The Leeds United FA Cup fairy tale was ended last night at Elland Road by a classy Tottenham Hotspur. Yet is this exactly what Leeds really needed?
No words can describe to a Leeds United fan how much delight was taken from there truly amazing result over Manchester United at Old Trafford in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Any victory over the Red Devils for a Leeds fan is special, yet under the current circumstances with Leeds languishing two divisions below the Premier League champions, it really was an upset of the highest proportion. Not many Premiership teams will even pick up a point at Old Trafford this season let alone win there and deserve it. Following this up with the gutsy performance at White Hart Lane, Leeds United have done themselves proud and reminded us just how big a club they are.
After their undoing last night at the hands of a slick Spurs side Leeds can now concentrate on what is truly important to them. Promotion. Following Leeds United’s famous victory over Manchester United they went onto failing to win in their next three league matches, including a resounding 3-0 hammering by Swindon. An FA Cup distraction? Maybe. Leeds United went from being top of League One by 8 points to now being 2nd, 3 points behind an inform Norwich City. Leeds United does have 2 games in hand, yet they have fallen from League One Champions elect to being in a promotion fight. Leeds United slipping into the play-offs is just not an option. This is their third attempt at getting out of this division, the longer they stay down in League One the quicker the kudos and memory of Leeds United as a massive club slips away.
Their slight dip in form has not only been attributed to the marvellous FA Cup run they had, but to the head turning of star striker Jermaine Beckford. Beckford who has been courted by the likes of Bolton, Newcastle and Everton handed a transfer request in, then rescinded it, followed by an announcement he had agreed a supposed pre-contract agreement with Everton. Distraction indeed. Especially when the player is your main outlet for goals. Another largely negative side effect for Leeds United’s FA Cup run has been the shop windowing of numerous members of their squad. Not only Beckford, but interest has been rumoured on the impressive Robert Snodgrass and Bradley Johnson from numerous Championship sides.
Whilst Leeds United’s Old Trafford victory will go down in Leeds folklore for years to come, being knocked out of the competition can be seen as a blessing in disguise. The feeling I have is that Leeds fans just didn’t want to be embarrassed by one of the Premiership sides. Defeat was reasonable and acceptable, as long as it wasn’t a drubbing. Leeds United is a proud club with a strong football heritage. A 5-0 drubbing by Spurs or Manchester United would have hurt Leeds fans badly. Having produced a solid performance last week in the 2-0 victory against fellow promotion rivals Colchester United, Leeds United may be over their little blip. With FA Cup distractions now a thing of the past. Leeds can get on with what really matters to them and the fans. Championship football.