Monday, 28 April 2014

The Leeds View

Before Birmingham's match against Leeds, I interviewed Stuart, who has been a home & away Leeds fan since 1994. Stuart gives his thoughts on his club’s takeover situation, the importance of keeping Ross McCormack, and why Manchester United are still Leeds’ biggest rivals…

For much of this season, you’ve maybe been more pre-occupied with issues off the field, than on it. What do you make of the Massimo Cellino takeover situation?
Massimo Cellino
No doubt this had some bearing on the squad, but the wheels fell off on our season in December, and even prior to that we didn't look much cop, just managed to grind out results here and there. The takeover situation itself was complicated, and it made our previous owners, GFH capital, look like a complete cowboy outfit, their lies and cover ups were coming out week by week and it just spread through the club like a disease, thankful it's all resolved now.

Thoughts on Brian McDermott? And given that Cellino has sacked 36 managers in 22 years at Cagliari, can you see him staying for the long term?
Not a fan. He's very tactically inept, I'm still trying to work what formation we played against Forest, could have been anything really. Can't see him being here for pre-season.

Despite going into a decline over the last 10 years, you remain one of the best supported clubs in England. With the right investment, can you become established in the Premier League?
We can do if the investment is right, I think you can say that about any club though, football is governed by money so if you can spend on the right players you can transform yourself and become a big force in football. For us personally, we need a massive overhaul in personnel on and off the pitch so I expect a busy summer for us.

Ross McCormack
Ross McCormack has scored 28 league goals this season, which is more than half your overall goal tally. Do you fear losing him this summer?
Of course, when you look at the team we have, how we have been playing and then think that he is the top goalscorer in the league and then that is an even more impressive achievement. In a way it's the perfect time for us to have him because now we will see what Cellino is made of.

The late 60s-early 70s was the club’s most successful period. Many people criticized the team’s conduct and lack of sportsmanship under Don Revie, was that fair?
Probably not, football was different in them days, many clubs had players who loved a tackle and had that edge, but whenever a team is successful it get's criticised for something and that was our thing. That's just life.

Your club anthem is Marching On Together, songs like this give fans a sense of identity. With the way modern football is shaping up, do you think we’re in danger of losing that?
The evidence is in Man City for me, I used to love the atmosphere at Maine Road and how their fans used to be, they have completely lose their identity now. Many other clubs in that bracket too. Cardiff changing everything about their club for a stab at the Premier League, I would personally rather stay in the championship than go through all that.

Man Utd - still Leeds' biggest rivals
Who do you see as your biggest rivals? Does the fact that there’s a ‘Yorkshire Derby’ pretty much every other week, take away the significance of a game against another Yorkshire club?
Biggest rivals will always be Manchester United. No matter how long we are away from each other that mutual hatred will always be there and the rivalry will never go away from either club. The Yorkshire Derby thing is quite strange, I couldn't really care about most of the Yorkshire sides, we will always have a thing with Sheffield Wednesday but the rest I don't really see as rivals.

I seem to have forgotten what the score was last time Birmingham played Leeds...
4-0 just to jog your memory… Joking aside, you caught us on our best performance of the season. I can guarantee you this won't happen again.

If we’re in the same league next season (a big if for my team at the moment), where would you recommend for pre-match food and drink on our away trip?
It's quite difficult as most pubs around the ground don't let away fans in, so the city centre is possibly the best bet for you. Lots of good bars and food places around.

Thanks for answering our questions. Your prediction for Saturday…

Hard one to call, but with your form at home and our form combined with Brian's tactics then I think this has 0-0 written all over it.

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