Tag Archives: Luciano Becchio

Leeds Manager Garry Monk Reacts to Rumours Linking Him to Norwich City – by Rob Atkinson

Monk laugh

Garry Monk, just after our question about Norwich, and just before he started rolling on the floor

Leeds United‘s bright young manager Garry Monk has been mentioned speculatively in various parts of the press, regarding a possible move to Norwich City in the near future.

Ever keen to keep our finger on the pulse of the club, Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything put the matter to our manager directly: “Garry, is there any truth in this?”

Sadly, for once our intrepid team has had to admit failure – as Mr. Monk appeared to be experiencing some difficulty in responding coherently to our enquiry. We were able to decipher only a few words amid an otherwise unintelligible mixture of snorts, guffaws and – we regret to report – somewhat ribald laughter. The only phrase we can reliably convey from our conversation with Garry was “Oh, my aching sides”, before he lapsed once again into what we can only describe as amused incoherence – although it’s possible that he may also have said something along the lines of “not after what Becchio told me for (deleted) sake”.

We do feel that, on balance, Mr. Monk’s demeanour was such that any move to Carrow Road could fairly be described as “somewhat unlikely”. We remain determined to obtain a more definitive statement from Garry, when he’s managed to get up off the floor, regain his breath and take life seriously again.

Becchio: Could Love be Sweeter the Second Time Around? – by Rob Atkinson

The Luciano we Remember

The Luciano we Remember

As speculation mounts over just who the man could be that will revive the flagging fortunes of Leeds United in front of goal, one name simply refuses to go away.  Luciano Becchio of blessed memory, our very own Argentinian hit-man, a hard-working and committed striker with a Barça “B” notch on his CV – yet currently a flop at Norwich City, the deal that took him there having gone sour for both clubs.

Leeds emerged from that transaction with Steve Morison and some money. Then Morison went to purgatory in the shape of Millwall and has barely emerged since, despite a return to Elland Road – although he has lately shown some commitment and promise in a lone striker role. The Becchio money has of course long since disappeared on United’s running costs or Ross McContract’s wages – and poor Luca has spent the interim period sliding ungracefully down the pecking order of Norwich’s lengthening roster of strikers.  In his rare league appearances in the not-so-famous canary yellow, he has scored the grand total of zero goals. The form that prompted the Carrow Road lot to go after him was much more prolific as his Leeds career came to an end, but he did not take that form with him to East Anglia.

It is common knowledge that Luciano would be open to a return to Elland Road and, indeed, that he wasn’t all that keen on leaving in the first place. Dark rumours are being whispered abroad that he was forced out; that his availability was hyped-up by the men then in charge, and that poor Luca was but a pawn in the high-stakes finance game being played out in the wake of the GFH takeover. Perhaps it’s true.  So would Becchio be welcomed back to LS11?

Opinions, as ever, are divided.  Some would crawl over broken glass all the way to the wilds of Norfolk and then give the lad a piggy-back ride all the way up to Thorp Arch and pay for the privilege.  Others regard anyone who leaves as several grades down from Judas Iscariot, and would rather kiss a Man U badge than see such a traitor back in the fold.  The truth is out there somewhere, and more than likely it’s in between those two extremes.  There is always a worry about a returning hero; the late, great John Charles failed to relive the magic when he returned, and there have been other second-time flops since.  Isn’t it, perhaps, better to go for a new man, with no ex-Leeds baggage, one who will arrive with a clean slate and an eagerness to win new friends? You’d have thought so, and Signor Cellino prefers to shop elsewhere – but all of his prospects are turning up their noses at Leeds and heading off elsewhere.

