“Art of Football”: a Fitting Souvenir of THAT Yeboah Volley Against Liverpool – by Rob Atkinson

Art of Football Yeboah Tribute shirt detail

“Art of Football” Yeboah Tribute shirt detail

As Leeds United fans, we’re accustomed to wearing our hearts on our sleeves. We like to go even further in honour of our beloved club, wearing our badge proudly over our hearts. Now, thanks to a brainwave from Art of Football, you can actually wear on your chest one of the iconic goals of the last generation. It’s a goal most Leeds fans – even those who were too young to appreciate it at the time, or who weren’t yet around – only have to close their eyes to see. The ball comes out towards Tony Yeboah as Leeds attack late on at the Kop End of Elland Road. The Ghanaian watches as it drops towards him and instantly shapes to hit it on the full – and his effort rockets into the back of the net off the crossbar with Liverpool keeper David James beaten all ends up. Goal of the Season! Check it out here…

What a goal! It was a moment of pace, power and consummate brilliance. A packed Elland Road under floodlights is pure football theatre at any time – but with the red shirts of Liverpool standing between United and victory, with time fast ebbing away and with a striker of Yeboah’s lithe and muscular presence exploding suddenly into action – it was an instant of football history which stood out immediately as one destined for immortality. I was lucky, blessed, to be there that night, right behind the line of the ball as it rocketed into the net. It’s been a treasured memory for me and for thousands of others, ever since.

Yeboaaahh!!!

Yeboaaahh!!!

The t-shirt produced by Art of Football to commemorate this unforgettable strike is in itself a thing of beauty and a worthy tribute to Yeboah’s virtuosity. The one I have is white – I have a thing about white – but they do it in navy and royal blue as well. Whatever the background, Yeboah’s volley is there at the instant of impact between the ball and that amazing, thunderous right foot; a split second later Leeds were ahead and the crowd was thundering its approval. Tony Yeboah, in the first flush of what was a purple patch of spectacular goals for Leeds in the early part of that season, wheeled away exultant, knowing that he’d produced a moment of pure genius. Happily for the fans, there would be more to come.

Tony Yeboah’s time at Leeds United was too short, but unforgettably sweet. He left us memories of just about every type of goal you could imagine – but he definitely favoured the spectacular over the more mundane tap-in. He claimed to be more naturally left-footed, but the goal so evocatively captured here by the Art of Football, together with efforts against West Ham, Wimbledon, Monaco, Sheffield Wednesday and others, confirmed that he was eminently capable with either foot, head – you name it, Yeboah would belt the ball into the back of the net with it.

Yeboah’s was a cameo role in the history of Leeds United, but nonetheless memorable for that – and his goal against Liverpool shines as brightly in the memory now as it did when it emblazoned headlines all over the national press nineteen years ago. If ever a goal deserved to be marked by a quality item of wearable memorabilia, then surely Tony’s was one that stands out as a worthy candidate. The t-shirt has got pride of place in my Whites Wardrobe, and doubtless it’ll solve many a Christmas gift dilemma for those with a Leeds-supporting loved one to buy for.

If YOU fondly remember that masterblast against Liverpool, I’d recommend you treat yourself – or perhaps include it in a note to Santa. It’s not often I’m moved to plug a product, but this quality piece of merchandise, also available as a print, definitely carries the Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything seal of approval.

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Why Kewell is Leeds United’s Only REAL Judas – by Rob Atkinson

Rob Atkinson:

Harry Kewell has been tweeting his bizarre admiration for that scum club from Istanbul and their sub-human “fans” again. What a shallow, vapid creature Kewell is. No loyalty, no sense of decency, no redeeming characteristics at all. Just a pea-brain with room for thoughts only about the most important person in his life: Harry “Judas” Kewell.

Here’s an article I wrote earlier this year about why the IQ-minus Aussie is such a disgrace – and why, the rival claims of Ferdinand, Cantona, McCormack and McQueen notwithstanding, he’s Leeds United’s only REAL Judas.

