August news has become another victim of the bat flu. Like our presence at ER in the last month or so, it is sadly lacking, but nevertheless, we plough on and hope to God that we get to see our newly promoted team sometime soon. Like Barbara Dickson in another Mike Batt immortal ditty, we’ll be sailing free, one day soon nothing in the world is gonna pull me back and nothing’s gonna keep me in,
Monthly Branch Meeting held Sunday August 9th 2020
Everything got cancelled because of bat flu… The End
OK, there was a little more to it than that
No LUSC exec meetings have been held because of bat flu, so no minutes to be read out. The LUSC main AGM has now been called off because of bat flu. We will be holding ours however, see under AOB.
No new memberships because of bat flu. The Membership Secretary has been seen during the pandemic but was absent from the monthly branch meeting, not because of bat flu though.
Got cancelled because of the bat flu. Not looking likely that we will entering a football ground anytime soon, but, if and when we are allowed in, we will look to pursue adequate arrangements as soon as possible until normal service resumes.
Our AGM will be held on Sunday 6th September at the Londesborough Club 8pm prompt start please. The bat flu rules apply, so you will all have to sign in at the door, leaving a contact number and walk through the one way system to get to the bar and upstairs. There will not be a bar available upstairs unfortunately due to staffing, but drinks can be sourced downstairs. If you can confirm your attendance in advance, please can you do so, usual channels. The deadline for agenda items and proposals for committee members has now passed. Andy Yates has been proposed as the new social secretary by Ricky Greenwood, seconded by Dave Poole. The branch exec officers will be up for re-election as per usual. However, there were no takers by the deadline date of August 9th.
Renewals and new memberships
Renewal forms will be emailed out imminently, please can you include a stamped addressed envelope for your membership card to be returned to you quickly and efficiently. There will be forms available at the AGM, please bring an envelope with you if possible. New membership forms are available via the link below:
Please note that TWO passport sized photos are required for your photocard.
Media & Publicity
Two interviews were done by the MPO. They appeared in the Harrogate Advertiser and The Stray Ferret. The branch were also involved in a film for the Sunday Times, hopefully to be shown just before the start of the new season in a few weeks. Thanks to Dave Rowson, Phil Reeves and Angus Smith for their invaluable contributions.
Again, anyone who is wordpress savvy and wants to help with the website, please get in touch, especially with the gallery side of the website.
Congratulations to Phil Reeves and Ruiari Stirling for winning the two places at the Champions Trophy event. Hopefully everyone will have received the email with all the photos from the event. Incidentally, congratulations to branch member Phil Reeves on his new book which I hope branch members will purchase.
Lastly, thank you to Dave Rowson for the moment of comedy gold at The Chairman’s expense – brilliant
In the outstanding harmonies of Miss Karen Carpenter – incidentally Smuff’s (Paul Smith’s) favourite song – we are truly on top of the world.
We’ve waited a long , long time to see the cup that Strachan raised aloft 28 years ago, thrust skyward again by another Leeds United captain at Elland Road. And tonight, the pleasure, excitement and exhilaration of that momentous occasion has been stolen from us by bloody bat flu
After getting so close last season, hampered by injuries, suspensions and all the off the pitch shenanigans, it felt like the ground had collapsed underneath us. Even that picture of Bielsa, alone, in his customary crouched position but head low, bereft and crest fallen rather than his norm alert and on point pitchside pose, was enough to rattle even the most optimistic optimist known to us – me. It was taken after we lost to QPR, but that image followed us like Churchill’s black dog, till the final whistle of the play off against Derby.
The photo earned the photographer, Bruce Rollinson, a submission in the Society of Editor’s Daily Photographer of The Year Awards, the prestigious national industry ceremony. The prize was won by Simon Hulme from the Yorkshire Post (see link below)
I have spent some of this week reviewing my blogs from last season. I can’t help but repost some of them and I have to admit sometimes the urge to be childish and go “ner, ner – ner – ner, ner” has to be held back by going to the fridge for a cold beverage …. or two.
