Sunday, September 02, 2007

The rise and rise of Leeds United, Phoenix from the flames

It's been a good week for Leeds United - at bloody last.

The last 5-6 years have been somewhat of a travesty, from the dizzy heights of the Champions League Semi, being top of the Premiership and coming second, to a succession of financial problems, off the field run-ins, two relegations and almost extinction.

The journey had taken a real toll on my faith and interest in the club, it had lost it's heart and soul - just a vehicle for other people's aims (mainly greed at the end of the day).

Now all the hangers on are gone, the big names, the tossers (to be frank). Whilst I could never be really enamored by the appointment of Denis Wise as manager, you have to applaud his strength of character to turn around the clubs' fortunes, get a squad of big-hearted players together and unite the team and the fans. The spirit is so strong it's absolutely no surprise to see them wipe out 12pts from the 15 they had deducted for supposed legal irregularities. Next week they could be at zero, which is where the fun starts as they begin to catch, close on and overtake their peers.

Yesterday I took young Harry to the game, with almost 27,000 there - it was an atmosphere to savour and pretty close to the 'good old days' - the time perhaps most fondly remembered as a Leeds fan; that of the 1989-90 Division2 (now "The Championship") promotion year/push when the team and stadium were last really "United".

Whilst the football itself was about as good as you can expect in this division (the old third division) there's no knocking the heart, soul and passion of the Leeds team and they have an air of utter invincibility about them. The only problem will be keeping on top of rising expectations, especially if they can get to zero next week because it's pretty obvious that they can't win every game.

I can't be there next week since I've got to take Harry to a party, ironically enough in the shadow of Elland Rd but I'll be listening keenly on the radio :)

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