We're going up as f**king champions! TSS August 5, 2011 Leeds United 43 Comments A £7m (largely pointless) renovation of the East Stand, two new goalkeepers, a worryingly old central midfielder and an on-loan Celtic defender few fans have ever heard of is not the most inspiring summer you have to admit. Factor in Ken Bates, who recently branded the “one or two individuals” that questioned his management of the club as “dissidents” before banning the BBC from press conferences for producing a documentary exploring the same dodgy management style and you start to appreciate why some fans feel a little gloomy ahead of the new season. Banning freedom of speech is basically a hobby for Leeds United nowadays. The Guardian were banned in 2009 for questioning the ownership of the club and when the players dared to use Twitter to socialise with the fans, they were read the riot act and subsequently banned from speaking without clearing it with Shaun Harvey first, who will then decide if there is any way the club can profit from it before denying their request. All this has led to the widespread disillusionment of fans. Between all of the above and continual stories of the Elland Road wage-cap that means Ipswich are now outbidding us for players, there’s been very little to inspire confidence. Then of course, there’s the small matter of some bitter MP’s who have locked their powerful bureaucracy-blasting guns on the centre of Ken Bates’ forehead, demanding a joint investigation from The FA and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs into the sheer ridiculousness of our club’s ownership. But there is some room for optimism, surely? Both Max Gradel and Robert Snodgrass are still at the club, Andy Lonergan appears to be a more than suitable replacement for Kasper Schmeichel and with Patrick Kisnorbo and Andy O’Brien partnered up in defence, the goals conceded column should make for much less-depressing reading than it did at the end of 2010-11. Those ‘every cloud…’ types we all know and love could even argue that the lack of activity in the transfer market suggests a much more stable and experienced Championship side, with a better understanding than a team of newcomers like Leicester City may have. We finished 7th last time round with a pretty similar squad, so is there really any reason why we can’t improve on that this time with a more experienced side who know where the Championship pitfalls are? We can all speculate until we go blue in the face, but the truth is, we have no idea what’s going to happen in the coming days, weeks and months. I’m taking solace in the fact we all start on zero points, that Simon Grayson has performed miraculously well under the circumstances and that the doom and gloom was just as rife last season. More importantly than all the above is that Leeds United thrive as underdogs. Did anyone expect us to win the title in 1992? How many of you expected to see our team of kids in the last four of Europe’s most elite competition? Let the bookies and nay’sayers write Leeds United off – they do so at their own peril. Maybe it’s the same unrealistic enthusiasm Liverpool fans get at the start of every season when they insist ‘this is our year?’ Maybe I had one too many beers on my way home from work and it’s destroyed my ability to think rationally? Maybe I’m slowly being killed by leaking gas… But who cares? At this moment in time, excitement is rushing through me. A new season, with new possibilities awaits and I genuinely believe this is our year. Perhaps we won’t be “going up as f**king champions” but then again, maybe we will? That’s the beauty of a new season – anything can happen. So, before we’ve lost a couple of games and start to wonder why we signed Player A and what on earth happened to Player B in pre-season that made him forget how to kick a ball straight, let’s enjoy these last few moments of pure equality and allow ourselves to dream that maybe… just maybe… this is our year… Marching on together!