Thursday, 19 June 2014

Reasons for Dave Hockaday appointment

The headline on the Sun story I wrote about Dave Hockaday's imminent appointment as Leeds head coach yesterday read 'Shockaday'.

That seemed appropriate, because there does seem to be a shock-a-day at Leeds at the moment.

North-easterner Hockaday was unveiled at a press conference at Elland Road on Wednesday, but it was notable that Massimo Cellino probably did 95% of the talking.

He even finished off a couple of Hockaday's answers for him.

The Italian said he was unaware of the level of fan opposition to the appointment (85% against in a Yorkshire Evening Post poll; uproar on Twitter), because he doesn't read newspapers or look at the internet.

Probably just as well eh.

As usual, some of the Cellino quotes were gems.

He seemed genuinely bemused by opposition to the appointment, emphasising he wants the club back in the Premier League and everything he does is geared towards that.

"You've had 12 bad years here," he said. "Isn't it time to try something different and to trust me?"

He then looked at the assembled journalists and said: "Don't you want to be covering a Premier League team, to come on this journey with me?"

He then recounted a story about seeing kids with old, tatty shoes queuing with their parents in the club shop to buy season tickets. He said that bestowed a great sense of responsibility on him.

So what were the motivations for the appointment? After all, few of us (certainly not me) had even heard of Dave Hockaday a month ago.

This is what I think and have gleaned.

Now, finance did play a role. The club's financial situation is pretty parlous, as we know.

Brian McDermott was on £750,000 a year and received a pay-off of about £750,000 (payable in instalments) for the two years remaining on his contract when he left by mutual consent at the end of last month.

Hockaday will be on less than a quarter of that amount.

He was also available, so no compensation had to to be paid. That was what put Cellino off the other main contender for the job, Eamonn Dolan, who had three years left on a pretty lucrative deal at Reading.

But it's far too simplistic to say that finances were the only factor.

Cellino wanted a coach, a tracksuit man, and says he's sure of Hockaday's coaching ability.

He also thinks this is a man who will be highly motivated and will live and breath the job, because it's his big (and probably) only chance to make it as a head coach at a stellar club.

Cellino wasn't convinced that some of the other names touted for the job would have been willing to give as much.

Now there are concerns, of course. How will the players respond to Hockaday, for a start?

After all, professional footballers can be a very cynical bunch.

Well Cellino has the answer for that. He'll be pretty much ever-present - at the training ground, observing the session, always watching on.

He says he will be the leader of the club and the team, their focal point, and that the players will have to respect the coach he has chosen.

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