Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Goodbye to the Scots?

Over the past few days it has come to light that Leeds United have received several bids for striker Ross McCormack and at least two from Norwich for captain Robert Snodgrass. They are both quality players on their day, however would it be such a bad thing if the club were to cash in on them?

Starting with McCormack, he started the season brilliantly, was banging goals in left, right and centre. But when we reached the turn of the year the goals dried up and he began to get frustrated. Which led to him trying too hard and poor performances. Some games he just didn't look interested and his refusal to sign a contract indicates that he is motivated by money and doesn't care about this great club. If rumours are true and we have been offered between £1.5 and 2 million for him then i would snap there hand off. That money could be used to sign someone like Jay Bothroyd or Nicky Maynard if West Ham would be willing to sell him.

Moving on to Snodgrass. It looks like he's had his head turned by his agent who will be telling him how much money he can get at other clubs and so on. But is he really worth what we are asking? He is very inconsistent and maybe has one good game every four. Most of the time when he is one on one with a full back he seems to run out of ideas and tries to run straight through them or always cut back onto his left foot which has become very predictable. Also he said if the club showed ambition he would stay and sign. In my opinion the signings we've made are a lot better than what we had which shows the club is going in the right direction and with the takeover imminent there is not much more Mr Warnock can do. If a club wants to pay the £5 million were asking I would be happy to accept as he is not worth it. That money could be spent on players capable of getting us out of this league. For example Hull City's Robert Koren an outstanding player at this level is available for £500,000 and of course the much talked about Rodolph Austin who will hopefully joining the club in a £300,000 move at the start of next week.

So if these two players cannot see the ambition that the club is showing then I say cash in and use the money to buy players that want to help get this club back where it belongs. The next couple of weeks will hopefully be exciting with the gaffer preparing and adding to his squad ready for our assault on the Championship this season.

All I can say is thanks for your service Snoddy and Ross your future is down to you to decide now. Leave for more cash or gain promotion with this club. Easy choice surely?

All comments welcome positive and negative.

Twitter - tomsjohnson

Monday, 20 February 2012

Will Warnock finish with number eight?

On Saturday there was a sense of optimism around Elland Road. A new era is about to begin and with Neil Warnock at the helm. He has 18 months to get this sleeping giant of English football back to the big time, in what quite possibly could be his last job in football.

Although after the first hour he will have been wondering what he had got himself into. Trailing to a club propping up the table but he sent messages down to the bench, changed tactics, made substitutions and came away with three points. If that is what he can do when sitting in the stands after not working with any of the players i can't wait to see what will happen after a week at the training ground with them.

Warnock has made it clear that he wants to bring two or three players into the club, with some going out on loan. Looking at his previous deals he knows what he likes, so i expect to see a couple of players he has worked with before come in like Shaun Derry and Clint Hill. Out of the two i have just mentioned i feel that if we could bring in Derry, he would be the player that we have been crying out for all season. Someone who will sit in the midfield, break up play and not be afraid to stick his boot in.

If his track record is anything to go by then Warnock will have guided us back to the Premier League by the end of his contract. With seven promotions under his belt, the most recent of which coming last season with QPR, he is looking to get that record eighth with Leeds United. The main thing that every single Leeds fan can do now is get behind the team every week. Positive support can be the difference and spur a team on in the final stages of a match.

Hopefully there will be exciting times ahead for us under the stewardship of Mr Warnock and as long as Ken Bates gives him the sufficient backing we will climb up the table and back into the heart of the promotion race.

Also i would like to thank Simon Grayson for the job he did at Leeds. He will always be remembered as the man who finally got us out of league one. I hope he gets the support he deserves off the Huddersfield board. Once again thank you Simon.

Twitter - @tomsjohnson

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Too many broken promises!

Time after time Leeds United fans are promised that money is going to come in the club and be spent on players. But in reality since Ken Bates took over the club we have seen no major signings and year after the best players leaving the club due to not being offered a decent wage, when they can go to a smaller club and get more money.

It's about time he put his money where his mouth is and invest properly into this football club. Every single fan would rather that the money is spent on bringing better players into the club but instead he chooses to spend it on some fancy new executive boxes. It may bring in money in the long term however Simon Grayson needs to be backed now! If that means breaking our wage structure to bring in a player then so be it. But something has to be done and fast.

There is two days left in this transfer window and we were promised four top class signings. So far since that promise was made we have only signed Fabian Delph on loan. It also shows a lack of ambition when Alan Smith, who would of given his all to play for this club has joined MK Dons on loan and their only paying £2,500 of his wage, does that mean we weren't willing to pay that to bring Smith home?

I know that he wouldn't have solved all our problems, however i feel that he would of been a great asset and would of been someone to help nurture the young talent at this club. Also a premier league signing would just give everyone at the club a lift and a much needed kick up the backside as performances over the past few weeks have been poor. The thing that i believe needs to be addressed first is to extend the contracts of Adam Clayton, Robert Snodgrass and Aidy White. These three could easily make it at the highest level and we need to make sure that they make that step up with us, rather than go for a very small fee when their contracts are running down. Giving these three long term deals would certainly scare off and potential suitors as they would have to pay a lot more for their services.

The board answer to pleas for lack of activity will more than likely be so and so turned us down for a premiership club or they wanted too much money. But the truth is they will only be asking for a wage that most of this league is willing to pay apart from Leeds. If the club really does have true ambitions of getting into the top flight then we will see some big signings in the next two days however I can't see it happening and deep down everyone knows it.

Mr Bates please get your wallet out and put your money where your mouth is! It's time to back up your promises!

twitter - tomsjohnson

Friday, 20 January 2012

Fabian Delph, Great signing or just distracting us from the truth?

