Dogma. If you have never seen this film from 1999, I suggest you get yourself to Blockbuster and rent it, or download / stream it. It is a highly entertaining film. One of it’s key messages from the great Alan Rickman himself,

And then this excerpt. If you have never seen Dogma, yes that is Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Matt is the fallen Angel of Death, Loki and Ben is his best mate Bartleby. Watch til the end. It makes sense and is may be what poor Jesse is thinking right now. The soccer reference not the genocide.,vid:pIelWTguBzA

Dogma – a principle or set of principles, laid down by an authority, as incontrovertibly true. We will get back to this later.

The Blame Game.

Contrary to popular opinion, I do feel sorry for SkinnyJ. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t like him or his jeans, but he moved his family over here on some wild premise that he was the best man for the job. He is now out of a job, and I will not kick a man when he is down.

The person(s) to blame are the ones who convinced him that despite having had no previous experience of playing, let alone managing any English football team, he was the right man to take Leeds United to European Glory. The blame lies with the person(s) who told him that he could quickstep into the shoes of a man who brought Leeds United back to the Promised Land in 3 seasons. The person(s) who told him that Leeds fans would take to him without any dissent at all, regardless of what happened, is the one at fault.

The board had gambled with Bielsa. The gamble with the Maverick had paid off.  He got us promoted, and as a bonus propelled Leeds onto the Global stage with the “high press” and Bielsaball. Bielsa just got too big for the board in the end, and luckily for them, the results gave them the excuse to get rid of him.

The board gambled with SkinnyJ. We didn’t get relegated. But, that was mostly down to the fact that a) our opponents weren’t that good, b) teams thankfully went down to 10 men (Brentford down to 9) and c) Newcastle didn’t go on holiday early and they beat Burnley on the final day.

The PR staff did a brilliant job selling Bielsa down the river at the end. Leaks were rife about “over -training” and injuries caused by murderball. Players came out and said that they weren’t happy because of the intensiveness of the gruelling training schedule. Every other post from the influencers on social media said that Bielsa was going to take us down.

The fact that so many of our players were injured was dismissed as a lame excuse, and anyway, the injuries were blamed on Bielsa, and Bielsa alone. Nothing to do with teams hacking us down at every opportunity because they couldn’t deal with our skill on the pitch. Everyone forgets the horrible tackles inflicted on our players at the start of the 2nd season up. The phrase “Bielsa got found out” roughly translated into, the other teams couldn’t match us, so they man marked up and kicked us to death.

Everyone forgets that Phillips came back from the Euros injured, and basically never got back to fitness again. He went to Citeh ages ago and still hasn’t played a full 90 minutes yet (still Bielsa’s fault?) . Everyone forgets that Rodrigo got injured early doors and poor Dallas played in every game as Mr Utility because he had to fill in every gap.

The PR team and the influencers did a brilliant job in dismissing and shouting down the minor detail of our obscene injury list. This despite so many pundits bemoaning and PL managers maximising on the loss of the “Leeds United spine” of Cooper, Phillips and Bamford. Yes – that was a thing.

Dogma? Or just well orchestrated diversion?

In these last few weeks when it became clear that more people were pointing out we hadn’t won a game since November, and 2 wins out of 17 was relegation form, it was like deja vu.

This time however, rather than the anti Bielsa noise we had last year, this time it was “blame everyone but the manager”. Poor Pascal has been the main target for the last 6 weeks. It’s been a wonder he’s still got his head on straight. Even though Struijk is not a left back and has never said he is, he has been continually played out of position. Even when we signed Wober, who played on the left for Salzburg, Pascal still didn’t move back to his favoured central role.

Who knows what would have happened if Pascal had partnered Llorente in the middle? Llorente might have not been moved on (after signing a massive contract extension) if that partnership had been successful? Especially if a left footed player was on the left and a right footed player on the right on the wing? Similarly let Harrison play in his natural position on the wing? Give Klichy a start seeing as he made a difference when he came on as a sub? Or is that making too much sense?

But there’s no place for sensible thinking in football, is there? You get told what to believe. Dogma.

Keep the faith. That’s what we’ve been fed since Christmas. Keep the faith with 2 wins out of 17? No one wanted to keep the faith with Bielsa. Or at least no one was told to keep the faith with Bielsa, even with a massive injury list.

We’ve been subjected to “it’s not down to the manager that we can’t finish / defend from a corner” for the last month or so. Yet, it was all down to Bielsa last season that we were leaking goals and we couldn’t score.

