Sacking McDermott: Did Cellino Do The Right Thing In The Wrong Way?

Off-pitch distractions are a problem, on pitch performances are dire - BMD should shape up or ship out...
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Off-pitch distractions are a problem, on pitch performances are dire - BMD should shape up or ship out...

Leeds: Dump Brian McDermott & Give A Proper Manager A Go

Quite a lot of Leeds United fans aren’t going to like this. The guy who stood four seats along from me at the 1-0 defeat away to Brighton tonight singing ‘Woah Bryan McDermott' won’t like it. The bloke with 5 ‘O’s in the ‘OOOOOHHH BRIAN MCDERMOTT’ on the back of his replica shirt won’t like it.

I’ve thought about this a lot since it happened ten days ago and I’m starting to think Massimo Cellino was right to try and sack BMD. He just went about it the wrong way. To paraphrase Eric Morecambe, “He was making the right moves but not necessarily in the right order.”

Cellino was hasty and foolish and ahead of the game and short sighted and didn’t have a suitable replacement to hand and had under-estimated how much Leeds fans love BMD but do you know what? Maybe because he was on the verge of dropping £25,000,000 maybe he didn’t want a manager who’d only secured three points out of the preceding 21. Maybe he fancied having a crack at scraping into the play-offs. Maybe he was just being realistic and anyone who has watched Leeds play at all in the last three months – Leicester and Huddersfield aside – might be forgiven for thinking it’s about time we took a reality check.

In the last ten league games Leeds have taken 9 points out of a possible 30. Three of those points, the only resounding victory, the only victory that wasn’t wind assisted, were won the day after BMD appeared to have been dismissed.

It’s a pity he can’t inspire such a victory by being in charge in quite the same way when he was no longer in charge. If Brian McDermott wasn’t a good bloke who has said all the right things since he’s taken over managing our club I wouldn’t be writing this now. If he hadn’t been humble and friendly and respectful and encouraging to the fans we wouldn’t be here he would have been hounded out of the job by the mob weeks ago. As it is a bit of good will goes a long way when you’ve had Ken Bates and Neil Warnock running things.

If he’d been mean spirited and never took the blame and hauled off young under-performing players to make scapegoats of them as defeats mounted up well, well if he’d done this he wouldn’t be Brian McDermott he’d be Neil Warnock. He doesn’t p*** and whinge, he’s tolerant, he’s bought young players through and into the first team and all those other things we always wish a manager would.

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But you know what? There’s only so much on-pitch dogs*** you can take before you’ve just got to stand up say ‘F*** this, it’s dire..”

On the back of two wins, a draw and a near-miss draw – a seven out of 12 point run - Leeds took to the field against a team competing for a possible play off place fielding five defenders – one on the left of a five man midfield – a new signing on the other wing who blows hot and cold each game he plays and no attacking central midfield option. The league’s leading striker was left isolated between two massive centre backs without a decent pass all night.

Leeds tactical performance – as it was two Tuesdays ago against Ipswich - was woeful. Ball after ball was hoofed upwards, Kebe not only didn’t show for balls he actually hid away from areas he could have made a difference in, the defence and central midfield areas all worked hard but what’s the point when the side lacks any guile and Ross McCormack lacks any true support until the last fifteen minutes.

The Leeds first team squad has eight players BMD has bought to the club and only one started tonight, the young midfielder signed for a fee of £1million is the first player to have that price tag since we bough Rob Hulse many years before, you’d think that even in cash-strapped circumstances more than of your signings would be starting a game.

How can you not have a strong young striker Dominic Poleon or an old warhorse with a bit of invention like Djiouf on the bench? Why does it take a goal against before you change the line-up that clearly wasn’t working? Brighton had changed their line-up and the sub promptly sprinted off down their left wing and created a goal that had never looked like coming.

I know what a lot of you will stay, get behind him, terrible off-field going ons, fearing for his job, board room idiots f*****g things up, not much money to buy quality players and they’re all reasonable observations but the reality is this. It’s almost three quarters of the way through the season and we’re playing like we did under Neil Warnock. If a man can’t inspire a team to do better than that why bother? McDermot was quite possibly applying for his job again tonight and frankly his line-up and tactics wouldn’t have got him a second interview in my books. As my Brighton supporting mate said “I thought Leeds would have been much better than that, Bryan McDermott was probably putting them off pacing up and down like that.”

I don’t expect anyone to agree with this and ideally we’ll come out of the slump but after watching tonight’s game I can’t imagine Cellino is itching to keep BMD in the job. I just hope to hell MC gives a proper manager with experience in the English leagues a go.

Follow James on Twitter, @JamesJamesBrown