Lockdown Blog

Posted by on Mar 29, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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

 

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Siege Mentality

Posted by on Feb 29, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

In Round 9 (or is it 10 now?) of the Battle of Football Hierachy v Leeds United, Leeds United have once again – lost. In the most unsurprising turn of events since that Philip Schofield saga, it was decided to rule that Kiko wasn’t quite guilty but not innocent enough. So because he wasn’t innocent enough, he was probably guilty.

8 match ban? Very harsh, I was expecting 6, but then not totally unexpected, given our history of completely disproportionate punishments to the various crimes that Leeds United are deemed to have committed. Regular Readers will be tired of my outbursts regarding the condemnation of Cellino and his yacht / car irregularities, compared to the lack of disbelief when the Football League accepted as truth when Harry Redknapp declared that he didn’t realise his dog had accidentally opened a bank account and he actually couldn’t read properly even after all these years of football management.

The trouble is we may have lost this battle but we are still winning the war. The more they do to us, the more will we stand our ground. There is a saying, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Well, they’re not exactly trying to kill us, but you know what I mean. All this is doing is reinforcing our walls, we will stand fast in our battleground and we will go again. The siege mentality is only going to get worse.

Of course, this will be playing right into the hands of the Media. All these “top” football pundits will finally have something else to talk about, seeing as Liverpool are actually going to win the League this year, thanks to VAR (only way they were going to win it, mind). Citeh are finally taking the hit of winding that bloke up from the UEFA all those years ago (now there’s a man who can hold a grudge!). Guardiola isn’t rising to it, so they’ve got bored with that tack. Thank God the EFL after 5 months of dragging it out, have finally made the decision. Because frankly that game between Norwich and Leicester was so poor, I switched to watching NCIS on Fox instead. I didn’t see the second half but there was nothing to write home about, so they would have been desperately fishing for something to discuss, and the EFL haven’t disappointed. They’ve served the story up on a silver platter for them.

They’ll be bringing every left of centre has been and self righteous ex player into every discussion tomorrow. Thankfully it’s an early kick off so we’ll be doing something more interesting instead. Even though they technically haven’t proven that he is guilty and he only is “probably” guilty, it won’t matter. Anyone who might deign to be standing up for Kiko will be condemned by association for being racist as well. But at least they won’t have to talk about Norwich v Leicester.

It’s funny, if these people were around in the 70s and 80s, probably early 90s as well, and actually opened their ears – THEN they would have heard racism. What is going on now is nothing compared to what it used to be like. And while “Let’s kick it out” and “Level Playing Field” claim to be doing everything to stop racism, they are in complete denial that most of the reduction in racism over the last few decades has actually been down to the supporters and supporters associations themselves, not these “action groups”. Most things that have changed in football have been down to supporters doing it themselves, not the Football League, or these virtue seeking groups, us – we have done it ourselves. But that’s not what they want to hear and it’s not what they want us to think, because they get government funding etc. and probably Charity status as well ( tax perks) , so they want us to believe that they are doing all the hard work. Yes, they have all the media machines behind them and have all these engagement workshops etc. and probably (!) do put a bit of work in,  but the reality is that they don’t acknowledge what we, the decent minded supporters, have been doing all along anyway.

So that EFL Quest show (I genuinely do not get any thanks for plugging it) will be a right barrel of laughs tomorrow. And because we’ll be home by 6pm, there’s no excuse that we’re on the coach back home, not to see it live. If we lose, we’ll be on first for 5 minutes, with a reference to Kiko every 15 seconds. If we win, we’ll be half way through or just before they start going on about Division 3 and be lucky to see more than 30 seconds of Bamford’s hat trick.

What happens now then? Nothing. The best we can do is just take the hit and as the saying goes, we go again. Give yourself a rest Kiko. You’ve done your best. Get yourself a nice seat in the West Stand and watch the game with your family and enjoy the food in Hospitality. You might even get to eat a decent steak and chips meal for 6 weeks before you go back to your “proper” diet. You never know, Kiko might get a ticket in the away end and he can join us getting soaked in the beer fights and queueing for the bogs at half time.

The ones who will be most happy (apart for the EFL of course) will be these keyboard warriors who will be ecstatic having been handed the opportunity to put post after post, tweet after tweet and insta after insta of fake indignation and those “angry” emojis out, just so they can get a like and get themselves a bit more attention by posting a little cartoon symbol.

