No matter when it was actually done — two months ago, according to Jesse Marsh — there was a sobering tone to parts of Andrea Radrizzani’s recent interview in Italy. Leeds United need more money, He told Corriere della Sera on Boxing Day. To discover next-level football, they need a next-level investment. And this money will not come from him.
It can hardly be hard to read the news that cash is king in Premier League – And it wasn’t just a bolt from the blue to learn that, in his words, Radrizzani was near the ‘end of the cycle’ at Leeds – but what better way to sum up the year the club have had than to say this change might be a good thing? Ownership in football is the never-ending game, and one that few can fully crack. Radrizzani is about to telegraph his exit.
Some systems, of course, have the money to fly farther than others – in certain cases they are systems or thereabouts. Figure A was Manchester citywon handily at Elland Road last Wednesday, and Show B was it Newcastle Unitedhosts Leeds on Saturday and a team that thrives on Saudi money.
Nobody pretends that 49ers Enterprises, the group waiting in the wings to buy Radrizzani, plan to throw the fortune of an oil-rich nation down Elland Road but passing the baton should be Leeds’ next move, the next piece of progress, a stronger bet in the future.
Newcastle is Newcastle, St James’ Park is the same as ever, The Strawberry pub down the road is full of the same drinkers who’ve always been there, but it would have been impossible to visit without thinking about the poison that hit the stadium the last time Leeds visited in September 2021. The story was Then to Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley, two men who have no allies on Tyneside, but life has changed in the North East and so has the mood.
Following Newcastle’s visit to Elland Road in January 2022, at a time when they looked like pariahs, Eddie Howe’s side scored 68 points from 34 games, including one in a grueling draw with Leeds on New Year’s Eve. Leeds had 32 points in that period and the fact that they had played one game less hardly changes the discrepancy at all. Only one of these parties is happy to see the end of 2022.
They are, at their core, two teams that want the same thing: competitive power that comes close to matching the size of their fan bases, the size of their stadiums and their perceived place in the English football hierarchy. Getting Newcastle there faster isn’t just about the money. Howe has his team on strings and his players seem very happy with them. He won the public’s approval in a way that Bruce didn’t.
There is now an executive framework at St James’ Park, a suitable structure. But financially, they’ve moved up a transfer bracket over Leeds, the transfer class Leeds need to get home. Ashley will try to keep the peace by dumping the stranger on the locals Joe Willock. Now Newcastle could slash more than 60 million pounds ($72 million) Alexander Isaac. This, more often than not, is how new eras begin to spring into place, and how momentum emerges.
And as Radrizzani said, it’s not that Leeds in their current state can’t grow a little more than they are now. It is simply that more growth is of limited value and will not free them from the cycle of trying not to wallow in peril season after season. They averaged less than 1 point per game in 2022. 2023 begins with a home game against West Ham Which Leeds can’t spray on the wall. However, a point at St James’ Park may be precious to them, provided a good score at Tyneside is not allowed to sit in solitude.
What happened at Newcastle was the definition of drain, in a monsoon damp that cracked non-stop from the first minute. Nobody in Marsh’s camp was arguing with the outcome—least of all. Newcastle were not happy about it and felt the short change showed in the scrimmage he started Callum Wilsonpressing on Ilan Mesler In injury time, it became clear that the hosts’ great chances were over them and the Leeds defense would hold.
on the day when everton He went to Manchester City and beat the odds, and it was Marsh’s duty to do the same and keep up the table.
Tyler Adams He made the difference in midfield Marsh, who had returned from suspension, was on hand to stick to the foot and prevent Newcastle from making their way unopposed. Mesler made key saves and Newcastle wasted some excellent chances as the first half went through even into a second that was completely dominated by Howe’s side. Increasingly, Leeds looked for the kind of smash-and-grab game that arrived when Rodrigo Get away Matthews Klitsch Unmarked on his left, only to have his passes poorly crossed.
“In the first half, we played very well,” said Marsh. “Second half, they decide to play straight and then it becomes about momentum and energy. It was about bending, not breaking and overall I thought we did it very well.”
Bending, not breaking, was the case with Leeds in 2022, coming perilously close to the brink in May before finding a way out of relegation and surviving to fight another day. The danger hasn’t gone away, and it’s been noticeable this season that Marsh’s natural exuberance and optimism have turned more and more into comments about the stresses of the job he’s at – stress that’s easy enough to see and hard enough to envy.
As a club, Leeds have outlived a lot in the year behind them, and that must be the wish as they enter 2023 – for something to change course again and look less like a waiting pattern.
(Top photo by George Wood/Getty Images)