Leeds United Celebrates Victory in ‘Battle of the Lamppost’   –   by Rob Atkinson

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Cellino – winner or loser?

As Leeds United, this famous old, formerly successful, football club continues its laboured progress through one of the bleakest periods of its long and illustrious history, owner Massimo Cellino is jubilant today over a notable victory of historic proportions.

Forget promotion, forget League titles and cup final triumphs. Forget rampaging through Europe as the best team around. Cellino has redefined the word “victory” for United and its long-suffering fans. For he has just taken on a small group of those fans and has emerged a big, big winner. Leeds United, under Cellino’s courageous leadership, has accomplished the unprecedented feat of forcing the removal of a poster from a lamppost. These days, for Leeds, it really doesn’t get any bigger or better than that.

Of course, some disaffected malcontents will carp and criticise. Cellino should have ignored the poster, they will say. He should have kept his own counsel and denied the oxygen of publicity to a rabble of ungrateful fans who are  unreasonably demanding that United should be a proper football club again. Cellino, in taking this brave action, has merely drawn attentions to the grievances of a small group of activists, probably no more than 30,000 or so. This is what critics might claim.

But Cellino knows that he has secured a famous victory, and that his literally dozens of faithful acolytes will be thrilled at his success. “They shunt of bothered with that poster”, a pro-Cellino spokesman exulted yesterday. “Its defiantly been a wrong move from people what don’t have a clue how much Massimo has done for Leeds pacifically and football in general”.

The leaders of the Cellino Out campaign were unrepentant, however. “There are other campaigns being planned”, this blog was assured. “Just listen for the voice of the fans and watch for a blizzard of leaflets when we play Middlesbrough on Sky next Monday…”

Readers are cordially invited to submit their own opinion as to who, if anyone, has emerged victorious from The Battle of the Lamppost.

Leeds Fans’ Cellino Out Campaign Gathering Momentum – by Rob Atkinson

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Cellino – what is he up to?

Mounting unrest among the unblinkered majority of the Leeds United support is seeing the pressure grow on maverick owner Massimo Cellino to pack up and ship out. After talk of an aeroplane fly-past during the Nottingham Forest home game, the object being to trail a suitably discouraging message to the Cellino regime across the sky, the more mundane method of posters on lamp-post billboards outside Elland Road has garnered media attention in the last 24 hours. For this, all possible credit is due to the people at WACCOE.com, a site I’ve had issues with over the past couple of years – but they’ve undeniably played a blinder here. Given Liverpool fans’ recent success in bringing their owners to heel, someone had to take up the baton for Leeds – nice one, WACCOE. It’s an unerring shot that has hit its mark, alright – when local reporter Adam Pope contacted the beleaguered Italian, who is still under the threat of Football League sanctions, to put him on the spot over the poster’s “Time to go” message, Cellino’s texted reply was “I agree !!!!”

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Message from WACCOE for Mr. Cellino

It would be easy and yet probably incautious to read into all of this that the Cellino Out movement is heading towards a successful endgame. It should, after all, be remembered – especially in the context of the owner’s surprisingly frank text to Mr. Pope – that the old maxim of “believe nothing until it has been officially denied” has particular relevance where the King of Corn is concerned. What he says and what he does tend to be wildly differing matters, and predicting his behaviour from one day to the next could lead the most canny gambler to ruin in short order. But the increasing visibility of the fans’ discontent, the fact that Steve Parkin has recently realised over £10m worth of assets into cash – and the whole mood around the club after yet another dreadful anti-climax of a transfer window, with the additional important factor of dreadful performances on the pitch – all of these factors combine towards a growing feeling that the wind of change is blowing in sharp gusts in the LS11 locality.

The next few weeks could see matters clarify themselves somewhat, both on and off the park. There is still talk that the quality of the squad might be improved via the loan market – a possibility which may not be totally unrelated to Mr. Parkin’s newly-enhanced liquidity – and, unusually for Leeds, the club is still in the FA Cup at the 5th round stage, giving some temporary meaning to an otherwise moribund season. With a high profile home match against promotion contenders Middlesbrough to come, live on Sky TV after a last-minute rearrangement which represents many fans’ only area of agreement with an angry Cellino, it could be that events on the field will either add to or detract from the intensity of the pressure being experienced by il Duce at the moment, and possibly in a decisive manner. The cruel reality is that success for United in Cup or League over the next month or so could come at the price of a bounceback factor for a man most of us would rather see bounce away. On the other hand, the bitter pills of a cup exit and continued poor form in the league could come with a sweetener in the shape of self-imposed exile for football’s nuttiest owner. 