As for us, our barriers will be strengthened, our walls will be higher, our siege mentality will continue to be fed.

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Here We Go Again

Posted by on Feb 23, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

David Coverdale never looks any older does he?Apologies for the deliberate typo, I know,  Whitesnake did Here I Go Again – I’m just keeping you on your toes, dear Readers.

I’m just waiting for our 15 minute highlights on 403 SkyTVisf**kings**t Football HD against Reading yesterday. It’s not actually on until 9pm, so I’ve an hour and a half to get this blog done. I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t so tight and paid for the SkyQ upgrade with a proper box, I probably wouldn’t have to wait so long and could probably just record it, but I’m from Yorkshire… Plus, even if you have Sky Q and have one of these Ultra HD 4G LED tellys, when you watch the game on the Red Button, is it still the same crappy blurry picture that I get on my ancient Panasonic? How does that work then? The highlights are still in HD. It makes you think that SkyTVisf**kings**t are doing it deliberately just to piss people off as surely it doesn’t matter if they show it in HD or not? I bet if you are used to watching something in Ultra HD, watching the Red Button must be like watching it under water? Just asking for info. I don’t intend getting Sky Q until I have to.

Back to the blog. It’s the end of February. We are in that familiar territory of possible promotion – again. We had a fantastic start to the season – again. We had a blip after Christmas – again. We lost against Wigan – again. The pundits are saying the wheels have fallen off the bus – again. But unlike the last time, we are not plagued by a massive injury list, we have pulled points back against the form team Brentford at Griffin Park (where we have never won or haven’t for 50+ years at any rate) and we have had two consecutive clean sheets against two polar opposite opponents, in two completely different games in the last two weeks.

Bristol and Reading. I haven’t seen the highlights of Reading yet, but despite similar swirling weather conditions pitch level, these two games couldn’t have been any more different. Ok, maybe more missed chances against Bristol.

Last season by Christmas, the dreaded “teams have learnt how to play against Bielsa’s Leeds” phrase crept into the matchday commentary like the flesh eating zombie plagues in the 70s horror movies. About as welcome as a dose of the runs. The cliches about “falling apart again” , “not being able to keep the pace up” and “running out of ideas” became tiresome, especially from that curly haired Keith Andrews and Goodman.

This season however, (fingers crossed) we have had our blip and these two good results against Bristol and Reading have got our hopes up again. We are 5 points clear of 3rd and I don’t care about West Brom. Whether 1st or 2nd, it means promotion without the dreaded play offs. I am content with that. Automatic promotion means an enjoyable start to summer, a well deserved rest before Euro 2020 and looking forward to happy pre season. We have Boro on Weds night and then away to Hull at the weekend.

12 games to go and as Groupon Geoff cheerily said post match yesterday in the Golden Lion, if we win all our next 12 games, we’ll probably get promoted. He was quickly corrected, if we win all our next 12  games, we will get promoted.

In complete contrast to the game against Bristol, despite Bristol being a “better” side on paper, yesterday the air of nervousness was palpable. The first 15 minutes wasn’t so bad, but it did feel like panic was setting in. I don’t know which part of the ground it started, but by the time Kalvin limped off after that initial hefty challenge, it was like the scene from The Fog, where the mist rolled in and engulfed the 35k crowd at Elland Road. After Pablo’s second try from that rebound went in, the mist lifted briefly, but by the time 70 minutes came up, it was well and truly choking the life out of us. The last 10 minutes genuinely felt like an eternity, and I didn’t even have enough spare energy to have a pop at the ones that started leaving before the 85 minute mark came up. The game was on a knife edge, and you still want to leave before the final whistle?

The Bristol game was nail biting but exhilarating. This game was a nail biter, but not for the same reason. That save by Kiko was a defining moment. It showed that we could hold our concentration and nerve right to the end.

I’m really hoping that it is a sign of things to come and we (the team and us supporters) can maintain our concentration, hold our nerve and get that effing promotion.

Come On Leeds

thanks to googleimages for the picture

 

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The Curious Case of Leeds United’s Number 9

Posted by on Jan 4, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

If the current Leeds United’s Number 9, Patrick Bamford had the looks and charisma of Brad Pitt, together with the magic and mastery of Messi and a sleeve on one arm depicting St George defeating a dragon and the other arm saying “I heart my mum”, he would STILL be facing mass chastisement by a certain element of Leeds United fans.

