My three favourite “words” of German are Farke, Zimmermann and Leitner. Very closely followed by schadenfreude, which we all know means deriving satisfaction from the misfortunes of another, often an old enemy.
Which neatly brings me on to the play-offs, which have very recently taken on a whole new twist.
First up I am so glad we had the strength, skill and determination to avoid said play-offs. Secondly, I wish they didn’t exist.
Leeds United finished third in the Championship, several points ahead of finalists Aston Villa and Derby County.
In my book they deserve the final promotion spot, but the money-generating concept of the play-offs means they are denied what I consider to be their right, which is membership of the Premier League.
Now we are looking at a “Frank Lampard v John Terry play-off final” and my guess is it won’t take the national media long to hype that one up.
For what it’s worth. Mystic Martin had Villa marked to go up through the lottery route quite a while ago now and I have not changed my mind on that one.
As for the not totally unexpected demise of the Binners, that is schadenfreude at its finest.
But, let’s revisit what has happened to our favourite friends from a particularly unattractive city in Yorkshire. York itself, Northallerton, Harrogate and so many other smaller places are fantastic to visit, and the locals are extremely welcoming.
Even if you’re only there for work, which was very much my usual circumstance in the county.
But Leeds itself – hmm.
I am old enough to remember the Don Revie era, when the phrase Dirty Leeds was coined. Not by us Canaries as we were not even in Division One back in the day, but by folks from London via the West Midlands to Manchester, Liverpool and ending in Tyneside – and indeed Wearside.
Bremner, Lorimer, Hunter? Oh my good gawd.
I have three standout recollections of visits from those Marching on Together in recent times.
First off was when Lee Smack My Bitch Up Chapman was playing for them. He scored the first goal, but we tanked them 4-2. They were not happy bunny rabbits as I’m sure the owner of the Compleat Dangler in the early 1990s would confirm. They absolutely trashed the place and the furniture was left only fit for firewood.
Walking on broken glass? Yeah, that too.
Secondly a steward mate of mine, James S (now moved to Thetford and hence no longer working for the club) and myself plus other friends always used to have a lengthy pre-match chat close to the hot dog stall outside the Snakepit.
One sunny Saturday James’s bat-phone went off. A Leeds coach had arrived late and even with just a couple of vents open the language coming from said vehicle was unbelievable. It was all hands to the pump for stewards and police.
Thirdly that classic moment in the Lambert era when Stephen Hughes fired over a sublime cross from the right and there was the all-Beccles Grey Goose consumption champion with that header.
It was the only occasion I have seen their supporters slink off with their tails (mainly not figurative) between their legs.
Do Marcelo Bielsa sides blow up towards the end of the season? Maybe. Was the injury to Kemar Roofe a factor? Probably. Did Leeds just simply bottle it? I’d like to think so. Did “Spygate” originate their decline? I doubt it. Not that I care one jot.
While I am slightly miffed that the third-placed side in the final table at the end of the regular season did not go up (as I truly believe they are entitled to) at least that fate fell to Leeds.