By Mark Rasdall
Leeds United fans have been speculating on transfers in and out of the club since the season ended. We've used this as a kind of summer diversion from arguing over the players we already had in the squad which, in turn, followed on from discussion as to whether Brian McDermott was the right choice as manager, which came after many of us finally had to admit that Neil Warnock could offer to modern football management what BGT's Attraction could offer without light.
LUFC fans are no different to football fans across the globe. We are a community and we travel long distances over the course of each season, giving huge amounts of time and cash to the football team we all love. The debate and banter is a key part of all of this and football is thankfully still about having fun, as much as it is about Sky and TV payments and multimillion pound owners. I wouldn't have it any other way.
However, sometimes the passion becomes poisonous and we seem to get fixated
on the negativity and the toxic rather than the possibilities and the opportunities. No sooner had I gone on to Sky's site today to read about the club signing Matt Smith from Oldham Athletic, than so-called fans were criticising the move in comments on that very article and across the web. Apart from seeing him in action last season on the TV in FA Cup matches against Liverpool and Everton, I don't know much about him. People are saying he's inexperienced but he's 24, not 18, and admits himself that he's still learning; much older and the 'experts' would have been saying he's too old.
In my view he is a welcome addition as are all players unless or until they prove us and - much more importantly, Brian McDermott - wrong. I put my faith in Brian and his team because he hasn't let us down yet either. There were players who came in last season under Warnock who I didn't rate especially highly and was critical after seeing them play; but I gave them a chance first and some improved and some didn't. How can we expect people to want to come to Elland Road and then perform really well immediately when we put them under so much pressure before they've even had a chance to show us? Contrary to popular belief football players can and do read these kinds of comments and reviews.
I personally think we have to be patient with Steve Morison for the same reason. Those goals against Palace at Selhurst Park were no fluke - how can Brian hope to get his head right if we keep on putting him down? It may just be that Smith and Morison up-front could be a great spearhead with McCormack just behind and cleaning up? A lot of Leeds fans have never forgiven Alan Smith because of where he went to after leaving our club. I have to say that I think that is as puerile as those who now slag off a young man who cannot wait to give his all for us (isn't
that the kind of hunger Brian was after?). I don't care where Alan went after leaving our club, only what he did for our team while he was with us. If I say that about Matt in a few years' time, with him having done half of what Alan Smith did for us, that's fine by me. I look forward to seeing his six foot six frame in action and hopefully he can physically see beyond the airheads who are so clever, in the same way as we should all do, metaphorically, right here and right now.
We can't hope to march on and up together without trust and, most of all, patience.