Player (and more) reviews for the last TSB of 2013/14.
We can’t say we weren’t warned, but if we have to, we will.
Are you used to this yet? Because I think we’ll need to get used to this for a while yet. Before the game, this didn’t look like a game that ought to worry Leeds United – it’s only Bournemouth. Memories of 1990 and a tiny ground in a south coast seaside town make three points a mental box ticking exercise.
Gulf Finance House “made a net profit of $5.2m in the three months to December 31, up from $2.5m in the prior-year period,” reported Arabian Business.com in February. “For the 2013 full year, GFH’s net profit fell 37.2 percent to $6.3 m.”
We’ve heard a lot about Prozone at Leeds United this season. We haven’t seen much professionalism in the pitch zone to go along with it, but Brian McDermott has had plenty to say about the player analysis system that is a byword for ‘stats’ in football.
The first problem was its absence. “We’ve got Prozone now,” he said back at the end of October. “Prozone is a really important tool that we haven’t had at Leeds since the Premier League days.
The plan before the game was to get back to just that: the game. Football. The game, the sport, the thing about people kicking a ball around as a contest and an entertainment.
The article in the Yorkshire Post began: “The financial nightmare is over.” It continues: “Stability has been restored behind-the-scenes while the team could this time next week be in the Championship play-off places – Leeds United fans must be checking their calendars to make sure it isn’t April Fool’s Day.”
A lot of things were missing, presumed lost, from the performances against Rochdale and Sheffield Wednesday. Not just small things, but things that go into making a football club a football club; things that define what Leeds United are all about.
If Leeds United is a play, then the pitch at Elland Road is the stage, the scene for ninety minute bursts of drama in a series of two-act performances from August to May. All that matters, in the end, happens within the confines of that 100 square yards of trodden green boards.
Howard Wilkinson just celebrated his 70th birthday, and I’m glad. At least, I assume he celebrated. I hope he did. The story goes that he didn’t let winning the league title with Leeds United interrupt his Sunday dinner; but then there’s the footage of him that afternoon downing a glass of champagne with his kids to toast the success. Then again, he also went to play a round of golf with Harry Gration a day or two later, so that week probably doesn’t count as a debauch.