Good Friday 2012 saw Leeds go to the Madjeski Stadium and face eventual champions Reading. The match not only saw Reading put a hand on the Championship but saw Leeds’s transformation into a Neil Warnock side. The innocent Zac Thompson suddenly had his mind hijacked by his midfield partner Michael Brown, and the only instruction was “destroy!”. He was sent off for a needless challenge 13 minutes into the match. Challenges akin to this were committed later on in the match by Danny Pugh, Paul Robinson and Michael Brown, with Brown not only breaking Jem Karacan’s leg, but also leaving a nasty hole within his sock – Don Goodman was disgusted. It was hilarious watching the fans within the flatpack, IKEA stadium watch on, ashen-faced as 1960’s style tackles flew in. Although in the end we lost, this match will go down as typifying Neil Warnock’s brand of football.
Leeds United’s rightful position is by the likes of Spurs and Everton. To my bemusement, we somehow managed to beat the two of them under Neil Warnock. Not only did we beat Everton, we beat them with the worst possible Leeds midfield imaginable, Aidy White playing on the right-wing in this match, a man whose only characteristic to suit this position is his pace, lacking all of the required technical ability to perform adequately in this role. The only man who thinks that Aidy White is a Right Winger is Neil Warnock. The other wing was occupied by Michael Tonge, who has the polar opposite characteristics to Aidy White, half-decent technically and provides some creativity, yet the speed of a 50-year-old man and no left foot. I’m still baffled how the central midfield of Rodolph Austin and Michael Brown managed to cope with the presence of Marouane Fellaini. Spurs was a similar encounter to this, Mourinho’s prodigy was tactically outclassed by a man whose strategical acumen is that of a 1960s . The two results were achievements, but the destructions at the hands of Chelsea and Man City that followed these results weren’t.
We can look at these three games and try to forget the other myriad horrors of Neil Warnock’s time as Leeds manager. I don’t think it’ll be possible, the post-traumatic stress of Michael Brown traipsing around our midfield, ‘Sharon and the kids’, and hoof-ball will be causing nightmares for years to come.