A LITTLE over two decades ago, Leeds United claimed a famous win over deadly rivals Manchester United at Elland Road on Christmas Eve to hand the Yorkshire club’s supporters the perfect present.
Gary Edwards, the Elland Road superfan who has missed just one game, a friendly, since 1968, went a step further by gift-wrapping a video of Sky’s recording and leaving it to himself under the family tree. It meant, come the following morning, he was able to tiptoe down the stairs, unwrap the present and then spend Christmas Day enjoying the 3-1 victory all over again.
No supporter is likely to go to such lengths this festive season, but there can be no denying that anyone of a United persuasion who does sneak a peek at the Championship table on Christmas morning will have a warm glow that can not all be put down to mulled wine.
Fifth place with 38 points from 22 games is Leeds’s best performance at this stage in six years. It has also stirred hopes that the new year may finally bring a concerted push for a return to a level the club last graced in 2004.
Not, however, that head coach Garry Monk is getting too carried away by his side’s lofty standing.
“We are not too worried about where we are in the league,” said the Elland Road chief, who has confirmed his players will train on Christmas Day after having the past couple of days off. “It is great that we are where we are, it shows we are doing something right as a team. But our main fight is for the three points that are ahead of us.
“Everyone is winning and that is why it is most important to concentrate on yourself.
“We can’t get too worried about who is winning. All you have got to do is fight for your three points and do it as hard as possible.
“All I care about is the improvement of the team and the development of this team. They have been through loads of scenarios, especially in recent months, that have tested them and pushed them. They are scenarios that a lot of the young players have not experienced before, but they are coming through them, which is good to see.
“That is really the only thing I focus on.”