Leeds United Fans Savouring the Unfamiliar Taste of Optimism – by Rob Atkinson


Andrea

After the owner from Hell – is Andrea Radrizzani Heaven-sent?

The usual pre-season mood around Leeds United over the past few years has been an unlovely mixture of frustration and pessimism, both usually to be justified by subsequent events. Squad investment, the close-season preoccupation of the serious promotion contenders, was noticeable only by its relative absence down at Elland Road. Pre-season programmes were put together hurriedly if at all, the club more often than not being engaged in the search for another doomed occupant of the United managerial hot-seat. The fans looked on aghast, as the recipe for mediocrity was written anew each season before their horrified eyes. It was depressing, it was annoying – it was getting properly boring.

How things have changed since the recent shift of power at the helm of this famous old football club. The new owner, Andrea Radrizzani, seems able and determined to engage with the supporters, impishly keeping us in the loop as he sets about a recruitment spree the like of which we’ve not seen since the second millennium was brand new. All of a sudden, after the thin gruel of recent years, we’re being fed a solid diet of proper signings, players for whom a fee has been demanded, players we’ve had to compete for against other clubs of equal or even higher rank, players of pedigree who should be able to handle the pressure that comes with the famous white United shirt. It’s all most novel and unaccustomed but, by gum, it makes a very welcome change.

Now, Twitter is abuzz with incredulous Leeds fans rapidly running out of fingers to tally up the roster of new additions. The mood is bordering upon happy hysteria all over the vast world of Leeds United social media, fans are getting ecstatically greedy, wanting more presents from Santa Andrea before they’ve even unwrapped the latest quality playmaker with a distant but enthralling Real Madrid connection. It’s heady stuff. Not all United fans are easily pleased, of course. Many, having watched on breathless as the attacking options have multiplied, are urging Radrizzani to make the case for the defence. But you sense that the Italian has it in hand; his responses are urbanely tantalising, but the intent and ambition behind those responses are palpable.

Here is a guy who has no intention of pulling the wool over our eyes, nor yet of leading us up the garden path. His promises have been terse, almost – but then swiftly fulfilled. To say that it’s been refreshing is hopelessly inadequate; single-handedly, Radrizzani has galvanised a massive body of support, with the effect of a powerful stimulant running through the veins of a formerly moribund subject. The followers of sleeping giant Leeds United have been administered a welcome shot in the arm; eyes are sparkling and sinews are stiffened for the challenge ahead. The general mood after so many seasons of “meh” is a decidedly positive “bring it on”.

Stern tests await in the remainder of the pre-season programme and, of course, in the campaign itself. More recruitment is necessary in the defensive third, especially in the likely and regrettable absence of Kyle Bartley, sadly confined to barracks in Swansea. Matthew Pennington‘s season-long loan arrival from Everton won’t be the end of that process, as at least one more experienced head will be required. But you have the feeling in any case that all areas of the club are relishing those tests, ready for the challenge, welcoming the task ahead. The attitude and morale of the whole place is radically different from the gloominess of other pre-seasons, and the old Leeds United fighting spirit seems to be reasserting itself. And not before time, with a historic moment fast approaching.

In two years time, Leeds United FC celebrates its centenary, a watershed in the existence of any football club. Where will we be in the game, when those three numerals tick over? I know what I wish for this great club, and I’m sure thousands upon thousands feel the same way. Let’s celebrate that centenary where we belong, marching on together in the top flight. That fervent hope might just have become a lot nearer being realised.

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18 responses to “Leeds United Fans Savouring the Unfamiliar Taste of Optimism – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Thomas Salmon

    I could not agree with you more Rob.

    However, buying players is one thing winning games is another.

