The Mangle: Our love-in with the opposition Gary October 17, 2011 The Mangle 14 Comments You know what I said in my first column about us going up as f***ing champions? Well yeah, it’s still pretty ridiculous, but, well, you know… What’s for certain is we’re certainly doing the good side of ok; definitely better than most since management realised that left backs perform well at left back, right backs at right, and so on. But all the while, I’ve noticed an odd trend creeping in amongst various strands of LUFC fan-to-fan communication: we’re getting into the habit of seriously over-rating our upcoming opposition. It’s not just the Leicesters and Brightons of the world we’re viewing as world-beaters, as we stew in economic jealousies, oh no. There was plenty of noise last week along the lines of Doncaster’s potential to give us more than a game – and it’s cropping ahead of games with other blatant inferiors too. This is not the kind of inverse logic that goes ‘they’re sh**, they’re nonentities, so knowing Leeds, we’ll probably lose.’ This would be reasonable – the Herefords of yore laying solid precedent for such pessimism. We’ve actually moved on to suggesting that sides we should be routinely beating have weapons that could do us serious damage. To use Donny as a case study, quite a few of us, and I admit to falling into this trap a bit myself, found ourselves citing such reasons as Dean Saunders’ inspired nouveau hoofing regime and a few loan signings as reason enough that we could find ourselves getting a turning over at the Keepmoat. But let’s analyse this logic: Herita Ilunga is rubbish. Chris Kirkland is rubbish. Dean Saunders is Dean Saunders. And as my QPR-supporting mate wisely summed up, Pascal Chimbonda is “the only man who cites family reasons for not training or being good at football anymore.” And then there’s the fact that Richard Naylor makes their starting XI. Sorry Richard, you were totally ace for a time, but now is by no means that time. One of the prime reasons our club still gains column inches these days – aside from the love life of our manager of course – is that we’re known to be a pig-headed arrogant bunch with a superiority complex unaffected by what level we happen to be playing at. Let’s be honest – this is something we can and do embrace to our collective bosom. It does seem that we need to cling to it a fair bit harder though, and stop suggesting that [insert average-to-poor outfit] might be ripe to smash us up. They could, of course. But let’s be rational leaning towards cocky in these matters, yeah? Let’s take an upcoming fixture as a worked example. Peterborough – do we rate them? Are we citing a raft of father/son ribbon-wrapped loans as evidence that they’ll run us ragged? The 7-1 against Ipswich perhaps? The reality: we’re better than Peterborough. Darren Ferguson is still the guy who plummeted previously stable Preston out of the Championship. Youngsters on loan, no matter what ‘giant’ they call their real home, can be systematically stifled by hardy pros of the Danny Pugh/ Andy Keogh ilk, if the pressure of playing in front of more than your youth coach and 30 fanatics isn’t enough. There’s obviously no problem with having a good look at the strengths of who we’re up against – but perhaps we’ve been recently veering towards not seeing them as comparative to our own. For all our righteous grumbling the squad is more than half-decent, and if you were to look extremely selectively (and by that I mean probably at our striking options alone), it could be viewed as absolutely epic for the level we’re at. It’s ok to be negative – it’s a Yorkshire thing we’ve got going. But hell, let’s stop giving so much advance credit to so much of the dross that makes up the numbers in our slightly odd league. One thing we surely don’t want is for people to start viewing us as magnanimous, even-handed and modest to excess. Where’s the fun, and more to the point, the Leeds in that? Chris Fair point and well made. Matthew Good article. Speaking of the playoffs, I’m holding off for now in commenting if we’l reach the sacred 3-6th place spot until we show further improvement on the pitch, although I want to see us in Auto/Playoffs come the end of the season, I’m thinking we shouldn’t take things for granted with our expectations. As far I’m concerned we beat a lightweight team(Doncaster) a team I found to be dreadful and one of the worst teams in this league, and because of that I’m reserving judgement about our final finishing position this season for now. Matthew Oh and I think we’l win the next 2 games, draw against Cardiff and lose against Birmingham(Thats going by our current form). Bubionwhite After being bored half to death watching the first half of Birmingham v Leicester and accepting that Robbie Savage does know a little bit about football following his half time comment … “the worst 45 minutes of football I can remember watching” … mine too, so I don’t think we need to build either of those two up before games