Leeds United: Suspending Thompson came as a shock to say the least – Lorimer

Steve Thompson.
Steve Thompson.
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It’s hard for me to comment on the events of the past week, largely because so much of what’s gone on at Leeds United has been a complete surprise.

It was a shock to say the least to see Steve Thompson suspended and in his time as assistant most people seem to think that he’s done a very good job.

But something’s clearly gone on there and until we find out what, it’s not fair to pass judgement.

It’ll come out in the wash at some stage – these things always do – but I think it’s wrong to make assumptions or second-guess the club’s decision.

What’s obvious to me is that we need to get to the end of this season and start resolving various issues.

For starters, we need the owner back. He’s been away for a few months now and it can only help to have authority from the man who is actually at the very top.

And of course there needs to be clarity on the future of Neil Redfearn. At some point soon, somebody – presumably Massimo Cellino – is going to have to take a view on whether Redfearn is the man to lead us into next season.

I’ve made no secret of my opinion of Neil and I think he’s done a very good job in his time as head coach.

He’s got us out of some serious trouble at the bottom of the Championship and I’ve no doubt he feels he’s earned the chance to carry on in the job.

One way or the other a decision has to be taken soon. I know it’s only early April and we’ve still got five games of this season to go but it’s amazing how quickly the summer runs away with you.

At first it feels like you’ve got months to play with but May disappears quickly and before you know it, pre-season comes round and you’re a few weeks away from the start of the new term.

There’s work to be done at Elland Road, that goes without saying, and I don’t think we’re a club that can afford to waste time.

No doubt the owner feels the same and I can imagine he’s very keen to get back here, to get his ban served and get himself back into the club.

The reality is that on the back of this season we should be looking to seriously challenge next year.

Think about it this way: the past eight or nine months have been unbelievably tough for Leeds. We’ve had three head coaches, numerous changes to the squad, a banned owner and all sorts of turmoil caused by the doubt over his position.

Despite that we’re 14th in the Championship and capable of clearing 60 points. In a typical year – and okay, this isn’t a typical year – that would be a stone’s throw away from the top six.

I can’t help but feel encouraged by the fact that with the odds stacked against us we’re still in a reasonable position.

The idea now should be to take the positives from that and build for a proper push in the 12 months ahead.

I remember speaking to Massimo when he first bought the club and listening to him talk about how he wanted to get us back to the Premier League within two seasons.

He won’t remember his first year here with much fondness but in fairness, he should be far more knowledgeable about the Championship now than he was when he first came in.

He should be more aware of what it takes to have a real go in what is an unbelievably competitive league. He must be desperate to take the club forward now.

And really, the club are desperate for progress too. We’re coming up to the end of our 11th season outside the top-flight and that’s one of the longest stints ever for Leeds.

We spend a lot of time talking about the past at Elland Road but really, it’s the future that counts and the longer we spend in the Championship, the more I worry about the current generation of kids drifting away and looking elsewhere for their football.

Eleven years is a hell of a long time to spend out of the big-time and we can’t keep saying ‘next year, next year, next year.’ The next generation won’t buy it.

This hasn’t been a great season but there are definite glimmers of promise in the squad. The club have to build on them and get us up there fighting.

Elland Road.

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