The big man has left the building, and he’s taken hoof-ball with him. Massimo will be dead pleased.
I was a little sad to see Smithy go. He came across as a nice, intelligent guy and was probably a delight to have around the dressing room (apart from the necessary raising of lintels). Persona aside, he wasn’t half a magnet for route-one football. You get the feeling that Smithy was an easy target for panicky defenders when the going got tough but it’s time for Jason ‘Power’ Pearce and co. to knuckle down and play it on the bleeding floor instead of ignoring the game plan. Players that aren’t comfortable with the ball on the deck will have to learn fast because we’ll achieve zilch from launching it to the for-eds of Messrs Antenucci and Sharp. Another melancholy factor from Smith’s move was the clear evidence that Hockaday, Cellino, and Matty were on completely different pages regarding the players future.
“Smith is growing, he’s a nice player and I think he wants to stay”.
Those were the words of dear Massimo in the middle of July amid interest in Smith from Millwall. After allowing Smith to sign a new contract, the only logical explanation for Cellinos actions seems to be a shameless attempt to drive up Smith’s value. Hockaday had claimed that Smith was going to adapt to Leeds’ new style of play and it seriously worries me whether the current squad will be motivated to play for Cellino. Stephen Warnock was another player seemingly blacklisted by Massimo, yet he claims that the Hock had told him that he was part of the ex-coach’s plans. Dom Poleon has also declared that he was set to sign a new deal before being carted off to Oldham. I don’t think Poleon showed enough progress and application to warrant a place in Leeds’ future yet Massimo needs to be careful. Warnock stated that the players were right behind Hockaday and were sad to see him go. You wouldn’t expect Stevie to say anything to the contrary yet this could be another example of Massimo undermining his players. He needs to be damned careful with Leeds- if he hires Redders as the new coach he needs to have a mighty good think about who’ll be his No 2. and scour the globe for a suitable replacement as the head academy honcho because he can’t just do whatever he wants and expect Elland Road to erupt in a bed of promotion-smelling roses (white ones obviously). Those of us with LUTV subscriptions were treated to a pre-Bolton ‘tunnel cam’ this week. Massimo was stood tall in the tunnel, taking the time to shake hands with his players as they emerged from the dressing room. I hope for everyone’s sake that Cellino when looked every single one of them in the eye they were on the same page because we’ll be farther from the history books than he’d like if not.