Amidst a frenzy of activity, the bookmakers suspended betting on who would replace the axed Neil Warnock as Leeds United manager last week.

Brian McDermott, the former Championship title-winning manager of Reading, had emerged as a front-runner in the wake of Warnock’s departure; a third straight defeat in the league had left Leeds perilously close to the relegation zone.

After originally being the favourite, McDermott’s odds drifted slightly as other contenders came to the fore, including ex-Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo, one-time club captain Dominic Matteo, and former Burnley and Bolton boss Owen Coyle.

However, after eleven days of rumour and speculation, the Yorkshire giants unveiled 52-year-old McDermott as manager of Leeds United on a three-year contract. The first managerial appointment new owner GFH Capital has had to make since taking over the club in December.

As the former Royals boss was introduced, David Haigh, of GFH, and Shaun Harvey, Leeds’ chief executive, described McDermott as a man who shared the club’s aims of achieving sustainable development both on and off the pitch, with his experience of a multitude of roles in an eleven-year stint at Reading being invaluable.

Of the task ahead, McDermott said he and and his former Reading assistant, Nigel Gibbs, were hungry and confident in their ability to succeed in taking Leeds back to the top flight, one game at a time.

While most fans welcomed the appointment of McDermott after becoming increasing disillusioned with life under Warnock, others believed it betrayed a lack of ambition on behalf of the board, with some preferring the idea of the club waiting until the summer to appoint a replacement, and many favouring the idea of tempting Gus Poyet from Brighton – although this was always an unlikely scenario given the fact the Uruguayan is locked into his job by a £2.5M buyout clause.

In McDermott, Leeds have made a realistic management choice.

After his dismissal from Reading in March, which was seen in many quarters as unfair, McDermott has a point to prove and, with his former employers likely to be relegated from the Premier League, will relish a showdown against the Royals next season.

He has promotion-winning experience after building Reading up over three successive seasons, achieving the feat on a shoestring budget, through a mix of shrewd signings from the lower leagues, promoting youth and getting the best out of average players.

The former Arsenal man is a thinking man’s manager, not afraid to experiment with tactics and formations to get results, a change from Warnock’s direct style of play, mockingly referred to as "hoof ball" by Leeds fans.

But most important of all will be how McDermott works with Leeds’ budding youngsters. The club have always been known as more than capable of producing homegrown talent and an emerging crop of youth players – the Under-18s won the title this season – are already signed up to professional deals.

However, in order for McDermott to succeed, there needs to be a culture shift amongst the team’s fans. Leeds will spend their 10th year outside the Premier League next season and, while the club does not have millions to burn, they are financially solvent, important under the league’s new financial fair play rules.

Since taking over at Elland Road, GFH Capital has fulfilled all its pledges, to introduce half-season tickets, reduce season ticket prices for next season, reduce match day prices for games this campaign, resulting in increased attendances, invest in the playing squad and seek the additional investors to take the club forward that were promised from day one of their tenure, contrary to popular myth on the terraces.

It would be naive for anyone to assume that GFH would not look to sell the club if the price was right and even more naive to assume that the group do not want promotion, as this would be the only way to sell for maximum profit.

Perhaps the most important observation was made by McDermott. No manager likes seeing their top players sold, but if the price is right then no one player is bigger than the club and selling them should not affect the ability of the team to succeed. If Leeds fans do not believe this, they would do well to look at the former Arsenal midfielder’s previous club.

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