It’s a sad indictment of the nature of Cellino’s reign that circumstantial evidence is usually a better guide to his intentions than the word of the man himself. For all practical purposes, we can dismiss his probably tongue-in-cheek text to Adam Pope as yet another example of his casual attitude towards communication with the fans – and the truth in general. But other signs would seem to indicate that dark clouds are gathering for a storm which may yet blow Massimo, his family and his notorious yacht Nélie back over the sea to Florida and away from football to a quieter, less notorious life.

That, ultimately, would be the best result for all concerned.

Birthday Boy Strachan’s Crucial Rocket for Leeds United Against Leicester – by Rob Atkinson

"Have you ever seen a better goal?  Have you ever seen one better timed??" John Helm, YTV

“Have you ever seen a better goal? Have you ever seen one better timed??” John Helm, YTV

On the occasion of Gordon Strachan’s 59th birthday – and by the way, many happy returns, Sir – I thought I’d look back to what was possibly his defining moment as the man who did more than just about anyone to reinvent Leeds as a post-Revie force in English football.

It had been a long time coming since Don’s Glory Boys dispersed to pastures new and a Golden Era faded into the dim haze of memory. We had been eight years in the second division doldrums and had almost forgotten what it was like to be a top team. But – finally! – it looked as though the nightmare was ending as Sergeant Wilko and Captain Strachan were set to lead United back to the Promised Land at long last. A home fixture against Leicester City was the penultimate hurdle to overcome, and expectations were soaring at Elland Road.

Twelve days before the Leicester game, United had appeared to strike a decisive blow, battering closest rivals Sheffield United 4-0 at Elland Road. But any hope that promotion could be clinched early was dashed over the next two fixtures, a draw at Brighton where the lead was squandered to sacrifice two points, and then a home defeat to a relegation-threatened Barnsley who even then had the ability to put one over on us with an inferior team. So the nerves were jangling for this home date with the Foxes.

Leicester breezed into town with no pressure on them at all as they bobbed about serenely in mid-table, but Leeds just had to win. A victory could possibly clinch promotion; anything else and we would be relying on others to give us that final leg-up – not an attractive prospect. The atmosphere at Elland Road that day was something to behold as 32597 packed the stands and terraces, the Kop a seething mass of bodies, a solid wall of sound. If the weight of support counted for anything, then it seemed Leicester might just as well turn around and go home – but to their eternal credit they fought the good fight and played their part in a memorable afternoon.

It all started well. Leeds pressed hard – this had been their preferred approach all season long. No opponent was allowed the luxury of untroubled possession as Leeds snapped at ankles and harried the enemy, hungry for the ball and well able to use it productively. At their best, United had proved a match for any team in the Division; as ever though it was the off days that had let us down. On this particular occasion, attacking the Kop End in the first half, the forward momentum seemed irresistible. Before long, the overlapping Mel Sterland fastened on to a ball at the right corner of the penalty area and fired low and hard into the net to open the scoring. The overwhelming relief was as evident as the unconfined joy around the packed stadium; surely now United would go on to consolidate their advantage and seal the promotion we’d wanted for so long.

Frustratingly, it was not to be. Despite further pressure, Leeds failed to make another breakthrough before half-time and Leicester – relaxed and pressure-free – were looking more and more ominously like potential party-poopers. These fears solidified in the second half as the away side pressed an increasingly nervous Leeds back, and eventually – inevitably – they drew level. The blow when it came was struck by a rumoured transfer target for Leeds, promising young Scot Gary McAllister. He proved that he packed some punch by belting a fine strike past veteran Mervyn Day to shock the Kop rigid and momentarily silence Elland Road.

Worse was so nearly to follow as McAllister almost did it again, another superb shot coming within an ace of giving Leicester the lead, something which would doubtless have produced the unedifying spectacle of grown men crying in their thousands. It may well be that McAllister sealed his move to Leeds with this performance and those two efforts, but I could have seen him far enough from LS11 that day. Leeds were rocking, looking at each other, scratching heads and clenching fists in the time-honoured “come on, let’s bloody sort this out” gesture. Slowly, by sheer force of will, the lads in White regained the initiative and it looked at least as though the danger of further damage was receding. The football was still nerve-shredding stuff, all urgency and little fluency, a desperate battle to eke out the extra two points that would make promotion so much more likely.

