Rating every Leeds United Manager since 04/05

It has been a torrid fourteen years for Leeds United fans. In the space of six years the club went from the Champions League Semi-final, to rock bottom of the third division for the first time in their history on -15 points. 

In the time from the club’s Premier League relegation in 2004 to present day, the Yorkshire side have seen thirteen different managers take the hot seat.

First up we have good old Kevin Blackwell. 

During Peter Reid’s horrific tenure as Leeds manager in 2003, Kevin Blackwell was head-hunted from Sheffield United as a first-team coach and remained as coach in Reid’s departure. Blackwell was a highly-regarded coach at Leeds but cynics saw him to be a rather cheap option but the man had a growing reputation at the time and nonetheless he gained the job after an interview.

It was a difficult position for any person to have put themselves in with Leeds in mountains of debt and a non-existent sqaud but after seeing out a comfortable mid-table finish in the 04/05 season Blackwell led the club to the Playoff Final the following season only to lose 3-0 to Watford.

The following season proved to be short-lived for Blackwell and was sacked by September with Leeds second from bottom in the Championship.

Kevin wasn’t considered the best man-manager not was he the greatest manager around but he was prepared to put the club first which was crucial at that moment in time.

With administration on the horizon and Leeds looming at the bottom of the table step up, Dennis Wise. 

Wise was a shrewd character at Leeds and faced an impossible task at keeping them in the Championship with 10 points being deducted making it more a case of preparing for life in the third tier for the first time.

It couldn’t have been a better start for Wise with -15 points deducted five wins from five taking them back to zero.

Unfortunately for Leeds it was a usual scenario of one step forward and two steps back when Wise was tempted into a director of football role at Newcastle United.

It didn’t leave a fine mark amongst Leeds fans leaving us very much in the lurch at a time we really needed him but Wise was thought to of found life difficult after losing assistant Gus Poyet.

Manager number three, Gary McAllister. 

McAllister was a popular enough appointment at Leeds being very successful as a player.

Unfortunately for McAllister, it’s a bit of a curse when it comes to former Leeds players taking the job with them tending not to do very well.

The Scot did lead Leeds to the Playoff Final despite half a season in charge but his side were humiliated to Yorkshire rivals Doncaster losing 1-0 at Wembley.

McAllister survived his job but Ken Bates lost his patience with the manager with Leeds sat in ninth place the following season.

The choice of McAllister made sense but in reality he didn’t have the experience to do the job.

Simon Grayson was the next in line to which we finally enjoyed some success again.

Grayson, a Leeds fan himself was a popular figure at Elland Road and had already been successful as a manager winning promotion with Blackpool.

After losing in the Playoff semi-final to Millwall, his first full season saw Leeds knock arch rivals Manchester United out of the FA Cup and finish second in League One to finally gain promotion.

Grayson can be remembered for bringing us the likes Federico Bessone, Billy Paynter, Paul Rachubka and the most wonderful Michael Brown.

It was arguably a harsh sacking from Ken Bates but in reality too many players were being sold with none of them being replaced.

After the departure of Grayson this is where the banter years of Leeds United really go off the scale.

Being one of the most hated clubs in the country, with one of the most hated owners, who could we possibly get in to enhance the wonderful reputation? That’s right, only one man for the job, Neil Warnock. Or if only familiar with his alias, Colin W****r.

In fact let’s take this one step further, shall we sign one of the most hated players as well? El-Hadji Diouf lace your boots son your wanted.

In fairness to Diouf he enjoyed a rather successful season at Elland Road and was popular amongst a lot of fans.

On paper it wasn’t a bad appointment for us. Warnock knew exactly what it took to get out of the Championship, he had done it often enough.

But of course this is Leeds United, nothing is straight forward and Neil got this drastically wrong.

Whatever it was down to I don’t know but Warnock is well known for bringing in very experienced players who know what they are doing and he usually does not have to spend much money to do so.

To some up the transfers he made, Michael Tonge was the most successful of the lot.

He swapped top scorer Luciano Becchio for Steve Morison who was nothing short of a failure.

Probably most famously he signed hot prospect Ross Barkley on loan but sent him back because he preferred Michael Brown.

Warnock was sacked in his first full season with Leeds sat mid-table and swfity replaced with Brian McDermott.

McDermott again had some good experience, gaining promotion to the Premier League with Reading, but McDermott was very much the opposite of Warnock personality wise.

The trouble with McDermott there was a lot of dead wood at the club left by Warnock and not enough brought in.

The only notable signing was Luke Murphy being the first one million pound player to join Leeds in…well a very long time; Murphy scored on his debut against Brighton and that is just about as far as his Leeds career went.

Other notable transfer activity was Steve Morison leaving on loan for Millwall and the reason being according to Morison? The club wanted to sign Noel Hunt.

Twenty appearances and zero goals later and Noel Hunt’s Leeds career was over.

McDermott somehow lasted the season despite the board demanding he be sacked at half time of a game vs Sheffield Wednesday and being 2-0 down.

This was followed by being sacked by the newly incoming owner Massimo Cellino  (we’ll get onto this dangerman soon) who sacked McDermott before officially owning the club on transfer deadline day only to reinstate McDermott the following day.

We are now firmly in the middle of the banter years and once Massimo Cellino somehow managed to become a stakeholder at Leeds this is where things really get bad.

Cellino eventually sacked McDermott at the end of the 13/14 season and promised Leeds fans promotion to the Premier League in two years.

The man he decided would achieve this? Dave Hockaday.

The less said about this man the better and I am still convinced that it was a wind up.

The Hock was in charge for a whopping six games and it was essentially the equivalent of putting a snail in a marathon.

The man’s best achievement was failing to do anything with Forest Green Rovers and his since failed as Kidderminster Harriers manager.

Word has it, he is now a P.E. teacher.

At this point as a Leeds fan you have to ask yourself, it can’t possibly get worse than that.

Massimo Cellino: “Hold my beer!”

Darko Milanic replaced him and Cellino’s reasoning for hiring him? “He is a very handsome man”.

Handful of games, no wins, he’s now back in his home planet.

Next up for the hot seat was actually one Leeds fans finally favoured, the highly respected academy coach, Neil Redfearn. 

Whenever Redfearn came in as caretaker the players wanted to play for him so it made sense.

He didn’t do awfully did Redfearn but

by no means did it seem he quite had the capability to achieve real success.

Uwe Rosler was the next to take the plunge and he was someone fairly favoured to do well but in reality he didn’t get enough time or stability and lasted until only October.

There’s not much to comment on the German he seemed to know what he was doing but with trigger happy Cellino it leaves me with not much to comment on the man.

Within not even an hour it was almost immediately reported that Steve Evans was next in line to the dismay of Leeds fans.

He steadied the ship and avoided any horrific chances relegation and actually did a sound job in the end and the fans generally quite liked him.

Once again though, he was not the man to be and at the start of the 16/17 season Garry Monk was appointed manager.

This was probably the best thing Cellino ever did to be honest.

It’s fair to say there is no love lost with Leeds fans and Garry Monk when he decided not to stay on and take the Middlesbrough job.

He did however bring something back to Leeds fans that had been missing for years; hope.

Monk did a good job at Leeds but reportedly lost the dressing room with him apparently not being the most approachable of people.

And here we are at present day with Thomas Christiansen in limelight and doing and okay job. It’s fair say there is still a lot of work to be done but going through some painful years in this piece, we are in a much stable place.

We want to hear from you Leeds fans! Who has been the worst of the lot? What’ was the lowest moment in these horrible, horrible years? 

 

 

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