Many mocked when I labelled Friar Brian's promotion push as the Leeds United McFeel Good Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond, but now the metaphor is acquiring a certain resonance.
It's only December 15, and Leeds are already in the top 6, well ahead of schedule if we look back to McDermott's crazy promotion season at Reading. Then, the season only really kicked off on December 10, with the 3-0 thumping of West Ham. Until that game, Reading had been ordinary in the extreme and looked destined for a middle table position at best. But once McDermott's promotion train got up a head of steam, there was no stopping it!
And that Reading side wasn't very good. Dear God, Simon Church scored twice in the victory over West Ham after replacing the goal less Total Hunt. The sixteen on duty that day were Federici, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, Cummings, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Kebe, Robson-Kanu,
Fondre, Total Hunt, Church,
Andersen, Tabb & Antonio; and not one of them would be guaranteed a start in the present Leeds side.
And crucially, all the momentum is now with McDermott's boys. Yes QPR look a safe bet to go up, but Leicester and Burnley have been stuttering recently and neither team is very good. And as for the play off pack, well Derby apart, no other team is in a mauve, never mind a purple patch!
And just as at Reading, this is not a team heavily dependent on individuals, if we set aside McCormack for one moment. The injury to the Serial Killer looked a cruel blow, but young Smith has stepped up to the plate and suddenly nobody remembers that Blackstock was at the club. Byram is supposed to be the best full back since Cooper but he can't get in the team and even England international Warnock is sat on the subs bench at the moment. Get injured and you lose your place, such is the hunger in the squad!
And better still, the squad should get stronger in January. There's actually talk of spending money and no talk of selling players to raise finance for new signings. Of course, McDermott will have to be careful here because he doesn't want to disturb the harmony at Elland Road; if we go back to 2011-12, the Reading team that thumped West Ham 4-2 on March 31st showed only one change from the team that triumphed on December 10, with January signing Jason Roberts added to the mix. But Roberts was added, and to brilliant effect, showing that Friar Brian has the ability to swell his flock without upsetting the apple cart.
Whites fans really do have good reason to dream. The Leeds United McFeel Good Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond has picked up a head of steam and is tooting gleefully as it thunders through the backwaters of the Championship. Only a fool would bet against a top six finish now - unless talisman McCormack were to pick up a serious injury - and as McDermott proved at Reading, a tilt at the title is not beyond the realms of possibility.
But McCormack's fitness is the one big concern because if you take out his goals, Leeds would be nowhere. And just think, there was a body of Leeds fans who argued that the £2m not quite offered for the Scot by Miserablebrough would have represented good business.Thank God the Smoggies Board baulked at that figure, because GFH Capital may just have been tempted. And how bloody stupid would that have been?