Seven Years Of Lies: More Than Just A Hashtag Gary January 17, 2012 Leeds United 26 Comments Turning seven seems to have caught the imagination of the Leeds faithful just now. Perhaps the horrors of the era have reminded us of the David Fincher film of the same name. At age seven you’re definitely starting to look like a fully formed human in preparation for puberty to destroy all the hard work. The seven years since we were allegedly ‘reborn’ into fiscal conservatism via the bearded one have been largely an ugly, pimply, socially uncomfortable experience from day one. That’s not to mention the few signs of actual development, having ‘progressed’ from roughly where we are now to, er, roughly where we are now. Kind of like treading water with added relegation. If we’re assuming the start of Bates’ tenure as some sort of ‘ground zero’, something epoch-beginning, it seems that quite a lot of us think it’s been an epoch defined by the telling of blatant porky pies. Like the one that the overwhelming majority are hundred per cent behind every business/ football decision he makes. There’s a groundswell of frustration – a feeling we’ve been held in an increasing contempt and constantly told what’s good for us; enough loyalty assumed to guarantee profits regardless of what drivel is spun out of the club in our direction. But genuine dissatisfaction is undeniably something that’s hard to meter via social media and message boards alone. What’s firing down broadband cables is often more dramatic than what’s happening in the stands (certainly more than what’s happening on the pitch…) While #7YearsOfLies is getting significant traction, I’ve generally experienced slightly uncomfortable scenes when people try instigating Bates Out chants at games. It’s hard to tell whether there’s significant voiceless pro-Bates numbers, or simply folk browbeaten and waiting wanly for success to return. It’s understandable. Of course much more came in the years immediately before these seven in question than most clubs experience in their entire existence, but you could argue, at least there was actual stuff happening then – it had a certain gallows excitement. Now we’ve found ourselves lodged in a state of stasis, there seems to be just a small number of tedious key themes meted out on repeat: financial stability, big squad, big bad agents, excessive wage demands, improving facilities. Then there are those things never mentioned: the great botched Thorp Arch buy-back, where the money from the sale of pretty much everyone good went, the needless drain of an in-house propaganda machine in an age where everyone’s a goddamn publisher. Weekly radio interviews have made for masochist’s cliché bingo: “irons in the fire”, “war chest”, “saved the club”, “balance the books”, “anyone we want we get”… At the start of these seven, we had a few exciting players in spite of our mire, but now the only thing we have to look forward to is loaning our exciting players back from where we packed them off to. Most of us have stopped hoping the outstanding two or three we’ve presently got on our payroll will see this as a place where their ambitions will be fulfilled. It’s been seven years – it kind of feels like a lifetime of lowering expectations. Maybe the seven years thing is a lie too – can someone do a check on the dates once more? You can only hope that righteous anger, satire, protest et al will build to something, but it’s hard not to feel like Ken just laps up the pantomime villain role with relish – perhaps even keeps that pulse going still stronger in his eighth decade. The dissatisfied are the moronic minority, after all. It does seem apparent that any gesture other than either wads of cash to the inflated value he perceives the asset-less club has or his face against the wall probably won’t register – but it doesn’t hurt to keep trying. Here’s to seven more years. By the end of that it’ll likely be just him and the Gary Speed Suite.