In a new monthly feature, Ben Parker will be talking all things Leeds United; past, present and future.
Here's his first piece as a writer for We All Love Leeds, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
We are now nearing the end of the two words every footballer dreads hearing; pre-season. Not going to lie, it's horrible but I would also say it's the most important part of the season.
There's no easy way round it and you know you're gonna ache and be grumpy (well that's what the Mrs says) for the next few weeks but when you come out at the other side, in this case the 5th August, you know you will have given yourself a fitness base that will hopefully see you through a gruelling season ahead.
It's been an interesting summer to say the least, but one everyone should be excited about. The most important part is bedding in our new signings and the quicker that happens, the better for the squad as a whole. There are many ways to do this and let me throw you back to my first pre season tour.
It was July 2006 and a trip to Norway. Being a young lad I was nervous but also excited. There were a few experienced players in the squad and I was wondering all along, what have they got up their sleeves for me? Because you hear all the stories about pranks being played etc. But within boarding the coach on our way to the airport, Gary Kelly put an arm around me and said; enjoy it and any problems just follow what the old pros do and you won't go wrong.
Fast forward a week to the end of the tour and I had found myself escaping the hotel on the last night, via a fire exist, for a night on the town against the wishes of the management, all because I followed the "old pros". But if you ask any of the new signings then, they would all say they felt part of the group.
Not sure that would of been happening out in Austria but the senior players and the established ones from last years squad I'm sure will be trying to integrate the new guys as quickly as they can.
And preseason trips are equally as vital for this as they are for fitness because we've seen over the years, squads that are tight knit and that the fans can relate to, often reach May having had a successful season.
Going back a few months, most of us were googling Radrizzani to just see if he wasn't another fraud businessman taking over our club. But to date, I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised with the progress the club has made under him.
It's been hard to think back to a summer with so many signings (albeit a few names are hard to pronounce never mind knowing who they are!) but at least we are showing progression with the squad. And also the massive plus is of course buying back Elland Road. A lot of previous owners have promised this but never delivered so Sir, I take my hat off to you for that.
Then there's the subtle things like online videos, i.e new signings and some TLC decorating. Yes it is only early days but in terms of what he's actually produced, so far so good.
We'd like to thank Ben for getting involved at WALL and look forward to his monthly review at Leeds. You can also catch him on Sunday Night Live with Thom Kirwin, but we're unsure where the fire exit is!
By Ben Parker
(Picture courtesy of Yorkshire Radio's Sunday night live. Sorry for cropping you out Thom!)
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