Time was ebbing away fast now, as Leeds hurled themselves time and again into the defensive barrier of red Leicester away shirts. Panic was setting in, the biggest enemy of constructive football. It was looking like a draw, which would not be enough. Then, a throw halfway inside the Leicester half in front of the West Stand, under the eyes of a bleakly worried Wilko. Sterland gathered himself and hurled a massively long throw deep into the away penalty area, only for it to be headed out from around the near post. McAllister attempted to complete the clearance with an overhead effort to get rid, but the ball hit Gordon Strachan to bounce back into the box. And there was Gary Speed to lay that ball back instantly to the still-lurking Strachan who simply lashed it, left-footed, into the net. The ball had gone in like a bullet; Strachan – too tired to control it and try to work a yard of space to dink one of those cute little far-post crosses as he might normally – settled instead for catching the ball right on the sweet spot and it arrowed home to a positive explosion of noise from all around Elland Road – the sudden release of what had been unbearable tension produced a massive roar to buffet the ear drums of innocent bystanders miles away.

It was one of those occasions when several things seem to happen at once. The crowd behind the goal at the South Stand end seemed to boil with passion and relief, a maelstrom of delighted celebration which was echoed across the whole stadium. Strachan himself ran to the byline, face contorted, weary limbs pumping in triumphant exultation as he took the plaudits of the faithful. A lone copper is visible on the TV footage between Strach and the cavorting hordes, a grin on his face as he moves to quell any ambitious pitch-invaders. In the commentary box, John Helm unwittingly propelled himself into immortality, not for the last time that afternoon. “Have you ever seen a better goal?” he demanded. “And have you ever seen one better timed?” It was a good question, and right then, right there, I doubt you’d have found a Leeds fan to answer “yes” to either part of it. The rest was a blur; Leeds held out, and we had won – and seemingly gained promotion. Rumours were flying around that Newcastle had failed to win, sending us up. But John Helm was at it again, more iconic words: “Is that confirmed…?” When the confirmation arrived, it was of a late Toon win; we still had it all to do at Bournemouth the following week. But Strachan’s late cracker had kept us in a race that we were ultimately destined to win.

My final memory of that day is of walking down off the Kop and onto the pitch as the masses there were starting to disperse. We crossed the hallowed turf from goal-line to goal-line, eventually exiting the ground into Elland Road at the south-west corner, where the big screen now stands. I can still remember the heady scent of stud-holed mud and trodden turf, my head was still buzzing as I walked over the spot where wee Gordon had made that perfect half-volley contact to send us all into delirium. It had been an atmosphere the like of which I have rarely seen before or since, only the mayhem at Bramall Lane when Gayle scored that own-goal title-clincher coming anywhere near, or maybe that ankle-busting semi-riot of a celebration when Dave Batty broke his long goal drought against Man City in 1991.

For the sheer relief of it however – the absolute nerve-shredding, tension-breaking release of it – this was definitely THE one. Without Strachan’s sublime strike, we could well have missed out on automatic promotion, and we all know only too well that there’s a law against us succeeding in the play-offs. Gordon’s Golden Goal had kept the dream alive and made possible all that followed up to the League Championship triumph two years later. Make no mistake – it was THAT important.

Thanks, wee man, for the brilliant memories. Have a brilliant birthday.

FA Rule K – What’s Going On? #lufc

Reblogged from a blogger who has an eye on the timescale for Cellino’s latest appeal…

realrj80

Dear fellow sufferers,

The purpose of this note is not to speculate on the actual outcome of Cellino’s pending FA  Rule K appeal (and I do not encourage this either) but simply to get an idea as to when Leeds United Fans can expect to hear about (or see movement as a consequence of) a resolution to the appeal. Nothing more.
For this note, I’ll need your patience. Admittedly, it’s pretty dry – that’s the law folk – it ain’t exciting despite what John Grisham led you to believe.

We are all probably frustrated by the apparent lack of progress over Cellino’s FA Rule K appeal, or indeed the lack of communication from the relevant movers in this procedure, not surprising as we are but commodities (see my previous dispatches) and fair play to Liverpool fans at the weekend, demonstrating collective backbone.