When the news first broke that this could happen last week I was full of optimism. Now however since we are now selling our captain the question has to be asked. Are we no longer able to keep our star assets?

Like any other Leeds fan I'm delighted that we have been able to bring Fab back on loan, even if it's just for a month at the minute. My initial thoughts were that he would be here to cover the gap left by Jonny Howsons' injury. But obviously i was wrong as he appears to be on the way to Norwich, subject to personal terms and a medical.

Also now with contract talks with Adam Clayton stalling, who has plenty of suitors who would be willing to take him to the top flight and rumours circling that Leicester City are going to make a bid for Robert Snodgrass. Are we going to be able to keep hold of these players, when they will be able to go away and earn a lot more than they do at Elland Road. It's about time that the club started to pay that bit extra to make sure we tie down our best players for four or five years. Rather than lose them on a free or for a very small fee.

Although I do believe getting two million for a player who has five months left on his contract and currently sidelined with a long term injury is a good deal. It is still one i would rather not see happen. Since he has been out of the side our form has dipped dramatically. Bringing Fabian in is still a good move however, he has bags of ability and a desire and passion for the game. If Simon Grayson can persuade Aston Villa to let him stay at the club until the end of the season then I truly believe our starting midfield cannot be matched by any other club in this division.

What the club needs to do is make sure that no more of our key players are sold in this window. If they are then we will definitely not be in the promotion shake up at the end of the season. We need to improve the spine of the team then the rest will fall into place. Unlike many I still believe that Grayson is the right man for the job. He likes his teams to play attacking football and given the right funding could get the players that he needs to get us promoted.

If that is the case, Ken Bates, will you back your manager that you paid Blackpool a decent amount of money for?

I doubt it.

twitter - @tomsjohnson

Monday, 16 January 2012

RIP Darlington FC?

Today it was announced that Darlington Football Club have terminated the contracts of all playing and coaching staff due to them not being able to pay their wages. I feel that this could have been prevented if the FA offered a little bit more support to clubs that are relegated out of the football league.

When relegated they are still paying players full time contracts which they cannot afford, so they immediately have to sell or release their best players so they can get money into the club to pay wages, as well as everyday things such as electricity bills and so on.

There should be a clear set of guidelines aiding clubs in this situation but time after time the FA, Football League and Premier bosses sit in there mansions, turning a blind eye to it while football fans suffer as their clubs face extinction. This is not right, as a Leeds fan i know what they have been through as my own club was days from liquidation had it not been for Ken Bates.

But it took two relegation's before we were back on a stable financial footing, it should of been sorted a lot sooner. Then there is the case of Portsmouth who last year were just hours from going out of business before they were taken over and saved. The FA should not let this happen, they should look more into who is running each club and making sure they have the relevant funding available to back a club properly and give the fans what they deserve. A football club to be proud of. 

It's a disgrace that these people get paid all this money to sit on their backsides when they're supposed to be the ones running the game and they haven't got a clue. Something needs to be done about this. It's easy for people just to blame the owners for spending when they don't have the money but sometimes it goes deeper than that. Just look at Peter Risdale who is somehow still in football after having three of the clubs he has been chairman go into administration yet he has not been investigated, how is that right?

In Darlington's case this is the third time in nine years they have been in administration surely in that time someone must have realized something wasn't right? I think one of their main downfalls is having to keep paying for that 20 plus thousand seater stadium that 90% of is never used. They should of sold it as soon as they could to generate income then build a smaller ground that was easier to sustain and cheaper to run.

Hopefully someone will come in at the last minute and save one of England's oldest football clubs but that doesn't look like it's going to happen. So let this be a reminder to the FA and the other bigwigs at the top of football, this shouldn't happen so help stop it in the future. Don't let fans suffer by losing their football club.

RIP Darlington FC.

@tomsjohnson -twitter

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Leeds United's contract woes continue

It was announced this morning that Aidan White has rejected a proposal to extend his deal at Elland Road beyond the end of the season. This news will add further worry to the club who are already sweating over the future of club captain Jonny Howson, who is also out of contract in the summer. Losing key players on free transfers at the end of the season is something that has been happening too frequently over the last couple of years. Jermaine Beckford is a prime example of this, as he was the clubs top scorer for three seasons in a row, yet he was allowed to leave for nothing due to the club being unable to negotiate a new deal with the player and his agent.

Another couple of examples of this are Bradley Johnson and Neil Kilkenny, who were both allowed to leave the club even though they were instrumental in the clubs return to English football's second tier. Some people believe this is happening due to the club chairman Ken Bates not willing to offer his players competitive salaries, so they then choose to leave the club for a bigger wage packet. The other side of this is that players agents are now demanding inflated wages for their players, which due to the financial state of the game the club, cannot afford to pay. This throws up the question, is football just about money now? Has the passion of playing for the club and supporters gone out of the game?

With inflated transfer fees dominated European and World football then people could say that the game is just about money now, with some players being paid up to £200,000 a week. However if you look at some of United's recent performances they have been ones filled with passion, determination and a will to win. This has been key to the clubs rise to fifth in the Championship table and on course to be challenging for promotion at the end of the season, which would be a massive achievement for Simon Grayson, who is managing the club on a shoestring budget.

Grayson was set one clear target at the start of the season after narrowly missing out on the play offs last year, it was to get the club promoted back to the top flight after an eight year exodus. But to do that, he needs the club to keep hold of their key players, by tying them down to longer contracts . Players like Robert Snodgrass and Adam Clayton, the two stand out players of this season only have a year to run after this and bigger clubs will come sniffing round at the end of the season to try and get them on the cheap. So if the club aim to progress this season they must keep hold of their star assets, which may mean having to give in to the demands of agents.

The chairman is the one person who holds the key to all this happening, hopefully he will make the right decision and come May, the club will be celebrating promotion to the top flight.