The Scratching Shed welcomes Editor of The 1-2-7 Formation, Gary Hartley to the team for an alternative take on life as a Leeds United fan in a new feature called The Mangle (named in honour of Ken Bates’ famous rant). Enjoy… 

Fellow fans, I share what you’re feeling inside. But fellow fans, I’m sick to the back teeth and beyond of the droning conjecture-feed of doom.

I’ve swept an eye over the message boards and howling tweets, I’ve read the near-tears on grown men’s faces, and I’ve tapped your phones – and my advice is as follows: come on, Man (or Woman) Up – get some sort of side project hobby to take your mind off it all, perhaps interpretive dance or bee-keeping, whatever it takes. You can’t pile everything into this club; you just can’t. Surely you’ve noticed LUFC aren’t a feel-good lifestyle choice already?

But more than that, it’s more than evident we’ve all become blinded by lack of investment in playing matters, sanity-insulting ticket prices, momentously crap in-house broadcast media, scaffolding on the East Stand, tax havens and Rod Stewart concerts.

Thinking that all this means a season of doom ahead is oh so very literal – and that’s quite literally the opposite of the way you ought to be framing your LUFC experience right now.

While I’m not compelling anyone to ‘flip that frown around’ or any such tedious rubbish, I would suggest trying to think exactly the opposite of what you’re thinking. We’ve forgotten that our beloved club are partly so compelling because they’re the undisputed kings of the counterintuitive.

You want examples, do you? Come on, this is not a toughie.

Think Sterland-Whyte-Fairclough-Dorigo is a top division-winning defence? Think we’d get to the Semis after being thoroughly shellacked by Barcelona in our Champions League baptism? Think we were just too good not to win all of those Revie finals? Think it would’ve been sensible to regain ownership of our training ground when we had the capital to do so? Think we’d carry the momentum from the Preston playoff semi into the final?

I’m not stopping there, oh no.

Think we’ve got a few positions in our current squad that could use filling? Think it couldn’t possibly get worse after losing the Premier League berth? Think that our first season back in the Championship was going to be a struggle against the drop? Think we had a better side than Histon? Think if you wanted more corporates watching games you might want to build the success before the boxes? Think we could never ever have a more punchable, generally odious cretin in charge of the club than Peter Ridsdale?

At the point when you’ve given up all hope – that’s probably round about……now – that is the point to begin believing, comrades.

So if the Welsh choke-fanatics are suggesting Jlloyd Samuel was an abomination for them, he’s going to be the finest left-sider we’ve had since Cooper. If you’re seeing us scrapping it out with Donny, Palace, Barnsley et al at the foot of the table, then start thinking hanging with the Hammers. And if you think Paynter’s a useless lump of non-footballing flesh, then get ready for the hottest striking property outside the Prem to show himself as he truly is…no, actually that really is extending a point way too far.

But let that poor choice of final reference point not detract from my thrust, and that is this: open your heart and tweet the true word, let not your keyboard warrior sword spout bile and rage, take a deep breath – we’ve got some singing in exultation to start up. We’re going up as f***ing champions and you can absolutely, categorically not quote me on that.

27 Responses

  1. TSS

    "We’re going up as f***ing champions and you can absolutely, categorically not quote me on that."

    Unfortunately mate, you have absolutely no chance of our readers forgetting that bit. ;)

  2. Paul South Wales

    My mate's a season ticket holder at Cardiff, didn't rate JLS at all (not the group)

    • TSS

      Yeah, but we always pretend players are crap when we get rid of them too. Anyway, I've seen Capaldi play now so I know things can't possibly get any worse.

  3. dubaiwhite

    Brilliant stuff. We're all going stir crazy because the season hasn't started yet. It'll be all right on the night, or will it?

  4. neil smeaton

    Great read so much so it demanded an instant tweet (again). Breath of freah air on an otherwise bleek situation. Thumbs up

  5. Ollie G

    Great read.

    You missed out last season, before which everyone was worried we wouldn’t score enough goals after Beckford left. I can even remember a few people were worried we would be fighting against relegation.

  6. Rwhites

    This time last season and even in to the first couple of games I remember most fans I spoke to said they would be more than happy with a top half finish.
    We only just missed out on the playoffs and it was all doom and gloom.
    All season people were slagging Killa and especially Johnson off for being shite, next thing you know we let them go on a free and the same people are saying the club are showing no ambition and we should have given them what they wanted.

    • El Tel

      Yep,i was one of them who would have been happy with a top half finish at the start of the season,but then we got write in the mix of things at the top of the table around xmas and towards the end of season,then our bottle went at the same time as it did the year before….

      We would have made the playoff if we had brought in 1 or 2 new players in the last transfer window,just to make that final push…as for killa he was pritty pony,as for johnson i liked him,he was a hard worker and we should have done more to keep hold of him….

      As for Doom and Gloom….HELLO…M.Brown as the only real first team player that has joined us this summer…..fucking hell…GOOD TIMES…great ambiton….?

