International Break is as Important for Leeds as it is for England – by Rob Atkinson

....or divided we fall

….or divided we shall most certainly fall

It’s no exaggeration to say that the next couple of weeks might very well make or break Leeds United’s season.  It’s as serious as that.  Not for any reasons of points or league placings, but to nip in the bud the deadly, creeping disease of apathy that can seize hold of a club’s supporter base and throttle all hope out of it.  Don’t get me wrong; the international break is clearly important for England too.  But all they have to do is win a couple of games at Wembley, with everything going for them and the cream of the country’s talent (such as it is) at their disposal.  Easy peasy.  Leeds United have no such simple task.  Leeds United must somehow conjure up a whole new philosophy, advance further down the road of securing significant investment and cheer up a moribund fan-base to the point where they can inspire the team again, instead of reducing it to nervy inefficiency.  No pressure, then.

Conflicting noises have come out of Elland Road this last week or so.  First we’re told that new players are on their way, but the existing squad should have won in the most hostile of Lions’ Dens.  Then there were glad tidings of “investment to take us to the next level”, but with the same breath we were told it was hard to secure such investment and that promotion was “a harsh target”.  Neither was the tantalising concept of “the next level” defined.  The next level of what?  Angry Birds?  Surely, they couldn’t have meant the next level up the league ladders, better known as the Premier League.  That is, after all, a harsh target. None of these pronouncements have come from the football side of the club, though you might be forgiven for thinking they had, what with learned opinions being offered about the capabilities of the existing squad vis-a-vis Millwall.  So confusion reigns, and the sickly stench of discouragement and resignation begins to drift among the fans in their expensive seats.  If promotion is a harsh target, they muse, aren’t these seat prices slightly harsh then?  What are we being invited to hope for, and at premium prices too?

Maybe, a mere two weeks hence, things will look better.  Perhaps, after we’ve sat and watched England cruise to qualification for Brazil 2014, we can turn our attentions back to Leeds United in a more positive frame of mind.  Will we have new faces to slot into our supporters’ team formations and post on Twitter? (Do I go traditional 4-4-2 or should I stick with the diamond? What about wing backs either side of a three in defence, eh? Hmmmm. Complicated, ain’t it.)  A couple of new faces could do a lot for morale out here, among all the armchair coaches and strategists, not to mention the galvanising effect on the team and its performances under the man who matters, Mr McDermott. And maybe there’ll be rumours of money coming into the club. There certainly should be, we’ve rarely been without them this past two years.  Rumours we have aplenty; pounds sterling, dollars or even shekels have been in somewhat shorter supply.  But you never know.  There’s no football for Leeds United for two long weeks. Surely something will happen in that time.  Perhaps even … something wonderful??

It’s to be hoped so.  The present mood out here is not positive, and the people responsible for those conflicting statements – and for what amounts to defeatist talk, dammit all – must hold their hands up for that.  If nothing else happens in the next fortnight while England’s millionaire playboys are poncing about at Wembley, it would at least be nice to see a more unified Leeds United emerge at the end of that time, singing the same song, or at least avoiding such excruciating discords.  A couple of high-class loans would do us all the power of good and maybe – just maybe – we could then go Marching On Together into the January market with a bit more hope than seems likely right now.  After all, we’re all Leeds, aren’t we?  Of course we bloody are. Fingers crossed it stays that way.


16 responses to “International Break is as Important for Leeds as it is for England – by Rob Atkinson

  1. The only moribund fan is yourself. The rest of us are realistic.


  2. Our reaction to losing at against Burnley and Newcastle could be construed as defeatist or exaggerated due to long term built up frustration but not our reaction to the last two defeats…..

    The reason fans are panicking is that we don’t seem to have a plan B, we started the season with a defensive team but now the opposition have figured us out, the players heads have dropped and the team selections have started to become bizarre… When your losing badly and your team looks like its impotent it begs the question why are we leaving the likes EHD to rot…. up until team selection became a glaring issue I was with BM…. but WE DO have players who can play better than this and we should be using a formation to suit all of them not just Ross McCormack. Diouf, Byram, Mowatt, Murphy and RMC are our best attacking players….so ffsakes use them !


