Leeds United vs SAFC Who are You?: ‘glory days may be gone forever’

Kevin Ayscough with a miniature Leeds fan, his grandson Charlie

Monsieur Salut writes: Black Monday was followed by Blacker Tuesday, the latest home defeat put in grim perspective by Birmingham’s win at Bolton. It all made a mockery of the hope some allowed themselves after the aberration of a Sunderland win at Pride Park.

But life of a sort goes on. There’s a prize Leeds United-SAFC Guess the Score and, now, a return to the Who are You? series (our Sheffield Wednesday interview never arrived, but there was no reason for reproach since the volunteer’s father had just died).

We first met our Leeds-supporting candidate Kevin Ayscough*, related to our own Pete Sixsmith through marriage, before the equivalent game at the Stadium of Light, a 2-0 away win that set the tone for most of our home programme. Here he is again, disappointed at Leeds’s own failings and urging SAFC to keep faith with Chris Coleman for the battles ahead …

Salut! Sunderland: we look doomed but you cannot possibly be happy with 12th place after the start you had, the promise you showed and the demands set by your owner, Andrea Radrizzani. How disappointed are you and what has gone wrong?

Kevin Ayscough: another season of hope disappeared in front of us! Very frustrating being a Leeds United fan. What went wrong? Well if we knew that we wouldn’t be in this position I suppose. we are certainly unrecognisable from the early season promise. What makes a successful manager? I suppose looking at the money Wolves, Cardiff and Fulham have spent it would have to be a major factor. I, like many think we should ditch Mr Orta and recruit from this country. He never did any good at Middlesborough either.

And how shocked, if at all, by our demise, having our own Sixer in the family and also witnessing the first game which Leeds won comfortably?

I am shocked by your position especially as you have gone for experience in Chris Coleman.

Is Paul Heckinbottom showing signs of being the right man for the job?

No I don’t think he is showing any signs at all. I can’t understand why we went for a manager who was six places below us in the Championship? Now it appears that a number of Leeds fans are calling for Mick McCarthy and ex Leeds man Terry Connor for next season. We shall see, I think we will stick with PH for a while but as far as I am concerned he is unproven in this league.

How confident are you that things will finally come right for you next season – and what is needed to ensure that?

I’m not confident at all, the only thing is to spend more money and buy proven British players. At the moment we are no better than a mid table side. I saw a recent league table from Jan to mid March and we were bottom, even behind Sunderland.

Assuming we drop, will we bounce straight back or languish in the doldrums?

Click the image and guess the score at Leeds. There is a prize. You judge whether it’s a great one

I am not sure that you will drop [NB: this was written before Birmingham drew eight points clear of us by winning at Bolton – Ed] but if the unthinkable happens just look at Blackburn Rovers, it looks like they will be League One Champions this year. One thing is sure though, you must keep Chris Coleman to have any chance.

Were you surprised Simon Grayson failed – or surprised he wasn’t allowed longer in the job?

I was surprised Simon Grayson failed but it just goes to show that joining a struggling club is a very hard job, it’s never a quick remedy. I think new managers need a good 18 months to turn things around.

The present squad must seem very limited compared to the great names you once had. Who sticks out most in the memory and can those days ever, realistically, be re-created?

Yes we do have a limited squad with only a couple of players like Hernandez, Saiz and maybe Alioski performing anything like. We apparently do have some good young kids but unless someone is prepared to give them a chance they seem to go down the leagues to get a game.
I have come to the conclusion that the glory days as we knew them will never return unless we find a billionaire owner like Man City or Chelsea. I think there are far too many foreign players in our game which restricts young players coming through and this has an effect on our England team as well. Quite a few stick in the memory from Norman Hunter, Eddie Gray, Strachan, McAllister, Gary Speed etc etc. I suppose it could be done again, we just need  man manager to pull it all together.

Will you be at Saturday’s game. Your prediction?

No I can’t make Saturday’s game but I’m sure Pete will be there. To be honest I think if you come with a positive attitude you could pick up the three points. We have been rubbish at home this year with teams out playing us. As you can tell I have become somewhat cynical with the way we are playing, something has to change but you never know, if the three points prove valuable in your fight against relegation then so be it.

Jake says: ‘click the Who are You? banner to see the series so far this season’

* Kevin Ayscough on himself: I am the husband of Peter Sixsmith’s cousin and a lifelong Leeds United supporter (from the early 60s). I had the misfortune to witness the 1973 Cup Final first hand and still don’t understand how you beat us!!  I have seen us go through the ups and downs over the last 50 or so years and I await the return of the good times but am realistic enough to realise that should we ever return to the EPL it will be as a mid table side at best. Don’t forget, as I said in my earlier update when we played you at the Stadium of Light, Pete Sixsmith should be a Leeds fan as he was actually born in Leeds!

Interview: Colin Randall
Check out the home page of Salut! Sunderland by clicking on Jake’s image

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