Dear Leeds United fans...a message to Whites worldwide - Graham Smyth
The Yorkshire Evening Post has been through it all with Leeds United for 100 years – through the thick and the thin, the pain and the glory.
Before Leeds were even United, YEP journalist AW Pullan became a major shareholder and deputy chairman of Leeds City, the precursor club – a fact recorded in YEP columnist Daniel Chapman’s excellent book 100 Years of Leeds United.
The YEP was there at the very beginning.
And the city’s newspaper and its beloved football team have been intertwined, inextricably linked ever since.
Legends like Billy Bremner and Gordan Strachan have all had columns on our pages.
Don Revie would hold a daily briefing in his office with YEP reporter Don Warters because he wanted Leeds United on the back page of this newspaper every day.
As Don told me when I took this job and as he was told when he took it decades before me, if something can happen, it will happen to Leeds United.
And if something happens to Leeds United, the YEP will tell the story.
Football and the press look a little different these days to when Don and Don chewed the fat in the legendary manager’s Elland Road office.
But the strong, vital relationship between United and the YEP remains to this day.
The evidence of this is the exclusive ‘programme notes’ penned by club chief executive Angus Kinnear, which appear in Friday's paper.
When he wanted to continue communicating with the fans, in a time without matches and matchday programmes, he turned to the local paper.
No matter what has been happening on and off the pitch at Elland Road, the YEP has been there to give a rabid audience what they want and need.
And now, the YEP needs that audience to be there for us, through the thick and the thin.
The coronavirus pandemic has left many families and businesses utterly devastated.
But everyone, every individual, every family and every firm has felt some impact.
The YEP is no exception.
Colleagues in our company have been furloughed and every single one of us has taken a pay cut.
We’re still here, though.
There might not be any live football to report on but our sports reporters are still hard at work, recording every event of consequence for Leeds United, keeping players in touch with the fanbase through webcam interviews and bringing the glorious and not-so-glorious past back to life.
We have opened up our pages to the ‘rank and file’, allowing Leeds supporters to tell their own LS11 love stories.
And when there is any news from the game’s authorities to pore over, you can find it in the YEP.
Our news reporters are doing an even more crucial job, keeping a city informed of exactly what they need to know in what is, at the very least, an uncertain and troubling time.
They are telling the story of a city going through pain and hardship, recording for posterity the ways in which the people of Leeds stuck together and helped each other through, highlighting acts of generosity and ensuring that deserving locals get the recognition they deserve.
They will also tell tales of unspeakable sadness and loss.
To do it and to do it properly, we need your help.
If you value anything at all about our coverage, of Leeds United or city life in general, and if you can afford it, please subscribe.
In recent days we have had Whites here at home, from Ireland and from Norway take out a subscription and every one of them is a valued contribution towards the journalism we want and need to do.
Leeds will come through this. Leeds United will, yet again, march on.
And together, with you, the Yorkshire Evening Post, your newspaper, can do the same and write the next chapter in the story of a city and its football club.