    • I think you are spot in Alex. Something is wrong, badly wrong with the side. BM is struggling, but I believe that it is because he has failed to bring the players in that he needs. At least a couple of wingers and another striker. If nothing changes soon, then things will remain as they always have been for a team heading in the wrong direction!


  3. Phil Allen

    After 40 years of following Leeds I have made a decision ! Don´t worry , be happy. There is more to life than getting annoyed about a bunch of sleeked Arabs and so – called professional players, who earn more in a week than most people earn in a year.


  4. living in holland rob,it`s not always possible to get to every match,i try to fit in 5-6 games a season,this situation we find ourselves in will not stop me spending hard earned money (that i don`t always have!!!)to come once again in november!leeds is my life,like yours.people see the result and say “why do you bother” i never reply.we have to stick together and stay positive,what else can we do??come on guys KEEP THE FAITH!!!


  5. White Rhinos

    Never has a headline summed up the wider picture so accurately, this surely has to be timely relief that affords us (all connected with Leeds United), a “get out of jail” card?
    This period of “inactivity” could be season defining;
    Couple of new faces in
    A fitness boost to those that need it
    New ideas on the Thorpe Arch pitch
    Chance to reflect

    The season will well and truly start for owner, manager and players as the next kick off commences. For fans? About ninety minutes later…same mundane business as normal or new dawn?


  6. Nothing will happen in two weeks, nothing ever does at Leeds. They need 3 months to make a cup of tea! The season is defining itself as one of the worst on record and is becoming instantly forgettable. I don’t believe GFH any longer, I don’t have faith in the board. All I have seen over the past six months is stagnation on the playing side. Without funds to strengthen the side we can write this season off. Bet McCormack is gone by January. No way back with this lot in charge. Lust better get their shares and fast!


  7. A few thoughts: (1) The new owners have made a rod for their own back by talking too much from the beginning – if your haven’t got the money keep shtum would be my advice; (2) The best and perhaps only way forward is the route of self-sufficiency, ie, maximising the young talent we have at the club. This may seem risky, but the seemingly safer route of playing the odd one, in my view, will fail. (In short, the only way is the Revie/O’Leary way: the Wilko route is not now an option);. (3) Radio Leeds is creating an unnecessarily gloomy atmosphere around the club by its incessant concern with ‘new signings’ and claims of fan restlessness whenever there is a setback. Thank goodness for the two week’s break – we all need it !


    • Irving, the club needs to communicate with us. What we need is the truth, we don’t need promises, we need action. Action speaks louder than words! I don’t think we should play the youngsters, unless we want to end up in league one! The answer has got to be to play the right players first of all. People like Diouf and Byram. It seems that we still need a good CB as the defence is very shaky and often out of position. We need to play the youngster, but when the time is right, not put them under pressure. But, we still need wingers and a CF. I think however that GFH and BM have left it so late that we won’t get anyone half decent. Season over for me!!


      • Chareose

        Agree David but to be fair Irving has a point….. At some stage we will have nothing to lose but to play more of the kids and I have to say im really not sure how they can do much worse than the current first team. You say League 1 but we look like a league 2 side at the moment…


      • Irving08

        As you say, David, actions speak louder than words. What more truth do you need to know ? Villa haven’t ended up in League 1 and they plumped for playing a few youngsters (in the process offloading Warnock on us). My hunch is that 20,000 thousand fans could live with a season in which we blooded our young talent, leavened with a few good senior players – plus a goalscorer. Derby appear to be taking that route and they have retained much of their support. My sense is that younger players – if they do have talent – often feel the pressure less than those who have been through the wringer too many times. It is is true of many other walks of life too. It requires courage though to go down this route and the backing of a confident owner (or owners) – perhaps a youngish Manager too.


  8. i keep saying the same as some on here get diouf,poleon,white,mowatt in regular get rid of austin,warnock,tonge,hunt,varney seems has wasted money on wootton &murphy could have had burke& waghorn


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