Some of you may say my unnerving and sometimes annoying optimism until it is mathematically impossible for us to get promoted, has been like a broken record, over the last few years. As if you didn’t know already, I couldn’t care less. I am proud to say that despite everything that has happened, despite every obstacle that has been chucked in our path to glory since we got relegated in 2004, I never gave up. It definitely wavered when I heard that Warnock had been appointed. What I feel about that guy is unrepeatable in polite company, and yes, most of you have heard it several times. When the Redfearn, Mcdermott, Redfearn, Hockaday, Redfearn, Milanic, Redfearn, Rosler, Redfearn (put that in for comedy value) Evans and Monk combo was finally exhausted by a winning run from Thomas Christiansen, no one was happier than me …. at the least just not to see Redfearn’s name repeated on that roster!
The attendances according to the Leeds United programme from 2015/16 season do not make happy reading. Although they had increased considerably from when bates was in charge, they still reflect badly on us. The highest attendance at home was against the Huddersfield tesco bags at 29, 311 and that included 2,082 dog botherers. The next home game against QPR a massive 17, 388 albeit on a Tuesday night. The number of home games with above 25,000 Leeds United fans was 2 – seriously TWO. Burnley and Huddersfield. The other attendances over 25,000 were helped by the larger numbers of away fans like Brentford who brought 621 bees with them to boost numbers to 25, 126. The only other game was against Rotherham United who brought 905 fans to bolster the 25, 802 numbers. So including the opening game against Burnley, the number of attendances over 25, 000 that season was 4 – seriously FOUR.
But right now, I am just going to enjoy the moment…
To finish with, here’s a young Kalvin Phillips from when the original LUSC sponsorship picture was taken. My how he has changed
Yes, John Waite was a Lancastrian, but his 1984 classic sums up what the last 15 weeks has been like. I am missing Leeds United, like most people, but there are bits of being a Leeds United fan,that I “ain’t missing at all”. I’ll stick the link in from youtube of the song at the end for those of you too young to know what I am on about.
It’s been strange times these last few months.
I have had a season ticket for far too long to remember, but I haven’t been watching Leeds United as long as some of the people in the branch and LUSC, who were going to football long before you even had to buy a ticket. Long gone are those heady days of just paying at the turnstile to get in…… hang on, you could do that at Villa two seasons ago on that Friday night that no one wanted to go to….
Anyway, 22,000 season ticket holders and 15,000 gold members haven’t been able to go to ER since watching us beat the Dog Botherers in March (2-0 by the way, Bamford scored). The 2400 or so of us who had booked our coach seats to go to Cardiff and the 7,000 or so who were looking forward to Blackburn have had a big fat empty hole in their lives where their pubstop, tickets and travel (and victory celebrations) should have been. But no one is missing the gigantic hole that would have been in the wallet after those two expensive trips. Expensive because of the coach hire to Cardiff, and extortionately expensive after the all day-er for Blackburn, starting with brekkie in ‘Spoons.
Bloody bat flu.
I have been forced to sit there trying to get the login to work for LUTV like the rest of you. Having watched the first game on the fledgling “new normal” / “temporary abnormal” behind closed doors televised game, and having not watched any of the German / Premier League matches, I was dreading watching the rest of the season like this.
Fake crowd noise being pumped in like a badly dubbed out of sync film from the 70s was incredibly distracting. Think 70s Japanese classics like Monkey or The Water Margin but 5 seconds slower. It probably would have been better with commentary from Bert Kwouk, David Collings and Miriam Margoyles to be honest as some of it has left a lot to be desired. Even more disappointing to find out from your betting app that Luton have actually scored several minutes before it actually happened on LUTV!
But beggars can’t be choosers and it has improved. It’s good to see some of the crowdies being taken out by wayward shooting. At least those ones who are still standing after being soaked by the rain in the magnificent new East Stand. It would have been a nice more realistic touch if the stewards could all run up the stairs with them when it pours down….