Originally posted on Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything:

Leeds fans United in grief and dignity

Leeds fans United in grief and dignity

Alan Smith. Eric Cantona. Rio Ferdinand. Three Leeds United players who opted to transfer their allegiance to the Evil Empire over the wrong side of the Pennines. In so doing, they attracted hatred and brickbats aplenty from Leeds followers. After all, they’d gone to the club we despise above any other. So too, much earlier, had Joe Jordan and Gordon McQueen, along with the less-well remembered examples of Arthur Graham and Peter Barnes in the relatively small collective of former Leeds players who have identified themselves with the Pride of Devon and their repellent supporters. These individuals, heroes to Leeds fans at one time or another, were held individually and as a category to be traitors to the United of Elland Road. Figuratively speaking, they had sold their souls to the Devil.

But really, all that “treachery” stuff, as applied to a small…

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Doctor’s Orders: Warrior Bellusci Should Modify Goal Celebration – by Rob Atkinson

Bellusci - sitting on a problem?

Bellusci – sitting on a problem?

Shortly after the home draw against Sheffield Wendies, I wrote an article expressing concern about Leeds defender Giuseppe Bellusci’s potentially damaging celebratory routine. He has this habit of showing his delight at scoring by executing a singularly ungraceful wheels-up landing from an altitude of approximately four feet, impacting Mother Earth on his unprotected tailbone, or coccyx – as we medical anoraks call it. Bellusci had already performed this trick once, after his worldie free-kick down at Bournemouth. Now, having notched a point-saver against the dee-dahs, he was at it again. Wincing, I took to my computer and penned a cautionary piece, never dreaming anyone would take it seriously.

To my surprise, however, there was some professional interest out there in Twitterland. No less a personage than the highly respected American “Tailbone Specialist” Dr. Patrick Foye, M.D. – Director of the “Coccyx Pain Center” at New Jersey Medical School – commented on the article, asking: “Can anyone point me to a video clip showing this athlete doing this celebratory display where he lands on his tailbone /coccyx region?” Happily, one of my remarkable band of regular readers, D. Bowden, was considerate enough to post in the same comments thread the following video clip of Giuseppe’s Bournemouth crash-landing.

The good doctor was clearly most alarmed. “Yikes!” he responded. “Definitely an avoidable risk for tailbone pain! In the world of risks/benefits, we all take risks, and sometimes it’s just to look cool. But this doesn’t look cool at all. All risk; no benefit. Good soccer skills though. Thanks for the video share.

Once I’d got over my surprise at an actual doctor taking the time and trouble to address a concern raised by my humble blog, it occurred to me that this was as near to wisdom straight from the horse’s mouth as we’re likely to get. In short, it’s expertise (given freely and without thought of recompense) that anybody running this risk will disregard strictly at his peril. It seems to me also that, as his employers, Leeds United might do well to review Bellusci’s post-goal conduct and perhaps have a quiet word with him about it.

After all – as ever with Leeds United – we have no shortage of problems, controversies and other issues both on and off the pitch. There is no need to go courting ill-fortune at the best of times and, at Elland Road, it’s always in plentiful supply anyway. Even if we were a mundane and boring football club, like certain of our Yorkshire neighbours, we wouldn’t be looking to the playing staff to enliven proceedings by inflicting orthopaedic disaster upon themselves. Better, surely, just to consider the matter and perhaps arrive at a more tranquil alternative for the celebration of future goals. And let us fervently hope that there are many more to come for, defender or no defender, Bellusci has the potential to be a Leeds United hero in the opposition’s penalty area.

My thanks to Doctor Foye for his valuable input and expert advice; I hope it reaches the ears of our Warrior in time for him to adopt a slightly more circumspect approach in whatever moments of joy and triumph the rest of this season may hold.

