Transfers like Ross McCormack’s always get a bit fractious towards the end but when the dust settles, all sides will probably be quite happy with the deal.
Leeds United got a huge fee for him – more than his true value I’d say – and in no way was it a bad move for Ross. Fulham won’t want to hang around in the Championship for long and he’s got a four-year deal on, I’m sure, a very decent wage. At the age of 27 you’ve got to be happy with that level of security.
In terms of football he’s a big loss to Leeds or a big loss on last season’s form anyway. Go back over his years at Elland Road and it wasn’t all about him and his goals but he kept us afloat last season, there’s no question of that. His finishing was quality, he stepped up whenever we needed him to and we’d have been dead and buried without him up front. Let’s not rewrite history.
Would I have liked a 30-goal striker to stay at Leeds? Of course I would. But I’m firmly of the view that when a player wants to go – and there’s no question in my mind that Ross wanted to leave – it makes no sense at all to reject decent offers and force him to stay.
It’s never a good thing to have unhappy faces in the camp and that’s especially true at a time when we’ve got a new head coach finding his feet and trying to settle in. It would have been great for David Hockaday to have Ross available to him but what a new boss really needs is unity and contentment in the dressing room. It’s fair to say that Ross had to go.
How well he’ll do elsewhere remains to be seen. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag for the various lads who have moved on from Leeds over the years. Robert Snodgrass has grown in stature and Bradley Johnson got a few years of Premier League football at Norwich City. But it doesn’t seem like Jonny Howson has developed as he might have done and Luciano Becchio is being completed wasted at Carrow Road. As for Jermaine Beckford, he’s gone off the boil too.
At stages in your career you’re forced to take decisions and to gamble with your future and it sounds like Ross was unconvinced about what’s been going on at Leeds. We’ve seen massive changes in the past six months and there’s been a lot of trouble in that time. To be fair to him, he maybe feels that as things stand Fulham give him a better chance of getting to the Premier League quickly. I guess we’ll see in time.
I’m not going to pretend that everything at Elland Road is rosy and I won’t claim either that we’re in great shape with Ross gone. Let’s be honest, the squad is weaker than it needs to be in a few areas and up front you’re talking about a group including Matt Smith, Noel Hunt, Steve Morison and Dominic Poleon.
Smith made good strides last season and I’m looking forward to seeing him progress again. Hunt probably feels like his career with Leeds is still to start properly. Poleon’s a young lad and Morison is an unknown quantity – a strange signing so far but someone who I still feel can make an impact here.
From what I can gather, Morison didn’t find it easy to settle when he first came. He lives down south and I think he was doing a lot of travelling from the Norfolk area. I’ve done that drive a few times myself and it’s a nightmare. If he was on the road regularly, I don’t imagine the mileage he wracked up helped him to feel at home in Leeds.
I’ve watched him a few times over the years, most regularly with Millwall, and I do see a good player there. In form and in the right frame of mind, he’d bag you a fair few goals in the Championship. It seems like Leeds want to use him next season and I hope Morison proves to be a signing who comes good in the end. It can happen – just look back at how McCormack recovered from a pretty ordinary first year at Leeds.
It doesn’t change the fact that new players need to arrive but we have to take a dose of reality as well. The chaos at Elland Road last season set us back four or five years. Maybe the people who were running the show had good intentions but they clearly didn’t understand how football clubs work. The place was a shambles and we suffered because of it.
Things had to change. You can’t afford to make massive monthly losses and we needed someone to pull us out of the crap. Mr Cellino seems to have capital but he also has the right idea in trying to cut down the wage bill.
We’re a second division club and the truth is that most players in this league are second-rate in comparison to the Premier League. That’s not an insult, just a fact. How we ever came to the stage where players in the Championship get paid £20,000 a week or more I’ll never know but it’s high time somebody reeled it all in.
That doesn’t mean you have to show no ambition. It just means you have to stop being daft with money. The times are changing at Leeds and we all need to get used to that fact – the players included.