As Britain froze, Leeds started to fail.

Happy Christmas from TSS

The GFH takeover of Leeds United meant Christmas came 4 days early for Whites fans leaving us to ponder a New Year of endless possibilities with loftier expectations.

As Santa’s evil twin counts his cash in Monaco, Leeds United fans look forward to 23 games that could end with our long-awaited return to the Premier League.

As 2013 draws closer, it’s worth reflecting on the people who have brought us this far. Throughout all the turmoil of the last seven years, there has always been shining lights that gave us hope, even in our darkest of hours.

2012 has been no exception. Players like Sam Byram, El Hadji Diouf, Paul Green and Rodolph Austin burst onto the scene and quickly became crowd favourites. They joined longer-serving players such as Luciano Becchio, Ross McCormack, Tom Lees and Aidy White to create a team who have overcome difficult circumstances to leave us with a genuine shot at promotion.

This year has also brought about a controversial change in management. Despite having no cash to spend and a win percentage second only to the great Don Revie, Simon Grayson was relieved of his duty. Leeds United fans will always be thankful for the hard work and commitment Simon Grayson put in during his 4 years at the club, and for the unforgettable memories he provided in securing promotion from League One.

Looking forward, Neil Warnock has come in and done a solid job under the most difficult of circumstances. It’s taken a while for his team to gel and develop the kind of consistency necessary to achieve promotion, but 5 wins in the last 6 games suggests we may have turned a corner. Warnock should also be commended for uncovering some genuinely exciting players like those listed above, and for sticking with Leeds United following a summer of turmoil.

Said turmoil was of course caused by TOMA – an “imminent” takeover story.

When the summer saw speculation turn into confirmation of an ongoing takeover process, fans and manager alike expected it to be completed quickly and for Neil Warnock to be provided funds with which he could strengthen his squad. As hours turned into days, days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and Twitter rumours started to make Roswell conspiracy theorists cringe, Leeds United fans joked that we’d be lucky if the takeover was completed by January at the rate it was going. Oh, how we laughed…

Nevertheless, we got there in the end and are now under new ownership. David Haigh and Salem Patel have arrived at Elland Road as directors and wasted no time in trying to improve relations between supporters and club. Happy to engage with fans and discuss any concerns they may have, the new Leeds United directors have already done an interview with RITGK and also offered The Scratching Shed a chance to meet them for a similar opportunity. Something we hope to do in early 2013.

The recurring theme of all this interaction seems to be genuine interest in how they can improve supporter-club relations and help get Elland Road bouncing once more. As a direct result of feedback from fans, half season tickets are now on sale and the new owners have introduced an official Twitter account (@LUFC) as part of their ongoing commitment to engaging with fans – something they already do regularly through individual accounts (@HaighDavid & @SalemPatel).

I believe these to be positive and necessary steps by the new owners, something I applaud and encourage. The immediate change in atmosphere following their arrival hasn’t gone unnoticed, Elland Road is a far happier place now and it once again feels like everyone is pulling in the same direction.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to wish a very Happy Christmas to all the other staff at Elland Road. 2012 saw the passing of John Reynolds, a groundskeeper who spent five decades with Leeds United, working well beyond retirement age to keep the Elland Road pitch in world class condition. Like so many of the staff at Elland Road, he did so simply because he loved the club. Best wishes to them all.

To Leeds United fans across the world, The Scratching Shed wishes you a very happy Christmas. On and on…

18 Responses

  1. Col


    • Philip Haines

      My first post after being a lurker for a few years. Merry Christmas to all football fans especially LUFC. I’m sure that 2013 will be a better year.

    • Matthew

      Merry Christmas to you too and everyone else here.

      Fortunes have been better for us as a club, 5 wins out of 6 in the league, we’re flying up the table, new owners, new positivity, long may it continue.

      Winning on Boxing day, assuming the game isn’t called off, will just round off a great christmas period. And beating Brum in the FA Cup should kick start a new cup run too.

    • TSS

      Too easy to be cynical. We asked for more interaction between club and fans, GFH have delivered. Those are actions speaking louder than words.

      As for an ambitious signing, it’s unlikely to happen in January. Not unless we’re willing to pay twice what the player is worth. Squads are built in the summer, teams aren’t going to part with anyone of quality midway through a campaign unless silly money is offered.

      Moreover, I think this squad is already good enough to achieve promotion. It might not be good enough to sustain Premier League football, but squads are rebuilt pre-season save for a few key players – the likes of which we already have.

      Unless someone truly worthwhile is available (Gradel for example) I think we’d be spending money for the sake of spending money. We’ve just won 5 of the last 6 (proving we have enough quality) and no one can predict the starting line-up anymore (proving we have depth). The problem was the negative influence of Ken Bates and the instability of an ongoing takeover saga.

