With a new year and a new decade upon us, Leeds United fans can look back at what can only be described a rollercoaster ride through the English game. Unfortunately, much of it on a downward trend.
The 2000/01 season saw a spirited young Leeds side surprise many by battling all the way to the Champion's League semifinal against Valencia, all while being touted as the next big Premier League side to watch out for.
However, a combination of astounding accounting, poor management, relegation (twice), administration, playoff final heartbreak (twice), and a good old fashion 15 point deduction now see Yorkshiremen toiling in the third tier of English football for the third straight year. The term "fallen giants" is usually not far when speaking of Leeds United.
The past 10 years have truly tested the resolve of all Leeds fans. Too often, we have had to ask when the freefall would stop, only to usually be hit with more bad news.
That all being said, the dark clouds seem to finally be lifting from West Yorkshire.
The start of 2010 sees Leeds sitting atop League One with a bit of space to breathe. Their form in nearly all competitions has been nothing short of awe inspiring with just one league loss and a loss to Liverpool in the Carling Cup; a game which the Merseysiders were largely outplayed.
And of course, who can forget Leeds' Old Trafford triumph, when the scoreline could have easily been worse for the boys from Manchester?
All year long the team has been playing with a fearlessness and tenacity that’s not been present since those past days of Champion’s League glory. Leeds look poised to finally break free from the clutches of League One and on to a pursuit of Premiere League football in the Championship.
There’s still, however, quite a bit of the season left to be played and trophies are not given out in January.
A transfer request handed in by leading marksman Jermaine Beckford prior to the FA Cup third round clash with Manchester United looks to possibly disrupt the fine run of form Leeds have enjoyed thus far. Newcastle has been linked strongly with the former Wealdstone man, while Wolverhampton have recently upped their interest.
The potential loss of Beckford would not help matters, but it is unlikely it would completely derail efforts at automatic promotion, thanks to the squad Simon Grayson has built up.
In Leeds’ favor, they have momentum on their side, solid depth at nearly every position, the hottest young manager in England, and sound financial footing from which to work from. An enviable position, to say the least, and one that has been sorely missed for some time now.
If Leeds can continue their staggering run of form, there is no reason to believe they will not be hoisting the League One trophy by season’s end. One step closer to the Premier League and one step closer to their rightful standing.
Things certainly are on the up for the mighty Whites.
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