The argument as to who deserves the title of the “biggest” club outside of the Premier League is an entirely subjective one. Derby could make a persuasive argument, both Sheffield clubs and the legions of fans they carry would be in contention, Nottingham Forrest and their two European Cup titles allows their pitch to carry more credence than most. For me, however, the title can head in only one direction – Elland Road.
Leeds United tick so many boxes that only the biggest clubs can; a large stadium, a massive, passionate fan base, the ability to expand into a global market and most importantly a rich and vibrant history. It is extremely disheartening, even to someone who has no vested interest, to see the club continue to be embroiled in the financial cluster storm that has engulfed them for the better part of a decade.
Ever since the former chairman, Peter Risdale uttered the now infamous line “Should we have spend so heavily in the passed? Probably not. But we lived the dream” the club has scrabbled about in the undergrowth of English football desperate for the opportunity to return with the country’s elite. Managers, players and chairmen alike have come and gone, yet the return to the Promised Land has been infuriatingly illusive. Sadly for the fans a promotion looks, again, unlikely. With Cellino changing managers the way you or I change underpants success was always likely to be difficult to attain. Manager Steve Evans is a competent manager at this level, despite an odious reputation; 4 points from the last possible 6 suggest he may well prove the stability needed to make a tilt at the play-off positions.
Tonight they travel to Molineux, in a 19.45 kick-off, to face a side flattering to deceive. This season Wolves were many peoples tip for automatic promotion, popular magazine Four Four Two included, yet sit in a lowly 14th place. Kenny Jackett’s men are simply too erratic to be considered seriously for promotion at this point, however, a slight arrestment of this has been provided with a five game undefeated stretch, although, this comes with the heavy caveat in that they have won only one of those games.
The shining light for Wolves last season was the goals of former Arsenal man Benik Afobe whose 13 goals in 21 games, after a January arrival, provided the fans with a fresh wave of optimism, especially considering that he had already scored 19 in 30 appearances whilst at MK Dons. This season he has found the back of the next to be slightly more illusive; a return of 8 goals is not to be mocked, yet the failure to score in his last 9 appearances is a cause for alarm. If a concerted push for promotion is to be attempted the likelihood of success will live and die on the shoulders of the young front man.
Wolves boss Kenny Jackett is expected to keep his faith in the side that earn a point against Nottingham Forrest. Leeds are expected to make minimal changes, Scott Wootton for the injured Berardi in the right-back slot, while, club captain Sol Bamba may return to the heart of defence after recovering from his toe injury.
Leeds are no longer “living the dream”, nowadays they suffer the monotony of consistently finishing in the lower sections of the Championship while the reigns of the club are squabbled over by men of questionable repute who clearly don’t hold the best interests of the club close to their hearts. More of a nightmare really.