Relationships can be really tough at times, especially when there’s a genuine deep-seated love involved; during those adverse spells people hang on in there, in some cases maybe against all rational logic, just in the hope that one day that familiar passion, those flames of excitement that first fueled the their infatuation resurfaces. They remember the great times, the buzz, the hope and expectations and will invest all they can in the notion that this magic will return.
If in the end a relationship does fail it’s often down to communication. Marriages, partnerships, they only truly work when both parties remain open, honest and tell each other what is going on. Even more casual arrangements, close friendships, they can drift if one person suddenly finds what they thought they were buying into has changed markedly, for the worst, and without explanation.
Often the truths underlying such issues can be uncomfortable to confront, they could even provoke the mother of all s**t storms, but ultimately, for better or worse, it is only by exposing and dealing with those truths that we can genuinely move on; without answers, the doubts and resentment live on, bubbling under the surface. Without the purgation of talking things through, nothing is truly resolved.
After a decade of mistruths, deception and embargoed whistle blowing, Leeds fans have just experienced what could prove to be an absolutely seminal 48 hours as we all finally look again towards becoming as one with the club and with each other. It started Saturday morning with an announcement regarding “significant new investment” (that’s a takeover to you and me) continued on Sunday evening with an already infamous Q&A fundraiser in Sherburn-in-Elmet and culminated with this morning’s revelations about the forthcoming court case with Ken Bates.
It’s been a hugely cathartic weekend for club and past employees alike; for David Haigh and other board members the publication of Ken Bates’ frivolous expense claims ended months of necessary tongue biting. However, for Simon Grayson and Glyn Snodin, finally freed from the constraints of protecting their severance payments by forsaking a defence of their reputations, the sense of release they felt at finally being able to open up at the Q&A was tangible in the extreme. Two men who evidently love the club, at last able to fight their corner and talk about the conditions user which they laboured during their reign at Elland Road.
So good for David Haigh and the directors, good for Simon, good for Glyn, but most of all, this was good for the supporters. The majority of Leeds fans have long suspected the extent to which our previous chairman undermined our progress, but without concrete evidence, clarity and specifics, provided directly by those at the heart of matters, as opposed to twitter and message board hearsay, it was impossible to attribute an absolute, definitive credence to the stories, to sway doubters and calm the speculative debates.
Now we have an itemised account of Ken Bates’ alleged re-appropriation of club funds for unjustified means, a damning critique of his claims that he “never took a penny out of the club”, now we have an ex-management team deservedly afforded a soap box to defend the fantastic job they did for the club and because of that, we have supporters who can legitimately start to cleanse themselves of a decade of Ken Bates and look forward to the future.
To that end, the news of the takeover couldn’t have possibly been better timed (GFH-C do make a habit of this kind of thing), while letting go of the past is the first step towards a positive future, so too is quickly moving on from the present. GFH-C have to be applauded for much of what they have done for the club, undoing years of damage and making great strides in re-engaging the supporters, but still, their ownership has only ever had the feeling of something transient, a fleeting spell, our best hopes being that they’d ultimately be fondly remembered in Leeds United history as a group of individuals who facilitated the passing of the club from the hands of Ken Bates into those of a far more fitting guardian.
Now this does seem to be the case and imminently so – while the granting of exclusivity signaled a strong expectation of a sale, the revelation that an application for Football League approval for the new investors suggests, based on past evidence (the process took 19 days last year) that a full takeover could be completed and ratified in little more than a fortnight.
Should that happen and Haigh brings in a stable, known, long term focused group of individuals into the club, with clear stated aims and the ability to take the club forward without need for further financial support, then we can finally embrace the open, ambitious football club of which we’ve so long been deprived, all conversations can return to what happens on the pitch, and all efforts focused on backing those who shape those events.
With Brian McDermott in charge, a successful transfer window behind him and the rediscovered sense of unity and ambition amongst all those loyal to the cause, it might just serve to create the sort of momentum our rivals cannot hope to live with.
Dare to dream.
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