Leeds United chasing the silver
Call it fate or irony, but if Leeds United go on to lift the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, then a man by the name of Silver will be particularly pleased.
Not only is Leslie Silver OBE a lifelong Leeds United fan and former member of the club’s board, but he is also the founder of Johnstone’s Paints, which still operates from the Batley base that he created back in 1963.
Who would have thought that Leslie’s beloved Elland Road club would be competing for the piece of silver that Leslie unknowingly created more than 60 years ago?
If any Leeds United fans were looking for an omen, then they may well cling to this one as their side prepares to do battle with Carlisle United.
It seemed fitting then, that the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy visited the League 1 tabletoppers for their recent area semi-final with Accrington Stanley, on a short journey that Leslie could surely make blindfolded.
Upon arrival, one stray Bradford City fan, who understandably wished to remain anonymous, declared his respect and admiration for the way Leeds are going about their business these days.
And who can argue? Having learnt the hard way, the Yorkshiremen have steadily rebuilt from the bottom and now boast a side with a whole far great than the sum of its parts - which hasn’t always been the case.
Their manager Simon Grayson has his fair share of supporters too, having established an impressive reputation from his time at Blackpool, before getting to grips with an altogether different task at Leeds.
From the moment the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy arrived at Elland Road, we were struck by the sense of optimism abound, which is testament to the spirit and passion that Leeds fans have always been famous for.
Sure, the ghosts of seasons past still loiter around the great stadium. For every chant about the lads on the pitch, a distant vision of Lucas Radebe and Dominic Matteo briefly flickered, as the Kop paid homage to some long lost heroes. Happy days.
But the current crop of White Tigers aren’t shrinking under the shadow of a 2002 vintage. And while they might not be mixing it with Matteo in the San Siro, they are forging some new memories for supporters to cherish.
We sense that after a few too many years of hurt, one of Britain’s biggest clubs are taking some significant steps on a road to where they belong.
And if they pick up a piece of silver along the way, you won’t hear Leslie complaining.
Johnstone’s. Bringing colour to the beautiful game.