      • Matthew

        Well said, we just need to retain the loanees, add one or two extras to the squad and we’l be golden. Think you’d agree as far as overall position goes, we’re good. With this squad a few of the games we had lost prior, we’l win, and if we repeat the performances shown thus far I see no reason why we can’t get at least 75 points for a playoff spot. Hell il’d be happy with close to 70 points by the time we’ve hit our 40th game. As we’d get a few wins regardless to top that up.

        April will be a great month for us, 4 games at home, 2 away. It’l make or break us, I think make.

      • Col

        There’s no doubt the relationship between owners & supporters has obviously been MASSIVELY improved.
        This is absolutely vital if we are going to move forward.
        Regarding the landmark signing that I asked for, if I hear “wait until the summer” then I will be suspicious. It’s the type of statement we’re been hearing from Bates for the last 8 years. GFH should make at least one signing to raise moral.

      • Matthew

        To be fair, GFH sanctioned the loan deals for Thomas and Tate etc. And put Diouf to a new contract, that instantly makes them worthwhile in my book, this is only a start sure, and we are not the finished article but without people like Thomas we’d be in the shit right now, a lot lower in the table.

        With most of October and early/mid November being hellish thanks to Bates and no investment in the squad, we lost and drew games that ideally we should of won, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton being two especially shite teams that we drew against as we lacked quality due to injuries and no investment.

        Thought it was pretty fucking ridiculus that we were drawing against teams like Charlton who have a god awful side.

        Had GFH completed the takeover sooner, we would of been a lot higher in the table, probably in the top 3 imo.

      • Ron

        Are we really good enough? Get your check book out GFH desert men, Forest are making us look very ordinary. The Leeds rollercoaster goes on unabated. How is Brown starting with Norris fit and McCormack cutting the oranges? Incredibly negative.

      • Irving08

        It’s idiotic. Warnock is not as clever as he thinks he is. He is too high risk.

      • Matthew

        I agree. I wanted Brown off about 20 minutes into the game, and realistically we should of done a double substitution before half time, bringing Ross, and Norris on. Norris replacing Austin who is clearly unfit at the moment.

        Anyway not about the panic, we need 40 points from a possible 66 from our remaining 22 games. We can do it, I’m sure. I just hope we do before our final game.

        Lol anyway watching Leeds can be bad for your heart hahaha I think a lot of people panic a bit when we’re in the lead and the other team is pretty much destroying us and getting closer and closer to the goal.

      • Irving08

        Pearce should have started (he had Sharp in his pocket at Elland Road), likewise White (preferably at left back, if not then left midfield instead of Thomas, who plainly isn’t one for mixing it). Byram should have been on the wide right – Lees right back – with Green and Norris in midfield. And why, oh why, play Austin, who is not ‘match fit’ (Warnock), and on whom the jury anyway is surely still out.

        I would not be surprised if Ken gets the axe out, if we lose our next two games. We have never in our history had the kind of defeats we are seing under Warnock. 4-2 to a team he ‘didn’t think were ‘as good as us’…..

        In the end, I think it just doesn’t matter enough to Warnock.
        Nothing less than 6 points from the next two games is acceptable.

      • Matthew

        I’m just wondering why Brown is even starting these days, he has his good days and bad, but in general its more bad. Does he have dirt on Warnock or something? I was sat there thinking if Brown is on the pitch any longer he’l be red carded, he’s a liability. I would of had him and Austin on the bench personally and gone with the choices you selected.

        I think in this case Warnock was 100 percent to blame for the loss to Forest, he should of made changes for half time in my opinion.

        Nevermind, as said we don’t need to panic yet, looking at the Forest and Hull games, I would of been happy with 38 points after said games. I wasn’t expecting a win for both, more a win and a loss.

        I’m honestly concerned the floor will fall out from beneath us again, and that we’l go on an epic losing streak to end all losing streaks. Last season for example was wholely unacceptable, I don’t want this team to lose the fight.

        Hopefully we’l get something from Hull.

        I don’t mind us losing, I just can’t accept that we can concede so many goals so quickly, it’s ridiculus.

      • Irving08

        The reason why no-one can predict the starting line-up is because we have an erratic Manager: it has nothing to do with squad depth. Injuries permitting, the best Managers, (a) know their strongest team and (b) stick with it.

  2. Irving08

    It may be generational thing, but I am completely unfussed about ‘public relations’. In fact, I rather liked having an abrasive owner.
    In the end, the only thing that matters is whether they are any good at running a business.


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