Leeds United, Marcelo Bielsa and the way forward, what happens next!

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Leeds United has since the 2003-04 season been a team in the 2nd and 3rd tier of English football. A very similar situation to the one between great periods especially under the management of Don Revie and Howard Wilkinson.

The introduction of Mercelo Bialsa was one looked up on with great optimism and he almost managed to bring the club back to the holy land, but stumbled a lot during the latter months of the season and in the play-off’s.

The team that played their first season under the management of Marcelo Bielsa was not a new set up all together put in bits and pieces put together by a few new signings such as Patrick Bamford and Barry Douglas.  Goalkeeper Kiko Cassilla was introduced in January replacing Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

The young N Ireland international did well in the first 29 games, and a bit strange to see that Marcelo Bielsa wanted a change. The fact that Kemar Roofe had to see the end of the season from the sidelines might have been a bigger factor.

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Patrick Bamford missed a lot of the season and the £7million signing scored 9 goals in 24 league games, which is a good tally, but sadly not enough to secure a promotion. The experienced Pablo Hernandez is a player that is highly rated and hopefully will go on for another two or three seasons now at the age of 34.

Marcelo Bielsa might have to go out in the transfer market as Howard Wilkinson did to secure a promotion, because no one has managed to promote Leeds United back to the top since the days of HW.

If you want to look at the promotion campaign before that, you have to go back to the Don Revie days and the early 60’s to find the next promotion, so it’s not often Leeds United takes the steps to get promoted to the top flight.

Watching Leeds United against Derby County, having everything in their hands, was really difficult and to see players stumble and get into awkward situations shows that this group wasn’t really ready for a new life in the Premier League and with that 11 in mind they might had to sign so many players that they would have disturbed the balance.

Fulham made that mistake this season going for a quick fix, but the way to do it is exactly what Newcastle and Burnley have done with clever management, climbing a bit day after day and maybe also see the relegation fear and keep calm, instead of going for that deadly idea to sack the manager, that took you up. Only idiots does that and will over time destroy their structure and balance.

Very little should be done at Leeds and the players coming in must be those who fit the bill, hopefully Marcelo Bielsa will be able to see that and just add maybe one to three players with a great U.23 set up also pushing through at the club.

We will be following Leeds United during next season and see how the progress with a new season under the management of the thorough Marcelo Bielsa. There is no doubt that the current manager is the biggest star by far at Leeds United.

Brian Labone

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Factfile:

  • Full Name: Brian Leslie Labone
  • Position: Defender
  • Date of Birth: 23.01.1940
  • Birthplace: Liverpool
  • Nation: England
    • Full Caps: 26
  • Major League Career
    • 1958-71, Everton (451/2)
  • More Facts
  • Photo Gallery

Howard Kendall

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Factfile:

  • Full Name: Howard Kendall
  • Position: Midfield
  • Date of Birth: 22.05.1946
  • Birthplace: Ryton
  • Nation: England
    • Full Caps: –
  • Major League Career
    • 1963-67, Preston North End (104/13)
    • 1967-74, Everton (229/21)
    • 1974-77, Birmingham City (115/16)
    • 1977-79, Stoke City (82/9)
  • More Facts
  • Photo Gallery

Chelsea v. Arsenal, no full English in Baku, Hazard farewell and Sarri to Juventus?

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This was the first time since 1972 that two English clubs clashed in the Europa League final, or as before the UEFA Cup. Back in 1972 it was a two legged tie between Wolves and Tottenham.

Back then in 1972 you had two English managers in Billy Nicholson and Bill McGarry and you had two teams packed with British players. The final in Baku tells a tragic story of two teams fielding teams only one British player in the line-up, and no British management at all.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was the only English / British players in the starting line-up, and as we could see during the game, making fatal mistakes that in the end stopped any hope for Arsenal. A 21 year old, with little experience and few games in the first team, is getting hammered by Chelsea forwards such as Hazard, Giroud, Pedro and later Willian.

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The talk of English football is bizarre since few or almost no players are British. This is a development that cannot continue for long and will see a full “crash landing” in the future. Both clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea, are no longer the top clubs and the reason is simple, they don’t really care about football as it should be ran and they neglect that factor that football is based on development of players, not long term just buying and selling.

