Leeds have quality running throughout their team and have accumulated a strong back-up squad. In signing some of the outstanding young talents in the country they have forged a nice combination with the home produced players.
It seems only yesterday that I was speaking with Michael Bridges and his agent at Tottenham about a move to this club. Unfortunately George Graham, our manager at the time, was unable to guarantee him a first team place, even though it was felt that Sunderland would have rather sold to our club rather than more local rivals Leeds.
It also later transpired that Michael had already been convinced that Leeds would be a more comfortable destiny. Hopefully, he’ll regain his fitness after a torrid time with injuries.
In investing much money our visitors have anticipated a Champions League spot this season and this afternoon promises an exciting contest.
It is amazing how fickle the football public can be but we have to understand that is the nature of the game we are in. However, I have always believed that often the opinion of spectators is shaped by the press to whom the public rely for their information.
Everyone who knows Brian Kidd was shocked at the recent problems he had to endure at Leeds after such a fine start. Purely, part of the dis-satisfaction was a prejudicial feeling towards him because of his association with rivals Manchester United. Football should rise above this.
We have been particularly annoyed recently about prejudicial press comment, and irresponsible chairman comment, regarding our player Mauricio Taricco. Mauricio, in his four years at Ipswich, had only been dismissed once and that was for a second yellow card. At Manchester United, for an incident outside the box, he was red carded — his first at Spurs
Immediately, certain journalists tried to attach vilification labels to him. All who know Tano at this club felt the hurt on his behalf. He is a pleasant, genuine hard-working player and cannot be compared to some of those who have become regular attendees at FA hearings over the years to apologise for bad behaviour.
Unfortunately, Mauricio’s subsequent indiscretion against Chelsea, despite provocation, only gave added fuel for this type of journalist who pen these views.
Another fact that should not go unaddressed are the people who use programme notes to discuss and criticise other clubs and other players. We would never stoop to that level in our programme notes, whatever the circumstances.
Even a Premier League manager has abused his platform of responsibility by making an irresponsible comment. If we are to have trust within our business we must act decently. Times are hard enough and it is unfortunate when people try to make capital out of genuine but difficult situations.
These points may give critics the ammunition for a suggestion that this hints of sour grapes. I have been in football a fair while in different capacities and I know how difficult it is for a club and the management when hopes are suddenly crushed and there is a big disappointment.
This is a time for strong minds, genuine support and the understanding of people. We must not get paranoid about criticism. By the same token, we must appreciate fair, constructive comment and that is what we understand and accept. We must improve recent performances, recent scorelines and finish the season on a good note by building on last week’s success at Fulham.
Football is a fickle environment and we must stay strong. We have a great tradition and a club to protect and represent and we should not be subjected to unfair, biased and prejudicial comment.
Enjoy the game.
This afternoon’s game gives us an opportunity to help redress some of our recent disappointments.