The second goal was again down to Austin’s power. The 101 Great Goals website has been collecting photos of Barcelona’s Iniesta surrounded by defenders, imitating the classic shot of Maradona v Belgium and wondering how he would ever get through them all (he always does); here Austin was fed by Zaliukas with his back to goal and, if the shutter clicked at the right moment from the right angle, you might have captured a half dozen Yeovil players around him and no team mate in sight. When Austin is in this mood, that’s not a problem. He doesn’t turn as deftly as Iniesta, but neither does an oil tanker, and woe betide anyone who gets in his way. The through ball to McCormack was another one in the eye of anyone who says Austin can’t pass; McCormack’s placed shot a jab at anyone who says he can’t finish.
(via Leeds 2 - 0 Yeovil: Responsibility — The City Talking)>
Part of this is purely status. We’re Leeds effing United, and we shouldn’t be embarrassed in front of anybody. We don’t blush. We don’t have anything to blush about. But when Brian McDermott shifts uneasily on the television and tries to explain the conversations he has with a chief scout that doesn’t exist; when he tells Murphy that he can feel it in his gut that he could have made some better runs in the last game, but doesn’t have the tools Crewe have to back it up; when those things happen, Leeds United can only look at its shoes and mumble. Sorry, sir, the dog ate our Prozone.
“I should have scored, 100%,” said Luke. “I was in two minds whether to take a touch or whether to hit it first time. I hit it first time, and I sort of scuffed it - and it’s hit the post and gone wide. I should have scored but you can’t really dwell on it too much. It was a great move and a good over from Matt and, yeah, as simple as that - I should have scored.
“I thought Rudy would either hang it up or cut it back, so when he cut it back I held out, and I thought Matt was going to hit it with his right foot. But I shouted over, and then, unfortunately, I put it wide.”
“I’ll hit the back of the net, don’t worry about that. I’ve been practising a few in training. It’s fine.”
I don’t think Austin lacks self-belief, but Luke Murphy’s awful miss suggested it might be an issue for him. Credit where it’s due - this was a great bit of football from Leeds. Down the right Byram, Mowatt, Austin, Byram again then Austin again, took at least five Town defenders out of the equation with a short passing move Byram orchestrated from the start; there was nothing wrong with Austin’s pull back, but everything went wrong with Murphy’s shot from near the penalty spot, with Smithies aching to be beaten. Against Brighton on the opening day, Murphy had no problem bursting into the box and hammering home a winner; the adrenalin boost of a £1m transfer may have turned into an albatross now, as the scuffed attempt to place the ball in the Town net - rather than just blasting it the hell in - looked like the effort of a player desperate not to make a mistake. And when you’re that desperate not to make a mistake, you’re much more likely to make a terrible mistake.
(via Huddersfield 3 - 2 Leeds: Help Yourself — The City Talking)>
We know Blackstock will be leaving on January 25th; it was announced as part of his arrival. The end of his career at Leeds is already there, in its beginning. Leeds will play 15 games while Blackstock is here; it’s like buying 15 tickets to a sideshow at the fair. 15 goes for a goldfish.
You can cut that down straight away to 14 and a half at most. Brian McDermott seems to set a great deal by being fair to his players, and it would be uncharacteristic - and a mistake - if Mathieu Smith didn’t start against Huddersfield tomorrow. He was a key part of an excellent all-round performance against Birmingham, and his two goals - almost three - showed once and for all that he ain’t gonna be no Billy Paynter II at Leeds United. As Eamo said on Twitter, if this is an emergency loan, “What was the emergency?”
Faces of Football: Ross McCormack.
Mowatt kept hitting the attackers with pinpoint through balls and sublime crosses. Smith didn’t look offside for his disallowed goal, but the pass from Mowatt looked excellent; and all you can really say about Mowatt’s cross for the fourth is that it’s worth watching over and over.
There are larger problems at Leeds than form, and we could win all five of these without solving any of them. This squad can do better, but they’d do better with some help; until they get some, we’ll just have to keep thinking short term. But that’s okay. If Nooruddin, Haigh and co. are to be believed, McDermott has a couple of years to get promotion, and they have a couple of years to back him. It’s a long term plan, apparently. All I need for now, then, is some short terms wins so I can enjoy life in the meantime; hoping, maybe pretending, that it’s all going to be alright.
Leeds fans’ hearts have been set on a winger or a striker, but Brian McDermott has flipped things around by taking a defender on trial from Hearts.
Žaliūkas can play as either a centre back or a defensive midfielder, but by far the most exciting thing is that there is a ten minute tribute video on YouTube, which means we can determine straight away that:
1) He’s almost got the Leeds Salute down
Byram’s star quality even shows through on the training pitches. It wasn’t the case a year ago, when only a few wise heads at the Leeds United academy knew they had his talent in reserve. But after a full first season of composed performances as an attacking right back, the secret is out about Sam, and Byram is now regarded as one of the best young players in England.
At the end of an otherwise very unLeedsy week of international football - unless you count a couple of sub appearances for Milner and a goal for Snodgrass, and believe me, I do - Rodolph Austin grabbed an equalising goal for Jamaica that might solve a problem for Leeds United.
I’m hesitant to compare Wilkinson to the late Steve Jobs, but twenty years of foresight is an ability companies like Apple would pay huge amounts to harness. The reason for my hesitance partly because Jobs had whatever force was necessary to make his ideas reality, and quickly - ‘The Jobs Effect’; whereas Howard finds himself in 2013 on yet another commission, trying yet again to convince Danny Mills and Glenn Hoddle of the exact same things.
We can’t proceed without dealing with the goals. A dignified director would turn the camera away while all this was happening, like Alfred Hitchock with the shower curtain in Psycho. But it’s the only way to truly understand what is meant when we say, “Paul Green was caught napping.” We can’t look through our fingers. We have to face this brutality head on.
Just as he’s about to try on a Made in Leeds x LUFC tee on an indoor training pitch, Sam Byram is spotted by one of the under-12 team. The kid stops and stares for a second, then disappears behind a door and yells to his mates.
Suddenly they come running from all corners of Leeds United’s Thorp Arch training ground - young boys in training kit, some of whom might be Leeds stars themselves in five years, crowding round Sam, tearing a sheet of paper into ever smaller scraps so that everyone can get an autograph.