TSS on Ken Bates- It will come as no shock to regular readers of The Scratching Shed to hear I have a vitriolic hatred of Ken Bates. The man is a PR nightmare, and I worry the absolute nonsense he spouts often taints our image further (if at all possible). Not keen on his lapdog, come lawyer, come CEO, come money launderer (is that libel?) Shaun Harvey either. The pair of them make my blood boil.
Not all fans see it the same way however. Ken is a bit of a marmite character who divides the support like no one has ever done before (although Jermaine Beckford came a close second). There doesn't seem to be a middle ground between the two sets of supporters because the Bates "apologists" hail him as a saviour for bringing financial stability to the club, which irritates those of us that hate him because we have absolutely no idea how the clubs finances currently are other than what Bates chooses to tell us (nor do we know who actually owns us!)
- Another dividing line is the manner of his takeover. Those that support Bates claim he was the only one willing to "save" Leeds United because that's what Ken likes to tell people. The truth is, that we had other people in the running on both occasions (he's bought us twice technically) but a mixture of underhand tactics and first to the front of the queue policies, meant he came out with the club. I really resent Bates' nonsense that he 'rescued Leeds United from the jaws of oblivion'. The fact is, football clubs are more than businesses - they're institutions which the support will always save from going under. Much smaller clubs than Leeds have been in worse circumstances and survived - we were nothing special.
I'll cut it here before I go into a 300 page document on why Ken Bates is the spawn of Satin, but to sum up, the divide in support basically comes from the apologists describing him as a saviour, whilst the hate mob see him more as the Devil's plaything. Somewhere in the middle is probably accurate, but neither will budge an inch. The one thing I would say however is that Ken Bates make Peter Mandelson look like an amateur when it comes to spinning stories and creating propaganda.
TSS on Peter Ridsdale I could sympathise with Ridsdale if it wasn't for his smugness. Gambling on finishing in the Champions League positions was incredibly stupid of him, but he was so desperate for success at Elland Road that he played fast and loose, and as a consequence, Leeds United are still trying to recover. I guess the problem was that Ridsdale is a Leeds United fan, so he did what any Leeds United fan would do when given a load of money and a "go for it" nod from the board and set about monopolising the transfer market.
The thing that still grates is that the Leeds United team both himself and David O'Leary inherited was one full of quality youngsters and some world class experience too (such as Lucas Radebe). Howard Wilkinson's work was finally coming to fruition and we would have gone on to be successful with very little money spent on transfers, but neither Ridsdale or O'Leary practised patience, and nor did the Leeds United fans. It was 'living the dream' time, and we did it in spectacular style but without the Hollywood ending.
TSS on Simon Grayson - Simon Grayson, for me, has been the best manager I've seen at Elland Road since Howard Wilkinson. He has no idea how to play for a draw, his defensive tactics need a bit of pruning and you really have no idea what is going to happen next. But that's the brilliance of the man really. He's created a team capable of scoring goals almost at will, that has no idea when it's beaten and never gives up. Ideally, we'd like a better defence, but you can't have it all...
I said we'd make the play-offs before the season began and stand by that prediction. The current team is more than capable of beating the majority of teams in this league and aside from a couple of major slip-ups (like 4-6 PNE) we've proven ourselves to be a top six side. So far, we've gone from strength to strength and with Simon Grayson's well-grounded ways and wisdom, we should be in a good position come May. I hope he's here for another decade.
TSS on QPR - I watched you play on the BBC last week and you were second best throughout. I can't help but think we'll experience some kind of backlash from that and you may get a result, especially at Elland Road where we've been somewhat inconsistent so far this season. I think the only problem QPR may have is squad depth as Claridge pointed out on the BBC coverage. Your first team is clearly capable of winning this league outright, but it will be interesting to see how you overcome a couple of injuries later in the season, and whether you strengthen in January. I'll sit on the fence and predict a draw.
This week, the author of QPR Report joins us for a look ahead to this weekends fixture and to discuss all things QPR.
Ryan – After last weekend’s results, I bet your starting look over your shoulders at Leeds. Are you looking forward to Saturday’s game?