  7. Rwhites

    When we lost Beckford it was the same people who had been calling him and lazy selfish t*at that needs 10 chances to score 1 goal that were crying saying how he could never be replaced
    When we first got Gradel everyone was complaining saying why are we buying other teams rejects and if he's not good enough for them why is he good enough for us. Now he's "Irreplaceable". Don't worry i'm sure we will find soemone to do a job if he goes.

  8. Rwhites

    Last season was the best season I've had following Leeds home and away since we became the last real champions and then Sky came along f**ked everything up.
    If it's more of the same this year I will be more than happy. Make Elland Rd a fortress, win more than we loose away, compete against any team in the league and finish in the top 8. happy days. If we get to the playoffs, bonus, if we don't it's not the end of the world.
    Would rather compete in this league than go up and be like Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn, Wolves etc etc who basically just concentrate on a handful of games a year to survive.
    The only thing i'm upset about this year is no away day at Scunny with the two pint pots in the ground. My mate put it best when he called them "heaven in a glass"!

  9. number1inyorkshire

    your not the Iraqi press minister who famously said "there are no American tanks in Iraq" as they rumbled past live on world tele are you .this almost DELIA – ESQUE "cmon where are you " .

    wow you are wasted you could do with signing up for the Murdoch family now they really could do with your services .
    or are you wasted <sniffing the bar maids pinny .

    its alright rallying the troops "cmon you whites " but it is really about rallying the people at leeds who matter ,Bates and co ,what we see is loads of money being taken and free transfer after free transfer after loans .good players max gradel etc etc being put on cheap short contracts ,building on everything but the team now fact is we were not good enough last season to get in playoffs her it was 1 ,2 or 100 points is irrelevant we didn't get there .
    now we as it stands are not a worse side than last season but we are not better in fact in a key area we are worse ,goalie so
    leeds fans are supporting a club that have and can achieve ,think of supporters at teams like rochdale ,barnet etc who are real heroes because they get nothing and never will ,the frustration i feel now is that with a little investment at Christmas last season we could be where Norwich are.
    we are frustrated with potential and the lack of investment at playing level

  10. Tyler75

    Gary, I think you've tapped into the Leeds fan psyche perfectly – we enjoy the anarchy, we embrace the madness, we live for the highs and lows, we can't get enough of the soap opera – there is of course an alternative, its called 'mediocrity' and Leeds Utd Fc don't do mediocrity ! MOT!!

  11. Harry Houdini

    must say i have read some stuff in my time but that about takes the biscuit, 5 minutes of my live wasted on an article with no real point other than we should all stop stating the bleeding obvious
    I dont mind positive thinking, i dont mind if you disagree that the club is being totally mismanaged, in fact have whatever opinion you want and we will discuss it but i cant have the stick your head in the sand idea.
    if you cannot think for one second about what is going on at the club you profess to support, then you might find a much more realistic club for you is the geordies, theyve had their had stuck in the sand since the 50s.
    sorry but when im being taken for a mug i know it and let everyone else know it. if everyone did the same we probably wouldnt have had to endure half of what we have since that leech took over this club

    • Paul Daniels

      Someone needs to lighten up and take the stick out of their arse methinks. The article is clearly meant to be a light hearted bit of fun and actually highlights the way in which Leeds United fans always write off the team and predict total doom

  12. mikelufc

    Nicely composed Gary, almost poetry but I do think you should see your doctor about changing the tablets, What you are presently on is a close relative of LSD.
    Maybe Harry Houdini above can help you to disappear back to the haze from which you recently emerged.

  13. Andy

    The point is that the club have to create a buzz to get the fans up beat and players open to signing, they have not done that and if I want to whine about it I f#cking will !!

  14. Irving08

    It is natural to accentuate the negative when there is nothing positive (yet) to shout about. Personally, I prefer a bit of scepticism to "positive thinking". In any case, I see nothing counter-intuitive in many of the quoted cases. But that is another story for another day.

  15. Gryff723

    Well of course people are being negative. After getting to 2nd spot and then missing out on the playoffs, we've dropped a handful of players and haven't replaced more than a couple of them adequately yet.

    That said, the Daily-Mail-induced hysteria about Max was a new low for us :D

  16. Colin

    Tony Dorigo was a much underrated player. England international, great skills, great pace, great hair.

    • TSS

      I'll thumbs up you just for the 'great hair' part. That, and I like clicking the new thumbs up buttons.

  17. number1inyorkshire

    you should read Dom Matteo's column toady sums it up perfectly !!!!

  18. Chareose

    Trying to be positive and forget that all the money you put into the club you support is going on someones casinos, hotels or into someones pocket instead of into the team will just play into their hands……… and thus the nightmare will continue…… I mean what will it take for some fans to react ???

    My final point is gives an inkling as to what is fundimentally wrong with Britain in general, not Just Leeds United……We all sit back and accept stuff, we accept poor management of our country, our infrastructure…….oh we moan down the pubs but thats it. For me this is why our country is becoming so shit..,..

  19. Irving08

    The difference between most of then and now is that then we had managers who were abreast (Wilko) if not ahead (Don) of the game in both strategy and tactics. Now we have a colourless managerial team who just seem confused. Come on down Billy Davies !


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