And it’s not just Patrick either. I’ll take the time, Pop Pickers, to give you a countdown of a few names who make up our last top ten lambasted Number 9s of the decade;

Pierre Michel Lasogga – hero to zero in one game (Millwall) as he ran and scored and ran and scored… but ran out to tired legs before the 90 minutes was up. Chris Wood – couldn’t hit a barn door allegedly but still did 30 goals in his last season with us. Matt Smith – still a “Leeds and you know you are”  favourite – pity then so few sang his name when he was with us though and most told him he wasn’t fit to wear the shirt. Brazilian hopeful Adryan- whose playing career didn’t even last as long legendary Roque Jnr. Then, the famous Warnock’s Warchest Quartet of Dexter Blackstock, Connor Wickham, Jerome Thomas, Steve Morison, and…….. Billy Painter, of course. That’s a list and a half to forget, isn’t it?

In fact, it’s really only Jer – maine (remember the date) Beckford who is our last memorable Number 9 of the first decade of the 21st century. Even then, and this is controversial and I know it, even then, poor Beckford used to get a right slating from most, if not all, four stands for being a temperamental, lazy git who couldn’t jump to win a ball and then wouldn’t hit a ball unless it was passed straight to his feet. Jer – maine is now selling his wares as a dapper football pundit and holds the title of full on Leeds legend.

But, he did put the ball in the Man U net …… but then so did David Wetherall…

So, what is it about that Number 9 shirt?

500 mile walk David Healy aside and Brett Ormerod (!) , we did have a reasonable run of favourites in that shirt for a while. The Duke, Jimmy Floyd Piggybank, Ian Rush (??), Yeboah, Deano and my personal favourite, Chappie. They all got the plaudits and accolades they deserved, and remain in a happy place in most fans’ minds. I am sorry to say, it has been a uphill slog for the last lot to try win any praise of late.

Is it because the bar was set so high because of these illustrious legends? Are the Golden Age goal scoring elite boots of Lorimer, Clarke, Gray, Terry Connor and Tony Currie too big to fill?

Given that the median age of the Leeds United fan, certainly in the Cheese wedge and the South Stand is lower than that of the average stalwart in the Revie Stand (and definitely the Captains Corner),  it cannot be down to the fact that Bamford and Wood are being harkened to those players of yesteryear. Seeing as most of these younger ones weren’t around when Chappie was at his poaching best, surely none of them can even think about using them as a comparison.

No, I can only conclude the level of criticism aimed at our Number 9 players over the last decade or so is a symptom of far too much expectation of instant glory.

Don’t get me wrong, Chapman used to get a ton of abuse for being a donkey. To be fair, Chappie was far from our most elegant player. What with his gangly legs (similar to a baby goat at times), occasional lack of depth perception and his inability to know where and what his arms and legs were doing at the same time, he would never have made a ballerina. But Chapman knew where the net was and he managed to get the ball in the back of the it by hook or by crook. Or rather by managing to hit the ball with his head, shoulder, knee, foot, eyes closed or eyes open … as long as it went in, I wasn’t bothered how it got in. It got us promoted as Champions!

When Patrick Bamford ended his goal drought at that Blackburn game, he ran to the crowd and gestured to the baying hounds. The fact that he felt he had to do that was bad enough. I felt terrible for him but the naysayers in the crowd deserved that. I preferred the Mark Aizlewood salute myself, but given how upset people are getting nowadays with everything, it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea. Bizarre how in the old days things were so censored, some of the old films that were in the 70s and were given an X certificate are now on TCM without a care in the world. But nowadays even though music videos and songs are streamed with really explicit content (lyrics and violent scenes) etc. people get offended by the odd F word so easily? Go figure that one out then.

I digress, back to Patrick. They are still going on at him, even now. Especially now. When he came on at West Brom his impact was immediate and although the Football League have now taken two goals off him, the one at West Brom and the other one at Luton, he is still up there as our top goal scorer. His work rate during the game is immense. The barren spell he had in front of goal bears no reflection on what he has been doing for the team when he hasn’t scored. Yes, he needs a more consistent service to score. I really wish Kiko would actually hoof the ball up to him when he is actually on the pitch, instead of waiting til Bamford gets subbed before he starts giving the long balls to someone who doesn’t stick a chance in the air. But, Bielsa rates him and that is enough for me. I couldn’t care less about the 25,000+ other football managers at Elland Road.

