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Opinion

Time to put away the Notorious Leeds flag

9 months ago
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I was  lying in the sun last month with nothing to do but people watch, therefore I’m scanning the hotel balconies.

There it was. Flapping in the Cyprus breeze, a huge blue and yellow flag tied to the railings.

On it, shouting out to the  passers by below, “We are Leeds. The notorious Inter City service crew on tour.”

Oh dear.

The first thing that came into my  mind was that I just knew who had tied it there. Shaven headed, pot bellied and their chest covered in white rose tattoos.

However, to be honest I don’t think that she would have been part of the inter city crew.

It was probably her husband.

Ok, I will stop there and explain myself, just in case by some chance this article ends up on a Leeds board and it is seen as clickbait to antagonise, because that is not its purpose.

That flag could easily  have been one of our own, or from somewhere like  Chelsea, Man Utd  or West Ham. In truth, the people sitting on the balcony looked a pretty decent normal couple.

The reason I bring this up is to ask the question: When do people like them and people like me, finally let go of the past and accept that life has moved on?

That may seem a pretty stupid thing to say,  coming from  the bloke who has spent the last ten years doing articles for The Mag droning on about the good old days…but I think that these days I have just about come to terms with the fact that the world in general, and football in particular, has changed out of all recognition.

So when is the right time to put away the “Notorious Leeds ” flag?

Is it when more hair grows from your nose and ears than on your head?

Is it when your belly comes around a corner two seconds before the rest of your body?

Is it on the day you become a grandad?

Because let’s be honest, the notorious Leeds crew, our own Gremlins, or the Headhunters, mean absolutely nothing to anyone under 45 and the flag was certainly  wasted on the Russians and locals  in my hotel.

Let me say  that I really hope Leeds come up this season because despite having my backside kicked up the inside lane of the M621 by this lot as a teenager, I like the people of Yorkshire  and I have time for the club.  If Newcastle didn’t exist, Leeds is a club I could relate to.

But Leeds have been gone from the Premiership for a long time and I’m afraid they are in for a shock. There is no room for the “notorious” boys in this brave new world, sponsored by Barclays. They may not want to believe it but within two years Elland Road will be a library, just like all the others.

just like my dad’s generation  who went to matches in a tie , found it difficult to understand us teenagers turning up and chucking missiles at each other, we now have to accept football is a different game. It may be something groups like the notorious crew desperately want to change but that’s just how it is in 2018.

We were a very politicised bunch in the 80s,  from both sides. “Militant tendency” or “Hello Hello, the Geordies are white.”. Some even thought they could be both. Right wing socialists .

However, look around Newcastle or Leeds and compare them to the tips they were 35 years ago.  There were not too many 25 year olds living in  new apartments with a shiny motor sitting outside it  while  spending 80 quid a month on a bloody phone, back in 1985.

Football is evolving into an American franchisee model which the new Quayside generation will happily embrace.

Dinosaurs from the 80s like me and you Yorkie, are not required  to come to the party.

It’s time to put away the flag.
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