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.