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29 Aug 2014 06:03pm, by Shields53

On Tuesday night after defeat in the League Cup to Bradford City David Hockaday said "we very nearly climbed that mountain." On Wednesday evening it was confirm that it was Hockaday who had failed to climb the mountain when the club announced that his contract had been terminated with immediate effect.

With only six competitive games under his belt he becomes Leeds United’s shortest serving permanent manager in terms of number of games played, one short of Brian Clough and four short of Jock Stein. His assistant Junior Lewis also left the club and Neil Redfearn has been placed in temporary charge until a permanent replacement can be found. Owner Massimo Cellino said;

“I’d like to thank David for his efforts over the last two and a half months but the results since the start of the season have meant we needed to act and make this decision. After the defeat at Bradford I realised that my decision to keep David at the club following the defeat at Watford was wrong and I had to change my mind on the coaches position. As a club we will now begin our search for a new head coach.”

The plain fact is that Hockaday always had a mountain to climb, in terms of his inexperience, in winning the fans over and working with Cellino. He had coaching experience at Championship level but had only ever managed Forest Green Rovers in the Conference, he was vastly under qualified for the job he took on. Do I blame him for taking the job on? Of course not, it was the chance of a lifetime. Anyone in football, both player or coach wants to work at the highest level and this was his chance at a big job. Do I think he was cut out for it? No, but I don’t think the situation he walked into helped.

Cellino had always stated his desire for a coach rather than a manager and he had expressed an interest in appointing a British coach, probably partly due to his inexperience in English football. It is unclear how Hockadays name came to Cellinos attention but it is said people within footballing circles mentioned him. In so many ways Hockaday was the ideal choice for Cellino, an unknown name, someone who he could control to a certain extent and possibly more importantly at the time, he was cheap.

With Cellino and Salerno making the signings though did Hockaday ever stand a chance? It must have been difficult for him. Many of the signings were made after the summer training camps and a large number of players have arrived at short notice with little time for familiarisation. Trying to instil a new system is difficult at the best of times but harder when you have little say on recruitment of players to play in that system.

That said many fans will question Hockadays tactical prowess. The persistence in playing the now infamous midfield ‘diamond’ with the same players week in week out was not popular. We lacked width, failed to close teams down and lacked a cutting edge. The new ‘passing’ style of football was all a bit sideways too and never really looked to get us anywhere. There were some marginal improvements and he was let down by some ill-discipline or moments of madness but this is a results game and at the end of the day he didn’t get the results.

It was hard for the fans to warm to Hockaday as well. He was so confident in his own ability he came across arrogant, arrogant or deluded. He had complete confidence in his own abilities, he told us no one else could get any more out of the players, he was convinced he could get us back into the Champions League and his job was ‘never up for debate’. But he didn’t have the track record to back it up. Leeds fans like a confident manager but not an arrogant one. His recent press conferences had stolen the light from Cellino a bit as well, and I’m sure Massimo will not have liked that either.

Hockaday departing ends a bizarre few months in the history of Leeds United. There are plenty who love Cellino for his passion and for the amount of money he has put into the club but he has showed a naivety for English football. An owner inexperience in the English game and a head coach without experience at this level was a recipe for disaster. Hopefully now we can move on and our season can start properly, but Cellino needs to be brave and he needs to stick his hand in his pocket. What we require is an experienced manager, someone with a proven track record, someone who can move us forward.

That will cost though, and Cellino doesn’t seem keen on paying coaches much. An experienced coach/manager may also stand up to Cellino more, he won’t like that but it’s a risk he needs to take, for the good of Leeds United.

28 Aug 2014 12:12pm, by Shields53

Bradford City 2 (Knott 85, Hanson 86)
Leeds United 1 (Smith 82)

Leeds coach Dave Hockaday said of the game "we very nearly climbed that mountain" after defeat to Bradford City having played an hour with only 10 men. On one side the statement is true, we battled hard with one man down after Luke Murphy had been sent off just after the half hour mark and took the lead with 8 minutes remaining. For the most part the team worked hard and we could have, should have, secured the win. Unfortunately some sloppy defending, a couple of missed chances and a quality goal from Bradford Leeds were knocked out of the cup.

