By Mike Courtney
I hate January, I really do. Weather is usually pretty bad, the euphoria of Christmas is over and you are facing into a long year. The days are short, nights are long and all in all its a fairly crappy month.
Then there is Leeds United and January. This month hasn't been kind to us down through the years. Its usually the month that our cup dreams end, this year being no exception and our League ambitions dwindle. Remember 2002, beat West ham 3-1 New Years day to top the table only to lose to Cardiff in 3rd round of cup the following week, which sent our season spiralling, failed to qualify for Champions League which led to Rio being sold, O'Leary being sacked and our current financial crisis unfolding.
Twelve years on and not much has changed. The ownership of the club is up for grabs, our form in the League has capitulated and we are out of the cup. On top of that there is a serious bid, £5 million the latest figure, for our top scorer, captain and only shining light of the season. Sure why would we sell our top scorer in January? You might well ask but cast your mind back 12 months and what did we do? Yes that's right, we sold our top scorer. Deja Vu or what!!!
Most fans are saying that Ross won't go. Chairman says we're not going to sell him. Manager has made his intentions clear that he wants to keep Ross and has made him captain and the player himself just signed a new deal at the club last August and loves it at Leeds. So he's not going anywhere right? Well I wouldn't be so sure. With the latest takeover fiasco lingering on and on and the January transfer window coming to a close without the merest hint of investment or potential signings being mooted, £5 Million is a lot of cash to a club in Leeds United position. For the player himself it would mean a large signing on fee, improved wages and a chance to test himself at the highest level. With Leeds that chance is at least 18 months away and possibly longer. It would be hard to blame Ross if he jumped ship.
He though would be well aware that faraway fields aren't always greener and he just has to look at what has become of Luciano Becchio since he took the plunge and went to a struggling premier league team. A player revered at Leeds and worshipped by (most of) the fans now turning out for Norwich reserves. So Ross will have a lot of thinking to do when Big Sam comes knocking at his door to try and lure him away to Premier League land.
Where will that leave Leeds though? If our top striker departs, will the £5 million be reinvested in the squad before the window slams shut? Has BMAC even discreetly sniffed around any potential replacements? Is there even any out there at this late stage? Lots of questions with very few answers. Or will the money just go to those behind the scenes and line their pockets as this once great club slips further into the abyss that is the football league.
A season that started with much optimism, new manager, new board, million pound signing and hovering around the play off places approaching Christmas, has in the past month descended into much the same doom, gloom and empty promises that have been the norm since our fall from grace. The Leeds faithful can only take so much. The fans have backed the team home and away this season and even though performances on the pitch these last 5 or 6 games haven't been up to scratch, they are still right behind them and will be there in their droves tomorrow night and on Saturday, hoping to see Leeds get their season back on track with moral boosting victories which are badly needed to keep us in touch with the play-off hopefuls.
Will our skipper feature? Will there be new blood brought in to boost the squad? Will the takeover be complete and if so will it be Italian, Bahranian or British owners at the helm? Lots of questions but few answers at the moment. This could be a huge week in the history of Leeds United Football Club. Keep our skipper, supplement squad with proper investment and fans might dare to dream that the glory days are not far away, maybe not this season but maybe next. Sell our skipper, fail to reinvest and those dreams could turn into nightmares.
It remains to be seen what this week will bring, but as usual when it comes to Leeds United, it won't be straightforward or easy.
Leeds forever, no matter what!
MOT Leeds Leeds Leeds