MOT View: Grayson reveals duo Leeds failed to sign, Bates made mistake
Before Marcelo Bielsa, there is no questioning that Simon Grayson was one of the more-successful managers at Leeds United in recent times.
Beating Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford and earning promotion to the Championship, Grayson nearly went all the way to the Premier League during his reign in West Yorkshire.
Leeds sat in the top two of the Championship after beating Queens Park Rangers 2-0 in 2010, but failed to make any big-name signings in the January window – something that saw us fall away in the second half of the campaign.
The Athletic journalist, Dominic Fifield, revealed after sitting down with Grayson that Ken Bates failed to sanction moves for two proven defenders at the time where Leeds were well on their way to the Premier League.
“He maintains even now that he would have taken them back into the Premier League in 2011 had Bates pushed the boat out to secure either Gareth McAuley or Kaspars Gorkss, available for around £300,000, at mid-season.”
Bates was never celebrated at Elland Road, but that could have all been forgotten about should he have brought in one of the two defenders mentioned above, who were phenomenal Championship players at that time.
McAuley recently retired and finished his career with 189 appearances in the Championship – something which could have made all the difference at a time where our attack was unstoppable.
Now with Bielsa in charge, the Whites currently have the best defence in Europe’s top-five divisions and the football league – credit to Andrea Radrizzani and his more positive outlook on recruitment.
Given how vital a strong defence is in the Championship, the valuable experience and expertise that both McAuley and Gorkss held could have seen Leeds back in the Premier League at the start of this decade.
Grayson is right to believe he could have guided us back to the top-flight and has just uncovered yet another mistake that Bates made whilst in charge of the club.
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