I’m going to keep this short and sour, because it’s late and I’m tired – and more than a little naffed-off after yet another day when Leeds United appears to have done its level best to give itself a good old kicking in the gonads. Whatever the ins and outs – assistant coach suspended after playing his part in a recent recovery, leading goalscorer marginalised for fear of him (horror of horrors) scoring more goals for his club, head coach bemused and disillusioned and considering his exit strategies – the net effect is simple and unambiguous. This is just not good enough. It absolutely will not do. Leeds United is a world-renowned football institution of proud history and immense reputation, with a loyal and fanatical global following – it deserves better. We deserve better – all of us.
Today is one of those days when the little flame of hope and optimism you’ve been warmed by recently flickers and blows out, leaving you cold and in the dark. It’s a day when you realise that the current incarnation of Leeds United is a sick joke. I won’t even say soap opera or farce, as per the title above – because no-one would have the brass neck to write it. It’d get laughed off stage or screen and the author carted off to the funny farm to wear a back-to-front jacket and take his ease in a comfily-padded cell. The thing about sick jokes is that they’re frequently just not funny. Such is the case – as far as Whites fans are concerned – with their beloved Leeds. The rest of football, though, will be chortling happily away, bad cess to them.
This latest experiment has failed. It’s time for the owner and his confused, confusing little band to back off and let someone else have a go. I say this with a heavy heart as someone who has backed Cellino as he fought against the Football League, an organisation I despise for hypocrites and buffoons. It was a case of “mine enemy’s enemy is my friend” – but there’s a limit. We had the humiliating succession of failed coaching appointments in the early part of the season. That was enough to stretch anyone’s loyalty. But still, many of us stayed loyal, wanting to believe in an anti-establishment maverick. At his best, Cellino just seemed so Leeds. He seemed to “get” the whole United thing. But it was a false dawn that has heralded a succession of depressing and soul-destroying days – the latest of which we have just winced and cringed our way through. It’s time to try yet another new direction.
The long-running Russell Crowe story has refused to go away and, it has to be said, the flames have been fanned more than somewhat by the man himself. Some raise doubts about his financial clout, but few seem to doubt his Leeds-supporting credentials – and what we need now more than ever is a fan in high places. And Crowe can attract financial muscle, as witness his involvement with the oddly-named Rabbitohs RL club in Australia. Crowe has the global profile; if he can carry along with him someone of sufficient wealth, then for goodness’ sake, let’s move on and give him a chance. How much better could we really do, given the current bleakly depressing state of affairs?
Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything is not ashamed to reassess its attitude towards the current regime at Leeds United. We’re being held up as a laughing-stock and that is simply intolerable. So let’s get behind the concept of change, not for change’s sake, but with a view to getting a real fan on board, someone who feels the pain and hungers for glory. Someone as impatient and pissed off as we are. Someone like Russell Crowe, and such minted partners as he may well be able to muster – and the newly-formalised fans group LLP. Why not? Leeds United remains an incredible opportunity for the right person or group of people. It’s the last true sleeping giant. It’s iconic and oozing potential.
Let’s do this – let’s unleash hell – before we all end up there.