By Keith Ingham
The latest pre match huddle versus Bolton and the general mood amongst the players when interviewed shows already in the infancy of this season that the directors, manager and playing staff are moving as one and in the same positive direction.
When I first went to Elland Road I did so because I wanted to feel part of the unique feeling of being 'a Leeds fan', scarves hanging from wrists and the knowledge there was something special in Leeds 11. I had seen the pictures of Don Revie getting the players ready for battle and when he spoke of his players he did so like a father talking about his sons, the bond between them I don't feel will ever be seen in my lifetime but football has changed so much with money being in my opinion being part of the problem.
After the farce that was Brian Clough the reigns pasted through numerous hands, Jimmy Armfield who seemed to be everybody's favourite uncle but with a team that was ageing, their last hurrah being the European Cup Final where they were robbed by dubious refereeing decisions and soon after that the team went their separate ways.
After the great team was gone a period of transition was upon the club, various ex players came Allan Clarke did bring in Peter Barnes for around a million but he did little and the club slipped into league two. Eddie Gray followed and although he tried he was never given the financial backing he needed to get Leeds back to a higher league. Billy Bremner, the clubs greatest player, in my opinion got within a whisker of both a FA Cup Final and Promotion but fates were against him. Eddie returned but still the directors would not back him sufficiently.
In 1988 the ex Sheffield Wednesday boss Howard Wilkinson finally assembled a team that on a glorious day in Bournemouth, finally gave the fans a day none will forget. His tenure was incredible and Leeds United were finally back on the football map.
George Graham joined and although it wasn't pretty is was fairly effective. When he left in 1998 to join Spurs, he left behind an improving academy which David O'Leary brought through the likes of Woodgate, K###ll, Smith to name three and with the money to spend he took the team to the semi final of the Champions League. "We lived the dream" was Peter Ridsdale's quote but the spend, spend, spend had to stop when the money ran out. The downward trend finished with Leeds relegated and many managers have come and gone. Kevin Blackwell got the team to Cardiff but it was one game too far and an uninspiring display saw Leeds miss out and the 'golden prize' was missed again.
In fact worse was to follow, the team that ate at the top table was relegated to League 1 (old division 3) after the club went into administration. I was at the game v Ipswich and it took along time to come to terms with our fall from grace.
Denis Wise with Gus Poyet made short work of the minus 15 points before he (Wise) went north to ply his trade at Newcastle, Gus left to join George Graham and Gary Mcallister, another ex player got Leeds to the Playoff final in 2009 but another defeat in that meant shortly after he left and was replaced by Simon Grayson who seemed to galvanise the squad full of workers and quite a few good players this brought about a famous win in Salford and finally Promotion in 2009.
I must admit the tears after were more in relief after such a long time in League 1. The step up seemed too much and with Ken Bates selling off the best players we had it seemed that we would have to wait to get back to were this fantastic club deserves to be.
A year of Warnock stagnated the growth of the club and his blame culture nearly destroyed all that was good in the club.
When Brian McDermott walked through the door he brought a refreshing honestly to the job and inspired players who had done little to earn the wages they were on previously, positive moves from upstairs with the club re-engaging with the fans and a togetherness that is shown nearly every time they pull on the shirt, Leeds could finally beginning to turn a long corner and I'm very hopeful that the future of the club is now 'Marching on Together'
On On On