'No hiding' - Leeds United chief makes statement on behalf of the board ahead of new season

Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear says the board take full responsibility for a ‘forgettable’ last season but insists the club's 2022/23 positivity has firm foundations.

By Graham Smyth
Saturday, 6th August 2022, 1:37 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th August 2022, 1:38 pm

The Whites begin the new campaign today at Elland Road against Wolverhampton Wanderers and, writing in his programme notes, Kinnear makes the point that head coach Jesse Marsch has had months in which to prepare.

"The mood at every ground across the country at 3pm today will be one of blind optimism, but here at Elland Road I believe our positivity is built on firmer foundations,” he said.

"The team have had an excellent pre-season, new additions were added early and the tour to Australia provided those players with a perfect opportunity to integrate with the existing squad.

"One of the consequences of Jesse’s unscheduled February start is that he has now had five months to experience the Premier League, work with the squad to adopt his approach, and identify where and how we need to strengthen.”

Kinnear believes the American was judged prematurely on a 12-game stint that was all about survival, rather than the introduction of the style of football that will be played at Elland Road this season.

"Judgement of Jesse’s ability has been as premature as it has been prolific,” he said.

"Jesse was asked in the short term to deliver one objective, which he courageously achieved, accepting that he would have to compromise his principles of attacking flair in favour of a pragmatic focus on results.

FRESH START - Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear says Jesse Marsch has had five months to get used to Premier League life and prepare for the new season. Pic: Getty

"Jesse’s Red Bull teams were not only known for their unparalleled hard running, but also for league-leading stats on chances and goals. This season we believe he now has a fair chance to bring that brand of football to Elland Road.”

Leeds have spent all summer working towards delivering a fresh start, with eight new faces to raise the floor of the squad.

Kinnear admits that staying up on the last day of the 2021/22 season was a relief but it brought little else in the way of positive feelings.

"Last season was best characterised as being largely forgettable, with an unforgettable ending,” said the CEO.

"While Jack Harrison’s goal at Brentford sparked elation and relief, it did not bring any sense of satisfaction and the on-pitch jubilation was soon replaced with a steely resolve to forensically identify and remedy the issues. There is no hiding from the fact that we fell below the high standards that we set ourselves, and although the ethos within the club is that we succeed and fail together collectively as a team, the board take full responsibility.”

The wider context of the Premier League’s difficulty for newly promoted and recently arrived clubs is something Kinnear is also keen to highlight but while he accepts there will be criticism of the Elland Road decision makers, he’s optimistic they can take the club forward again.

"We accept that faltering in our trajectory means critics will question and doubt all aspects of our management including Andrea's commitment to invest, Victor’s ability to pick a player and [most bizarrely] whether these programme notes are still industry defining. But our resolve as custodians to make this club great again remains undiminished. Surviving the treacherous first two years now gives us every opportunity to continue to build and enjoy future seasons looking up and not down.”