Becchio’s failure to hack it in the Premier League during Norwich’s doomed survival fight (some would say that’s a harsh call given his relative lack of opportunities) will not have surprised many.  His game was always about drive and endeavour more than silky skills and fancy flicks or turns.  He would work so hard on his best days, he would go in where angels fear to tread, he would stick his head in where many might shrink from risking a boot.  On his off-days, by contrast, he could be awfully anonymous – subtract effort and commitment from his game and there was not, it seemed, a hell of a lot left.  And yet every now and then he’d produce a sublime finish, as depicted in the image above, that belonged at a much higher level.  His habit of picking on Middlesbrough endeared him to many, and the fact that the Smoggies coveted him as well as McCormack would be reason enough for many to get him back on the payroll.

As things stand, all we really have is a very persistent rumour that the Whites are looking for additional firepower, and soon at that, with the window slamming shut Monday night. Whoever we might get, I hope they’d come with a winger included, so that the whole thing might stand a better chance of working – although the club seem to be banking on Mowatt and Byram to do the wide boy stuff.

If Becchio does appear again in a Leeds United shirt over the next few days, he’ll be doing it because he’s wanted by the boss – Redders has come out and said as much, but was abruptly contradicted by the since-departed il Presidente. On the basis that the pro in the equation wants the lad, I’d cautiously welcome him back, and wish him all the very best as he seeks to resume a United career he should probably never have interrupted.

Chester Friendly to Blood New Leeds Recruits? – by Rob Atkinson

Image

Friendly fixture to give game time to signings?

It’s a slightly odd and faintly unusual thing to do – arrange a friendly fixture right in the middle of the hurly-burly of a busy league campaign and just as the FA Cup starts up for another year (for the big lads of the top two leagues).  The match at Chester’s Swansway Chester Stadium will take place next Tuesday (k.o. 7pm), right in the middle of what would otherwise have been a welcome blank week for the club’s “leg-weary” players.  What could be the motivation for such a match?

Well, it could of course be simply a reserves friendly, an addition to the development squad’s calendar, perhaps top give an opportunity to try out some trialists.  Such things do happen, though they’re normally behind closed doors affairs at Thorp Arch.  Interestingly though, Brian McDermott has been emphatic in the press just lately that he wants to get any incoming transfer business done early in the window, and that he’s confident of board support, despite the fact we’ve heard nothing officially about Football League approval of the mooted Haigh-led takeover.  Perhaps we need a #Pen4Shaun campaign?  Other gossip has seen it opined that Luciano Becchio would be a poor signing as he’d be nowhere near match-fit, having spent his time at Norwich warming the bench.  This Chester game has a whiff of intrigue about it, and I suspect that it’s not unconnected with the possibility of some inward transfer movement over the next couple of days or so.

What the composition of the Leeds team will be next Tuesday night is a matter for speculation.  With Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough waiting for us next weekend, and then Leicester, Brighton and Ipswich coming up in the rest of January, together with possibly a couple more FA Cup games, it’s unlikely that a friendly would call on the services of many of our regulars this season – depending of course on who actually plays at Rochdale in the Cup this weekend.  It’s really all quite intriguing.

I don’t expect to see Thierry Henry in a Leeds shirt at Chester – but there may well be a couple of names in there making their bow for Leeds in an effort to make an early impression.  Billy Sharp?  Luciano Becchio?  Maxi Gradel even?  We’ll have to wait and see – but given the timing of this game, the biggest surprise would be if there were no surprise inclusion at all.

Feliz Cumpleaños a Ti, Luciano Becchio. Por Favor, Vuelve a Leeds Utd! – by Rob Atkinson

Image

Wishing you a Happy Return

As any fule kno, the title means Happy Birthday to you, Luciano – please come back to Leeds United. The birthday wishes are standard; Becchio is 30 today which is a watershed in anyone’s life – and all the more so for a professional footballer, for whom the thirties are old-man, retirement territory.

