Phil Hay has insisted he can’t see Leeds United appointing a manager just to keep them up this season.
The Lowdown: Long-term planning is necessary
When Leeds sacked Marcelo Bielsa last season, they were in a very similar situation in that they just needed to ensure safety before building again in the summer, but having failed to substantially improve under Jesse Marsch, they find themselves in another worrying position.
Given that the Marsch experiment failed to work for Victor Orta, it would be natural that some people think a stopgap manager until the end of the season could well be the safest option for Leeds.
However, that doesn’t appear to be the thinking from inside the Leeds boardroom, as they want to hire someone who can ensure they not only stay up, but help progress the team forward in their style of play for seasons to come.
The Latest: Leeds not looking for a stopgap
Hay has claimed on The Phil Hay Show that a sort of ‘firefighter’ manager that specialises in relegation battles can be ruled out of the running to be the next Leeds manager.
He said: “They have to nail this appointment. The way Leeds will look at this, I don’t expect them to go for a firefighter; I just don’t think it’s in their nature to appoint anybody like that.
“I think, even with Marsch, the onus was on him to keep them up last season, but they wanted him to carry them forward from there, and that’s exactly what they’ll want again – somebody who will sort this season out and bring it to heel, but then somebody who can start to build some form of project that hopefully has more legs in it that Marsch’s.”
The Verdict: Orta must get this appointment correct
It appears clear that Leeds are indeed not purely interested in a relegation specialist judging by the names they’ve been linked with, as candidates such as Carlos Corberan and Ange Postecoglou have both managed to turn their current clubs’ fortunes around and make them forces to be reckoned with.
While it would be very difficult to get either of those men out of their respective jobs – with Corberan only a few months into his stint with West Brom and Postecoglou on course to secure a second successive SPFL title – it will be reassuring that Leeds are planning for the future as well as here and now by actively looking to progress the club amid the imminent takeover which continues to loom large.
Whoever Orta turns to, however, must be the right appointment, as Leeds’ Premier League status is once again under threat. It could be logically argued that a stopgap successor to Marsch would limit the squad in terms of their growth should they survive the drop, so it is certainly bold to take a long-term gamble on the next manager to come in at Elland Road.