Will the Leeds McDermott debacle be a blessing in disguise?
Friday’s transfer window deadline was somewhat of an anti-climax, right up until the news that Leeds United boss Brian McDermott had been sacked.
Current owner of Serie A side Cagliari, Massimo Cellino, made a bid to take over from present majority shareholders GFH. In protest to the situation, fans barricaded the Italian at Elland Road on deadline day, and club sponsors such as Flamingo Land dropped their support.
There was outrage across West Yorkshire and the news sparked a very outspoken interview on Sky Sports from Leeds captain Ross McCormack.
However, the next day there were more twists and turns in this calamitous deal as it was announced that McDermott had not left his job after all.
Despite all this mayhem, there was clearly no hangover for Leeds the following day, as they thumped Huddersfield 5-1 and now sit in 12th place. McDermott was missing from the dugout but it was clear that McCormack and the rest of his teammates were looking to put all the chaos behind them.
Could this be the start of a push that sees Leeds finish the season in the play-offs and ultimately get back into the Premier League for the first time in a decade? Odds of 11/1 say they will get a top-six finish, with stakes of 20/1 on a promotion.
“You didn’t expect to see me did you?” were the opening words of McDermott in his first press conference since being supposedly reinstated as Leeds boss. “It would’ve been very easy for me to walk away; that was the advice I had but there was no way I was going to, all it has done is given me more drive.”
It could be that drive and determination that fuels the fire to now spur the Whites on and gain ground on the top-six Championship clubs.
Leeds had a solid start to the season, hovering around the play-off positions, but a miserable run of eight games without a win in all competitions, prior to last weekend’s fixture had seen then slip to 12th in the table.
However, despite losing five times in those eight matches, including home defeats to Blackburn and Leicester and the 6-0 stuffing at Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday, United are still eight points behind sixth-placed Reading with a game in hand. A 2-0 FA Cup loss to League Two side Rochdale was also a particular low.
In any other situation, perhaps McDermott’s sacking would have been acceptable, but the timing of it and the fact that all the players are seemingly behind the former Reading boss has caused all the trouble.
There was more news on Tuesday that the current Leeds owners are in talks with a British consortium to rival Cellino, but only time can tell what the future holds for the former Champions League semi-finalists.
With an unfortunate four consecutive away matches up next for Leeds, it could be a very tough ask, but they will fancy themselves to get a result against bottom side Yeovil, with odds of 23/20 to get a win.