Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Sacrifice. It’s a human sign, apparently, when things go wrong…

On 27th May 1989 our greatest manager sadly passed away from a terrible illness. There has never been another to match him at this club. There has never been a team to match the team he put together and nurtured. We see the phrase “side before self” used so often when the great Don is mentioned. Those days seem a million miles from Leeds United this last decade, but this, for me, should be the way forward.

The players and managers today complain about fixture congestion, when they travel to USA, Asia and Australia for money spinning friendlies at the start, during and at the end of the season. The primadonna players feign fouls, exaggerating excessively to get the upper hand, rather than try to win the ball honestly. They  complain about risk of injuries, when back in the day the pitches resembled mudbaths and the footballs weighed a ton. This whilst wearing scientifically designed boots and aiming at the roundest, fastest and lightest footballs ever. The clubs hold the home countries to ransom, objecting to players playing in  international tournaments. The pride for playing for your country has completely waned. It is all about the money, money, money. The managers / coaches play weakened sides in the League and FA Cup fixtures, especially those teams who play in the Champions League / Europa Cup / concentrating on staying in the league – delete as appropriate. The fans dismiss the early exits from the cup games, claiming they have bigger fish to fry – like getting promoted or even just saying in the league.

It was said that Don kept a detailed log of every team he played against and was due to play. He did this to make sure that every weakness could be exploited, and he could optimize our performance to make sure we got the upper hand. That was 50 years ago, so given the digital age, how easy would this be now? We have media capabilities that enable the game to be viewed from every conceivable angle, not just from the pitchline but also via drones. We have “go pro” and other similar programmes which can be utilised, over and beyond just pen and paper.

Now that Monk has left the building, what do we need as a new manager / head coach (delete as appropriate)?

Firstly, we need to stop bickering about the difference between a manager and a head coach. Whatever we call him, he is the guy who is responsible for what goes on in that 90+ minutes. Whether he has a team of Lionel Messis and Ronaldos or a Sunday league side, he is the bloke who tells the 11 men what to do. So he needs to have a plan A, plan B, plan C or however many plans he needs. He need to make sure he doesn’t field a team of small wiry players against a a midfield and defence made up of solid six footers. Equally, no hoofing the ball up either. The man in charge needs to prepare for any eventualities if we lose a player to injury, give away a needless penalty, get men sent off, or even, if we go three goals ahead in the first 15 minutes. He is the one who decides if and when to sub, and who to sub for. Ok, he may not be able to buy players he wants, but he certainly has to play to the advantages of the players he has got.

Secondly, our players need to step up and play to the best of their abilities for the full 90 mins. If they can’t, the manager needs to change it at the time and then address it during training through the week. They have as much responsibility as the managers have. This is regardless of whether they are just on loan or permanently signed ( as permanent as a full contract is!). Players should be playing for their own pride, nevermind just trying to win the game. As for refusing to travel and play on the day, well, enough has already been said about that. No one wants to see half hearted challenges and lukewarm chasing down of long balls. The one thing that stood out this last season was the way Beradi and Ayling flung themselves in front of the ball to deflect it away from goal. It looks like we are going to lose Captain Bartley, because he has had such a good season with us. I wish him well and he has my thanks.

This leads onto my third point. We need a good captain, someone who can command respect from his team and lead them. I don’t think Bridcutt was cut out for the job but Captain Bartley was. As it stands, we have no obvious stand out candidates in the present team, but who knows?

Whoever becomes our new man in charge, I hope he can pick up where we left off in our positive areas and see what we need to change to improve where we were lacking. Our defence was good, Chris Wood was on fire, I still think O Kane and Phillips suited each others play. The gaps just need filling in, as long as we don’t lose anyone else.

The final words are left for Garry-with-two-Rs. You could have done it you know. I really believe we had a chance to go up last season. Newcastle were struggling and all we had to do was pull some decent results out of the bag. We couldn’t hold the draw at Huddersfield and never even got going at home to Cardiff, sadly beaten by Sol Bamba. We hung on from the 5th minute at Fulham for the draw and QPR at home was a non event. Then came the run of 8 games at the end of the season where we won ONE game. That’s relegation form, no one can gloss over that fact. Yes, we got the equaliser in the 96th minute at St James Park, but we lost to Burton for crying out loud and Wolves at home was just embarrassing. Any other coach/manager, at any other time of the season would have been sacrificed..


Don Radrizzani

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Where Do You Go To, My Love-Leeds..

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

The great Peter Sarstedt sadly left us this year. In tribute to his most famous record, the MOST requested song on the Battlebus, the classic “Where Do You Go To My Lovely” (need you ask?) forms the next chapter in the close season series.

