It’s been over a year since Bielsa was “discharged of his duties” and more than enough harsh words have been spoken in the last 12 months.  In fact, many harsh words have been spoken in the last few years, too many for my liking.

Someone told me that since the pandemic, people seemed to have got a lot more selfish and less tolerant. Another unseen consequence of lockdown? Perhaps.

Too much time spent locked away from friends and family, and other people full stop. We humans are social creatures. Hence the creation of  “social” media. The trouble is, “social” media is actually far from it. Especially if you subscribe to and read noseybook / tw*tter / CCP run T*kt*k etc.

If you have been unfortunate to have been engaged in posts with other Leeds fans, particularly those who have a different opinion to yourself, it wouldn’t be too harsh to believe the term should be reclassified as “unsocial” media.

Shakespeare said “many a true word hath been spoken in jest” (King Lear), so does that mean many a harsh word has been spoken in derision? Perhaps.

I think I can safely say that many Leeds fans have been unhappy with the way that the Club has been run lately. It hasn’t helped that we are languishing at the bottom of the table at present. But, from the second 10% hike to season ticket prices in the last two seasons, continued long queues at the turnstiles, problems with the digital tickets not working, high prices for refreshments, lack of stadium cleanliness, difficulty with buying tickets, high prices of the corporate packages in order to get a guaranteed seat etc. etc things aren’t so good for Leeds fans at present. It is clear by the social media posts that fans have not been happy.

It was clear by the “sack the board” / “what the f**k is going on” chants of late, that the match going fan base was not happy. 

Admittedly, we hadn’t been doing so bad. Things have perked up somewhat, but now after seven or so leaked goals, it’s taken a downward turn again. When there was a reported bomb scare at ER a few weeks back, some of the comments on facebook were unnecessarily  atrocious. Comments saying that the staff at ER deserved something bad to happen to them were completely out of order. Some comments about Orta and the board were quite uncalled for, quite a damning testament for the state of club and fan relations at the moment.

It probably didn’t help that the person responsible for the wording regarding the season ticket renewals, was less than sympathetic towards renewing fans who might be struggling in this current cost of living crisis, to renew on time. 

Effectively saying that if you don’t get your renewal in, tough s**t, there’s 21,000 people after your seat, is poor form. There used to be a day when loyal fans were lauded for their staying power. Not now though. Loyalty is a dirty word when your are sitting safe in the Premier League. Not so when you are staring at Championship football on an annual basis.

A far cry from this in April 2021.

This is the link, in case you think this was fake news.

Oh the days!

And this is where we are now.

Try to read the pdf, but if you can’t , just look carefully at this bit sitting front and centre. It says it all when the phrase used is, “a voting mechanism will be used to push through decisions”. Does this suggest that not all decisions made in this “group” are actually agreed by everyone in the group? Surely not?

11 “representatives” of our fan base have been meeting the Club for the last year in an “advisory” role to help the Club communicate the fans. Do Leeds fans feel as positive are they felt in April 2021 (position in the table notwithstanding of course)?

Yes, we are in the relegation zone, but as fans, do we feel that the Club are listening to us? After all, as in 2021, the Club have spent big money on players. It doesn’t matter where we are in the table though, does it? After all, the song goes “stay with you forever, at least until the world stops going round”. We are Leeds and proud of it, win, lose or draw.

I’m being silly of course, you know the answer as well as I do. I don’t think we are being listened to. At least, as a matchgoing fan, I don’t believe that I am being listened to. The Club are obviously listening to someone though.

But, Leeds fans are fickle, fickle creatures. Am I surprised that the Club aren’t listening to us? Fans moan that we don’t spend enough on players, then moan that the players (including a £35 million forward) aren’t good enough. They moan that they can never get an away ticket, then embarrassingly don’t sell out the Fulham allocation. They moan that they can never get a home ticket, but then don’t snap up the ones that people sent back for the Brighton game.

It’s not just this season. Remember the other season when people thought we were going to get promoted at Ipswich, so booked hotels etc for the last game? Then when we lost the last two penultimate games, they all sent their tickets back. Lucky for some, cos those ones were snapped up by people who did actually want to watch us then. Win, lose or draw.

I, along with many others, have been scathing to the Ipswich returnees and their like. Either you want to go to all the games, prioritise Leeds United and sacrifice everything to make sure you go. Or you admit you only want to go to selected games, can’t be arsed to go to the less glamorous ones, and accept that this is where you are.

