Leeds United Message Board
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Last night, a large section of the small attendance at ER booed Leeds. It was a reaction to a disappointing result - I imagine it was the same as Pools' fans.
When your team puts in a poor performance, even if it is only in the last 20 minutes of a game, it is part of football for fans to confirm, what the team already knows, that they have let the side down - applauding failure, unless it is heroic, leads to more failure.
Leeds' failure to secure three points from an average Coventry side was not heroic. It was down to Simon Grayson's lack of tactical nous.
In the second half, Coventry switched to a 4-5-1 formation and flooded the midfield and began to force Leeds back into our own half. Instead of countering this tactic, Simon changed everything but the midfield!
No one was booing individual players, not even Rachubka for his fumble, but the composition of the team and how it retreated to a defensive position when every man and his dog could see that our best defence was attack, as it had been in the first half, and that our midfield had to keep supplying it.
Taking our best players (McCormack, Keogh, and Snodgrass) off, and ignoring the midfield imbalance, was like committing tactical suicide.
If supporters can see what is going wrong in a game and the manager cannot, is this not a reason vent frustrations by booing?
I also think that the capitulation to Coventry was down to not having a commanding captain on the field. Howson, at this stage in his career, is not captain material; just another out of position player in the team.
Catch 22 Andy I think that SG finds himself in a difficult and delicate position with Howson. As club captain his current form is not up to scratch. He is in ongoing talks with Harvey and Co endeavouring to negotiate a new contract which at the moment seems to have stalled. Does SG grasp the nettle and drop his captain and run the risk of loosing him at the end of the season or hope that his form improves. At the moment he is the weakest link in our midfield set-up showing little signs of improvement. I have a feeling that the lad will be away come January. Shame really.. However if SG has the bottle to drop him who replaces him in midfield that is currently in better form ?? You are right in the fact that Johnny is not a leader on the field but as you know that is only a part of being club captain. Lucas R was never very vocal but led by example and he was surrounded by good players. If Johnny's form was up to scratch then we would not be having this discussion so IMO we should cut the lad a bit of slack and allow him to regain his form. I sincerely hope he does and remains at ER but that remains to be seen whether Harvey and Co want him to stay or are they trying to push the lad out knowing that he is being eyed up by others. MOT with Johnny Howson I hope
- 1 Reply to Tom
MOT with Johnny Howson, indeed, Tom – ‘just noticed TOM is MOT backwards; is that intentional?
Anyway, to the points you made, which I think are 'excellent'. They highlight the ‘my way or the highway’ negotiation ploy that Bates’ regime uses with player contracts.
I was not having a dig at Johnny Howson – well, maybe at his captaincy, but not his ability as a player. He has played well enough this term, given that he is out of position. The reason we think his form is not up to scratch is that we are comparing it to last season when he was in a formation that suited his style of play.
If Johnny were in a line-up that allowed him to go forward and produce the ‘perfect hat trick’ performances he delivered last season, his perceived value would increase. In negotiating a new contract with Leeds, this would give him more advantage.
Johnny thrives in a 4-5-1 formation. During the Coventry game, when the Sky Blues switched to 4-5-1, Leeds had the option of matching this formation, strengthening the midfield with, say, Vayrynen and allowing Johnny to do what he does best. Instead, Grayson stuck with a formation that showed Johnny as the weak link.
It is not in Bates’ plan for Leeds to gain promotion before 2013. Johnny Howson has the potential to be a Premiership player and, no doubt, Leeds wants to retain him, but on a four/five year deal at Championship wages!
Reading between the lines, what Johnny Howson means when he says ‘the draw’ of committing to Leeds is its potential return to the Premiership, is that he knows Bates has no intention to get the club there this season. You could be right in your feeling that the lad will be away come January.
I do not think this is a ‘Catch 22’ situation, which has more to do with bureaucracy; it is more like a Mexican Standoff!