All posts by jacktowers96

Scholes: “We’re not writing this season off”

Oldham manager, Paul Scholes has insisted that they are still in this league to compete for the rest of the season and can climb the table.

Speaking at today’s press conference, Scholes was reluctant to talk about plans for next season but admits ‘there is one eye on it’.

“We’re not writing this season off. It’s still important we get some wins on the board and get up that league.

“There is one eye on next season but we need to focus on getting the players playing well and then looking to next season.

“We’re not focusing totally on next season because we’ve got 12 games, there’s still a lot of points to play for.

“We don’t want anybody slacking off and just thinking about next season.”

Talking of implementing his methods and style on the Oldham players, Paul joked:

“It is probably going to take two or three weeks, maybe two or three months! I’m excited by what I’ve seen this week and if we can transfer that to Saturday afternoon I think we will be okay.”

With just one win the four games of his tenure, Scholes calmly brushed aside the last two defeats:

“It’s always important to win games. They’re (last two games) disappointments, we probably didn’t deserve to lose the Morecambe game but we did.

“First half at Bury I thought we played quite well, played some good stuff and just tired a bit in the second half with the amount of games we’ve had.

“Bury are a good team. They’re the second best team in the league as the table says at the minute but watching them play they look the best team in the league to me.”

Oldham are back at home on Saturday as they welcome Stevenage to Boundary Park who, like the Latics, are still fighting to put pressure on the playoffs.

Looking ahead to the match, Scholes talked of the importance of not ‘over-analysing’ opposition teams:

“Of course you do your homework on teams, you try not over-analyse and concentrate on them too much, it is about us.

“They’re a good team, they’ve had some really good results of late. Very direct team and it is something we will have to handle.

“But like I said, I try and concentrate on us more than we do them. We’ve got players that are capable of winning games and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Finishing off the interview, Scholes speaks of identifying with the fans on their lack of patience to achieve success:

“Fans don’t have patience, do they? I know I don’t have the patience, to be honest with you, I want it now, as quick as the results come, the better.

“We just want to win as many games as we can and I know we’ve only won one out of four but I think this team is capable of winning a lot of games in this league.

“It’s okay me saying that and the players doing that but we have to go out there and do it.”

Speaking after was Saturday’s goalscorer Callum Lang who commented on his desire to play at the top level, but ultimately focusing on his personal development:

“Obviously, every young player wants to play at the highest level.

“I’ve played on the wing a lot this season and he’s (Scholes) given me the opportunity to play more up front.

“Every game I’m trying to improve I want to try and improve aspects of me game and I think the way we’re trying to play is definitely helping me a lot more.

“When I first went to Morecambe last year, I didn’t really get the opportunity to play up front, where I wanted to play, because I wasn’t strong enough but over the two years (in League Two) that has definitely improved.”

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EFL- Football’s gift that keeps on giving

Leeds United and the English Football League really is a special kind of relationship. From deducting us a total of 25 points in a matter of months to appointing beloved, ex Leeds, CEO Shaun Harvey to its board of directors to which he is now CEO. 

Fans of other clubs will laugh off—but secretly love—the agenda that the EFL has against Leeds, as a club.

A lot of Leeds fans put this down to the poor officiating that we see week in, week out, but it has become apparent to me that this season, poor officiating is now the norm in this league. But we will get onto that.

I hardly think I need to give much explanation on the well-documented, ‘Spy gate’ incident last week.

Firstly I will give my quick, personal thoughts on the matter. I mean it is the same as most, in that it was morally wrong and could have done without it happening.

The fact of the matter is, however, whatever your moral thoughts are on it, the man was stood on a public road, on the pavement, with a clear view of Lampard’s training through a fence. Whilst I reiterate that the idea of this is ethically questionable, on what grounds could see this face serious punishment?

Well the EFL has now announced that they are investigating the matter properly. Of course, they are.

I have mentioned those two words morals and ethics; one of the reasons being the EFL absolutely love them. I mean why else would they be investigating this ethically challenging matter.

Well, it is a good job that the EFL are extremely consistent with investigating morally and ethically challenging matters isn’t it. Oh wait, they aren’t!

It is also a good job that to back up how ethically correct they are, by not allowing formerly convicted rapists to run football clubs in their organisation. Ah, they allowed that too. I’m sensing a pattern here.

In Owen Oyston’s 31-year tenure as owner of Blackpool, he has seen five promotions including reaching the Premier League. This is swiftly forgotten about due to the sour nature between him and the fans due to his off-field irregularities including a rape conviction in the 90s.

When his son, Karl, took over as chairman, the pair started suing fans for comments about the two on forums.

Owen remains owner, with no objection from the EFL and Blackpool fans continue to be run into the gutter whilst the EFL watch on and allow a convicted rapist destroy another one of England’s great clubs.

Of course, it would be better if I had more than just one example if I am really going to suggest any inconsistencies. Step up, Ken Anderson.

Ken Anderson, chairman of Bolton Wanderers, is a fine example of how the EFL’s ownership rules may as well not exist.

