It’s no secret that the team at Leeds United are not in a great way. And anyone who believes this season is over can base that claim on what they’ve seen in the past few weeks and months.
I don’t share the negativity because I still think promotion is possible – but only if someone puts their stamp on the dressing room and brings it together. Whether that’s Neil Redfearn or someone else, it’s what we need.
Recently, I’ve spoken to three or four of the senior players at Leeds and they’ve been brutally honest about how things were towards the end of Simon Grayson’s time as manager. It’s clear that there’s been a bad atmosphere at Thorp Arch for some time created, in my view, by the fact that so many of players had no involvement under him whatsoever.
How can you have a squad of 30 and keep them all happy? Quite simply you can’t and a situation develops where you have two groups: the haves and the have nots. The guys who are in the picture and the guys who aren’t.
I thought Simon’s treatment of Paul Connolly was terrible – saying after the 4-1 defeat to Barnsley that certain players would never play for the club again and then only dropping him – and it’s that sort of thing which creates an unsettled camp and bad vibes.
From the conversations I’ve had, it’s clear that the situation was worse than I realised. If we are to get into the play-offs then that’s something the next manager has to take control of and sort out quickly.
I’m not saying Neil’s not the man for the job but it’s clear that this is a very tough situation to take on. I felt really sorry for him when the fans turned on him at Coventry on Tuesday night. This isn’t his fault and as much as I understand why the performances of the team are frustrating the fans, that sort of criticism isn’t helpful.
When a dressing room’s in need of a turnaround, the change doesn’t happen overnight.
But we’ve all taken our share of the criticism. I’ve been criticised, Ken Bates has been criticised and Shaun Harvey’s been criticised. That’s totally out of order because we’ve done b***** all wrong.
The previous manager had a squad of 30-odd players to work with and a squad like that doesn’t come cheap. I believed at the start of the season that we were good enough to get into the play-offs and I still think we should be higher up the table, and I’m not prepared to give up. No-one at the club is.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – no-one at Leeds United wants promotion more than the board. It’s been our aim for a long time and that’ll never change.
We’re in a tough place just now but that’s always the case when a manager leaves, and 15 games is enough time to mount a charge for the play-offs. It wouldn’t be the first time a Championship club has come from behind and forced their way in.