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Josh Townend: Resurrecting Leeds United

Started on 1 June 2015 by joshleedsfan
Latest Reply on 14 July 2015 by joshleedsfan
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BACK STORY


http://rightinthegarykellys.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/[email protected]

Following a year of angry demonstrations against owner Ken Bates and his seven years of poor leadership, Leeds fans were greeted with rumours at the end of the 2011-12 season that the club appeared to be up for sale, with several potential investors being linked with the club.

After much speculation, the club revealed part way into the 2012-13 season that is was in talks with a "Bahrain Investment Firm". After months of to-ing and fro-ing, anxiety amongst factions of the support over whether or not the deal would be done, a deal was finalised for GFH Capital to take over Leeds United on 21st November 2012.

http://img.thesun.co.uk/aidemitlum/archive/01670/haigh_1670946a.jpg

Despite the dwindling of the club's fortunes by May 2013, Leeds fans looked ahead to the 2013-14 season full of optimism, with the Yorkshire club now being backed by a Middle East investment bank. The optimism was furthered on 1st July, when Crewe Alexandra's central midfielder Luke Murphy joined as the club's first seven-figure signing since Rob Hulse in 2005. The pre-season optimism hit fever pitch on the opening day of the season, as Leeds took on Brighton backed by a 33,000-strong home crowd and gained a 2-1 win, with none other than the £1m man Luke Murphy grabbing a last-minute winner.

http://www.ballandall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/luke-murphy-vs-brighton_n3ay2oms279i1jd3a76lxuzdx.jpg

By January 2014, Leeds were looking solid on the pitch, with fans expectant of a busy transfer window to help the club push on. Little did these fans know what was happening behind the scenes. GFH Capital, through loans to the club had put Leeds United in debt and with no money left to spend. The club was put up for sale and before long, chaos ensued at Elland Road, as eccentric then Cagliari owner and potential investor Massimo Cellino decided to pull the strings before a deal was even done. On the 31st January, manager Brian McDermott had been told he had been sacked. In a state of shock and protest, fans headed to Elland Road to attempt to trap Massimo Cellino and demand answers to the goings on at the club.



As you can tell by the video above, Brian McDermott was reinstated the day after, but stayed away from Elland Road on legal advice, where a Leeds side led by assistant manager Nigel Gibbs hammered local rivals Huddersfield Town 5-1. Following months of public explanations, Leeds fans gradually warmed to Massimo Cellino, who following a few weeks of negotiations and questionable passing of the Football League's 'fit and proper' owner's and director's test on appeal, took over the club on 8th April 2014.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/02/25/article-2567621-1BBB556100000578-578_634x381.jpg

With Leeds' season on the pitch having slipped through their fingers once again, it remained unclear whether or not Brian McDermott would remain in charge with some suggesting Cellino would decide to exercise a power that he is fully certain is his or whether McDermott would tell Cellino where to stick the job following his treatment. However the discussions went, Brian McDermott left the club (unstated whether he was sacked or had resigned) on 31st May 2014.

The month that followed was particularly busy in terms of transfers, with the club having signed no fewer than 15 players in the shape of goalkeepers Marco Silvestri from Chievo and Stuart Taylor from Reading; defenders Giuseppe Bellusci (Catania), Sol Bamba (Palermo on loan), Gaetano Berardi (Sampdoria), Liam Cooper (Chesterfield) and Dario Del Fabro (Cagliari on loan); midfielders Casper Sloth (Aarhus), Tommaso Bianchi (Sassuolo), Zan Benedicic (AC Milan), Adryan (Flamengo on loan), Nicky Ajose (Peterborough) and Granddi N'Goyi (Palermo on loan); and strikers Billy Sharp (Southampton), Mirco Antenucci (Ternana), Brian Montenegro (Nacional (PAR) on loan), Edgar Cani (Catania on loan) and Souleymane Doukara (Catania).

As for who will take the reins for the coming season, that's another matter with the club revealing nothing and most usual sources sworn to silence. All we do know is that with pre-season around the corner, an appointment needs to be made as soon as possible. Watch this space for more...
Good luck!

JOSH TOWNEND


Born in Leeds on 19th February 1975, Josh Townend started his footballing career at Leeds United. He was spotted by then manager Howard Wilkinson in the summer of 1990 at an open trial day, following the club's promotion to the First Division. Following loan spells at Yeovil Town and Burnley, Townend eventually broke into the first team setup at Elland Road in 1995, aged 20. He spent six years with the club and was a part of the side that reached the semi-final of the Champions League in 2001.

After a dispute with David O'Leary regarding the overspending on playing staff, Townend left Leeds to join Tottenham Hotspur, where he'd be joined a year later by Leeds team mate Robbie Keane. A career-threatening knee injury ended Townend's 2002-03 season in January 2003.