QPRReport - First let me say thank you very much for inviting me to contribute to your site. I have various memories of Leeds United; not all of them “bad!”
I was probably as gutted as any Leeds fan when Leeds lost to Chelsea in the 1970 FA Cup Final Replay. I was urging Leeds on throughout the two games. And Leeds were ROBBED! And I was disappointed when Leeds failed to win the Treble in 1971. Instead Arsenal won The Double! And Don Revie did almost takeover at QPR back in 1984/85.I should note that while I’m a truly obsessed QPR fan for over 40 years, and a consistent (obsessive) messageboard poster; I to put it mildly, don’t get to too many games.
Now specifically to the upcoming game: Am I looking forward to it? Well I look forward to every game QPR play. But do I look forward with confidence to Saturday? Not at all. We could win. We might lose. Or the draw…
Ryan - You lost your first game of the season last Friday night against Watford. Could it be the start of a rough patch for QPR or do you think you’ll pick your form back up on Saturday?
QPRReport - I think we already had a slump a few weeks ago, when we were drawing a lot. I’ve no doubt we’ll play a lot better against Leeds. Whether that will be enough, time will tell. So QPR will be much better. But will be good enough? Not sure. We’re not a great team. We’re a good team, well organized, playing with confidence and with a very solid manager. And the owners – FINALLY – are staying out of the way.
Ryan - We had Shaun Derry a few years back at Leeds and he turned up looking like Jesus. He looking a bit more like Phillip Schofield now though with his Grey hair! What do you make of him as a player? Do you think he’d be able to hack it in the Premiership if you were to get promoted?
QPRReport - I think Derry can probably make his contribution to a QPR in the Premiership! He’s our de facto captain even though Adel Taarabt officially has the title of Captain.
Ryan - We know all about Derry, and we had Rob Hulse at Leeds aswell a few years back, but who else should we be looking out for in your team?
QPRReport - Obviously Taarabt. We have a strong defense. Well organized. But our true star is Neil Warnock. We don’t exactly have deadly strikers though. Mackie was on a streak. He hasn’t scored for like a dozen games, which of course means…Watch out Leeds!
Ryan - You are one of The Championship’s richest clubs but it we all know it can go horribly wrong once teams start spending big. What do you make of it all? Do you trust the new owners?
QPRReport - Now you got me started: On my blog and messageboard (and on other messageboards), I have focused considerably (some would say inordinately) on our owners, past present. Trust? President Ronald Reagan used to cite the Russian phrase “doveryai, no proveryai” ( “Trust But Verify”). That certainly applies at Loftus Road. One wonders at what they do. One wonders why they’re involved. Of course Leeds have Ken Bates and had Peter Ridsdale, so I guess you don’t have to love your owner!
First although we’ve lost a ton of money quite a bit of it on bad transfers and expensive wages on long contracts, NeiL Warnock really hasn’t spent much money in converting a relegation-headed team into a promotion team. Our owners obviously have the money. But they’re not exactly showering it on QPR! But obviously the tag of “Money Bags” QPR does us no favour. All the disadvantages without the advantages. Compare to what other clubs are spending, it’s really not that much. Look back at what Warnock spent over the summer.
Ryan – Do you have any particular memories of games between the 2 of us? My personal favourite would have to be when Brian Deane scored 5 for us in a 6-1 win at Elland Road!
QPRReport - I wasn’t at the game, but beating Leeds at Elland Road during the Brian Clough Era. We’ve had several narrow losses. I remember the Champions to be Leeds beating QPR in 1968 and 1973 when the Leeds team celebrated their second Championship (Goodbye Don Revie!). But the most significant game for QPR, was the 1975/76 final game of the season when QPR beat Leeds at Loftus Road. And for Ten Days, QPR were Champions of England (Gerry Fancis, Stan Bowles, Dave Thomas etc) Before Liverpool stole it at Birmingham. Leeds obviously had many narrow missing out over the years. But at least you have won the Championship.
Ryan - Which 3 teams do you think will get promoted and which 3 do you think will get relegated this season?
