Tuesday 17 September 2019

Evans reign at Leeds off to dismal start

Leeds United 0 Blackburn Rovers 2

Lewis Cook of Leeds United challenged by Blackburn Rovers' Ben Marshall (Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
Lewis Cook of Leeds United challenged by Blackburn Rovers' Ben Marshall (Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Michael Walker

Gone in 18 seconds. That's all it took for Blackburn to score and for new Leeds manager Steve Evans to have his dream punctured on his first home match in charge. And it got worse.

Evans saw Blackburn score again in the sixth minute. This was no new era, this was humiliating. This was a continuation of the erratic ownership of Massimo Cellino, who made Evans his sixth manager in 18 months 11 days ago. Cellino, facing disqualification as a director due to a tax claim, is notorious for his unpredictability and superstitious nature. Having banned the number ‘17’ from Leeds United, Cellino’s latest ruse is apparently to have installed lemon trees in the Elland Road reception for good luck.

Without a home win since early March, Cellino’s Leeds have made it easy to be cynical, to mock.

Even their own fans join in. There were under 20,000 of them here: when the club left the Premier League, in 2004, Leeds averaged 37,000. Half a tribe lost in just over a decade of mismanagement and farce. The dissatisfaction could be measured in their chants.

From “Massimo, it’s time to go” and onto “We’re Leeds United, we’ve all had enough”, a story was told.

On the final whistle there was an outbreak of booing, and there was some anger, but this is a subdued club in a subdued stadium.

Evans must have noted that as he made his way to the dugout shortly before kick-off, without introduction. The new manager of Leeds United was not even accorded a message over the Tannoy. A silent welcome from a depressed ground. And things did not improve. (© Independent News Service)

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