Maybe I’m being a little too harsh to our current fan base. I remember when Viduka came to us. It took quite a few games for him to find his goal scoring boots too. There was always that element who cursed him when he missed an open net and condemned him for not being able to get more than an inch off the ground for a cross. I suppose it has always been the same for our fickle fans. It perhaps seems worse now with the onset of the social media age, where in August everyone suddenly becomes the greatest football manager and tactician since Cruyff, and don’t we know about it!

The game has changed in the last 20-30 years. The old fashioned Number 9 out and out striker has long departed. The days of the Di Stefano and Cruyff, and in the more recent times, the Shearers and the Fowlers of this world don’t really exist any more. In a way, probably Ronaldo (the fat one rather than the cheating one) was the last of the proper Number 9s to grace the field. Players don’t seem to be bothered with their numbers anymore either. Whether that is just a reflection of the times, as in the demise of the standard 4-4-2 as opposed to the vanity of players wanting to put their own stamp (for however long they stay depending on money!) on the team, I’m not sure about.

The game has definitely changed, all you hear about now is the “high press” and “clever game management” aka cheating. The ball is “rounder” and designed to fly through the air quicker. The players are fitter yet less hardy and tend to fall over at the slightest touch. The pitches (apart from in Scotland and in Histon) tend to be grass as opposed to mud baths. The 4-4-2 traditionalists amongst us are now in the minority and the infamous Mike Bassett Christmas Tree is now actually taken seriously! Even though the changes are massive, the crowd’s expectation for a player to play as a Number 9 hasn’t really lessened at all. In fact, it has become more vociferous if anything. Not content with the fact that goals are coming from all over the pitch, you still hear the phrase “we need a proper striker up front”. Last season this phrase was followed by “like Vydra or Rhodes” – er hmmm. However, we should have learnt by our mistakes last season. We shouldn’t be putting all our eggs in one basket, in case we get injuries like last season, we should be happy that Harrison, Dallas and even Ayling etc. are getting on the scoresheet.

Patrick Bamford WILL score more goals and I hope he gets his 30 goals this season, because he deserves to. Just give the lad a chance and pipe down you miserable lot.

photo courtesy of pinterest, and yes, that is Brad Pitt not Patrick!

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Always Leeds Always Loyal: Part 2

Posted by on Oct 24, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Always Leeds Always Loyal: Part 2

Preston was a bit of a dampener then. Chances missed, hit on the break, equalising goal from a header from a guy whose total height was the sum of height difference between their defence and ours, and clear penalty not awarded to us??? Luck isn’t going our way right now, but it isn’t where we are now that matters, it’s where we are at the end of April. The injuries to Cooper and Shackleton have demonstrated our frailties in defence and midfield, but we go again, we keep the faith. Always Leeds Always Loyal.

In honesty, this is where the “Always Loyal” Part 2 bit comes in.  We do keep the faith, we do go again. We are loyal. Originally this article was meant to be half homage to Eric and his dedication to Leeds and half sarcastic snowflake sledging, but I fear the irony may well be lost on them. However, I hate wasting opportunities to cast aspersions on the less tolerant, so am just going to barrel on anyway.

Family or friends? In a Chris Tarrant type way, yes, there are people who I have met at football who I could call to ask a £1million question of, should the situation ever arise. There are one or two who win the LUSC Annual quiz, year in year out, who could probably tell me how many eggs were on Clarke’s fried breakfast the day he scored the winner at Wembley.  But you know that’s not what I mean.

Family – you can pick your friends, you can’t choose your family. In a way, my Leeds United family (and not in a My Leeds United Peter Ridsdale crap book type way) is something that I am lucky enough to have chosen. Leeds United fans are an eclectic group and I count myself very fortunate to have forged friendships, made mortal enemies of, sealed grudges (for life- not just for Christmas) and just generally had my 15 minutes of banter with the fellow faithful. Such is the way with the Leeds United International fan base over the years, regardless of language barriers, I have had the pleasure of travelling the world,  doing what I love doing, drinking and watching Leeds United.

