Brian McDermott on a turbulent weekend and the future...
Brian McDermott today said “there was no way” he could turn his back on Leeds United.
The United manager’s future was the subject of fevered speculation over the weekend after he was 'removed' from the post by representatives of the consortium looking to take control of the club.
The boss was absent from Saturday’s game – during which a statement issued by the club’s owners GFH Capital said he remained as manager – and after a weekend of soul searching and talks he reported for training on Monday morning in readiness for the weekend trip to Yeovil.
“This is Leeds United, I’m the Leeds United manager and I want to be Leeds United manager,” said the boss. “I have spoken to a lot of people in the game, a lot of really important people and they said that I shouldn’t go back. But if you saw the support that the team got and the staff and what I got personally on Saturday it was incredible.
“Nigel Gibbs proved what a class act he is in the way he conducted himself on Saturday. The way the players played and our captain scored a hat-trick. What a difficult time our captain has had over the last three days as well. I have to say that I was completely proud of them. The players, the staff and the fans all came together on Saturday and it was a fantastic day.
“The fans proved that they are a class act. It is their football club and that is the main thing. This club doesn’t belong to anybody but the fans. It has to be said that whoever takes over this football club will has to have those people in their minds first and foremost. Nothing else matters.
“Obviously for me it has been difficult but it has also been difficult for the staff and the players. But that performance on Saturday tells you everything that you need to know. The most important thing for us, Leeds United, is to come together and move forward.”
Speaking about the events of the weekend, the boss explained: “I got a phone call on Friday night from Chris Farnell to say that I’d been relieved of my duties and that there was a letter on its way to me.
“On Saturday morning I got another phone call from GFH to say that wasn’t the case and then a couple of statements came out which I’m sure you have all seen. I have been speaking to the LMA and Paul Gilroy QC and we’ve now got to this stage where I am sat here again.
“I was calm. The only thing I was thinking about on Friday night was how to get a result. I set the team up on the Friday morning which was the team that you all saw on the Saturday. The team changed on Friday night, then the team changed back and Nigel Gibbs took the team on Saturday. He did a fantastic job with Neil Redfearn and we won the game. That was the only thing that was on my mind. I was obviously upset that I had lost my job but then Saturday came and I was just thinking about the game.
“Whoever sacked the manager obviously has to own the football club.”
The boss said he had also received assurances from the club’s owners, pending the completion of any new investment into the club.
“As far as I’m concerned, I spoke to David Haigh and Salem Patel of GFH on Monday morning, and they are the owners of the football club. I have now had certain reassurances about my position, the running of the football club and all the football matters. So whoever is going to be running the club in the future I do not know.
“I am responsible for all the football matters at the football club. Nobody will be invited to the dugout, the dressing room or speak with the players unless the manager OK’s it. I’ve been giving assurances that I answer to GFH and GFH only. And when or if the football club does change hands I’m given assurances of who that is going to be.
“Whatever happens we don’t need another time where it has been like the weekend. We need some calm and we need this place to be going in the right direction. I have to say that since April, since I have come in the club has been going in the right direction. There is absolutely no doubt about that in my mind. We had 31,000 turn up for the game on Saturday and that tells you what Leeds United fans are like. It tells you everything that you need to know.
“The most important thing for me was the fans and being the Leeds United manager. That’s the only thing that I was thinking of. It would have been very easy for me to walk away and that would have been the advice of an awful lot of people. In my mind there was never going to be anyway of me walking away from this job. Why would you walk away from being the Leeds United manager? It doesn’t make any sense. All it has done for me is give me more drive as well as the staff and players. And we have all come together with the fans.
“The most important thing in football is winning games. When I was brought to the football club I signed a three year deal and myself and owners talked about the long term vision of the club. That was looking at where we need to go, what we need to have and the stability of the football club. For me that hasn’t changed.
“The only thing that matters now is just moving forward in the best way we possibly can. We need to put what has happened to bed. The ownership needs to be sorted very soon.
“My personal feelings are that I want to be Leeds United manager. That is it, first and foremost, nothing else matters. That hasn’t changed. I have to say the support I have received personally is fantastic. I had a great owner at Reading, John Madejski, and he did a fantastic job there. I think that is the kind of person that we need here. We have that stability where we work together to go in the same direction. I had that at Reading and I hope to have that during my time at Leeds.”