Kevin Blackwell has claimed he is the only manager that has got Leeds United “anywhere near” returning to the Premier League and his comments have been met by uproar from many fans of the Yorkshire club.
Blackwell spent two years in charge of the Whites, having joined following their relegation to the Championship in 2004.
The 61-year-old coach nearly took them back up in 2006 but saw his side lose 3-0 to Watford in the play-off final.
He was sacked following a bad start to the 2006/07 season, a decision that would later see him locked in a legal battle with Ken Bates.
With the Whites top of the table ahead of the resumption of the Championship later this month, Blackwell has discussed their promotion hopes in an interview with Sky Sports.
He said: “I think them and West Brom definitely are in the driving seat.
“But with nine games to go there’s a lot of points to play for. How will the lay-off affect teams when they come back? A team who wasn’t doing so well prior to the lay-off might come back and have a great run, it’s like a new season in many ways, it’s a three-month lay-off.
“For Leeds to get back to the Premier League, there’s no doubt I’m the only one who’s got them anywhere near, the Premier League for Leeds is the Holy Grail they’ve been after now for the last 13, 14 years.”
Blackwell added: “No one has a right to be there but a club that deserves to be there is Leeds. It’s an unbelievable football club, set-up, supporters and everything, it’s all geared for the Premier League but they have to earn the right.
“In the back of their minds they will know they’ve slipped over quite a few seasons in this last run-in. That’s why these games have to be played, I don’t think you can do it on a points per game [basis], it’s alright looking at that going backwards but going forwards Leeds have never been a great finisher of a season.”
Blackwell will likely know a thing or two about finishing the season poorly with the Whites as in 2005/06 season, his side won just once in their last 10 games – a run that would ensure they had no chance of securing an automatic promotion place.
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The former manager’s comments have caused uproar amongst the Elland Road faithful, with many Whites supporters taking to Twitter to voice their frustration.
Read their reaction here:
Near what, bankruptcy?
— DG 🦆 (@ellandduck) June 2, 2020
Blackwell never sat right with me even when we got to the final. Poisoned our club further
— 🇬🇧Paul Brace 🇬🇧 (@paulbrace66) June 2, 2020
Awful manager, awful football, couldn’t wait to see back of him! #lufc
— Chris Gates (@GatesyChris) June 2, 2020
Was clueless and woefully out of his depth.
— Cheadle guy (@CheadleWhite) June 2, 2020
Yet another in a long line of poor managers who are still making a living from being in charge of Leeds United
— ALAW61💙💛 (@alaw61) June 2, 2020
Well out of his depth at Leeds. I remember Jermaine Wright scoring after about 20 seconds in a game which we went on to lose and in his post match interview Blackwell said it was a disadvantage to score early as the other team are then more attack minded 🤷♂️🤷♂️
— Steve Knight (@steveknight71) June 2, 2020
He’d know all about slipping at the end of the season.
— Liam Gray 👨🏭👨🔧(on loan at Borussia Dortmund) (@li4mlufc) June 2, 2020
I sat with him in the dug out before a Reading away game when my lads were mascots, he was like a rabbit in headlights, totally out of his depth and with no gravity on what a task he had in front of him.
— Brian McKinna (@brian_mckinna) June 2, 2020