By Keith Ingham
The Hull City game saw a 2-0 defeat for Leeds ending the year on a decidedly low note. Not the result but another poor performance in front of the thousands that regularly follow the team away.
2012 will not be a year, football wise I'll look back with a lot of fondness. High ticket prices still proving to be the thorn in most fans paws and Ken Bates and his lawsuits and propaganda pages in the clubs 100 page but £4 programme were just a few of the reasons why some fans decided shopping with the wife and children was better than the fare on offer in Leeds 11.
The year started with a win v Burnley, Ross McCormack deep in injury time.. Then another trip to London, Henry broke Leeds hearts with a late goal on his return to Arsenal. In February Simon Grayson departed after a 4-1 home defeat. I myself consider him to be unlucky as if he had been backed a year or so in the transfer market in January we would have made the Playoffs instead of seventh. His ratio of 50%+ wins is still up there with the best of all managers who have had the 'hot seat' at Elland Road.
Neil Redfearn took charge for three games before Neil Warnock was installed the day before the Doncaster game. His Half Time team talk helped inspire the team to secure a late, late win, Becchio getting the goal in the nine minutes of injury time played.
March brought to me the lowest points of 2012, a humiliation at the hands of Forest at home, 7-3 was a really bitter pill to swallow at least we beat MILLSCUM at their ground to lift the spirits. April brought defeats by Derby and Leicester, the eleventh team to leave Leeds 11 with all three points, surely that in itself is why the 2011/12 season on the football side is not one we as fans will remember fondly.
May brought the news that 'investors' had had a look around and the possibility of Ken Bates leaving was first mentioned, even though very quietly. The summer months brought in a influx of ex Portsmouth
players; 'Andy Andy Gray' and a new youngster was mentioned, step forward Sam Byram, a player who grabbed first team football and has not looked back since. Robert Snodgrass left to our parent club Norwich after realising that the Chairman's promises of better players were in a word - LIES !
August brought optimism, the Takeover was mentioned as a real possibility and an opening victory over relegated Wolves sent the fans home happy. Around this time the letter GFH Capital became known, a Middle East bank so we heard this sent message boards into meltdown and hopes were high that we could at least get a 'wow' signing before the deadline, many were mentioned, none bought.
September brought my first visit to the holy trinity, I was asked to join Thom and Eddie in the commentary box and although we started well, a fast midfield got Hull the points. Good wins v Forest, Bristol and Barnsley saw us in a decent place come another international break in the first week of October. From there on the month was awful, seven games without a win including a 6-1 hammering by Watford, although we were down to nine men thanks to Neil Warnock's inspirational substitutions at half time and when Rodolph went down injured we played the rest of the game a man short. The terrible run ended with a great performance against Palace, making it a week to remember when GFH Capital finally announced it was taking over the club, for a month Ken would help them 'settle' into their new club.
The final deal was to be completed on 21st of December but with Ken staying on as Chairman until May, then become Club President from then on. Gone but not gone if that makes sense. They even got a couple of new players in on loan deadline day. Alan Tate and a winger Jerome Thomas. That month we remembered Gary Speed, one year on from his sad passing. On eleven minutes 'One Gary Speed' was heard from every corner of Elland Road, a lump in the throat turned to tears as I remembered 'Our Gary' and as if he wished it we won, on a Tuesday and beating Leicester. Such a night stays with you for life, It will with me. We even beat Huddersfield, at their spot, a thing we'd not done since the sixties, it also made it three on the 'bounce' and we'd not done that for a while.
December the run ended at Derby as they wanted it more than we did, but we beat a unbeaten Ipswich and even better Middlesborough who were in the top three before the wheels fell well and truly off at Forest and Dull.
So there you have it, twelve months of hopes turned into ashes, we can only pray that 2013 with a bit of proper money to spend in January can put this fantastic club that I and other fans love so much on the road to a prosperous new future.
On On On and Upwards!!