I have been in some of the dingiest s**tholes and some downright palatial mansions in my time. Ok, possibly only a very small number of slighty more discerning establishments and loads of questionable, at best, drinking dives. That could be Dreamscape 3 – the places you’ll never forget! But, all with Leeds fans and all of this was done WAY before the advent of social media. We were brought together because of the Supporters Club. This was down to Eric.

Eric Carlile was instrumental in bringing Leeds fans together. Eric was on the board of Leeds United and until Bates decided he knew better, the Supporters Club was the best place to find the right travelling companions for even the  most discerning Leeds United fan. He matched people with branches and when he ran out of options for that, he started a postal LUSC branch. Eric spent hours hand writing – yes writing – by hand – on paper – letters replying to Leeds United fans all over the world. Eric Carlile connected people. He did what the  Zedbergs and Gaggles of this New World Order are doing, without secretly harvesting all your personal info and selling it on to the highest bidder for advertising and marketing services(alledgedly). Eric didn’t need noseybook or the titteratti to unite Leeds United fans. He united us.

Family. Like all families there are the good, the bad and the downright ugly. The Leeds United family is no exception. There will always be differences in opinion, unhealable rifts even, but everyone will always be accepted as what they are, whatever they are and you just get on with it, because they are family, we are Leeds United. There’s the clever ones who got a degree and therefore know everything and are right all the time about everything. There’s the thicker ones who may be short on brain power but more often than not make up for it in common sense and/or brawn. There are the airheads who haven’t got the foggiest what day it is and there are the sensible ones who can tell you what minute of the day it is by looking at the sun. The organised and the organisers, and the hapless and the helpless who at times genuinely make you wonder how they make it through the day.

The daft thing is that each one of them can have totally different opinions about Leeds United. The hi tech electronic device devotees who know it’s the truth because it says it on their phone and the low jack luddites who wouldn’t use the paper it was written on to wipe their own backsides. The “It’s my way or the wrong way and that’s that” dependable’s and the constantly shifting sand and stance ones, dependent only on what SkyTVisf**ings**t say. The ones who know a guy, who knows a guy and then those couldn’t care less, they’ll just turn up anyway.

The doom and gloom mongers and the permanently pessimistic aren’t necessarily any more well read than the eternally optimistic – there’s always next season –  ones. The annoyingly frank and indefinitely in-denial-ists may well be cut from exactly the same cloth. And, surprisingly enough, even  the steadfastly loyal to a heartbeat and the bandwagon jumpers have may have no particular intelligence or discriminating tendencies or mannerisms. Plus depending on how much Leeds United have been jerking people’s respective chains, they all may well be interchangeable at any given point or just plain completely indifferent. One of the longer suffering fans in the pub is still sore after they made him pay £50 up front one season to go in the old “Panini Stand” with his lad in the days of the old Lowfields. He completely fell out with them for at least two seasons, but then returned to the fold.

All different but all loyal. At the last game of the season as everyone is walking past each other, it is always “See you next season then, have a good summer”, no questions asked. It is how it is.

This is what has irked me about Centenary Week.

Leeds United is 100 years old. What makes Leeds United? Not the chairmen, not the owners, not the managers, not the players. They are mere fleeting whispers on the wind for however long they decide to stay with us or how long they last before they get sold off. What makes Leeds United? The supporters make Leeds United. Because ultimately had it not been for the supporters, there would be NO Leeds United. The Supporters Club gave rise to Leeds United from the flames of the fire sale that was Leeds City at the very start. The Supporters Club have always been here, against all odds at times, but we are still here and will be here long after this lot have cleared off.

I know there will be people reading this who think the Supporters Club is a thing of the past and times need to change. I disagree. It is the one constant. My brief history supporting Leeds has seen us go from gates of 39,000 when we were basking in European glory in the 90s, to plummeting down to under 20,000 as we fell deeper into the mire of relegation under Ken’s regime. Then as we hit Division 3, you couldn’t give your ticket away, home or away at times. But even before that, Leeds fans were fickle. In the 73/74 season the official capacity was 48,000 but, for various reasons, it was (according to the trusty Rothmans Football Yearbook) rare for a game to be completely sold out. In the early 80s, home attendances fell right down, dipping occasionally to under 10,000 but then rose back when we started winning. After promotion at the start of the 90s, support again rose, but fell like a sack of spuds the second we got relegated from the top flight, with 10,000 people vanishing in the summer of 2004, and a further 8,000 mysteriously disappeared 3 years later. Who knows where they all went. And now they’re all back. As a simple example Leeds v Millwall on 2/3/2013 attracted 19,002 hardy souls. Leeds v Millwall 30/3/2019 was 34,910. Suddenly the missing 16,000 people have decided they were interested again. How very odd.