I am forced to admit that SkyTVisf**kings**t does actually provide a reasonable, less shaky, wide angle camera AV service, alas if only Bert Kwouk and David Collings (look them up younger readers) weren’t actually dead… I have managed to hook up my telly and now get a damn good letterbox widescreen picture on LUTV, I don’t know how people cope watching it on their phones. But I suppose my eyes are getting old and you younger ones are used to it. And just for clarity, I don’t do BT sport, won’t have Virgin media (on principle) and a firestick is what you put on your newspaper before you pile the wood on.
Now that I have to rely on what the TV companies want you to see, it makes me realise how lucky I have been to be able to watch what I want to watch live. My opinion of Beckford has improved considerably, after listening to his commentary the other day. He was commenting on how much Bamford actually does off the ball, drawing players away and doing runs and little touches like his build up for the Blackburn goal before Klich took the guy out to win the ball (yes, it could easily have been a foul and I would have been cross if that had happened to Cooper). I have always believed that two people can go to the same game and see an entirely different match despite standing next to each other depending on who they are focusing on. Of course, much of that is down to selective viewing, i.e. seeing what you want to see. Where your judgement and therefore enjoyment of the game, depending on who you hate most and which player you think has the sun temporarily hiding up his arse, therefore can do no wrong, can be blinded. Think Beckford in the build up towards the end of the season we got back into Division 2.
The things I “ain’t missing at all”?
Away ticket ordering day
Going through the list of names the night before making sure you have got everyones name on the ticket ordering list. Switching on the computer at 10.15am on ticket ordering day, praying the broadband doesn’t go down right at the moment you see the “you are in the queue” screen. Praying you don’t see the “less than an hour” message in the queue come up. Getting to the log in stage and seeing the “password is incorrect” message. Praying you don’t see the “number exceeds the number of available tickets” message. Filling in the names of everyone on the list, praying that the basket doesn’t empty straight away and you have to fill in the names again with the concessions in the right place. Getting to the “checkout” phase and praying the basket doesn’t empty in front of your eyes. That 15 seconds where you wait for the “checkout confirmation” message and write down that confirmation number.. just in case something happens and you lose the tickets.
Printing off the email of the coach confirmation and the number of your driver, just in case there’s a no show. Meticulously, double checking and triple checking that you have everyone’s tickets. Going through the list to make sure everyone knows what time to be at their stop. Making sure you haven’t forgotten the football card. Getting to the first pick up and seeing that coach sat there. Waiting at the next and every single consecutive stop, wondering where the eff everybody is whilst the rest of the passengers are getting itchy feet. Counting everyone on, counting everyone off and then repeat for the pubstop.
The credit card bill at the end of the month….
I could go on, but having spoken to other branch secretaries, we all do it for the love of the game and for Leeds United.
I hope that this period of “temporary abnormal” demonstrates to the Clubs, the EFL (worse case scenario), the Premier League (best case scenario) that football is NOTHING without the fans in the grounds.
For too long, the match going fans have been ignored. Yes, the lip service is there when they want it, but season tickets have been rising over the last 20 years. Certainly the ones in the Premier League are astronomically high. It’s still only 90 minutes on the pitch. Leeds United? A bit different since our fall from grace in 2003/4 and 2006/7. We fell and fell again after Bates and the poorest Arabs on the planet, so the prices we pay haven’t suffered as severely as they could have done had we not bottled our return to the top flight by not bothering to turn up to that Watford game. And don’t get me even started on the paltry away fan allocation at some (half empty) grounds and treatment by the authorities since 1980s.
That Sporting Grounds Act of 1985 is an effing travesty and it’s about time that it is repealed. It’s been 35 years, time has moved on, policing has changed, jeez, football has changed, especially the “prawn sandwich brigade”…. and it still only actively applies to football. Rugby, cricket, horse racing can carry on without recourse, but football fans still remain Public Enemy Number 1. If there’s any institutional discrimination that should be tackled in this new woke liberal era of “freedom and liberty”, it’s the constitutional hatred of football fans on match days that needs to be abolished and that happens to fans regardless of colour or race.
