'Criminal' - Leeds United fans on board warning, new arrivals, old ghosts and promotion chances

Leeds United’s promotion quest is finally about to begin and the club’s fans have had their say on a whole manner of subjects from the 49ers takeover to Sunday’s Championship opener against Cardiff City.
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Here is what our YEP Jury have had to say about the new season including a big warning to United’s new board but a welcome relief plus thoughts on new arrivals, ‘old ghosts’ and a statement of intent.

NEIL GREWER

My current mood and thoughts are summed up in two words: uncertainty and hope. Uncertainty over injuries, over player availability with transfer bids looming, over new signings, over who plays at left-back, plus uncertainty over the direction of travel under new ownership and investment in the squad and stadium.

THUMBS UP: For the arrivals of both midfielder Ethan Ampadu, left, and Leeds United's new head coach Daniel Farke, right. Photo by Tim Goode/PA Wire.THUMBS UP: For the arrivals of both midfielder Ethan Ampadu, left, and Leeds United's new head coach Daniel Farke, right. Photo by Tim Goode/PA Wire.
THUMBS UP: For the arrivals of both midfielder Ethan Ampadu, left, and Leeds United's new head coach Daniel Farke, right. Photo by Tim Goode/PA Wire.
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Then there is hope. Hope that Cresswell, Drameh, Gyabi, Gray, Gelhardt all fulfil the promise they show. Hope that Rutter proves his worth. Hope that Cooper and Bamford remain relatively injury free. And hope that Blackburn and Preston plus others give us a massive ticket allocation.

Signings to date have been sensible and risk free with Ampadu having potential Premier League quality and Darlow certainly Championship quality and at a decent price. I’m massively in favour of Farke too. He’s had good experience at this level and with a big (ish) club.

Having said all that, the form in pre-season has been good and whilst the line-up is not yet obvious, I believe we will be strong enough to overcome Cardiff, who are a team suffering more than us with off-field concerns. Whilst a win is not crucial it would be most welcome and indeed expected.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Cardiff City 0.

ANDY RHODES

After a turbulent few years, a relatively quiet summer at Leeds United has been a welcome change. Of course, June saw the long-awaited full takeover by 49ers Enterprises and another managerial change. This could be the dawn of a promising new era at the club, and things have certainly started positively.

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The signing of Ethan Ampadu was a real statement of intent and, if the club’s new owners get their wish, they won’t have to part with many of their star players. Some have inevitably moved on but none have left a gaping hole in Daniel Farke’s squad. The players that remain have the potential to give the Championship a good go but it will require Farke to get a tune out of them when his predecessors couldn’t.

Cardiff will pose a key early challenge that United must overcome. The pressure will be on the hosts to win against a relegation favourite but, in the Championship, things rarely go as scripted. Leeds may have dropped down a division but, as we all know, it doesn’t get any easier. Whatever happens, we’re in for another rollercoaster ride.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Cardiff City 1.

DAVID WATKINS

I think we all now have an idea as to what our XI against Cardiff City will look like but I doubt many have any idea how that XI will perform in a competitive game. Leeds have progressed steadily through pre-season but we have lost so many players, mostly to loan deals abroad, that the squad has been left pretty thin.

We have an abundance of wide players but in other positions the cover is minimal and, at the time of writing, we don’t know who might play in the striker role if Bamford and Rutter are injured. I doubt the present squad has enough quality or experience to wage a decent promotion campaign and I am certain more is needed. We failed to learn the lessons of not having enough cover last season, it would be criminal to do it again.

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Cardiff are currently under an EFL transfer embargo because they defaulted on payment of the transfer fee for the late Emiliano Sala but have still managed to bring in six new faces including the return of Aaron Ramsey. They finished last season one place above the relegation places so Leeds ought to beat them.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Cardiff City 0.

KEITH INGHAM

So the summer has ended. New owners are in, certain players thought their futures were better – at least for a season – spent away from Leeds 11. They might not be welcomed back, if any of them return.

The saying goes: ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’, not move on (I’m being polite) as soon as they could. Far too many had stupid contracts that allowed them to jump ship. On the plus side, we now have a manager with a proven record to get teams out of the Championship. Daniel Farke ticks a lot of boxes for me and I wish him well.

The only downside was that the transition from Andrea Radrizzani to the 49ers took time and the squad is still light, without an experienced midfielder, a number 10, no recognised left-back and both Rutter and Bamford might miss the opening game after coming off against Hearts. It is hoped that in the coming weeks there are additions in these positions, there needs to be.

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Leeds start with Cardiff City tomorrow and a full house will be full of hope that they can start the 2023/24 season with a positive result. Many will have walked away from Elland Road disappointed in May and it is hoped that after two disappointing seasons Leeds can bring back smiles to the fans’ faces.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Cardiff City 0.

MIKE GILL

This game has a familiar ring to it and so it should do. Both teams have spent the best part of the last 20 years in the Championship with only brief excursions into the Premier League.

Daniel Farke has done as much as anybody could do in the time available to get his charges ready for the coming campaign and his quiet confidence is impressive. The pre-season games have yielded a number of positives: the emergence of Archie Gray, an impressive start from Sam Byram and Ethan Ampadu looking the business. Also, sound performances from Dan James and our evergreens Luke Ayling and Liam Cooper.

A couple of old ghosts have appeared as well with the injuries to Georginio Rutter and Patrick Bamford but what would any season be without some setbacks? The transfer situation both incoming and outgoing is still in a state of flux and Farke has rightly pointed out that the picture will remain unclear until the end of August.

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Cardiff City have played no fewer than seven pre-season games without showing much of a pattern. They finished 21st last season but they have signed six players including Aaron Ramsey. Has to be a win doesn't it?

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Cardiff City 0.