And so a TOMA detox has begun – partial you understand, I have to be realistic here – after weeks of investing a wholly unhealthy proportion of time into twitter and WACCOE gossip and hanging off every word typed or uttered by Gary Cooper, like some profound teachings of Buddha, I’ve resolved to kick the rumour mill’s answer to a crystal meth habit and focus on enjoying the summer… well, at least until next ‘nailed on’ story of substance.
The only problem now is that I don’t remember my life without TOMA; how did I survive the summer months in the past? With the Euros gone I now have no football distractions, nor can I point to the novel presence of a massive fiery star some 150,000,000km away, to justify an existence of lounging about in the garden, moving only to periodically turn down the volume of the sound deck when the neighbours come out and I’m listening to some tune laden with ‘effing and jeffing’.
I’m finding myself reduced to being stuck indoors, in a mode of self-congratulation for side-lining the obsession that’s been keeping me indoors for the first place. Today I’ll be pinning my hopes that Lewis Hamilton will find God and after a chinwag, be given rights to channel the genius of Ayrton Senna’s abilities for driving in wet conditions; then to follow, I’ll be investing my hopes and passion into supporting a Scottish charisma vacuum, who appears to hold a thinly veiled disdain for the English, as he aims to triumph in a minority sport that holds little interest for me, 50 weeks a year – FML!
Still, at least my ‘Lord of the Rings’ metaphor for the takeover is holding true; we are deep into the final chapter… I’d just forgotten the film had so many f**king false endings! – I knew I should’ve gone with Star Wars, the celebrations on Endor were far more hip as well; the Ewoks may have been an annoying race whose introduction heralded a dip from which Star Wars saga would never recover, but those furry little bastards sure knew how to throw a party!
Monday 2nd July
On the first of several quiet news days, LUFC resort to again announcing the capture of Paul Green and Adam Drury, although in fairness, this time it’s official: they’re contractually obliged to be professionally courteous to Ben Fry.
Another plug also for the 2012/13 season tickets as the club assures supporters that buying a season ticket is the only way to “guarantee your seat for what we hope will be an exciting campaign”. If that statement of intent is not enough to lure in potential customers, the club also reveal a new benefit for season ticket holders; the entitlement to purchase 3 online match tickets for other people (non-season ticket holders) with a £5 discount… it really does pay to commit, doesn’t it?
Tuesday 3rd July
The Crown Prosecution Services announce that some 5 months after the incident, they do not intend to press any charges following the Elland Road tunnel scuffle at the end of the Doncaster game. A spokesman for the CPS revealed that the organisation were pleased to swiftly draw a line under the matter and would now be focusing all their on the cases of a man accused of littering during the poll tax riots, and a woman allegedly caught burning her bra at the Greenham Common protests in the early 1980s.
It’s also announced that the furthest flung away trip off the season, to the AMEX Community Stadium, has been rescheduled to the least convenient night of the week for the second year running at the whim of Sky: Brighton vs. Leeds United, Friday night – tempted?
Meanwhile, Neil Warnock reveals he doesn’t even know whether Aidy White will be returning for pre-season training:
“Presumably, he’ll tell me what’s going off when he comes back for pre-season training on the 11th. Under the legal terms, I don’t suppose he has to train with us if he’s got fixed up, with him being under 24. But I think the lad will want to anyhow.”
It kinda puts our frustration about the takeover into perspective when the manager is even having to speculate whether he’ll see one of his players or not.
Wednesday 4th July
Coventry City’s Richard Keogh is the latest name to be linked with a move to Elland Road; like another rumoured defensive target, Nottingham Forest’s Luke Chambers, Keogh was voted the Sky Blues’ ‘Player of the Year’; with new club mouthpiece and Pompey ‘Player of the Year’ Jason Pearce already on board, it would seem difficult to question Neil Warnock’s judgement on defensive recruits.
It is reported that Coventry would look to recoup in the region of £1m if they were forced to sell… imagine that, Leeds United paying a seven figure sum! It has happened before kids – ask your granddad! Maybe Elland Road is finally becoming a desirable destination again? Well for mediocre journeymen at least as the YEP reports that another long rumoured target, Portsmouth’s Luke Varney has his heart set on a ‘dream move’ to Elland Road. Championship rivals be afraid… be very afraid.
Thursday 5th July
The official site reveals that both Paddy Kisnorbo – possibly by now striking an uncanny resemblance to Robocop or the Bionic Man – and therobbierogers.com will both feature for Leeds in pre-season, albeit at not the same level of the others. Davide Somma is expected to return to training next month with a late September/early October return mooted. Dates! We have dates here! Has Ben Parker really patented the “days not weeks” sound bite and has now added it to his CV to impress potential employers with?
More positive news on the player speculation front as the YEP reports that a deal to bring Lee Peltier to the club is now imminent; a potential deal that’s almost positive enough to force a reluctant smile and a philosophical, agreeable nod from most supporters. Simon Cox is also being linked…now steady on, that signing would actually border on the exciting! Are we actually ready for that?!
