Losing Robert Snodgrass is a big blow to Leeds United, of that there’s no doubt. I rate him as highly as anyone at Elland Road – with the possible exception of Neil Warnock – and I hoped he’d be here to captain us next season.
At the same time it was naïve to think there was no chance of him leaving. The Premier League is such a big draw and you see time and again that when clubs come calling with piles of money, players struggle to say no. It’s a problem for every side in the Championship.
I think I speak for a lot of people in the game when I say Leeds have the potential to be a bigger club than Norwich City and it’s hard to say whether Robert’s made the right decision by moving on to Carrow Road.
He’s taken a guaranteed route to the Premier League and that’s his right. I still believe that if he’d stayed with us he’d have got there anyway – and probably been in a better position all round. But he and Norwich might prove me wrong and I genuinely wish him all the best.
It’s his career and his decision and all you can say is that he’s given us great service over the last four years. I know how big his international ambitions are and I wonder if he’s been told by Craig Levein, the Scotland coach, that he needs to be playing at a higher level to feature for Scotland regularly. That was probably a factor.
And while it’s sad to see him go, I don’t think we should pretend that everything’s doom and gloom. It really isn’t. We’ve got a large number of new signings into the club already and the funds from the Snodgrass sale should help Neil to make a few more.
Neil’s too wise and experienced to cry over spilt milk or let this knock him back. He’ll have his head down already, looking for the next signing and planning ahead.
Sometimes in football you have to hope for the best and plan for the worst and I don’t think there’s any chance at all that this will have caught Neil out. You can tell how badly he wanted to keep Robert but he’ll have spent time thinking about what to do if or when the player moved on. It won’t have come as a surprise.
Don’t misunderstand me, he’ll be frustrated just as I am and all the supporters must be but I think he got it spot on when he said we’ve got to look forward.
Football is always about your next training session, your next match and your next result. For Leeds, it’s all about next season and hitting the ground running when it starts. There’s no reason why we can’t do that, with or without Snodgrass. These disappointments are hard to take but you can’t dwell on then for ever.