Leeds United Half-Term Report: Fear The Return Of Barn Door Billy

The sting of three shattering defeats over the festive period was taken away slightly by yesterday's last minute win against Burnley, but things still aren't right...
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The sting of three shattering defeats over the festive period was taken away slightly by yesterday's last minute win against Burnley, but things still aren't right...

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Football is my religion, Elland Road is my Church. A half way summary of Leeds United, football’s real sleeping giant.

What’s going right?

We have seemed to have lowered the amount of goals conceded per game compared to last season (apart from Barnsley), which is pleasing and also surprising as the Leeds defensive coaches seemed incapable of organising a lash-up in a brewery never mind positioning at corners.

What’s gone wrong?

Well honestly, quite a lot. After 3 festive ruining defeats against Reading, Derby and ending up on the wrong end of a 4-1 defeat to our Yorkshire rivals Barnsley we find ourselves 11th in the table with the wheels well and truly off our promotion challenge. These results left many Leeds fans were left grumbling over their post Christmas turkey sandwiches wondering what was causing this sudden loss of form. The massive loss of the captain Jonny Howson due to injury left a huge hole in the centre of our midfield and broke up the partnership he had with the young Adam Clayton. If that was to leave a sour taste in the mouth then the sudden appendix surgery needed for our Scottish talisman Robert Snodgrass was a like a blow to the crown jewels by a sledgehammer, looks like it’s back to “hoof ball” then.

The goals have dried up from Ross McCormack who started the season like a house on fire, and the fan favourite Luciano Becchio has somehow forgotten how to play football all together, and has lead to thoughts of “The Return of Barn Door Billy”. These factors along with rumours of in-fighting and the manager losing the dressing room has left fans looking frighteningly at the prospect of falling out of the play-off contention at such an early stage but worse still the possibility of a relegation fight if performances don’t improve.

Got the right manager?

Yes and No. The recent performances of the team has left Simon Grayson’s job in a shaky situation with some fans calling for a change at the helm. A recent poll started on a large Leeds United internet message board showed results that 288 people voted to keep Simon in Charge with a view to “long term sustainability” with 135 wanted him out with one fan saying that they were “sick to death of how bad we can sometimes be under him”.

Simon Grayson will always be remembered by myself for the heroics performed at Old Trafford, White Hart Lane, the pure emotion he shows when we score a goal and most importantly the holy grail which was promotion from League One (eventually), but he will also remembered for the near cock up of promotion that season with Leeds eventually stumbling over the line on the final day.

It’s hard to keep churning out excuses after every defeat to the loyal fans that pay good money to follow the team far and wide only to sit through a 90 minute long horror show starring main offender Darren O’Dear. Simon Grayson may have the majority on his side at the minute, but defeat against Burnley today could’ve seen Leeds United searching for a new manager sooner rather than later.

Star player?

Leeds United Fifa 2012 winner Robert Snodgrass, a single shining light in these turbulent times. A real threat down either the left or right flank, a dead ball specialist and a left foot which earned him a Scotland call up. I fear what January may bring with the Premiership clubs sniffing round our young scot offering Kenneth another couple of million to spend on the stadium and “Snoddy” the chance to double, maybe even triple his wage. After the departure of our only other decent attacking threat Max Gradel in the summer due to a transfer request myself and other Leeds United Fans pray we can hold onto him.

Who would you like to sell in January?

How long have you got? We have a massive squad and are wasting wages on garbage. Number one would Billy Paynter, the guy couldn’t score in brothel.

Who do you want to sign?

Andros Townsend the excited winger has joined on a season long loan from Spurs which wet the mouths of fans hoping for a busy January transfer period but awaiting the excuses of “greedy agents” or Simon’s favourite “irons in the fire”. Everything sways on whether cuddly Ken is going to open the so called transfer “war chest”. Having said that I would love to see Sammy Clingan in a Leeds United shirt and a possible move for out of favour Leicester and ex Leeds sticker Jermaine Beckford to kick start a promotion push.

Best chant so far?

Forest away,

"He eats what he wants,

he eats what he wants,

he's Andy Reid,

he eats what he wants".

As one fan put it, watching Andy Reid chase Aidy White was like watching the old Reebok “Belly gonna get ya” advert.

Biggest **** of the season so far?

Without doubt it has to be Andy O’Brien. Refusing to play for Leeds again for reasons unknown and demanding a transfer to West Ham? Jog on son, you won’t be missed.

End of season prediction?

With the right investment in January I believe we can turn this form around, and as I write this article, Ross McCormack has just scored the winning goal for Leeds in 95th minute against Burnley starting joyous celebrations around Elland Road. Can anybody remember Mark Robins goal that saved Old Whisky nose’s Job? I think we have just witnessed a goal of the same magnitude but on the other side of the Pennines this time. This win moves us up to 8th in the table and 1 point off the play-offs, thankfully I think the light at the end of the tunnel has brightened slightly today.

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