Naturally, any article which even hints at the possible return of our former hero and regular goalscorer will be pounced upon by those who love to be seen pouring scorn on any such common sense.  Loads of goals, total commitment, rapport with the crowd and unstinting bravery amid the flying boots of a crowded opposition penalty area – these are things that some people simply hate and can’t abide the thought of.  The hostility which ensues whenever anybody suggests that Becchio could still be a Leeds United asset has to be seen to be believed.  There are some angry and immature people out there, and I expect I shall receive some abusive feedback from a few of them.  Who knows, I may even allow the odd one through?

The fact is of course that a Luciano type player is exactly what we need to increase the options for how our team might be set up and deployed.  If El Hombre himself were to arrive as a returning prodigal son, with a quality winger in tow – perhaps the French Ligue 1 might be a good place to look – then so much the better.  It seems obvious to me that we would carry much more of a threat over the course of a game with such a significant augmentation of the options, both in the starting line-up and on the bench.  At our level, with the aspirations we have, you can’t have too many decent Championship players.  Becchio may not have made the grade, quite, at top level – though he’s hardly been given a chance – but in the second tier, he’s proven quality.  What’s more, he would be absolutely champing at the bit.  Post 30 years old, he will hear the clock ticking – and he will wish to make his mark while he can.  Familiar surroundings at Elland Road would most likely bring out the best of Becchio.

Happy 30th birthday, Luci’.  Here’s hoping we see you back to your best in the famous white shirt again soon.  Now bring on those scornful dismissive comments, do your worst.  But please – let me hear from those of you who know what you’re talking about too…

No More Dexter Blackstock for Leeds; Who Next? – by Rob Atkinson

Image

Dexter makes his mark for Leeds

Dexter Blackstock has apparently been ruled out for the season by a knee injury, which is particularly hard luck on the lad himself, but also obviously for Leeds United.  Dex wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea in the white shirt, but as was said in commentary for the Watford game, he did bring something to the team that we hadn’t got before, in terms of work off the ball and his movement, opening up options for others to profit rather than necessarily being a taker of chances himself – although I’m sure that would have come.

But hey-ho, he’s gone back to Forest and there’s no use crying over spilt milk.  The one thing we know for sure about poor old Blackstock is that he’s not an option for the rest of this season – so he therefore disappears from our radar altogether, and we must look forward – and it appears that we may do so whilst jingling a few shekels in our pocket.

The most likely addition to our forward line in January remains, in my opinion, one Señor Becchio.  He’s been here and done it before, and at this level too.  He’d be absolutely champing at the bit and determined to make an impact – I’m sure he’d be effective for Leeds United as the campaign enters its decisive phase.  I emphasise my own opinion here as it seems certain Leeds fans would see Bates ensconced in his old office at Elland Road before they’d accept Luciano back.  This absolutely baffles me – Becchio is a known quantity, he’s familiar with the club and the demands of playing in front of a demanding and somewhat truculent crowd – why on earth wouldn’t we give him a shot, if it really was an option?

Still, what do Brian McDermott OR I know?  I’m just glad that we appear to be of the same opinion, even if we’re wrong.  But what do others think?  I wrote an article a while back saying that the acquisition of Becchio and Gradel in January would guarantee us promotion; I still feel that’s most probably right, too.  But it’s not as if I’d be averse to Ince from Blackpool plus Doyle from Wolves, either – as long as the budget is there, post TOMA III.  What options would anyone else advance or deeply desire?  I’m seeking your views, ladies and gentlemen – please chip in with them below.

How Much Can Leeds Afford? Becchio and Gradel in January Would Seal Promotion – by Rob Atkinson

Image

Gradel & Becchio – dynamic duo

We’ve heard lately about United manager Brian McDermott having “funds” to assist with any player recruitment he might wish to undertake during the forthcoming January transfer window.  It’s a pretty vague word, funds.  Slightly more specific is the reported “seven-figure sum” invested in the past week or so by Managing Director and prospective Tory MP David Haigh.  Again, though, that doesn’t tell us too much, though it is encouraging.  We mustn’t get too giddy though.  We’re no longer living in the days when a paltry million pounds was quite a lot of money.  The one buzz-phrase surprisingly missing from this little shower of clichés is “transfer war chest” – perhaps because what Brian has is not so much of a war chest as a slightly cracked piggy bank.  But don’t be surprised if the phrase “war chest” is wheeled out at some point before the new year.

