Monday, 24 March 2014

Cherry Chimes talks to the Scratching Shed: LUFC, Cellino and McDermott

Match Preview
AFCB v Leeds Utd
Blogger Interview - The Scratching Shed

Cherry Chimes is really looking forward to the fixture against Leeds Utd. So to get some views from a passionate Yorkshire blogger ahead of the game I got back in contact with David Wilkinson at The Scrathching Shed who has a few words to say about all the goings on at Leeds Utd. So where shall we start?

CC: Do you think Brian McDermott is fighting a noble but losing battle at the club or do you hope and believe fan pressure will save him his job?

TSS: McDermott is such a nice guy that I think he'll always have a fiercely loyal group of supporters behind him, of which I was probably one at some stage. However, we've won 3 games in the last 17, 2 of which came against poor relegation sides (Yeovil and Millwall), both of which we were lucky to win and the other a 5-1 win over Huddersfield while he was sacked.

I have every sympathy for the situation McDermott has been put in, but I don't see how any of it stops him from getting eleven men to kick a ball around with some degree of competency? That the same eleven men won 5-1 against Huddersfield after he was sacked is alarming, it's as if he can't motivate them to perform that way for some reason. He started off really well, but since the takeover chaos its gone so far downhill I don't know if he can recover.

I'd love to throw my support behind McDermott because I do believe that at a calm and stable club where he can concentrate on coaching, he'll do very well. But Leeds United never has and never will be that club, there's always some sort of chaos surrounding us and the manager has to be able to be able to deal with that. Instead he's allowed it to become an acceptable excuse for the same eleven men who started the season fairly well to perform terribly. That's bad management no matter how you try to justify it.

CC: What do you think of the whole Cellino fiasco and who is mostly to blame?

TSS: I was always on the fence with Cellino to be honest with you. We need the cash and he seems to have plenty of it so I was willing to give him a chance, but he's also rather erratic and seems to interfere with first team affairs more than any owner should.

That said, I sympathise with what he's had to go through in trying to purchase this club. I don't believe he'd have faced the same level of scrutiny from The Football League if it wasn't for the media attention, his whole life has been dissected in public and he's been subjected to a character assassination for accountancy practices he genuinely seemed to believe were legal. Compared to the stuff Ken Bates pulled, it all seems rather insignificant.

Still, the rules are the rules and The Football League have properly enforced their Owners' & Directors' test for the first time ever. The length of time it took to make this decision was ridiculous and I'll be very annoyed if the same thorough vetting isn't applied to all future takeovers, but I can't argue with the decision itself.

Who's to blame for the fiasco then? That'd be the current owners, it all begins and ends with them no matter how you look at it. Even McDermott's sacking which led to the media outrage is on them, because they led Cellino to believe he already owned the club. And this is the second time they've failed to sell the club in 3 months. Utterly incompetent.

CC: We hear today that Cellino's takeover has been blocked so is there any other potential owners lined up that you know of?

TSS: The only other option we're aware of is a consortium led by Mike Farnan going by the name of Together Leeds. They tried to buy the club before Cellino, but he came in with another offer which far exceeded the one they'd made and were shut out by the club thereafter.

CC: How come Ross McCormack scores so many goals?

TSS: I taught him everything he knows. CC: Ha, ha brilliant answer :-)

TSS: No seriously, he's always been a quality player but too often wasted by previous managers at Leeds who've had him playing out-wide due to a long-running lack of options.

He's just a quality player, his form this season doesn't surprise me at all.

CC: How do you think Matt Smith is coming along?

TSS: I've been one of his biggest critics, but he's slowly winning me over and you can't really argue with his goal return considering the amount of pitch time he's had. Overall, I think he's been worth the punt.

CC: Has ex-Bournemouth captain Jason Pearce had a good season apart from the own goal against Burnley?

TSS: He's been the best of a bad bunch in Leeds' truly horrific defence, which isn't helped by the poor state of the midfield in front of them.

CC: What do you think was behind the heavy home defeats against Bolton and Reading?

TSS: A totally demotivated playing squad, none of them looked like they wanted to be there, and for me, that comes back to the manager. How hard is to psych eleven players up for a match at Elland Road? They look like strangers thrown into the lion's den without a plan of action, I've never seen a Leeds United side look so afraid on home soil.

CC: What are your hopes for the remainder of the season - mid table is not really good enough for Leeds United is it?

TSS: I just hope it goes by quickly, we're simply here to make the numbers up at this stage.

CC: Are you disappointed that you can't play Bournemouth on a Saturday rather than a mid-week night?

TSS: The local authorities in Bournemouth aren't big fans of Leeds United so it's probably just as well. If this was a weekend fixture, we'd be policed like terror suspects and the whole atmosphere would become hostile as a result. Not that it matters much to me, I've given up on this season and booked to fly to Barcelona tomorrow.

CC: I guess it is never easy to be a Leeds fan as it is a club that has the history to be up there with the greatest clubs in England and yet it is still plagued by problems off the pitch and if someone can just get it right there they will be rivalling the very best teams in the land. But there is no simple fix it seems. Even when Leeds have a bad season though they are still a mid-table team in the Championship so perhaps they are not so far away from getting some of the right pieces to the puzzle in place. 

If the Leeds players are not up for the end of season scramble for more points though they may come unstuck against a Bournemouth team that is looking to finish as high as it can this season. Whatever the outcome I am sure it will be a keenly fought game as it was at Elland Road. Thanks again David for some honest opinions and I hope Barcelona has a bit more sunshine than at Leeds Utd. For more of David's writing, including the latest on Massimo Cellino's rejected takeover of Leeds Utd, please visit  The Scrathing Shed website.     

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