By Mark Rasdall
As a Leeds United fan I often look back - as so many of us do - to the glory days in our football club's history. I don't just mean the Don Revie era - where I first discovered this magical land - but also the Howard Wilkinson and David O'Leary regimes and, not forgetting, that brief time under Jock Stein which could have led to such great things for both Jock and for Leeds.
There have been a lot of false dawns in between these established legacies: false starts that have suffered from the burden of previous history or, certainly in Neil Warnock's case, the burden of certainty that his way was right because it had worked for his teams in the past.
It's refreshing then, for LUFC supporters of every age and from every corner of the globe (I have never once been on holiday and not found a fellow Leeds fan to talk to - much to my wife's exasperation) that in Brian McDermott we seem to have appointed someone as manager who is much more likely to be progressive than regressive, though, of course, it's early days.
I like the way he regularly pays his respect to previous great players such as Eddie Gray and acknowledges the history of Leeds United and its Elland Road home. However, at the same time I do not think for a moment he will be overcome
by the past, rather inspired by it. His unfinished business at Reading clearly still irks and he definitely does have a point to prove and a resolve about him to do so sooner rather than later: so, again, the past for him is acting as a catalyst and not a catapult.
His formation for last night's game against Burnley utilised a diamond because he prefers to play to the strengths of the players he has available rather than impose a previous set of tactics and formations that had once worked with a completely different set of players. I've no doubt that the game away at Birmingham on Saturday will also be managed on its own merits and squad rather than sticking with a system that clearly (to the rest of us mere paying fans) wasn't working and then blaming referees, linesmen, groundsmen, Katie Price, Greek Gods satellite navigation systems etc etc when it failed yet again.
We all want to move forward but without looking over our shoulders for real comfort because of the rubbish football we were actually playing. We want another dynasty to be built, brick by brick. Brian will get it wrong sometimes, as will the players. We are quick to judge because we are so passionate. I hope we will be quick to forgive then too and move on.
Brian obviously looks only as far as the next game. We can see already how Reading went on that remarkable run at the end of last season. How refreshing it must be to any Leeds United player that he just wants them to go out there without fear and genuinely looking forward to seeing them play. Tom Lees has said that he feels a weight has been lifted from his shoulders; well I think we all think that. Not just because of the last two wins but because of the passing, the possession, the playing of proper football.
I am quietly spoken, like Brian, but like to think I am also effective. I don't get too carried away with my successes but am absolutely resolved to do better when I fail. I'd much rather have a manager who, when he talks softly about his plans for Leeds United, sounds right rather than one shouting out the latest soundbite.