Should the ones who bicker on social media, with no justifiable clarification for their comments, just accept that some people know a bit more about football than others? Can we just accept that some have watched them in the flesh for 40 years and have seen it, and got the T shirt and probably a bit wiser than most?

Some have only ever watched on the telly, but still have opinions as equal as those who are lucky enough to go to games. There’s some people who just study the form books, watch every interview and analyse everything the manager says and watch all the highlights. Some folk have no interest in anything but the 90 minutes on the pitch. We are all different. But we are all entitled to our opinion. Until the name calling starts of course, escalating to something uncalled for when the bickering gets nasty.

My feeling is that, we just need to draw the line under this.

We, as fans, just need to accept that not all Leeds fans are going to agree with each other. Fact. Accept it and move on.

When the words change from disagreement to harsh words to swearing and name calling, the argument is lost. It is awful to read some of the vitriol, so much so that I don’t bother much. I don’t bother with Tw*tter at all, as I have heard that this is worse than noseybook. It’s fine to have a vent every now and again. We all condemn players, managers etc. when something goes wrong. But when people start wishing eternal damnation, brimstone and fire, death, destruction and total annihilation, it has to stop there.  

I am guessing that the more inflammatory the comments, the more likes/dislikes/retw**ts happen and then the higher the “global presence” and subsequently the more publicity for the  global brand. So, is the division and polarisation actually a good marketing technique? Maybe someone should ask the PR department at Leeds. Is there any such thing as bad publicity?

Certainly the polarisation of the Marsh in / Marsh out was most prominent before (and even after) SkinnyJ got the boot. It didn’t help that after SkinnyJ got his harsh words, no one wanted to come to fill his shoes. Poor planning or just simply misjudging the managerial  marketplace?

The conversation eventually descended into a mini culture war of Pro and Anti US sentiments. NOTHING to do with football. NOTHING to do with the tactics, team shape / formation (or lack of it). NOTHING to do with individuals contributions and constantly playing players out of position. NOTHING to do with bizarre press conferences, pre and post match interviews and motivational speaking. NOTHING to do with our position in the league.

The blame for SkinnyJ’s demise was laid at the feet of the xenophobic Leeds fans. At least, that was what social media wanted us to believe. It was us versus the US. Recent results have said otherwise since the arrival of Gracia.

Gracia had a few good games (or at least a couple of good 1st 45 minutes) but again, it has all turned sour. I have to say though, it isn’t over til the fat lady sings though. For however long our place in the PL is still in our hands, we still have a chance. Once it is out of our hands, and dependent on others, that my friends is when we need to panic!

Last night’s game against Leicester at first seemed like a turning point. There was the acknowledgement that we probably should play with two up front. FINALLY. When Patrick and Rodrigo rocked up, looming large and menacing, we looked ok. Both chasing down the ball and both pressuring the Leicester defence. It looked like he was going for a flat back four, and at times, it did look as if we had four across midfield too. I have never been a fan of new fashion of two midfielders playing just in front of defence. Under Bielsa, Kalvin was THAT midfielder just in front of the back four. No one else can, or even should do that that.

So for 60 odd minutes, we looked ok.  A goal up and looking like a clean sheet for Meslier. Despite one of the worse refereeing displays, lots of cheating from Maddison and others, and 3 yellow cards, we were holding on. Sini had been taken off with an injury already, but all that was needed was the right substitutions. Several of our lot were already on a yellow, and Rodrigo had run his socks off.

The right substitutions would have saved us. Forshaw and Gnonto were chomping at the bit to come on. But we needed to shore up and keep that clean sheet. As much as I wanted Gnonto to come on, slot another goal in to put the game to bed, I was ready for Forshaw to come on before Rodders got sent off for a second yellow.

What did he do? Neither of the above.

Despite harsh words from the crowd, certainly the Kop end at least, no aggressive attacking  Gnonto. But no consolidation in midfield either. He put on Aaronson. 

As I said earlier, I don’t do Tw*tter. The idle gossip about fighting at half time against Palace, and this latest spat about McKennie is – just idle gossip on unsocial media. But it looked like McKennie and Roca were being professional for 65 minutes on Tuesday night. You don’t have to like each other on the pitch, as long as you are professional for 90 minutes. McKennie and Roca were doing ok. Then Aaronson came on, and it just went all wrong. Then it descended into us V the USA again. Right into the hands of the “us v them” brigade.

