The Mangle: Lost love letter to Max Gradel Gary August 31, 2011 The Mangle 31 Comments Dear Judas, No, that’s just the bitterness talking. Forgive me, Max, as we forgave you for the one-man insanity exhibition in the must-win game. Just why Max, why? Why now, when we’ve so few points and so many corporate facilities in development? Did we not make you feel loved? Surely we made you feel loved – you were just like us: unpredictable, volatile, blessed with a small man syndrome driving your quest to best the rest. We’ve been through so much, forgiven so much. We thought our acceptance of past indiscretions would make our bond stronger, but you exit at the first sight of better weather and cuisine – and well, it wounds us deep. Question marks still remained as to whether our bond could hold out against the odds – we were realistic. But we hoped in our heart of hearts that you’d at least give us until the end of the season to see if we could make it – to move from healing into growth takes time, Max. As partings happen like ships in the night, and especially in the mists of what the Leeds United regime tries to pass off as transparency, it may be impossible to ever know the full reasons for your decision. But you will get to use Twitter again, so perhaps this is the most fatuous line of all in this lost love letter. You should know that your bland platitudes on exit were not enough. You can say ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ a million times but we’ll still look at ourselves and wonder if we could have done anything more to make you turn around with a tear in your eye and decide that money, combined with a bit of language and culture, is not everything. It would be wrong to suggest we will never love again. We will keep loving no matter how this shakes our belief in commitment. We are lovers at Elland Road; we cannot be anything else. We must try and face the pitfalls of falling for diminutive goal scoring wingers with a brave countenance. We quite fancy El Principito, if we’re truly honest. We’ll always remember Norwich, that beautiful dive at the Emirates, the one man destruction of QPR, and your silly hair dos. Oh, the silly hair dos. Ramon also has quite a silly hair do. Just saying, Max, just saying – yours were bloody good, some of the best we’d seen. With your exit, we lose a reflection of ourselves – the wild person inside that takes on all comers, often one man too many, but valiantly so; the one that could quite easily petulantly lash out when they seize the initiative off us; the creative force we want to be, that can change a situation in a moment and will keep going until that one time the stroke of genius comes off. Yes, for a while, you were the embodiment of what it is to ‘be Leeds’. It is a great thing to have been. We sincerely wish you all the luck in finding a connection so profound at a club who copied their name off a 90s indie band. As the aforementioned Britpop outfit put it best: only love can break your heart. Adieu, Max, adieu.