Blogs & Opinion


Warnock for Whites?

Beags looks at the big managerial departure in the Championship

Peter Beagrie - Peter Beagrie Posted 2nd February 2012 view comments

First and foremost, I'd like to go on record and say Simon Grayson did an outstanding job for Leeds United.

He took over a club that was languishing in League One and a succession of managers hadn't been able to get them out of their rut. He took them to the play-off semi-final in his first season, only to be denied by Millwall, but next season he took them out of the third tier via automatic promotion.

Warnock: will he be tempted by Leeds?

Warnock: will he be tempted by Leeds?

Last season's seventh-place finish in the Championship was, for me, an over-achievement. There were far bigger and better-quality squads in that division and I felt he covered himself in glory, even though they just missed out on the play-offs.

Of course, expectation levels rose but he has had to cope with the loss of players such as Jermaine Beckford, Max Gradel, Jonny Howson, Bradley Johnson and Neil Kilkenny. The chairman has a long-term plan whereby he wants to invest in the stadium first and the team second and it wasn't easy for Grayson to work under those conditions.

The moment Neil Warnock lost his job at Queens Park Rangers, every manager in the Championship came under pressure, particularly the ones at the bigger clubs.

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Three defeats over the Christmas period saw them slip out of the top six and they are currently down in 10th place. However, they are still only four points off fourth position with 18 games to go. Obviously, the 4-1 defeat at home in midweek was a blow, but they were defeated by a resurgent Birmingham side on a long unbeaten run.

So when the news of his departure came this week I wasn't surprised, but I was disappointed. Simon still fancied their chances of finishing in the top six, but the club have decided to see if somebody else can get more out of that squad of players.

I feel some of the players need to take some responsibility for what's happened because a lot of fundamental individual errors have been made; we saw that against Birmingham on Tuesday night.

Going forward they have been a joy to watch, but Grayson ultimately lost his job because he was unable to find a defensive formula. He has never been able to find a central defensive pairing, in particular, that could produce stability.

Chief executive Shaun Harvey has come out and said a decision had to be made and with a large part of the season left, someone else will now get the opportunity to make a difference at Elland Road.

Who next?

The moment Neil Warnock lost his job at Queens Park Rangers, every manager in the Championship came under pressure, particularly the ones at the bigger clubs.

The two main men under pressure, as far as I was concerned, were Paul Jewell at Ipswich and also Grayson. Unfortunately the midweek results went badly for Simon (a 4-1 home defeat) and very well for Paul (a 5-1 win against leaders West Ham). That saw the axe fall on one, while the other is safe.

Jewell was arguably under more pressure because Ipswich might suit Warnock better geographically, but he is now one of the big favourites for the Leeds job. He has a history of getting people out of that division and an excellent track record, but will he want to go and work in Yorkshire again?

He often used to let Stuart McCall do most of the coaching at Sheffield United and he'd go up at the end of the week to put a finer point on things. He may not want to move north, but when he thinks with clarity, surely Leeds, one of the highest-profile jobs around, is one that would encourage him to compromise?

Some fans may not like his associations with Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United, but if a former Celtic player like Maurice Johnston can be a success at Rangers then why can't Warnock be a success at Leeds? You need to look at the bigger picture and find the best man for the job.

Neil Redfearn (a Yorkshire legend from his 'it's just like watching Brazil' days at Barnsley) has been given the job on a caretaker basis and he will fancy it full-time. Other names such as Paul Ince have been mentioned and there will not be a shortage of applicants.

I wouldn't see the Leeds job as a poisoned chalice; it's a club with stature and it's a club with a huge following. Ken Bates chose the right man for the job when he appointed Grayson and now he needs to be equally as astute with his choice this time.

Finally, I wish Simon Grayson all the best. He definitely has a big future in the game.

What else we learned this week

Cardiff (3rd) and Birmingham (4th) are showing fantastic consistency.
Both are unbeaten in the last six games and the Blues' games in hand have been navigated successfully. Chris Hughton's side have already played a full season, given their European commitments, but they have shown their strength.

Who will be Watford's talisman now?
At the start of the season I wrote that Watford's survival could depend on Marvin Sordell's ability to replace the goals of Danny Graham. He has reached double figures and put in some scintillating performances, earning a big move to Premier League Bolton. Where does that leave Watford? I should also mention Nicky Maynard's move to West Ham, where he should forge a good partnership with Sam Baldock.

For Huddersfield, it wasn't about who came in, but who didn't go out
Lots of clubs, including West Ham and Norwich, put in sizeable bids for Jordan Rhodes and I even heard rumours that he'd signed a pre-contract agreement with Manchester United! However, Lee Clark will be more than happy that his chairman has refused to sell him and he could be the deciding factor in them getting promotion.

The same can be said for Swindon Town
Bids came in for Matt Ritchie, but Swindon are near the top of League Two and have decided he can help shoot them to promotion, so have looked at the bigger picture and decided not to cash in now. They would be a far lesser outfit without him.

Did you see the poor attempt at the Beagrie somersault?
Djibril Cisse's move to QPR also caught my eye. We thought he would bring some colour to the Premier League (literally when you look at his hair and his boots) and he scored in the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa. But his celebrations weren't a scratch on what I could pull off back in the day!

