The book ‘The O’Leary Years : Football’s greatest boom and Bust’ is an excellent account of a remarkable period in the Leeds United annals. Rocco Dean constructs a well-written work charting another period in the checkered history of Leeds United. This era scored successes but not trophy triumphs and was also scarred by tragedy and travesty, both on and off the pitch.
All things LUFC are always seemingly riddled with calamity, false dawns and disappointment but those ingredients are then mixed with the greatest levels of commitment, hope and spirit from those loyal, unswerving fans. In among the Elland Road equation there are an amazing array of footballing feasts and fallouts – and, under the management of David O’Leary ultimately this renowned team fail to get on to the king’s table.
Rocco in the main goes on a journey from with the club from 1998 to 2002 as he develops from a 14-year old lad into a man. He develops as a soccer supporter accompanied by his dad morphing into a rites of passage young adult travelling to games with his mates and sharing a few pints.
The overall Leeds story and a personal experience of following The Whites is neatly unified. There are the bigger news stories surrounding a club that is developing beyond its actual means (while living a dream that will become a nightmare of immense proportions). The quest for glory and the path to gory impacts upon those hardy folk who pay their money at the turnstiles through the thick and thin of times. There are adventures aplenty but it is also the start of a horrific demise from the peak of the Premier League into a phenomenal freefall which becomes a tale of unchartered collapse.
There are reasons to smile, causes to cry and umpteen opportunities to question how, what, and why?
Of course, a must read for the Leeds loyals – but, in reality a powerful piece of literature that any aficionado of the round ball can appreciate and realise that being a devoted fan is not an easy process and yet those embroiled in that world never depart as the players, managers, coaches and club owners come and go.