Leeds United have had real discipline issues this season and it was an area where Paul Heckingbottom promised to improve following his arrival at the club.
From Samu Saiz’s spitting saga in the FA Cup to Gaetano Berardi’s alleged headbutt against Bristol City, the manager, be it Heckingbottom or Thomas Christiansen before him, have had far too many incidents to deal with.
On the face of it, blame lies at the door of the players – they are the ones getting themselves sent off at the end of the day – but there also need to be questions asked over the quality of leadership at Elland Road.
For the Whites, that comes down to the manager and his captain, with Liam Cooper the one entrusted this season to act as the representative for the players both on the pitch and in the dressing room.
The problem is, Cooper has been a big part of the problem.
The 26-year-old has six yellow cards and two red cards under his belt this season, and when you are wearing the captain’s armband, there must be a much higher sense of discipline.
In what has been a bitterly disappointing season for the club, the defensive stalwart has tried to rally the supporters behind him and the team, releasing an impassioned call to arms to continue the support into next season.
Speaking on the club’s official website, he said: “The relationship with our supporters is special and I’m proud to be their captain.
“It’s an honour to play for a club like this, let alone wear the arm band, but the feeling you get when you come out the tunnel and hear a full Elland Road is another level.”
Unfortunately for Cooper, he is likely to have his heart broken by Heckingbottom, for there are far better options in the camp to be taking over as captain.
The likes of Adam Forshaw and Pontus Jansson have both shown their colours out on the pitch and are well backed by fans, but it could be another, perhaps a new signing, who takes the responsibility.
What seems almost certain is that Cooper will not be leading the troops out at Elland Road come next season.
In other Leeds United news, this under-fire duo will be having the last laugh at Elland Road.