By Rob Atkinson
The interval between the victory at Doncaster and next week's home fixture against Barnsley might just - without a football or an opponent being kicked by our heroes in white shirts - turn out to be the most exciting few days in the last twelve or thirteen years for Leeds United AFC. Mark that name, by the way. That's the name of our football club, and we're kind of proud of it. And our colours are yellow, white and blue; we're proud of them, too. Intensely so. These points are well worth making, right from the outset.
Let's be clear about this: one piece of excitement we definitely do not want is the need for the kind of fight Hull City supporters face against their ignorant owner Assem Allam, who feels that his money entitles him to play fast and loose with a venerable old football club's name and history. Or the battle that Cardiff fans lost when Mr Tan thought that red might be a nice change from blue for the Bluebirds. So however many revelations and insights this next few days might bring, let's identify this as our baseline position: NO manking about with the clubs name or colours. Not this week, not next week, not ever. It's bad enough at any old club, but we are Leeds, and it's unacceptable here.
The reason these points need to be made, apart from the madness and sacrilege that's going on elsewhere, is that the whiff of change is in the air. And the talk is overwhelmingly positive. Takeover talk is not just being whispered - it's echoing loudly down every corridor at Elland Road. Coy hints are being dropped left, right and centre by our current powers-that-be. The urbane Mr Haigh predicts that the place will be "rocking" by the time the Barnsley game comes around, journalists are "hearing good things", the movers and shakers in the fan world are "daring to dream" again. There's been no winking smiley from Salah Nooruddin yet, but you get the feeling it might happen at any time.
What will emerge as the truth from everything the rumour mill is churning out is, as yet, anybody's guess. It might be Red Bull. It might be just plain ordinary bull. There might be a "significantly rich individual" among the membership of the supposed consortium which is supposedly purchasing 75% of the club, or there might not. Rumours and counter-rumours fly through the ether; you pays your money and you takes your choice of what you prefer to believe. But the over-riding mood is so positive and optimistic - the wind of change is in the air, and it's an ill wind that blows no good. The one definite commitment from Mr Haigh is that manager Brian McDermott will "definitely be supported" in his transfer window endeavours. That, at least, sounds unequivocal.
There have been a few punts on Twitter and elsewhere about the new faces we might see plying their trade around LS11. Even aging superstar Thierry Henry has had a mention (actually that was largely my fault). If it turned out to be true though, we'll know for sure we're on a whole different footing, and that someone means big business. I would also be entitled to claim a massive exclusive...
The speculation will inevitably mount as this last week before Christmas goes by. That's what football fans, not privy to insider knowledge, tend to do, and they do it very well and entertain themselves in the process. Sooner rather than later though, something is going to come out on just exactly what is happening, there's just that enticing aroma about this week. As a Leeds fan, my thoughts have hardly been on Christmas at all - yet when I think of what might be developing at Elland Road, it reminds me of that nervous excitement that used to seize me as a kid, as December 25th drew closer. It IS exciting, and all the little signs seem to be adding up to make it an excitement that will be rewarded by some proper, 24-carat Good News in the near future. That's how I feel about it - as if it's nearly time for us all to get a massive present in the form of a brighter future for our beloved club. It could be before Christmas, it could even be before Barnsley - you just get the feeling it's close.
Watch this space - it could just be a hell of a week - and for once, in a good way.
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