By Dominic Smith
After wiping away my post-Becchio tears, I set about writing an article about the incoming Steve
Morison, a man Neil Warnock reliably informed me would soon be a ‘legend’ at Elland Road. Maybe
he and Ross McCormack could be the striking partnership we’ve lacked in recent years. I’d write
about the modern day Chapman and Wallace.
But I couldn’t.
It’s not that Morison isn’t a good player. He’s a good Championship striker who proved himself
at Millwall, with a goal-scoring record of better than 1 in 3 during his time there. He sporadically
impressed in the Premier League, and he fulfilled the criteria of a Leeds signing in that he always
seemed to score against us. The image of him leaving Paddy Kisnorbo in a crumpled heap on his way
to putting Millwall one-up at Elland Road in 2010 is burned indelibly on my mind.
He’s a perfectly decent player. He has history against Leeds. He should raise sufficient passion to
write a profile, or to summon my feelings about his move to the club.
But he didn’t.
I didn’t have that problem with Becchio. Even though he had quite obvious faults, no pace,
the turning circle of an oil tanker and a Carlton Palmer like first touch, he inspired a deep and
unswerving affection. If anyone I knew criticised him or called him limited, I would leap to his
defence. He’s just a goal-scorer, I would claim.
But this isn’t just about one goal-scoring hero being replaced by another goal-scoring non-entity. It’s
part of a trend at the club, principally introduced under Warnock, to replace modern Leeds heroes
(Becchio, Snodgrass, Howson) with Championship also-rans. However much he improves, I cannot
see the likes of David Norris inspiring a song from the Kop.
I feel no great attachment to any of the current squad. Sam Byram is promising, but each excellent
performance of his fuels a worry that he’ll be plucked by a Premier League side in the summer.
Ross McCormack produces occasional flutters, but his long barren streaks in front of goal frustrate.
The asset stripping Bates reign has produced a greater effect than just an average playing squad.
The Leeds United of 2013 are a group of players to which the fans have no great affinity with
We won’t get to the Premier League with this side. They are competent, a mid-table Championship
side. But it’s not their limitations which are the problem. It’s that they’re not ours. Only when we get
the next Becchio, the next flawed genius, will we be back.
Follow Dominic Smith on Twitter (@DomoTheBold).