By Andrew Butterwick
It's well known that anyone who supports Leeds United does so not only with pride and passion but in the knowledge that for 99% of the time they will be depressed, embarrassed, frustrated to hell or all three at the same time. So when April Fools day arrives with it's collection of "unusual" news stories to tease the nation's gullibility those of us who inhabit Planet Leeds have a distinct advantage. We contend with similar stories all year round. If you don't believe me examine the stories below. You will recognise the true ones of LUFC origin mixed in with a sample of the more ridiculous April Fools gags from today's papers:
- Leeds sign a striker more famous for catching ducks than scoring goals.
- Angel of the North statue painted pink in tribute to Cheryl Cole.
- Leeds ask their manager to help find his own replacement.
- Facebook launches new "scratch n sniff" technology to accompany videos.
- Leeds chairman accuses his own fans of being morons and
- New world record for Suffolk woman in underwater basket
- Michael Brown has played 22 times for Leeds this season.
- NASA deletes it's Mars Rover account after receiving abuse for picking the wrong types of rocks to analyse.
- Leeds new owners are the only skint Arabs in the desert.
- New Pope shuns Popemobile for a donkey.
- Leeds Utd pay Seth Johnson £35k week when his final demand was £20k.
Of course there could be plenty of April Fool material at tonight's game with Derby, a team we find impossible to beat for some bizarre reason. It goes without saying that NW will get as much out the players as is humanly possible but that might not be enough to pinch the three points. What we really need is a team that will play a sensible pass and move game with a passion befitting the shirt laced with copious amounts of skill and steady finishing. Somehow I think we will have more chance of seeing the underwater basket weaving record broken?
On a more serious note Leeds are showing all the signs of a club in crisis as each week goes on. The big debate in cyberspace is around who will be Warnock's replacement with every out of work manager floating to the top of the bookies favourite list for at least one day. Adkins, Di Canio, McDerrmot, Southgate, Hughes, O'Leary, Coyle and the list goes on with names only dropping off when they find gainful employment elsewhere. Whilst the choice of the next manager is critical I believe there is more of an issue off the field and resolving the ownership and investment question. To be fair to GFH when they bought the club they declared they were looking for further investment or in layman's terms they'd spent up prising control from Capt Birdseye and had no spare cash for incidentals like transfers and players wages. Another 10% of the club was sold on to another Bahraini investor but based on the £22m GFH paid for the club that will have raised £2m. It would appear that Steve Parkin and his investors are waiting in the wings to claim 51% stake in the club. If that goes ahead will that be an end to it? Will it mean the finances are sorted and the current "cash flow problems" are eliminated? The problem is until all this is sorted how can the club have a realistic discussion with a potential new manager when they don't know how much money is going to be available for transfers and wages?
For what it's worth until the finances are sorted I would hand over the reins to Naylor and concentrate on getting rid of some of the high wage earners that are adding no value to the club, Bromby, Rachubka etc and replace them with some of the promising youngsters we have on our books.
Can we beat Derby in front of the TV cameras or will we be left looking like April Fools playing in front of a half empty stadium with the fans revolting? Will Warnock catch the last train to Cornwall after the game? Will Chris Dawson get some game time? Will Morison prove he's not the next holder of the Billy Paynter Barndoor award? Time will tell.
Those of you who are going to Elland Road look out for the half time entertainment this evening. Thom Kirwin of Yorkshire Radio is interviewing three of my Urinal Philosophers on the big screen. Should be interesting?