The Leeds United dream is over as Rovers win at Wembley..

As game wound into the sixth minute of the four added on, it was apparent that the late rally that has served Leeds so well on countless occasions this season was not going to be forthcoming.  Their tired players were unable to muster the last minute charge that would have taken the play-off final into extra time and given their turbulent season a fresh chance of a fairytale ending.  

The whistle went, and it was the South Yorkshiremen from Doncaster celebrating their promotion to the Championship, leaving the weary battlers in white prone on the pitch, scenes of red and white celebrations washing over them to compound their misery.  It’s a scene I had no small degree of sympathy with, having seen numerous aborted promotion attempts by Forest over recent years, so I find myself somewhat impassive to the rampant gloating that seems to have swept the Internet.

Having amassed enough points to secure automatic promotion, the fate of Leeds was ultimately decided by the Football League’s decision to punish Ken Bates’ financial machinations, not by on-the-pitch endeavours.  Whilst of course, my own team profited from this by snatching an automatic spot on the last day.  It’s a pretty sad time for the sport when such off-the-pitch shenanigans have such an impact.

For Doncaster, of course, they are rising like a phoenix from the ashes of significant financial irregularities themselves – now ensconced in the impressive Keepmoat Stadium, they are a far cry from the side that played at the grossly inaptly named Belle Vue Stadium – once put to flame by a former chairman to get the insurance money.  They are worthy of congratulations for a monumental rise, just as I have sympathies with the Leeds fans, suffering for the deeds of their owners.

So what now for Leeds?  Well their remaining in League One isn’t exactly without precident, it took us three seasons to elevate ourselves from English football’s third tier – in our first season we didn’t even scrape into the playoffs despite a late rally.  To have achieved a playoff finish despite a fifteen point deduction, despite a squad thrown together days before the season kicked off, despite losing their assistant manager then manager part way through – it’s a pretty phenomenal achievement when you think about it.

As they contemplate their second season in League One it should be with some degree of confidence.  No deduction of points this season, no restrictions on player signings.  With better preparations then there should be an opportunity for them to go one better than us and achieve promotion at the second attempt.  And personally, I wouldn’t begrudge them that celebration – it is always the supporters who suffer at the hands of events like Leeds have undergone.

Of course, congratulations are due to Doncaster Rovers, who make up the last place in the Championship.  Numbering some 10,000 fewer in supporter numbers on the day, with their ticket office having to be closed after being laid siege to by Leeds fans desperate to get to Wembley, the odds did look somewhat against them.  Credit to them, they held firm and take a deserved place in the promotion party that has been raging in Swansea and Nottingham for some time.

It will be interesting to observe the ongoing saga of Ken Bates’ Leeds United.  Two entities joined and forged in so many football fans’ heads as things to dislike, you can almost see the irony in their coming together.  Whilst I’m no fan of Bates I’ve learned over the last year that the irrational dislike of the entire football club is oft misplaced, indeed, every Leeds fan I’ve encountered either in reality or in a virtual sense has challenged my previous perceptions of the club – as such, I wish them well next season.

Especially against Leicester City.

9 Responses

  1. “I find myself somewhat impassive to the rampant gloating that seems to have swept the Internet…….”

    Err – are you nuts?! This is LEEDS – the very physical manifestation of everything base, evil and wrong about not just football but life on this planet. It was your sworn duty as a human being to support Donny today, it was was sworn duty to cheer at every crying Leeds fan after the final whistle – and it will be your sworn duty to wish for them to stay in league one next year and every year after that.

    That’s not hatred speaking – that’s someone born and bred in Leeds speaking – forest fan for 29 of his 37 years and ashamed of his home city.

    Cloughie was right. They got what was coming to them. Thanks for the cheating and the 15 deserved points – they sent us up automatically.

  2. […] Another Playoff Final, another defeat. […]

  3. This article sums up my feelings….

    I think we, as Reds fans, learnt some humility whilst in League One. Maybe its time others did too?

  4. Oh the joy of Leeds having another season in Div 1 – esp as we are no longer part of it for a while, Amen!! I feel sympathy for the supporters who through no fault of their own will suffer another year of 3rd tier football. God I love it – Ken Bates is 1 big fool & how he believes he’s a Leeds & a football fan I don’t know.

    What now for Leeds, 1stly is the question on who to let go & how wishes to stay in the division. Familiar? Damn right, we had 2 seasons of that. Next, will they keep the manager – they damn well should Mr Bates. Don’t take a leaf out of Mr Abromivich’s book & sack McAllister. Sack yourself!! 😆

    Finaly, after that’s been sorted out, then is the time to decide & find which players want to come to Leeds & if they are good enough to take Leeds out of the division…

  5. Congratulations to a team that showed by the way they beat us at the Keepmoat how much they deserved to go up. A club with a new stadium, oozing of health, and with a good reason to give stick to their illustrious Yorkshire neighbours… Leeds will find out the hard way, as did Wednesday and ourselves, that just one year in crappy League One is never enough… I sympathise with their fans a lot, we have been in their shoes in the past, but never with their owner or that monkey that used to play for a big club, a big club, a big club… Maybe BC sent them a curse from up there; but to tell the truth clubs like Leeds don’t belong there, I wish them to join the Championship next season after getting rid of Bates, because it’s him that cost them both relegation and failure to go straight back up due to the famous 15-point deduction.

  6. Kris is now at Derby then…there’s no official statement on their website though…

  7. I’ll not believe it ’til I see it on their website… then I’ll let fly with the vitriol 😆

  8. Stuff Judas!!! 😆

  9. Thank you for an article which is rare these days: an even-handed comment on Leeds United. It’s good to see that there is still a minority who can see through all the bias and judge the situation as it is. Being able to distinguish the fans’ plight from that of Ken Bates seems a bit of a difficult task for most people. Unfortunately for you, your own bitter experience gives you an insight into how Leeds fans feel.

    Leeds will rise again. I look forward to games against Forest next season, unless, of course, you manage to get another promotion!

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