The Mangle: Leeds In The Mirror Gary August 12, 2011 The Mangle 4 Comments On Saturday, at some point during that, it hit me. Out of shape, confused-looking coaches, staring into nothing like the jock dad trying to take in their highly uncoordinated kid falling in a sack-based heap at sports day, not for the first time. One of them looks about 80 and is on the phone to some kind of dial-a-coach line mid-half, the others seemingly hoping for some divine intervention like a massive hole to open up and suck them into a vortex of unaccountability. Max is passionate going on totally unhinged; showing all the signs we know so well that he’s on the verge of abandoning professionalism and starting a sequence of clattering members of one or both teams. Billy looks like the pub team striker who’s guaranteed a game because he owns the pub. If you mash all this up with the stuff not during the 90 – intensely dull, repetitious media interviews, mostly conducted by intensely dull, repetitious in-house interviewers, the panicky realisation that social media exists and its’ subsequent blackout, and the realisation our players spend far too much time in Nando’s to be conducive to a healthy lifestyle before said blackout happened, it appears that we may be one of the last bastions of shambles in a slick football world. The argument that we’ve become more distanced from the coaching and playing staff of our club under the Bates regime is flawed. Quite the contrary is in fact true. As things become more shambolic Leeds are reminding us more and more of…ourselves. Or at least the pretty rubbish parts of ourselves that we do our best to disguise. This is not a thing the vast majority of us are comfortable with. Let’s face it: we all think we could be the manager and be so successfully, but we all also know deep down we’d be as lost, desperate and badly tracksuited as Simon if we actually got the chance. Faced with a media mic we’d find ourselves spouting a series of clichés unconsciously filched from Alan Shearer and Steve Claridge. What’s more, our hatred of Bates is amplified as he seems to have accommodated all the worst qualities of all the worst bosses we’ve ever had. We can easily play Simon raging impotently to his wife after a day at the office or promising to his mates down the pub Saturday night that he’s gonna walk in there Monday morning and show that t*** who’s running this damn show. And then not doing it. There’s unique parts of the current LUFC picture that will cut through more to us personally than others. From my own perspective, as very run-of-the-mill six a side keeper, I can’t help feeling that Schmeichel, under my expert coaching tutelage, would have similarly declined from octopus-like block machine to vacant, poorly-positioned goal sieve in the manner of Beasley’s profound influence last season. However we may claim we want a certain empathy and intimacy with the club, the reality is we don’t really want them reminding us too much of our own patched-up, making the best of it lives. More close to the truth is a collective desire to bear witness to gilded, godlike creatures leading us on a charge out of Hades and into the great beyond. All this said, it’s not time to smash the mirror just yet. There’s still ‘Boro. And Carling Cup Round 2. And that German triallist. And Ramon. Yes, our preferred art is mimicking life too hard for comfort, but the one thing national events this week have done is made our whole angry LUFC family seem relatively focused and rational, if typically disgruntled. We’re taking more time in our protest strategy than the day’s other DIY insurrectionaries, but slowly but surely showing signs of a willing to free ourselves from these chains – without feeling the need to hastily misdirect our anger towards that staple of matchday experiences, Greggs the Bakers.