Despite a slow start Monk could probably turn things around at Elland Road if he was given time
9 September ~ The season is only a month old and for many Leeds United supporters there is already a strong sense of deja vu. The threat of the sack looms large over new manager Garry Monk should Leeds lose to Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town tomorrow.
The appointment of Monk – the seventh United manager since spring 2014 – was warmly welcomed by fans who were surprised such a promising young manager would agree to come to Elland Road under the turbulent reign of owner/chairman Massimo Cellino – the Italian announced he had taken full ownership of the club yesterday.
There were further surprises in store this summer when Cellino – who pledged to part refund season ticket money should the club fail to reach the play offs – backed Monk in the transfer window. The club welcomed a series of new faces including Kemar Roofe bought from Oxford United for a rumoured fee of more than £2 million.
There were also outgoings. Star midfielder Lewis Cook went to Bournemouth for £6m plus add ons, but most fans would agree it was a positive transfer window with promising youngsters Alex Mowatt and highly prized left-back Charlie Taylor still at the club when the window closed.
Despite holding onto these star assets and bringing in a host of seasoned professionals, including fan favourite Liam Bridcutt who signed a permanent deal last month following a successful loan period last season, it’s fair to say that the season hasn’t got off to the best of starts with the club hovering just outside the relegation places.
An impressive away win at Sheffield Wednesday was offset by the nature of defeats to Nottingham Forest, QPR and Birmingham City where the team capitulated in miserable fashion.
Disappointingly it’s also clear that past defensive issues haven’t been addressed with nine goals shipped in the club’s opening five matches – a situation not helped by the fact that central defender and club captain Sol Bamba left Elland Road for “personal reasons” the day after the transfer window closed leaving just three centre-halves on the books.
Given time Monk could turn things around and the squad certainly seems to have more balance than it has in previous seasons, where there has been an over-reliance on youth and cheap imports from the Italian leagues. But “manager eater” Cellino is famously impatient and although on paper defeat at home to top of the table Huddersfield wouldn’t be a complete surprise, it could be enough to see the back of Monk. Simon Creasey