It’s hard to sum up the general feeling around Elland Road at the minute. Worryingly, I can’t decide whether that’s due to the amount of different opinions flying around, or whether it’s simply a fact that there just isn’t much feeling at all.
Our fans are renowned for their passion and commitment to the cause. We wont ever give up a fight even when it seems like all is lost and we’ve been written off by the rest of the watching world. Being Leeds is more to people than just football, there’s a sense of a pride that surrounds the club, an aura, the mere fact that we are still scrapping away despite being down for the count numerous times over the last few years shows just how much belief, at times blind belief, we have.
Unfortunately, over time that belief has been tested and stretched to breaking point, and it appears that this time there is no quick fix. The club as a whole has lost that spark that has always been the difference between us and anybody else.
You can look at attendances as proof of this, but my worry goes deeper than that.
What reason do the younger generation have to support Leeds? In the past we’ve always been one of the bigger clubs, battling it out in the Premier League and in Europe with the elite teams from around the world, not only that, but we still had that spark that made us different from the rest.
When kids grow up, they look at their friends who all support the usual big teams, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City etc and have a decision to make. Most of them will just go with the popular choice at the time, but there are always a few that want something different.
That has always been our advantage.
No crowd roars like an Elland Road crowd. It amazes me watching fans from other teams celebrate when they score, barely even bothering to applaud. Any youngster that gets given a taste of Elland Road at its best wont ever look back.
But as it stands, they wont have that option. The passion is dwindling and for the first time in my existence I can see people starting to care less about what happens to their club. They’ve put that much effort in to sticking at it through low after low that it’s got to the point where they don’t have the energy for it anymore.
It pains me to say it, but we are slowly but surely turning into just another average football team. The difference between us and the other clubs now is disappearing. We are no longer a big draw in the Championship, teams don’t fear Leeds United anymore.
I don’t blame GFH for this, they’ve inherited a club on it’s knees and they’ve been making an effort to get the fans back. The transfer window closed last week and most rational thinking fans will understand that despite not spending endless amounts of money, we have improved the squad and we’re quite clearly happy to pay the wages of better quality players. I’ve no doubt that we’ll see what GFH are truly made of in the summer, but by then who knows what position we will be in.
Leeds need their spark back. Our recent win over Tottenham in the cup was a timely reminder of just how things could be, a capacity crowd filled with pride and passion, the players working hard together and our name back in lights for all the right reasons.
This really could be the breaking point. If the next few months go well for us then there is still hope for our recovery, if they don’t, I fear that the damage may become permanent.