the square ball weekBack
Many thousands of years ago, man invented the wheel. It was an invention that, along with the tin bath, would change the whole course of civilisation. It was in Yorkshire that the revolutionary wheel was combined with the tin bath, and rolled down a hill as a primitive means of transport that promised a new era of ease and prosperity. Until, that is, the bath reached the bottom of a certain hill in a certain settlement south of the River Aire, and the wheels promptly fell off. And lo, on that spot, a football team was born.
Okay, so perhaps ‘wheels coming off’ is an overreaction to a defeat to a bogey side – that’s eight consecutive defeats to Derby County now, and don’t they just love beating “professional fouling Leeds.” But even if four straight wins was too much to hope for, nobody quite foresaw how poor the performance at Pride Park would be; and with questions being asked yet again about GFH Capital’s takeover, that confident feeling that everything will turn out right has quickly evaporated.
3-1 maybe flattered Derby, but Rachel Stanton’s report at Right In The Gary Kelly’s called it right: “Our midfield wasn’t dealing with their quick pass and go style of football and every time we had possession, Derby closed us down with ease.” Andrew Butterwick at Travels of a Leeds Fan was impressed by the seventeen year old Derby player who was running the show: “Will Hughes began to catch the eye with a series of exquisite touches and telling passes. He might look like an anaemic albino with his shock of bleached blonde hair and whiter than white skin but boy can he play football!” Ross McCormack was blunt in his own assessment, but let’s be fair to ourselves here: Leeds were on the sort of bad run before the Palace game that doesn’t get sorted out overnight, and to have gained nine points from twelve has done them credit. If you’d like a more indepth analysis on where we’re going right and where wrong, download Experimental 3-6-1’s twenty game report on the Championship so far: short version, we don’t make many chances, but when we do we score them; and late goals are our downfall.
There are three games remaining before Christmas, all at home, and all tough in different ways: Ipswich, because they’re rejuvenated and have won three straight under Mick McCarthy; Middlesbrough, because our Yorkshire rivals (those boundary changes never happened!) are going for automatic promotion this season, led by Leeds United old-boy and bad-boy Jonathon Woodgate – and you can read an interview with him in the Telegraph here if you want to know what it is to regret; and in between the two is the biggest but bizarrely maybe easiest: Chelsea in the League Cup. Bradford’s victory over Arsenal has made the remaining stages of this cup look very interesting indeed, and Chelsea’s win in the Club World Cup means they’ll be busying themselves in Japan on Sunday and hopefully arrive in Yorkshire ready to be beaten.
The plan is, of course, for the Chelsea game to be Ken Bates’s last hurrah before handing over to GFH Capital on the 21st December, so we can get on with sorting Diouf’s contract and re-signing Max Gradel, before Warnock moves on to the rest of his shopping list, as suggested by Ian Wylie at RITGK. Things looked to be progressing according to plan earlier in the week, as LUFC announced that Hisham Alrayes and Salem Patel had passed the Football League ‘Owners and Directors’ test, while Phil Hay in the Evening Post flagged up the story behind our future home in the Cayman Islands, which while it doesn’t get much love from Barack Obama, looks nice in the pictures (that’s Ugland House on the right).
But things got a little bit wobbly as the week went on. First came a story from Ken Bates’s old adversary Charlie Sale in the Mail, who claimed that GFHC had missed a payment on the takeover deal, putting the whole thing in jeopardy. David Haigh told the YEP he remains confident of clinching the purchase on time, but on Thursday evening Adam Pope of BBC Leeds said he’d been told by a source that “Ken Bates has tried to raise the price & change the terms of the deal at the eleventh hour,” and that “GFH Capital are irritated because they believe other interested parties have been spoken to.” Who to believe – the Mail journalist who loves to wind Ken Bates up who says GFHC are missing payments, or the source telling the BBC that Bates is irritating GFHC? Maybe we should turn to the words of the parties involved, as links appeared on Twitter to David Haigh’s new website in progress; hmm, click ‘About Me,’ yep, let’s see what David has to say for himself…
”As a teenager, I helped raise funds for the Conservative Party by bringing my owls to the many fetes and garden parties events and charging people money to see them.”
Oh. Right. Thanks Dave. That’s good to know.
Meanwhile, it can be hard to tell the difference between waiting for the takeover to happen and waiting for Christmas to come, but the players’ annual trip to the LGI Children’s Wards should let you know it’s Christmas time, and remind you that there’s more important things going on than just the football. Less heart-warming but definitely worth reading is Andy P’s article here on LOL! Leeds Online about the old Lowfields stand at Elland Road, flying tarmac and all. Christmas time is also all about holidays and commercialism, and the club celebrated it’s new sponsorship deal with Monarch Airlines by letting the players pose with an airstewardess; well, I say ‘pose,’ Tom Lees looks like he’s gone on standby, Becchio is restraining the young lady by the arm, and Rodolph Austin appears to be stroking her feet. It’s not even the Christmas party yet! But no matter. Every day is the right day for a video of Billy Paynter doing a magic trick. Happy early Christmas. Let’s beat Chelsea.