So, where exactly do we go? Much depends on what happens in the next 12 weeks, of course. We can only hope that the next few months are productive in terms of managerial stability. Ben Mansford has left the club on good terms and having met the guy in person, I and the branch wish him every success in the future. For a Barnsley fan, he was a very nice bloke, approachable and honest, and a big believer in fan involvement. Having seen his message to the fans on social media, I hope all is well with Cellino and Mr Radrizzani, given we don’t want to go two steps forward and one step back. Today it has been announced that Mr Cellino has finally been bought out by Andrea Radrizzani. As I said in my last blog, I wish Mr Cellino well and thank him for all his efforts.

Garry-with-two-Rs has done ok this season. A reasonable run in the League Cup, some good buys at the start of the season gave us hope. The impressive game against Norwich away then that thrilling night at Elland Road resulting one of the best goalkeeping displays seen at home by Silvestri in that penalty shoot out. We were going on decent runs and play offs looked a dead cert… then it happened. The “Game That Should Never Be Mentioned”. A complete utter total mistake by Garry that sealed our fate and heralded our fall from grace. It is said there is always a rise before the fall, and boy did we fall.

So can I sum up what the problems were? Is there a solution? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Where do we go to now?

The most obvious thing for me is that there needs to be a plan B for scoring goals. Chris Wood has been immense for us this season, but we cannot leave all the work to him. Who else scored for us? Captain Bartley, Pontus, Pablo, a few goals here and there, but no valid cover. I had my doubts about Roofe at the start, figuring that the jump from Oxford to Leeds may have been a leap too far. If Roofe had started scoring from the off, his confidence would have been a massive springboard, but he didn’t. But to be fair, what actually was the game plan? Antonsson certainly wasn’t in that plan. The guy came with such high hopes, but never really got a chance. It seemed like the only plan was to get the ball to Wood. Regardless of whether we were playing a team with 10 men behind the ball, or 4,3,2,1. We all laughed at Stam and boring, boring, Reading, but who has had the last laugh, I ask you?

I am still not sure why Pablo played so much either. Yes,the guy has talent, but to me he couldn’t last the 90 minutes. Some fantastic runs and cracking goals but some serious misplaced passing and lacklustre legs at times too. To me Pablo was a player to start at home but come on as sub at an away game. Sacko again, sometimes spent more of the game giving the ball away and then trying to retrieve said ball, then actually making a run down the wing, to cross to…wait for it….Chris Wood.

Still, at least this season Chris Wood proved his doubters wrong. I am so very glad (and grateful) he got his mojo back. It took till at least Christmas for people to stop there endless whingeing about how little they rated him. He still has those few haters who just cannot bring themselves to recant, despite 30 goals. Some people are never going to change, but by March the majority were finally admitting how wrong they were.

Frankly, the midfield was the problem. The defence went from strength to strength with Green improving every game and Wood was on fire, but we just could NOT get the midfield right. Giving Bridcutt his place back as soon as he was fit, wasn’t a good move. I thought Phillips and O Kane were on a roll, but then O Kane got injured and Phillips lost his perfect partner. The loss of these two holding midfielders left the midfield bereft. We tried with Vieira and Bridcutt, but two players that are basically the same never works. Then we tried Pablo with Bridcutt and then any combination of Bridcutt, Vieira, Pablo, Roofe and Sacko. With Bridcutt at times going deep and helping the defence , bizarrely enough. When Monk made no attempt to give any game time to Murphy, Dave and Doukara I thought that signalled then end for them. Big Dave and Luke Murphy were shipped away, but surprisingly enough, The Duke was given the chance of super sub at home to Burton and made his impact with that goal in injury time. It kept him in the team, well that an his fantastic volley at home to Forest, and when he did get a chance, he did his level best. Dallas too made a couple of appearances as well, and he did make an impact.

It was after “The Game That Shall Never Be Mentioned” that we started to really struggle, so much for “resting” the players then. However, Monk kept to more or less the same team, and even when we were crying out for a change, he still didn’t let O Kane back. Murphy would have been an option in the middle, as would Dallas on the wing. Pedraza and Mo Barrow both came on as ineffective subs at Huddersfield, not too sure why, not the best game to get your debut in a Yorkshire cup final! Like I said no plan B.

As much as I hate to say it, he bottled it. We had the play offs and were jokingly tentatively going on about going up in 2nd place, or at least I was. So, where do we go to?




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Chairman Charley’s Choice

Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Chairman Charley | 0 comments

Apologies for the delay in adding this.

I have to say that I am not sure what The Chairman has against York City, but if I don’t put this post up, he will only badger me at the AGM and complain again that I am still not extoling the virtues of KFC as much as he would like.