As Leeds United fans are aware, the outcome of the…

View original post 674 more words

Ref Anthony Taylor Reaps Rewards of Incompetent Leeds TV Display   –   by Rob Atkinson

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Anthony Taylor, TV Star

Since a performance of appalling ineptitude in the televised Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United clash last month in the Championship, referee Anthony Taylor has become a bit of a TV star. The fact that Taylor’s most embarrassing mess-up at Hillsborough was to the detriment of the Whites may not be totally unrelated to his subsequent prolonged spell in the limelight.

United manager Steve Evans was understandably incandescent with rage after Taylor contrived to allow a set piece to proceed while Wednesday’s Fernando Forestieri was making his snail-paced way off the pitch, having been substituted. Leeds, two down at the time, scored a perfectly good goal which was initially awarded and then sheepishly chalked off by Taylor. Evans described the bumbling official as fit only for an Under-9s league and it was easy to understand his frustration. It was a case of extremely inept match management that arguably denied Leeds a deserved route back into a fixture they were actually dominating – albeit from a losing position. 

Since then, it seems that Taylor has been on our screens more often than the ubiquitous and even more annoying Katie Hopkins. And this after the kind of cock-up that might have been expected to see him relegated to League Two fixtures on the  rainiest, bleakest midweek evenings. Could it be that such discomfiture heaped on Leeds United, never exactly the establishment’s favourite club, caused more chortling than concern in the corridors of power? Might it perhaps have amused certain Leeds-hating gentlemen in grey suits and influential positions, to the point where they felt it appropriate to rub some salt into an open wound?

It’s easy if not exactly appetising to imagine the violent shade of puce which must disfigure Steve Evans’ face every time he sees Taylor on his TV set. As manager of Leeds United, though, he can expect to have his blood pressure raised by instances of callous disregard and blatant micky-taking by the game’s rulers. It goes with the territory. 

Still, it’s odd in the extreme that Taylor should have become quite such a small-screen idol after such a very humiliating faux pas. In other circumstances, he would surely have experienced the wrath of his superiors. But, it was Leeds – did that make the difference?

Taylor’s latest centre-stage appearance was in yesterday’s Tale of Two Cities clash between Manchester‘s finest and surprise package Leicester at the Etihad. A plum fixture, to be sure – one that any referee would covet, let alone a man so recently exposed as a bumbling incompetent. During proceedings, we were told by the commentators that Taylor had taken a brief break from his busy TV schedule to attend a UEFA course. It seems that our favourite ref will be seeing much more action in Champions League matches next season. The mind boggles. Let’s hope he’s learned the rudiments of match control by then. 

Call me paranoid if you wish. But remember – there’s nothing like people getting at you, or your favourite team, for 50 years or so, to engender a feeling that the world’s against you. Anthony Taylor’s unlikely late season stint in the spotlight is persuasive evidence that, for Leeds United, this is still very much the case. 

Cellino Content to Delay Leeds Promotion Charge Until 2016b – by Rob Atkinson

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Leeds owner Cellino, racking his brains

Leeds United owner and all-round-the-bend football nutter Massimo Cellino has confirmed he is content to put back his original target of Premier League football by at least one year, predicting that – despite the evident failure to meet his original target of 2016 – promotion can be achieved by 2016b.

The Italian – so famous for being “one topping short of a pizza” that it’s rumoured he has settled on Barking as his London residence of choice – is a controversial figure for United fans, and has sharply divided opinion among a support whose fanaticism and loyalty are legendary in the game. His crazy insistence on his superstitious whims being given free rein throughout the football club – the programme for our 17th home league game against Nottingham Forest later today will be numbered 16b – is just one manifestation of an owner who puts his own ego first and foremost. It’s stupid and it’s embarrassing but, because Massimo wants it that way, that’s the way it shall be – while the rest of football looks on and laughs at us.

The schism between pro-Cellino supporters and those who want rid of the so-called King of Corn appears to be based broadly upon intellect, or the lack thereof. The more gullible, hard-of-thinking and easily-deluded tend towards a fierce but irrational devotion to Cellino, whereas those fans capable of thinking for themselves (or indeed at all) are largely anti. The Cellino supporters habitually use phrases such as “I would never of thought Evans would be a good manger but to all intensive purposes he’s defiantly doing a job”, whereas those opposed to the Italian are generally able to use their own native language to better effect.

