Fashionably late

Date published: Sunday 18th December 2011 4:54

Late goals are all the trend

Marvin Sordell had the look of a man that knew he was going to miss his penalty.

Like a lemming plunging over a cliff, he started forward, stopped, started again, stopped again, before finally riding a rush of blood, charging forward, making a horrible mess of it and setting the stage for yet another late, late Leeds equaliser.

Now, while the excellent Alex McCarthy deservedly takes the plaudits for another act of goalkeeping heroism, we need to recognise that the fundamental reasons for Leeds United’s success run much deeper. What links this season’s games against West Ham, Brighton, Peterborough, Burnley and Watford?

‘Late goals’ is the obvious answer, or, more specifically, late Leeds goals earning either one point or three from each of these games, but there’s another similarity. For all five of these performances Leeds took to the field in a playing strip that, to put it politely, has polarised opinion.

Far be it from me to pretend to make myself out to be some kind of fashion guru. I have been known to obliviously leave the house with my shirt inside-out and my fly open, but when I first clapped eyes on this season’s away kit even I could see that it was dreadful. Black with lurid luminous pinstripes the colour of Slimer from Ghostbusters, it looks like it might have been stolen from the set of Tron: Legacy (if you haven’t seen Tron: Legacy, don’t worry, it’s still possible to have a fulfilling existance without having watched it).

I tried to like it, I honestly did, but then I looked into the face of poor Paddy Kisnorbo, who was modelling it. He was wearing the kind of expression that Charlie Brooker might pull if you reversed a tractor over his foot. That is the face of a man who knows that there are worse things in life than a snapped Achilles.


But, first impressions aside, I’ve warmed to the new kit. It’s now indelibly associated with Adam Clayton smashing the ball into the West Ham net, with Darren O’Dea’s flying volley against the Posh, and with the delightfully comical expressions on the faces of the Burnley fans after Snoddy turned the match at Turf Moor on it’s head in a matter of minutes. My theory is that opposition goalies can only survive 89 minutes of direct exposure to its retina-scorching brightness before their eyes start to burn uncontrollably, their concentration wavers and before they know it the ball’s sitting in the net behind them, once again.

The kit’s popularity is growing, and long may that continue. It’s appearing more and more frequently in the stands at Elland Road. Before long we’ll be able to switch off the floodlights for night matches and save ourselves a bit of money on the electricity bill (was that the plan all along, Ken?).

So, in summary, as long as we keep banging in these late goals, the players can wear whatever they like. Glittery spandex, tuxedos, animal costumes, ballerina tutus… anything goes, and I’m sure we’ll all learn to love it in time.

As long as it’s not red, that is. We don’t do red.

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