Gary Newbould, 42. United fan for 41 years. Lives in York: After a summer of more activity in the boardroom than in the dressing room, United return to commence a new Championship season at Elland Road tomorrow when Brighton and Hove Albion are the visitors to LS11.
It’s a little under 100 days since the teams met in the Whites final home match of last season when the visitors gleaned all three points in a game which saw sending offs for El-Hadji Diouf and Rodolph Austin, making both ineligible for tomorrow’s fixture.
The three points taken by Brighton saw them confirm their place in the end-of-season play-offs in which they lost to bitter rivals Crystal Palace in a game which many believe ultimately led to the dismissal of former manager Gus Poyet for an alleged breach of club discipline.
The Seagulls are now under the stewardship of former Barcelona player Oscar Garcia who has the challenge of ensuring that there is no hangover from last season’s play-off disappointment.
United are also commencing a first full season under the management of Brian McDermott who has “enjoyed” a frustrating close season in the transfer market.
Whilst Luke Murphy, Matt Smith and Noel Hunt have all joined the fray, the lack of a creative wide-man with pace and the lack of a quality defensive signing must be concerning for United’s manager, especially given that leaking goals was very much their achilles heel last season.
The 2012/13 campaign saw the Whites finish in a disappointing 13th place being just seven points from the play-offs and seven points from relegation in a season that once again confirmed that the only consistency about the Championship is its inconsistency.
The bookies, who very rarely get things wrong have United at similar prices for both fates once again this season.
The club’s far more realistic pricing policy and attempts at re-engaging with the fans should be commended and a crowd over the 30,000 mark should ensure a fantastic atmosphere at Elland Road.
However, it is ultimately the product on the park that will dictate whether these crowds remain and genuine enthusiasm and momentum can be built during the forthcoming season.
Unfortunately, due to injury last season’s player of the season, Sam Byram won’t be in action, but thankfully Craig Mackail-Smith (a perennial thorn in United’s side) is also absent for the visitors.
I’m expecting plenty of action and goals tomorrow and a share of the spoils as another nine-month rollercoaster ride commences.
PREDICTION: Leeds United 2 Brighton 2.
Keith Ingham, 53. United fan for 39 years. Lives in Keighley
The first season after the exit of Ken Bates starts in earnest tomorrow and fresh hopes of a better campaign are very much to the fore after two – in my opinion – horrendous ones.
We all know that the club and the fans must pull together if we are to make this club great again. Much has been written about the new owners so I won’t bother, suffice to say that much is expected from them on the pitch as well as off it.
We start the campaign with three new players, Luke Murphy our first million pound player since 2005 comes with rave reviews after a great season with Crewe Alexandra and it’s hoped he can provide the spark so missing in midfield last season.
Noel Hunt and Matt Smith will hopefully offer much in attack, both are good in the air. Although both are not prolific scorers, I’m expecting them to bolster the forward line.
I think Brian McDermott is the man to take this club to the next level but it could take a little time.
Leeds face a Brighton team without Gus Poyet and enough in their squad to worry us, the likes of Ashley Barnes and Leonardo Ulloa both are strikers to be wary of.
For Leeds, Sam Byram and El-Hadji Diouf are injured and Rodolph Austin is suspended.
A 30,000 plus crowd at Elland Road should be enough to spur the team on to victory, but it’ll be a close one.
PREDICTION: Leeds United 2 Brighton 1.
Elliot Bransby, 24. United fan for 18 years. Lives in Alwoodley
So another season for Leeds United starts tomorrow as we welcome Brighton to Elland Road.
Just like our opposition, we start the season under new management as both Brian McDermott and Oscar Garcia have had full pre-seasons under their belts.
The additions of Noel Hunt and Matt Smith seem to be good but the Luke Murphy one has confused me slightly as we already have players in that position and money could have been spent on a winger. A big crowd is expected tomorrow with sales over the 30,000 mark so I hope all supporters get behind Brian and the team for the start of a long, hard 46-game season.
PREDICTION: Leeds United 1 Brighton 1.
Michael Hemsworth, 29. United fan for 18 yrs. Lives in Leeds
After sacking Gus Poyet in bizarre circumstances over the summer, Brighton’s side remains largely unchanged from the one that finished last season so strongly.
Last season’s Elland Road match winner Leonardo Ulloa will be their key man again as new manager Oscar Garcia looks to avoid a play-off hangover.
For the first time in eight years though, Leeds United will start a season with an enthusiastic home crowd of more than 30,000, jubilant at the absence of a certain ex-chairman.
I can see that being the difference between the two sides tomorrow.
PREDICTION: Leeds United 2 Brighton 1.