On February 4th Leeds United sacked another manager, Thomas Christiansen was fired after a run of poor form. The fanbase was largely in favour of the sacking, the owner obliged. Despite that we were 10th place and just 7 points outside the playoffs. Having been in and around the playoffs all season fans were hopeful. A new manager, new ideas, the new manager bounce, playoffs were still on.
In came the new manager, Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom was the new boss. 16 games, 7 points to make up, fans were hopeful. But nagging doubts were there, Heckingbottom hadn’t had a good season, Barnsley were struggling, but for the sad death of the Barnsley owner and the new owners not wanting to create more issues it’s very possible Paul would have already been sacked. But, everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt.
8 games, 1 win, 4 defeats, 3 draws later, the Leeds season is once again over. We have dropped from 10th 7 points off the playoffs to 14th, 8 points off 10th, 12 off the playoffs. A season that started so promisingly has descended into a farce.
We have seen zero improvement, and in my opinion if anything we are worse under Heckingbottom. The days of taking apart Bristol City and Boro are distant memories, the draws that should have been wins against Fulham and Villa feel like a lifetime ago.
For 8 games we have been largely outplayed, only perking up for 15-20minute spells. Understandable to an extent against the likes of Wolves and Boro, teams with arguably better squads. But a 2-2 draw against Reading, a team without a win on a Saturday 3pm kickoff this season, a game we could have been 3-0 down before we woke up.
A 2-1 home defeat to a Sheffield Wednesday side where key first team players such as Kieran Westwood, Fernando Forestieiri, Ross Wallace, Kieran Lee, Jordan Rhodes, Joost Van Aken, Liam Palmer, Glenn Loovens and more didn’t even play at all. That simply isn’t good enough. The record of Paul Heckingbottom during his 8 game reign doesn’t make good reading; Played 8, Wins 1, Defeats 4, Draws-3, Points 6, Goals Scored 9, Goals Conceded 16, Goal Difference -7
The calls for his sacking have started, a win percentage worse than any Leeds manager apart from Darko Milanic and a style of football that is not the most pleasing on the eye. So where do we go from here? Do we sack Paul Heckingbottom and look for our 4th manager in 10 months, or do we stick with him for the rest of the season and next season, give him time like all the pundits spout?
Personally I'm in the middle, I was in the minority it seemed, I didn't want Thomas Christiansen sacked, and I definitely didn’t want Paul Heckingbottom appointed. But i feel the reason we got Paul was because we sacked TC without a plan, then we scrambled around for well, anyone. I don't want that again, so i feel Paul Heckingbottom should be given till the end of the season, then reassess.
However, that may be a temporary reprieve for the Barnsley boy. If I were Radrizzani I would say “You have till the end of the season, but i expect us to finish strong, be a maximum of 6 points off the playoffs, and have a positive goal difference". That will represent an improvement on what Thomas Christiansen had. If he is unable to achieve this then I'm afraid he has to go.
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Heckingbottom: Stick or Twist