However much we have, or however little – and it’s important to acknowledge the wisdom of not being too specific as to figures because of the inflationary consequences for asking prices – the real burning questions would be: who do we go for? Who, after all, do we need?  The team is showing clear signs of increased unity and cohesion under Brian’s benign stewardship, and there must be a certain amount of wariness as to the possibility of rocking the boat too hard.  But you can never have enough good players, and for a club with an alarming track record over recent years of getting rid of our best, that maxim has a particular resonance.

Some of those players chucked overboard recently (yes ok, some may possibly have jumped ship) would be welcomed back by many.  But, of those, who would really fit in and add something significant to the existing squad?  I can think of three – and perhaps two of those might be feasible targets in January if – big if – we were to go down the route of welcoming back old boys.  My three would be Snodgrass, Becchio and Gradel. Sadly, Snods is probably beyond us for the moment, although that could and most likely would change in the event of Leeds and Norwich swapping leagues in May (Please, God. Pretty please.)  But the other two could just possibly be realistic targets – depending on exactly how much money there is in that piggy bank.

Believe me, I know how that assertion will be received by some.  I’ll probably get comments about “never go back”, “unrealistic targets”, “wage structure”, “why would he?” and all the rest.  Do save your breath, or your pixels and fonts – I’m aware of all the pitfalls.  But maybe if Leeds are taking the view that – hang on, we might actually have a shot at promotion here – there might be a more ambitious attitude to investment to bring about that promotion.  I believe that the acquisitions of Becchio and Gradel – with Becchio by far the more likely, but let’s dream a little – would pretty much guarantee a play-off place and could even open the door to the top two.  Both would add qualities that we currently just don’t possess.

McCormack has been prolific lately, but he’s a different type of striker to Luciano Becchio – and if Blackstock returns to Forest after his loan spell, we’re still going to need someone as an option for Rossco to play off.  And Becchio is a proven scorer at this level. As for Gradel – just look at those clips of him running at defenders in the white shirt. How bloody sexy is that??  He could do a hell of a lot of damage in this league, and he has a goal in him as well.  French football and French crowds are pretty insipid by English standards – could Mad Max be tempted home if we had the right kind of attractively juicy carrot to dangle before him?  It’s not impossible – though, again, some will say it is.  I wish them joy of their gloomy pessimism and inability to dream.

This is very much a what-if scenario.  I doubt that, in the real world, we’ll be making the level of investment required for such an audacious double swoop.  Becchio on loan, maybe.  The lad is plainly deeply unhappy at Norwich, and would probably walk back to Elland Road given the chance.  Gradel would be the cherry on the icing on the cake.  It’s undeniable that either or both “could do a job”.  Can anybody seriously dispute that?

If Leeds United Don’t Go Up, Let’s Hope Norwich City Go Down – by Rob Atkinson

Image

Hughton – that sinking feeling

Over the last few seasons of Leeds United frustration and mediocrity, one thing at least has become clear.  The quality of the scavengers circling to take advantage of our misery has declined since the start of our fall in 2003.  A decade ago, it was the likes of Tottenham queuing up to take stars and starlets off our hands at a price cut to reflect the desperation of our position.  Latterly though, it’s been little Norwich, a club that shared a common lift-off platform with us as we ascended out of the League One murk.

Norwich started that season with a sobering 7-1 home defeat to Colchester United. They promptly sacked the clueless Bryan Gunn, nicked Colchester’s managerial prodigy Paul Lambert and never looked back.  In the reverse fixture, Norwich won at a canter, went on to win the league and, accompanied by second-placed Leeds, prepared for Championship football.

