The Rocco Dean penned publication – League One Leeds: A Journey Through the Abyss – is the truth of the emotions of a real football fan.
I jumped on board the ship of Leeds United in 1969 and there were immense highs during the late 60’s up until the mid 70’s and then there was a period of just blending into the background of the highest tier of English football. The 80’s saw relegation and in essence a decade of trying to escape Division Two, before a resurgence and return to the top tier. Leeds were back at the pinnacle of English football in the early 90’s and through that decade and in to the next there were exciting times before a massive crash as the new millennium developed and sadly Leeds plummeted on the back of a monumental slide from grace. The once Mighty Whites dropped from the Premier League into the Championship and then further down the scale to League One. That nosedive resulted in three years meandering the third tier of a system that they had once ruled, looking down from a mighty perch as a European force. However, all our yesterdays were but distant memories as Leeds were at their nadir on all fronts apart from a magnificent fanbase that still shines through all weathers.
However, during 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10 at a variety of points for Leeds United there was:
*A fall from grace
*The football authorities willingness to raise the hurdles for survival and progression
*Other clubs backing decisions to make the Elland Road club wallow
*A managerial (not so) merry-go-round
*A massive turn over of players (many not fit for purpose)
*Not being famous any more and in essence becoming a laughing stock
*A battle that turned into a war that continually was marked by every forward step being matched by another obstacle and another and then another
*A club hierarchy that was questionable in terms of a clash between a personal or collective desire. In Scottish terms: D’ya Ken? The Leeds cognoscenti will understand!
*The situation of flittering around the lower ranks of the English football pyramid
*Even at this new level – underwhelming results in both League and cup
*Both play off semi-final and final misery – and, I was present at the Doncaster Rovers debacle
However, in amongst the despair and disappointment there was also
*Record-breaking winning runs
*A treasured FA Cup victory against the Premier League Champions at Old Trafford
*A Wembley trip (but, forget the match that followed)
*An eventual release from League One in a final day, down to 10 men drama
*New adventures in fresh territories
*A spirited collection of devoted talent that formed the core of the eventual triumph
*And, once again – magnificent support that still shines through all weathers
Rocco Dean has lived and breathed Leeds United for many a year and his words and wisdom are captured in both this book as well as his two other tomes cataloguing the ups and downs of aspects of his team. Rocco is as good as it gets as regards bottling the emotions of what it is like to be a football fan. He also expounds the essence of the Elland Road vibe and his skills as a writer are aplenty. As a result the main man has become a sought after commodity and he has also been requested to speak to the children of the literacy and well-being group World of Words – WOW based in South Wales
Rocco is in the crowd but he is also making astute observations which collate those nuances which might have been forgotten as time flies by. Even when not present at fixtures he also manages to pinpoint the drama of getting updates of clashes at a time when all things Internet were not so evident.
The author knows about the Leeds legacy both from the viewpoint of his head and heart – and, research is a joy for him as he has thrived on recording events whether they are to be treasured or traumatised.
The writer also turns to those in the eye of the storm for their analysis – whether it is former manager Simon Grayson who led the assault out of League One and his troops, e.g. Jermaine Beckford, Jonny Howson, Bradley Johnson, David Prutton, Casper Ankergren or Luciano Becchio.
For those who enjoy the beautiful game as we all know it is not always an aesthetic spectacle and whether on the pitch or behind the scenes there are reasons to smile and causes to scowl – and, this book highlights the wonders and warts of a club. Please read….