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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Revolution in the air at Leeds United!

Back in late May I posted my thoughts on how promotion will be won or lost this year on the quality of the pre season training regime combined with the quality or otherwise of the player recruitment drive over the summer.  So as the transfer window slammed shut yesterday without news of a single completed deal coming out of LS11 and in the wake of the decision the previous day to let our much coveted star player depart to St Etienne my heart sunk and fury soon replaced the day's hope and anticipation.

Deadline day had started with me furtively consulting my iPhone in the forlorn hope that Lord Larry had managed to replace our Ivorian gem with an even better player but each time I glanced at my smartphone  I came up with a blank.  Yes players such as Danny Collins, Jason Puncheon and Sammy Clingan were "definitely" coming to West Yorkshire at various times through the day raising false hope that we were at least trying to add to the squad...............notice I didn't use the word strengthen!  As the afternoon wore on strange stories emerged from cyberspace............Brighton had put a bid in for Billy Barndoor! Weird but true but even what should have been a simple negotiation somehow failed though.  How difficult is to say yes he's all yours and you want to give us some money for him aswell? Result.  As I drove home from work listening to Radio Leeds focusing on the days key sporting stories from West Yorkshire I waited in vain for the opening sentence "And over at Elland Road no sooner was the money from Gradel's transfer in the bank that Simon Grayson has splashed out on a true star who will power Leeds' promotion bid" but all I got was in an depth assessment of how Leeds Carnegie will cope with Championship Rugby and a load of air time dedicated to Phil Parkinson's new signings at Valley Parade.  Morosely I ate my tea in the full knowledge that the hoped for Mad Max replacement was about as likely as Colonel Gaddafi winning this year's Nobel peace prize.

The evening sprinted by with the 11pm deadline fast approaching and still no news............then there was some breaking news and it was about Leeds Utd...............Bessone had gone back to play for Swansea in the Prem! Bizarre.  Sky Sports News had reporters at all the transfer hotspots who excitedly reported every 15 minutes that actually nothing had happened since the last report whilst Harry Bassett and company dissected every last piece of speculation and tit bit of news back in the studio.  Enthralling.  By the time Lewis started on ITV I had resigned myself to the fact that once again Leeds United supporters expectations and hopes had not been matched by the clubs board or manager.  Inside I was boiling as Lewis solved yet another murder with his able assistant.  I indulged in numerous flicks back to SSN but to no avail.  By the time 11pm arrived and the inevitable silence from Elland Road I was furious along with thousands of other members of the LUFC extended family.  Cyberspace exploded in a cascade of anti-Bates vitriol.

Mad Max had apparently first indicated his intention to leave at the start of the summer so if, and it's a big if, the club couldn't persuade him to stay why an earth hadn't the club got a ready made replacement lined up?  Why wait until the frenzied final day to try and get someone in to replace him?  In July both Simon Grayson and Ken Bates had made statements to the effect that we weren't a selling club and the club was building a squad to push for promotion.  Those words now sound as hollow as the world's largest bamboo cane and the vast majority of what our Chairman refers to as morons and in other circles are known as fans or customers are in revolt and with good justification.  I don't actually believe that we haven't got any money to spend on players as such.  I think there is a pot available, not a massive pot, but one that would be adequate to strengthen the squad.  I just think we are crap at negotiating deals with players and agents.  SG cited Jason Puncheon as an example of how "unlucky" they had been in losing him to QPR.  At lunchtime he was ours and yet he ends up at QPR.  Why didn't we close the deal?  WTF does Shaun Harvey get paid for if it's not to close deals?  How many deals have allegedly fallen through during the summer?  SG's press conferences have been littered with the recurring message "I've got some irons in the fire and expect new faces to be in by Monday" only for whoever the targets are to fall through at the last minute.  Lee Bowyer, David Stockdale, Steve Howard, Tomas Priskin, Sammy Clingan and the inevitable Alan Smith to name but a few before the fiasco of the final transfer day.  How ever we are approaching this aspect of recruitment it's failing badly.  Have we just pissed that many agents off over the months with our brusque style?  Or have we just not got the calibre of staff to deal with today's complex world of transfers and loans.  I think it's the latter.  FFS we pay more in agents fees than anyone else on the planet and still end up with no "star" players arriving at ER.

In summary I think it's a disgrace that a club with supposed promotion ambitions can allow their star player to leave because he allegedly "wants to play in France".................nobody wants to play in fucking France, not even the French................... without any sort of fight and then try and justify the move with the news that we've got £1.75m net from the deal! Two weeks ago Simon Grayson told West Ham they would have to treble their £2.5m offer to secure Max? Conspiracy theories abound especially with Capt Birdseye's involvement but I honestly think it is just the sheer incompetence of Shaun Harvey, Simon Grayson and Ken Bates to pull off any meaningful deals.  In the end we as fans deserve more than that.  There is no wonder that a significant  section of our loyal fans are sick to the back teeth of Ken Bates stewardship of the club and I have a lot of sympathy with that view.......................but he is not the only problem at Leeds United football club.  We must resolve the lack of ability to seal transfer deals if the club is to progress.  I mean in 48 hours we meekly accept a transfer request from our star player then can't even complete a simple deal to sell our 5th choice striker to one of our rivals and finally miss out on three "done deals" on final deadline day.  It's completely unacceptable for a club of Leeds standing.  Chairman, Managers and players come and go.  Us fans remain loyal through thick and thin, ups and downs so show us some respect and either sort the obvious failings of the club and invest in robust strategy to get us promoted out of the championship or in the words of our illustrious chairman "Get stuffed" and be quick about it.

By the way it's still nothing to do with building hotels!

Still seething.

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