At Accrington Stanley, we were 3-0 up. We’d won. It was cold. Accrington are in Division 3. We had the prospect of facing Sc*m twice in the space of a week and our next opponents were one of our relegation rivals. Why was Rodrigo risked? Who knows? He was risked though, and now he is out for 2 months.

Once again, we were fed that “all you Leeds fans moan if we don’t play a proper side and moan if we do” from the influencers. We were 3-0 up. There was no need to bring him on unless Accrington scored 3 goals in 10 minutes. Common sense at some point should have prevailed. Nope. Again, shouted down by ? Who? Who are these people? Are these the ones that the Club listen to?

Are these the ones who the Club rely on to communicate with as “the proper fans of Leeds United”? Are these the ones responsible for advising the board on their decision making process? Are these the people who, when asked if bringing in a manager who had no previous experience in English football was a good idea, said yes? Are these the ones who said that everyone wants their season ticket on their phone, and yes, that crest looks awesome? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

So was it SkinnyJ’s decision to play so narrow? Was it his decision to play us so close together that players are effectively tripping up over themselves? Is it his decision to play a man in a guarding role around the centre circle? Was it his decision to play Rodrigo up front on his own most of the game and only let  Gelhardt on for the last 5 minutes? Was it his decision to make Struijk and Rasmus push so far forward and attack the goal, so as to leave Meslier unprotected on the counterattack?

Like the conundrum of whether Bielsa would have got us relegated or not, no one knows. And, the same will be for SkinnyJ. Would he have beaten Sc*m on Weds, seeing as most of them are injured? Would he have kept us up? No one knows.

What about the decision to sign up £150+ million of new players. More money has been spent in the last year than we have spent in decades. And not just because Ken was a tight ar*e either. Surely, the fact that most of them are either American and / or played for Red Bull teams cannot be a coincidence? Surely, the endless moaning on social media complaining we never sign BIG names affected that? As Sherlock Holmes said “when you have eliminated all the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”.

Truth or Dogma?


The latest crime Leeds fans are being accused of is xenophobia and anti-Americanism. Why? Is it just a cheap dig and an easy win? No one said that the anti Bielsa movement was anti Argentinian. Or the pro Bielsa mob were pro Argentinian. Why should it make a difference what nationality he is? I objected to his “Californian Upspeak”, but I object to anyone who finishes their sentences with an inflection when it is not necessary. Which is basically everyone under the age of 21. What is the need to make everything sound like a question, even when it isn’t? What is irrefutable is that 2 wins in 17 games is relegation form and we are in the bottom four of the table. Being American or not, cannot change this.

What do I want?

I would like players to play in their normal positions. Centre halfs, full backs, attacking midfielders, defensive midfielders, wingers and centre forwards. I would like us to practice set pieces until we get it right. If this means that we get in a load of 6 foot basketball players in and lined up in the box, to replicate most if not all PL teams at corners, then so be it. The thing we are lacking is height in the box. When defending corners and attacking corners. Short of some sort of medical intervention which allows players to grow another 6 inches, we need a tactic of defending from corners that actually works. I would stop all that whispering when we are taking corners too and that draught excluder business for free kicks.

I’d also like to see players last 90 full minutes of football without a load of huffing and puffing. The fitness that players had under Bielsa seems a million miles away. Our players need to be able to trap a ball and run into space with it. They need to be able to turn without losing the ball. If the baby giraffe that is Haaland, can bring a ball down and turn on a 20p piece without needing the turning circle of the Titanic to do it in, then surely at least half of our team can do it.

Maybe this is exacerbated by wearing the equivalent of a pair of those sock slippers. I remember my first pair of football boots. Sturdy and supportive. Able to protect from those horrible two footed lunges. These things that they wear nowadays are about as effective as a lettuce, or what Kalv was wearing in his fashion heyday, those quaver shoes.

I would go as far as to say that part of the coaching staff should be made up of ex players who know the English game. I know some players aren’t exactly the most eloquent, but Sammy Lee, Gary Mac are still on the coaching staff for a reason. Maybe Pablo and Beradi could have made a difference? At the very least someone who knows that Villa are a bunch of cheating, time wasting gits, as are Brentford, that Maguire can’t turn left and a Ward Prowse will always go over or around the wall, never under.