The question should have been why didn’t he put young Gnonto on though. Young Willy was seemingly desperate to come on. What was going on? I can only conclude that Aaronson is in Gracia’s fantasy league team and he needed the points? But coming on at 70 minutes wouldn’t even have got two points, unless he was going to stick 3 goals in the back of the net. Which he is never going to do. The only other option is that whoever has bought Gnonto doesn’t want him injured? Woo…. speculation.

Instead of consolidating our victory, the effect of Aaronson, whether intended or not, was just to upset the applecart.

Unfortunately what is lacking from our team is concentration on the task at hand. We need to be focused, diligent and 100% committed to a result. Like the Palace game, we were the better team for 45 minutes. Same with Bournemouth and to some extent Spurs. But the last 45 minutes, 20 minutes against Leicester, we’ve just bottled it.

Where the defence was holding the line for the offside trap reasonably well in the first half, it just fell apart. Whilst Lord Bamford and Rodrigo were chasing down the ball and putting the pressure on the keeper, they couldn’t maintain the pace for the last 25 minutes. The ref had brandished cards to most of our players. Thanks to the cheating and diving, we were at risk of going a player down just about every other challenge. We had started to play narrow again, players tripping over each other and getting in each others way. 

Our team lack the discipline, the concentration, the stamina and fitness in general to play for the full 90 minutes. The determination to win every tackle, close down every player and win every ball, just isn’t there anymore. Harsh words, but true nonetheless. We have potential, you can see glimpses of it, like the first half against Palace. But the team either can’t, or won’t maximise on it. The manager needs to harness it, the way Bielsa did.

The Bielsa way was hard work, there is no denying it. But it got us promoted and 9th in the league that first season. There is no denying it. He took a bunch of ordinary Championship players and basically made them do their job. And they did it, because he gave them belief.

Whilst people go on about footballers being role models, and being voices / representatives for good causes etc. that’s all well and good when you are top of the league and guaranteed PL football year on year. Rashford can do what he wants to help school dinners. The likes of Milner and Sterling can be Nivea and shaving product mannekins, that is fine. But we don’t have that luxury. Kalv can be the face of JD sports from his cosy spot on the bench, but our team and squad need to concentrate on football, and football alone.

Gnonto will undoubtedly shine at Arsenal with the likes of Odegaard distributing the ball where he wants it. If he passes his driving test, he could be the face of Bill Plant in the latest shiny green stickered 2 tonne EV, tearing up the streets around the Emirates. Eats spaghetti, drinks moretti, drives 4 Pirellis, one two three four.  

The thing that has scuppered us, and by us, I mean the Board, the manager (ALL of them temporary included – 3 amigos!) , the team and the fans is our arrogance.


The arrogance of the Board who felt once we got promoted, we deserved to stay in the PL. The arrogance that saw them happy to sack Bielsa and install an Unknown to English football, and allow him to bring in players, also unknown to English football.

The arrogance of that manager who thought he could just play anyone anywhere, regardless of them being out of position or not. His arrogance in ruthlessly culling the old Bielsa players to install his own unproven (in this league) old boys. Without Harrison, we’d be with Southampton at the bottom of the league right now. If we’d have kept Klichy, Cresswell, James, Drameh and maybe even Joffy, who knows where we would be. 

The arrogance of our players who thought they didn’t need to train as hard as they did under Bielsa. The ones who thought all they needed to do was turn up. The ones who just assumed that they were good enough to be in the PL. No one should be taking their place in the PL for granted. Ok, apart from Haaland, he can do what he wants.

The arrogance of our fans who STILL think we are a massive club and deserve to be in the PL without fighting for the full 90 minutes. The arrogance which sees every fault laid firmly at the feet of Orta, Meslier or whoever, rather than accepting that we have been punching above our weight for the last 18 months.

The arrogance that still sees some thinking that it was SkinnyJ who kept us up, rather than Wolves going down to 10 men, Brentford going down to 9 and Newcastle having the decency to field a proper side in that final game against Burnley. The same arrogance that gave SkinnyJ a stay of execution at Anfield when he should have been turfed out. Ultimately, the delay in sacking SkinnyJ cost us a decent manager. Who would want to be a manager at Leeds with such an indecisive board? 

Harsh words?

Yep, but it needs saying. 

Sometimes harsh words need to be said out loud. Whether or not it makes any difference in the long run depends on the listener. You can listen and learn or just refuse, get angry like the little red creature from Inside Out, and go ahead and push the red button. Up to you.

Me? It makes no difference to me what you think. Unless you get so worked up that you send someone round to try beat me into submission and get me to think your way. 

It’ll never happen though. But at least I will never try force you into thinking the same way as me. Each to their own.