Ahh, when a win doesn’t feel like a win.
Six home wins on the bounce. That’s the positive Neil Warnock is hoping you’re concentrating on.
The reality is far more concerning though. Yes, we have won six straight home games, yes we kept a clean sheet and picked up three points all in one match but when you can barely compete with teams propping up the league in consecutive weeks, perhaps Neil can forgive those among us who are slightly more sceptical.
You only have to have been at any of the recent home matches, or the more notably worse outings to Hull and Barnsley to know just how bad the football really is. Warnock can toot his own horn all he wants about how he’s ‘doing a great job’ but far from the happy, positive manager who embraced the ‘fantastic’ support when he arrived, he is now clutching at straws.
Every post match interview when he started at the club was about how great the fans were, how big the club is and how we should be in the Premier League. Now he’s telling us to get a grip and that the glass is half full. My glass just needs more beer, frankly.
It almost seems that with every step the new owners, GFHC take to improve the clubs’ image with the fans, by lowering ticket prices for instance, Warnock is there to knock it back a peg. His tactics are baffling, the football is awful and to top it all, it appears he is trying to force one of our best players out of Elland Road.
Few will have missed Mick Jones’ surprising comments regarding Luciano Becchio but few expected Warnock to so publicly criticise the clubs’ leading scorer in the weeks after. Becchio certainly has his critics but the fact sis that Leeds would not be comfortably mid table without his goals and yet Warnock cannot seem to stop suggesting he would rather be elsewhere.
From where I’m sitting, nothing has been even remotely suggested by Becchio, his agent or the club; everything has come from Warnock (and Jones) who have suggested his head has been turned, he is not focussed on doing his job at Leeds United and that the club know there will be interest in him during the January transfer window.
Now Becchio may not be the most vociferous, in fact he is known to be quiet and prefers not to do public events but he has always been among a small group of players who could play out their career at the club. He always gives his all, this cannot be denied. Sure, it doesn’t always translate into aerial dominance or weekly hattricks but on the pitch, his commitment to the cause never waivers.
It appears, for whatever reason that Warnock has come to the conclusion during his limited time in the region that Becchio needs to be moved on. His comments have created a situation from absolutely nothing in what appears to be an effort to shove him out of an open door. Why? I couldn’t say.
What is for sure is that if Becchio were to be sold, I might add that I do not think he will be, that the steps GFHC have take to re-engage with fans will have been for nothing and the sale of an asset of Becchio’s stature will damage the fragile fan-owner relationship to the very limit. They will know, with continued sub 20,000 attendances, they can ill afford to alienate more of the fan-base.
The incentives for the fans to return to Elland Road are now in place but while things off the pitch seem to be heading in the right direction, it’s a two way street and Warnock’s team are not holding their side of the bargain. Many of us said, myself included that winning came before good football but there comes a point when both aren’t happening and you’re being humiliated by the leagues’ basement club.
Bristol City were probably the worst team to visit Elland Road this season but it speaks volumes than even they were comfortable with the ball at their feet and confident in their passing. Leeds afforded them time and space and made them look more considerable opponents while struggling for a creative outlet to break the deadlock.
Warnock’s selections again raised eyebrows as he preferred a Michael Brown and Rudy Austin central midfield partnership ahead of David Norris/Paul Green/Michael Tonge, while sticking Ross Barkley out on the right and Ross McCormack on the left. Square pegs, Neil. SQUARE PEGS!
It’s infuriating. Mind you, he’s finally playing Lee Peltier where he’s supposed to be played so that’s a start. He and Lees even looked fairly comfortable at the back which is great. But as a whole, there are still questions which better teams will ask of our defence than Bristol City who made little of the few chances they had.
Mercifully though, McCormack is back. He should never have been away and after Warnock dropped him, it seems he is more keen than ever to prove him wrong with a performance full of energy, incisive running and of course, the winning goal. It wasn’t all perfect, his passing came up short but when he kopped for catching the ball with his man bits, you can probably forgive him.
Sam Bryam’s link up with the on loan Barkley for the goal was really the high point in a dour spectacle. Keeping warm and amused through other means was easier and a lot more entertaining.
On to Spurs next Sunday and we can almost guarantee everyone will turn up for this one.