Here’s famous lancastrian John Waite and someone irrepressibly born off an egg on a mountain top (thanks to vevo for the song and google images for Monkey)
Like many folk at the moment, I am missing football and desperately hoping that this lockdown works. The sooner this virus does one, the better.
There’s been lots of suppostion about what’s going to happen when we get through this. When will the domestic leagues restart, if they will restart at all. What’s going to happen to the Chumpions League and the Europa (Nohopers) League? What about Euro 2020? As Yul Brynner said in the King and I, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Let’s start at the very beginning (another musical nod – Julie Andrews). It seems like a lifetime ago now, when those Champions League games in Europe were being threatened with playing behind closed doors and they started going on about the impact on the English clubs. Then I think it was Arteta who got it first and Calvert Lewin of Everton. Then a week later, they got better and everyone was saying that it was a storm in a teacup (probably didn’t help that the WHO (World Health Organisation) said there was no evidence of human to human transmission).
How VERY wrong we were.
Then the Premier League said they were thinking of cancelling games, then the EFL said they might do too, and then all other sporting events started to get worried. Even I thought it was because all these professional sportsmen were getting a bit precious and that the Primadonna League were worried that Liverpool might NOT win the title….
How VERY wrong I was.
Soon, it became very clear how severe this was and how small and insignificant our fears about not getting promoted were. Dwarfed by the possibility that there may not even be a next season. By the way, my thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones to this terrible epidemic, and to those who are risking their lives every day, not just those in the NHS and the emergency services, but those truckers, farmers, fishermen, shop workers, bin men and volunteer workers who are putting other people’s lives in front of their own, and keeping the country running.
This blog is about football though. But even then, there are some parallels to be drawn.
These are uncertain times, but there should be no doubt at all that the season needs to be completed.
Why? Simply put? There is no reason why we can’t.
Our domestic leagues can always be completed regardless of how long it is postponed. Plus, how great it will be to be playing in June – just like being at the Euros then!
Euro 2020 has been cancelled. We can just play when we should have been in that competition. To be honest, we might be playing longer than the England team would have been anyway! Euro 2020 would have finished 1st week of July, so plenty of time before the new season starts. Leeds have 9 more league games to play. That can easily be squeezed into 4 weeks playing Saturday and Wednesday. The FA Cup can be sorted in a week. You can play the quarters at the weekend, the semi finals during the week (one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday) and the final at Wemberley on the Sunday. The players should be desperate to play, given that they haven’t done anything for the best part of three months.
Yes, sorting the tickets will be a logistical nightmare, but given how much sport will be crammed into such a short length of time, it might well be that the corporate lot will have so much to choose from (Wimbledon, Grand Prix, rugby, golf, cricket, athletics) that there may actually be more tickets for normal fans to go round! Woo hoo!
As for the Chumpions League and Eurhopeless League, well we’ve known for ages that these tournaments have been drawn out for advertising and revenue purposes for years. When it was just a proper knock out competition, it was a decent Champions League, but with all these group stages it just got tiresome. Especially when they took it off terrestrial TV. Bad enough when they moved it to SkyTVisf**kings**t (and Setanta!!!), but when BT took it over it went completely downhill. Is there anyone who actually watched the group stages? Can anyone, hand on their heart, honestly tell me that they know if they are in the last 16 yet or whether they are still in the group stages? I have just been told they are definitely in the knockout stages! But instead of it taking just two weeks to sort, they had been drawing it out over 4 and that is the reason why the FA Cup replays have disapppeared.
