TO answer a question I have been asked a few times this week: No, I never sent a spy to opposition training sessions!

‘Spygate’ has dominated the football news this week and it is certainly a new one on me.

Naturally, we would send scouts to matches and would reciprocate by leaving tickets on the gate for opposition scouts.

But I had never heard of scouts breaking into training grounds until now!

When Marcelo Bielsa admitted sending a scout to watch Derby train ahead of their Championship match last Friday, I assumed it was a one-off being such a big game at the top of the table.

I think most football people probably had a chuckle and thought nothing more of it.

So it was amazing to see footage from the Leeds manager’s bizarre and unexpected press conference, detailing how he has sent someone to watch a training session of every team they have played this season.

It went on for about an hour, showing in great detail what he had learnt about each side.

He doesn’t think it’s a problem.

Bielsa has managed the Chile national side as well as clubs in Italy, France and his native Argentina and has always assumed every manager spies on opposition training sessions.

Maybe they do in other countries, as Ralph Hasenhuttl has said he did in Germany, but I sympathise with Frank Lampard.

As a manager I wouldn’t have been too happy if I found out my training sessions had been spied on.

Mind you, it would have been easy for someone to have done so in my day, when the club did not have its own training ground.

I often took the team for sessions on Southampton Common and the Sports Centre, where there were always people walking around. Maybe a gentleman from the opposition hired a dog to walk there for the day!

But the main training day would be the Friday before the game and would always be held at The Dell, where the security was good.

It often amuses me to hear so many different formations discussed these days.

But that is probably the sort of thing Leeds have been trying to find out, whether sides are preparing to play with a back three or a four or five etc.

Set-piece routines would also be handy to have prior knowledge of.

In my day the penalty taker would usually take up to 20 penalties against his own goalkeeper at the end of a training session. So if he put it in the same corner each time I that would be good information for a goalkeeper to have.

Marcelo has certainly opened up a new area of the modern game, which I do not think will be acceptable to the FA and the Football League.

But I do not think he or Leeds should be punished. A slap on the wrist would suffice but only because of his honesty and a genuine lack of knowledge.

The worst punishment for the Championship leaders would be a points deduction, but that could go all the way to the High Court.

Let’s see if putting a stop to it changes Leeds’ results! Who knows, maybe some managers will now prepare for games against Leeds pretending to play one way with the proper session behind closed doors!

The more you think and talk about it, the more farcical it sounds, but I’m sure it will be put right.

We have to remember the game is 11 v 11 for 90 minutes and, as our new manager has proved, you don’t necessarily change the players’ ability so much as their approach.

Our team at the moment is working so much harder than before which, in the long run, once the disappointment of being out of the FA Cup goes away, will help us creep up the table.

Full marks to Mr Hasenhuttl so far, the team is working hard and looking like a team that respects him.

He has shown that everyone has to be on their toes with one or two players I’d never heard of have being given a chance. It’s been good to see that players are being rewarded for impressing him on the training pitch.