Well, I had to start with that in the title or “He’s Brian McDermott, he looks like an egg”. Either way, both chants are examples of the wave of optimism that seems to have washed away the constant misery that seems to befall Elland Road. Neil Warnock and his kick-and-rush style of play has finally left Beeston and has been replaced by former Reading manager Brian McDermott and his more attractive philosophy of football. And, despite the recent loss to Birmingham (no Leeds manager has ever won their first three games), it all seems a bit too good to be true.
For the first time in a while, Leeds fans came away from their games without neck pains. With comments online to the tune of “we’ve passed the ball more times in these last few games than we have all season”, the question is: why haven’t we played like this all season? Though some fans may have preferred the appointment of former assistant manager Gus Poyet, I think it’s fair to say everyone is excited by the appointment of McDermott.
Given what he achieved at Reading with limited resources, with the right backing he could have us right in contention next for a long awaited return to the Premier League next season. He certainly talks the talk anyway, saying all the right things in his post-match interviews and has gone a long way already to instilling belief and pride to Leeds supporters following the collapse of their team’s season. And he hasn’t played Michael Brown once so far – another reason to smile.
Former caretaker manager Neil Redfearn remains at the club, and has been promoted from U18s manager – with whom he won the league this season – to first team coach. Given his involvement with the youth players, and McDermott’s history as Reading’s former youth team boss, it will be interesting to see whether any others will make the step up to the first team to play alongside academy graduates Tom Lees, Aidy White, Sam Byram and, more recently, Chris Dawson. With safety achieved, now is a perfect time for McDermott to assess the squad and highlight potential areas for improvement before pre-season and promotion hopes start again.