UEFA won’t let any televised top flight football (our domestic cups) be up against the Chumpions and the Nohopeless League, so our domestic tournaments have been playing second fiddle to UEFA because we are kowtowing to the corrupt wasters. FIFA and UEFA are so desperate to have their own competitions made up of the “top” sides in the world, not for the good of football, but for the money that they can generate in advertising and corporate revenue. There is so much money to be made in which to line their pockets.
Although this pandemic is an unprecedented event, it just goes to show the fraility of their “big” plans to accommodate and allocate tournaments to the will of the highest bidder. Football is the sport of the common man, always has been, and until FIFA and UEFA finally put an end to it, always will be. By allocating the World Cup to Qatar, hardly a country with any developmental needs (like in South Africa) or a country who will benefit from it (Brazil), they broke with tradition. It used to be that they alternated it between Europe and South America. Then they wanted to expand and do an Asian one and an African one, hence Japan and South Africa. They did Russia and no doubt they’ll be an Australasian one as well. All great footballing nations, Qatar???
I can see the problem with the Nohopers League, seeing as they start the group stages in June, but then they just need to reduce it just for one season. This season was the first that the Primadonna League had a “winter break” to “rest” their players, but it mucked up the FA Cup and some teams belittled the tournament by fielding their under 15s. But all of these things can be worked out, and if the leagues start a week late, who cares? Euro 2021 will still be on.
Let’s hope they can all see reason once this is over and done with.
thanks to the one who took the mick out of Mrs May on twitter for the picture
The trip to Hull was full of reminiscence due to the presence of an old branch member Mr Reynard, seated far too near to The Chairman for comfort. This sparked various memories from trips of old, with the Vesta meal discussion making it’s second appearance.
For your own information, seeing as The Chairman’s audience has been waiting for his verdict…. yes the Vesta Paella was just as tasty as it was 30 years ago. Obviously, it isn’t paella from 30 years ago, as that would probably (like Kiko’s verdict) taste quite awful by now, but as a bonus, it may have sprouted it’s own strain of vacuum packed super penicillin antibiotic.
I digress, the verdict is in, and the modern day equivalent of Vesta paella- tastes as good as it did way back when The Chairman was much, much younger and hadn’t even heard of Just For Men. He will be having his Vesta Chow Mein soon.
Running Away In Rome
The Chairman: Remember that time when I thought we were being chased by that mob with knives and we all ran out and left Stella in the bar?
Q: There wasn’t actually a mob though, was there?
The Chairman: No, but I thought there was and I just ran out
Q: Had you been drinking?
The Chairman: We were buying bottles of wine for 40p
Q: It was possibly something else?
The Chairman: But I honestly thought there was a mob after us, I had to escape
Q: Had you been drinking all day?
The Chairman: I thought we were going to get stabbed, but when we realised we left Stella in the bar, we sent you back in for him
A: Really brave
The Chairman: It was the big escape from Rome
The Chairman: This is the “Banterzone”
The Chairman: The Banterzone, where anything goes. We talk about everything here. This is where it’s at. These seats, the Banterzone
Q: Like what?
The Chairman: Anything. Anything goes. It’s the official Banterzone.
You know when you’ve made it
The Chairman: Remember when we were young, on a night, you used to go out to a club and order food in a basket.
Q: Food in a basket?
The Chairman: Chicken in a basket. You knew when you made it when you ordered chicken in a basket. Everybody would see you and think “yes, he’s made it, he’s ordering food in a basket”
The Chairman: Everything in a basket, even soup in a basket. Yes, nights at the Gallop Inn and chicken in a basket.
Q: You never had soup in a basket then
The Chairman: Didn’t need to, you know you’ve already made it already with chicken in a basket
The Chairman: These are lucky shoes
The Chairman: These shoes. Very lucky. We haven’t lost in these shoes. 100% record
Q: Did you get them from the Lucky Shoe Shop?
The Chairman: I got them from Sports Direct
Q: Does that make them lucky?
The Chairman: They’ve been very lucky. I got them from Sports Direct £20. Very lucky shoes
……… Somewhere there is a clown with very cold feet… alternatively: