Respite, Paranoia and ITV – The Good and the Bad of Leeds United’s “Lost Weekend” – by Rob Atkinson


Chiles and Keane – fatal attraction

A lot of Leeds United fans find it very difficult indeed to negotiate a whole weekend without their “fix” of the Whites – no matter what form our heroes currently happen to be in.  Lately, the fare has been quite poor – to the extent that the most recent defeat, a somewhat harsh and narrow affair at home to league leaders Leicester last weekend, was hailed as “refreshing” and “encouraging”.  Clearly, when we’ve drawn a blank again and lost, and yet we seek comfort from this, a break is not a bad idea.  There was no choice in the matter anyway; after our humiliating Cup exit to lowly Rochdale, we were without a game this weekend – so it was a matter of filling the time as best we could.  Leaving aside those unfortunates who would have been dragged out shopping, the options seemed quite clear-cut: discuss the mess and confusion at Elland Road with like-minded sufferers on the internet, or watch other, more progressive teams do battle in the 4th Round.

I’m among the number that quite welcomed a Leeds-free weekend.  There’s definitely something missing, but at least we don’t suffer another loss and the bleak down of depression that follows.  There was also the small matter of continued lack of progress on the TOMA and transfer fronts to chew over and, in the absence of much in the way of information from the suddenly tight-lipped United owners, the various social media platforms were abuzz with debate, with plenty of virtual rocks being flung in the direction of the suits in the boardroom.  That kind of thing certainly fills some time and – given a wide enough circulation – it can prompt some defensive tweets from various of the protagonists.  But it doesn’t do much to cheer up Leeds fans who are starting to suspect that our bright new start is becoming more of a dull old continuation of the same, depressing story.  As things stand, TOMA 2 (or 3, depending on how you count these things) appears to be in doubt, and incoming transfers appear to be a tantalising but remote prospect.  In other words, it’s shaping up to be a January no different from the last few.  Not a happy thought.

So that’s the mixture of respite and paranoia that dominated the mood in which all things Leeds were discussed, argued over and complained about over this lost weekend.  The net effect was negative; we might well have enjoyed some Leeds-free time a little more if other matters were looking up, but they aren’t, so we didn’t.  The main source of diversion from all of this gloom was the FA Cup, which was having somehow to stagger along without us.   The offerings at #LLUUE Towers were limited to good old ITV, as BT Sport is just too kitsch to contemplate.  The best games were reserved for highlights anyway, though I did watch Bournemouth against Liverpool when our Championship fellow-travellers did well against one of the top teams this season, without enjoying much luck.  There was a slightly grisly sideshow too, as Martin Skrtel had to have his head stapled back together at pitch-side.  If they’d have let him bleed a bit, then that godawful Liverpool away shirt might have ended up looking a bit more familiar – but you couldn’t fault the lad’s stoicism.

The real down-side of the ITV coverage is having to endure the burgeoning bromance between Adrian Chiles and Roy Keane.  It should be said that this appears largely to be a one-way love affair, with Chiles clearly smitten with unrequited adoration of the alleged tough-guy Keane.  Royston’s “hard” image seems to be something that all ITV staff are contractually obliged to big up; the references to “ooh, I’ll let you tell Roy that” bespattered the commentary of the match as well as the studio exchanges, during which Roy sat there, trying his best to look appropriately tough.  Adrian does appear to have it bad though, and it must be said that his is not a face designed to show hormonal devotion to its best advantage.  When you look, as Chiles does, like a warning for what may happen if cabbage patch dolls are allowed to breed, the last thing you should be doing is simpering foolishly on camera.  Every time the lens focused on Keane, we were treated to a trademark glower, and Chiles swooned anew.  It was hideously uncomfortable stuff.

Jermaine Pennant

Jermaine Pennant

There’s more of this unedifying spectacle to come, presumably, with Chelsea v Stoke lined up for us later on.  Stoke City have just released former United loanee Jermaine Pennant, so there’s bound to be speculation as to whether we might be making a move for him at some point in the remaining days of the window – or are we all wingered-up now?  In any event, the subject of incoming transfers is likely to remain on the back burner while renewed bids for our skipper of one week, Ross McCormack are still likely from West Ham.  The Hammers seem to have deduced from their 0-9 reverse in the League Cup semi that more firepower is needed, and there are whispers that the next effort to recruit Ross might involve a bid not unadjacent to £5 million.  David Haigh has said that our position was made clear in the summer when we refused to sell despite months of nagging from Middlesbrough.  But £5m is a LOT of money, and the next seven days might be just a little too interesting for comfort – particularly for anyone with a memory for United’s tendency to sell a vital player or two at this time of year.

Any weekend without Leeds United is liable to be less fulfilling than normal, and this one has certainly felt like that – even without the sting of defeat that has become so familiar.  The discontent out here in fan-land, the relative silence from the club, the speculation over Ross and the conflicting stories in the press over whether our saviour might be Italian or simply non-existent – all of this has conspired to make it a respite without much in the way of relaxation or comfort.  Things will get back to something more like normal on Tuesday when we meet Ipswich at Elland Road.  A repeat of the performance against Leicester might yield a better result, particularly if Jimmy Kebe continues his improvement in form and match fitness.  Depending on that result, and on other developments – who knows how things will be looking seven days from now?

Whoever does know – they’re not saying, for the moment.  Tune in again throughout the week, for the very latest on the tragicomic Leeds United soap opera.

28 responses to “Respite, Paranoia and ITV – The Good and the Bad of Leeds United’s “Lost Weekend” – by Rob Atkinson

  1. oldcomrade

    Yes Rob, settled down last night with a couple a bottles of Vino Collapso safe in the knowledge that we had,nt lost, been turned over by the underdog or made to look mugs again. Then the texts started ” i see sharpy scored for Donny then” and “See the wendies turned Rochdale over” and “What ya gunna do when McCormack jumps ship” I just want it all to go away.Having said that, the Vino did take the edge off a bit


  2. halfwit rob

    Fantastic Rob, more incisive and witty comment. You’re definitely the best blogger out there right now; in fact you’re the main reason LUFC fans have any desire to log online these days #LLUUE #hero


    • Wow, thanks – nothing half-witted I can see about that, though modesty forbids I agree without reservation.

      Still – imagine what you could come out with as the full shilling! Scary thought 😉

      It’s good to be King.


  3. I’ve been searching around for snippets also,twitter is about as much use as a w,ham fan at a Scrabble contest. Waccoe/Twitter is a prime example of “Just because you can,doesn’t mean you should”. I don’t think i’ve read such cretinous tripe in a very long time. Needless to say,haigh has popped up this weekend with one or two tweets,none of which explain what the Toma2 delay is though. My life is blighted by thick ignorant twitterers and thick ignorant tories at the minute. If Toma2 isn’t done and dusted before the end of this window,then haigh can shove it up his fat lying tory arse, cos that’ll be the finish for me. Lets hope that cameron,osbourne hague and ids have a successful suicide pact and that Toma2 is over sharpish.


    • You’re grumpier than me Mick!


      • I probably AM grumpier at the minute. Toma2 is like an indiana jones film now,trying to get under before the cave door comes down in a few days time. I’m just preparing myself for the same old shit from haigh and gfh about how “they tried to get it done in time”and “but the emergency loan window is open” blah blah f—ing blah. I want everyone to remember this prolonged takeover and all the “players” who were behind it.


      • It’s up to us fans to keep the pressure on and make sure that no-one forgets.


  4. Compo's Style Guru

    The sad thing is that the present incumbents hard work re: fan engagement over the past 12 months has evaporated in less than a week. Partly due to the paranoia instilled in the fans over the past decade leading to febrile panic attacks if anything isn’t immediate and partly due to the pre christmas claims that the buy out was done and dusted and funds were available. Hopefully Mr Haigh and friends will learn a lesson from this and manage major announcements better in the future. I for one hope they do complete the takeover as in my opinion they do share the same aspirations as us, the fans and are only guilty of trying to tell the fans what they want to hear before it was ‘in the bag’. It has been a dull old weekend without an abject on field debacle to moan about, still, mustn’t grumble eh?


  5. I hear David moyes has promised the scum that he’ll get them to a major European compitition next season , all he has to do now is write the song !!


    • That’s kicking a man when he’s down Mr O – nice one, keep it up 😉

      I’ve also heard that Moyes is promising scum fans that £37m Mata is “the first of many to arrive this year”. It’s a good job we know that ManUre are a club who build the right way and don’t try to buy success, or we might suspect they’re just soullessly going the same route as Chelsea and City, who the scum fans often criticise for buying titles, pointing out that it’s a hollow, plastic way of winning the league.

      After all, we wouldn’t like to think of the Pride of Devon OR their faithful armchair following as hypocrites – would we?

      Leeds United – the Last Champions.


  6. patrick hogan

    Great blog as always Rob and fills an empty weekend. Probably off-subject but if Talksport is to be believed, the TOMA is stalled due to a better offer. If so, there can be no outgoing or incoming transfers as that would affect the net value of the asset (OUR team being described thus?!).

    Swings and roundabouts. Ross can’t go then; nor can McD get anyone in, nor offload Varney et al (unless on loan). So our two (officially on-loan) wingers we’ve acquired will be it. No doubt if this information is anywhere near the mark it will be redundant in a week or so. Still yet another missed (transfer) window of opportunity for our beloved team though.