There, the paths of Leeds and Norwich diverged.  Leeds went the austerity route under not-so-cuddly chairman Ken Bates, failing to invest in the squad and selling off their crown jewels to confirm their status as perennial under-achievers since 2010.  Norwich, on the other hand, seized the second tier by its short and curlies and breezed their way to a second successive promotion, gaining the promised land and munificent riches of the Premier League, unknown to them since the time of Delia’s tired and emotional exhortation to their fans for some sort of atmosphere.  And soon, the plundering of LS11 would start.

After a reasonably comfortable passage in their first season back at top level, Norwich set about planning a consolidation of their elevated status. Strangely, to some eyes, they appeared eager to accomplish this by recruiting – over time – the League One midfield of the club that finished runners-up to them at that level in 2010, Leeds United.  The first import was Bradley Johnson in July of 2011.  This created few ripples at Elland Road, but the next two similar transfers out were bombshells of seismic effect.  First home-grown hero Johnny Howson made the trip to East Anglia, in January 2012.  Howson’s local boy credentials, his untiring efforts in midfield and  his knack of popping up with a vital goal – notably at Carlisle in a play-off semi-final and at home to Bristol Rovers when his equaliser restarted the promotion express – were warmly appreciated by the Elland Road crowd.  Howson was Leeds through and through, and his loss was keenly felt.

Then, in July it got worse still.  Robert Snodgrass was no local boy – but he was the latest in a traditional line of Scottish talent to make a name at Elland Road, following in the illustrious footsteps of Bremner, the Grays, Lorimer, Jordan, Strachan and, erm, George McCluskey.  Snoddy was a real talent – he even left us with fond memories of a League Cup defeat to Liverpool when his treatment of a hapless Reds defender was so disrespectfully contemptuous that the lad had to be taken off with twisted blood.  His goals were regular and spectacular – Snoddy was a 24-carat Leeds hero.

Norwich City fans were catching on by this time to the regular humiliations their club were visiting upon once-mighty Leeds – and they were revelling in it, weren’t they just? Now, any given transfer window brought a barrage of tweets from Canaries fans, with the hashtag LUFC and a mickey-taking 140 characters wondering who the next import from Elland Road would be.  They were making hay while the sun shone and loving it.  Little Norwich in a position to humble former European giants!  It was unprecedented, the stuff of bumpkin wet dreams.  Norwich had hit on a rich seam of transfer success as they picked over the twitching corpse of each successive failed Leeds campaign.  They had become carrion Canaries, feeders off a bigger but seemingly moribund football club.

By last season, things appeared to have reached the stage where Norwich would take a player from Leeds, not because they needed him, but just because they could.  They swooped again in the January window for the disaffected Luciano Becchio, our top scorer, fobbing us off with the ineffectual Steve Morison and an insultingly small cash adjustment. Becchio went on to sink almost without trace at Carrow Road, Morison was a disappointment at Leeds and the whole deal was a failure, of benefit to neither party.  But the Norwich fans crowed anew.

Now we have the crazy and repellent situation where, every time a promising lad emerges at Elland Road, the gallows humorists dive out of the woodwork with increasingly weak jokes about him being destined for Norwich City, or more likely Norwich City reserves. These jokes are feeble and unwelcome – but they have the additional barb of that worrying potential to become “bad taste jokes” – by turning out to be true.  How Leeds fans have wished for a turning of the tables, to get rid of this monkey on our backs.  How we would love, even more, the chance to meet Norwich on equal terms again, our own problems sorted out, and to be able to bring these irritating yokel upstarts to account.

