By Nigel Flanagan
There is no doubt about it - `it has ceased to be, it has gone to meet its maker, bereft of life it would have been pushing up the daisies if you hadn`t have nailed it to it`s perch`.
No, it`s not even pining for the fjords….
Like a crowd of thousands of John Cleeses and Michael Palins we have been running around arguing about `the takeover`. But it has been dead for a long time and all that has been happening is what is known in the business as meaningless negotiations. Bates wants something they won`t give and they want something he won`t concede. Neither side wants to be the ones that walk away but there is a point at which the joint commitment to doing the deal becomes a matter of win – lose and that is often the factor that kills these deals.
It is frustrating trying to work out what it is about Leeds United that makes it less easy to buy than Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers. But despite the fan base, the club profile, its population hinterland and its attractiveness as a City there are no buyers at the price and the conditions set. But it makes money and no call for boycotting games will ever produce the dire straits that would force a change of owner. It has been an irritating and frustrating distraction and it has put a cloud over what I believe has been a decent and very encouraging start by the team and its manager.
We should have beat Blackburn and were unlucky not to get a draw against Cardiff. We were out -passed at Blackpool but so have many other teams. I don`t know the score against Hull but I expect we will do well. Austin has been a successful signing, until his injury McCormack has been playing really well, Lees is a potential first team regular even if we go up and Paddy Kenny has been the best keeper we have had since Robinson. Becchio is back and Pearce has done a great job in central defence. Warnock is doing an extremely good job with a small squad and I imagine he has no higher ambition than this team overachieving with a play off place. In the circumstances that is good enough.
The Championship season is very long and so much will go wrong along the way. But we are a robust side now, with some talent and although the squad needs reinforcing off field events are not going to go our way. So I remain optimistic because in Warnock we have a man with a strong record in the craft of promotion. He has brought in better players than we lost. I am not too impressed with Snodgrass, Howson and Bradley who wander around in the Norwich midfield watching the ball. We would have them back but they wouldn`t walk into the side. Give me Austin over all 3 of them.
The strongest card is still the supporters. Raucous at away games and still turning out in big numbers. How proud I was of Leeds fans singing in support of the Hillsborough victims at the Cardiff away game. No chance that Manchester United fans will do the same. That`s a difference in class that no new owner can buy or sell.