Leeds United have named relatively unknown David Hockaday as their new Head Coach. The 56 year-old has put pen to paper on a two-year deal and replaces Brian McDermott who left the club by mutual consent on 31 May. Hockaday will be assisted at Elland Road by former Leicester City midfielder Junior Lewis.
The news has been met with outrage by thousands of fans who have taken to the internet to express their feelings. 85% of votes in a poll undertaken by approximately 2,000 people vehemently opposed the appointment. On the face of it, it is easy to understand why. Hockaday has been out of work since an unsuccessful four-year spell at Conference side Forest Green Rovers came to an end in October 2013. During his time at the New Lawn, the club actually finished in the relegation zone and only narrowly avoided demotion due to Salisbury City’s financial problems.
Hockaday’s CV does offer some glimpses of optimism however, with the former defender having enjoyed successful coaching stints at Watford, Southampton and MK Dons. Yet, anyone would agree that securing the job of Head Coach at Leeds United marks a huge step up for the former Blackpool, Swindon and Hull player. In the wake of McDermott’s departure, owner Massimo Cellino made it clear that he was looking for someone to take responsibility for the coaching staff and first-team playing staff, leaving issues such as recruitment and contracts to himself. Former Leeds United player and manager Gary McAllister, and Reading youth-team coach Eamonn Dolan were both bigger names earmarked for the job, but it has been argued that Hockaday may have been hired as a yes-man so that Cellino can really stamp his authority on the Whites. Only time will tell.
Hockaday’s tenure begins with a tricky away trip to Ian Holloway’s Millwall on 9 August. Leeds fans can only give him a chance as they hope that he can become the unlikely hero that finally drives the Yorkshire side back into the Premier League. One thing that is for sure is that Hockaday will have to start well to avoid the sack from Cellino who relieved 36 managers of their duties in his 22-year reign at Cagliari.
Picture: Gazette Series