It is here; July is upon us, the time when the most learned spirits of the twitter DM world foretold of the coming of our saviours – men of wealth, armed with gold, frankincense and the fabled war chest. The new LUFC financial year is upon us, the new working week in the Arabic world is upon us, Neil Warnock is due back in Leeds after a mini-break in Mablethorpe – the time has come…or maybe if not it will come tomorrow, or…
Actually no! Please God (or should that be Allah?) can it end inside the next 24 hours? This takeover saga has already claimed too many casualties; too many good people have seen their social lives dissipate, their sleep patterns destroyed, their sanity pushed to the limits by the seemingly never-ending speculation. And moreover, when it does end, what will become of the most serious victims; addicts suddenly deprived of their fix of the emotional rollercoaster, somehow having to re-assimilate into society?
Whether the symptoms are hangovers, nervous exhaustion or anxiety linked to withdrawal symptoms, will the announcement when it finally arrives, spark a wave of absenteeism in the work place… is TOMA fever going to become an accredited medical condition?
For the sake of everyone this has to end, and it has to end now; mercifully the learned spirits appear to have been very much in tune with events at Elland Road and even the YEP have thrown every single egg into the Middle Eastern takeover basket. Everyone agrees that it’s happening, everyone agrees that it’s “imminent”, but imminent is non-specific, just somebody, give us all a date and time already!!
To borrow the title of one of The Smiths’ finest songs…”HOW SOON IS NOW?”
Monday 25th June
The Leeds United week begins in historic style as the Olympic torch passes by Elland Road on Monday morning. There was relief all around as the designated torch bearer, Paula Punnett, arrived with her beaming smile on her face, as opposed to a chav in a white shell suit, holding aloft a cheap cigarette lighter.
In an attempt to satisfy demand, the club announce they’ve secured a further 500 tickets for the pre-season friendly in Torquay…the decision to schedule the game on a Friday night, during high season is looking forever more misguided.
The YEP reveals that Neil Warnock is taking one final holiday before the hard slog of the pre-season preparations begin in earnest. But as the manager revealed, he won’t be completely getting away from it all:
“We need to push on from here and in the week or 10 days leading up to July 11th, I’ll be looking to get quite a number of deals done. I’m getting away for a short break but, to be honest, the hard work never stops. I couldn’t be working harder on all this…
…Oi, waiter! Where’s that beer I ordered? Dos San Miguels, gracias! Oh and remember, I want Heinz ketchup with my fish fingers and chips!”
Elsewhere, once exciting football talent-cum-mercenary-cum-morality vacuum, Harry Kewell reveals that he’s looking to move back to England after spending last season pushing himself/feathering his retirement fund in the competitive environment of the Australian A-League. Having previously claimed his move to Galatasary was in part a conscious attempt to “build bridges” between Leeds United and arguably the most despicable football club in European football, expect the next port of call on his saintly mission to take in Cardiff or Bermondsey…
Tuesday 26th June
Following weeks of frenzied speculation and allegedly, a little pressure from LUST, the club finally release a fresh statement, announcing that they’ve granted a ‘potential investor’ an exclusivity period in which to carry out a period of due diligence. They also add that they foresaw no problems with either that, or the Football League’s criteria for fit and proper persons. On the surface, the statement only confirms for certain that a minimum of 30% of the club is being bought…but to everyone else, reading between the lines, IT’S A TAKEOVER!!!!
Gary Cooper from the Supporter’s Trust confirms as much again in a Radio Leeds interview, and yet in comparison to the celebrations sparked by the initial statement, reaction is a little more muted this time, certainly on WACCOE. It can only be the ‘Bates effect’; after nearly 7 and a half long years of abuse at the hands of the owner, Leeds fans are finally being exposed to the glorious hope of sunlight, but all of a sudden they’re getting just a little bit cagey.
I see it rather like an episode of ‘Animal Hospital’; the abused Leeds fan, a malnourished dog, the saintly bidder, offering us rescue from a life of misery and appalling abuse, taking the guise of Rolf Harris. Although the beaming sun and the promise of a new, better, happier existence has clearly come into view and the Leeds fans’ eyes have now adjusted and re-focused, their minds are still trying to get to grips with the concept of liberation; currently we find ourselves at the delousing stage, as LUST and the media move rid us all of our infestation of insecurities. The metaphorical maximum strength Bob Martin’s shampoo has been applied, and now we’re just one rinse away from taking our first tentative steps into a joyous new world…
Elsewhere, the Sky TV conspiracy to deprive Leeds fans of Saturday afternoon football begins in earnest with the season opener against Wolves being moved forward to a 12.45pm kick-off, while no doubt South Yorkshire Police will have been thrilled that the Leeds invasion of Owlerton has now been re-scheduled for a Friday night.
