It wasn’t long before when Leeds United matches were heaven for neutral Premier League fans. Their unique attacking style of player under the cerebral management of Marcelo Bielsa was a sight to be seen.
Under Bielsa, LUFC was promoted to the Premier League after a 16 years wait, and in their first season (20/21) in the English topflight, Leeds would finish an impressive 9th in the table, scoring more goals than Arsenal and Chelsea.
What seemed like just the start of happy days two years ago, is now just a shining artifact of the past, as Leeds are back in the Championship and fans will be hoping that the wait won’t be another 16 years long.
After Bielsa’s sacking, which might have been necessary but rushed, no other managers settled, or to be precise, no other managers were given some reasonable time to settle.
Jesse Marsch was sacked in just a year, Javi Garcia came and left in a jiffy, and Sam Allardyce’s desperate appointment with just 4 games to go, to save them from relegation, ultimately bore no fruit. All these events culminated in an absolute haywire of a season and still, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s not just the club that is in a mess, but the fans are well. Weston McKennie, the US international who played for Leeds on loan from Juventus last season is the subject of vile fatphobic taunts on Instagram from the Leeds fans. Why? Because he congratulated Jack Harrison’s Everton move.
Weston McKennie’s time at Leeds was not satisfactory either. He was Jesse Marsch request signing and after Leeds secured him, Marsch was sacked a week later. He played 20 times for the club in all competitions, failing to secure a single goal or an assist.
In one of the matches when he was substituted on the hour mark, he became a subject of fatphobic chants. “You fat bastard” was hurled at him by Leeds fans, as his body weight was a subject of scrutiny and the reason for his poor performance by Leeds fans.
If you ask a psychologist to analyze the situation, he might say it’s all those inner frustration, hopelessness and meaninglessness of life that is causing these psychos to react in such abysmal and racist way. However, a Leeds fan might point to some other problems as well, although even an analytical Leeds fan can’t deny these people are depressed and not just because of footballing reasons.
“Side before self”, a doctrine of the late, club legend and captain, Billy Bremner, is being clamored and written on the wall of training ground by hardcore Leeds fans in the wake of players leaving the club. A strong reminder that nothing is bigger than the Club.
Robin Koch, Brenden Aaronson, Jack Harrison, Max Wober, Diego Llorente, Rasmus Kristensen and Marc Roca have all left on loan. Italian forward, Wilfried Gnonto, is also pushing for a move and is refusing to play for Leeds. Luis Sinisterra and Tyler Adams are also on the verge of potential exit.
Understanding the predicament that Leeds fans are facing is one thing, however giving racist fans a carte-blanche is a complete another thing. Fans often forget that players are human too and racist remarks of any kind causes great amount of mental suffering to the players.
With social media, throwing insults and negative trolling has become an everyday thing and Weston McKennie’s case is a new one in a long list which but surely and sadly won’t be the last case.