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  • 20/12/14 - Forest Goal: Nottingham Forest 1 (Fryatt 45), Leeds United 0
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22 Dec 2014 04:08pm, by Shields53

Football commentators, pundits and journalists make it their job to provide football fans with insightful coverage of the sport through a number of mediums. From radio and newspapers to television and podcasts, they are at the frontline of an ever-evolving sport where news stories can emerge at any time of the day. Their position at the frontline of football through an extensive list of contacts, including managers, players and agents, not only helps towards gathering the very best news for their respective print media or broadcast company, but also ensures they continue to provide readers with the best football coverage on a regular basis.

Their expert knowledge and opinions have extended onto social media via Twitter where users can now receive insightful, humorous and sometimes controversial ‘tweets’ from influential figures that access the site via their computer or handheld device. They have created a greater connection between the media and football fans, with influential football tweeters gaining considerable coverage through substantial volumes of followers and tweets to their latest story or interview.

Tim Lovejoy

Tim Lovejoy rose to fame as the former presenter of Soccer AM which has remained a hugely popular morning television show that football fans tune into every Saturday morning. Many have argued that the show has never been the same since Lovejoy left in 2007 after 11 years, but the 46-year-old has moved onto bigger and better things since. Lovejoy now hosts the Daily Brunch and BT Sports Panel after previously working for BBC Radio 5 Live and Something for the Weekend, with the happy-go-lucky character remaining an instant hit with football fans via Twitter. His long-lasting popularity from the Soccer AM days may explain why Lovejoy has just under 667,000 followers, but it also down to his witty tweets and football comments that keep Twitter users on board.

Phil McNulty

The BBC continue to provide high quality broadcasting across a wide variety of sporting events, with Phil McNulty part of an extensive team of sports journalists who regularly contribute online. McNulty was ranked amongst the top 50 of Britain’s top sports journalists in 2012, and has been BBC’s chief sports writer for over 14 years. He regularly tweets during live sporting events he is covering, with his extensive knowledge and experience generating just under 320,000 followers on Twitter.

Oliver Holt

Patrick Collins’ retirement after nearly 50 years on Fleet Street left a considerable hole at the Mail on Sunday newspaper that needed to be filled by a leading sports journalist. They have turned to Oliver Holt who will not only join the Mail on Sunday as chief sports writer, but also contribute for MailOnline Sport. The 48-year-old has made a real name for himself since joining the Daily Mirror in 2002, with his confidence and engaging writing mixed with an outspoken and controversial edge that sets him apart from every other sports journalist. A regular guest on the Sunday Supplement, Holt’s move to the Mail is a considerable step up in his career and will no doubt see his reputation increase even further. Holt is also one of the most influential football figures on Twitter, with just short of 310,000 followers receiving his thoughts and opinions on the latest football stories, interviews and live matches.

17 Dec 2014 09:45am, by Shields53

This team is too good to go down. You hear that all the time but as we know only too well from our own experience it simply isn’t true.

In many ways a lot of our new continental signings have been very encouraging; Antenucci, Silvestri, Bellusci, Bianchi and Adryan have all shown they can cut it in the Championship. Our own academy graduates Cook and Mowatt are shining too but there is a lack of consistence, from minute to minute and game to game. We may have individuals good enough to compete but it’s playing as a team that matters and at the moment we are lacking in both consistency and experience.

The table and the form guide do not lie and at the moment neither are looking good for Leeds. Our two home wins against Blackpool and Derby mean we are 15th in the form table over the past six games with seven points in six games. Our away form however is the worst in the league, with only one point in the last six games. Our trajectory has been downwards, we now find ourselves 19th in the table five points off the relegation places. At the moment it’s not our own performances from keeping us from the bottom but rather the poor form of those below us. Wigan, Brighton, Rotherham and Millwall are all struggling to win games.

The reality is we are in a relegation battle and our form against our nearest contenders in the table is not good. We may have beaten Blackpool but we have lost to all of Brighton, Rotherham and Millwall and we need to be winning games against teams below us. It makes the Boxing Day game against Wigan that old cliché, a six pointer.

Things can change quickly in this league though, we are as many points off the bottom as we are from seventh. It’s about consistency, if any team can string a few wins together they can find themselves moving up the table quickly. Sadly consistency is not something we have had at Leeds this season, or in any recent season really. The squad has changed dramatically since last season and it takes players a while to gel, that is not helped by the fact that we are on our third manager of the season. The constant changing of training, systems, tactics, style and leadership cannot help the players.

The one consistent it had seemed would be Cellino. We all knew he was a firebrand, that he liked changing his managers, that this would be a rollercoaster but there was hope that at least he would bring continuity to the ownership of the club. But recent weeks have seen confusion over the power GFH still held over the club and the Football League’s announcement that Cellino has been found to be ‘dishonest’ and as such fails the directors and owners test. Cellino will appeal but will step down whilst he does leaving a power vacuum, how it will be filled we do not yet know.

Experience is also key and we have a team distinctly lacking in it. We have a young team, which shows great prospects for the future but we need an experienced head or two in the middle of the park to control things. We have a team full of youngsters and continental players with a lack of English football experience. Whilst they have been exciting to watch at times they lack the physicality to scrap with more physical teams and lack the nouse to control the flow of the game when we are up against it.

Neil Redfearn may have may have vast experience of the English game and in coaching but he is an inexperienced manager. It does not help that ever since he took the reigns on a permanent basis he has lacked an assistant manager, overall the coaching team is thin on the ground with Michael Tonge acting as an assistant to Redfearn over the last few games. At a time when we struggle to find a plan B in games that extra head on the bench could be vital, any experience that could be brought to the coaching team could really help an inexperienced team and manager.

But with the revelation this week that Leeds are now under a transfer ban it may not be so easy to bring in experienced players to steady the ship. Leeds are able to maintain a squad of 24 players over the age of 21 who have made 5 appearances for the club. With 20 players fitting this criteria it is possible to sign 4 players over 21 but no fees can be paid and their wages must not exceed £600,000 per year each.

So is relegation a real possibility? Very much so, especially if results continue going the way they have been. I have no doubt we have some quality players but we lack strength in depth and experience. We also lack width to change the system and our young players are looking increasingly tired, if we are denied the opportunity to strengthen next month I fear for our chances. It’s going to be a tough second half to the season.

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