A year ago today Neil Warnock arrived in the midst of a media frenzy at Elland Road. Those of us who frequent WACCOE were well aware of the possibility of hiring him, a roving eye having taken photographs of him dining in the streets of Monaco with Ken Bates the night before. Warnock supposedly inspired a turnaround in the second half against Doncaster Rovers, giving Leeds a 3-2 victory. He had turned up as he felt there was no point in abandoning the season, believing a play-off push was entirely possible. A few games later and he had, going on to convert 14 games into three victories. He spent the final few weeks putting out half-hearted attempts at a Leeds team, claiming that next season, the fans would have a team to be proud of.
It is a year on, and despite Warnock yesterday claiming that he’d “completely turned around” the club, we’re in basically the same position we were. He does not “deserve a medal” for guiding Leeds to another mediocre position in the league, any more than you would deserve a medal for a C in your GCSEs or for passing your driving theory test. Mid-table is quite simply mediocrity defined, and Warnock’s Leeds, the one he said would inspire the fans this season, have never really looked like escaping the clutches of mid-table to mount a serious siege on the promotion places.
We were obviously going to be torn asunder by the team Mancini put out yesterday, but it just clarified what we already knew – we’re a million miles from the Premier League. This has to be put down, to an extent, to Warnock. I’ve described Warnock before as a “dinosaur” but those of the Jurassic Era would probably be offended by the comparison.
Listen to his interview post-match. We were completely outclassed, destroyed on the pitch and yet Warnock chose to highlight the penalty decision first and foremost. Yes, it allowed City to run away with the game, but we’d already been carved open like a fine Christmas Goose about 4 or 5 times by then – there was no need to say it, we lost fairly. You can tell by what Warnock has said in the week leading up to this game, since Tuesday night at Middlesbrough, that he was hoping today would be a last day in the sun for him, something to put on his CV before he departed once more to his farm in Cornwall, waiting for the next Chairman to call and ask him to sign a load of journeymen.
After the destruction today, what does Warnock actually have to show from his time at Leeds? Awful football, a disappointing league position and a completely fractured relationship with the fans he has called “great” on many occassion. Today it was another backhanded praising of our travelling support, following up a suggestion that they were right to give him stick with the comment that they should leave him alone for 3 games.
Neil, get this into your head, we left you alone for 8 months and we were still shite then. We backed you for every single day you spent in the job until it became increasingly obvious that you had no actual ability to speak of. You’ve saddled our club with a series of long-term contracts for players not fit to wear the white shirt, and you have made it increasingly clear that you’re trying to assemble some sort of 2007 Sheffield United tribute act. You don’t seem to have grasped the fact that football has moved on and those players have aged. I get sick to my stomach whenever I see Michael Brown play for us and it’s an embarrassment that you consider him such a key player that you needed to rest him for Wednesday night. You’ve gone on and on about having “honest” players. To steal a line from Rob Bagchi at the Guardian, we’d prefer good ones. You’ve spent a year at Leeds and done nothing of note, so I think it is time you were put out to pasture.
Maybe then you’ll get the medal you think you deserve, possibly for having the largest mound of bullshit in all of Cornwall.
Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).