    I am not going to get a headache over it all just yet

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  2. Reality Cheque

    An excellent analysis of “the feel good factor” that has descended on all things Leeds United since our very professional and astute new owner took complete control of the reins at our football club Rob. He is doing the walk, in giant strides, rather than the talk and backward steps of the media circus that preceded him.
    The belief and positivity is already beginning to show itself in long suffering Leeds United fans Rob, as only this morning my therapist spoke about reducing my medication and allowing me out on my own again on match days!! LOL
    It is truly the most exciting and productive close season in many a year and everyone has the added incentive of trying to achieve more than Monk manages to achieve at Middlesboro with his mega millions parachute payment signings.
    Come on TC the futures bright, the future’s White.
    Don Revie will have the broadest smile on his face as he looks down at the re-birth of his Real Madrid model at his beloved football club. We even have a Spanish manager and players now, not just the all white strip!!.

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  3. Hopefully they’ll do it this season, Rob – before it becomes impossible to compete financially with the relegated clubs parachute payments

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  4. Trevor coles

    Great piece rob , for once all us leeds fans are really optimistic for the comming season , never felt this confident for years.

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  5. Agree that everything is going in the right direction, would dearly love Bartley back, but it’s looking unlikely. The defence looked lacking in the last friendly, hope young Pennington settles in quickly, it’s unfortunate that Janson will miss the first three matches. If the new players turn out as good as their videos, we could be in for some great football.Today’s news that Silvestri may be going, gives me concern for the keepers position, with Green already being told he can find another club we are left with a raw youngster (who Oldham declined to loan) and Weidwald who’s record in Germany hardly inspires, admittedly we don’t know the quality playing in front of him.
    As you may remember l thought Silvestri was given a raw deal under Gary Monk, Green came in, and after a few howlers still retained his place, to give him his due played well after. But remember, he was playing behind the divisions best defence, whereas Silvestri had played behind the worst. I don’t think he played any game behind Janson and Barley, l will be sorry to see him go, and fear time will tell it was a mistake.

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  6. Karl Major

    Yes, agreed Rob, I just hope we can be patient when it all starts, new foreign players take time to bed in (usually), the new coach may be surprised by how competitive the English second tier is and results may not flow early on.
    However, the above could be just crap and we will go up in March as we’re so far ahead, fingers crossed.
    MOT

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  7. Rob, I share your positivity. I haven’t looked forward to a new season so much for years… But, currently, I am appreciating women’s football and feeling angry about the ban the FA placed on it in 1921 for, it seems, nasty political reasons. Highly successful women footballers, attracting crowds of 60,000, were raising money to support striking miners and the (then as now) reactionary, sexist FA cut them off at the knees. Nothing in football will be right or fair until the self-seeking, private interests that run the game are sacked.

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  8. Since my Dad took me to watch United in 1947 I have been a supporter – now unfortunately from my armchair. Supporting leeds has always been interesting but their success has always been when led by inspired chairmen – Reynolds and Silver. So far Andrea appears to be inspired and I am sure that success will follow as long as the supporters allow TC time to develop his ideas and all the excellent new players to gel.

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  9. Let’s distinguish the club and the football team. The club is stronger for having a stable owner, a better management structure and owning its own ground. Is the team likely to be stronger in the coming season though ? I have my doubts. The new Manager does not immediately impress as a potential Championship ‘winner’ while the new signings are not obviously better than the players we had already on our books (the Pole possibly excepted). And we have lost two Premier-level players, each occupying problem positions. Personally I think we will do well to match last season’s performance. Naturally I will be delighted to be proved wrong.

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  10. I also view the new season with optimism. I suspect our success will be affected more by TC’s ability to drill the team into one or more successful formations than by the quality of the new imports. Creating a team from disparate individuals has always proved more difficult than people think. I also share IBA’s view of Silvestri. I wish him all the best, and would thank him for his loyalty (despite being talked into becoming one of the Sicknote Six) and his service.

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  11. ROGER AINLEY

    LIKE

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  12. glenn lowe

    hi rob, I have been away so just read your log, everything is looking optimistic and not pessimistic as in the last god knows how many years, just one thing I would love to hear when the players are in the tunnel for our first home game v preston is for the ” strings for Yasmin ” to play over the tannoy, brings back so many great memories of the prem days. you have connections to get to Raz he does listen if he gets a message.Best emotive build up music ever!!. You are the man Rob make it so!!

    Like

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