Since Leeds United’s famous FA Cup win at Old Trafford in January, the Whites have only picked up two league wins and seen an eight point lead disintegrate into a seven point deficit.
By managing to keep star striker Jermaine Beckford at the club for the rest of the season it only seemed a matter of time before Leeds would begin their climb back up the football league ladder. However, now in their third season of League One football, Whites fans can easily be forgiven for taking a look over their shoulder at the chasing pack.
From an outside view, it seems difficult to put your finger on the source of Leeds’ problems. By bringing in Gary McShefferey on loan, they have signed themselves a player of Championship calibre with promotion experience just last season, surely another perfectly fitted piece in the promotion chasing jigsaw no? Apparently not.
However, it seems the finger of blame may be pointed at leading scorer Beckford. Prior to his goal against Brentford on Saturday, unsettled fans suggested the 26 year old should be dropped from the side after going seven games without a goal.
This aside, it doesn’t seem right that a promotion chasing side should pin all their hopes on one man and let him bear the majority of the abuse when he’s in a rough patch. You only have to look at talented players such as Luciano Becchio and Robert Snodgrass in the side to see that you have to delve even further to find the roots of Leeds’ problems.
A disgruntled Leeds fan summed up the current mindset of the supporters and posted on a League One message board following Saturday’s clash with the Bees saying:
“I never thought I’d be fed up following this club whilst being 2nd in the league but it’s the same thing every week.
Struggle, struggle, struggle. Should never have got to the stage where we’re chasing the game.”
That’s when the problem seems to click; nerves. Two successive play-off failures continue to haunt Leeds’ fans and they are potentially too desperate not to fall into that lottery again. 12 games remain in League One and they sit two points clear of third place Charlton with their destiny very much in their own hands.
However with a goal shy team and nerves rife in team and supporters alike, are Leeds destined to face another season in the third tier of English football?
Written by Tom Bowers