The 5 stages of a Leeds United promotion bottlejob

Seeing nailed-on Premier League promotion slip away like this again is so very hard to take…


Bacon and eggs. Gin and tonic. Leeds United and Premier League promotion bottling. Some things in life, dear reader, just go hand in hand.

The Whites are very much proving that old adage once again as their now-traditional new year slump takes a grim hold on their season. Following their 1-1 draw with promotion rivals Brentford, Marcelo Bielsa’s side have collected a measly 10 points from a possible 33 in their last 11 fixtures.

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That collapse in form since mid-December has seen Leeds’ 10-point gap in the Championship’s automatic promotion places disappear into thin air. They are now potentially just one defeat away from dropping out of the play-off places altogether.

From everything coming up roses to suddenly feeling like you’re pushing up daisies – it’s an all too familiar feeling for Leeds supporters. But dealing with the loss of the one thing you truly love (that one thing being your Premier League promotion hopes) is always a tough experience to go through.

So to help you better empathise with what their fans are currently going through, we’ve detailed the five stages of their bottlejob grief below…

1. Denial

Of course, the first reaction to the death of their automatic promotion chances is to shut yourself off from the real world and simply deny the reality of the situation.

“Yes, we’ve blown a 10 point cushion,” admit Leeds fans. “Yes, we’ve dropped 23 points in the past couple of months,” they muse. “Yes, our form is lodged in the toilet bowl along with last night’s curry,” they realise.

“But we’re still sitting in second place on goal difference and don’t let anyone tell you any differently.”

LEEDS, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 30: A Leeds United fan holds up a scarf during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Middlesbrough at Elland Road on November 30, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

2. Anger

As reality bites and the denial ebbs away, it’s time for the most intensive outpouring of emotion of the entire process: pure, unadulterated anger. And all that pent-up frustration and bubbling rage they feel at their imploding form manifests itself in one distinctive way.

In their droves they take to social media, targeting Facebook and Twitter pages that post football fan content, such as videos of chanting and goal celebrations. Like a pack of Yorkshire bloodhounds they hunt down clips of rival teams’ away following, furiously adding comments such as “Leeds would’ve taken more!!!!”, or “We went to your place in 2001 and ran you all out of town!!!”.

And when they happen upon snaps of their fellow supporters, hammering out a nice, passive aggressive “LEEDS LEEDS LEEDS!!” comment always helps to let off that extra bit of steam.

It’s good to let it out, isn’t it?

LEEDS, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 26: Patrick Bamford of Leeds United reacts during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Preston North End at Elland Road on December 26, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

3. Bargaining

With the anger over their team throwing their automatic promotion chances in the fire bin and dumping a tank of petrol on it duly subsiding, the hindsight-laden bargaining phase can begin in earnest.

“If only we signed more players earlier in January to add depth to the squad and arrest this run of form! If only we played Eddie Nketiah more, he may have stuck around and earned us more crucial points! If only we didn’t get f*cking caught spying last year and were still able to peek over training ground fences this season!”

Alas, all this is too little, too late for Leeds supporters. It’s now that the true misery overseeing their beloved team slide down the Championship table sets in…#

LEEDS, ENGLAND – JANUARY 11: A painting of Marcelo Bielsa, manager of Leeds United on an electric box ahead of the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on January 11, 2020 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

4. Depression

“Eey by gum, it’s true, isn’t it? We’ve gone and fooked it right up again, haven’t we? They’ll all leave us in t’summer now, won’t they? Just you wait and see. Patty Bamford will get snapped up by someone who can actually make it into the Prem. The lad Jackie Harrison won’t wanna stick around. And Marcelo will go and win the Champions League somewhere wi’ the players he deserves.

“I just wish I could give him and t’tactics folder a big hug before they go.”

LEEDS, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 21: A Leeds United fan reacts during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Derby County at Elland Road on September 21, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

5. Acceptance

Finally acknowledging the cold, brutal reality of the situation – that Leeds have once again collapsed from a un-collapsable position – is the final hurdle in fans’ footballing rehabilitation.

They solemnly, yet at least willingly, chalk up another year to their Premier League exile tally (it’ll soon be 16 years should anyone have lost count). But the cycle and true, meaningful acceptance, is only complete when Leeds fans appreciate the fact they will have to go through it all again at the same time next year.

Who’d be a Leeds fan, eh?

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