely hope Im wrong.

  • Comment number 42.

    An interesting comment Paul about taking the team to see The Dammed United. I took my family to see the film about a month ago and nearing the end, my daughter leaned over to me and asked, Were Leeds really THAT dirty back then? I had to reply, Yes, they were, but that was the way the game was played then. Every team had their own hard men, whether it was Nobby Stiles at Man U, Francis Lee at Man City, Tommy Smith at Liverpool or Ron (Chopper) Harris at Chelsea. The only reason Leeds were fondly referred to as Dirty Leeds was because they had four of these hard men in the same team (Bremner, Giles, Hunter & Charlton) something that all the other teams couldnt live with at the time.

    Great Memories. MOT.

  • Comment number 43.

    Worried as many of us may be; we still need to remain somewhat sanguine. Yes we've lost a last two previous play-off finals, but we lost to two strong sides. Watford were a much better team than us in the championship- they proved that in the final by outplaying us all over the pitch. As for last year, we beat Doncaster once prior to the final and we were lucky on that occasion. They destroyed us in the final and if it weren't for a solid performance from Casper; we'd have been at least 3-0 down.

    However... I strongly believe that we are just as good if not better than all the other teams in this seasons play-offs and the good thing is we've already shown we can beat them. Put this into perspective along with the fact that we have a manager who has experience in winning the play-offs; this has got to be worth at least a little more optimism.

    Let's continue to get behind the team and show some positivity, after all we've found the winning formula and if we don't make it this season we will look at season 09-10 with the knowledge that we have the right man at the helm and its gonna happen sooner or later.

    C'mon Leeds!

  • Comment number 44.

    As per post 41; a decent goalkeeper really is must if we are to get up and do ok in the CCC.

    Casper cost us the full 3 points at Orient, and just doesn't inspire confidence from set pieces.

    Lucas is even worse. At GM's last match in charge - the woeful defeat at MK Dons, our defenders wouldn't even pass the ball back to him when it was required.

    A safe pair of hands wouldn't cost that much. Maybe a 30 somnething ex prem keeper just to see us through.

  • Comment number 45.

    To answer your question Paul, I think yes we are confident! We are certainly the form team going in and more than a match for anyone else in the playoffs on our day. Just hope Beckford doesn't go missing like he did in last years final. He must have had the ball 3 times all day

  • Comment number 46.

    I'm hopefull that this year is ours, third time lucky and all that!

    If we can make it through to Wembley I reckon we will do it this time, of course we all have those doubts (we are Leeds fans!) but i'm hoping we make it

    Grayson is the right manager for us right now, we need to get behind him and the team to push on to the final. We've got the support and a good team

    Even if we have to stay in league 1 another season i'm confident that next year it would be automatic promotion (but i'm praying that we win through the play-offs this time round!)


  • Comment number 47.

    I pray we go up but although I was gutted last season, this season's been great, better football, atmosphere etc. So if all does go downhill, I'm sure we can rise from the flames once again.

    Grayson's having a great season for us. I'd say he's the right man for the job but I've said that for most managers we've had of late!

    Up the whites!

  • Comment number 48.

    good blog paul.

    i have to say i am very surprised at some of the bitterness coming from the blackpool fans. Larry took you to your best league position in 30 years and when he left said that he wouldnt have left for any team in the same or lower leagues other than the team he supported as a kid. dont think hes been disrespectful or left you in a state and in fact did amazingly well for you.

    Larry is doing an amazing job at ER at the moment and I think that all leeds fans have confidence that he is the right man for the job and will eventually take us back to where we want(not deserve) to be.

    I would like to add though that i can understand other clubs dislike for leeds and there fans when you come on boards like this and people mouthing off that we deserve to be in the premiership because we have a large fanbase and good history. This is just RUBBISH.

    Yes, we are a big club (in terms of fanbase and history) but the club fully deserves to be where it is due to the appalling past management however a club like leeds will always attract good quality players and i feel that with Larry and Ken at the helm good times are on there way back to this club and i can foresee european football again(might be a while off however).

    I really think that due to the quality of the current squad and the form we are in at the moment this is theseason where we will get a long overdue wembley win.


    oh and to the chelsea supporter who loves to see leeds fail

    HA HA HA not as much as i enjoyed seeing Iniesta score that goal last night HA HA HA

  • Comment number 49.

