Leeds fans have become so accustomed to operating like a circus, this summer has seemed bizarre in its relative calm.

The almost obligatory change of management happened early, with Garry Monk running off to spend Middlesbrough’s millions and while his replacement was a relative unknown here in England, he’s no David Hockaday.

We’ve lost key players, with Charlie Taylor leaving the club and Kyle Bartley returning to Swansea, but the usual panic that goes hand-in-hand with valuable players leaving the club hasn’t really transpired. While there’s been plenty of calls for Bartley to be re-signed at any cost, fans have accepted the unlikeliness of it and, by and large, trusted in the new ownership to provide suitable replacement.

Pre-season has been a farce in recent years, with Leeds famously playing themselves after a team they’d arranged to play in Italy pulled out a couple of years back. Then there was the 16-0 drubbing of Italian pub side, FC Gherdeina, which was embarrassing in its absolute pointlessness. There’s been hiccups this summer too, with a game cancelled by the local town’s authorities after an incident with organised hooligans on a previous visit. Nothing Leeds could have done to prevent the last-minute cancellation, but the club apologised to travelling fans and quickly arranged a behind-closed-doors friendly to ensure the squad didn’t miss out on valuable preparation.

Our oft-shambolic organisation of tours and fixtures aside, pre-season has also been notable in Leeds’ failure to do business early, thereby wasting precious team bonding opportunities and turning the first half dozen league fixtures into a painful ‘getting to know you’ exercise. This season however, Leeds got a lot of transfer deals done quickly and while we’re still waiting on a couple of defenders, it’s much easier to get 1 or 2 players up to speed than three quarters of the squad.

Perhaps the most contentious issue thus far has been ticket pricing. With Leeds already operating on Premier League pricing, any increase was bound to go down like a lead balloon, making the backlash from supporters a predictable one. Unlike previous regimes however, Leeds answered the concerns swiftly, promising discounts for members and bundle deals throughout the season, while also pointing out that season tickets represent a saving of around 40% post-increase.

And perhaps that’s key. There’s been a genuine willingness with all those working at the club to engage with fans. Criticisms, like ticket pricing or the terrible state of our online infrastructure (a club store that makes you queue, LUTV dropping out when 10 people try to use it consecutively) are accepted and addressed. Couple that with big money, forward-thinking statements like the repurchase of Elland Road and immediate locking down of the key players we could retain and a little faith develops in the ownership.

That’s quite remarkable of the fans when you consider all this club has been through. After Ridsdale, Krasner, Bates, GFH and Cellino, it’s much easier for us (the fans) to distrust an owner. Our default position is hyper-cynical; jaded by years of lies and broken promises. But such is our desire to see this club do well, we’re always willing to give the next guy a chance. Maybe we’ve finally landed an owner worthy of the opportunity.

 

 

  • djedjedje

    Ha! Yep, it’s almost a case of, ‘This is too good to be true, where’s the catch?’

    The biggest positive is the forward momentum of the club, with a long-term outlook in mind; be it the ownership of Elland Road, a proper scouting network (at last), or the under-23 recruitment.

    As to the first team and starting XI, it is impossible to judge. None of us really knows much about the majority of the new recruits. Chances are some will be be better than we had, others less so. But we’ve bought enough to propel the squad forward. We might even be able to conjure up a Plan B too.

    I’m a bit worried about the very late defensive recruitment drive. As ever, there’ll be pressure on the manager if we start to lose early season matches. If so, we’ll have to stick together with gritted teeth until they form a defensive unit.

    As the club is looking at the long-term goal, the fans need to do so too. It might not be this season we go up, or even the next, but we finally look to be going forward. And there’s pride at least in that.

  • markman

    Would like to see the club do a far eastern tour next pre season.
    this would increase the brand awareness and hopefully lead to more investment

  • Neil

    One of the things that has impressed me most is the notable investment in the development squad – looks like A-Radz is in it for the long haul!

  • Infowarrior

    There are so many refreshing aspects to the new hierarchy at Elland Road, one of which has been to pump any monies taken, back into the team and club. Makes the increase in ticket prices a little easier to swallow when the club have come out and said that the money brought in through the season ticket scheme will go straight back into the club to strengthen the squad and not into the owners back pocket. I hear on the grapevine that we made in the region of £7m for Taylor, and I have every reason to believe that this money too will be recycled to get another quality defender or 2 in before the season starts. Heady times indeed for the Mighty Whites, what would cap it all is if we can hit the ground running this time round and not have to play catch up as we did last year