Season Preview: Leeds Utd
Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong for Leeds last season. Throughout the campaign their was massive uncertainty about the future of the club off the field, while on the field the team struggled to be anything more than an average mid table side. The early signs were that new manager Brian McDermott's team would be in the promotion shake up. A 3-0 victory at Doncaster in mid-December saw the team sitting pretty in sixth place. However as further things were revealed off the field things went from bad to worse on it as they only won another six games all season. New owner Massimo Cellino's arrival did nothing to smooth over the confusion at the club as the farcical situation occurred in January, where McDermott saw himself sacked from the club the day before their home game with Huddersfield only to be reinstated two days after the game. Leeds' squad continues to look rather aged with a number of players well into their thirties. Perhaps this was the reason they struggled to keep up their early season form as the campaign wore on. Under the ownership of Cellino it really feels like anything could happen! Its impossible to predict what will happen at Leeds next.
I fear for David Hockaday even though he is yet to play a competitive game and displays an admiral coaching record. Owner Massimo Cellino seems intent on interfering with the football side of the club, and what better way to ensure he'll be allowed to do it than over-promoting a manager who subsequently feels obliged to put up with it. Hockaday has an excellent coaching pedigree. He was instrumental in the setting up of a football academy at Cirencester. He then moved on to coach very successfully at other clubs such as Watford, MK Dons, Leicester and Southampton before taking the top job at Forest Green in 2009. He held the position until October 2013 when he left by mutual consent. I've no doubt he could do a good job. Whether he's allowed to is an entirely different matter.
In: Stuart Taylor (Reading), Marco Silvestri (Cheivo), Tommaso Bianchi (Sassuolo), Gaetano Berardi (Sampdoria), Nicky Ajose (Peterborough Utd)
Loans In: Souleymane Doukara (Catania)
Out: Lee Peltier (Huddersfield Town), Paul Green (Rotherham Utd), Luke Varney (Blackburn Rovers), Ross McCormack (Fulham), Danny Pugh (Coventry City), Tom Lees (Sheffield Wednesday), Marius Zaliukas, Michael Brown, El-Haji Diouf, Adam Drury, Jamie Ashdown (Released)
Literally anything could happen at Elland Road this season. But whatever happens, it won't be dull and it won't be quiet. The club have managed to clear a lot of the deadwood over the course of the summer. The question remains how will the replacements especially from abroad adapt to the Championship. The other question is how far will the manager be allowed to manage. Hockaday is an excellent coach and if he's left to do his job could mould this team well. If that happens they could have an excellent season.