QPRReport - Promoted: QPR, Burnley and Leicester
Relegated: Preston, Sc**thorpe and Doncaster
Ryan - If you could sign one current Leeds player for QPR, who would it be?
QPRReport - If you’d asked me last year, I’d have said Jermaine Beckford. I think we’ve been linked in the tabloids with Becchio. (Our past player exchanges besides Hulse and Derry include Tony Currie and Mark Hately – Quite a contrast!)
Ryan - Finally, what’s your prediction for the game? I’m going for a 1-1 draw.
QPRReport - Leeds 3 QPR 1
Ryan - Thanks for taking part, enjoy the game!
QPRReport - Thank you again for inviting me. Good luck.
It doesnt sound very good. .................................................................................................... Leeds up to second after comfortable win over QPR
Mad Max strikes again
A little later than usual with the match report due to a weekend of drunken debauchery so I’ll keep it relatively short as everything that needs to be said, has probably been repeated numerous times already.
A 2-0 win over QPR at Elland Road moved the expectation levels up another notch as Leeds United sneaked into the automatic places with Cardiff City’s match postponed. Beating the league leaders was reason enough to celebrate, but the manner in which Leeds United kept QPR quiet and dominated this tie was, for me, the pinnacle of a very positive season so far.
Right from the off Leeds looked threatening and dominated almost entirely, with the midfield dictating play. Snodgrass was excellent out wide, as was Howson who seemed to shift between the central attacking position he’s been playing in lately and the left wing. Bradley Johnson meanwhile dictated play in the centre whilst Neil Kilkenny kept things neat and tidy and allowed Leeds to dictate the tempo.
With Johnson battling away and silencing the QPR midfield for large parts and Killa’s tidy passing spreading the ball in both directions, you could really see the midfield system Simon Grayson has been trying to create come together and give Leeds United almost total dominance.
There was of course, one other player I’ve yet to mention – Mad Max Gradel. From a liability to Elland Road superstar and back more times than I care to count, this was the superstar version of Max that can delight crowds and terrify defenders.
Max switched from Becchio’s strike partner up front and his more common position of winger (with the Shaun Derry marked Jonny Howson going in the opposite direction). It was these two individual positions that his two goals came from as Snoddy and Howson linked up to provide his first – an opportunistic half volley from a centre forward position, whilst his second came from one of those great solo runs where he usually gets dispossessed and then sulks because the nasty defender took the ball off him.
Two good goals that lifted Leeds United into the automatic promotion spots and gave the Whites fans plenty to celebrate this Christmas. Celebrations that were later refuelled by the news Luciano Becchio has finally signed a new contract.
I haven’t mentioned the defence, because overall they had a very quiet shift. Alex Bruce went off injured early meaning Leigh Bromby got some rare time on the pitch – he had little to do, but when called upon he did his job perfectly well. Out wide, the full-backs never hesitated to get forward and help out the attackers, whilst Kasper Schmeichel probably wished he’d brought something to read.
Paul Connolly again deserves special mention. Him and Snodgrass seem to have developed an almost telepathic understanding of what one another is going to do, and it’s formed a formidable attacking force down the wing. The two overlap one another and play one-two’s throughout, but also cover each others positions when needed. Great to see.
In the interests of balance, I should probably mention QPR. They did have the odd chance but nothing worth writing home about. Man for man, Leeds United were by far the stronger team and were worthy winners. It appears the lack of depth in the QPR side seems to be costing them. It’s a side with some obvious quality, but whether it will be enough to sustain an automatic push is doubtful – having played almost every team in the division now, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t put QPR in the top three or four.
…and Leeds’ promotion chances?
I said in pre-season that I expected to finish in the play-offs and part of my reasoning for that prediction was the sheer level of depth we have available to us. Ross McCormack, Billy Paynter, Sanchez Watt and Lloyd Sam (and maybe a couple of others) would be starting XI in most Championship sides, but at Elland Road they’re struggling to get a couple of minutes here and there in the first team.
Having played the majority of teams in this division now, the only one I would say was better than us is Cardiff. Leicester City were pretty outstanding too, but their failure to gain any kind of momentum leaves them way off the pace.