The Mangle: Leeds United and the speedy spiral of despair Gary May 23, 2012 Features, The Mangle I’ve been trying to write something for another publication on the current status of stuff at Leeds, due out in September, deadline mid-July. What I’ve quickly worked out is this challenge is impossible: the likelihood of everything not changing unrecognisably between July and September being effectively nil. When it hits press it’ll more than likely seem more archaic than a fax machine (turned off or on according to taste.) Not even Flamingo Land has the accelerated twists and turns we’ve got. Our summers these days are like when they zoom in on an e-coli bacterium on a science programme and watch as it sprouts and splits like a demented thing. And then you start feeling a bit sick. For us, the age is gone where we might make three acceptable additions to the squad, nicely spaced apart, and maybe a sale that sparks some restrained discussion – but I do believe some clubs still live in a way a lot like this. For us, though, it’s just fast-paced unrelenting drama. And Yorkshire folk aren’t keen on participating in or receiving drama. This summer we’ve already had 14th-place blues and resignation, Jason Pearce, not signing the rest of the Portsmouth squad, El-Hadji-based ethical quandaries, seemingly nobody interested in signing a new contract, Claytongate, vague takeover rumours, the great Will Warnock Walk? debate, plus the standard rash of AN Other slightly underwhelming transfer linkage. The key themes are biggies too: ambition, loyalty, economic wellbeing, honesty, unity, and delusion – none with a particularly optimistic spin. It’s all good fuel, but there’s far too much of it and the day-to-day swing of conjecture on these matters is too severe. Maybe I just read message boards too much. Show your hand then, calm rationalists! Problem is the calm commentators don’t tend to be either very visible or vocal, if they do indeed exist. Never mind long-lead magazines, though, there’s no wonder we’re in the everyday news less and less, despite playing right into the hands of the news value of negativity. With every bit of doom morphing into something else by the time it’s reported, why bother? Hell, it’s almost too hard for social media to keep on top of the new proof-points of an argument that we’re irrevocably screwed. It’s profoundly obvious from all this that I’m not one of those ‘In The Know’ people who have the future of the club laid out neatly in an email from a mate of a mate of a mate – but right now I wish I was. In fact I’d even take being one of those people who can convincingly pretend to be. The temptation is to make a series of educated guesses rooted in extreme pessimism of stuff that will definitely, certainly, NAILED ON happen between mid-July and early September, like Warnock resigning and being reinstated the next week only to resign again the day before season kick-off, Danny Pugh and a cloned Danny Pugh starting on the wings in lieu of other options, and Bates declaring war on a small nation state. Oh, screw this. Now in the midst of writing this there’s the revelation about payment of creditors owed after administration which I don’t quite understand but am pretty sure will have some impact or other, and we’re in court again, taking on no less than West Yorkshire Police’s chief constable. Perhaps the balls of the latter could be respected in any other circumstances, but this is ridiculous. Leeds United, you’ve completely lost me. Can you do me a flow chart that at least explores the possibilities for the rest of the summer? No? At least there’s the contingency plan of re-submitting the article to historical football magazine Backpass when it inevitably gets pulled for utter irrelevance.