Where to start with this ludicrous man who has numerously not paid players and staff and most recently, still owe Norwich a six-figure fee for unpaid wages and loan fees.

His actions have forced transfer embargo’s and all sorts of other sanctions, but who does this affect? The football club and the fans. Not him.

His destructive regime has ruined Bolton’s reputation and caused PR disaster after PR disaster.

In 2005 he was disqualified from owning a company and seven other of his companies went bust.

So EFL, where is the investigation as to whether he is still ‘fit and proper’ to own a club.

We know, however, that the EFL do not listen to the fans. Furthermore, we know that they are yet to intervene when one of its historic clubs go into turmoil.

It can’t reflect well on them, from an ethical standpoint to see clubs in such detrimental states as Blackpool and Bolton.

Marcelo Bielsa came out and admitted his wrongdoing and put it down to cultural differences that he needs to adapt to. Leeds United backed this up saying they want to remind the Argentine of this.

The fact of the matter is, how can the EFL put Leeds United’s moral standpoint into question whilst they allow such detrimental issues within its organisation continue to play out. What’s more, I have not even got onto to the continuous lack of consistency from the EFL officials that are underperforming every, single week.

I might add that I am not just talking about Leeds as a bias. Every team in this league I am witnessing the same and there is no investigation or will to improve something that is becoming more blatantly obvious.

Perhaps we are overreacting to this ‘investigation’ that may well amount to absolutely nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

What I will say is that I see no ground how this could even possibly amount to a points deduction.

The point is that there is far, far too many inconsistencies that the EFL fail to investigate and never will. Whether people genuinely believe there is an agenda against Leeds or not, Leeds getting promoted would be a financial disaster for them.

It is Leeds against the rest and always has been. But you know what, sanction Leeds all you want, we will see the back of the EFL one way or another.

 

 

 

Myanmar, Money and Politics- What direction are Leeds United going in?

It has got to be said, it is refreshing to see a club such as Leeds United being run by an owner, who to be fair to him, seems a genuine man. There does not seem to be any sign of corruption and lies and Leeds fans are used to, however one must look and question some of the events on and off the pitch this season perhaps Andrea Radrizzani has been slightly naive to. 

It is fair to say that the Whites have not hit anywhere near the heights of last season that saw them narrowly miss out on the playoffs.

The naivety of Radrizzani that should be questioned is a quote from earlier in the season to which he responded to a fan questioning whether the squad was better than last season to which he replied “Of course”.

This is something any Leeds fan will tell you is not at all true and if anything it is slightly worse with key players such as Kyle Bartley, Charlie Taylor, Rob Green and Chris Wood that have not been replaced.

But lets move away from the on pitch disappointment and analyse just what has happened off of it.

It started off very well in the hearts of Leeds fans when Andrea bought back their beloved Elland Road to which they had not owned as  club since the demise from the Premier League.

His appointment of a Director of Football however in Victor Orta was met with controversy right from the start, a man that was disliked by the majority of the Middlesbrough fan base when he was in the same role there.

Other than the ground, probably the most positive thing to come out of this season is the youth development which has seen Leeds United Under 18s win their respective league and has seen promising players such as Tom Pearce, Hugo Diaz, Callum Nicell and Ryan Edmondson all working closely with the first team.

PR has been something heavily scrutinised by fans and media this season at the club basically stating it to be a disaster with the now infamous new Leeds badge which was forced to be removed after a matter of hours of announcing it due to the sheer uproar it caused.

Now to send matters further, the club have announced a post-season, two game tour, of Myanmar (Burma) a country which is war-torn and corrupt and has caused Leeds’ MP’s to all issue a letter to Andrea to urging him to cancel.

A Kuala Lumpa-based football club, Rohingya FC has also issued its own statement urging Radrizzani to “Show humanity” and cancel the tour.

Club secretary, Mohammed Faruk, stated that “Leeds will be dealing with people who don’t know how to respect humanity.”

Radrizzani believes it is in everyone’s interested to travel to Myanmar to give something back to the people.

The trouble is, even if it is in good heart to do so, it is another PR disaster that has led to the club gaining more bad publicity.

In February, Thomas Christiansen was relieved of his role as Head Coach with Radrizzani stating it to be a “mistake” to have hired him with the club just outside the playoffs.

He was then replaced with Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom who has now taken the club to rock bottom of the form table with one game to go with even relegated Sunderland in better form, so I am not sure what he currently classes this appointment to be.

I am not saying it is 100% fair on Heck who has not had a full season of course but if only his tenure as boss counted Leeds would be bottom of the table.

Fans can say what they like about the ability of Leeds’ squad but at the end of the day the club was just outside the playoffs it is not that bad a team so to say that it should be in relegation form which is totally unacceptable and the fingers need to be pointed somewhere.

It would not be exaggerative to suggest that the vast majority of Leeds fans want a replacement next season and things have not been made better when it has been reported that they are set to sign Capri’s Jerry Mbakogu for £4 million, a striker that has 6 goals in 22  in the Italian second division.

