Date:Thursday February 23 2012
Tim Steere writes his latest article for Vital Leeds United and he looks back at the last week with the arrival of Neil Warnock as the clubs new manager.
He arrived at Elland Road last week with overall proclaim from the footballing fraternity as well as scepticism from some quarters, but one thing that can`t be denied is that Neil Warnock is a big name.
Leeds fans always demand big names when it comes to managing their club, now they have one. Love him or loathe him as many have done in the past when it comes to Leeds United. His record is second to none.
Seven promotions won in his time as a manager.
That alone is a stat that will send Leeds fans into raptures, because for all his Sheffield United supporting faults and spats with us in the past, he knows how to win and get out of this division. He`s taken two teams to the Premier League. Say what you want, the man knows what it takes.
In terms of name, its arguably one of the biggest we`ve had in terms of managerial experience; prestige and history.
Of course that never guarantees you success, but there is no doubt that Warnock is a man with passion. Always outspoken, he`s even said that he will challenge Bates if a player is needed. And he would, he won`t be a yes man. He`ll walk if necessary.
His legacy in the game with seven promotions is clearly a testament to what he can get from his players and squad. Stuart McCall was his number two at Sheffield United, and in a recent interview in the Yorkshire Evening Post said that Warnock was the best man manager around.
Apparently the most important periods for Neil are ten minutes before kick-off and at half time. If he did go into the dressing room at half time against Doncaster, then he certainly knows what to say to his players at half time.
McCall acknowledged that he has mellowed a bit, but his long standing in the game and his knowledge means he doesn`t need to rant and rave anymore. The players will know that he has been there and done it; a point which is not only reassuring to the players, but to the fans as well. For a while, an experienced name like Curbishley or O`Neill have been desired choices of Leeds fans because of their knowledge and the respect they command.
If you don`t believe McCall, then former Leeds favourite Shaun Derry was full of praise after Warnock`s appointment.
Captain of the QPR side that won promotion to the premier league under Warnock, he said of his man management skills; "His ability to lift a flat dressing room and do it overnight is amazing. Sometimes that`s all you need," again from an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Another interesting point is that a lot of people have said in terms of size of club and expectations, Leeds are the biggest club he has managed. Which many will argue vehemently against, but overall, I would agree.
Players have crumbled playing for Leeds and no doubt managers have struggled too. In terms of support and expectations, it has to be one of the top 6 in the country.
Can Warnock handle that? He has the experience too, and Derry again said that where others may have struggled, the thought never crossed his mind that he wouldn`t be able to cope.
The squad at Leeds is a big one, despite what many think, Bates is right in terms of size. And there are some quality players there. Some are struggling for form but have the capabilities, although I can almost guarantee that you are all thinking about attackers at this point? Be honest?
Not one of you will think of the defence and probably rightly so after the constant problems under Grayson`s time in the last year and a half especially.
In my view that`s going to be his biggest challenge at Leeds; not the expectation, not the size of club, not the finances, not Ken Bates; but the biggest single enigma in Leeds` current situation. The defence.
It is a defence, which has left fans screaming with fury and frustration. It`s all very well being able to score four but it`s not much use when you concede six!
The amount of high scoring matches against us in our time in the Championship is actually very worrying. If it wasn`t for Leeds` ability to score freely, they certainly would`ve been relegated by now.
If Warnock can sort that out, possibly with a returning O`Brien on board, in my eyes, Warnock will have already been a success.
Warnock is man with extreme pride in what he does, he wanted one last big challenge. This is most certainly it. If he can get a fallen giant like Leeds United promoted back to the Premier League, his ego will be boosted, and most Leeds fans will forgive his past.
A proud man like Warnock will put loyalties aside to the Blades and will do his job well. He will have seen in training and against Doncaster instantly what the problems are and how to sort them. It may take time, but if anyone can sort all the problems out and rectify them and know what it takes to rectify them most crucially, it will be him.
In terms of satisfying Leeds fans and any football fan, they want a big name who knows the game inside out and can command the respect and admiration of his players.
If Warnock doesn`t do that; I`ll be very surprised.
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Date:Thursday February 23 2012
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