The changing fortunes of Leeds and Manchester United TSS January 5, 2010 Leeds United 7 Comments After the dust had settled on our famous victory at Old Trafford, I returned to work head held high to torment the Manchester United fans that I have had to cope with through the last six years of hell. The victory inside Old Trafford was one thing, but the satisfaction of silencing the glory-hunting scum fans I work with is another. Sure I’d sent them messages after the game as I made the best of a rare opportunity to brag. None of them replied of course, they were far too busy sulking and avoiding us Leeds fans that had waited for this moment for the past 29 years. Much like inside Old Trafford, Manchester United fans have a funny habit of going silent when they’ve lost. After retiring to their dark corners to sulk and dream up a list of injustices that had cost them the game, they entered the workplace, clearly expecting abuse from us proud Leeds United fans; and we weren’t about to disappoint them. The funny thing was though, none of the Manchester United fans could actually think of an excuse. There were no injustices, no dodgy refereeing decisions in our favour (some even admitted Wes Brown should have been sent off), no cheating Leeds United players, nothing! This was Manchester United fans as I’ve never seen them, they were worried. For over a decade now we’ve had to put up with the Manchester United fans arrogance. Even in defeat, they always have an excuse, and usually bounce back stronger. As much as I hate to admit it, they’ve been largely untouchable. The fans always know best I’ve read the stories in the Times, Guardian and other papers that claim Manchester United’s reign of dominance may be finally at an end, but that’s exactly the kind of knee-jerk reaction I expect from newspapers after a team with Manchester United’s legacy are so resoundingly beaten by a side forty odd places below them in the footballing pyramid. The papers stories are easy to ignore, but they say the fans are the ones that really know the truth in football. It’s usually pretty true as well. Whilst people outside Leeds United can look at our success this season and accredit it to Ken Bates bringing stability to the club, the rest of us know he’s a crook and it’s a lucky appointment in Simon Grayson that has changed our fortunes. Managers that can bring success without any money are a rare commodity and Bates landed on his feet when he appointed an unheard of manager from Blackpool. With that in mind, it was hard to ignore the doom and gloom coming from my Manchester United supporting work-mates. Aside from Wayne Rooney, they see very little light in their clubs future. How can they compete with Man City and Chelsea when they’re burdened by a crippling debt that leaves them no money to buy the big names that have brought them success in the past? The next generation of players didn’t show the fight that their predecessors did; had that been a young team featuring Giggs, Neville, Scholes and Beckham on Sunday, you can be sure they’d have given us a much better fight. Personally, I don’t think this is the end of Manchester United’s success, but I do think we may look back on our victory as the moment when the Manchester United era began to fade out. I’m not saying they’ll never win anything again, but they’ll certainly have a much harder time in doing so over the next few years. Maybe they’ll win the League Cup this year and go on to win a fourth successive League title. They might even get lucky in Europe, but if the Glaziers don’t find some answer to Man United’s debts, then the next few years will gradually see them fade away. They’ll be like the 90’s Liverpool after the reign of dominance they experienced in the 80’s – competitive, but always chasing someone else’s coat tails. Here’s hoping that in ten years time we look back on the 3rd of January 2010 as the moment the fortunes of Manchester United and Leeds United began to change. Hopefully, we’ll be looking back at a moment where Leeds United began to rise again, whilst Manchester United showed the first signs of collapse.