Make Your Choice

Posted by on Jun 21, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Just before the end of the season there was chatter about safe standing again. The other week, when there were more important things going on in Parliament, the issue regarding rail seating again was raised. Apparently it has the backing of the opposition now. In my own personal opinion this discussion, in the current climate, is rather distasteful as there are still proceedings taking place regarding the involvement of certain law enforcement groups / former officials of the club / retired law enforcement officers etc. in the terrible tragedy at Hillsborough, their “handling” of the aftermath and the subsequent “inquiries” since. For me, and I stress that this is my own view, until these proceedings are over and done with, complete with a concise investigation and it’s conclusions drawn, this discussion should not take place.

Whilst I am aware that my view goes against the view of the vocal groups backing the return of terracing and the makers of rail seating, I think the discussion should be more focused on supporters being allowed to have the right to choose whether they want sections of their grounds made into terracing or rail seating. As this is what it will boil down to in the end. Currently the law states that grounds must be all seater, to comply with the safety regulations. If rail seating is agreed, the clubs will have to spend money to convert whichever areas they choose to designate the safe standing area. This will cost money, which undoubtedly will be passed onto us, the paying fans, and it may cost some their seats. Some supporters have had their seats for decades, some will be very attached to their “seat” and may not be too happy to be usurped by the vocal minority. Before anyone jumps down my throat about rail seating increasing the capacity – it doesn’t make much difference, so clubs won’t be raking it in on extra ticket sales, we, the supporters, will bear that cost. I wonder in the eventuality of the club suddenly announcing it is happening, whether they will face another onslaught of

Hence, make your choice… even though I couldn’t resist putting a picture of the long gone Jiggy up.

The choice of whether to stand or sit for regular away travellers is basically a thing of the past, there is no choice. Let’s face it, for those fans who don’t have the stamina to stand up for 90 minutes, away games are difficult. There aren’t really the facilities in stadia now where the less able amongst us can have a perch. Yes, there are supposed to be “ambulant disabled” areas, but those tickets, like the disabled tickets are like gold dust. This is especially bad at away grounds with small capacities, (how pleased was I that Burton got relegated!) or grounds where our allocation has been reduced due to the police or the home clubs restrictions. Before we start with safe standing, how about we concentrate on safe seating? (see next blog)

We are all getting that little bit older, but just because our bodies can’t take it, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t still the best supporters in the land. We can look back on the old black and white photos and footage of 100,000+ crowds of fans (mostly men) of varying ages crammed into packed stands at Cup finals. When Cup finals meant something , of course (moot point). But in those days there was an element of respect, respect of our seniors and our peers and that little bit of common courtesy for those less able. Sadly, that common courtesy and unselfishness, is sadly lacking in the “modern” era of football. Celebrations of goal scoring have moved on from the cheering and clapping of players to throwing yourself and others around like rag dolls, resulting in flailing arms and legs rippling down the rather steep stands (Norwich for example) with a domino like effect. So whilst the initiators have a jolly good time, someone down the stand ends up with more serious injuries, like I said common courtesy, self awareness and responsibility for your actions….

Fan bases have also changed. More and more children are being encouraged to watch the sport, in hope that they can be put on the straight and narrow, before the peer pressures from their mates to follow the “popular” teams takes hold. The younger dads (and mothers!) want to take young children, but safety for a 5 year old is very different from that of a 15 year old. If the parent has a ticket in the Kop or the South Stand, would they want their small child to be caught up in a crush? The older amongst us will remember that crush, the feeling of being caught in a wave, until you ended up being stuck against the barrier with the weight of fifty or more people on top of you. The wiser amongst us stood at the back or on the peripheries, the foolhardy and brave in the middle, the one who stood at the barrier was someone who would do it once and never again! Rail seating apparently negates that crush, but judging by the surges currently happening at away games where the stewards are supposed to ensure everyone stays in their seat, I can’t see that it will make any difference.

Then there are those who aren’t actually watching the game, they are just out for a “day out” which will involve alcohol (the throwing around of rather than actually drinking it), possibly illegal substances, constant slagging off a particular player or players, or the manager, or the owner, shouting abuse at the opposition fans and players, arguing with people around them who don’t agree with what they are saying and generally not watching anything that is going on the pitch itself. These people weren’t around in the football grounds of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s as money was wiser spent then and drink, well let’s just say drink wasn’t wasted in those days. Needless to say, these people aren’t supporting their team.

I can understand that some may think that rail seating will create a better atmosphere. My reply to that would be playing good football and winning games creates a better atmosphere. Millwall at home last season, down to 10 men and 3-2 up with 4 minutes (which ended up as 6 minutes) to go, was a brilliant atmosphere. Every man, woman and child was behind the team believing that we could do it, even though we didn’t hold out in the end. Supporting your team and getting behind the team- that’s what creates a good atmosphere.

I was lucky enough to be at the game against 1860 decades ago, so I have first hand experience of rail seating. Celtic already have rail seating as they are not bound by the English Football regulations, I can’t say that I am aware of anyone constantly crowing on about how brilliant the atmosphere is at grounds with rail seating. In fact if the popular press is to be believed, the best atmosphere at a football game is to be experienced in the very sterile atmosphere of the premier league of all places! I have been lucky enough to have been to the Nou Camp, the Bernabeu, the Mestella, the Vincente Calderon, the Stadio Delle Alpi (before they moved), the Stadio Olimpico, some of the best stadia in Europe (without rail seating), and when the crowd is behind the team, the atmosphere is electric, as it was at Elland Road in the Championship title season and the European / Champions League era.

