The less said about this season the better really. The nosedive in form, the new badge debacle and Paul Heckingbottom, glad it’s nearly over. But all is not lost as we look for the positives and find some hope for the future…
1) Financially flexibility
We are stable financially, and this summer is a chance for Radz to splash the cash should he wish, last summer he was limited by FFP, this summer he isnt. A large issue that cap has been, it has severely limited us, so if it goes thats a step in the right direction. Better players, more quality less quantity, makes sense that Pablo Hernandez isnt on 15k a week, so there is evidence this is true. His willingness to raise the wage cap does suggest a loosening of the purse strings may be on the cards.
2) Carlos Corberan
A collective "who" was said upon his appointment, not much is really known about him other then a few random jobs, and that he was once recommended by Pep Guardiola for a job. A rocky start but the Spanish coach has done a superb job with the U23s and has them playing some lovely football, a young man in coaching terms there is a possibility he may be a future Leeds 1st team manager in the future.
A rocky start for the Under 23s, but over the last half of the season they were the form team, top of the U23 form table with 15 games 10 wins 2 draws 3 defeats. The Uber 18s are Northern League Champions, lost the Playoff but that's fine, they are Champions.
3) The young talent coming through
Sam Dalby, Pascal Struijk, Hugo Diaz, Alejandro Machuca, Oriol Rey, Kun Temenuzhkov , Jack Clarke, Bobby Kamwa, Bryce Hosannah, and more, all earned rave reviews this season, imo particularly Rey, Machuca, Clarke and Dalby have stood out (cant really watch the u18s). But if you go through those names you can practically build a full team, thats exciting.
4) Victor Orta
Controversial, but wait let me explain. Most of those above were signed by Victor Orta, Victor was also a partially responsible for Carlos Corberan, so he does seem able to find young players well.
First seasons in this league are very difficult, they just are, plenty have struggled first season. With that in mind, players like Samu Saiz and Gianni Alioski who have been inconsistent, but have shown quality could quite possibly be twice the player next season, mentally, and physically. Laurens De Bock, came in unfit, got injured, but he is an experienced player, played at a high level all his career, far to early to dismiss him as useless, Caleb Ekuban, gets into those positions, finishing is off, but the biggest challenge is being in the right place in the first place, there is hope there. Could go on, but the point is fans judge to quickly, quite a fickle lot, a bit of patience and not hounding the new lads to death can do them the world of good.
5)Fresh faces eager to prove themselves
Tom Pearce, Bailey Peacock Farrell and Paudie O'Connor have come in recently, done ok, but it gave the fan base a lift to see some new faces. Next season we have Yosuke Ideguchi, Tyler Roberts and the returning Mateusz Klich back before we sign anyone or promote any youngsters. Its hard to judge Roberts and Ideguchi, but they are highly rated, that is reason enough to get a bit excited. Mateusz Klich is different, some rate him some dont, but its hard to argue since returning to Holland he has shown real quality, his stats for his last game were ridiculously good at any level, never mind a decent league, theres a player there.
6) Pablo Hernandez
As a player he is a class act, seems a nice bloke to, but its more that he seemed certain to leave us to return home with his wife and family to enjoy a nice semi retirement in Spain. Fine, he owed us nothing, had been a good servant, 33 years old, if he didnt fancy another year of Championship hardship that is understandable. But then out of the blue, he signed a 2 year contract, given he is not going to be short of money, wouldn't have been short of offers, the easy choice was go home to Spain, but he didnt. The fact he didnt is exciting, Pablo doesnt need us, he doesnt need the cash, he doesnt need to prove himself, so the only reason he stays is because he has heard something that excites him, a challenge, some ambitious signings, who knows, but the fact he stayed is a huge statement for the future.