The fact is that football as I know it has changed massively. The commercialisation of the “Beautiful game” is driven by money. It’s come a long way from the lower class game it was and “jumpers for goalposts”. I still want it to be about the 90 minutes on the pitch, but it isn’t. it is about the sponsorship deals, the advertising opportunities, the stats that create the betting opportunities and the accas.

It’s not just football, it’s happened at cricket too. Progress, they call it. The County game is belittled and the creation of the Twenty20 and now the Live The Hundred, has opened the game up to a whole new audience, with limited staying power and attention span for the test game. The IPL is all about the flashy colours, big hitters, 4s and 6s and each shot is celebrated with loud music and fireworks. The English game, which was separated by counties is now being watered down and the county identity is waning.

The 90 minutes of football (and 20 overs of cricket) is punctuated with music and it’s basically theatre and spectacle. There are fewer and fewer of us that are just bothered about the game on the pitch. The wider global (TV) audience want more. Gone are the days of the commentators just talking about who has kicked or passed the ball and how far. Its ENTERTAINMENT.

The PL, FA, UEFA and FIFA are ultimately wanting to make money on the captive audience sat in front of their screens. There are two sorts of fans, the ones that just want to watch the game, and the ones who get bored quickly and want something else to do. They’re ones who start looking at their phone to see what the other scores are. The ones who start talking about what they did at the weekend.

These two groups have different needs but there’s no doubt which group will be the highest commercial revenue pot. Is it any wonder that matchgoing fans are increasingly marginalised? But even matchgoing fans will be subjected to “entertainment” in the future. If you look at the American sports, there are cheerleaders, half time music spectacles, camera close ups on the crowd, opportunistic “themes” to encourage spectators to be part of the crowd and things to do to make it an “immersive” experiences.

All this will be magnified 1,000 fold for the TV audience, but soon it won’t be enough. Soon, it will be “Here is The News” but only a snippet and then you have to pay extra for the rest. “Here is the game” but only some highlights, you have to pay for the rest. “Here is the whole game” but if you want the build up, you’ll have to pay extra… and so it will continue.

Guaranteed, there will be a PL dedicated channel soon. Then, even if you get SkyTVisf**kings**t or daft enough to pay for Ferdinand and BT, you probably won’t get to see any of the other games unless you pay extra. It is all about money and the cookies and the clickbait you get on the streaming channels.


In the PL and even when it was the old first division really, the big clubs have always had everything their way. When the smaller clubs like Blackburn and Leicester won the League, it was a rarity and it didn’t last long. For the time they were at the top, or getting to the top, these smaller clubs and their players were ridiculed. Who can forget the running Shearer “beans” joke.

This is the trap. When Leicester won the league out of the blue, look what happened to Vardy when he was catapulted to fame. Or rather look what happened to Mrs Vardy, that hasn’t ended well has it? WAGS at war – or something like that.

The “Glamour” clubs have always been like this. The London clubs with all their “metropolitan” lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, have always had that Capitalism, glitzy down South-ness. Not just about the football, but the booze and the women and the gambling a la George Best.

But with the fame and fortune came the sleaze and back handers and dodgy dealings. ‘Arry Redknapp and brown envelopes etc. etc. And this is where (I am reliably informed) the whole “Chelsea R*nt Boy” thing started. The story was that the rozzers were doing dawn raids for money laundering scams / betting rings etc. and they busted in early doors on some high profile footballing scouts and money men. Only to find that it wasn’t money they were hiding, alledgedly, but rather some young impressionable players / potential players in rather compromising positions. There were murmurings that there were perhaps other ways of getting into teams that didn’t require the necessary football skills. All hearsay and gossip off course, but , as they say, there’s no smoke without fire.

This is what the lesser / Northern clubs are up against. BIG money, BIG signings. Fame and fortune favour the brave. So, to help out, the marketing and PR teams go all out to make up for this with campaigns to up the ante to bring the smaller clubs to the fore. Corporate packages are the must, just look at the huge corporate tiers at Arsenal, Chelski and Spurs but what about the terraces? That’s easy, just get people to manufacture songs for players, even though they haven’t been proven on the pitch. It’s better than letting the fans make up songs themselves, which may (or may not be) offensive and not in the spirit of the PL.

The difficulty with the PL is that it isn’t a “one size fits all”. Each club is different. The one size fits all thing works with the European Super League though. So it was no surprise when all that came out. It is still hiding in the shadows there though. Waiting…

In the meantime, who chooses the new manager? The fans? The money? The Board?

Who knows