I've Changed My Mind About Leeds United's Hockaday says @sporcoleeds
Like the majority of Leeds United fans, my reaction to the appointment of Hock & Junior was a toxic mix of surprise, dismay, venom and a large helping of outrage that our new, ambitious, charismatic Italian owner had employed a non-league coach. My LUFC related Tweets and articles since the appointment have been as critical and anti as any.
My breakfast this morning is a humongous slice of humble pie, tinged with a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach that Hock may, indeed, have a plan and if he gets the full complement of muscle, pace and goals to execute it, he may succeed, against all the odds and most of our expectations. Humble pie is not usually on my menu, however, if Hock, who was employed to coach, not produce sound bites, that is Cellino's job, works out I will be delighted to feast on it every day.
My opinion could end up as the biggest backtracking since the Italian tanks in WW2 [with apologies to our Italian and related friends]. Most Leeds fans were astonished that an owner with the ambitions of our president would choose a virtual unknown and appeared to appoint him after one meeting that was likely to have been a Cellino diatribe rather than a meeting of minds. The look of horror on Massimo's face when it was pointed out that Gary McAllister was actually not employed by a football club made it look like Hock was a mistake. The lack of any good reason to support the decision strengthened our resolve that Hock was the wrong man for the Mighty Whites who of course deserve a Jose or a Pep, not a Dave!
On a whim last night I decided to take my lad to Swindon to see how bad it really is for us. Giving a debut to my beautiful “You can buy a b**** for one night but you don’t buy the love, my friend” t-shirt featuring the smoking outline of Cellino’s head we fought the traffic and arrived at the less than salubrious street next to the ground looking for parking.
As we drove slowly down the road and half way through a three point turn a rotund, dirty looking, blonde with black roots, with large breasts best described as homely shot me a come hither look, crooked her finger and shouted “Would you like to park on my drive here my lovely” and proceeded to move her bins to enable us to get the car on. I reversed in, thanked her profusely and hoped the glint in her lazy eye didn’t mean she was expecting me to do anything with her back doors after being so accommodating with her front.
The County Ground Swindon makes Elland Road look like The Emirates, the only glamorous part of the place being a badly painted picture of Glenn Hoddle and his magnificent thighs in a “through the ages” mural on the side of the main stand which looks like it was painted by the local primary school.
We took our seat with another thousand or so Leeds United supporters, stood to greet the players and continued standing throughout a turgid first half memorable only for the virtually continuous singing of the full catalogue of songs including one for the Hock and what sounds like a brilliant one for Silvestri including a line about shagging. If anyone knows the full lyrics, please let me know.
A tactical masterclass by our dynamic management duo after Morison’s non stellar performance as a wide man at Chesterfield was to put him there again. There were however green shoots of recovery and indications that the management had been working hard on the new system and that the players were beginning to adapt. The ole’s were at full volume as the Leeds United passes built up, short, precise, ineffective and mostly in our own half, the players are under strict instructions never to knock it longer than Junior’s neck and you can see Pearce & Wootton’s brains telling them “don’t lump it” every time they get the ball.
The new coaches appear to have the ability to get their new charges going, to me there seemed to be a half time epiphany, either the players were promised a go on Nora as an incentive for an improved second half performance or Hock & Junior gave a Churchillian team talk and finally rammed the message home and the players listened and responded. Suddenly there was a new energy from back to front, illustrated by a lung bursting run by Doukara resulting in him being fouled as he entered the box, Rudy emphatically scoring the resulting penalty.
Salerno’s buys so far look excellent, his reputation as a top class recruiter proven. Bianchi is neat and tidy, a proper footballer, Doukara looks direct and dangerous. We are desperate for an injection of pace, goals and quality but Leeds United are now a passing side, patient and hopefully hoofball is dead. There are a lot of exciting additions linked, Massimo says five more recruits, and we may well be pleasantly surprised come the Millwall game.
It was evident that Hock & Junior are proper football men and have designed a system to play proper football, the squad requires some tough nuts, fantasy, rapidity and goals but the structure appears to be in place, maybe, just maybe the second half last night in inauspicious surroundings was the dawn of a new era. After so many years of pain, Leeds fans collectively poo pooed the appointment of Hock & Junior, maybe we were wrong to pre-judge, he may be the right man and Cellino may be a football genius after all.