Leeds United was 97 years old on 17 October, the club’s life has featured stunning highs, devastating lows, good fortune, bad justice and plenty of meh.
We were the best team in the world in the seventies, the last champions before the onset of the money league, when the TV deal was south of two hundred million and the top players earned six figures a year, not a week.
We had a brief, heavily-mortgaged flirtation with success in the early noughties but since relegation it’s been average at best - shocking for one club in a city that is thriving, with a fanbase that remains remarkably loyal and unbelievably vocal.
Throughout the dross and occasional flickering hope the fans kept coming in numbers, home and away, watching dross mixed in with more false dawns than they deserve, until now… maybe now, at the 97 anniversary of our great club.
The summer featured the building of a management team under mad Massimo, who spout all the corporate speak but appear to have sorted out off-field with a proper structure and the appointment of Garry Monk, a well respected young manager with a point to prove after his departure from Swansea. He brought Pep Clotet and James Beattie with him and player recruitment was strong - albeit with too many on loan - but as of October there is a feeling of optimism around the place, we appear to have a group of players who want to be here,.
We have brought in genuine pace in the form of Sacko, guile in Hernandez, Bridcutt & O’Kane, trickery and goals with Roofe & Antonsson, who both admittedly need to show more but appear to have the ability.
The coaching staff, particularly Beattie, seem to be getting more out of Chris Wood, who is now looking unplayable on his day. A couple of the young lads have broken through into the first team squad impressively. Dallas is on his way back to his best and the addition of more pace and another striker in January will make the squad stronger than it has been in years.
Defensively is where the biggest difference is evident, Green has settled in now and looks solid in goal, Ayling has filled in admirably for the injured Berardi, Taylor is a class act, although he is likely to leave and we have two big, hairy arsed centre-halves who take no prisoners.
Bartley & Jansson have been nothing short of sensational. The Swede is a cult hero already and his sliding tackle, Cruyff turn and pass against Barnsley is on continuous loop in our heads. Bartley’s removal of Anya from the proceedings with a crunching lunge at Derby was equally impressive.
Dare we dream that the club is stable, off field and on, the team have bought into what Monk is preaching and that the re-connect with the fans will at last deliver a glorious short term future? If so, we may be celebrating our centennial in the Premier League.