Leeds owners taking fans to Elland back. Hockaday appointment will end in tears

Leeds United East Stand

Leeds United have today made the surprising appointment of Dave Hockaday, the former Forest Green Rovers manager.

Brian McDermott had to be sacked twice before he actually left Leeds United, but it was still incredibly harsh given the circumstances that he had to work under in the second half of the season.

The club's future was up in the air and the team were struggling on the pitch due to the uncertainty. Eventually when Massimo Cellino completed his takeover of the club it wasn't a surprise to see McDermott leave the club. What was a surprise however, was seeing the three names in contention for the job.

Eammon Dolan, former Leeds manager Gary McAlllister and the man to eventually get the job Dave Hockaday. Out of the three the general consensus from fans was that they wouldn't mind McAllister returning to the club. Between the three of them there is only around seven years of managerial experience and to take on a job with the magnitude of this one would be a big ask.

Cellino made it clear from the start that he was looking for a head coach rather than a manager and one that would work under the Director of football. Hockaday's role has been underlined as  "assuming overall responsibility for the coaching staff and first-team playing squad."

The former Blackpool and Swindon Town player has been given a two-year-contract and Junior Lewis has joined him as his assistant.

It seems unlikely that Hockaday will have too much of a say in the club's transfer dealings but given the fact he was sacked as Forest Green Rovers manager in October, if the Leeds United job was offered, surely he would take it in any circumstances?

Whilst the appointment is surprising too many, Hockaday isn't one of those. "It isn't a surprise because of my background and the fact I'm a very experienced coach and obviously 20 years a player, and the fact that the president wants a very experienced British coach, then I seem to tick all the boxes,"

Foreign owners often like to have quite a large say in the running of the whole club, and almost act as the manager in some cases. Is Dave Hockaday a yes man? Probably not in most cases as he is very experienced within the game and has great respect from his peers. However in this case he may settle for a yes man role when working for one of the biggest clubs in the Championship.

He created the first football academy in the country in Cirencester, and his approach to it has since been adopted by many clubs.

His biggest impact as a coach came at Watford after he was appointed Under 18's manager by Graham Taylor. He is credited with helping the development of players such as Ashley Young, Al Bangura, Paul Robinson and Tommy Smith.

He also had coaching spells at Leicester City, Southampton and Milton Keynes Dons before taking up his first managerial role at Forest Green in 2009. In his first two seasons with the club he narrowly avoided relegation. Firstly they finished in the relegation places but were reinstated following Salisbury demotion due to financial irregularities. In the second season they stayed up on goal difference.

Two 10th place finishes followed before a run of seven defeats in eight games at the start of last season saw Hockaday get the sack.

Probably doesn't fill Leeds fans with confidence but not much has in the last decade or so. When they were relegated from the Premier League in 2004 not many would have thought they had still not returned ten years later. Hockaday is the seventh permanent manager since that fateful day and probably arrives with the least expectations.

That may help him, but what no one will know is exactly how much impact Cellino and Benito Carbone will have. Hockaday could be set up to fail before Carbone eventually takes over. The combination may well indeed work out at Elland Road, but it is a step into the unknown.

Hockaday and Carbone strike me as having different personalities but both with strong ego's which could cause problems at the club. Cellino has said he is targeting promotion in 2016 but will want to see encouraging signs early on. Significant investment in the transfer market will now probably follow, and it will be down to Hockaday to get the best out of them.

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