Even more exciting though is the sudden announcement of the brand new LUFC 2012/14 away (or if you prefer, the recycled Napoli 2011/12 home) shirt. The official site is all bluster as it excitedly spurts forth all the sales patter. Apparently:
The new kit, which has been designed by Macron in conjunction with the club (and Napoli) combines technology with classic Italian style and presents the new ‘azzurro’ steel colour (blue).
The shirt was created integrating a range of different fabrics; the main body is complemented by navy blue flanks in a mesh fabric that define the profile of the shirt and allow maximum breathability. The neck comes in ribknit with under collar contrasting fabric and the year the club was founded, 1919, embroidered on the back.
Mercifully, for those wanting the low down in layman’s terms, Tom Lees enthused:
“The away one’s really nice, really nice colour an’ that; hmm… it’s nice, I really like it! I’m looking forward to wearing the away shirt especially, they’re nice, really nice shirts…”
Causing almost a big a stir as the shirt itself was one publicity shot from the photo shoot of a smiling Tom Lees; granted it wasn’t a naturalistic smile, indeed it seemed pained, forced in the extreme, that of a man attempting to put on a brave face while the world around him has collapsed. I’d expect a similar grin from Adam Clayton when he meets the press at the Galpharm.
Much more disturbing however was the subsequent disclosure of further photographs taken on that day, by LUTV’s James Varley on his twitter timeline. One shot in particular sent a shudder of apprehension down the spine; a photograph of a statuesque Lees being filmed by a cameraman – it had an unnerving Lynchian undercurrent to it; far more Twin Peaks than Thorp Arch. It haunted my thoughts as I retired to bed that night, infiltrating my subconscious and burning into my mind a disturbing vision…
I can’t help but fantasise now that future LUFC transfer negotiations will be conducted in a manner akin to those exchanges in the ‘Red Room’; Ben Fry, crouching as best he might to inhabit the role of The Man From Another Place, while Shaun Harvey dons a wig in an effort to convince the potential signing that he’s the reincarnation of a savagely murdered girl they used to know.
For those either too young or culturally unaware to have immersed themselves in Twin Peaks, I make no apologies; it is a shortcoming you need to address, though rest assured, prior knowledge probably doesn’t add an overwhelming sense of clarity to what you may have just witnessed in the video above.
Friday 6th July
After weeks of mourning the club’s inability to keep hold of Adam Clayton, the early morning announcement of a move to Huddersfield moves to at least assure some of those fans in question that he was (for 75% of games) a waste of space after all. Doubtless struggling to deal with the heartbreak of witnessing indignant, departing, Leeds tweeters decimating his followers list in a mass exodus, Clayton will have at least been heartened by the words of his new/old boss, Simon Grayson:
“He’s a player I admired when he was at Carlisle and Manchester City and we’re delighted to have secured his services to this football club. I think it shows our intent in the level of players we want to sign”
Guess the Dog Botherers are serious about trying to stay out of the bottom three…
Clayton’s motives for the move may at the outset seem a little more puzzling, although maybe by looking beyond football considerations and at the wider picture, everything slots into place, as one look at Google Maps might suggest.
Saturday 7th July
On the slowest of news days, the highlight of the YEP’s Leeds United coverage is Brendan Ormsby’s column where he reveals his least favourite football shirts of all time; predictably the 1970s chocolate brown Coventry City away kit is selected as Brendan’s biggest fashion ‘no no’; expect tips on interior design next week, specifically why contrasting walls are still in vogue and why powder blue is the new eggshell.
Away from the more respected channels and into the world of the great unwashed, uninformed and frankly moronic, the dissidents of The Square Ball head down to the bright lights of London for the FSF ‘Fanzine of the Year Awards’, hoping to retain their title. Ultimately, on those grounds the evening proves to be a disappointment, but the budget lavished out on rail tickets, a family room at a budget hotel and alcohol is not all put to waste as ex-White, Michael Gray is befriended (or practically raped in the case of Moscowhite) by the team and his telephone number secured… I’m assuming for interviewing purposes, although the team sounded quite smitten in a pretty gay way.
Sunday 8th July
More fall-out from the FSF trip as it’s revealed that predictably, Moscowhite was identified as the first to hit the wall; mercifully photographic evidence was provided. Oddy did eventually return to the hotel, having disappeared, seduced by the bright lights and a short-lived, sexually charged, one way twitter relationship with a man whose twitter name closely approximates that of Dan, who himself was sadly deprived of Oddy’s spooning services in the interim.
Oh and as for Leeds United? No news again. On WACCOE the main source of excitement derided over the weekend has been from members posting on the page of the thread that corresponds to their year of birth as it’s reached – on the last visit they’d entered the 1980s – it really is that quiet… actually, scratch that, I’ve just had a new interesting text, quoting an announcement date, quoting a “very solid source”.
Bollocks, I didn’t even make it through the weekend! Back to the TOMA speculation rollercoaster it is…