This season’s Square Ball signing off message…
Remember today. Remember the feeling of relief that it’d all soon be over for a few months. Remember Spotland, remember Hillsborough, remember Dean Court, remember Vicarage Road, remember conceding nine goals at Elland Road in the space of four days.
Remember having to second guess the team sheet for every game since the turn of the year because you couldn’t come up with enough names worthy of the starting XI, then remember having seen it, still not being able to fathom out how the hell we were going to line up anyway. Remember the day we played with wing backs AND wingers. Remember looking at the bench, only to have Danny Pugh and Scott Wootton look back at you and make you feel like we’ve hit rock bottom. Remember seeing Danny Pugh and Scott Wootton starting the next game and realising we hadn’t.
Remember being outraged by the sacking of McDermott and then wondering how he was still in a job when the new regime finally had the authority to do so. Remember bulls**t spewing PR campaigns, remember false idols, remember David Haigh basking in a sea of social media sycophancy, promising the world but delivering nothing. Remember Leeds fans being reduced to bleating that the Football League was corrupt while they begged a man with a track record of corruption to take over the club.
Remember Macron decreeing that we should play in cream on the road and dressed as cigarette packets at home. Remember the growing feelings of reluctance and fear that accompanied match days. Remember checking your watch when Leeds are trailing 2-0 and not so much being gutted that there was so little time left, but distraught that there was so much. Remember the football being reduced to a sideshow and the pub being the main event, rather than vice-versa.
Remember Leeds still being the most talked about, highest profile club outside the Premier League, but then remember it was only on the grounds of being a laughing stock. Remember back to last season, and the one before, and remember it’s all just been one long reoccurring circus. Remember the players long departed, the irreplaceable, never replaced and remember the injections of top flight quality designed to inject new momentum – remember Kebe, remember Stewart, remember Connor Wickham…on the wing.
But then also remember that even this season, a third of the Championship’s teams are somehow still worse than ours. Remember that the size and stature of Leeds United is permanent, only our status is transient, and that in the long run the former more often than not dictates the latter.
Remember everything that we’ve gone through, remember that our last decade has been more traumatic than that suffered by supporters at any other major club, remember the takeovers, the relegations, administration, the points deductions, the play-offs, and remember that despite it all we’ve kept coming back for more.
Remember that those continued hard knocks have built up such a degree of immunity to pain that from this point forward, nothing can hurt us more than what’s already preceded it, that as a club we can fall no further, at worst our fortunes can only plateaux, but at best they can rocket, and when they do, remember those who’ve savoured our demise and in turn, savour their retreat from the streets of Huddersfield, Hull, Barnsley and Sheffield and back into their shells as they morosely ponder how something that’d been broken for so long could once again, function so gloriously.
Remember that the taste of success is sweetest for those who’ve known real hardship, so we can cherish our future achievements in a way that those loyal to Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and the like could never really hope to do so.
And remember to always believe this will happen, because without that belief we would have nothing left and no reason to stay around…well, at least until the world stops going ‘round.
See you in August.
Next week: The return of the LUFC Photo Archives.
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