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