After a somewhat disappointing end to last season, I’m determined to get the Elland Road sleeping giants back amongst the big boys and that starts right now.
Some major shakeups to the squad are required. After being handed a smallish transfer budget, I immediately look to strengthen the back line and Harlee Dean joins us from Brentford for £1.1m. With most of my budget already gone I need to look into moving a few players on and when West Ham make us an offer of £6.25m for versatile playmaker Josh Morris I thank him for his time at the club and send him on his way to London.
Also leaving us is long time club servant Stuart Dallas who I can’t refuse a move to premier league Watford so with a heavy heart and a big bag of cash he also departs the club.
With cash burning a hole in my pocket I look towards more incomings. Rob Hall who was a star player for me in my Bolton days joins for a measly 250k from Swansea and Leicester full back- come winger Jeffery Schlupp joins us for 400k to fill in the hole I have at left-wing back.
I’m also reunited with my former prodigy from my time in Spain. Christian Rivera joins for £3.6m to provide the creative spark in central midfield. The other players of note who join are spanish full back/striker Adria on a free and the loan signings of Jamie Bailey and Ahmed Gyan from Newcastle and Fulham respectively.
On to the business of actually playing some meaningful games after a walk in the park pre-season, we begin unbeaten in 4 before losing yet again to my old club Bolton. Progress in the League cup is encouraging with successive victories of Preston and Plymouth.
Our form continues to be patchy all the way up to the new year where things really look bad after a 5-3 thrashing at the hands of Walsall in the FA Cup. The board are starting to put some pressure on me to improve but unable to strengthen the squad I plough on ahead with the lads I have.
League Cup success
Results in the League cup have been a particular highlight this season and we incredibly make it to the final where we meet the old enemy Manchester United.
A 2-1 loss is all we can manage but the boys can hold their heads high as they hung with and even worried the Premier League champions for a decent spell during the game. League form has also picked up and with us sitting just outside the playoff places with a few games to go four wins in our last 6 games are enough to catapult us to a 5th place finish and a Playoff semi final date with Norwich City.
The home leg up first and a 1-1 draw isn’t the best result but we battled and hey, it could be worse.
Turns out it could have been a lot worse, we turn up at Carrow Road full of optimism, we are of course just 90 mins away from our second trip to Wembley of the season.
The game starts badly and much like Norwich’s most famous sons first tv series, performances (Ratings) didn’t improve in fact they got even worse. We are 1 down after 39 seconds before conceding 4 more in what turns out to be a disaster for everyone involved with Leeds United. Thankfully I don’t kill anyone (analogy continuing) and I have the security of a second series, some of the players on the other hand could very much be living in a travel tavern very soon.
With that the season is over, it felt like a harsh end but lessons have been learned. I certainly wont let my team be turned over like that again on the big occasion.
Changes need to be made during the off-season and a few big changes are coming. next season we are going to win it, just you watch!