I suspect the 2012/13 season will remembered more for the off the pitch activities rather than the consistently inconsistent affairs on the pitch. Ken Bates finally sold the club in one of the longest takeover saga's known to man and then somehow managed to secure himself a position as President of the club for the next 3 years. Needless to say this Presidential position is not one that the electorate voted on or Monaco's finest would have been in danger of finishing a long way behind the Monster Raving Loony candidate. The new owners, GFH, soon realised that they needed other investors if they were to take the club forward and so began Takeover 2 which is still ongoing. If we're not careful we'll have more sequels than the Rocky films before we get some real stability at the club.
On the pitch Neil Warnock's warm and fuzzy noises he made in pre season about how he was going to turn the club into promotion challengers soon began to look ambitious at best as we headed for the crucial Xmas schedule. His public berating of fan's favourite Becchio showed a lack of understanding of man management and fans management and by the time we were humiliated by Barnsley he had lost the last vestiges of any support on the terraces. His post match excuses were by now parodied by every twitter/facebook discussion and the numerous fans forums. "The lad's tried ever so hard" "I couldn't have asked any more from the lads" and "the ref's had a shocker" were repeated week after week as our our slim hopes of reaching the play off's disappeared without trace. His final piece of verbal suicide was to publicly blame Tom Lees for the defeat at Ipswich a move that confirmed to 99.99% of fans that he had completely lost the plot. When he finally went after another abject display against Derby we were seriously looking at the relegation dog fight. The change of style and approach that Brian McDermott immediately brought to the club showed what we were missing as we sneaked away from the mass fight to stay up. If only he had come 6 games earlier?
Leeds finished on the same points total as the year before and in my opinion have spent a season stagnating that is unless you believe's Mr Warnock's view that he left the club in a fantastic position to move forward? Keep taking the pills Colin. So what were the good and bad bits of the season?
What went well?
- The Cup runs. Victories against Southampton and Everton in the Carling Cup and a stirring first half against Chelsea before an epic FA Cup win against Spurs.
- Sam Byram or as most fans said at the start of the first game of the season Sam who? Up until his injury in the warm up for the Brighton game he had been the only ever present in the team. He deservedly won every accolade going at the end of season awards. The irony is that he was the one player who performed consistently and yet NW clearly didn't have much time for any of the youngsters favouring his old soldiers, Brown, Tonge, Kenny etc. The unfortunate thing is Byram will probably be sold over the summer if offers come in over £6m.
- Tom Lees has matured into a solid centre back with lots of potential to improve.
- Winning a Yorkshire derby away from home.
- The signing of Stephen Warnock. Filled the problem left back spot with assured ease.
- The fantastic away support never ceases to amaze me. I think we all must be masochists.
- We didn't have to sell players like Becchio, Snodgrass etc.
- The ownership of the club saga hadn't dragged on all summer and all season.
- Neil Warnock had been sacked after the Barnsley game.
- Elland Road was full for every home game.
- We didn't play hoofball for the majority of the season.
- We took the chance to make the play offs in a season that lacked any team with real quality.
- Aaron Cawley didn't support Leeds United.
- We hadn't lost to Barnsley again at Oakwell.
- Drummers, goal music and demented Tannoy men are banned from away grounds.
- Howard Wilkinson was on the board of Leeds United.
- There was a unified supporters club working hand in glove with the club.