Time is such a cruel, cruel mistress. The Lawrence Arms’ Brendan Kelly laments this on the frankly excellent ‘Seventeener (17th and 37th)’ as he bemoans “the black in my beard had turn to white / and the pretty girls that used to smile at me / just stared off straight ahead or looked down at their feet” - the vice-like grip of old age is unrelenting and vows to take no prisoners.
It is a sentiment that resonates intensely when a stranger on a train, a new acquaintance or work colleague casually drops in that they were born in 1996 and you splutter with a bemused incredulousness. As you quickly do the maths, you retort with “wait, so you never saw Blackburn Rovers win the league?!” and they stare back with a look that I give my grandparents when they try to work an iPad.
That pitying smile and the unspoken “oh, you with your olden times ways” shake of the head. This world is moving fast and the young people of today will never know of the mercurial talents of marauding wingers like Jason Wilcox and Stuart Ripley.
Well, imagine this feeling for every moment of every day. Telling everyone that things were better when “you were a kid” and that they “should’ve been there to see it”.
Have you got that image? Concentrate on it hard, got it?
Congratulations, you are now a Leeds United fan or voted for Brexit.
You see, children, Leeds United were not always this source of endless memes and banter threads. There was a time when The Whites were one of the most feared teams in the land, when they essentially booted seven shades of shit out of every opponent during the 70s and 80s to win a series of English titles.
They even won the Premier League (the year before it became the Premier League) with captain charisma Howard Wilkinson. Then there was that wonderful team of the late-90s and early-2000s under David O’Leary that regularly competed for the title and smited some of Europe’s best.
Champions League big dawgs like AC Milan, Barcelona, Lazio and Deportivo La Coruna would get a healthy shellacking at Elland Road as the likes of Harry Kewell, Lee Bowyer, Mark Viduka and Ian Harte would run riot. It was a heady time to be a Leeds (LEEDS LEEDS LEEDS) fan but then it went horribly (and hilariously wrong).
Splurging every penny they had under Mayor of Whoville (look it up) Peter Ridsdale on Rio Ferdinand, Seth Johnson (54 appearances in four years, buddy boy) and Robbie Fowler they imploded, crashed through the leagues and were immortalised with a Wikipedia page entitled “Doing a Leeds”.
They are kinda back now with a United Nations ensemble of a squad and, while every year seems to be “their year”, they have collapsed are now in the delightful no-man’s land of 12th.
They have an endless Generation Game carousel of managers (Dave Hockaday, anyone?). They all sing about hating Manchester United and Chelsea and you look on into their vacuous, confused eyes and smile. It’s okay, we know you hate Man U, that’s so cute.
Anyway, they want to show you that video of the Valencia semi-final again. Oh, you with your olden times ways.