19 July 2007 :: by
Dennis Wise will have had better weekends in football and the Daily Mail is already describing him as "under pressure" and the season hasn't even kicked off! To be fair to Wise his pre-season hasn't really kicked off either. Because of the interference from HMRC and three so-called Leeds fans masquerading as concerned MPs the club hasn't been able to sign new players. Now the Football League seem determined to prevent Leeds United preparing for the new season by inventing reasons not to give the club back its golden share, and thereby allow it to compete next season, until the last minute - by which time most good players will have already found a berth for next season. Meanwhile, Wise has had to play friendlies with the demoralised remnants of a relegated team - now shorn of the talents of Robbie Blake and David Healy.
His squad went down 2-0 to former Championship rivals Burnley, away at Turf Moor, to chants of 'Get the Chelsea out of Leeds' and 'Shirts off if you hate Ken Bates'. Good to see the fans getting behind Wise and the players. That's definitely the way to get good players to sign for Leeds when the club gets the green light - attacking the manager and chairman at every turn and creating a siege mentality for the playing squad!
Unless Leeds United fans wake up and smell the coffee soon they will contribute to the further decline of the team instead of being the rock on which the rebuilding of the club takes place. Wise and Bates are here to stay and no MP, government agency, footballing governing body, police or assorted 'mega-rich' consortia are going to get them out - so grow up, live with it and support the team. 'Marching on together' will soon stop being a rousing anthem for the club and become an ironic self-parody if the fans don't stop attacking the Wise and Bates and concentrate on lifting the team.
Undoubtedly more worrying for Wise than the facile chanting from the terraces will be the injury to Eddie Lewis who limped off during the loss at Burnley. The club is due to make an official comment on his condition today. With a small squad and little time to enhance it Wise cannot afford to lose the services of a guaranteed regular like Lewis for the start of the season.
Despite the scoreline the Leeds performance wasn't bad considering the handicaps the team are playing under. Leeds created easily enough chances to win the game though Wise may be troubled by the number of chances Kandol and Beckford are squandering up front.
This week Wise will have to decide whether or not to accept the Hull City offer for Richard Cresswell. It never rains but it pours!
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