FA Cup Third Round Weekend 1: Arsenal 1-1 Leeds United

No-one is hit harder by the unremittingly harsh light of football’s inherent meritocracy than the supporters of a “Big Club” that falls upon hard times. When they slipped to the third tier of English football during the late 1990s, Manchester City supporters came up with a song that expressed their existential angst called, “We’re Not Really Here”, a singular act of defiance at the plight of their club that bordered upon minimalist genius. “What has become of us?”, is the subconscious question that is constantly running through the mind of the supporter that didn’t sign up with their clubs for trips to slowly decaying League One grounds and early-round humiliations in the FA Cup. All of which brings neatly on to the subject of Leeds United, of course. There must have been many points over the last four or five years at which the years of the Don Revie dynasty or of the Cantona-inspired, out of the blue league championship must have felt like, if not a dream, then an out of body experience. The supporters of Leeds United have tasted what they have interpreted as hell, but if there are steps to be made on the return journey from perdition, this afternoon’s performance against Arsenal may just reached the point at which, after seven years away, their club took on the feel of a Premier League club. Leeds...

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