It’s a bit of a running joke amongst Leeds United fans that choosing to support the Whites should come with a health warning. Every team has it’s ups and downs, but after the last few years of following Leeds United to some of the most unusual and grottiest places I never knew existed, I feel as though we’ve had more than our fair share of downs.

There have been some ups of course. Every cloud does have a silver lining, but in Leeds United’s case, the cloud is a monstrously big black one and the silver lining is a fine, almost invisible shimmer around its edge.

It’s not only us fans that suffer the consequences of this seemingly never-ending sequence of disasters though. Our friends, family and loved ones can often fall victim to the aftermath too. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that my mood on a Sunday morning can often be dictated by the result the day before. Although it makes no sense to anyone other than those that live, breathe and love Leeds United, the 460 mile round trip to watch Leeds United fall to pieces in Gillingham is something I wouldn’t have missed for the world – no matter how annoyed I was afterwards.

My head tells me it’s just a game and that I’m insane for spending such an enormous amount of my income following this team through thick, thin and thinner, but somewhere inside me there’s an irrational love for this club that keeps me coming back time and time again, like a beaten wife to her abusive lover.

This season has once again taken Leeds United fans on a crazy rollercoaster ride of emotions. Leading the way early on and opening up a good lead at the top, Leeds United were unbeatable until the nasty thugs at Millwall drew the first blood. Leeds bounced back though with successive 4-0 wins that sent a statement of intent to the rest of League One.

As the season progressed, Leeds United were reminded of better days when the Premier League giants Liverpool visited Elland Road. Not even the most optimistic breed of Leeds United fan was predicting a win, but Leeds held their own and despite ultimately losing the match, there was a sense of pride amongst Leeds United fans few have felt for years. Liverpool may have won the match, but Leeds had shown millions they were on the rise again with a fearless display that almost paid off.

The seasons climax came in January though. Leeds were flying in the League and it seemed as though no one could stand in the way of our title challenge. The draw we’d all hoped for came next. FA Cup Round 3 – Manchester United v Leeds United.

"That" Jermaine Beckford goal

Expecting a slightly more defensive Leeds United was probably Man U’s downfall. Leeds came, they saw and they conquered. It was no fluke either. Leeds attacked from the off, and for the thousands of us that were lucky enough to have tickets to Old Trafford that day, we witnessed the proudest moment in our clubs recent history as Jermaine Beckford’s solitary goal knocked Man United out of the FA Cup. “We’re not famous anymore!”

Leeds dropped out of the FA Cup in the next round after taking Tottenham Hotspur to a replay, but these were proud days for the resurgent Whites. We’d held our own against Premier League competition, knocking out the English champions on their own soil in the process. As Leeds United ups go, this was the climax of a season. .

This being Leeds United however, when everything is going so magnificently well, something has to go wrong. Whether it was the Jermaine Beckford January transfer saga, a fitness problem caused by lack of rotation, our poor showing in the transfer market or an adverse impact of too many loanees unsettling the squad, the Leeds United rollercoaster was starting to derail.

The form dipped, and game by game, Leeds’ hold at the top loosened. By the end of January, Norwich had overtaken Leeds at the top and things didn’t improve. Despite a substantial lead on the play-off places, Leeds simply couldn’t turn things round quick enough and at the beginning of April, Leeds United dropped into third and the dreaded play-offs started to look like a reality.

Luckily for Leeds, through a combination of improved form and the rest of the league failing to capitalise on our errors we regained second place. A dismal points haul against the top six, disastrous results against the likes of Gillingham, Walsall and Exeter and the ongoing love/hate relationship between the fans and Jermaine Beckford could all be used as reasons to why we failed, but the truth of the matter is, this is Leeds United – We always do things the hard way!

What it all comes down to is one game. 90 minutes of football at a sold-out Elland Road against a Bristol Rovers side with absolutely nothing left to play for. Win, and we’re promoted. Lose, and the gates are opened for the rest to jump in. Whatever the fans think about the current playing squad, the manager’s tactics and selections or Jermaine Beckford’s selfishness is irrelevant. These people have put Leeds United in a position to escape third tier football. They’ve done it the hard way, but this is Leeds United and deep down inside, however frustrating they may be, it’s the ‘ups and downs’ that keep us coming back.

Keep fighting Leeds – We’re almost there!

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