Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Reach For The Stars

So that’s it, the clocks have gone back, the leaves are falling and we’re on the countdown to Christmas. We’ve just spent the weekend with aching necks looking up to the skies at fireworks, but it’s quite nice when you feel like you can reach for the stars and achieve something. It’s round about this time of year that we usually find Leeds United in crisis, finding their feet with yet another new manager, wondering how they will get enough points to survive and limping towards a January transfer window that rarely refuels us sufficiently. 

But at the moment it is very different. You sense that Leeds United are on the move in the right direction again. It is too early to say Leeds are fully resurgent, but we are picking up points with relative comfort and looking strong in most departments. I guess it’s called ‘progress’ and we have seen precious little of that in the last few years. Perhaps most importantly there is a sense of stability about the club; the Elland Road landscape appears peaceful and serene like a fresh winters’ morning greeted by a blanket of virginal snow. On and off the pitch there is an air of professionalism about Leeds United, people getting on with their jobs, and it is no surprise what can be achieved when that is allowed to happen.

October was a great month for Leeds United; six games, four wins, one draw and one defeat. One of those wins was, of course, the defeat of Norwich on penalties in the League Cup, which was a pulsating contest in which a patched-up Leeds side showed all the attributes upon which the club’s history is based, and after this euphoric win I think we all started to believe that ‘something’ just might be happening here.

It has been a busy month at the Old Peacock with four home games to keep us all on our toes. October was bookended by the excellent 2-1 win over Barnsley and the nervous but ultimately exhilarating 2-0 win over Burton Albion. It seems crowds are on the up too, and with 22,222 sharing in the ecstasy of that penalty shoot-out win over the Canaries, there can be little doubt that the ‘feel good’ factor is back at Elland Road. At the Old Peacock it has never left of course, we carry on regardless serving thirsty Leeds fans who turn up on our doorstep come rain or shine, win, lose or draw. We see happy pre-match faces wherever Leeds are in the table, but it doesn’t half give us a boost when fans are returning after the game with another three points in the bag. And if there is anything that prompts you lot to get that extra pint in, it is a late winner or a dramatic win on penalties. Mind you, ‘one more pint’ has soothed the journey to getting over plenty of harrowing defeats too…..

There is no shortage of fireworks expected in November too, although sadly, many of them will be away from Elland Road with just the one home game during the month, but what a pyro-tastic Chinese rocket of a fixture that one is. Newcastle United visit Elland Road on Sunday November 20th for the first league fixture between the two in 12 years, and it is looking like a sell-out. It will be great to see over 38,000 inside Elland Road and if that doesn’t whet the appetite for more occasions like this, then nothing will. Once was the time when Elland Road was packed to the rafters every week and these kind of high-profile games were commonplace, it seems so long ago now, but it is great to see a highly-charged game on the horizon and with Leeds approaching it in fine fettle too. With Aston Villa visiting shortly after in early December, it all helps with momentum and building up the excitement, maybe even reminding some of those younger fans what Leeds United Football Club is all about.

Of course we are no stranger to capacity crowds at the Old Peacock. We have a specific number of fans we can accommodate on the footprint of the pub for each match day, ie. inside and outside, and we regularly fill that. So whether there are 20,000 or 38,000 at Elland Road for the game, we can still only fit in that same number. But we certainly anticipate a lot more people queuing to get in the pub for the Newcastle game.

Hopefully the weather will hold off as we head towards Christmas and we will be able to stage more energetic sets from The Snapp in the beer garden. Our local, resident band have proved a massive hit in the build-up to Kick-Off over the last few games and we have received some great feedback. We will endeavour to have them on as long as the weather holds out. We know a lot of fans like to drink outside even in the crisp and frosty afternoons in January and February, so where we can we will continue with the live band outside, but stay tuned to our social media accounts before each game and we will keep you updated as to when the band will be appearing.

With Halloween and Bonfire Night passing by at a rapid pace we will shortly be preparing for another busy period in our calendar, and that is Christmas. We are already sold out for Christmas Day, but don’t be crying into your pigs in blankets just yet, because we have a separate menu package for the party season leading up to the big day. We know how you all enjoy your works’ Christmas dos, getting together with family before Christmas or having a blow out and a big feed with your friends. So our Christmas Fayre menu is right up your street.  At £12.95 for two courses or £14.95 for three courses, this is a great value way to celebrate Christmas in a cosy but lively atmosphere and with a quality home-cooked festive feast. We are serving a choice of soup, garlic mushrooms or liver paté for starters, roast turkey, salmon or a vegetarian alternative for mains and then there is the tricky decision of strawberry cheesecake, chocolate fudge cake or of course, a traditional Christmas pud for afters. We start serving our Christmas Fayre menu in December, but places are being booked up fast, so call in or phone 0113 2715962 to book a place for your party now.

Here’s hoping Garry Monk and his coaching staff continue to work their magic in November and we can march towards the New Year with some confidence for a change. It’s a lovely feeling looking into the skies and reaching for the stars and here’s to much more of that over the next few months. Cheers.