Despite months of rehabilitation, Townend struggled to get back into the side and in January 2004, he was sent on loan to Division One outfit Nottingham Forest. He signed on permanently at the end of the season and although he was part of the side that were relegated to League One in 2005, he also captained the side that won promotion back to the Championship in 2008, in the last year pf his contract.

He decided against renewing his contract at Forest, and having spent the whole of the 2008-09 season without a club, Townend signed for conference side Wrexham on a two-year contract. At the end of his contract, Townend retired and has spent the past four years gaining his coaching badges, and has had small part time roles at Farsley FC, Guiseley and FC Halifax Town.
Great choice of team! Good luck :)
1ST JULY 2014

"You might want to drink up before your cuppa goes cold" says my dad. I know what you're thinking, 39 years old and living with my parents. Fact is, I've never been great at relationships and at my age, you either live with your partner or your parents, and as the former is currently non-existent, I live with the latter.

My head is still crammed with thoughts that have been swirling around since yesterday, when my agent rang and said the Leeds vacancy hasn't been closed yet and that this could be an opportunity for me. I've always been confident in my ability, but the question is can I deliver for the club that I've supported for the last 39 years of my life? On my brief return to what was going on around me, I saw off the last of my tea, and headed straight outside, mobile in hand to find out more about who to contact.

I text my agent asking for a number to call/email address to apply to, and within a couple of minutes I get a reply. I'm given the number of Nicola Salerno's PA, who I should ring and who would sort me out with a meeting in the coming days. After a brief exchange, a meeting is set up. I have been invited to Miami on an expenses-paid trip to see Massimo Cellino, his son/business partner Ercole and Nicola Salerno in three days' time. Overcome with excitement, I rush out to the drive to catch my dad before he heads off to work to tell him the good news.

"Dad, you won't believe this but my agent gave me the number for Nicola Salerno's PA"

"And..."

"I rang up and she set me up with an interview in Miami with Cellino and Salerno"

My dad's face instantly lit up. He was the man who encouraged me at an early age to support Leeds United, and was instrumental in getting me started on my playing career at the club.

"That's brilliant, congratulations! We'll head out for some drinks after I've finished work to celebrate, my treat"

"Yeah sure, cheers Dad"

As my dad pulled out of the drive, I ran back into the house unsure whether to punch the air in delight or piss my pants with excitement, so I did both instead although I made sure the damage done by the latter was kept to a minimum.
THE MEETING

"Sorry to bother you, but I swear I recognise you. Are you Josh Townend?" This is the question that brings me instantly out of my daydream, as I stare out of the window at the scenery on my train from Leeds Station to London King's Cross. I notice that the man who asked me the question had cast a few stares at me from the other side of the table, although this was something I had become accustomed to since my retirement, with most people to skeptical to follow up their gazes with a question.

"Indeed I am, nice to meet you" I reply politely, shaking hands with the man.

"Where are you headed?" asks the man.

"London, I have a flight to catch"

"Anywhere nice?"

"America" I reply. With the whole sworn-to-secrecy recruitment policy Leeds United have in place, I didn't want to raise suspicion by specifying that I was heading to Massimo Cellino's city of residence, so I figured that as well as being too broad an answer to draw conclusions from, America was also a place where a fair number of Brits would be jetting off to at this time of year.

With pleasantries exchanged, we get into a football discussion. He turns out to be a really nice guy and we agree to follow each other on Twitter as we go our separate ways. The flight, to put it bluntly, is a pain in the arse. I've never been much of a sleeper on planes, so being sat in a confined space for 12 hours with nothing to do is an absolute ball ache. Alas, my plane finally touches down at Miami International Airport.

I step out of the airport in search of a cab, wondering why the hell, given my considerably greater proximity to the club, could this not have been done at somewhere like Elland Road? Still, I get into a taxi and make my way to the hotel at which I'll be staying and meeting Massimo, Ercole and Nicola. I have a few hours to unwind before I have to get ready for the meeting.

Luckily the meeting is in an air conditioned restaurant inside the hotel, I very much doubt I'd be able to cope in a suit with the temperatures out in the open. I see the three board members approach me exactly on time, 5:30pm. I stand up to shake their hands and after introductions have been exchanged, the interview is underway. Nicola Salerno begins the questioning, aided by his interpreter:

"So Josh, why do you want to manage Leeds United?"

