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Trials of Leeds Fan

May 24, 2006

Being a football supporter is tough. No. Let me correct that. Being a Leeds United supporter is tough. Last week a friend who is a lifelong Liverpool supporter calculated he had seen the ‘pool in 27 cup finals in his life. I’ve seen Leeds in 5 I think only one of which they won, and that was when I was 8 years old. So Sunday’s result came as no surprise really. That’s two finals in 10 years with identical 3-0 scorelines. [deep sigh].

The funny thing is, I could never imagine changing teams. Yes I love watching Arsenal at their best, and have a soft spot for them, but I could never support them. Or more accurately, I could never imagine shifting allegiance. And though the joys of supporting Leeds are few and far between, I’m kinda locked in on the journey now. When I was about 6 I remember supporting Crystal Palace for about 30 mins, until a neighbour, an older boy, told me that Leeds were better. I never questioned his judgment and I’ve worn their colours since. Maybe I should track Derek down now and sue him for every penny he’s got. For the trauma he has caused me.

Why are such allegiances so deeply set? I mean other things change, like tastes in music, fashion and so on. They change as we mature. But football loyalties, no way!

With all that in mind, I did think carefully about Sunday. I watched in at the home of a friend, a fellow Leeds sufferer, and I brought my 8 year old. My thinking was that if Leeds win this well, he’ll be hooked for life, and hopefully his experience of supporting Leeds will be better than mine. Unfortunately, the pattern of my life was continued for him. And his reaction? “Let’s not buy a newspaper tomorrow, Daddy”. You see, he knew instinctively what it takes to be a Leeds man.

Tell me now…was this abusive parenting?

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