Faced with this bafflingly obdurate (and frequently hostile/aggressive) ignorance, the more rational and thoughtful Leeds fan will doubtless wonder gloomily how Galileo Galilei must have felt when persecuted by those who still believed, against all scientific evidence, that the Earth was the centre of creation. Sadly, we are currently stuck with an owner who seems to hold much the same view about himself – and he’s supported by an uncritical minority who simply can’t seem to see or understand how ridiculous the situation has become.

This grey matter divide in the Whites support is clearly discernible in various Facebook groups, where feelings run high when the less capable “Cellino in” brigade feel themselves out-thought and out-manoeuvred – then resorting to profanity and censorship as their most effective means of coping. In the interests of clarity and transparency, Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything frankly acknowledges that it was initially a vocal supporter of Cellino, but thankfully reason and common-sense prevailed. This blog believes that any rational Leeds United fan will weigh-up the evidence, as we have done, and conclude that the Italian is an overwhelmingly negative factor in the club’s quest even to regain a measure of credibility, let alone return to the top-flight. In this, we are supported by the forthright views of ex-United star and erudite football legend Johnny Giles, who believes Leeds will never prosper under such maverick and irrational control.

We’re right with our former midfield maestro – the best manager United never had, let it be remembered – in maintaining that Leeds must be rid of Cellino if we are to have any real chance of once again becoming a proper football club. If the current situation persists, it’ll be closer to 2116b than 2016b before we once again witness top-level football at Elland Road, which is an almost laughably tragic state of affairs.

Those who persist in their ill-conceived support for a man in Cellino, who has made a laughing stock of a once-great club, are now merely part of the problem. It is down to those of us who can see how bad things really are to leave il Duce in no doubt that he’s not required around LS11 any more. Not by anyone with a proper brain in their head, anyway.

 

More Details of That Elland Road Flypast Revealed   –   by Rob Atkinson

 
More details are now available of the proposed “fly past” apparently arranged by a small group of around 30,000 anti-Cellino Leeds United fans for the home fixture against Nottingham Forest this coming weekend.

It would appear, from the illustrative picture that we have been sent, that the protest will use an aircraft the livery of which is calculated to get under il Duce‘s skin. Massimo Cellino is notoriously superstitious, with a particular aversion for the colour purple, the number 17 and adequate investment into the football clubs unfortunate enough to come under his ownership. These are details that have not escaped protest organisers, who have settled on the design pictured. The basic purple colour and the number 17 will be clearly visible from Elland Road, although Cellino himself is unlikely to be present. 

A separate group of up to a dozen Leeds fans have voiced their objections to the planned protest, saying that it is “silly” and the work of “silly people who are too silly to see how Cellino has saved Leeds United nearly as often as Ken Bates did”. To show their opposition to the protest flypast, these pro-Cellino fans will wear specially made blinkers featuring the Italian flag. Pointy hats with a capital D will also figure. “The D stands for Duce”, said a pro-Cellino spokesman, proudly. “Or at least it was something like that…”

 

A pro-Cellino supporter, yesterday

One-time ‘world’s best’ and latterday laughing-stock Leeds United (aged 97) has had enough – and wishes to become a football club again. 

Leeds United’s Deadline Day Advice to Their Fans   –   by Rob Atkinson

 
Following on from last year’s ill-conceived advice not to go to bed yet, Leeds United are making it clear nice and early that it’s OK for sleepy fans to head up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire, as absolutely nothing of note is likely to happen at Elland Road in terms of slumber-depriving incoming transfer activity. Our source at Leeds has confirmed that “Is too late to do anything, not even in your dreams, my friend”.

Leeds fans are advised to:

  • Make a nice cup of cocoa
  • Turn Sky’s Deadline Day programme OFF
  • Put some nice clean ‘jamas on
  • Book tickets for the next home game
  • Save up for your pie tax
  • Stay off Twitter
  • Go to bed
  • Sweet dreams of the Emergency Loan window

A party to be held at the Elland Road banqueting suite from 11pm until the wee small hours is billed as the “We Got Away With It AGAIN, You Mugs” Party 2016. Ordinary fans are not invited, as they’ll all be fast asleep.

Massimo Cellino is a liar and a humbug.