Yesterday, Norwich City – shorn of the injured Snoddy of blessed memory – went to Manchester City, and the Canaries got well and truly stuffed without so much as a tweet of resistance.  7-0 they lost.  It was the kind of score the vidi-printer used to choke on and then confirm in capital letters rather than numbers, for fear its accuracy might otherwise be doubted.  SEVEN NIL.  Some wantonly malicious blogs might even emphasise it in bold. SEVEN NIL.  The Norwich defending would have shamed a primary school eleven, they were hopeless in midfield and utterly punchless up front.  Could there have been a Leeds fan anywhere who saw that result and didn’t experience a frisson of delighted satisfaction?  Not this Leeds fan, that’s for certain.  This Leeds fan and this blog were cock a hoop with mean-spirited glee.

The Germans have a word for it – and as usual it’s a long and clunky one. Schadenfreude. It means delighting in the suffering of others and it’s not something, gentle reader, to which I’m usually prone – you’ll be relieved to hear.  But football is the modern take on the gladiatorial arena, in which you are able to see those you despise suffer, and can relish the fact of it without losing your essential humanity.  Or so I tell myself.  The unvarnished truth is that I want to see Norwich City have a shocking season, culminating in relegation.  I’d love to see us displace them in the top flight, but at a push, meeting them again in the Championship would do – ideally with Snods and maybe Johnny Howson back in white shirts as is only right and decent.  If what goes around really does come around, maybe that might happen.  On yesterday’s evidence of their slaughter at the Etihad, it’s not impossible.

How sweet, how very sweet, that would be.

The answer to the Leeds United goal scoring problem is a proper striker.

Another good read from Michael Green, late of ClarkeOneNil, now back in circulation on Lee Chapman’s Sofa, as it were. This article presents the case for Luciano Becchio of blessed memory as a “proper striker” as opposed to the frontmen we have now. The dissertation on what constitutes a “proper striker” is compelling stuff; Becchio’s scoring rate towards the end of his time at Elland Road certainly begs for his inclusion in that category, yet those goal-scoring instincts don’t appear to have served him well at Naaaaaaarritch Ciddy. And yet I remember that instinctive movement that enabled him to score at the near post against Chelsea last season in the League Cup. In that instant, he looked the real deal, right enough. Perhaps he was just more at home in LS11, and didn’t know it? Now, languishing some way short of the first XI at Carrow Road, complications of wages and transfer fees have cropped up as impediments to his path back to Leeds. It’s all quite frustrating.

I’d have also argued for the “proper striker” candidacy of Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton) – not sure whether he fits the Luciano mould, but he’s such a pest to play against for opposing defenders, and he does seem to have that knack of nipping in for a decisive last touch into the net, certainly when the opposition is Leeds, against whom he always scores. Sadly CMS is sidelined with a serious achilles injury, and at 29 you have to ask whether he’ll be quite the same player again.

Whatever the case, it promises to be an interesting next couple of weeks, with Mr Nooruddin having been smoked out to a certain extent into conceding a ralaxation of the previous “one out, one in” policy that so hamstrung Brian in the recent window proper. Meanwhile as MG suggests, the perfect candidate might just be a frustrated and under-employed Argentinian, just waiting for the chance to come back home to Elland Road. We shall see.

A Day In The Death Of Leeds United

It’s not safe to identify any one day, defeat or disappointment as the nadir of Leeds United’s fortunes just now.  At the moment, takeover and “fresh start” notwithstanding, we appear to be plummeting downhill faster than a greased pig.  Today’s news that top scorer Luciano Becchio has submitted a transfer request is another notable low point – Leeds are making an unfortunate habit of losing their top players in January transfer windows.  And yet, you somehow have that uncomfortable, chill feeling – even as a committed Whites fanatic – that, however bad things may seem, there’s plenty of scope for them to get worse.

Indeed, it’s arguable that things HAVE been worse – much worse – in the fairly recent past, than they are today.  The run-up to the 2007-08 season, the club’s first in the third tier of English football, was catastrophic.  Administration had brought about the unprecedented penalty of a 15 point deduction, leaving the beleaguered giants 5 wins short of zero points as the season started.  But that season turned into a triumph of sorts – promotion was narrowly missed, and the whole points-deduction saga seemed to galvanise the support.  On the pitch, the team delivered, particularly in the early part of the season, and a seemingly irresistible momentum was built up.  Leeds really were United at this lowest ebb in their history.

