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…