View from the South Stand - Leeds United 23/09/11
Brighton and Hove Albion welcome 'The' Leeds United, Champions
of Europe to the Amex on Friday night for this Championship
fixture which is also being televised across the world.
We asked David from www.thescratchingshed.com
to answer some questions for us ahead of the match between
the European giants and Championship minnows.
been a number of protests in recent months about Ken Bates
running of the club. Care to explain what that is all about?
understand the situation with Ken Bates, imagine a pressure
gauge that goes up gradually with every broken promise,
lie, price hike, embarrassing rant and disappearing transfer
kitty. The pressure has been close to critical levels for
a while now, but Bates is Peter Mandelson-esque with his
spin doctoring and manages to relieve the pressure just
enough to keep things ticking over with promises of "transfer
war chests" and new players every time.
summer however, the East Stand development, loss of several
players and constant news of us not being able to meet
the wage demands of our targets pushed a lot of fans over
the edge and protests followed.
It looks like the bearded one is being very tight with
money. Given all the problems that overspending has caused
you in the past, surely this is a good thing or do you
think a happy medium can be reached?
Ridsdale era is his go-to excuse whenever we complain
about the lack of investment. But we're not asking for
£18m centre backs and unaffordable wage bills, we're
asking that the fifth highest season ticket prices in
the country (topped by only four Premier League clubs)
be justified by the kind of spending that gets teams promoted.
Unfortunately, Ken is too busy building a painless expansion
on our East Stand to care.
Most fans would love cracks at the Premier League title,
matches with Barcelona and runs to the Champions League
semifinals. With hindsight, was the overspending to have
those great days worth the ones that it led to?
forget that our success came largely from the players
we produced ourselves, not those that were brought in
for eye-watering transfer fees. Lee Bowyer, Jonathan Woodgate,
Harry Kewell, Alan Smith all came through the ranks at
the club. A lot of the spending in the transfer market
was unnecessary and caused by the naivety of David O'Leary
and Peter Ridsdale who, aside from one or two exceptions,
bought a lot of distinctively average players which added
very little to the squad except ridiculously high wages.
A better manager could have done the same for much less,
and we'd still be up there now.
Where do you realistically see Leeds's place in the English
footballing chain these days?
has been distorted by sugar daddies, so it's hard to say.
Traditionally, Leeds would be a mid-table top flight side,
prone to the odd rise and fall. But nowadays, unless you're
backed by someone with more money than sense, you can't
really rely on the size of your fanbase and the facilities
you have to restore the "natural order"
You made a decent return to the
Championship last season and just missed out on the play
offs. What do you think you need to do to make it a successful
step up after winning promotion from League One?
need investment in the squad. We have the core of an excellent
side at Elland Road, but we're severely lacking in depth
and have needed strengthening in the same positions for
two years now. Unless someone starts writing cheques so
we can sign the kind of players that will improve on what
we already have, we'll be stuck in the Championship for
the foreseeable future.
What would be considered a good
campaign for Leeds this time around?
we can finish anywhere near where we did last time round
I'd be happy with that, but realistically, I think we're
looking at a mid-table finish. The division is stronger
this season and Leeds United haven't improved.
Gus Poyet obviously had a few
happy months at Elland Road as number two to Dennis Wise.
What did Leeds fans make of him during his spell there?
always sensed he was the brains behind the operation and
were all disappointed when he left. I wasn't surprised
at all to see Poyet lead you to glory last season and
suspect he'll continue to impress with a play-off finish
this time round.
After having to suffer several
wet days at Withdean on your visits to the south coast,
are you looking forward to actually watching a game in
Brighton in relative comfort at The Amex?
Withdean was like watching football in the park, I always
found it hard to believe I'd been charged to get in. But
the Amex looks like another identi-kit bowl which I'm
not a fan of either. I'd much rather see football clubs
redevelop their existing stadiums, and think Brighton
would have been better off upgrading the Goldstone Ground.
Old grounds like that have their own identity and a sense
of history, these new Ikea stadiums that are popping up
across the country are only distinguishable from the next
by whichever team has stuck their badge on the side.
How much do you know about the
current Brighton side?
much, I imagine it's changed a lot since the last time
we met. I know Casper Ankergren is still with you guys
and that you have a young striker from Newcastle United
on loan, but aside from that, I'm heading into this one
Finally, a score prediction for
be optimistic and go for a 2-2 draw. We won't keep a clean
sheet, but we generally find the back of the net.
thanks to David for his insight into the forthcoming fixture.
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Scratching Shed on Twitter and tell them what you
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