Neil Warnock inspired by 'miserable Yorkshiremen'
Leeds United 2 Nottingham Forest 1
Sunday 23 September 2012
Aside from showing a buyer round your home and wondering if the dog has messed the carpet, there is nothing quite so inherently risky as inviting investors to watch your club in action.
Nevertheless, after three months of negotiations, Ken Bates invited four investment bankers from Bahrain to cast their eyes over Leeds United, a nice little runner with too many careless owners. Leeds almost found a way to embarrass their chairman, racing into a two-goal lead that, after the softest of headers from Dexter Blackstock, they did their best to squander.
When it was announced there would be six minutes of stoppage time, there was a pantomime gasp around Elland Road. Perhaps it was echoed in the directors' box.
However, it was the announcement that followed that suggested why Leeds, even in their shakiest moments, may be worth investing in. The attendance of more than 24,000 was almost double the figure at Blackburn on Friday night.
The Bahraini involvement was described by Bates as an "investment" rather than a takeover, although a fair proportion of that crowd would want the 80-year-old to sever his association with Leeds completely. "The potential investors are looking to conclude things as soon as possible," said Bates in a statement. "Both parties regret missing the August transfer deadline but we are planning for the January transfer window."
Neil Warnock, managing a squad depleted by injury and under-investment, would welcome any increase in funds.
A sometimes difficult man himself, Warnock has often excelled in working with footballers who do not conform to the ideal of team spirit. He brought Joey Barton to Queens Park Rangers and then enticed El Hadji Diouf to Yorkshire.
Here was why. First there was a delightful, delicious cross that evaded everyone, struck Michael Tonge as he stood on the back post and rebounded to Luciano Becchio, who drove it into the roof of the net. A beautifully weighted pass from Diouf found Becchio and, although he was tackled by Daniel Ayala, the ball broke once more, this time to Dominic Poleon, a teenage graduate of the Leeds academy making his full debut. His finish suggested quite a future here.
Warnock, however, thought there was still too much negativity around Leeds emanating from the club's supporters.
"I read one of the local papers, they asked 10 Leeds fans and only two thought we'd win," he said. "One thought we'd lose by six. I have never read so much rubbish with my egg and bacon and I'd like to thank all those miserable Yorkshiremen for spurring me on."
Leeds (4-4-2): Kenny; Peltier (Varney, 66), Pearce, Drury, Lees; Byram, Austin, Tonge, Poleon (White, 65); Diouf, Becchio (Gray, 89).
Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Camp, Halford, Ayala, Collins, Harding; Coppinger (Sharp, 83), Blackstock, Reid (Lansbury, 46), Moussi (McGugan, 46); Gillett, Cox.
Referee Andy D'Urso.
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