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.