On the flip side Bradford City should not be described as a 'mountain to climb', we should have been going into that game as favourites but with the run of results so far this year and Hockaday under pressure Bradford were slight favourites. It shows how far we have fallen and the situation we are in. It was a spirited performance but given the circumstance only a win would have been good enough for Hockaday to remain in a job. Here are the views of some of our members;

The thoughts of weasel;

The side, barring Murphy deserve a lot of credit. When you look around and see that 6 Premiership sides have crashed out it tells you something about how lower teams raise their games, MK Dons beating Manchester United, Villa and QPR losing etc. Our players worked their socks off after the dismissal and in my opinion only dropped their levels after thinking we'd won. Compare that to tame defeats v Histon, Rochdale and many other poor cup performaces of recent years.

Yes I was disappointed that the team picked contained 7 of last year's squad. I want to see the new boys, especiially Benandicic but I guess Hockaday was wary of doing a Manchester United and he wanted to pick players who knew that the opoosition would be up for it and players that wouldn't see it as a glorified friendly.

Am I disappointed by the result, of course I am. Were all the teams that Bradford beat on their route to the final disappointed? This is a funny competition and I am more concerned about performance and ultimately that was hard to judge due to the Murphy sending off. Before that I thought we were the better side and looked comfortable.

Is there any need for the over the top wailing? Were Manchester United derailed when York beat them 3-0 many moons ago? I see signs in this team of character, maybe too much desire at times and I am behind them 100%. WIll they win ever game, no, will they lose stupidly, yes, but hey ho this is the start of something, not the finished article.

The views of 1964white;

Feeling somewhat deflated & disappointed after we looked to have nicked a win in the last five minutes. We were looking comfortable up until the sending off and well in control of the game. Murphy is the only one who will know what he was thinking. The only person to take the blame is himself. The manager and Captain can do nothing about those sort of challenges once the players take to the pitch although you have to question the discipline within our ranks with four sending offs in our first six games, we've had more red cards than shots on target.

We adjusted well when going down to ten men, everyone put a shift in. You can't really make changes when you are looking comfortable with ten men, specially when there is so much to lose and pressure on. Although Hock should have made one crucial change as soon as we scored bringing on a player on to bolster up the midfield in the last few minutes.

Maybe having someone like the tigerish Cook or Benedicic on the park would have stemed City's glorious equaliser. From then on there was only one winner as we capitulated under pressure as tired legs set in. Bringing on Poleon once the horse had bolted was born out of desperation, both Smith & Poleon should have tied the game at 2-2 had they been more clinical in front of goal in the added-on time period. We seriously lack pace in the team & leaders on & off the pitch which needs to be readdressed quickly. Naivety & stupidity lost that game last night.

The views of Gandalf;

The less said about Murphy the better. He should be taught to stop diving in, as he can't time his tackles. Otherwise there is a decent footballer in there.

In a backs to the wall performance, my only gripe was the amount of space that we allowed on their left hand side after the dismissal. The signs were there at the end of the first half, as several dangerous crosses came in, luckily without an end result.

I thought that Hockaday had solved it at half time, getting Sharp and Bianchi to rotate and give more protection to Wootton. As a result, the first twenty minutes of the second half were reasonably comfortable. After that, tiredness began to set in, and Wootton began to be more and more exposed.

This was the time to bring on some fresh legs, and balance the midfield. I think that Hockaday was conscious of the reaction to taking off Sharp at Waford, but he should have removed Sharp or Smith and brought on Cook.

He should certainly have taken one of the strikers off straight after we had scored and brought Cook on (our only midfield option on the bench), but we were finished off from crosses coming in from their left hand side.

Bradford City Line-up:
Williams, Darby, McArdle, Sheehan, Meredith, Liddle, Knott (Dolan 97), Kennedy, Clarke, Mclean (McBurnie 70), Hanson
Unused Subs: Urwin, Yeates, Shariff, Routis, Morais

Leeds United Line-up:
Taylor, Wootton, Pearce, Cooper, Warnock, Tonge, Murphy, Bianchi, Norris (Poleon 89), Smith, Sharp
Unused Subs: Silvestri, C Taylor, Cook, Antenucci, Ajose, Benedicic

Sent off: Murphy 31

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