Far be it from me to criticise the 49ers or manufacture a narrative about a leadership crisis at Leeds United, but the drawn-out manager search is rather disconcerting. You don’t want the exercise to become a saga.

More than three weeks after the announcement that Sam Allardyce would not be staying on, five weeks before the season kicks off, and almost a week after the season fixtures were released, the club is still to appoint a manager. It’s a bit of a concern.

If a sense of despondency is beginning to creep in, it is because fans appreciate the importance of making an appointment sooner rather than later.

Yes, media reports suggest the club has been talking to this and that candidate. Indeed, an appointment was reportedly “imminent” last week following “advanced” talks with Daniel Farke.

It’s time to close the deal.

The ones that got away

We have also seen candidates linked with the head coach role join other clubs or ruling themselves out of the Leeds United vacancy. Brendan Rodgers has since joined Celtic, while Andoni Araola, reportedly the club’s first choice in February before turning to Javi Gracia, has joined Bournemouth. Carlos Corberan has reportedly committed his future to West Brom.

Leeds United owners could take a leaf out of Bournemouth’s book. No sooner had the Cherries sacked Gary O’Neil did they announce his replacement. It is the kind of decisiveness that engenders confidence and speaks to a club ownership with its ducks in a row.

A different kind of challenge

Now, I appreciate these things take time, but there is also something to be said about swift and decisive action that responds to the relegation exigencies at Elland Road.

I wouldn’t be as concerned if the club was still in the Premier League because then the new manager would be inheriting a top flight squad. The same can’t be said about the rebuilding challenges following the drop down to the Championship. Inevitably, after relegation “Premier League level” players leave and a new-look squad is assembled.

The Leeds United squad is in a state of flux and needs significant restructuring. There will be some ins and outs and the new manager will have his work cut out for him. At clubs with a proper structures, the manager plays a key role in identifying the players he wants to retain and the new recruits to bolster  the squad.

Dithering 49ers?

I don’t want to sound alarmist, but the delay in appointing a new manager creates the impression the 49ers are struggling to sell their project to would-be managers. 

You want the new manager to have sufficient time to remodel the squad, impart his philosophy and even put a stake in the ground with regards to promotion prospects. It would be less than ideal to bring in a manager on the eve of a new campaign, because then he already has a plausible excuse for failing.

Ideally, a club would also have a manager in place when fixtures are announced so that the man at the helm can start planning for the campaign.

Time is of the essence. The longer the manager search continues the more the 49ers look like ditherers. It’s not a reputation they want.


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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