Ahead of our Sunday lunchtime season-opening clash at Loftus Road, I spoke to Leeds Utd fan Alex Metcalf (@AlexMetcalfLUFC) to find out the fan’s view of our first visitors…
Q. The Leeds United chairman Massimo Cellino has a reputation for “interesting” decision-making which arguably surpasses the owners of QPR in recent times. Where do you stand on Cellino? Is the club making progress?
A. Massimo Cellino is an absolute parasite, one that we really need to get rid of. The club is consistently losing money, which is being patched by the sales of our best players, who are in turn replaced by free transfers or loan signings. ¬£11m alone has been spent on legal fees by Cellino, which is essentially the McCormack money out of the window.
The club is stagnant, this was the summer he was supposedly ‘going for it’ with the refund offer on season tickets if we don’t at least get to the playoffs, but the sale of Cook and the upcoming sale of Taylor say otherwise.
Q. There are a number of ‘big beasts’ in the Championship this new season, Newcastle, Villa, Norwich etc. Whilst Leeds has always been a big club, how far is it away from challenging the division’s best on the pitch?
A. We’re a couple of good signings away for challenging, although on paper we have a decent starting 11 we lack any real quality and have almost no depth, especially in defence. We need Monk to work some kind of miracle if we’re to escape midtable mediocrity again.
Q. Did Steve Evans deserve the sack at the end of last season? What are your thoughts on Garry Monk so far?
A. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Evans, we were incredibly boring under him, but he did the job that was asked of him, so had he been given another season I wouldn’t of been that shocked. I’m very happy with Monk, given the backing he could be the best manager we’ve had since Grayson. He speaks very well, has a great coaching team in place and seems to have a solid plan of what he wants his team to play like. Hopefully we can get the players in place to make his plan a reality.
Q. What do you think of your transfer business so far this summer, which includes Kemar Roofe, Marcus Antonsson and a familiar name to Rs fans everywhere, Rob Green?
A. Transfers out are be big story of our summer, losing Lewis Cook and potentially losing Charlie Taylor are two losses which we simply will not replace with any where near the same quality. In terms of players brought in I love the signing of Kemar Roofe, he looks a real talent and I’m glad we took a shot on him. Green provides some much needed experience and should start ahead of the forever flapping Silvestri. Bartley will start for us at CB, a position we were and still are particularly weak at. The recently signed Pablo Hernandez is an interesting one, going from a winger to the number 10 role he could either be very special for us or a complete bust. Every other signing seems to be a making up the numbers thing. Antonsson hasn’t impressed me so far, Sacko looks to be all pace with no end product and Grimes looks no better than what we had already.
Q. When you think of QPR these days, what springs to mind? Any thoughts on your old boy Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink?
A. The overwhelming memory lately of QPR will be of them absolutely going for it in terms of transfers and it simply not working out. It’s a nice reminder to other teams in the league that you can’t just spend your way to success, as tempting as it may be. Always had a lot of love for Jimmy, he was briefly linked with the managers job not long before taking the QPR job, I wouldn’t of minded him being our manager at all.
Q. How do you think Monk will set up your team to face QPR?
A. Monk seems to favour a 4-2-3-1 formation, which I actually like a lot, the interest comes in his midfield selection, with a number of options available it’s anybodies guess who starts. Ideally I’d like to see us go – Green, Taylor, Bartley, Cooper, Berardi, Murphy, Viera, Roofe, Mowatt, Dallas & Wood but I’m expecting to be wrong on more than one of those.
Q. Who are the Leeds players to watch out for at Loftus Road?
A. If he starts Viera is an interesting player, very young and raw but shown recently he’s got something about him. Roofe definitely is a player to keep an eye on, looks the type who can change a game in an instance.
Q. Which current QPR player/s do you rate or admire, if any?
A. I’m a big Conor Washington fan, he’s a player I actually wanted us to sign at one point, if he finds his feet early in the championship I reckon he could score a few. I was also a big Faurlin fan, a shame such a potentially good player was so plagued with injuries.
Q. Which three teams do you tip for promotion this season and why? What about the drop?
A. Newcastle should win the league comfortably, with an already great squad and the spending power they have nobody should be able to compete.
Norwich seem to have a knack of getting out of the league, with a solid squad I fancy them to be the only ones to push Newcastle close for the title.
Brighton came close last season but I think they’ll be able to get over the line, although with the playoffs any of the 4 involved could go up.
Relegation wise- Rotherham survived last season because of a Warnock miracle, something he’s prone to do. Blackburn without Rhodes could really struggle for goals, and teams who struggle to score usually don’t last very long. Burton simply not good enough for this league, although I’d prefer to see a shock relegation, someone like a Reading/Cardiff/Forest type.
Q. Score and prediction for Sunday lunchtime?
A. 1-1 we’ll probably get a goal early on from the likes of Roofe but our defensive frailties will be our undoing.
Thank you Alex for taking the time out to answer our questions.