I have seen my fair share of consortium after consortium, administrations, winding up notices, CVAs threats, liquidations, amazing share selling deals and then shares being rendered worthless, Premier cards and then 6 max per fax for away tickets (apart from the 750 tickets at Brighton , which were by written invitation only!), Bates In, Bates Out, skint sheikhs, Cellino In, Cellino Out, takeover bids, failed take over bids, RMCs, other fans groups etc.etc.etc (as the great Yul Brynner famously said). The one constant has been the LUSC.

I am disappointed that the Supporters club wasn’t more involved in the Centenary celebrations but I’m more disappointed that it became more and more a split between those who have and those who have not.

The Centenary Dinner at £200 per head. I agree, it was an ensemble of the great and the good of Leeds United, but £200 per ticket? For dinner!

The Centenary shirt, limited edition of 1919 and a snip at just short of £200. Only for them to be snapped up by the anti-fans on T’Internet in order for them to skank the “proper” supporters who just want to stick it in a frame on their wall for 300% face value. By the way, the Yorkshire Rose stands up on it’s own two feet. Get it right.

Only 10,000 Centenary programmes on the day for a sell out 35,000 crowd. The game was always going to sell out. Which of the 22,000 season ticket holders and the 10,000  gold members in their right minds, would NOT have bought a Centenary programme that day?

Matchday celebrations started at 10.30am, brilliant for the locals and people who could afford to stay overnight. Not so good for the people for whom every match is a 12 hour awayday and then had a mile trek because car parking was limited.

That new light blue shirt? Our away strip is YELLOW. Bad enough that the other one is grey and pink. Where’s the hark back to heritage in Centenary year? Probably the one and only time that you would be true to tradition and stick to your original colours would be IN THE CENTENARY YEAR.

But no. Let’s pander to the New World Order, where you’re not allowed be sacred to your roots. Where being tied to your traditions and honouring your history is a bad thing. Where you are being forced to “fit in” with globalisation and shamed for not being all available and inclusive to everyman and his dog. “Football has to change with the changing times”. Why? Football was born out of the need to find something to do in between the factory closing and the pub opening. It’s a game of the masses. The common people. Stop trying to change it. It’s bad enough that we are having Saturday afternoons taken away from us because people want everything at their own convenience. Which equates to the more money you have the more convenience you are entitled to and the less inconvenience you have to put up – kerching! Given that it was a very expensive pre season in Australia as well, how much spare money do the die hard fans have? In the immortal words of Paul Daniels – Not a lot!

But, through it all together, we remain…. Always Leeds Always Loyal

 

 

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Always Leeds Always Loyal: Part 1

Posted by on Oct 22, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

After the steady stream trickle of tempting snippets from Leeds United about what the Centenary would look like and ultimately this last weeks’ worth of actual Centenary events, I am going to add my tuppence ha’penny to the pot.

Unfortunately, having tried to write this since Sunday, there is too much material for one article. So, in true tradition of Hollywood blockbuster film franchises,  like the Tolkien Trilogy and the last two Harry Potter books, I’ll have to split it up and hope that you remember enough from the first, for the second one to make sense. Hopefully, unlike that God awful attempt at “Fantastic Beasts”, you won’t be looking at Part 2, thinking “What fantastic beasts?”. I’d rather you were standing back, saying the equivalent of “yeah, that’s how a King returns” (weird tubby dwarf and pointy eared blond barbie look-a-like notwithstanding) . I was going to use the Matrix analogy, but that just got a bit silly frankly, but the one liners and the CGI was excellent. Anyway……

Always Leeds Always Loyal: Part 1

What a great motto. Almost as good as Side Before Self Every Time. The phrase that epitomised the great Don Revie side and King Billy.

It has been a brilliant end to the Centenary Week celebrations. Starting with the unveiling of the commemorative plaque next to the Blue Plaque at Salem Chapel.

