Leeds' appointment of Brian McDermott as manager has already given all associated with the club a tremendous lift, says FanZoner Steve Turner.
Changing managers at the back end of a campaign is risky business. It can literally make or break an entire season, undoing months of hard work in the process, or turn a club's fortunes around when they need it the most.
These days managerial changes are happening at a more frequent rate than ever before, the powers that be at many clubs seem to be easily panicked when it comes to a dip in form.
Sometimes the gamble pays off, take either Huddersfield or Sheffield Wednesday last season, both were in touching distance of promotion but had hit a point where they were struggling to find any real form. Both brought in new managers, Simon Grayson at Huddersfield and Dave Jones at Sheffield Wednesday, and both managers rewarded the risk their clubs took with promotion to the Championship.
On the flipside, Reading are a prime example of what can happen if the new manager doesn't get off to a good start. After drifting four points clear of safety they decided to make a change at the helm, sacking Brian McDermott and bringing in Nigel Adkins in an attempt to hang on to their Premier League status, which they are now on the verge of losing.
Of course, there is nothing to say that Reading would've stayed up had the club decided to retain the services of McDermott, but their soon-to-be confirmed relegation proves beyond doubt that new managers are coming under increasing pressure to make an instant impact.
Reading's loss however, is most definitely Leeds' gain.
In the short space of time that McDermott has been at Elland Road he's successfully re-engaged a fanbase that couldn't have been more divided. His request for everyone at the club to be pulling in the same direction has been met with resounding optimism from all corners, something the club has desperately been lacking for a long time.
For many this season has been a complete failure, striker Ross McCormack described it as "a waste of time" and considering the optimism that was held around Leeds last summer you'd struggle to come up with an argument against that. The play-offs were the minimum aim, so for that target to become out of reach as quickly as it did was disappointment enough for the fans, what nobody expected was to be discussing relegation with a few games to go.
McDermott quickly quashed any relegation fears, two impressive back-to-back victories pushed Leeds back into the mid-table territory they'd occupied almost all season. The impressive performances in both games were encouraging; numerous players have since stated that it made a nice change to have a game plan.
That game plan was designed to suit the players at his disposal. Rather than try to force the players to adjust to his tactics, he adjusted his tactics to suit the players. His ethos revolves around the players feeling confident enough to believe in their own ability, stating that he wants them to play with "no fear".
You can't help but get excited by that.
The future is what all fans look forward to at the end of the season, especially those that have nothing left to play for. There still lies a degree of uncertainty over the backing that the new manager will receive, but after being promised the owners support, you can't help but get carried away by his optimism.
"I've got massive optimism for next season," he said. "Look at the fans, look at the club. That's why I'm optimistic. We need to sort out whatever needs sorting out. There can be no gossiping and no moaning. There has to be absolutely everybody going in the same direction. If you get that at this club then you've got a major chance. That's how it has to be."
Anyone with footballing knowledge knew that McDermott's appointment was a shrewd one, his mentality suits Leeds to a tee. What nobody could've anticipated was just how much of an impact his arrival would have on the entire club. For the first time in a long time the fans have someone to look to who has a plan, the inspirational leader that Leeds has been lacking for so long. Gone is the blame culture that'd been left behind, along with the excuses for poor results.
Honesty is all the fans have ever asked for, and the honest approach is what McDermott has promised.
The club are at their best when they're united. If everyone continues to pull in the same direction there's no doubt that this could be a match made in heaven.
After spending years in footballing hell, it'd be a welcome change.