United must ‘Keep the Faith’
Given that I closed my last entry with some motivational song lyrics by The Hours, I feel it’s only fitting to open this week’s column in the same fashion.
So, this week, I’ve been burning through every CD and mp3 in my possession trying to find something to inspire the lads to the improbable multi-goal victory over QPR that would keep us in with a shout of promotion. The results were not encouraging.
S-Club 7 said “Don’t stop, never give up, hold your head high and reach the top”, a statement that sounded so empty and patronising when applied to Leeds United’s situation, that I threw the CD out of the window in a fit of barely-contained rage. Don’t know what it was doing in there in the first place, if I’m honest.
Basement Jaxx said “Red Alert, Red Alert, it’s a catastrophe”, which didn’t leave me feeling any more positive, so I chucked that one away as well, and then immediately regretted it as I actually liked that album a lot. This is what the stresses of a promotion battle can do to your judgement.
Jon Bon Jovi said “You gotta hold on to what you’ve got, it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not”, which I suppose is kind of relevant, as, so long as we hold onto our best players, we’ll have another chance to get it right next year. This made me happy, so I didn’t throw the album away.
Scatman John said “Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop” which has nothing to do with football at all, but is extremely hard to disagree with.
The conclusion I reached is that there are no song lyrics in existence to describe a week in which everyone from Kate Middleton to Osama bin Laden has gone to extraordinary lengths to make the world forget that Leeds United are not yet out of the hunt for promotion.
The odds don’t look too favourable as I write this, there’s every possibility that you’re reading this after the QPR game and laughing yourself stupid at my misplaced optimism. But while there’s mileage left in the season and fight left in our players, I won’t be giving up on promotion.
A lively performance in the Burnley game can be filed under ‘better late than never’, as can the first ever Leeds goal of Ross McCormack, who everyone seems to have decided to worship all of a sudden. Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted to see him open his account, but too many fans seem to have decided on the evidence of one goal that he’s the reincarnation of Peter Lorimer, that, given more playing time, he would certainly have fired us into the automatic promotion places by now, and that Grayson is an idiot for not picking him.
Who knows, maybe they’re right. All I know with any certainty is that there was less clamour for his inclusion after the New Year’s Day clash with Middlesbrough, in which he missed a chance that a man with a candyfloss head would have put away.
That game certainly gave us few reasons to re-shape the formation that has seen us amass 79 goals, the second highest total in the division. McCormack’s game is not so obviously suited to such tactics. I hope we find space for him, but I can see the logic that led Grayson to put his faith in a more orthodox centre forward like Paynter, even if the end result was not the desired one. It may have been a mistake, but it wasn’t the mistake of an idiot.
Anyway, with the burden of expectation lessened, let’s enjoy ourselves against QPR. Throw Kasper forward into the attack if we’re losing. Let Kisnorbo make his long-awaited return. Let’s finish a genuinely enjoyable season on the high note it deserves.
Because, ultimately, the worst that can happen is that we’ll have to come back and do it all again next year, and I, for one, can’t wait.