The Square Ball Week

The last game of the season seemed to sum up 2011/12 for LUFC. Picture from Kenty

It was all there in Leicester’s winner: the whole second half of the season summed up in one lousy goal. Their first had merely been typical - The Brown and Pugh Pony Show proving as inept as ever - but Webber’s equaliser had lifted the gloom a little bit. Then, with seconds left, someone in a blue shirt kicked the ball, someone in the crowd swore in despair, Andy Lonergan’s arms were in the air, and that was that: eleven home defeats this season.

That’s a record, by the way: Leeds have never lost so many at home. We’d never conceded seven at home, either, so it’s been quite the year for crap records. It would have been nice to get into the summer without adding this particular one to the books, though; as The Scratching Shed point out, “There was only pride to play for today. And we lost.” Fear and Loathing didn’t find much to cheer either, and were perplexed that so many fans did turn up when there’s been so little that has been good at Elland Road lately:

“Come Saturday lunchtime, and suddenly over 25,000 are at Elland Road, and as much as I’d love to see a full stadium, week in, week out, to see such a show of loyalty on this day was almost dispiriting, if ever there was an end of season game for the paying supporter to boycott, it was this. A diabolical season, being seen off in the company of a large number of players who aren’t fit to grace the white shirt‚ what was there to celebrate, to give thanks for?”

That’s just it with Leeds fans though, isn’t it? Loyal to a fault, and all it gets us is eleven defeats. The Supporters’ Trust tried something a bit different, as around sixty fans joined their party in the East Stand; by most accounts a good time was had, and there is already talk of trying to get the party going again next season, but in the South Stand this time. Meanwhile, we recommend you check Fear and Loathing’s strategy for turning things round next season: we won’t give too much away, but it involves Neil Warnock, Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. And it just might work.

There were some bright sides to the Leicester game, it’s just a shame it was a former player who was raising the smiles rather than the current lot. “Jermaine Beckford still has a place in the hearts of most Leeds fans,” wrote Travels of a Leeds Fan, “and he cemented that position further as he acknowledged the Kop with not only the Leeds salute but an attempt to swap shirts with Bruce at a Leicester corner. Cue an ear shattering rendition of his song about that goal at the scum shit hole. Nigel Pearson didn’t look a happy bunny in the technical area though as his star striker played up to the opposition fans.” Pearson hauled him off at half time, too, which seemed a shame at the time but has only added fuel to the rumours since that Jermaine might, just might, come back.

The scorer of a great goal in a certain place returned to Elland Road on Saturday, is a more permanent comeback on the cards? Picture from Kenty.

We just might need him. We’ll need someone, anyway. Actually we’ll need about ten someones because Colin’s Clearout turned out to be as ruthless as expected/hoped, and in one case a bit more severe than anyone saw coming. The Scratching Shed have the run down on who has gone, who can go, who we’d like to stay, and Luciano Becchio, who we’re happy to see seems content to sit and watch the carnage from the sidelines and remain a Leeds player next season. Good old Luci.

The big story is Adam Clayton going on the transfer list; a search on Twitter revealed responses ranging from the shocked to the perplexed to the depressed (at least, it did until the bass player from U2’s housekeeper got charged with 184 counts of theft and confused the issue). Neil Warnock has cited Adam’s wage demands as the problem; Adam himself has denied he was asking for the £15k a week some have reported. Whatever the truth of that, it puts Leeds in the position yet again of seeing a promising youngster heading for the exit because we can’t negotiate a way to keep him - meaning we’ll have to chance our arm in the transfer market to find a replacement, instead of sticking with a proven player. There’s often more luck than judgement to the transfer market, as a lot of our recent signings have proved - maybe now is a good time to mention the Evening Post’s rundown on LUFC’s casino licence application. The roulette wheels had better be blue and yellow.

If all the transfer listed players go - and that means you, Paul Rachubka - it’ll leave Leeds with about twelve senior professionals on the books. We’re going to stick our necks out here and say that isn’t going to be enough. Jason Pearce has been talked up for a while as the first new signing of the summer, and it looks like the deal will finally be confirmed before this weekend (*Update, now signed): JPearceDog87 is on Twitter if you want to give him a hashtag laden welcome. Apparently Pearce won 7 out of 9 player of the year awards at Portsmouth this season, which is great, although it does make you wonder why they have so many player of the year awards.

As far as I know, LUFC only have a few gongs available - fan’s player was Rob Snodgrass, player’s player was Rob Snodgrass, and the YEP’s players was Rob Snod - er, Ross McCormack; who you can see here, enjoying himself immensely at the club’s offical do. And speaking of awards… we’ll just direct you to this little poster at Howson Is Now. Us at The Square Ball were shocked and delighted to win The Football Supporters’ Federation Fanzine of the Year award last year - so delighted, in fact, that we dropped the bloody trophy and it smashed into a thousand pieces. If you’ve enjoyed our magazine enough this year to think we deserve to get a hands on the trophy again, we promise to look after it this time; we endorse a vote for Howson Is Now in the Website of the Year category, too. And it hasn’t escaped our notice that the FSF have a podcast category now as well… our final Square Ball podcast of the season should be out any moment now, available in all the ways you can read about here.

Enough about us. Oh, apart from to remind you that issue ten of our magazine featured this brilliant tribute to our 91/92 Champions by The Beaten Generation. Howson Is Now also doffed his cap to the iconic 1-11 with this desktop wallpaper. If you don’t just want pictures but want words as well, check out Dave Simpson’s book The Last Champions, which will be launched with an event at Waterstones on Albion Street next Wednesday evening. A couple of days later you can travel even further back in time and remember the - well, superlatives are useless here, so let’s just say, remember Don Revie. The new statue, paid for by the hard work of fundraising fans, is now in place on Lowfields Road - according to this Yorkshire Post video, the workers had to hire a bigger drill to fix it in place - and the official unveiling is on Saturday morning.

Twenty years since we won the league, forty years since we won the cup - we’re due something to celebrate soon, aren’t we?