Another drab season in the Championship for Leeds United ended in an aptly boring style as they were held to a goalless draw against Rotherham United; the only real highlight being the visiting manager Steve Evans turning up in Hawaiian shorts, t-shirt and sombrero as he celebrated his side’s relegation-avoiding antics.
It really tells a story when an overweight 52-year-old provides the most entertainment at Elland Road on the last day of the season.
Fans of the Yorkshire club will no-doubt have the pleasure of hosting Evans’ company next season, but they’ll be hoping that he won’t be the star attraction.
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It has been said enough over the last ten years or so, but the Whites really do need to find a way of returning to where they belong in the top flight. The club are stagnating in the second-tier.
Every fan would love to see their side go out and buy the best stars and have their owner put in an endless wad of cash to fund such a spree but I don’t think even that will work for Leeds – they need to start going another way with their recruitment.
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One suspects that it won’t happen while Italian owner Massimo Cellino retains some sort of control at the club, but some calm and sensible thinking is needed. Looking at the examples of other clubs would be a start.
Bournemouth, let’s start with them. The seaside town on the south coast will have a team in the Premier League next season despite having a stadium half the size of Leeds. Sure, they’ve had investment, but they’ve had it in the right areas.
Virtually all of their squad have had experience in English football prior to this season, they have convinced talented stars from other smaller clubs to make the step-up and they look like a team with passion and point to prove.
Their fairy-tale story has been mimicked at a lesser extent by the likes of Burnley last season and even Southampton, Hull City and Swansea in previous seasons.
When studied, it’s only really QPR who have jumped out of the Championship with foreign stars from other divisions and a big wage budget. Even they only scraped out, and now look likely to plummet once more.
You look at Leeds’ squad now and it just looks a mess. Players have been bought in from Serie B and other foreign leagues over the last year or two and they certainly haven’t provided any flair or continental style.
The likes of local youngsters Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook and Sam Byram have provided the sparkle.
By moving away from the type of foreign star who thinks it is acceptable to skip a match wearing the Leeds badge (yes, I’m referring to Charlton Athletic away), and by moving more towards talented stars on these shores who are desperate to make the step up; you not only prosper financially, you also get a team of eleven players who will fight 100% of what they can give in every match.
Jose Mourinho can get away with his side being apparently boring (a ridiculous statement, anyway) because his Chelsea team are champions of England.
Leeds United are truly boring but they have no title to show for it, instead they have a 15th place finish and a rousing trip to the MK Dons next season to look forward to…
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