I’ve said many times that managing Leeds United is a very different job to managing most clubs.
The more I listen to Brian McDermott speak, the more I think he’s starting to understand the magnitude of the position he’s in.
I’m sure he knew when he first came here that being in charge of Leeds was a big job – and a tough job – but this situation he’s in and the pressure he’s under will probably have come as a bit of a shock.
Don’t forget that he signed a three-year contract and saw this as a long-term thing.
He probably reckoned he’d get a fair amount of leeway in his first season but he and his players are coming in for a fair amount of criticism at the moment.
I’m afraid that comes with the territory of being at Leeds United.
When you’re taking 7,000 fans to a league game at Blackburn Rovers, as we did in November, it’s pretty obvious that you’re carrying a huge weight of expectation.
Brian had a great spell as manager of Reading but with the greatest of respect to Reading and other clubs like them, you can’t really say this is a comparable job.
There’s more passion round here and more intensity. Football is everywhere you do.
I don’t like to see a manager under the cosh and Brian himself will be desperate to get back to a period where the results are steady and team start showing some consistency again.
But as far as his job goes, I don’t think it does anyone any good to discuss that now. The way the league table is, I think it would be better for everyone concerned to get to the summer, sit down and reflect on what’s gone on and how the club is going to go forward.
Brian is no different to any of the players.
Everyone gets judged when you’re about to head into a new campaign. And it’s right that everyone’s performance is analysed.
That said, you can’t just analyse Brian on Saturday’s hammering against Bolton and Tuesday’s home defeat to Reading, or the defeats to Sheffield Wednesday or Rochdale in January. You need to look at the good spells too and the bits of progress he’s been made off the field.
You have to assess his signings – the successes and the failures – and take an overview of how he’s doing. It’s a much better way than a knee-jerk decision made very suddenly.
I never write a season off until it’s dead and I’m not going to say that we’re done yet but nor can I see where the form is coming from to get us into the play-offs.
Very soon it might be time to start looking ahead and thinking about our next move because in fairness, a lot of things need sorting out. The squad for one.
We can argue about the quality of the squad but I imagine we’re all agreed that there are too many senior players at Leeds.
A Championship club can’t really afford to carry the number of extra players we do – players who, let’s be fair, are unlikely to ever get a game – and we’ll definitely see a clear-out in the summer.
A lot of lads are almost out of contract and who knows if that’s affecting things?
I don’t believe that takeovers and off-field matters should alter a professional’s commitment or performance but this season hasn’t been an easy one.
There’s been a lot of turmoil and a lot of uncertainty and that’s getting through to the fans too.
The supporters more than anyone need to see the end of the road here.
We have had 10 years outside the Premier League – that’s almost a generation of new fans – and we’re in another of those periods where it’s difficult to know what the future holds.
Obviously a lot of people are talking about Brian’s job but this all goes much further than that.
There are decisions to be taken on everything – players, ownership, the lot.
I just keeping hoping that sooner rather than later we’ll get the answers and the solutions we need.