It seems like a million years away in these days of big money,
chief executives, global marketing deals and instant global telecast
of multi-millionaire, cosmopolitan mercenaries playing for whoever
is prepared to fork out the most. Manchester United, or even worse
Chelsea, ain't a football club any more, it's a franchise.
Today's sporting world isn't much like it was thirty or forty
years ago. Now, the mighty dollar rules, and there's no real camaraderie
on the field, no sense of team or loyalty to the badge apart from
those sickening, ingratiating badge kissing spectacles. Yesterday's
game was about something more than a pay cheque. If you were a
member of a football club, you bled those colours to the core.
You weren't hung up on jumping ship to another club, much less
another country. Back then, you didn't win by establishing an
all-star, bought-and-paid-for roster; you won with your gut. You
won with perseverance.
Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times: "The deliberate dive and the
histrionic collapse to the ground in faux agony as part of an
attempt to get an opponent sent off were scarcely present in the
British game before the arrival of the vast legions of foreigners
and, particularly, players from Latin America and southern Europe.
"You might argue as a counterbalance that these immigrants also
brought with them other stuff hitherto missing from the British
game, such as intelligence and skill. Fair enough. And also that
British players were not averse to breaking the rules by, for
example, smashing an opponent's leg in two, or rendering him unconscious
with a swiftly delivered forearm to the throat. But at least we
are clear that such actions carry with them certain set punishments."
Some football clubs strike gold in their high-priced players.
Others barely limp along while continuing to turn over their bank
book to the next hot-shot with a cannon leg. But they all have
one thing in common: they're false. They're false to themselves,
and they're false to the fans that literally bleed for their colours.
Real football is played with the type of passion and desire that
you can neither manufacture nor purchase. Fans of Leeds know about
persevering through the difficulty and coming out the other side
a true champion. The 1960s
and early 70s were a prime example of true perseverance equating
In the midst of financial turmoil, threats of regulation and
management changes, the Whites (or blue and golds as they were
back then) banded together in the 60s and turned certain tragedy
into unmistakable and immortal triumph. That kind of glory doesn't
have the pound sign attached at the front. That's something only
a true team-a family-can accomplish.
So much of football's history is lost on the players today. Fans
deserve much better. Two
Leeds fans paid the ultimate sacrifice while attempting to
cheer their club to victory. This is something never lost on the
club, as they always take a moment of silence nearest the anniversary
to remember the fans who gave their lives to be a part of something
special. If only that sort of togetherness would register with
these new-age players.
The world is chock full of activities that people could easily
do. From online gaming
to fantasy sports, football clubs are lucky that fans are still
as passionate as they are, especially considering that the favor
is rarely returned.
Although Leeds aren't enjoying the success and the adulation
that fans would like to see, we're still all just as passionate
about our club as ever. Our new band continue to persevere through
adversity, and that's really what the game is about. Eventually,
that's going to pay off much more than any hot-shots and big-money
clubs can produce. In fact, it has paid off already. We all know
who has the guts and who has the glory. The rest is just artificial.
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