By Mark Rasdall
There are rumours abroad (and not just in Lancashire) that Red Bull are considering a sponsorship deal with Leeds United. Of course, with the club being as transparent as cardboard - and its corporate posturing sometimes as bendable - few details are known at this stage. Indeed it might be that a hired PR hack, rueful at not being able to spend time outside in the sunshine waiting for a Royal Baby, has just given birth to this rumour out of sheer lack of energy.
Red Bull is by far the most popular energy drink in the world and its current marketing slogan is "Red Bull gives you wings." In Leeds United's recent history the nearest we got to wings was Ken Bates flying in from Monte Carlo. LUFC fans might literally or at least metaphorically wanted to shoot him down in the same abrasive way he would no doubt have shot down this story before confirming it later.
It isn't wings we need, it's wingers and, judging by the pre-season events in Slovenia, we still have problems at the centre of defence. If Leeds fans can see this I am sure that Brian McDermott doesn't need to adjust his glasses. The problem is that every other fan in the Championship will be reading reports and reviews and comments on social media, and so will their team's coaches and managers.
It is even more difficult to keep secrets in football these days and would take far more energy to keep a lid on them - even if clubs wanted to. We all know that pace is lacking in what is otherwise a pretty useful squad of players with some genuine quality and undoubted coaching and tactical prowess. It does bother me though to read about long or square balls in not being dealt with or 'patient' attacks when sometimes that element of speed would have made all the difference. This is only pre-season of course and why games are set up by coaches to find out about players and tactics and formations, but you don't need Red Bull to see that we are talking about the same things we have discussed endlessly before and during the previous two seasons.
Laughably, some people are complaining about the prospect of Leeds United's traditions being sold out. Hello. Who possesses a shirt without a sponsors logo? Who failed to see Lurpak in all its slippery glory at the top of the East Stand for so long? Who has failed to read football results from the npower Championship?
I too love football history. I am building a football web links directory at thefootballground which will be as much a gateway to historical facts and stories as much as it is news and matchday information. However, I am also a passionate Leeds United fan who works in a digital age and where commercial opportunities are as much part of football as, well, Wagon Wheels. We need the cash to buy the kind of quality we have all been agreeing we need to get in.
I don't care if they rename Elland Road if teams fear coming here again and we are winning with exciting, quality football. It will always be Elland Road to me and pretty much every other Leeds fan of my generation. We can leave the football to Brian but there have been rumours all summer about investment funds being available or not so let's at least explore the opportunities that are there. They wouldn't exist anyhow if we weren't already a great club with a proud history and massive potential reach.
Oh, and if 'Red' is the issue then those people should just continue talking bull to nobody in particular while the rest of us get behind our team.