It’s hardly the most surprising news you will read all season, but Leeds United have sacked Dave Hockaday after just six games in charge.
The former Forest Green Rovers manager was a shock appointment when he was named as Brian McDermott’s successor in the summer, and it has proved to be a disastrous move for the Elland Road club. A 4-1 defeat at Watford at the weekend means the Whites have lost three of their four league games this term, leaving them 21st in the Championship table.
Indeed, speculation was rife after this loss at Vicarage Road that Massimo Cellino, the club’s owner, had already decided to sack Hockaday. However, whilst the controversial Italian admitted this shortly afterwards, he also revealed that he having given the matter more consideration, he would give the 56-year-old more time to turn things around.
However, the League Cup defeat at Yorkshire rivals Bradford City was the final straw. Despite taking an 82nd minute lead at Valley Parade when Matt Smith scored, Leeds conspired to throw the tie away within the space of the next four minutes when the League One scored twice to record a memorable victory and signal the end of Hockaday’s short reign.
“I’d like to thank David for his efforts over the last two and a half months,” Cellino said on Thursday evening. “But the results since the start of the season have meant we needed to act and make this decision. After the defeat at Bradford I realised that my decision to keep David at the club following the defeat at Watford was wrong, and I had to change my mind on the coach’s position. As a club we will now begin our search for a new head coach.”
The decision to sack Hockaday comes just days after he vowed to deliver Cellino’s desire to return the club to the Champions League. Speaking on Tuesday, he said: “This guy wants Leeds to be in the Champions League, he does. I believe over time that will happen. I think it’s inevitable. The timescale I don’t know, I want to be part of that journey, a big part of that journey. I am going to fight tooth and nail to be here for as long as I can.”
Despite these ambitious claims, the only inevitably, sadly for Hockaday, was that his time at Elland Road would be brief. His assistant, Junior Lewis, has also lost his job and Neil Redfearn will lead the team against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon whilst Cellino seeks a permanent replacement; a task, you feel, which will be far from easy.
Leeds fans, who do you want to replace Hockaday? And what are your expectations for the rest of the season? Let us know what you think by joining in the discussion below!