The Chelsea team is based on players from abroad, with an aging Gary Cahill on the bench and Ross Barkley coming on in the 2nd half. A number of English youngsters are sitting on the bench, but few or none of these players will ever be given the chance to establish themselves and instead will foreign stars be signed to cover the gaps after those being sold.

Chelsea and Arsenal are English clubs, but they are just shirts put on foreign players who will leave and go back to their native countries. Owners are not British / English and this is one strange happening. Over the next fiver of six seasons we certainly hope that Chelsea and Arsenal will try to bring balance to their teams and again become good English clubs with mostly British / English players in their teams.

Eden Hazard and Maurizio Sarri might have been seen in their last event for Chelsea FC with both being linked away from the club. Hazard is close to a Real Madrid move and Sarri will be looking for a return to Italy and taking over Juventus.

No English manager has been in charge of Chelsea since Glenn Hoddle left for the England job back in 1996, 23 years ago. Arsenal boss Unai Emery is a wanted man, but the Spaniard looks to be staying on at The Emirates.

When you point the finger at these situations without English influence, those who believe they know it all, says it’s the modern game, it’s all an open market and you need to be positve for progress and changes, but for English football long term is it positive to see no English players and the management being foreign.

Released players in English football, who are free agents this summer

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A number of players are free to find a new club after being released from their current club without signing a new contract. Interesting names are of course Leicester City duo Danny Simpson and Shinji Okazaki, who both looks certain to continue their careers elsewhere. Norwich forward and Scotland international Steven Naismith are also among those released.

Arsenal had to see Aaron Ramsey leave and he has signed for Juventus. Danny Welbeck will probably also be hot property when searching for his best option next season.

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Southampton midfielder Steven Davis has allready agreed terms with Rangers where he was on loan last season. Crystal Palace midfielder Jason Puncheon is also free. He was on loan at Huddersfield towards the end of last season and a fine player to add if you need experience in the engine room.

A number of interesting and experienced names are also leaving their Championship clubs, Stoke City releasing names such as Charlie Adam and Darren Fletcher. Swansea City released Dutch international  Leroy Fer.

Former Chelsea “wonderboy” Josh McEachran has been released by Brentford. Will Keane and Liam Ridgewell are freed by Hull City. Northern Ireland interantional Jamie Ward is available after being released by Nottingham Forest.

Experienced defender Alex Baptiste has left QPR and will be available for free. George Boyd is also available, the 33 year old was released by Sheffield Wednesday who we know from the Premier League when playing for Burnley and Hull.

Wilfried Bony and Wayne Routledge are both released by Swansea. Two players that earlier made a name for themselves at Premier League level. Swedish international Martin Olsson are also among those freed by the Welsh club.

Former Manchester United starlet Zeki Fryers is also available on a free after leaving Barnsley. Former Ipswich and MK Dons midfielder Dean Bowditch (32) is also one to get on a free after leaving Northampton Town.

The full list of Premier League released players,

  • Arsenal
    • Aaron Ramsey
    • Petr Cech
    • Danny Welbeck
    • Julio Pleguezuelo
  • Brighton & Hove Albion
    • Bruno
  • Burnley
    • Stephen Ward
    • Anders Lindegaard
    • Jon Walters
  • Crystal Palace
    • Julian Speroni
    • Jason Puncheon
  • Leicester City
    • Danny Simpson
    • Shinji Okazaki
  • Norwich City
    • Ivo Pinto
    • Steven Naismith
    • Matt Jarvis
    • Yanic Wildschut
  • Sheffield United
    • Paul Coutts
    • Martin Crainie
    • Conor Washington
    • Daniel Lafferty
    • Caolon Lavery
  • Southampton
    • Steven Davis
  • Tottenham Hotspur
    • Conor Ogilvie
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers
    • Kevin Berkoe

Roy McFarland

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Factfile:

  • Full Name: Roy Leslie McFarland
  • Position: Defender
  • Date of Birth: 05.04.1948
  • Birthplace: Liverpool
  • Nation: England
    • Full Caps: 28
  • Major League Career
    • 1966-67, Tranmere Rovers (35/0)
    • 1967-81, Derby County (434/44)
    • 1981-82, Bradford City (40/7)
    • 1982-84, Derby County (8/0)
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  • Photo Gallery

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