Leeds United: Do Whites fans want to help the team?

Do Leeds United fans want to help the team? asks YEP On The Edge columnist Gary Walker.

Leeds United fans, it seems to me, have a crucial decision to make.

They either want to actively participate in their club's promotion attempt or not.

* Click here to sign up to free Leeds United email alerts from your YEP.

It's easy being a supporter when your team is doing well. The acid test of anyone's faith and belief is when the team hits rough waters and, since the turn of the year, there is little doubt the Elland Road side have struggled badly.

* Click here to take a trip down memory lane with our Leeds United action replay.

It's alright lapping up the glory of an FA Cup victory over old foes Manchester United at Old Trafford and a couple of glory nights against Premier League high-fliers Tottenham but during the, admittedly, hugely disappointing home defeat by Millwall 21,000 home fans were outsung by 350 Millwall supporters!

* Click here for read the latest views and opinions of our Leeds United columnists.

I mean, come on, that's just embarrassing – and on live TV too!

Does the phrase win as a team, lose as a team not mean anything to Whites followers?

* Click here to watch latest YEP news and sport video reports.

At the very time when their team needs them, the usually loud and proud Elland Road regulars have lost their collective voice. Great timing people.

* Click here for latest YEP news and sport picture slideshows.

Don't give me all the old tripe that it's up to the players to produce on the pitch to lift the fans, that's claptrap. In fact, it's the sort of fair-weather fan philosophy I cannot abide.

Leeds supporters were happy to turn up in numbers during United's 12-match unbeaten start to the current campaign and relished those knockout displays against top-flight foes and while I appreciate there will always be an issue over home ticket prices they have to accept that they CAN and WILL influence this bid for promotion.

What they must decide is whether it's a positive or negative effect.

Do they rally behind their team or continue to push the self-destruct button by moaning loudly and snarling audibly at every poor piece of control or wasted corner?

I can guarantee now that Danny Wilson, who brings his Swindon Town team to West Yorkshire this coming Saturday for what is now a massive, massive game for both clubs with just a point separating them, will tell his charges if they can keep Leeds quiet for 20 minutes the home fans will get restless and jittery and that will transmit itself to the United team.

Unless, that is, the United crowd decides otherwise by turning out in force, wearing the club colours with pride and singing themselves hoarse for the cause – for the whole game.

If the temperature inside Elland Road is cranked up to fever pitch in favour of the men in white, for the full 90 minutes, I would expect the players to respond in kind.

Imagine the lift it will give them, walking out of the tunnel to a sea of white and yellow shirts and a wall of noise, knowing that there won't be collective groans every time a pass is misplaced or a shot goes awry.

You can't put a price on that sort of unbridled, passionate backing and it's doubtful that Swindon, for all they are on a good run, will be able to stand up to the intensity or scrutiny.

Not knowing that every time a ball goes out of play or a player goes down the home support will be shouting for the decision.

If the fans can put their frustration behind them and just back the 11 players in white who take to the field on Saturday afternoon I suspect they will reap the benefits.

A disgruntled, agitated, home support is almost worth a goal start to the opposition at Elland Road and it's about time the Leeds supporters switched themselves on to that fact.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject, perhaps the collective bright sparks who chant "you s*** b******" every time the opposition goalkeeper takes a goal kick could turn their attentions to supporting their own team rather than dissing their opponents.

Haven't you guys noticed that it has no effect whatsoever? In other words, you're not achieving anything and, more importantly, you're not helping your own team.

Just get behind the whites. Sing, chant, clap or plain roar yourself daft, but do it for Leeds United.

It's all that matters, particularly now.

The alternative is of course just to sit there, statue-like, and whinge and whine and blame everyone else – but mainly the players and the manager and possibly the chairman – for the team's failure to claim an automatic promotion spot.

If you think just buying a ticket is your contribution, and that's as much effort as you're prepared to put in, you're wasting your time and taking up valuable space in my book.

Personally, I prefer to take part. Yes, I've paid for the privelege but more than that I want my team to win so I do my bit – no, I can't sing but I am enthusiastically noisy – and my nut sometimes! If I wanted to sit in a library, I'd just join the other bandwagon jumpers at Old Trafford wouldn't I?

Earlier this season Liverpool fans turned a crucial Premier League clash against the club's rivals for the fourth Champions League place, Tottenham, into a European-style night.

There were more flags and banners than ever on show and several hundred chanting, applauding supporters turned out to welcome Rafa Benitez's side to Anfield and give Harry Redknapp's charges the bird – big style – before the game.

It sent out the message – to both teams – that the home support was well and truly up for this one and the Reds responded to shake off their lethargy and chalk up a vital 2-0 win.

Wouldn't it be nice if Leeds supporters did something similar this weekend and it had the same effect?

The Elland Road side must get out of this division this season and the

fans can, if they choose to do so, help Simon Grayson and Co achieve that.

It's up to you United fans, what's it to be – take part, or not?

Support, or not? Coca-Cola Championship, or not?

Matthew Pennington.

Leeds United move was ‘perfect’ for me, says Matthew Pennington