It was only a few weeks ago that Leeds United and their fans looked like they would be able to look back on the season with an ounce of satisfaction, just an ounce…
The team had stood up and took action around Christmas time when they were in huge danger of being embroiled in a relegation battle.
The performances for a few months were looking promising and key players were emerging in youngsters like Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook and Sam Byram.
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However, a few weeks-on, with an air of inevitability, the long-suffering Leeds fans have been denied their meagre-yet-cherished ounce of satisfaction by one new controversy followed by another, seemingly every day.
The hierarchy did their best to send the ship off-course by sacking manager Neil Redfearn’s trusted assistant, Steve Thompson, for a reason that is still yet to leave the lips of those who made the decision… Now the players have ensured that the ship has hit the rocks, or at least some of them have.
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In what Redfearn described a “freakish set of events,” six players for the Yorkshire club declared themselves unfit at the last minute for Saturday’s match against Charlton Athletic. Although it’s more of a side note; the players who did stick around didn’t do much better as they slumped to a fifth consecutive league defeat – the Whites haven’t picked up a point in over a month now.
Rumour, accusations and anger has already met the decision taken by the Italian quartet, Mirco Antenucci, Giuseppe Bellusci, Dario Del Fabro and Marco Silvestri, as well as Souleymane Doukara and Edgar Cani to boycott the match – with all citing injury.
Whether their injuries are genuine or not, the six players – all bought in from Italian clubs under the guidance of the unstable Italian boss Massimo Cellino – have certainly aroused suspicion and caused another media frenzy which sheds their club in an awful light once more.
It doesn’t seem fair to somebody like Redfearn, a man who genuinely looks to have the club’s fortunes in his best interest that he should deal with the fall-out from this. As for the players who do play for the badge; it’s unfair on them too.
Experienced striker Steve Morison, although a peripheral figure at the club now, has already spoken in support of his manager and slammed this new situation. If Morison’s view is one that is shared among the other stars that also care, then the problems have only just started.
The big-boys have already started swooping for the aforementioned likes of Mowatt, Byram and Cook – and surely they will all now move closer to the exit door. The fans of the local trio must be the only thing that they cling to, otherwise it’s a decision of playing Champions League football versus playing for a club in the Championship where the players don’t bother turning up…It’s Sunday morning stuff.
Leeds United have hit rock bottom in the past, and they find themselves there again. Will they ever be salvaged?