At present, in some superficial measures, things are better – but in the most fundamental ways, they appear significantly worse.  Obviously, the club now enjoys a higher status within the game – the dark days of League One football are receding into the past, at least for the time being.  There have been high spots too, famous Cup victories and the odd satisfying away performance.  At Elland Road, once a fortress notorious for intimidating opponents, form has been patchy.  And yet Premier League teams have been put to the sword, and generally speaking the team will give anyone a game on their own patch.  The underlying problem today though is more insidious than the acute emergencies immediately post-administration.  It is the creeping cancer of apathy that pervades the club now.

It’s not difficult to see the signs of this.  Read any of the fans’ forums, and a pattern swiftly emerges.  The supporters, by and large, are sick of the way the club has been run over the past few years.  Sick of paying top dollar for a distinctly second-rate product.  Sick of the club’s habitual prevarications over transfer policy, of seeing our best players form a procession out of the exit door, sick to death of seeing lesser clubs easily out-match us for wages and transfer fees, despite the fact that our turnover and potential remain at the top end.

Leeds United, a great name in English football, by any measure, appears to have been run on the cheap for a long time now.  Investment is minimal, the ability to retain promising players practically non-existent.  The supporters’ expectations, born of great days in the past, remain high – and why shouldn’t they be?  But those expectations show no sign of being met, or even approached.  Last summer’s long drawn-out agony of a takeover saga descended too often to the depths of farce, as rumour countered rumour, and we all rode an internet-driven roller-coaster of optimism and despair, over and over again.  But once concluded, that saga has not spawned a legacy of more investment and better club/fan relations.  We appear to be stuck with more of the same; the changes appear to have been purely cosmetic.

On Saturday 12th January, Leeds United played Barnsley away, a fixture that had produced humiliating three-goal thrashings in the previous two seasons.  This time around, it was only a two goal thrashing, but the manner of defeat – the abject failure to muster any real threat up front, and the spectacle of midfield players gazing skywards as the ball whistled to and fro far above them – was too much for the long-suffering band of away fans in Leeds United colours.  They complained, loudly.  They advised the manager to be on his way.  They questioned the fitness of the players to wear the famous shirt.  The supporters feel they are being taken for mugs, and they have had enough.

All this has been true for a while – but for much of the past year, change has been in the air, and it has seemed reasonable to expect that things might be about to get better.  Some of us dared to dream.  But after the final whistle at Barnsley’s Oakwell ground, it seemed all of a sudden quite clear that the options for change had been exhausted, and that the future remains as bleak as it has been at any time since top-flight status was relinquished 9 long years ago.

Some of the fans – not all, but some – feel that there is now no way back for Leeds – not to anywhere approaching the pre-eminence they once enjoyed in the game.  If that’s the case, then the question arises: what is a reasonable aim now?  To gain promotion to the Premier League, and strive to survive?  To become a yo-yo club, with promotion and relegation in successive years, never becoming established in the top-flight?  That might be enough for many clubs, but at Leeds the memories of glory are that bit too vivid for the fans to settle for any such precarious existence, scratching around in the hinterland of old rivals’ success.

It may well be that, on that cold day in Barnsley, realisation dawned that the club Leeds United once were is now dead and gone.  What is left behind may well still be worth supporting, but it is likely to be a pale shadow of what we once knew.  Yesterday, there were rumours of high profile signings – and you knew, you just KNEW, that we were being softened up for more bad news.  Today, it seems that Becchio is off, and we hear reports that recent loanees didn’t want to stay “because of the money situation up there”.  It all stinks of a club rotten to the core, and dead at the top.

Leeds United – one of the truly great names in English football.  RIP.