By Rob Atkinson
We’ve all heard statements from our beloved Leeds United along the lines of “The Club will not comment on transfer deals until they are done.” And yet, year after year, rumours abound, information (sometimes accurate) leaks out, and speculation rages. It goes with the territory – Leeds United are massively well-supported and all those people want to know what’s going on. And a lot of those people want to feel that they’re in a position to SAY what’s going on. It’s called being ITK – In The Know.
As far as I can tell from my widespread reading of many internet boards and groups dedicated to Leeds United AFC – there ARE certain individuals who seem to have an inside track to knowledge not available to the mainstream. These are the guys and gals with “good contacts down at Thorp Arch”, or maybe people with the ear and mobile number of Thom Kirwin, the Voice of Yorkshire Radio. There’s usually at least one person on any given internet board who, when they speak, the rest of us listen. But it’s also true to say that for every legitimate “source” with privileged knowledge, there’s probably at least ten people who just want to sound as if they know what they’re on about, but whose actual awareness of what’s going on amounts to zip.
The mood swing among the masses this last day or so sums up this dilemma. Before the weekend, with the news that Steve Morison (in effect our transfer fee for Becchio) was being loaned out to Millwall, the hue and cry on the Leeds United virtual streets was that this meant we truly hadn’t a potty to pee in, that GFH-C were conning shysters and that the End of The World was pretty much nigh. Then: sensation! Bates completed his transition to the seat of no power upstairs, there was a new chairman, Harvey was relegated from CEO to be replaced by Smiler Haigh, Salem Patel emerged from the wilderness with a knowing wink for the LUFC twitterati, and – wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles – we had a million pound signing that other clubs actually wanted and who is a promising player under 30. How much can things change in such a short space of time?
It makes me wonder whether it’s actually worth the bother of staying up to date and getting to know what’s happening behind the scenes. Is being ITK worth it? The club seems determined to go about its business on a hush-hush basis – give or take the Noel Hunt deal, which we all seem to have known about since Jimmy Armfield was manager – and maybe this silent but deadly approach is best? Matt Smith came right out of left field, and the Luke Murphy deal was done and dusted before the speculation wheels had really begun to grind. If these results are gained by the club keeping its cards close to its chest – then isn’t that really for the best? For Leeds United itself, AND for the fans??
I think I might just relax, sit back and let it happen from here on in this summer. It strikes me that, as a body of fans, we don’t really have the first clue as to what’s going off at Thorp Arch, or what the true state of the finances are – especially given David Haigh’s tweet about “working on some exciting news”. Maybe we should just let them get on with it – it’s not as if we have any real influence anyway. And I don’t mean we should stop caring – it’s just that I was in a pessimistic tizz as well when Morison departed. Not because I thought he was vital to our future, but for what it seemed to say about the state of the club. That seems to have been a false signal, so perhaps we should simply let it all wash over us, and see what happens. The proof of the pudding, after all, will not be tasted until the 3rd of August when crisis club Brighton limp into LS11.
Let’s see how we’re looking then. In Brian We Trust.