The ‘new manager effect’ is a well known term in football.
The normal scenario tends to involve a team that is struggling for confidence and form reaching a crucial point in their season, followed by a chairman or owner taking a gamble on bringing in a new man to try and either keep their team up or push them over the promotion finishing line.
Sometimes to their credit, it works. Last season Sheffield Wednesday replaced Gary Megson with a few games of their season to go, despite still being in contention for an automatic promotion spot. At the time many called the sacking ridiculous, but the furore caused was quickly forgotten once Wednesday secured promotion a few games later. The gamble had paid off.
In Leeds’ case, there was no promotion to hang on to, just a slight fear of relegation to banish as quickly as possible. In fact, if it hadn’t been for our perilous form and ever lowering league position I’m almost positive we’d still be managerless. The truth is, GFH made the right call by bringing McDermott in when they did, he’s steered the club to two vital victories and ensured our Championship status. Job done, with an impressive display of decision making to boot.
What would be even more impressive is if GFH brought McDermott in knowing, or at least suspecting, that he’d make an instant impact on uniting the entire club.
For so long the club has felt divided, we might’ve all been supporting the club in unison but we’ve been a long way from singing from the same song sheet.
The unrest in the fanbase has been echoed on the pitch by the players who almost seemed to be doubting their own ability at times, but who could blame them considering the circumstances. Players like Tonge and Diouf were signed for their passing ability and then told to adapt to a completely different style of play. Our main target man was sold amid rumours of him causing trouble in camp and replaced with a player who couldn’t have had more pressure placed on his shoulders from the start. ‘’He’ll be a Leeds legend one day’’ said Warnock when asked about Morison.
Every game would end with increasingly repetitive interviews. ‘’The lads are giving me everything’’ would often ensure a full house for anyone playing Warnock post-game-interview-bingo.
The problem was, despite the lads giving everything, there was always room for blame. It was never Warnock’s fault.
That, along with futile attempts at forcing his long ball tactics, was where Warnock made his biggest mistake. As fans all we ever ask for is honesty. We see the games therefore we can see the problems too, so for the man at the helm to come out and tell us that he ‘can’t fault the lads’ yet continue to do just that, with no mention of a plan on fixing the blatant issues on the pitch, or even an admission of fault, it was never going to end well.
With that in mind, we were crying out for someone to walk in and change the entire ethos of the club from top to bottom. Someone with a plan, and a vision to buy into.
The effect Brian McDermott has had since he arrived suggests that he is the perfect man to do just that. Of course it is natural to get carried away when the going gets good, but after spending year after year looking around the club and seeing false optimism it is somewhat relieving to finally be able to believe that the good times are on their way back to Leeds, and not feel as though we’re building up to a fall.
McDermott wants the club ‘United’ and referred to the clubs anthem ‘Marching on together’ as being exactly what he’s all about. The man wants every fan, player and staff member on board with his vision, and after seeing the players respond with two impressive victories you can’t help but look forward with a great deal of positivity.
Together we can build, and if we can all get back to singing from the same song sheet that I referred to earlier then the sky really is the limit.
Marching on together has always been our anthem. If we can make it our philosophy, Leeds will well and truly be back.
Twitter – @giddy_goose