"Where do I start? It's the club I've supported all my life. I spent six happy years here as a player and been a part of some special moments. There's no better feeling in football when the fans get right behind the team home and away, and no one does that better than Leeds fans. Elland Road is a very special football ground and one with a lot of history, I always relished returning at my other teams as I played in the same league as Leeds a few times and I'm dying to relive the feeling of being a part of the team that those fans turn up to see week in, week out"

After a few impressed nods and some note-writing having taken place, Ercole Cellino has the next question:

"If hired, what would your vision be for the long-term future of the club?"

"I know it doesn't sound ambitious, but given the lack of stability in place last year, I believe the inital aim would be to consolidate in a slightly higher end mid-table position this year. The year after, the aim would be playoffs. If we reach the playoffs and win promotion via that route, I'd obviously then look at surviving in the Premier League before building towards loftier ambitions. Failing that- either by way of getting into the playoffs but not winning it or not reaching the playoffs altogether- I'd plan for heavily-fuelled assault on automatic promotion in the third year"

Owner and club president Massimo Cellino has my next question:

"The club- as you may know- has already invested heavily in the playing side, thus finances may be constrained on that front. For a mid-table position, you'll be entrusted with a transfer budget of £150,000 and an excess wage budget of £6000 per week. Is that a budget you feel comfortable working with?"

"As you said, the playing staff has already undergone significant investment. Therefore, I feel I would only make few minor tweaks to the side so the budgets shouldn't be a problem"

Massimo also has my final question:

"Are there any particular philosophies you'd look to incorporate at the club?"

"As you may know, the club's academy is producing some very promising youngsters at the moment, with the likes of Sam Byram and Alex Mowatt being recent success stories. It's on this basis that I would like to encourage youth development, and allow our own young players to mature with us and become a part of the first team"

"Does anyone else have any other questions?" Massimo asks the other two in Italian (I can make it out from my brief knowledge of Spanish which is a very similar language). After a few seconds of silence, Massimo wraps up the interview.

"Right, I think we're done here. Josh we will contact you either way and thanks for being here to see us today"

"It's been a pleasure sir, thank you very much" I get up once again to shake their hands. Shortly after their departure, I pay my bill and head back to my room. I have the next two days to soak up the sun while I can before the long trip back to my rainy Yorkshire abode in Leeds. When I will get my call saying whether or not I've got the job remains to be seen...

THE OFFER


"Maybe, I don't really wanna know, how your garden grows..." Oasis' Live Forever blasts out from my phone once again as I scramble to answer it.

"Hello?"

"Josh Townend?"

"Yes, who's speaking please?"

"It's Peter Lockwood, Liaison Officer at Leeds United. As you may be aware, the directors and the recruitment team have been looking through your recent application and have come to the conclusion that you're the man we want to lead this club forward"

"Oh that's brilliant!"

"Congratulations Mr Townend, would you be interested in taking up the job offer?"

"Yes, absolutely, thank you very much. When do I start?"

"When can you start?"

"Well I have to be in York tomorrow for a family event, but first thing Tuesday morning sounds fine"

"No worries, just go to Thorp Arch, they'll recognise your face and Massimo Cellino will meet you at reception at 9am"

"Ok thank you very much. Cheers, bye"

"Bye now"
Excellent build up mate, interesting to see where this goes :D
1

DAY 1


http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/webimage/1.6355242.1389042883!/image/3962393659.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_620/3962393659.jpg

The size of the complex baffles me. I'm stood in front of the main entrance to Thorp Arch, one of the most advanced facilities in the modern game. I'm about to start a job that I can't wait to get started on but obviously, the excusable nerves are still there.

I wander on to the training ground, pleasantly surprised to see my entire squad there. Having met and shaken with my backroom staff, I'm ready to address the lads.

"Morning lads!" I shout with enthusiasm

"Morning" is the dull reply I'm greeted with.

"Fuck me, who died? Morning lads!"

"Morning" is the more optimistic response I was looking for first time around.

"Right, I think introductions are in order. I am your new gaffer, Josh Townend. I'm not the only new face this year. For my first team and reserves, this is my assistant Steve Thompson, and coach Lee Southernwood who will be coaching ball control and aerobic fitness. As for the youngsters, you have a new head of the academy in Ben Peers and coach Jason Blunt who will be dealing with ball control drills"

My captain Liam Cooper steps forward to speak for the players "Welcome to Leeds United, we're looking forward to playing under you this year"

"Right lads, we've had a few sticky years as you may know, but if we can hit a good mid-table finish- not a bottom half 15/16th placed finish- we can kick on in years to come"

The lads nod in agreement and Sam Byram steps forward "Yeah that sounds achievable boss, I reckon we can have a good steady year this year"

"I think it's time I outlined what else I expect of you all. You play for Leeds United, Yorkshire's biggest club and one of the biggest in the country. With club size comes fan base and a passionate one at that, I expect you to give me, the fans and this club 100% commitment, passion and desire to win. Forget the expectations for the season table-wise, I want you to go out there with a winning mentality week in, week out. Failure to do so and you can consider yourself reserve fodder.