Leeds United In Massive Deadline Day Transfer Coup   –   by Rob Atkinson

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The legends of Leeds United – now being betrayed

Following weeks of transfer speculation, with every conceivable name bandied about in terms of transfer activity both in and out of the club, Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything can reveal the identity of the player involved in the Whites’ biggest coup of the transfer window.

The man concerned is Lewis Cook, United’s foremost young talent, who has revealed in the past few days that he will “still be at the club next week”. And this, more than any possible piece of transfer business on the last day of yet another frustrating window of recruitment opportunity, will represent Leeds’ major achievement in terms of their under-equipped squad.

Cook could easily have been sold to any one of several covetous Premier League clubs, for very good money indeed. The apparent fact that he will be staying at Elland Road, there to participate fully in the remainder of yet another season of dire and hopeless mediocrity, will represent the most positive possible outcome for a football giant that is shrinking by the year. And the fact that Leeds themselves seem ready to regard the retention of young talent as the high water mark of their transfer market ambition is a savage indictment of the depths to which the club has now sunk. 

Meanwhile, clubs like Middlesbrough, Derby County and even Bristol City have shown willing to consider the level of investment needed to rise in this dog-eat-dog league. Leeds United, one-time Kings of English Football, show no such resolve. The club as it’s currently run is a betrayal of the golden tradition forged in the sixties and seventies, with a brief revival in the nineties. There is a complacent, decadent air about Cellino‘s Leeds, and nothing short of a major shake-up from the top down seems likely to change that sad situation anytime soon.

But, cheer up – Lewis Cook, subject to any tragic last-minute about-turn, will see out this latest deadline day as a Leeds player, so we will have him to cheer on in the white shirt, perhaps for another season or so. Until he realises, as the likes of Sam Byram have before him, that if his ambition is to match his talent, he will have to seek the fulfilment of both elsewhere. 

Happy deadline day. Maybe there will be a loan or two to mollify us after all the speculation and all the hollow promises. And, let’s not forget, we took over 6,000 to the Macron.

Isn’t life grand?

If Leeds Secure Limbombe and Campbell, Season is Still Alive – by Rob Atkinson

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Fraizer Campbell – loan target for United?

Opinions vary as to exactly what kind of surgery is needed on this Leeds United squad. Football managers, pundits and supporters will always differ on such thorny issues; it’s debates like these which add a lot of interest to football, outside of the actual 90 or so minutes of play. On behalf of Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything, and with only hours of the transfer window remaining, all I can do is offer my own humble take on the matter.

By common consent, someone is needed up front to share the goal-scoring burden with the likes of Wood, Doukara and Antenucci. The most likely candidate for this role could be Fraizer Campbell, a striker who has already been around a bit at the age of 28, and whose star has fallen somewhat since a highly promising start to his career.  That decline, though, has largely coincided with Campbell’s efforts to perform in the Premier League – his displays at Championship level have been much more fruitful, with a goals return bordering on the prolific. He’s also the kind of sinuous player who could complement the more agricultural approach of Wood, for instance. He would certainly be an asset up front for Leeds, adding something we just don’t have to our current options. It’s rumoured that Leeds have already approached his club, Crystal Palace with a loan deal for Campbell the objective.

While many feel that there are also problems in central defence as well as a vacancy for a “number 10” type of creative attacker, I would say that a higher priority is to provide a more reliable winger to balance out the contribution of Stuart Dallas. Young Belgian wide man Anthony Limbombe of NEC in the Dutch Eredivisie was a United target in the summer, and is now significantly nearer the end of his deal at NEC – and unsettled to boot. A move for this lad could paper over the cracks of Jordan Boutaka‘s less than successful spell at Elland Road; Limbombe’s pedigree appears, on the face of it, to be higher-class.

The Leeds defence will steady, I feel, once Sol Bamba shakes off his current poor form – and with the added protection now offered by the likes of Toumani Diagouraga in front of the back line. With the addition of Campbell and/or Limbombe, the attacking options should allow for enough juggling to allow for added creativity and a better scoring record over the remainder of the season.

Failing these moves, or some equivalent transfer activity – and our continued involvement in the FA Cup notwithstanding – I feel this season will taper off into another disappointingly mediocre campaign. But the addition of new blood could spark a late-season surge that might at least keep things interesting.

As ever, I would welcome the views of readers on a matter where any fan will have a heartfelt opinion.