Leeds are at a transitional stage
03 Nov 2021 09:00 am, by Ellandback1
Good Morning. It's Wednesday 3rd November, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...
It will be very difficult to stay up - Radrizzani
Speaking from the Web Summit in Lisbon, Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani has stated that it will be very difficult for the Whites to stay in the top flight next season, but should they manage it, significant improvements will be made with the eventual aim of becoming a top six club as well as renovations at Elland Road. The 47 year old also added that the club supports Bielsa 'unconditionally'.
Leeds United, like Eleven and many other businesses in my life, are always a challenge. All my life I've been seen as an underdog, people haven't given me credit every time I've started something. People tend to say 'It'll crash, it's football so it'll lose money'.
I invested about £100m in buying and rebuilding Leeds United in the Championship. Now the club is in the Premier League, we have a lot of international players. In the first team seven or eight but not only in the senior team. The value is now probably four times higher. “People think sometimes I'm crazy to do this investment but it is rational because with the right people and management it can be rational. Give time to flourish the project and we can achieve things.
Now we are partnering with the 49ers. This year it will be very difficult to stay in the Premier League but if we stay up this year we can do much more next year. Next, the top six over time and hopefully start to renovate the stadium and grow this club.
It is very important for the football family to stay united and connected and avoid a repeat of the Super League. It was surprising and also fantastic to see the reaction of the fans. We have to keep the value and meaning of promotion and relegation. Meritocracy is very important. This should never be challenged.
Leeds are at a transitional stage
Whilst the most expectant of Leeds fans wouldn't have dreamed of achieving a top ten finish during their first season back in the top flight; nobody would have foreseen their collapse in form, just months later. Their stuttering start to this campaign has been compounded by injuries to key players, yet the remaining players who were so reliable just six months look a shadow of their former selves. These are the same players who were awarded significantly improved contracts last term, earning in a week, what many of us earn a year.
According to Phil Hay, Leeds are now in a transitional stage.
The first 10 games of this season make it feel as if Leeds are moving between phases. Bielsa’s contract is up again next Summer and a difficult term would change the nature of conversations about what comes next. There is an expectation at Elland Road that the transfer of shares from Andrea Radrizzani to 49ers Enterprises will continue, potentially providing fresh funding.
"here are players who, irrespective of previous years, will have to play better than they presently are if they want to avoid hard decisions about them. This squad is not done but if the past couple of months are telling Leeds anything, it is that every model needs refreshing. When footballers peak as they have under Bielsa - some of them unexpectedly - it is natural for them to question if they can go higher again.
It would be natural for them to wonder if by finishing ninth last season, they hit their limit. Some of them know that pushing Leeds to the next level will not be their job. It is entirely possible that it will not be Bielsa’s job either. The baton will pass on, possibly sooner than they would like, and a human resources drive will be necessary. But they built this empire and, to go by the performances against Wolves and Norwich, they are fighting for it.
Where has it all gone wrong? Many football pundits are suggesting that the players are being overworked, and whilst able to sustain the elite levels of fitness over the last couple of years, its not sustainable in the long term! Do you agree?
Liam Cooper's every appearance feels like a round of Squid games
Leeds journalist Phil Hay has likened Skipper Liam Cooper with playing a round of squid games; the analogy being you scrape through by the skin of your teeth, only to face a tougher test, and probable eliminated in the next. This is his seventh season at Elland Road, and whilst he has come on leaps and bounds since his Championship days, he always has a mistake in him. According to Hay...
Liam Cooper's every appearance for Leeds feels like a job interview. Or if not a job interview, a round of Squid Games. One wobble, eliminated. And if you avoid wobbling this time, then the likelihood is that someone in the metaverse will try and take you out after the next game anyway. It was nice to hear Bielsa reference Cooper positively after Leeds’ recent draw with Wolves because, in the case of Cooper, he is like the boiler in your kitchen; only spoken about when it goes wrong and somewhat underappreciated".
A couple of years ago, I went to interview Cooper and as part of the conversation, I asked him about the nickname. League One Liam. You can never be sure about how a player will react to a question like that. They might resent the mention of it. They might pick a fight with their own supporters, which never ends well. Or as happened with Cooper, they might see some grains of truth in it. Cooper’s attitude was that in patches, he hadn’t performed well. In sustained patches, he had been at a bog-standard (and sometimes inept) Championship team. So fair enough. But Bielsa was good for him and Bielsa’s football leaned towards Cooper’s strengths. Look at the evidence since. His ability to process and rationalise the criticism explained to a point why he had been able to cope mentally with Bielsa’s regime.