(“no, Peter Risdale doesn’t work here anymore.”)
Leeds United dropped their 3 straight home game Wednesday night, a 3-0 loss to Sunderland that’s led to increased speculation that David O’Leary might succeed embattled manager Kevin Blackwell. The latter has responded by blaming the club’s current plight…on the money man that supervised O’Leary’s tenure. From the Independent’s Ross Heppenstall.
“The squad is paper-thin and we’ve been trying to bring in loan signings, but the chairman says the finances at the moment are quite tight,” he said. “Two years ago, we didn’t have a team to start with and we haven’t been afforded the finances to develop the club as I would like it to. As a manager, it frustrates me – and it’s very difficult to accept – but you have to.
“This isn’t about Kevin Blackwell; this is about the safety of Leeds United Football Club. That’s what I did when I came in to save the club. But we haven’t been able to strengthen in the areas that we knew we needed to because we have a financial burden at the football club which needs to be addressed.” The “financial burden” Blackwell refers to is the debt with which Leeds became saddled following the overspending of Peter Ridsdale’s tenure which drove the club to the brink of liquidation.
Blackwell said last week that the debt could be reduced from £121m to as little as £4m within a year. In the mean time, he is being forced to work on a shoestring after last season’s play-off final defeat against Watford. He spent little money during the summer and saw striker Rob Hulse sold to Sheffield United for £2m.
“I think the fans are fed up with what has happened at Leeds. They can see a situation at Sunderland, where someone comes along and pumps millions into the club – and they think ‘why can’t it be us?”