    • It’s an interesting theory and it’d explain a lot. I’m wary of TalkSPORT’s reliability though – it seems a trashy station to me, preoccupied with putting controversy out there to attract callers. Whatever the case, as you say, yet ANOTHER window looks like slamming shut in our disappointed faces – it’s happened time and time again this past few years. I wonder if they’re already working on the excuses for the next couple of windows??


  7. To Compos style guru, you do gfh a massive service by stating they worked hard on fan pr. It couldn’t have been any worse than the rancid old tw-ts method of club/fan relations for starters. I’m not having any of that building bridges crap from this lot. All that “the past is the past”guff. Really david and salan? So why are you f—ing repeating it then. LUFC is/was just a stepping stone to greater things for these parasites with over inflated egos. You don’t see the boards and owners of the wendies or dog botherers do a lap of honour and they’ve normally got successful relegation fights to celebrate. Yet at the start of the season there they were,milking it for all it was worth,fresh from his arctic “charidee”trek (good god! you never got sick of hearing about that,did you?) david haigh and co,before a ball had even been kicked,building a “special relationship” with the fans. The past isn’t the past,Leeds United are currently like a dog eating its own vomit,it just goes on and on.


  8. TalkSPORT with that ginger twat who hates Leeds. Might ring him tomorrow and ask him how his team got on this weekend! And then ask Scum ‘fans’ who deride Chelski and City for buying titles if they are happy at their club splashing £37M (plus wages £20M+?) on Mata and then offering Shrek a new pay deal worth £65M (!!) over 4 years just to try win the Europa League.


  9. I didn’t enjoy a weekend free of Leeds United. The mrs dragged me off to Ikea and I spent a bloody fortune. I’d sooner spend a fortune watching rubbish football on a Saturday.




  11. string of beads

    Hi Rob,

    As ever I enjoyed reading what you had to say. One thing though, ‘lowly’ Rochdale are near the top of their respective division and lost by one goal to Sheffield Wednesday not six! They are a decent footballing team. Perhaps we could learn a thing a two from them! Keith Hill does seem to have a good record against us, both at Barnsley and Rochdale. I’m from Rochdale but a Leeds fan and have been for many years. As you can imagine, I’ve had quite a bit of ‘stick’ over this! I do hope we can beat Huddersfield as I work there. Otherwise I may have to invest in a pair of noise reducing headphones for the rest of the season!


  12. If they sell Ross McCormack they might as well turn off the lights and lock the doors


  13. Reality Cheque

    Daz King did you happen to see any self assembly executive boxes going cheap at Ikea which would allow any future season ticket revenue to be invested into team strengthening by our new owners??? I thought I’d had a crap day yesterday until I read about yours, thanks for giving us all a lift and helping me to feel quite lucky and blessed by comparison (during the current troubled times we are forced to endure in our beloved ‘fan-land’. MOT


  14. obviously a slow week……..


  15. I wish you hadn’t put that link to paul mcknocker there Rob,it was like seeing miranda hart taking a dump in a bus shelter. You know you’re going to be totally sickened at such a repulsive sight but you can’t stop yourself from taking a fleeting glimpse. He’s down with the kids too, mentioning bands like 10cc and T-Rex. I bet he was in a band called Creme Brulee. What a cock.


    • I’m a bit upset really – thought he was my own personal stalker, but it turns out he’s a bit of an internet tart, annoying every bugger. Closet scum fan and general sad act – not a lot going for him, really.


  16. I wish you hadn’t put that link to paul mcknacker there Rob,it was like seeing miranda hart taking a dump in a bus shelter. You know you’re going to be totally sickened at such a repulsive sight but you can’t stop yourself from taking a fleeting glimpse. He’s down with the kids too, mentioning bands like 10cc and T-Rex. I bet he was in a band called Creme Brulee. What a cock.


    • Sounds like he’s deeply in love with a dead glam rock star too – how sweet!

      “Funny how no matter what I can always go back to your music, and it still sounds so fresh.
      I am going out on the night of the 16th to celebrate my 30th birthday which is on the 17th.
      I will be playing your music all day on the 16th from when I finish my night shift at half 7 in the morning and I will raise a glass to you whilst I celebrate my birthday and remember you were not lucky enough to see 30 but in your short life you have inspired many generations in the 34 yrs since your death and I will always grateful to have a little Marc in my heart through your music, I should have been born before my time I am told,(at least then I could have seen you live)but I don’t care what people say T.REX are like no other band and no other band will be like them.
      At an early age I loved get it on, and my dad got fed up replacing the needle on the single so put the headphones on me with electric warrior and I was hooked.
      Thank you for lighting up the 30 years of my life, a legacy I will pass on to my own children. RIP X”

      Actual tears in my eyes :’) Haven’t laughed as much since Bates got the boot.


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