With Jonny Howson leaving for Norwich City, it’s almost impossible to believe some fans can still defend Ken Bates.

‘Almost’ is the key word however. You see, we’ve been here before. Back when we were sinking out of the Premier League heading towards financial ruin, there was plenty of fans willing to believe that Cyril Chapuis was the kind of quality signing that would rescue us. That El Tel and Peter Reid would “steady the ship”.

Living in denial is just less painful I suppose? We’ve all been there.

The all too predictable reaction of “it makes good business sense” and “he was overrated anyway” will inevitably follow. It’s nothing more than fans refusing to face up to the reality of another key player lost under Ken Bates.

Our drop in form since Jonny Howson’s injury will be written off as mere coincidence. Bates won’t be blamed for his inability to keep hold of key players, Jonny Howson will take the stick for failing to believe in Leeds United. But why should he? I certainly don’t…

The fact Jonny Howson had only five months left on his contract is less a reflection of his commitment to Leeds United, more a haunting realisation that  even our home grown, Leeds United supporting club captain doesn’t believe this club is going anywhere. Something the club’s statement certainly attests to.

Anyone questioning why Leeds United aren’t back in the Premier League yet and why Simon Grayson needs so many players each season need only look at the example set by Norwich City. Key players don’t grow on trees and when you find them, you should do everything in your power to keep them together. Only then will you have success.

Norwich did that. Norwich are now in the Premier League. Leeds United meanwhile sold Max Gradel, Kasper Schmeichel, Jermaine Beckford, Neil Kilkenny, Bradley Johnson, Fabian Delph and now, Jonny Howson. And almost exclusively – Kasper Schmeichel aside perhaps – these players were followed by average replacements purchased on the cheap.

This is not the philosophy of a club that should be in the Premier League. This is the philosophy of a club languishing in the Championship, spending the absolute minimum each year, happy to make up the numbers. We may as well merge with Barnsley and have done with it…

With some fans already setting fire to season ticket renewal forms and many more claiming they won’t renew, news of Jonny Howson’s exit is only going to make matters worse. Our captain’s jumped ship, why shouldn’t the rest of us? Our irrational sense of loyalty isn’t getting us anywhere after all.

Farewell and good luck Jonny. I honestly don’t blame you…