We’ve needed some good news at Leeds United and this week has given us some at last.
Lewis Cook’s new contract was a big boost for everyone and that simply had to be done.
He’s one of our brightest young talents and the thought of him being out of contract in 12 months’ time was clearly a worry.
Deals aren’t always worth the paper they’re written on but Cook’s more protected now than he was before and he seemed very happy to sign on for longer.
It counters the idea that players are worried about sticking around here.
But just as significant was the appointment of Adam Pearson as a club director on Monday.
It was a bolt from the blue and no mistake but as directors go he ticks all the boxes. Leeds have been crying out for someone like him for a very long time.
Adam’s a proper football man and he’s massively experienced in running and managing clubs.
He won’t be running Leeds – that’s still the job of Massimo Cellino – but he’s someone who the club’s owner can lean on when he needs to and trust to keep day-to-day business ticking over.
The reality for Massimo is that no matter how tightly he likes to control things, or no matter how tightly he controlled things at Cagliari, he can’t do everything himself. He can’t be everywhere all the time and he can’t oversee every part of the operation at Leeds.
At this level of the game it’s imperative that you have a team around you; a trusted team from top to bottom.
When I look at Leeds I see a bit of a skeleton staff. Quite a few senior people have gone and I’ve always thought that Thorp Arch would benefit from having someone in overall charge there – a technical director who’s on top of absolutely everything, without actually running the first team.
It sounds like that might be happening, too.
I know for a fact that our scouting network has broken down over the years and, to be perfectly honest, there isn’t much of a network left any more.
At every level of a major football club you need people who understand the game and know their jobs. That’s why I think Adam is a perfect choice in his role.
I’ve known him for a long time, going back to the days when he was commercial director at Leeds some 15 years ago.
The work he did at Hull City was seriously impressive and that goes without saying.
When you think of Adam, you automatically think about Hull’s rapid rise through the leagues.
The foundations he laid there are still paying off now, even if Hull are currently in a bit of trouble on the field.
Most people will be hugely encouraged by his arrival. Some others might question whether he can make an impact at Elland Road.
It’s not a secret that others before him have tried to work under Massimo and ultimately found that it didn’t work out. One thing we’ve seen in the past year is a pretty high turnover of staff.
Where Adam might differ is that I think he’ll be very good at knowing what his remit is and knowing what not to get involved in.
I get the feeling that from time to time certain people have strayed into areas which weren’t their business and didn’t necessarily concern them.
It’s pretty obvious that Massimo’s the sort of person who wants people to do what they should be doing and I reckon his relationship with Adam will be really good.
On top of all this, we’ve had the transfer embargo lifted and all in all you start to hope that after a long period of problems and difficulty, things are starting to take shape again.
Operating without an embargo should make a big difference.
Basically we’re free to sign who we like within our own limits, rather than having those limits set for us. That doesn’t mean we’re going to see a massive amount of money spent on players – that’s for Massimo to decide – but if the club want to invest heavily then they can.
This squad requires investment and I’ve never pretended otherwise.
But considering the talent we have in it, and the young players in particular, we very much need the right players.
When you’re under embargo your options aren’t vast and it doesn’t help to attract new signings when players know you’ve got one hand tied behind your back. All of a sudden we’ve got a nice clean slate.
A week like this has been long overdue and it’s amazing how a few days of good news can make you feel so much more positive.
We’re still waiting for other things to happen – especially a decision over Neil Redfearn’s job – but it feels to me like a few wheels are in motion, just when we needed to start moving forward.
The thing about someone like Adam is that he’ll appreciate the value of momentum.
He’ll know from his days at Hull how important it is and I’m sure he’ll do everything to keep this going.
There’s been a hole in that position, a shortage of experience at the top level, for a while but I see Adam’s arrival in as a really positive move.
Hopefully, there’s more to come.