Rarely does the mood around a football club change so dramatically in such a short period of time as it has at Leeds United during the past week.
The official announcement from Elland Road on Tuesday evening, confirming the departure of Steve Evans from his role as manager, was met largely with negativity from supporters. Many felt that the Scotsman deserved a full season in charge, having succeeded in his original aim of keeping the side in the championship; a final league position of 13th clearly exceeded the expectations set for him. It is a shame, then, to see Evans’ time in charge come to a close in such a manner, especially with the news that Massimo Cellino had approached both Karl Robinson of MK Dons and Darrell Clarke of Bristol Rovers about the position, whilst Evans was still in the job.
By Thursday morning, though, the mood around the club had changed drastically. Rumours that Garry Monk, the former Swansea manager, was in talks with Cellino were confirmed when the club announced the 37 year old as their new head coach on Thursday lunchtime. The appointment was greeted with huge positivity from the fan base, and rightly so; this is a man who led to Swansea to eighth in the Premier League with their record points total of 56, and double league victories over Manchester United and Arsenal in his first full season as a manager.
Clearly then, this appointment is a coup for the West Yorkshire club. Perhaps the fact that Cellino has opted for a young, talented, British manager is an indication that his decisions are finally becoming more sensible.
Monk’s managerial style, attacking, free-flowing exciting football, is sure to prove popular at Elland Road, and will be able to utilise the attacking talents of players such as Stuart Dallas and Chris Wood. Furthermore, Monk’s use of young players during his time at Swansea is sure to excite both Leeds fans and the young talent at the club; keeping players like Lewis Cook and Charlie Taylor, both key young players, at Elland Road will prove a lot easier with a young manager who is proven at using the young talent at his disposal. Throw in his ability in the transfer market (this is the man who signed Andre Ayew on a free transfer for Swansea), and it would appear that Leeds fans have a lot of reasons to be excited.
While on paper this appears to be one of the most sensible decisions made by Cellino during his time at Elland Road, it remains to be seen whether he will have patience with Monk, and give him the time he needs to be successful. It is a well-known fact that stability is lacking at Leeds, and is needed in order to mount a serious challenge to return to the top flight; hopefully the appointment of Monk is a step in the right direction.