    Completely agree about the Hereford game being a turning point. At the end of that game I was convinced we could forget the play-offs - the whole team were really awful. No ideas, no fight, not a clue. One of those nights when you wonder why you bother travelling so far for so little reward. But since then, the team have worked hard and are now playing with real flair. Quietly confident about the play-offs, even if we are usually rubbish at Wembley (and Cardiff) finals.

  • Comment number 50.

    Grayson has always struck me as being a man of great common sense, who has matters very much in perspective and doesn't stress too much when he doesn't need to.

    He also comes across as the sort of bloke with whom it would be great to have a couple of beers.

    I really would not be surprised at all if Leeds do win promotion. And I reckon that next season's Championship is shaping up to be a very tough league indeed.

    In will drop the three from the Premier League - potentially some really big hitters in there, as well as the teams that fail in the play-offs, and the likes of Ipswich, QPR etc

  • Comment number 51.

    I think Graysons is a top manager and perfect for Leeds but....

    Does anyone else think we wouldn't have gone down in the first place had Bates not sacked Kevin Blackwell? He's not exactly done a bad job with Sheff Utd.

  • Comment number 52.

    Yes I think you are right. Blackwell was far more aware of the financial situation that Leeds were in at that time, which he constantly blamed for the teams poor form. It was for practically letting the cat out of the bag that Bates sacked him. The disasterous stewardship of John Carver led the team to the very bottom of the league, which Wise was helpless to do anything about and then the inevitable administration. If Bates had stuck with Blackwell I think we could have taken the 10 point deduction and remained in CCC. However we would have still started the next season with a 15 point deduction and probably been relegated the next season.
    So all in all we are still where we are supposed to be.

  • Comment number 53.

    Why have we spent a "wholly deserved couple of seasons in League One"? It wasn't the supporters who mismanaged the finances. The guilty parties have long since fled the nest and have chosen to support other teams. The blogger exemplifies predictale anti-Leeds bile at its worst. Very weak journalism!

  • Comment number 54.

    Very proud to have a good manager and Yorkshire man in control at Elland Road. A capable chairman and a team that I wish, with all the passion that one Leeds fan can have, the very best for the play offs. Come on Leeds!

  • Comment number 55.

    Is "abcisthealphabet" mad? I don't know who he supports, but I'd like to see his club pull 34,000 fans for a league 1 game against Northampton, (with all respect to Northampton)! And we're gonna get around 37,000 for Millwall. We had a higher attendance than about 5 or 6 Premier League games last weekend. That combined with a great history (and we were cheated out of winning more!) makes us a massive club!!!

    Come on Larry! One more push and we're only 1 more step away from where we really belong; the Premier League!!!


  • Comment number 56.

    As a Blackpool man I would like to state what a fantastic job Grayson has done at Leeds in such a short space of time and his play off experience should stand them in good stead over the next few weeks. Having said that I cannot stand Leeds United so I hope for my own enjoyment they fail in their playoff bid and are destined for another season in League 1. On a positive at least they will still have the nicest stadium!

  • Comment number 57.

    bestchelseasteven wrote:
    "i love watching leeds fail. sorry but they dont deserve to go up."

    As a Chelsea supporter, I'd have thought you'd have other fish to fry at the moment. Having said that, if anyone DESERVES anything at the moment, it's Drogba with his season long tactics of diving and cheating. So, i suppose he's got what HE deserves by missing out on the CL Final.

  • Comment number 58.

    lufc443 wrote:
    "....a decent goalkeeper really is must if we are to get up and do ok in the CCC."

    I agree, long term, Casper is a worry.

    As a Wigan based Leeds fan, i recon we should go for Mike Pollit from Wigan. He was the reason they didn't go down in their first season in the Prem. He was superb and confident and he's only out of the team through Kirkland's excellent performances this season.

  • Comment number 59.

    As a Blackpool fan, I have to admit I was dreadfully gutted to see Larry go to Leeds.

    However, I don't blame him for him going back to his home club (If I'd had the chance for that, I'd have done it in a heartbeat.) Nor for the work he put in helping us stay in League One, then build on that with promotion.

    Our club's been in the similar doldrums for over a decade in League One. Grayson succeeded where Big Sam, Nigel Worthington, Gary Megson, Steve McMahon couldn't. And look at that, Leeds are the form team going into the play offs with him at the helm again.

    Best of luck Leeds, as far as I can tell the bitterness is quite light. Most of us felt like we'd been shot in the heart with the way it went down. Still hurts now if I think about it.

  • Comment number 60.