Just get behind the team, support Leeds United, that’s what we are there for after all, isn’t it? Support your team through thick and thin, or just go do something else. Make your choice




Read More

Picture This

Posted by on Jun 19, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Originally I was going to call this “All I want for August is…” and stick a photo of Mariah Carey on the front, but then I remembered Debbie Harry and this vinyl cover, and I decided it was a much better option. Picture this then (in no particular order)

Promotion to the Premier League as Champions or in second

No messing abaht as they say. No play off rubbish, it never works out and I would much rather not turn up at all, rather than get to the play off final and suffer through watching Leeds United not bother to turn up as they did at Cardiff, Wembley etc.

One manager this season

Sacking someone after a string of defeats doesn’t work, look at poor Heckingbottom last season, just what did that achieve? Should have just kept with TC.

A decent run in the FA and League Cups

This would necessitate fielding a decent side in the first place (see below). It of course actually means respecting the League and FA Cups for being competitive competitions. Games that the first team players don’t necessarily need to play in, but a decent team made up of first team players, subs and the youth team to dispatch the opposition, duly dishing out the 5-0 victory needed to get us in the next round, being suffice.

Fielding a decent side in the League and FA Cup

Self explanatory. See what opposition you get picked and where the game is being played (home or away and proper pitch or lower league mudbath that a hippo wouldn’t be out of place in) . Pick your best side for the team you are playing to get the result required. Pick a team to play in the competition rather than just entering it for the sake of entering a team. I have been reminded by The Secretary that had Monk fielded a proper side against the Scousers, we might have won that game.

Away tickets allocated on loyalty of the last 10 years

Away tickets are always a hot topic for the start of the season, and will be even more so this season with the promise of a new manager (like last season, and the season before…). Given last years terrible problems for the Bolton game and the following games (until we started losing that is!) , I see this as the only way forward. The last few games last season were testament to how fickle fans can be, noticeably fewer away fans at Fulham, Preston (nearly 7k sell out last season), Villa and Norwich. As far as I and many others are concerned, if you bothered going to the games when we were really poor, you should be rewarded for that loyalty over and aboard those who can afford to pay the extra up front payment.  I could go on, but I said enough last season about this.

Appropriate use of our Youth side

We have a good set up, our youth team should be utilised better. They should be brought up through the ranks (given a chance in the Cup games) and not sold off or farmed out to lower league teams.

Sensible decision making when picking the team

It was said that Don Revie used to have copious notes on each team to make sure he knew the best team to play against the opposition. The Championship is mainly full of huge defenders, midfielders who challenge hard for the ball and teams who play “the modern game” of one up front. If the opposition is known for hoofing the ball up to a lone target man, stick two men on the striker. If the midfield is slow and lumbering, put your paciest wingers on and try the trickery. Change the strategy accordingly and have the balls to substitute your players if it isn’t going your way, and do it early. There is no point waiting til 80 minutes and then putting on an attacking midfielder, is there?

Players who can play for 90 minutes (give or take another 5 or 6 mins)

It is a game of 90 minutes plus whatever the ref adds on. 90 minutes a week, and on occasion there might be two games in a week depending on Cup ties etc (use the Youth Team to help out – see above). Take Millwall last season, 3-2 up with 4 minutes to go. Yes we were down to 10 men, but we should have held out for the extra minutes which were added on as a result of The South Stand behaving like children and not giving the ball back.

Less red cards than last season

Carrying on from above, 90 minutes of keeping your head when all around are losing theirs (poetic licence notwithstanding). Reckless and some needless challenges cost us much last season. The rest of the league sussed us out, with sufficient cheating, continual bad fouls, poor ref decisions etc. they could rile us and get the advantage of the extra man by just tipping us over the edge.

Football to be just about 90 minutes (plus extra time) on the pitch

Keyboard warriors / persons with over inflated egos and /or delusions of grandeur and self importance have ruined our last few seasons. It is about what goes on the pitch and that’s what we should be concentrating on. Whilst I am all for freedom of speech and everyone has the right to voice their own opinions, social media point scoring because you get the most hits or views or whatever the latest fad is, takes time away from the most important thing, which is surely supporting Leeds United?

Just one home strip and one away strip 

Stop fleecing the poor people who actually want to buy the shirts or are pressured into getting one either by peer pressure or for children to keep them on the straight and narrow.

No winter break EVER

This is England, or Wales if you are a Swansea fan. Just get on with it. Plus what about global warming? It’s supposed to be getting warmer- right? Or were the scientists in the 70s correct in the first place? Is  there really is going to be an ice age? We know what this is all about, money spinning games in the Far East and US, just the FA lying through their smug, over paid, white, middle aged, fat cat, dodgy deals dental plan on us (the plebs) teeth.

Football on Saturday afternoons at 3pm

Unless it is a Bank Holiday of course. When was the last time we played at home on August Bank holiday weekend?

Read More