Leeds United Season Appraisal
The 2012-2013 season for Leeds United was an uncharacteristically mellow one. Despite hopes for promotion and fears of relegation in the same campaign (even in the same month!), in the end it was much ado about nothing, with Brian McDermott’s men sitting comfortably in mediocrity.
Despite the disappointing league finish, the cups gave Leeds a chance to dream again, and the opportunity to rub shoulders against teams they long to play week-in, week-out. Dispatching Oxford and Shrewsbury in the earlier rounds of the League Cup saw Leeds rewarded with the visits of Everton and Southampton, outplaying the two of them before being picked apart by Chelsea in the quarter-final. I’m not sure what’s crueler – the fact that Leeds took the lead, or the fact that Fernando Torres scored past us. The FA Cup saw Leeds limp through a tie against Birmingham City courtesy of replay before being drawn again Spurs. Leeds won the game, with Messrs Bale and Lennon being humbled by Sam Byram, Leeds’ stand-out player of the season. Leeds then went to the Etihad to play then-Champions Manchester City, only to return home licking their wounds.
It wouldn’t be a Leeds season without controversy either. December saw Leeds bought by GFH Capital and fans couldn’t believe their luck. Fast forward a few months and it transpires Leeds were seemingly bought by the only middle-Eastern consortium with less money than Ken Bates. Luciano Becchio was sold to Norwich, leaving Leeds with 19 goals in January to go set the Premier League alight. Neil Warnock also saw his tenure cut short following several complaints from fans that they had sore necks from watching the ball harmlessly fly over the midfield and to the opposition’s goalkeeper (probably). Brian McDermott was appointed new manager and got off to a flying start, before the players realised who they were and started to lose again.
In all seriousness, optimism is rife for the next season. Three or four good acquisitions should see Leeds compete for the playoffs at least, but with Leeds you’re never sure how much money the manager will have to play with. McDermott inherits a squad with talented academy products – five have impressed in the first team already this season and the u18’s won their league with three games to go – and given his history with Reading you can expect them to feature in the next campaign.
Whatever happens next season, you can guarantee this; we’re Leeds United – we won’t do it the easy way.