The Mangle: Let’s do the knee-jerk again Gary September 19, 2011 The Mangle 21 Comments We’re going to get relegated. We’ll be up there come May. Grayson: one the finest young managers in England. Grayson: out. White’s the latest in a long line of starlets going to the top. White’s Bambi on Ice – get rid. Game to game, day to day even, we seem to be confused as to the destiny of LUFC and all the players and staff therein. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of inconsistency. It would be remiss, for example, to not mention the wild amplified jerking between ‘buy in some big names!’ and ‘play the youth!’ – concepts not entirely compatible, as the Arab Emirates’ Manchester colony will attest. We’re knee-jerking so much our joints are creaking like stage five arthritis, and given this backdrop, you do wonder whether there’s a connection to the good ship United also shuddering somewhat unpredictably from pillar to post when the lads actually do that marginally important act of getting on the field. There’s no way this expectation of instant gratification doesn’t transmit. To visit some of the Leeds message boards we’re all tragically over-familiar with is to witness that extreme knee-jerk logic is definitely not the exception – it’s endemic. Anything other than instantaneous militancy as a reaction to defeat or glory is largely frowned upon. It’s entirely possible that we as Leeds fans are some of the worst offenders in the culture of knee-jerk football analysis due to our current paradox of huge expectation and underwhelming resource, but it’s safe to say we’re not alone, and it’s not our fault – in the main. We’ve had a sort of ‘extremist football’ shoved down our throats for over a decade now by the mass media, where every defeat is perceived as a disaster, a ‘boss under pressure’ and, more recently, a possible player revolt engineered via Nietzsche quotes retweeted or suchlike. The next week’s victory means ‘back on track’, chasing down glory and votive offerings to gaffer-gods. At the same time we’re bombarded with invitations to instantly and publically ‘have our say’ via social networks, phone-in radio shows, forums and that abominable thing where they read out the blandest-possible emails on The Football League Show. We might not have a fully-defined viewpoint on what we’ve just witnessed just yet, and maybe by nature we’d rather be quietly philosophical, but we feel we’re obliged to spit a half-formed reaction out anyway. It doesn’t take Pulitzer-worthy investigation to realise that it’s not just us trapped in waves of hypocrisy as we deride villains, hail the villains as heroes and back round again. Pretty much everyone’s doing it, irrespective of fanbase and expectation. There was probably an age when the lag between final whistle and sociable evening activities could be used to come to terms with what went on, perhaps even come to a rounded conclusion not attached to the poles of glory or doom – but that age has so quickly dissolved under new mediums of instantaneous moaning, baiting and bragging as to be considered incredulous to us now. Left with few alternatives, we all largely buy into this culture of reactionary extremes, forgetting there were days when a quality opposition goal could be applauded without feelings of oncoming embolism and it was ever possible to face a weekend rationally without the words ‘make or break’ rattling round your skull. It would be too much to expect utter consistency on either the side of glory or despair from our team, a side whose legendary recent unpredictability so perfectly lends itself to epic knee-jerkage. But without inviting the gypsy curse to dance all over this column, we do appear to be finding a touch of consistency (“consistent red cards you mean – sack off the undisciplined wasters!” I hear someone yell…) and perhaps by the end of the month or so we should have a more reasonable eye on where we should pin realistic expectations. But hang on – realistic? Pah! We just want the crash-bang drama coming at us thick and fast. Or so they tell us. Is it not possible that living out a lurching ride of emotions on the back of some lads you don’t know might be a bit, well, unhealthy? At the risk of coming across a bit Hare Krishna (again), maybe we need to try some basic behavioural therapy: start by accepting that we may have a bit of a tendency to overreact when it comes to LUFC, then try not to instantly deride those who use phrases like ‘on the other hand’, ‘hopefully’, and ‘willing to give them time’ as heretics and Bates Lovers. Yes, the Talksport and smart phone-created monster in the machine just may well be you – but the chance to save yourself and MOT with just a little rationality providing the rhythm is still very much in your own hands. steven MOT Well done Gary , best thing i’ve read on TSS for a long time … MOT Whitefanman Is Howson fucking playing as I haven’t heard his name mentioned ? MrsBates Thats all a load of tosh, you were feeling bored today so you thought you would bore the rest of us, I was bored after the first paragraph so stopped reading. Richard Carter33 Stupid as well as thick. Think before responding with drivel Fred why did you comment? Fred oh, and you bored me with your lack of vocabulary. boring viennesewhirl ive think weve overdone the boredom motif Anonymous as Mr Simon Grayson would say and does a million times a week or 1or 2 anyway ” twists and turns ” its all “twists and turns ” don’t know what that above was really about please can someone tell me in less paragraphs than the original and less words . Anonymous Actually you were not blunt enough mate, fans are hypocrites…..the same fans saying Gradel wont be missed are now moaning about Nunez…..Just the way people are im afraid. Atleast im consistent in my pessamism, im consistently dissapointed with the financial decisions made by our club and I have consistently viewed Kenneth Bates as a cunt. WACCOE Ridiculous. Everyone knows we’re a shower of shit and the best team in the division. And that Grayson’s the new Revie and the new Blackwell. ALL AT THE SAME TIME. You’re obviously a Bates-apologist, scum loving non-fanatic. Love, WACCOE Peterv Here’s some more conundrums, taking the players with poorer performances in the last 2 games first: Nunez is a left winger – oh no he’s not – he’s an attacking central midfielder Snodgrass is a right winger – oh no he’s not – he’s a left winger Howson is a central midfielder – oh no he’s not – he’s an attacking midfielder and some more Lees is a right back – not really he’s a centre back Kisnorbo is a championship star – maybe but since his long term injury he has lost a yard or two and he has only played well for us in Division 1 where even Paynter could score goals. Brown is a star for the future – in your dreams Experience is better than youth – oh no it isn’t – look how White has performed, the only reason he got sent off was he was too quick for the rest of our defence and he got there. Fred it’s league 1 oldschoolbaby Outstanding post It was ever thus and you expertly analyse how things have got worse in recent years. Sadly with fans, at every club, not quite grasping why their team can`t play like Barca and spend like Man City the transformation from knee jerks to full blown seizures continues apace The White Fool 2 thumbs up!! PuffinPig I don’t normally comment, but this post is worth it. By far and away one of the best articles I’ve come across. Hats off, but you can see the irony of the post right? Anonymous ohh i get it now ,we are not gonna beat scum tomoz ohh yes we are 2nil ,manu are not scum oh yea they are we gonna loose 2-1 Brendan Staunon You’re right. Everything’s terribly polarised. Though we’re not the worst offenders Arsenal and Liverpool seem to want to sack their managers every time they lose. Anonymous now then .Simon grayson you made a balls up you have done more damage to lees and white tonight than good , back four should have been Connolly .bromby /O’Brien/bruce,o’dea now thats bad management ,howson is missing why does he play snodders on right the post mortem has started for me Larry cocked it up cant wait til the post match is up and running Irving08 An editor with humility is a rare and welcome thing. Sidneyp Great post… totally agree Vinny the legend Laughed at this as it’s true……. Although I like so many others are consistently pessimistic and downhearted!!! Even when we win I moan. It’s a long term hangover caused by too much Leeds united!