I do not like to discourage players that have not yet been proven but I think at Leeds with the size of the club and where it needs to be that is beyond taking risks on players and despite domestic based players generally costing more I think more value for money could be granted elsewhere than a player that is struggling to score in Serie B.

To say the least, I am sure it will be another lively summer at Elland Road as Leeds United prepare for next season and time will tell the direction that Andrea takes them in.

The youth is something Leeds fans should be very excited about and may well be the plan instead of overspending.

From Promotion Contenders to Mid-table- What next for Leeds United?

So we draw towards the end of another gruelling Championship season for Leeds United and it is fair to say, Paul Heckingbottom has had a very difficult time of it.

The former Barnsley manager took over from Dane, Thomas Christiansen who was dismissed after a dismal seven game winless run that left the Whites seven points from the playoffs.

Heckingbottom became the 10th manager for Leeds in the last eight years and was brought in to install some confidence and belief back into the side but it is fair to say it has just gone further downhill since.

The last 15 games have seen Leeds pick up just 11 points from a possible 45 with just Burton Albion in worse form than the Yorkshire side.

Despite signing a long-term contract with the club there are fewer and fewer supporters believing he is the right man for the job.

Is this justified? It is hard to disagree, whilst it was not going too well for Thomas Christiansen, the playoff race was far from over and a new manager coming should be bringing in fresh ideas with a view to turn things around but in reality, it is relegation form Leeds are currently in.

Whilst Heckingbottom is here it is very important that Leeds fans get behind him but there is only so much patience Leeds fans will have after finally gaining some belief last season.

The one positive for this season is the development of the youth system with the club finding themselves with more and more youth players looking likely to be promoted to the first team than ever before.

Under 23 players such as Tom Pearce, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Callum Nicell, Paudie O’Connor and Hugo Diaz have all recently featured in the first team squad this year.

One thing for certain, a big rebuilding job is needed next season, there are currently 32 first team players registered at Elland Road including players that are out on loan and yes that does include Luke Murphy who bizarrely, still has a year remaining at Leeds.

Lets take a look at what the fans are saying following Tuesday’s dismal display against Preston in a 3-1 loss:

https://twitter.com/SouthStand_LUFC/status/983809973699432449

https://twitter.com/Dazelar29/status/983829439552335873

This last one I find very interesting because it is absolutely right.

Being at Preston away Tuesday night the disconnection between fans and club was huge and something that I thought had been cured by Andrea Radrizzani and he has got some job to do to rebuild the trust from the fans.

Radrizzani came out and publicly said Thomas Christiansen was a mistake, so what does that currently make Paul Heckingbottom?

I am not saying Heckingbottom does not deserve another shot this summer but if it this does not work out then it is going to look very bad on Radrizzani.

And finally the comments of Paul Heckingbottom himself on the results under him:

The Monk Effect: Will Blues be the Club to fulfil his potential?

We reported last month on the chances that Garry Monk had on keeping the Blues in the Championship and Tuesday night against Bolton Wanderers proved a pivotal victory in them doing so. 

Since Garry Monk took realm at the Riverside this season,it was met with a fairly high satisfaction and optimism from the Middlesbrough fans. With millions spent however, and the club just outside the playoffs, Boro fans lost their patience and it was not long before he was out the door.

So, only a few months later and he found himself back in the reigns this time into the West Midlands at Birmingham City and Monk said he would “draw on Leeds experience” to be successful at St. Andrews.

At the time of taking over at Leeds, there was a real disconnect with the fans and the club and Monk without a doubt healed that and got the fans right behind the team.

This is exactly why Birmingham may be just the club for him with them being in a very similar position to that of what Leeds were.

After tasting defeat in his opening two games, Monk now has three wins on the bounce, including a momentous victory against relegation rivals, Bolton.

The win has seen Blues go five points clear of 22nd placed Barnsley, but should he do what now seems more and more likely, and keep Birmingham up, just how good can he do next season?

It has to be said, if he recruits well, with players he knows, then he can get things very right at Birmingham.

He fell short at Leeds after looking certain for the players he guided them to a seventh place finish but it is possible he has learnt from what went wrong the there and get it right with Birmingham.

5,000 Blues fans travelled up to the Macron Tuesday night which shows that the unity is already starting to build back up.

If Birmingham want to be seriously considered as contenders next  season, that unity and bond that he built at Elland Road, must be switched to St. Andrews next year.

Can he do it? Of course.

The activity off the pitch however is going to have to be a lot smarter than what he did with Middlesbrough.

With Boro, he went at it like a wild bull signing everyone and anyone flashing his cheque book left, right and centre.

It just does not work like that in this division and if he has learnt from that which I am sure he has, then Blues fans should expect big things.

Another positive is that he has reunited with his old friend Pep Clotet, whom was a highly regarded figure at Thorpe Arch with Leeds and a man Andrea Radrizzani seriously considered for the job once Monk left.

Let us know your thoughts Blues fans! How confident are you of staying up? What are your realistic thoughts of next season?