Wednesday 27th June
As the almost foreign concept of hope and optimism continues to sweep across supporters in a tidal wave, the club move to make the opening pre-season game at Farsley Celtic, an all-ticket affair. A £1 booking fee and advance ticket at least buys supporters time for an extra pint on Town Street before the game.
The club announce a new partnership with Levy restaurants for catering at Elland Road. The organisation are revealed to be a chain of the sport and leisure division of the Compass Group; in turn they are part of the wider AEG group – speculation immediately hots up again that it’s the Americans buying the club. I offer up the suggestion on twitter that even Harvey wouldn’t be stupid enough to publicise the agreement if there was a chance it’d compromise the confidentiality of the ‘investors’… needless to say, the responses I received, rather differed on the point.
The YEP reports that Crystal Palace are set to join Huddersfield and Bristol City in the race to sign Ross McCormack – am I missing something here? I thought he’d just had a good season?
Thursday 28th June
Another sign that the takeover is all but done as Leeds announce another commercial deal; suddenly the club is getting an ‘Official Global Hotel Partner’, yes you read that right, no longer Bewley’s with their chain of 6 hotels across England and Ireland, now we’re bed partners with the Intercontinental Group who have Holiday Inns all over the shop… including the likes of Bahrain, Qatar, North America, France etc. etc…
As the YEP reports the deal to secure the services of Lee Peltier is almost sealed, the news is not so good for Paul Connolly as it’s revealed that the previous incumbent of the right-back slot at Elland Road is facing surgery on his hernia. The YEP describes the development as a blow for Connolly as interest in him is likely to remain tentative while he works his way back to full fitness. Most rational readers recoil in shock that there is anything approaching tentative interest in him in the first place.
Friday 29th June
After teasing Leeds fans with tweets suggesting some serious developments at Elland Road, Adam Pope delivers the news that the takeover is all but done and although there are no clues to when an announcement will be made, it would seem that one is imminent. Back on the show again is LUST’s Gary Cooper who essentially confirms that all the rumours of Middle East bidders are true and when asked about the implications for the club he replied… now get this, read it back, say it back and savour it:
“I do know that this gives all Leeds United fans the opportunity to… dare to dream”
The YEP were quick to follow suit, suddenly even they were confidently stating as fact that it was a takeover, it was Middle East money and it was happening very soon. Predictably Peter Lorimer was excited, but rather more at pains how Ken Bates’ hard work in re-establishing Leeds United as a well-run club has made this all possible… After all, where would we be without the plummeting gates, loss making businesses, the £4m lost in court cases and the £5m of season ticket money mortgaged against the cost of rebuilding a stand where half of the executive boxes sit unused? Promoted maybe?
The latest swathe of fixtures change at the whim of Sky TV and the police are announced. There’s the standard early kick-off for the Dog Botherer’s game, moved no doubt to ensure that all the young offenders could get back home before the security tag curfew kicks in. Derby and Forest follow suit, the prospect of another early Boxing Day start, an absolute joy!
On a more positive note, less than 100 tickets remain now for the Torquay game – in the Leeds end, that is… it’s gonna an interesting night!
I spent my Friday at opening night of The Stone Roses comeback concert and for those not comfortable with simply relying on the media and LUST to satisfy their needs to be reassured about the new era at Leeds, then how about I throw omens into the mix too?
After years in the music wilderness, The Roses officially announced their return to the big time today; just as – unofficially at least – Leeds United may have done; the band were at their very peak around 1989 and 1990, accumulating in a mass celebration at Spike Island in May… I seem to recall that coincided with a rather special time at Elland Road too; oh and if anybody wants to write these omens off, just take a look at what Reni, the catalyst for the band’s demise and at the forefront of their resurrection was sporting as head gear…
Case closed m’laud!
Saturday 30th June
A quiet news day on the LUFC front, although it seems now that Nottingham Forest are on the verge of completing their takeover. Was it really only a few weeks ago that Leeds fans were working themselves into a frenzy about being owned by a fridge magnate?
It’s possible that Fawaz Al-Hasawi will be good for Forest, although having witnessed his twitter campaign over the past month, I’d suggest they were welcome to him; a break from such ego driven self-publicists at Elland would be a most welcome prospect – maybe the Al-Hasawi may be interested in a loss making radio station?
Sunday 1st July
It’s 12.50pm, it’s a business day in the Middle East, they’re several hours in front of the UK and there’s absolutely nothing new to speak of.
F**k me! It’s gotta happen Monday then, it’s just gotta…