Salem Chapel, Leeds, the birthplace of the LUSC and just like Adam giving his spare rib to make Eve (look it up if you never did Christianity in RE), the birthplace of Leeds United. Then, the Centenary Dinner at Elland Road with a host of Leeds royalty, ex players and managers, a mere snip at £200 plus VAT. And then, the matchday events from 10.30am on Saturday, cumulating in a Kalvin Phillips goal,  steering us to 3 points and 2nd in the table.

Kalvin Phillips, the LUSC Sponsored Player for many managers now (since 2015 season I think and yes, we used to use managers as a measure of time). Homegrown talent who has made his way up the ranks and, fittingly enough, was presented pitchside pre Birmingham kick off (in more respects than one!) with his 2018-19 LUSC Player Of The Season Award by Honourary LUSC President, Ray Fell. Kalvin scored the winner, in front of the Kop. It’s fairytale magic, the stuff legends are made of. Minstrels will write songs and sing loudly of this glorious day and it will rest in the annals of history. The only way this could have been made any better, would have been if my old friend, and friend to just about every Leeds fan I know, Eric Carlile had been alive to see it. This win on Centenary Day is probably one of the best tributes that could be made to Eric, and to his lifelong dedication to Leeds United. The only way to top this off, would be to seal promotion to Division One in this, our Centenary Year.

 

Mind you, had got promoted last season and we were playing in the Premiership now, think of the bursting banks of the revenue streams and how much money we could be making in programmes and memorabilia every game against the “Big” clubs in the Premier League. We could be churning out another replica shirt for each “memorable” game against each opponent all season. Although who would buy a ripped shirt for Bournemouth? It would be Christmas Kerching every game, especially for those on T’Internet who are just buying multiple souvenirs to rip off Leeds fans who collect that sort of stuff. Plus, we’d get at least 5 minutes every weekend on Look North to go through our history against these “big” clubs. The Chairman would talk to Tanya more often than his all of his Inner Circle put together. In fact, she could be in his Inner Circle (unlikely though!). Thank Heavens for small mercies as they say, we aren’t in the same division as Port Vale to replay our first league game in Centenary Year! Well, Ken did say that he would get us out of the division, and he did, he got us relegated!

 

Along with the other LUSC motto “Getting Fans To Games Since 1919” , Always Leeds Always Loyal is what Leeds means to me. If anyone asks me what Always Leeds Always Loyal signifies (apart from poor orthography and lack of punctuation), it means to me, in my relatively short time as a Leeds fan, I would say friendship and family.

Over the last decades, because of the Supporters Club I have made a great many friends, and more than my fair share of enemies. Friendships forged in fire (quite literally –  incidents of fire) and bonds made in blood. Blood spilled and blood shed? Affirmative to both, my own and other peoples.

The Chairman once famously said, getting fans to riots since 1919, and in essence that is true. If the Supporters Club did an alternative dreamscape, can you imagine what would be in it? Bournemouth, Bradford, Birmingham, Chelsea in 84 (source of Ken’s bitter pill), West Brom ’82 and on a lighter note the mob of Elvises running down the hill at that end of season trip to Derby. The aforementionned were the all out wars mind, there were a few minor skirmishes, but these would make my dreamscape – and many of the oppositions Nightmarescapes.

Branch specific ones? Maybe that little knock on the door of the Aston Hotel and that pub near Liverpool Street which got really quiet all of a sudden. I am also reminded of the Defence Of Shaw and the Sandbach Standoff. Not to mention multiple traffic management incidents, Luton’s shopping precinct, a random City Centre vehicular adjustment manouvre, and of course, Mr Barraclough being extremely helpful that day at QPR after we crashed that wedding. There’s also been putting up the Christmas decorations at The Whip that year, and taking them down accidentally in Otley one Christmas Eve.

In all, many memories and in all, as they say – Happy days.

Through it all, the people who have shared it with me, have been Always Leeds and I guess, mostly Always Loyal. I’ve never given up supporting The Club, sometimes there’s been occasions when I have fallen out with Leeds United. Mainly because of the behaviour of the some of the right idiots who have been running The Club, but like the Supporters Club, I’m still here. Marching On Together.

The words to that song sum it all up, up and downs at least until the world stops going round.

Proud to say that like the LUSC, there then, here now and will still be here, whatever happens

Always Leeds Always Loyal

Part 2 will say 100 – honest

 

 

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