    I was born in Leeds, lived down south most of my life and life is sooooo cruel.
    There was I thinking I would get a chance at last to see Leeds United at the New St. Marys in Southampton - and blow me down with a feather (or words to that effect) - Southampton get relegated! The Saints timing is awful. Leeds Promotion is of course more important than li'l ol me being able to watch them. B****r. Go boys, go.

  • Comment number 61.

    As a lifelong Leeds fan (I'm 50 years old) I cannot believe some of the comments relating to Ken Bates.

    What exactly has this paragon of virtue done for us? Taken us to our lowest ever league position after almost getting us kicked out of the Football League!

    I'm not interested in what Kevin Blackwell is doing now but he should not have had his contract extended until AFTER the Cardiff play-off final. In that match his tactical limitations were clearly exposed and he lost the plot completely the following season.

    For people to suggest that Bates's mate Dennis Wise didn't have enough time to turn things around is ridiculous - he was appointed in October or November - how much time did he need?

    I, like all Leeds fans felt that we were being victimised last season with the -15 points but the appeal hearing should have been a real wake up call. We have been lied to and fed a diet of propaganda.

    It is true that we have no divine right to top level football but it would be nice to think that all football fans - regardless of which club they support - have the right to expect the people running their respective clubs to have their club's best interests at heart. Somehow that just doesn't seem to have been the case in recent years at Leeds United.

    Regarding Simon Grayson I have been pleasantly surprised. He seems to have restored the team's confidence and after a shaky start has got them heading into the play offs in great form - well done Mr Grayson, please, please keep it up!

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm glad to see an air of cautious optimism returning to Leeds. Perhaps the tide is turning.

    I grew up in Northampton as a Leeds supporter, so with them sharing a division, there has at least been a little extra interest for me!

    Unfortunately, the tide looks to be turning for Northampton too, but in the other direction :(
    When I was 10 I used to dream about Northampton playing Leeds in the FA cup (Final!), and loosing 5-4.

  • Comment number 63.

    Not a Leeds fan. But they belong in the PL and I hope they get back there ASAP.

    A few less London clubs would be nice....

  • Comment number 64.

    I think Grayson has done a great job so far, seems like he's the right man for the job, bringing confidence and self belief back to the team, just at the right time too!

    With 37,000 fans behind their backs, im sure the whites can pull back the 1-0 deficit to Millwall and make it to Wembley again!

    But it does sadden me a little that narrow minded 'fans' still criticise united after all we've been through - debt, administration, 2 relegations - Fair enough, irresponsible planning and poor football got us where we are, but thats a thing of the past, and we've paid for it with penalties and relegations.

    The future is all about carving a new LUFC and getting us back into the top flight - and when we get there, it'll be because we fought to get there. All this 'you dont deserve it' - what a load of rubbish, may i ask why? im sure the league is based on points which are won by the teams who play better?

    End of rant - See you all at ER on Thurs, COME ON LEEDS!

  • Comment number 65.

    For all of you Ken Bates haters out there, he has saved our club and we should be thankful for that, any other chairman would have just left us to rot and we would be playing the likes of Farsley Celtic at the moment.

    All of you that say we aren't a big club, you know we are, or else you wouldn't be spending your time reading this blog about Leeds United, you'd be doing something else. We get bigger crowds than most Premiership teams week in and week out, and we also have the best away support in the Football League this season, and no doubt some Premiership teams.

    That Chelsea fan up there ^. You obviously miss us, because at Chelsea Vs. Southend you were all singing 'We all hate Leeds and Leeds and Leeds', don't deny it because i heard it live on television.

    Marching On Together!

  • Comment number 66.

    Simon has done an excellent job, so far - I'm sure he could be the manager to take us all the way back to the Premiership.

    The Premiership desperately needs bigger clubs like Leeds to challenge the "big four" monopoly. All credit to them but there are too many make-weight sides now in the top flight.

  • Comment number 67.

    @28 @27: 1st time in 4 years eh? Sounds like fair weather supporter behaviour to me!

    As i have already mentioned im from Ireland, Its not worth the flight over to watch Leeds play teams who are nowhere near a decent standard.

  • Comment number 68.

    bit worried bout thursday leeds need to get becks and bechio behind there back four and quick about it milwall stopped us passing on saturday and we looked like we were happy for the draw till they scored

  • Comment number 69.

    Man U fan here in peace.....great to see that Grayson has finally organised Leeds into a team and should be getting back where they belong in the Premiership.Though, I will have split loyalies as both my parents are Leeds fans....should be interesting!


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