David Prutton: Leeds United position just ‘spits out’ managers

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I THOUGHT Paul Heckingbottom was the right choice to be Leeds United head coach back in February.

Heckingbottom was then obviously sacked on Friday but that’s just the Leeds way of doing things nowadays, get someone in, give them a bit of a season and see what you get from them. To sack him while he was on holiday in Greece through a telephone call is pretty shoddy.

But I can understand it from the point of view of it being the off season so managers will be up for availability and you probably wouldn’t have to pay any forms of compensation.

You can’t be surprised by the sacking of Paul at all because of how transient the nature of it all is. Chairman Andrea Radrizzani has already apologised for the appointment of Thomas Christiansen who was sacked in February and Paul has guided Leeds through a turbulent period. But who is going to guide them through the next turbulent period and who is going to get them back and up and running and doing something of any form that is remotely successful or progressive? I think they should have given Paul a bit more time, a decent off season and a pre-season and then took a look where they were at.

But his record read four wins and eight losses from 16 games and that type of form isn’t something that screams going in the right direction.

In the end, it was about making sure that the last couple of months of the season were going to be as pain free as possible but it came on the back of an appointment that Radrizzani apologised for.

Leeds United FC owner Andrea Radrizzani. PIC: YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images

Leeds United FC owner Andrea Radrizzani. PIC: YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images

It’s now almost two from two under his tenure, two appointments that he has made and two that haven’t worked out so whoever the next one is needs to be a success.

Whether that’s someone like Bielsa and someone with a bit of clout from the point of view of being able to ride out a job that spits out managers remains to be seen.

I just think Paul deserved a bit more time but to play devil’s advocate; I can understand why he was sacked and the timing of it. But from a the way of going about changing managers it all seems a little but shoddy and it has meandered on for too long.

In terms of what sort of manager they go for now, Paul was seen as young and up and coming. But how long are you allowed to be up and coming for? Four months?

I still think Leeds are lucky because I still think they will be able to talk to the bigger available names in football because of who they are and what they have done.

David Prutton

There’s someone like Mick McCarthy knocking around and there are ways of running a football club that he will have a lot of admirers for. There will also be the other side of it whereby people would perhaps say under Mick what sort of football would we play? But this is now the unknown for Leeds.

You can look at who has got promoted this season and, as we have said many a time, why don’t they go for someone cosmopolitan and European and see what happens with that because we have seen what has happened with Fulham under Slavisa Jokanovic and Wolves under Nuno Espírito Santo. And then we have got the old stager ion the middle in Neil Warnock at Cardiff City.

If you are taking the three teams who got promoted as an example then it really could be anybody. We know that Marcelo Bielsa is one of the names Leeds are looking at and he has managed the Argentina and Chile national sides plus clubs like Athletic Bilbao, Marseille, Lazio and Lille.

He will definitely have the ability to manage egos and top -class players but would he have good enough players? Last season we saw that regardless of how you set the players up, the squad wasn’t good enough to maintain some sort of push for promotion which is quite obvious from where they ended up.

Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom

You would think that someone like Bielsa with a background of working with the national team would be able to deal with Radrizzani and Victor Orta and that’s another thing to consider. But would someone like Bilesa even be calling the shots in terms of the players he works with and would he have enough clout to say that he wants to do it his way? He might have more weight behind him because of his experience.

Claudio Ranieiri has been another name high up on the betting lists and I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility, purely because we are not talking about some small club that has come up from League One.

We are talking about a huge institution so you can see how that would be attractive. Also, managers of a certain bracket will get the top jobs over and over again such as teams in the Champions League but from Ranieri’s’ point of view, working in football, it’s all about the last job you had or the current job you are in.

So you could see why Leeds would appeal because of the stature of the club and, if you get it half right, you get your foot through the door.

If you get it really right, and I am talking kind of David O’Leary level right, then you get Champions League nights back.

It will be an intriguing next move but it’s got to be right because if not he is going to end up looking like one of those chairmen that just fires people on a whim. But I still think Leeds are lucky because I still think they will be able to talk to the bigger available names in football because of who they are and what they have done.

Former Ipswich Town manager, Mick McCarthy. PIC: James Hardisty

Former Ipswich Town manager, Mick McCarthy. PIC: James Hardisty

Any appointment is important but the next move has got to be one that works because the last two – because they are both not there any more – have quite obviously not.

Apparently Bielsa’s nickname is the ‘Mad Man’. So he would be perfect. The Mad Man for the Mad House at Leeds.

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