Daring To Dream: Hope Restored To Leeds United FC TSS December 22, 2012 Leeds United 20 Comments Over the years you may have noticed that a lot of the articles I write are highly reliant on statistics to make a point. I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff, possibly a little obsessive, but there’s very few arguments you can’t validate with numbers. There was a good one on Sky Sports yesterday for example, which I think softens the blow of a 5-1 defeat to Chelsea. It stated that Leeds United have made 100 signings since June 2004 at a total cost of £20.1m. That’s ONE HUNDRED players for about 40% of a Fernando Torres. My obsession with numbers isn’t limited to football. I play Texas HoldEm Poker quite regularly, as I’m sure a lot of the people reading this do nowadays. As any half decent poker player knows, the game is almost entirely about numbers. If you can do the math, you can figure out your odds of completing the hand you’re looking for and whether it’s worth calling the pot to see an extra card. In most cases, you can also figure out the odds that the hand you’re holding beats that of your opponent. Once you can figure out the odds you’ll be caught out very rarely. But this is where poker gets interesting. You’ve done the math, you know the odds, and every player in the world would be betting at this stage. Only a 1 in 1000 hand could possibly beat what you’re holding, you’d be stupid not to play. It’s basically a dead cert. You call. You lose. Trying your best to accept defeat gracefully while fuming on the inside, part of you knows that it’s these unexpected, almost impossible results that keep you coming back for more. And the same is true of football. However unlikely victory over the European Champions was, 30,000 Leeds fans turned up hoping we could defy the odds. I was one of them, despite the fact every part of my body was telling me it was a 1 in 1000 chance of victory and that we’d probably lose by quite a considerable margin. Yet I couldn’t wait to reach Elland Road. There wasn’t to be any upset, Leeds United couldn’t defy the odds. But in reaching a League Cup Quarter Final against Chelsea we were reminded of those “what if?” moments that made us fall in love with the sport in the first place. No matter how many heartbreaking moments we have to endure, it’s that one unifying thing that keeps us coming back for more. Hope. It’s the same feeling we used to take for granted at the start of every season, the “what if this is our year?” dreams we’ve all experienced at some stage. I can’t speak for all Leeds United fans, but I lost that at some point during Ken Bates’ reign. I expected nothing better than mid-table at the start of this season, I’d have given you far higher odds than 1000/1 on us getting promotion and I’d not even considered the possibility of a cup run. It wasn’t a case of “what if this is our year?”, I’d been dealt a 7 2, there was no need to do the maths. I folded pre-flop. Yet here we are. Five months since my gloomy predictions and whilst our league position needs improving on, there’s no denying we’re on the up. Since the takeover was announced we’ve won 4 out of 5 league games and played the European Champions at a packed out Elland Road. Sure, we may have taken a bit of a hammering against Chelsea but we went into that game dreaming of the possibilities, and that’s all I want from football. No matter how long the odds, we just want to believe that we have a chance. That maybe, just maybe, we can achieve something special. And that’s exactly how I felt in the week or so leading up to the Chelsea game. It may well have been Ken Bates’ leadership that took us to that Quarter Final, but it was the GFH takeover that made me believe. It’s also the GFH takeover that has me believing this could still be our year. I no longer think Leeds United will finish the season mid-table, I genuinely believe we’re good enough to make the play-offs. The truth is, I can’t help but wonder whether we can achieve an even higher finish? I don’t know what the odds are on that happening or what the statistics may tell us and the truth is, I simply don’t care. I’m following the advice of LUST Chairman Gary Cooper, taking my newly found sense of hope and channeling it into that “dare to dream” idea he’s been pushing at us for so long. Got to admit, it feels pretty damn good. Marching On Together!