The Mangle: Seventh Sign Gary March 23, 2012 The Mangle We’re going to finish seventh. No, Dom Matteo’s bet-fishing column in the YEP, suggesting to the gullible that we’re still worth a punt for the playoffs was not outrageously far-fetched – just a little bit. It’ll involve an upturn in form, yes, but seventh’s where the money’s at. Good, that’s out of the way. Well, not really. This is not just a prediction for this season – we’re going to finish seventh forever and ever or at least until the world stops going round: an endless Groundhog Season of unendurable raised and subsequently narrowly crushed hopes. It just feels right doesn’t it? Seven, seven, seven is the number of our beast, and it’s coming to the fore right now. It’s taken us that many years of fibs to start meaningful action against Ken, in a season that follows a seventh-place finish. Or should I say the first of our never-ending seventh-place finishes. Max Gradel started the season as number seven and has now vanished into thin air (also known as Ligue 1). And it would be face-smackingly remiss not to mention the fact that we’ve just conceded our record home goals-against glut. It’s almost as if I’ve been waiting for a seven-goal shellacking just to provide apt moment to write this hokum. You could say that if we were to compare Leeds United to a film, and again, you can probably see where this is heading, it would probably be Se7en. Maybe with a bit of Jason and the Argonauts ethic thrown in, for the seemingly never-ending, extremely bumpy quest of glory, monsters round every corner elements. Kevin Spacey with a stick-on beard plays Bates of course, but who knows whose head is going to be in the box at the end of this epic hybrid horror. Whoever’s it is it’ll probably be adjudged to be a metaphor for the mindless devotion of us, the hordes. It’s abundantly clear that the gypsies are still angry; that the curse was never lifted properly. I think we all secretly assume this to be the case, especially the younger generations – the paranoid stories of our fathers stick. I’d venture further: there was probably some curse-amplification carried out by that sneaky exorcist gypsy, right at the point when the Don felt it safe to assume the club was being cleared for take-off. Indeed the sevens look likely to even have chased him post-Leeds, his stormy England tenure ending abruptly in 1977 and all. So why the sevens over traditional sixes, oh hex-ers of the club? Presumably just boredom marked as progress, the usual. Or the fact that the Borough of Leeds was formed in 1207. Or the fact that our faux-exorcism took place at the start of seventies. You with me? No? Good. If we’re going to get Biblical, and hell it’s gotten pretty silly here already, it’d be worth pointing out that there are also supposed to be seven signs of the coming of an apocalypse. But the mighty whites aren’t about to cease to be – they’re just settling in to a slow-burning, bespoke sort of doom. Seventh forever is just the kind of excruciatingly marginal underachievement we’re famous for. This Warnock reign had been simmering along just fine, hadn’t it? But just when you thought it was safe to put your head over the parapet and search out them rose-tinted specs, we’re indeed back to doom. Those Argonauts had some patches of calm sea, too. It would be fair to say that the stagnation that this season’s seventh-place finish will mark may be considered a certain level of achievement, factoring in the fact that the squad’s unarguably worse – it’s the ones that follow that’ll be the tricky part in terms of maintaining our faith. We demand a lot of our managers, but fighting number seven, the occult and overblown pessimistic analogies may be too much for anyone. That said, it has been stated that Neil has a bit of a track record for the dark arts… Read more from The Mangle.