Live Q&A sessions are often things fraught with danger for football clubs with general wags and club cognoscenti seeming in a tug-o-war to air their views or pointed barbs.
Leeds United hosted one today, and it was one more powerful than the usual player-led or head-coach led session that has become par for the course for football clubs as they seek fan engagement.
Whilst some clubs opt for this approach as a way of engaging with the fans, Leeds United took a different tack altogether. The ‘power trio’ that the club put forward consisted of the triptych of: club owner Andrea Radrizzani, club Managing Director Angus Kinnear and club Director of Football Victor Orta.
Whilst some of the questions can be seen as ‘predictable’, in that they dealt with the issues of player spend and retention, the answers given by all three were open and transparent.
Five things from the Leeds United Q&A
- On the level of input that the head coach has at Leeds United when it comes to new signings – Victor Orta: “We have a lot of information in this part of the year. Our scouting department is watching around 3,000 matches and it’s difficult for a head coach to watch that amount. He needs a person who provides information and my experience at Sevilla and Middlesbrough has always seen good between the director of football and the head coach. I need the coach focused on the next game and for me this is really important. In 15 years I have never signed a player without the head coaches agreement.”
- On where the millions from the Chris Wood/Charlie Taylor to Burnley deals has gone – Andrea Radrizzani: “To put it simply we can say we have spent around £19/20 million on player transfers. Obviously we didn’t get all the money for Chris Wood but it will be paid by Burnley over three years. We’ve increased the salary wage by about £8 million from last year so I think if you make the calculations we’ve spent much more than what we got for those players.”
- On the what will happen with Pierre-Michel Lasogga scenario – Victor Orta: “They are in a special situation. Pierre, he is happy in Leeds and now his family grows in Leeds with a new child. I think it is a situation we can discuss and can be a possibility. With his quality we are obviously evaluating this possibility. Pierre is showing his quality. I never doubted him because he’s a quality, top player. Now he is established, he knows more the league, he knows more his team-mates and he’s started to play with confidence.“
- On the possibility of players leaving should promotion not be achieved – Victor Orta: “We’ve already renewed the contract of Jansson. We are really keen to keep these players in the squad. But, for example, with Chris Wood if the desire is really hard (on leaving) then it’s difficult to manage the squad. If they have the economical desire to play in the Premier League and they’re pushing you it’s difficult. All the players who want to play at Leeds United will stay at Leeds United.” Andrea Radrizzani: “I would like to add that the club was seen before as a transaction period for the players where they would stay for one or two years then leave. I feel now the players understand how big the club is.”
- On what’s next for Elland Road and Leeds United – Angus Kinnear: “In the short term we’ll look to invest to improve the match day experience. The second strand is looking longer term to build a stadium that is fit for the Premier League. In the last 10 years I think there’s been a disconnect between the city and the club.”
Credit [for quotations used]– Joe Urquhart – Yorkshire Evening Post – original article here