Comments (10)

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Bungy Williams (Leeds United fan) says...

GRAYSON: Likeable bloke and did a reasonable job. Never really consistent and allowed team to let themselves down too often to get too much applause from me. But I cant knock him too much cus his heart was in the right place. Warnock bites and kicks backsides...I think he's better prepared to squeeze a little blood out of the current team and get results without too many changes. 'WARNOCK ALL THE WAY' to end this season

Posted 12:39 6th February 2012

Jason Burnside (Leeds United fan) says...

Grayson was a good manager 50% win ratio but he went as far as he could the team needs a breath of fresh air. Warnock would be great but papa smurf wont put his hand in his fat pocket for him. personally i would give Redfearn a chance be most probly be Di Matteo with the chelsea links and all........

Posted 01:19 4th February 2012

David Butler (Leeds United fan) says...

Where do you start with any Leeds team from the last ten years, they have all been great players but if they were in a team of 1. A chairman that agrees to spend over his wage budget just because the manager says we need this player, not good business if you ask me, especially if your trying to get the club back to a very good run business? I'm confused Bates, if you start with getting arid of some of the pointless players out of the 30 odd we have then you might even break a profit, eh? Selling Howson, think your not telling us all something there, he was the captain and it's better for a club that's looking at getting promoted that he must go, again confused! Bates I think you need to be a little bit more transparent, I thought that was one of the first rules of management.... The club is far from been a team right now! Get it sorted Bates or I think you might be looking at the EXIT door too!

Posted 22:57 3rd February 2012

Jamie Sirett (Leeds United fan) says...

simon has done a great job at leeds but felt it was starting to crumble towards the end with some bad results. Players linked to go elsewhere and random loan signings at periods as effected the team spirit what was installed 3 years ago. He should be proud of his achivements like beating manchester utd at old traffold and gaining promotion to the championship but feel he took us as far as he could. Neil warnock would be nice but i feel that bates likes someone who is a yes man and not opinionated like warnock.my choice is warnock but feel it will be an old chelsea lad like roberto di matteo.

Posted 17:02 3rd February 2012

Matthew Corner (Sunderland fan) says...

Personally, I think Bates knew who Grayson's succssessor was about a week before he sacked him, you don't drop your manager at such a crucial stage in the season unless you've got somebody else lined up, as soon as Warnock left QPR, I reckon Bates got him on board, got rid of Grayson a week later, and by Monday Warnock will officially have the job - he doesn't want to be seen to be making deals with Bates over Grayson's job so soon. Very shrewd, however, if I am right, and it is Warnock, there is a glimmer of hope for Leeds this season.

Posted 16:33 3rd February 2012

Bert Dervish (Leeds United fan) says...

let Redfearn have a chance his done wonders with bringing the youth players up. We will see this weekend i guess

Posted 12:10 3rd February 2012

Dave Swain (Leeds United fan) says...

Mr Peter Beagrie, I disagree with your comment about Grayson doing an outstanding job. Firstly, Like most fans I supported Grayson when he first joined, but Grayson inherited Maccas team. We were 11 points clear of second place, then we started slipping backwards and Grayson didn't know how to halt it. Had that season been 2 games longer then we wouldn't have got promoted. Grayson didn't get us promoted in my opinion, the players saw their last chance and only just scraped through in 2nd place. We were in playoff positions first season in CCC, again we started slipping backwards and dipped out on promotion and a playoff position. This season, same thing began to happen, but I first saw it in L1 and knew writing was on wall back then. He got rid of the majority of Maccas players only to replace them with freebies and loanees, not to mention lesser quality than he got rid of. He's killed the ER Fortress reputation, he couldn't read a game, didn't know anything about tactics, couldn't recognise good players, didn't know his best 11 after 3 years, couldn't motivate or enthuse the players, he lost the players confidence, therefore the dressing room too. Without the majority of Maccas players this season, I said this is the season Grayson will show his worth, or show what he's not worth. The latter won out. He's a liar, deceitfull, is dishonest with fans and always blamed the players, never himself. So Mr Beagrie, could you please explain where you think Grayson has done an outstanding job, cos I just can't see it.

Posted 09:37 3rd February 2012

Phil G (Sunderland fan) says...

A disgracefull sacking and shows what papa smurf (bates) knows about football! Rumours about bruce and warnock? Bruce a clueless tactician and money waster and warnock experience with promotion so take your pick?

Posted 23:58 2nd February 2012

Mike G (Leeds United fan) says...

Can't argue with that. Personally I think if Warnock was offered the job he would jump at the chance. Potentially the biggest job of his career. Ken Bates Chairman and Neil Warnock Manager - let the fireworks begin!

Posted 17:55 2nd February 2012

Justin Mitchell (Leeds United fan) says...

Nice article. I think it will be difficult for Leeds to take Warnock considering the salary he was on at QPR. However, Warnock's record in the Championship surely puts him at the top. My bet is on Robert Di Matteo due to his Chelsea links and close relationship with Bad Santa.

Posted 17:01 2nd February 2012

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