I’ve long said following Leeds – or any football team, religiously; is like an addiction.
I mean the parallels exist, for instance, you spend a fortune supporting said team which is more than you can probably afford; you’ll do anything to get your fix; i.e. your match ticket/being at a match; you suffer nothing but pain, often injury during and most days which proceed a match are blighted by an unnervingly headache, where generally the route cause is a bad hangover.
The list goes on, such as putting strain on your relationships, fall-outs with your friends, ignoring potential interventions and missing the most important moments of your life/your family’s, in favour of being at a game.
And yet…! We do it. Blindly, every week; we’re there. In the same old seat we’re in every week, surrounded by the same people with whom every sinew of pain is experienced. We say during the game, after half an hour that we’re off for a pint and we joke that we’ll stay in the bar.
We say, 70 minutes in and 4-0 down that we’re leaving now; we’re not staying to watch this ritual of humiliation and yet come the final whistle, we’re there. Angry, upset, frustrated and the worst is yet to go through – we’re on the come down.
There is something within us all, in most situations in life I suppose, where despite everything – be it pain, suffering, humiliation, etc. we stick by whatever or whoever is causing it.
Every week we wonder why we’re there after being utterly outplayed by some no mark inbreds from some God-forsaken shithole. The journeys are long and expensive, the seats are old and uncomfortable and the football is about as pleasing on the eye as rhino-shit on a poker being inserted into your retina.
And yet..! The buzz, the expectation, the pure emotions of watching the game cannot compare; it cannot be replaced and it cannot be un-experienced. We have to be there. No matter what.
Screw Danny Pugh, screw Ken Bates, screw the cream cladding on the East Stand, we’re always there. Do we enjoy the suffering? Do we live in eternal hope that God has dealt us the most shitty, Bates-ridden, diseased hand possible and that things can only get better?
I never got to experience the real good times of Leeds, way back when. Instead I caught the tail of the run into Europe in the early 2000’s and have been riding the train to footballing oblivion ever since. Does it say everything about the current state of the modern Leeds United that our best moment in the last eight years was promotion from League One? What a wholly depressing indictment of the Bates era.
And that’s been it; how can we possibly expect the club to raise a new generation of fans based on that? (We’ll exclude the lack of enticing marketing for illustrative purposes.) We have to get them hooked; screw the football, enjoy the atmosphere and drink until you can feel your feelings any more. That’s the only way.
It just seems incomprehensible that I, materialistic and spendthrift, am guaranteed to shit away most of my wage going to watch Leeds United and yet still, week after week, season after season, come back for more.