Promotion and Relegation Battles Heat Up In The Championship..And Then There’s Leeds

By Paula Marcus


With the New Year behind us it has been a quiet few weeks in the Championship. Wolverhampton Wanderers are still sitting pretty at the top. Hull City and Sunderland are still competing for who will get the double relegation. Clubs are still suffering embarrassing FA cup defeats. Championship clubs are loaning pretty much every Premier League player that isn’t a starter. And then there is Leeds United.


It’s been a while since anyone was really talking about Leeds, well pretty much since Cellino slinked off into the sunset. Bet with a busy few weeks they have become the talk of the division, and not necessarily in a good way. Last week United unveiled their new logo, a log that will take the club forward. In case you missed it, it was printed in last week’s issue of First Touch, once was enough. Now this badge is for the next 100 years, cost who knows how much to put together, and has turned the club into something of a laughing stock.


There are no words to actually describe how bad it is (my Leeds supporting friend tried and failed). It is also yet another example of a club really not understanding British football fans. Whilst it has the right idea and sentiment behind it (the Leeds salute), It seems hard to imagine how they could have come up with a worse design. In fact a quick look at the tweets in reply to the announcement actually shows fans don’t think they could have made a worse job.


What makes the whole situation even more laughable is the fact that apparently the badge was designed in consultation with 10,000 people and took six months to design. So who were these people they consulted with? Fans are always begging clubs to listen to what they have to say, but it isn’t clear who they actually talked with.


There are a few scenarios that might help explain exactly what happened. Firstly, they never state at what point the discussions took place, it might have been right at the start without ever showing anyone the final design.


Secondly, they don’t actually state they are fans, they could have found people who just work there. Finally, they could have been Sheffield fans (or pretty much any other fans, Leeds aren’t exactly top of the popularity chart) who went for the worst design possible. After all who can forget Manchester City ending up naming a stand the Bell End after United fans took over the vote.


Clubs changing their crests is always a slightly contentious issue amongst fans, although most clubs have updated them within the past 50 years so history is less of an issue. But the ethos is usually the same, and it’s hard to imagine fans tattooing that on their arms or kids painting that on their faces (you’d need an art degree to manage it anyway).


To make matters even worse, it isn’t just fans that are laughing. Aston Villa mocked Leeds in the build up to last week’s game suggesting that the logo looks like something from Pro Evolution (for those that don’t know, the game manufacturers created club names and logos as they didn’t have the rights to the real ones). It is so bad that even fans from other clubs signed the online petition to change the design. Thankfully the club listened and a new design will be voted on shortly, although I can’t wait to see the shortlist.


But this isn’t the only news out of Leeds in the last two weeks. They have also proved to be the divisions big spenders, shelling out £4.5 ($6.4) million for Middlesbrough’s Adam Forshaw. Forshaw was unhappy at a lack of playing time and he has certainly not gone quietly, criticising Garry Monk’s management style.


In general Football League clubs have kept the spending down in this window, which is a pleasant change from previous attempts to see who can send the most ridiculous amount on a player. Whilst there have still been a large number of transfers, these primarily are in the form of short term loans, or loan to buy deals, which makes Leeds spending seem altogether Premier League.


United will be hoping the experienced midfielders arrival will help them end a poor run of form that has seen them fail to win in six games, including the cup defeat to Newport County. Whilst they are still in with a good chance at bagging a playoff spot, they will be aware that they can’t afford to drop too far off at this point in the season.


That poor run has also seen them rise to the top of the red card table as they finished three of the last four games with ten men, including that Newport game, that’s one more than previous leaders Millwall, and it is just one more thing that manager Christiansen has to deal with. Down the years Leeds, and Millwall for that matter, have hardly been known as the nice guys of the division, but they are one red away from the same number they collected in the last two years combined.


Whilst Leeds fans might be hoping their club manages to only appear in the paper for the right reasons, I’m sure there are plenty of clubs a little jealous of all the attention. After all no press is bad press, unless it is a really bad badge.


Tempers flare between the two sides resulting in Leeds United’s Samuel Saiz (no. 21) being sent off during the Emirates FA Cup, Third Round match at Rodney Parade, Newport.


Listen to Paula’s latest Championship podcast at Premier Punditry.