Former Leeds United striker Andy Ritchie answers your questions.
It seems madness behind the scenes at Leeds United, as a player, how do you deal with such a thing and does it affect you – it’s hard to avoid it.
IT can affect you as a player, but it certainly affects the manager more than anything as he’s obviously directly involved.
When I was at Oldham, there was a takeover bid and I tried to distance myself from it as much as I could. I just felt: ‘If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen and if someone new comes in and doesn’t want me, that’s the way it goes.’
The situation at Leeds has been so long and protracted and there’s been rumours about everything and I just really feel for Brian McDermott.
He just wants it sorting and the timing of it with it being in the transfer window when he clearly wants to strengthen has just meant his hands are tied behind his back. It’s not good for the club and Brian and it’s worse for the fans who wanted it sorted and the best for the club.
They are such loyal supporters at Leeds.
Brian is a really good guy and wears his heart on his sleeve and tells it as it is. He is honest and has not ducked away from any of the hard questions of late with the games at Sheffield Wednesday and Rochdale. He has faced everything and been very honest. He does get involved, is a passionate football man and that should at least be reassuring for the fans as he clearly cares about the club and is genuine and passionate about it.
It must be upsetting for him, as he simply does not know where he is and what he can do. He won’t have known what leads he can go down in terms of bringing players in, having spoken to agents; it’s just a kick in the pants for him.
As for players, you are conscious of things behind the scenes. As for how it affects you, it just depends on the individual player whether it gets to you. I never went through that as a player. Although you know there’s uncertainty, as a player you usually will know the club is still going to be there, especially one of the size of Leeds.
But when you are down at a lower-league club which might be wound up, it can affect you a lot and you might not know if you are getting your wages next week say. In terms of Leeds, some might be worried about it, but there will be others just saying: ‘Let’s get on with the game and play to our best and everything else will sort itself out.’
I’D NEVER REFUSE TO PLAY
What do you make of the Luke Varney situation in refusing to play – that was really out of order.
There was no use making him play as he wasn’t right. You only want people who are 100 per cent committed to the colours in a particular game.
That sort of thing can backfire on a player if you don’t get a move out. Things like that stick in the minds of people, especially managers.
Personally, I would never have asked not to play because there might have been an attractive move. But it’s personal choice and up to the player really, he didn’t want to play as he clearly didn’t want to get injured.
Brian McDermott will have been disappointed and Luke was obviously in the side. On some levels, I can see where Luke was coming from, but I am not sure it was the right move.
For me, Luke is a good player who has had to play out of position a bit during his Leeds career. For me, he’s a striker who plays up front. In the game against Leicester, I know his movement was great and his work-rate was excellent and he won a lot of aerial balls to help the team.