against them. Watching Leicester was like watching a Sven England team and Birmingham weren’t much bette rin either half … only watched it to see what the upcoming competition was like. We have to remember though that whilst young Ferguson managed to parachute Preston out of The Championship, he did manage a smash and grab at Elland Road 4-6 … or was it that we just pressed the self destruct button and gave him an early leaving present. Continue to play positively and we shouldn’t fear anybody … keep the superior complex and the faith! Henry V L We have momentum at the moment! Our big problem was always (well for a few years anyway) our defence. While we needed 3 or 4 goals to win we were bound to fail. Now we have a mini run and a more solid defence. We have a strong bench. With Keogh and the Finns we have strong winners who never give in. Pugh has been a great signing and his influence (calm and solid) has transformed the left hand side (our bad side for many years). Aidy is getting better and more confident with every game. Tom Lees is another strong individual who only smiles once a week! Connolly has benefitted from being dropped. In fact the first 11 know that we have players ready to take their place, and when you lose your spot it may be a long time before you get it back!! It has all come together at once!! LONG may it last!! Will the missing fans return?? Leeds at Sea We are also the best team in the world. The beauty of being a football fan is that if you have a bad week, you forget it quickly and look forward with optimism. If you have a good week you remember it forever and build on it. Until our next defeat I will believe we’re unbeatable! Anonymous The thing is consistency and real squad depth its alright beating a poor donny side Our best 15 are all ok at this level ,will we be so happy when injuries, suspensions kick in with the starting 11 i suspect not . Then we have to think about the January transfer window ,will we loose some Matthew Speaking of injurys, now is Paul Rabchubkas time to shine, I think Lonergan will miss Tuesdays game. Ed Last guy your a dick and all that is bad about some of our fans, feck off back to Huddersfield or school u cock. Super Leeds, keep positive, 4 wins and a draw in 5 for deck sake! Ed Last guy your a dick and all that is bad about some of our fans, feck off back to Huddersfield or school u cock. Super Leeds, keep positive, 4 wins and a draw in 5 for feck sake! Marc Butterworth Great article Gary I think the thing is, that this just ties into the general negative feeling around ER at the moment. I dont mean the team, coz they appear full of confidence. The negativity is due the ever increasing divide between the fans and the club. I think when people are pissed off with their club for whatever reason, it is bound to affect the way they view the team in relation to other teams. You are right, Doncaster were dross and a lot of the other teams we come up against are also dross, but because of the way people feel about the club at the moment (or should I say the way it is being run), fans find it difficult to get excited about anything, including our chances of beating other teams. Me, I’m always confident we will win, whoever we play (Unfortunately, I’m not always right) lufcnutt79 If you think about our home record in the league being at one defeat since november, 21 odd games or so,i think is reason enough to feel pritty up beat about getting down to ER and walking home with a smile on our face and three points in the pocket. Yes their are fans missing at ER,but the ones that turn up always get behind the lads as ever.and for the fans that dont,hope to see you again soon…we all have our reasons..i.e KB,work or family… The squad is stronger than i first thought it would be yet still not to sure about the defence even off the back of two clean sheets,thow time will tell. Its a long old season in the championship and will hope to see some fresh new faces come in,in the new year.I know SG has said if anything was going to happen two or three will have to leave us before anyone would be able to come in. I was just wondering what players he would be thinking of letting go and who he might fancy bringing in to help that final push for a possible playoff slott….?…if we can get ourself in a good enough posistion..MOT Mark Bear Wride Cracking little read and spot.on i was in the doubtful.camp.before the donny game and we swept them.aside with ease i think were being a defeatist this season and not really looking at the fact were looking good and playing better week in week out and have some very capable players for the championship Robert Holmes Its getting better…and better. Long may it continue, but still need to proceed with caution, part of the attitude recently is that our defence has been gash for ages (but improved without a doubt the last 2 weeks). 5-2 and 6-4 defeats last season against awful opposition go someway to explaining why we sometimes ‘big up’ less than glamorous oppenents.