A disappointing night at Reading, a night where players didn’t really put their best foot forward and were beaten by the better team, but a night that won’t live long in the memory. Every vision takes time but to really sustain progression you need a foundation, a good start and Garry Monk has given that to a club in Leeds United that so desperately needed it.
The culture at the club hasn’t changed, but it’s certainly changing by the day, week, month and will have hugely in a year. A football club with its head in the sand striving to float around in mid-table. Managers came and went, teams came and went but one only needed to set a small fire alight below the club to light up a world of possibilities and things have come together to see this happen. Players arrived after the arrival of their new leader Garry Monk, players that would invest into a new direction for Leeds United Football Club, one that finally justifies the fans, fans that have been through it all and will never give up. In recent years you’d have thought the players had given up on achieving anything, so get rid of them all, start again. Blank canvas, and Monk and his merry men are painting a pretty picture.
Pep Clotet, a quiet and talented Spaniard who has caught the imagination of the fans with comic tweets and appreciation of the support on a game by game basis. James Beattie who has helped transform a footballer limited only by himself, and turn him into one of the best strikers seen at Elland Road in many a year. These small things can be classed as marginal gains, gains that, when they all come together make one large step in the right direction. Andrea Radrizzani has arrived and is keeping things off the field quiet and bubbling with the ever charismatic Massimo Cellino who seems to be non-existent which is remarkable given some of the scenes at most home games last season. Pontus Jansson (despite current stories) a player who has driven the pride back into those around him and helped forge a bond between the players and fans again, and he isn’t alone. The bromance of Bartley and Ayling, hunger of the warrior Berardi, skipper Bridcutt. The signing of an ex-Spain international and emergence of the boy with two names we all know, and together we now love. Gains, steps.
In terms of progress we are making strides and a couple of defeats along the way will happen, lows will happen but let’s not take it for granted that they are just part and parcel of football for a change, beaten by a better team on the day or some bad luck, even bad decisions. It isn’t because we can’t pay wages, it isn’t because we have a transfer embargo or because we have another new manager after a couple of months. Leeds as a city is buzzing, fans of other clubs are beginning to see the huge turn at the football club and some are actually enjoying the re-emergence, whether it ends outside, or inside of the play-off positions we are finally making headlines for the right reasons. In a months time we will be on the brink of at least two more games, potentially three or we will be looking ahead to a summer of building on some solid and exciting foundations albeit disappointed on missing out at the chance in the play-off lottery. It’s looking good but for a change it’s only what’s on the pitch that will decide our fate. Small gains, huge steps at Leeds United Football Club.