Leeds United: Stability is key if Leeds are to make progress – Ritchie

Lewis Cook.
Lewis Cook.
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I WAS talking the other night with a few ex-players in a charity game and we were all saying that so many of these new owners who are coming into clubs and bringing their money in just do not seem to have that ethic of stability at all, which all successful football clubs need.

Obviously, everyone knows the situation at Leeds United which has been well documented.

You just look at the sides in the Championship who have had the stability that Leeds haven’t had this season such as Burnley, Middlesbrough and Brighton. It is perhaps no coincidence that they were all at the top of the Championship because they are stable clubs who support managers and provide that stability.

You look at the number of changes of manager at clubs in the Championship this season and not too many sides have improved because of it.

Many owners in the division just want to change the manager all the time and don’t provide that stability. Look at the likes of Nottingham Forest and Leeds. There’s also Leyton Orient with the Italian owners there and didn’t they have a panel of judges or something before picking the team recently? What is happening; it just seems crazy to me.

For the fans at Leeds, they are entitled to just wonder when they are going to get that stability at their football club.

In terms of building a side, you need stability to impose a style of play on a side and when you are changing managers all the time, every single manager has his own identity that he wants to go onto the field with.

When you are chopping and changing all the time, you are never going to get any consistency in performance.

Clubs need to give someone a real good run at it and say ‘let’s try and get somewhere’ and bring in some money and bring people in. That’s the way.

But from what you hear at Leeds, there isn’t a head of recruitment or anybody in the background really dealing with transfers and what have you. Without that, what chance have you got?

Then you look at the young players such as Lewis Cook, who is still only 19 but has already had six managers. That is simply no good at all for his development is it?

It’s okay saying that he is playing in the first team. And that is the best part that he will be getting for his development because he will have only got different bits and pieces from people so far.

Some managers could come in and will not even try to develop him and young players because all they are thinking about is getting results so that they can stay in a job.

Others might come in and believe in the youth and want to make the players better and work with them, but then they might not last long with results. What is happening cannot be good for the development of Lewis and others such as Charlie Taylor. They are not going to get any consistency from the players at the minute and overall, the situation in the longer-term could damage them and not help them.

The current situation is a bad one for the Leeds players to be in and they don’t know from where or who is going to be in charge next season and it doesn’t sound like Steve is going to be there.

As a player, the first thing you get to know off your manager at the end of the season is when you are going to be back in training. So it sounds as though there is going to be a new head coach.

Obviously, the Championship play-offs are now underway and all the four teams in the semi-finals in Brighton, Sheffield Wednesday, Derby and Hull City are well matched, for me.

I have got to say that if I had to pick a team, I have to go for Brighton, being one of my old clubs.

They were unlucky not to go up automatically and behind the front two of Burnley and Middlesbrough, they have been the most consistent team over the nine months.

But now it is onto the play-offs and it is pretty much a whole new season and the form can just go absolutely haywire!

It’s cup football now and while Brighton have been pushing for the top two all season, it’s now a whole new ball game.

Going to Sheffield Wednesday with the crowd that they would have had last night with thirty-odd thousand will have been a difficult assignment for Brighton.

Obviously, Newcastle United and Norwich City were both relegated on Wednesday night following Sunderland’s win over Everton and they will now accompany Aston Villa into the Championship.

Newcastle and Villa are both big, big clubs for the Championship and I do actually think that both of them will get a rude awakening when next season begins in August, I really think they will.

A big thing for Newcastle will be keeping hold of Rafa Benitez. But you have got to say that probably will not be the case and I think that he might go now.

They have got to make the right managerial decision, otherwise they might struggle if they don’t.

There will be a hell of a lot of players who leave that football club and it will be tough for them.

You look at a team like Norwich and they seem to be the most stable of the clubs who are coming down at the minute and you would think that Alex Neil would be there for next season and bring that stability.

It is that word which we keep going back to and keep talking about!

For me, looking at Newcastle, they cannot afford to be in the Championship for more than one season or else they could have problems in the longer-term.