‘Better the devil you know…’ and all that.
I didn’t really get the grasp of this saying until recently. The only time I had come across this was when I used to work in a concrete factory and we had a new boss taking over. All my co-workers kept saying ‘better the devil you know’ to me. I wondered why they were reciting Kylie Minogue lyrics to but I soon realised that as my new gaffer was a bigger twat than the previous, that what they were saying had a hidden meaning.
Apparently its not just an 80’s song, it’s also a saying that is very apt to myself as a Leeds United fan.
So, this takeover thing. Like most Leeds fans, it was hard not to hear about this when it first became apparent in May. And, again like most Leeds fans, it took over my life. I was on various forums every waking hour, religiously clicking the refresh button. I would think of any excuse to ‘use’ the computer at work to get a sneaky look on Waccoe or Twitter.
Everyday it seemed to be getting closer, leaked pictures or people appearing to be in the know would be saying that the takeover was ‘imminent’ and that we would soon be rich beyond our wildest dreams.
Thought of Champions league and challenging for the elusive Premier League title against our arch rivals Scumchester United and Chelski started getting us all excited. Finally being able to actually sign players instead of getting bit part players on loan was becoming a reality instead of just a pipe dream. The chants of us ‘not being famous anymore’ were soon to be rammed down the throats of the championship clubs we were coming up against, who we all know, are just jealous of our past.
And on it went…
The same people coming out with new ‘in the know’ pieces of information. None of which came to fruition, even though were barraged with abuse. And I am sure that if you were to look on any of the Leeds United forums today, there would still be these people claiming that their ‘sources’ have heard ‘blah blah blah’.
The home match against Wolves, all the crowd around me in the Kop, pointing and whispering who the mystery man in Bates’s box could be. Thinking it has GOT to be happening soon, after all, he has now been to Elland Road and witnessed the fans love of the club. How could he not pay whatever Bates is asking? He would be a fool to turn down the once in a lifetime opportunity to own this club and therefore these fans.
And then we played Sheffield Wednesday.
I can’t remember ever being embarrassed to be a Leeds fan. Sure at times we have done some naughty things, but that can mostly be put down to ‘banter’ in my mind. We give as good as we get. Teams and fans come to Elland Road to rile us, because it’s their ‘cup final’. That is especially true over the last few years of our decline from the top flight. We sing songs, they sing songs.
My best mate, well his girlfriend, are due to have a baby at Christmas time. Now, he isn’t a football fan by any stretch of the imagination. He isn’t even one of them ‘World Cup’ fans who put England flags on their cars every four years. He has zero interest in football. So, after many months of cunning conniving by myself, I convinced the expectant pair that their future son, should in fact, be a Leeds United fan.
He could come to the games with me and my one year old son. He could grow to be passionate about the beautiful game, instead of being one of those poor souls that doesn’t have football in their lives. All was going well. They agreed. Then on the 20th of October, they saw the newspapers.
Sheffield Wednesday sang songs about Istanbul, we sang songs about Dave Jones. Things were getting heated to say the least. But then we scored a belter of a goal. The whole of the Leeds away end went mental, but one young lad went berserk. Aaron Cawley ran on the pitch and pushed Chris Kirkland in the face. Thus putting us back into the public eye for all the wrong reasons and bringing shame on our club.
All the Leeds United fans I spoke to were in shock about this, and in true MOT fashion, got together and got the culprit named and shamed within minutes via various Social Media sites. However, this would not have looked good to any potential investors looking to pour their millions into a valuable asset with a huge fanbase. He couldn’t have done it at a worse time really.
Or could he?
Ken Bates on one hand. The self proclaimed saviour of Leeds United. It’s true, he has gotten rid of all our outstanding debt. But at what cost? All our monetary assets have been sold off. From the very pitch we play on, to our captains who once played on said pitch. While Bates is still in charge we will always be a ‘selling club’. This much is obvious.
Over the course of the last 5 or so seasons, we have sold all our best players and never really managed to better their positions. With the exception maybe of Paddy Kenny being the best keeper we have had in a long while. He has never replaced Jermaine Beckford with a proven goalscorer, and neither Max Gradel with an out and out winger. The money that we have gained from transfers compared to that what we have spent is almost embarrassing.
Neil Warnock is certainly a kop favourite, and so he should be. His record speaks for itself, and he has endeared himself to the Leeds faithful in the relatively short space of time that he has been here. But, like his predecessors, he is still working with his hands shackled. How many times have we read that he needs to bolster his squad. No more apparent than today’s match versus Birmingham City, where Danny Pugh even got a rare run out!
GFH Capital on the other hand. The ones we are all hoping have a bottomless pit of money to sign the likes of Lionel Messi. However, recent reports suggest the only thing they may be able to afford are the likes of Lionel Blair’s messy pants.
A simple search for GFH Capital brings up all manner of unsavoury stories, the most important one for me as a Leeds United fan is of them making a 1.07 billion loss in 2010. We also have to ask ourselves, why is it taking so long?
By now it seems obvious that Uncle Ken is willing to sell up and spend his days counting his money in Monaco, so I can only presume the hold up is on the buyers side. Have they really got the money to turn is into a Premier League challenger? Or will we just end up like another Portsmouth? Again.
‘Better the devil you know’ isn’t just a Kylie Minogue song.
Written by Dean Wellecomme
Follow him on Twitter @DeanWell13lufc
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