Snodgrass the latest Leeds United captain to abandon ship?
BY Lee Hicken
Image by howsonisnow.com
Leeds United captain Robert Snodgrass has reignited speculation he could be about to leave Elland Road in an interview with the Scotsman. Will Snodgrass be the latest star player to leave Leeds United and what does that mean for the fans and current manager Neil Warnock?
The fact that Snodgrass has openly spoken out against chairman Ken Bates, should set alarm bells ringing for even the most placid of fans. The influential winger is quoted in the Scotsman as saying
“The chairman is trying to put a bit of pressure on me, he’s telling me what plans he has got for the club. But they told me the same type of plans the season before and it didn’t work out. So it’s hard to buy into these things again.”
Snodgrass is of course referring to the events of the past year where amongst other things, club captain Johnny Howson followed player of the year Max Gradel out of the exit door. Despite the continued player sales, the club and Bates piled the pressure on former manager Simon Grayson to get the club promoted and it came as no surprise when the manager’s services were ‘dispensed with’ in February, one day after the close of the transfer window and the club 3 points off the playoffs. Since last summer the club has also seen significant demonstrations against the board and direction of the club, another court case, a drop in average attendances and a drop in league position from 7th to 14th.
Snodgrass will not be short on offers should he decide to explore pastures new, aside from Norwich (of course) rumours of Premiership interest have followed the talented Scotland international for the past couple of years. His 13 league goals last year was his best return yet for Leeds, only eclipsed by another player who may be on the way out of Elland Road, Ross McCormack.
If Snodgrass does leave Elland Road it will ask further questions of the ambition of the club and the question may in fact be asked directly by manager Neil Warnock. The United boss is trying to rebuild the Leeds United squad this summer and losing his captain and player he ‘wanted to build a team around’ would be a significant blow to his plans. Warnock had previously promised to allow Snodgrass to move to the premiership if United are not challenging for promotion. Snodgrass is not paying much attention to that though –
“He’s already said he won’t be sticking around as manager for much longer. Who knows whether he’s got one or two more years left at Leeds? If it’s one year, and I don’t sign the contract, then I’ll be free next year. If I do sign, I’d have another year left and be in the same situation I am now.
“It’s alright for him to say he could get me a move, but if he leaves, then the people up above him in the football club are not going to worry about what he said. My future doesn’t lie in the hands of Neil Warnock, it’s in the hands of Robert Snodgrass.”
It all makes for depressing reading for Leeds fans, a captain looking like he may leave, a manager here for the short term and a massive gap between the club’s board and groups of supporters is not really the summer Leeds fans had looked forward to.
It feels like the club are approaching a crossroads this summer and the quotes from Snograss will intensify the pressure on the current regime at the club. Will the board change the strategy of recent years and focus investment and show ambition on the pitch? Will the fans accept another star player leaving the club? Will Neil Warnock stay around this summer if he can’t sign the players he wants and loses the players he wants to keep? As we all know life is never straight forward at Leeds United and it seems like this summer will be no different.