"Youngsters, you are the future of this club and although you may not break into the first-team until your twenties, I expect of you, what I expect of my senior players, I want to see you want to get into the first-team.

"Ok, I've got tactics to sort out for this year and I've got people to see. Thommo will be reporting back to me on how training goes today. 11 v 11, sort yourselves out evenly. Thommo, let's see what this lot's got"

LEEDS LINKED WITH INTER WING-BACK


http://d10.paraguay.com/imagenes-01690000469481100000390/.jpg

Leeds United have been linked with Inter Milan's Paraguayan wing-back Rodrigo Alborno. The 20-year-old left wing-back spent last season on loan at Serie B outit Cittadella, having made 26 appearances for the club.

Alborno has now been deemed surplus to requirements at the San Siro by Roberto Mancini and is seen as the ideal signing for Josh Townend's Leeds side, who like Leeds ides of years gone by, are short of quality at left-back following the departure of Stephen Warnock to Derby County and the Yorkshire side are rumoured to have submitted a bid in contention with Serie C outfit Pavia.
Would be a quality signing that mate
1

BRAZILIAN WINGER COULD BE ELLAND ROAD BOUND


http://www.diarioregional.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/danilo_scs.jpg

According to Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, Leeds United are set to offer a contract to free agent Danilo Bueno who was released by Brazilian Second Division side Sao Caetano recently.

The 30-year-old made 23 appearances for Sao Caetano last year, but has found himself out of favour at Anacleto Campanella in recent weeks and has been rumoured to be on the radar of Leeds United. Reports say he has already been offered a contract and could well be heading to Elland Rod in the not-too-distant future

WILLIAMS SET FOR YORKSHIRE LOAN MOVE


http://www.football-league.co.uk/cms_images/news/george-williams-8x6549-2207121_478x359.jpg

Fulham's young left-winger George Williams looks set to complete a loan move to Leeds United. The 18-year-old is yet to make a competitive appearance for the Cottagers and has been subsequently placed on the loan list by Fulham boss Kit Symonds.

Josh Townend is rumoured to be looking to strengthen his side on the wings, and is said to be looking for someone to play on the left, with the signing of right-winger Danilo Bueno set to be confirmed in the next 48 hours.
Good luck brought us to the team, to accommodate as quickly! They are very interesting, and not to disappoint.
Good luck!
1

PRE-MATCH FIRST GAME


It's weird how everything has come to today. Seems like only yesterday I got a text from my agent about the Leeds job, a month and a bit later and I'm lining up with a coffee in WH Smith at Watford Gap services, on the way to London for Millwall away- our first game of the season.

We get to The Den at one o'clock. Although sat at the front, I let the lads get off first before I follow off, tailing behind Dario Del Fabro. Alex (Davies) and Lee (Southernwood) take the lads out to warm up and train whilst I go through tactics with Thommo (Steve Thompson).

http://footballaway.co.uk/uk/images/stories/jreviews/50_thedenmillwall_1280233127.jpg

When my players get themselves all sat down and kitted up, I get into the dressing room ready to address them, maybe it should be called the addressing room! (Apologies for the poor joke).

"Right lads, what we talked about on day one, I want to see that out there. I want to see you fight for every ball, let them know the Championship's biggest club is in town. Remember the 5-3-2 we worked on- wing-backs, expect to be running because you'll be attacking and defending. We're gonna play some attractive, possession-based football, getting the ball out to the wing-backs and whipping some balls in for the strikers. We're pressing high, giving them little space on the pitch and try to catch them offside if they do get any balls behind us. Obviously, we'll play to the whistle, so you'll work your bollocks off to get the ball back until you hear the whistle. With that in mind my team for today is as follows:

Marco (Silvestri) between the sticks, Sam (Byram) and Rodrigo (Alborno) will play right and left wing-back, Sol (Bamba), Coops (Liam Cooper) and Beppe (Giuseppe Bellusci) at the back Al (Alex Mowatt) will be box-to-box runner in the middle next to our ballsy holding midfielder Rudy (Austin). Cookie (Lewis Cook) you're our playmaker in behind the strikers. Speaking of which, Steve (Morison) you're our target man and Billy (Sharp) you're our main striker, the goal grabber. Stuart (Taylor), Granddi (N'Goyi), Dario (Del Fabro), Tommy White (Tommaso Bianchi), Danilo (Bueno), George (Williams) and Mirco (Antenucci), you're my subs.

Right you already know what's expected of you, now get out there and win it for us"

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