Whisper it quietly, but something is happening in Leeds.
It’s early days and anything can happen but the smiles are returning to the faces of the thousands that descend on Elland Road to take their seats and witness a changing of the tides.
Results aside, which at time of going to press are nothing short of fantastic, a city appears to reclaiming its pride. As the city itself has grown over the last decade becoming a hub and magnet for all things digital, fashionable and culinary, a giant has been sleeping, no, decaying just across the city.
Derided for its decline by so many, including ourselves, explaining the ‘We’re not famous anymore’ song to new ears is so ironic that its now lost its irony and humour.
Fan’s hopes and emotions are embedded into the club and weekends are ruined by a last minute consolation. In recent years, Leeds fans came to a point of being so dejected that the hope of achievement was replaced with expectation of failure. Historical data from results to well documented fish food highlight this all too well.
Fan’s can be fickle but the fans of Leeds United have became tired of singing and posting #(insert name of chairman/manager)out.
But something good happened last year. We punted on a young manager with something to prove and whilst the milk has now soured, in years to come we will look on last season as a massive leap forwards. Players started playing for the shirt and looked like they wanted to be here.
Whilst everything was far from rosy, we no longer suffered from the journeyman Ipswich cast offs and people who wanted a salary rather as much as they wanted to play football.
The team had a spirit that was galvanised by some really useful signings early doors.
As the season tailed off, we were ultimately left disappointed but not as dejected and hopeless as in previous years. The post mortem to previous years usually meant a new manager picking up the pieces of a disbanded squad of average players, only for him to be sacked within a few months.
Roll on the summer of 2017 and something magical happened. I am always suspicious of football club owners with a public profile as I question their motives. I always compare to the name I used to see in the match day programme as a kid and have no idea what he looked like. Step forward Leslie Silver OBE.
Andrea Radrizzani took full control and shortly afterwards out went Garry Monk. A collective sigh rippled across the city followed by a number of expletives in my case at the bedside of my other half and our day old boy.
But then something different happened. The club appeared to act fast and were concise putting the current structure in place before hiring the untested and unheard of Thomas Christiansen. We were shocked but I think any pool of disappointment reserved for the club had long since disappeared. Leeds United don’t do disappointment. Anything above failure and embarrassment were par for the course in recent years without reaching back to the dizzying heights of disappointment.
We looked to be going into the season with absolutely no idea of what to expect and I personally was muted of opinion. I had simply run out of feelings to express for my club.
Then we bought back Elland Road. Then I really started to take notice of what this new lot were starting to do. This wasn’t just an acquisition of brick, mortar and turf, it was the acquisition of large portion of the stoically sceptical fanbase. It was an olive branch from your ex wife that cheated on you but you still secretly love.
This was the chairman speaking to the fans. We wanted to own our own playground yet for years we were subject to paying through the noise for the pleasure of existing in the pit of some of our greatest ever experiences. I, for one, was willing to listen.
We then started to pull in a steady influx of signings with ridiculous names and even more ridiculous haircuts. But they appeared to have pedigree and furthermore, we paid real life money for them. Actual money. Leeds United paid a fee for a player. Yep.
Almost overnight, the Leeds United social media game ignited into something more powerful and savvy than any Love Island contestant could ever imagine. We were proactive, response and they didn’t make us wait to go to bed…
The wave of optimism has spread across social media feeds and to outsiders it could see odd to celebrate something so small and premature. We’ve won nothing more than a few football matches so far but I think it’s safe to say that the club has won back our hearts.
There will be ups and downs as always but this club of our ours is showing progress both on and off the field for the first time in years. We should embrace it and drink in every moment.
Edit: This was written before the Millwall game so #christiansenout #radrizzaniout etc etc