Dave Hockaday has been appointed the new head coach at Leeds United. It is worth repeating. Dave Hockaday. He is not a household name. Dave Hockaday was managing Forest Green Rovers, without great success, until October 2013. At that point, after seven defeats in eight games, he parted company with a club in the fifth tier of English football. Today he took control at one of the few, genuine sleeping giants in England.
His appointment, on a two-year contract, has raised a stir. Whether it will stir Leeds from their seemingly endless troubles is questionable. Hockaday started coaching when Graham Taylor, then the Watford manager, put him in charge of the under-18s in 2000. Five years later he became first-team assistant coach.
Hockaday’s track record – he has worked at academy level and also coached at Milton Keynes, Leicester and Southampton – was brought to the attention of the Leeds owner, Massimo Cellino, by an agent. He was not first choice – that honour went to the Reading academy manager Eamon Dolan, but his club set a compensation fee at £500,000 and that put off Cellino.
Hockaday succeeds Brian McDermott at Elland Road. However, McDermott might have been the last Leeds manager for some time. There is a clear distinction between that job and the head coach role that Hockaday has been appointed to. He will not be signing any players in his new role.
It is expected that a winding up petition against Leeds will be withdrawn on Monday, after £950,000 was paid to Sport Capital, the company that brought the petition against the club. If that happens, Leeds’ bank account, which had been frozen, will be active again.
“When I met the president it was obvious he knew what he was talking about,” Hockaday said. “He offered me the job and I accepted. I believe I’m a good coach, the president believes I’m a good coach and people out there who have obviously recommended me believe I’m a good coach and I’m going to prove that.
“We go out and we sweat blood, we’re honest, we’re hard working and we are hungry. That’s what the Leeds fans want.”
Who is Hockaday? New man at the helm
Sedgefield-born Hockaday is 56. He was a defender who played more than 500 Football League games, primarily for Blackpool, Swindon, Hull and Shrewsbury. He ran an academy at Cirencester and joined Watford as their Under-18s coach in 2000. He left his post as Forest Green Rovers manager in 2013.