IF WILY OLD WARNOCK CAN’T GET LEEDS UP, WHO CAN?

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE -

LEEDS fans may be happy to see the back of Neil Warnock. Ques­tion is, will they be any hap­pier with his re­place­ment?

It’s all very well bandy­ing words like his­tory and tra­di­tion about. There will be no short­age of misty-eyed man­agers de­luded into think­ing they can raise a sleep­ing gi­ant. But his­tory and tra­di­tion won’t buy a de­cent play­maker or a nippy striker. And that is the big prob­lem at Elland Road. Martin O’Neill will know that. So too Mark Hughes. And it would be naïve to think that Nigel Ad­kins wasn’t sounded out be­fore his move to Read­ing.

Any man­ager with an ounce of sense and a rep­u­ta­tion to pro­tect will recog­nise that Warnock is a Cham­pi­onship ex­pert, a man who has taken three dif­fer­ent teams into the Pre­mier League.

And they will surely con­clude that if he couldn’t shake Leeds from their malaise, no­body can. The cold, hard facts are that Leeds is wor­ry­ingly un­sta­ble. Own­ers GFH cap­i­tal, who bought the club from Ken Bates at Christ­mas, al­ready want out. It is no se­cret that a hefty bid is on the ta­ble.

They have stopped in­vest­ing in the team, just like Bates did. Since 2009, net trans­fer ex­pen­di­ture is +£13m. In that time, the likes of Jer­maine Beck­ford, Jonny How­son, Bradley John­son, Robert Sn­od­grass and Lu­ciano Bec­chio have gone, as have Max Gradel and Kasper Sch­me­ichel. None have been ad­e­quately re­placed.

The worry for any prospec­tive man­ager (and most Leeds fans) is whether ris­ing stars like Sam Byram and Tom Lees will be next.

Warnock was op­er­at­ing on the bones of his back­side, and made no se­cret of it. Un­less Leeds’ own­ers can con­vince the new man that he will not be sim­i­larly ham­strung – or un­load the club quick – they can for­get about at­tract­ing a qual­ity boss.

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