Leeds United have signed goalkeeper Stuart Taylor on a one-year deal.
It was only a week or two back that we covered Stuart and wrote up his life as a goalkeeper of promise who spent most of his time as backup keeper at big clubs. He played 18 games for Arsenal across eight seasons – and managed to win a league winners medal by getting ten games in one season, while being third choice keeper.
But I wonder about the world he has entered – for it is the world of Leeds United.
Again the strange goings on at Leeds have been covered by us – this time on Untold Arsenal with the Doing an Arsenal, Doing a Leeds story. That story noted how Arsenal and Leeds were the great rivals in the early 1970s, but now, in the first decade of the 21st century that is not remotely like the truth.
Most recently the club has been taken over by Massimo Cellino, who has appointed Dave Hockaday. Hockaday, left his last job as manager at Forest Green Rovers by mutual consent in October last year. He will have no control over transfers – they will be done by the owner.
The previous manager was Brian McDermott, an Arsenal man with a solid reputation as a manager on whom we have also done an article. Earlier managers included Terry Venables, Howard Wilkinson, George Graham, Billy Bremner, Jimmy Armfield and Don Revie.
Hockaday knows football of course – he played over 500 lower league games for Blackpool, Swindon, Hull and Shrewsbury. But his first season at Forest Green ended in relegation from the Conference but were reinstated after Sailsbury went down for financial failures.
The second season involved missing relegation on goal difference. He took them up to mid-table for the next couple of seasons but a poor start to 2013/14 meant he was dismissed. The record attendance for the club was 4836, the average is around 1200.
So the appointment looks “interesting”, does the reason that the previous goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, was sacked. It was because the owner has a dislike of the number 17 and so anyone born on 17th at the club has to go.
This includes Paddy Kenny born on 17 May. Michael Brown previously wore 17 for Leeds but was released at the end of the season.
Cellino bought Leeds towards the end of last season, after an appeal was made against the Football League’s decision to block him on the grounds he had a previous conviction for fraud.
Leeds have also closed the canteen at their training ground to save money, so the players have to bring packed lunches – and pay to have their kits washed… or do it themselves.
And Leeds and Arsenal used to be the two biggest names in English football in the early 1970s!
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