Poyet, O'Neill, Bruce, Grayson: Leeds' Manager Candidates Compared & Rated

Following Warnock's sacking, we need a man to take us back to the Premier League. These are the serious high-profile contenders to do just that...
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Following Warnock's sacking, we need a man to take us back to the Premier League. These are the serious high-profile contenders to do just that...


Although Leeds United's new owners don't seem to have a clue about who should manage their club, who should run their club, who should invest in the club and who should play for their club, fans can at least humour themselves with the idea that we have the pick of the talent when it comes to our next manager.

There are fans out there who will rear up in horror at this opening sentence, but the reality is after spending six months negotiating to buy the club, they've managed to reduce ticket prices and start a Twitter account. Both of which have been welcomed, but could have been concluded in an hour. We now have the appointment of the most important person of the club in the hands of two bankers and the blokes who've been running the club for the last few years. What's changed?

To help them on their way we offer our guide to those who are in the running.

The Old Boys

Both David O'Leary and Simon Grayson would like their jobs back. Both were sacked at a time when they, not the team, should have been managed better by their bosses.

O'Leary has spent years stressing Leeds is unfinished business for him and who can blame him. We were 5th in the Premier League when he was axed. 5th in the Championship would do right now. As with when he took over from George Graham, there are a number of good younger players like Byram, Dawson, Lees and White to work with, unfortunately no Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink up front.

On the downside, O'Leary has spent years away from the game and hasn't won himself any fans for his post Leeds career.

Simon Grayson's team sat a lot closer to the Play Offs when he was offed than Neil Warnock's do now and they were a better bunch of players. Warnock's year has been a total failure and although entertaining on the post match interviews, he has no ability whatsoever to carry responsibility for his lack of achievement. Grayson on the other hand always seemed to work within the parameters set for him by Bates and never moaned.

His desire to manage Leeds United was shown by the way he carried on when his star players were sold and didn't whine about it like Warnock did. At times, performances were terrible but he always seemed to get a result when it was needed and there was the small matter of people above him competing with him to buy players for the squad to contend with. If GFH manage to severe all ties with Bates' board and appoint a new director to run the club this presumably will cease to be an issue. Could point to Billy Davies as an example of where a quick return can work well.

O'Leary (6 out of 10)

Grayson (7 out of 10)

Another old boy and someone who was put out when he didn't get the job when Grayson did is Gus Poyet. In our mind, Gussy is the best candidate who isn't currently available. Although he would enjoy the potential of Leeds and knows what it's like when the fans are behind you. He turned down a lot more money than we could afford when Reading approached him recently and believes he may have a chance at a Premier League club, possibly even Chelsea.

Poyet (8 out of 10)


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Application By Media

Mark Hughes is under consideration said the tabloids this week as they scouted around for likely names to attach for the job. This would be ridiculous as he's totally unsuited to the job and there's no evidence he is interested. Not even worth discussing seriously.

(3 out of 10)

Unemployed And Available

Two weeks ago Nigel Adkins and Paolo Di Canio were the names on everyone's list. That GFH didn't make a move to land Adkins in particular reflects their rabbit in the headlights stance. Being based in the Middle East is affecting the speed at which they can operate in a cut throat management market. Both candidates have since been snapped up by Premier League clubs.

Martin O'Neill is another name from the past, having apparently agreed to take the job before O'Leary, but failing to secure the job because of an equally strong desire not to walk out on Leicester. As a management force he has failed to continue the success he enjoyed at Celtic and Leicester and his failure at Sunderland has been linked - like Clough at Leeds without Taylor - to him not managing to take long term number two John Robertson to the Stadium of Light with him.

This would be a chance for him to rebuild his credibility and if he could bring Robertson, they would be an attractive appointment. Doesn't have the cut and thrust recent experience of the Championship that Poyet has, but wouldn't cost anything to buy out of his contract.

O'Neill and Robertson (9 out of 10)

Owen Coyle

This seems the most likely appointment, Coyle was touted as a future Arsenal manager a few years ago, but his star slipped at Bolton and he has a point to make. Been out of the game long enough not to be too bolshy about the wages on offer and would love to be seen as the man to rebuild Leeds United.

(7 out of 10)


Steve Bruce at Hull is a name no one has yet connected, but his ambition would lead him to believe Leeds have a greater long term future than Hull. If he can get Hull promoted it will have been a great achievement, but it will be a tough call keeping them up in the Premier League. Far easier and potentially more lucrative to bow out with a new promotion on his CV and turn his attention to a bigger proposition rather than face a year of struggling.

(8 out of 10)