Apparently The Chairman will have a computer imminently, so the MPO is looking forward to The Chairman’s words coming straight from the horses mouth onto the Charley Says page in the very near  future.

York City’s New Chant (Adapted from Pulp’s Common People)

I wanna play in the conference north,

I wanna do whatever Halifax do

I wanna sign crap football players

I wanna watch this club just slide out of view



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I am Spartacus..

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Today the details about the 25% refund promised by Signor Cellino have been released, this despite all the nonsense from the naysayers who just could not bring themselves to think that our owner would be good to his word. The Doubting Thomases, who right until the details were posted on the Leeds United website, were still intent on stirring the proverbial toilet bowl with the same boring stick they have been using the last few years. This is where I need to reiterate, MY thoughts and words are my own, not the branch, not the LUSC, mine and mine alone. Regular readers will know, I was sold the moment Massimo said he wanted to buy Elland Road back. I have and still do support Sig. Cellino, despite the fact that he is as mad as a box of frogs, because when push comes to shove, I want what he wanted. I want Leeds United to become great again, I want the ground and the training ground back, I want to see us promoted. I want to see us be where we belong, out of the mire of the last decade and forward, viribus utilis. But this is not just me, this is more people than would care to admit it. Like that scene in the famous film, with Tony Curtis the chief initiator of the crowd, I am Spartacus.. and then the rest without prompt, I am Spartacus, I’m Spartacus or should that be I am Cellino….

After years under the rule of someone who categorically said he “would not rest until Leeds United were kicked out of the football league”, then backed by allegedly the “largest voice of Leeds United fans”, the poorest arabs on the planet were introduced as the new saviours. Not like Negan’s Saviours from The Walking Dead either. These “saviours”, with the help of Shaun Harvey, got us into more debt that Ridsdale ever could have done with ten thousand gold plated fish tanks.

We had the chance to put all of this behind us, a fresh start, who wouldn’t want it? An owner who was happy to stand on the terraces and have a cigarette with normal fans, instead of calling us “morons” and using the matchday programme for his own personal vendettas and propaganda. An owner who was interested in football and had a proven head for business.

Massimo wanted to buy Leeds United. What he actually got was…… well what did he get?

He got the team and the stadium itself but not the ground it stood on.  He wanted to buy back Elland Road and Thorp Arch, but was thwarted at every attempt, by “whoever” it was who owns them. He got the LUFC name, but not the TV rights and certainly didn’t bargain on Yorkshire TV and Yorkshire Radio, like Klingons on the starboard side. No match day catering income, as that had already been farmed out, but he got the shell of the doomed Howards Way restaurant. I think someone once said “it’s not about the 20 days of football, it’s about the 340+ other days of the year” or something like that. To our illustrious Italian owner, it must have been like buying a house and then someone telling you that you can’t get your mates round and play in the garden without someone else’s permission.

He thought we had a team of half decent players with a decent manager in McDermott. But when it was clear we were continuing with our mid-table mediocrity, going nowhere fast and Fat Ross decided he would rather sell himself on transfer deadline day to the highest bidder via Sky Sports News HQ, what would any man think? Even though McDermott was hardly on a promotion winning run, fans admirably thought it fit to defend him to the hilt, resulting in the famed “West Stand Siege”. Brian got a stay of execution, but ultimately he was removed and since then, has hardly managed a ripple in managerial pool. Was this a sign of things to come? Then the torrid times of Hockaday, Redders, Darko, Redders again, and Rosler, until we settled with Big Steve Evans. What a gamble, but it paid off to some extent!

Two years of testing times, run ins with the FA, the Football League, being told by un-fit and im-proper people that he wasn’t fit and proper… cue pot, kettle,black. Then Sky, believing in bettering their viewing figures so they could get a bumper advertising revenue in when Leeds United are playing. The people who are actually in charge of the EFL playing musical chairs with the fixture lists, flouting the rules in the faces of the fans who fork out their hard earned cash to watch our beautiful game.

On top of all that, people who thought they could run a football club better than he could. People who constantly moaned at what he did, whilst only speculating about what he was doing, because of course, no one knows exactly what was going on. People who would rather spend their money on the East Stand equivalent of Blackpool Illuminations, posters, coffins, fly bys etc.etc.etc. and the obligatory slating of fellow fans. People who would rather turn fans against fans, spend 90 minutes chanting anti Cellino songs instead of getting behind the team and generally massaging their own over-inflated egos, with plenty of self congratulatory back slapping and chest bumps. At the same time proclaiming that they have a consortium of funds, that never actually materialised into anything substantial.

So, it looks like the end is nigh for The Massimo Era. With Signor Radrizzani waiting in the wings, will it be the case of better the devil you know? Who knows?

Signor Cellino –  Grazie e Arrivederci..



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