Are YOU One of the 4,221 Loyal Leeds Fans to Fight Harvey and the FL?? – by Rob Atkinson

Harvey - the spectre haunting Elland Road

Harvey – the spectre haunting Elland Road

Last week, rumours were growing by the day that the buffoons of the Football League, under the grievously bent leadership of Shaun Harvey, were about to throw a spanner yet again into the works at Leeds United. Despite things clearly being on the up at Elland Road, the League seem determined still to get their man, that elusive quarry being il Presidente himself, Massimo Cellino. Ignoring the active presence of rapists, pornographers and sundry other unsavoury types at other football clubs, Harvey and his bunch of senile dotards are determined to seek revenge on Big Mass (I call him this because I know it aggravates the WACCOE.com idiots) for thwarting them on appeal earlier this year to take control at Leeds.

So, as tends to happen, a petition was launched. The thing is, this particular petition was really well-worded, straight to the point and advancing the highly relevant argument that the so-called “Fit and Proper Test” should not be applied retrospectively. In other words, once Cellino is in – no matter how he got in – he should be left to get on with it as long as he’s doing a good job and not being naughty.

This was precisely the argument I’d used just days previously, in a blog entitled “Fit & Proper Test’ Should NOT Apply to Leeds Chief Cellino“. So I could hardly wait to sign and publicise such an obviously well thought-out petition, and I subsequently wrote another article encouraging Leeds fans to sign it and share it, so as to attract as much support as possible and show the League they will not be allowed to act without accounting for those actions.

The petition has gone on to be extremely well-supported, with – at the time of writing this – 4,221 signatories since last Saturday. That’s brilliant – but the thing is, it’s nothing like enough. So, if you’re one of those loyal 4,221 people who have taken the necessary few minutes to show your support for the revolution going on at Elland Road (and your disapproval of Harvey and the League) – then well done. But – what more can you do? Well, tell people, get them to sign too. Share this article, share the petition. Get friends, family, fellow supporters involved. This could be huge – but only if people who love Leeds United are willing to put in the effort to make it work.

If you haven’t signed yet – then please do, if you feel able. The consequences of Cellino being forced to sell the club are dire at best. The method whereby this sale would be forced is not clear at the moment. What would such compulsion do to the sale price? Who would repay Cellino’s investment so far? Who on earth would end up owning us next? We don’t know, but we can fearfully speculate. The League doesn’t know either – and it doesn’t seem to care. The League seems entirely comfortable with the idea of setting Leeds United off into another fog of uncertainty, losing money and playing staff alike, sliding down the leagues like a greased pig and heading – for all any of us know – for yet another administration. After all, causing clubs to enter administration is rather a speciality of Shaun Harvey in his disaster-strewn and corrupt career so far.

The League doesn’t give a tuppenny toss about the outcome of its intended actions. Stung by losing in court to Cellino, these pompous idiots simply want to regain lost face and show who the bosses are. If Leeds United AFC were to be a casualty of all of this – then you can count on it, none of them would lose a minute’s sleep. Perhaps Harvey and Bates would even share a conspiratorial chuckle between themselves in a smug telephone conversation after Leeds are no more.

Cellino and his legal team can certainly handle themselves – that much we have seen, and it’s quite probable that Harvey and his sorry, discredited mob will yet again be biting off more then they can chew. But it’s up to us fans, too. Please join over 4,000 Leeds United fans in signing and sharing this petition. Do all you can to ensure that everyone who might support it, sees it – and has the chance to register their own opposition to this pathetic and needless League vendetta.

Remember: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (and women) do nothing. Doing nothing is not an option if we really want to look out for our club. Support Leeds United – support the petition. Do it as soon as you can and share it with as many as you can, so they can do it too – and so on and so forth, till we have thousands more angry Leeds fans, up in arms, making our feelings known, telling the League to get stuffed. Be in no doubt at all – it really does matter.

MOT – and thanks.

Signature

Sky Sports Exclusive: Leeds Star Adryan “Wants to Leave United to be Fast Food Server” – by Rob Atkinson

Adryan: "Don't gimme no KFC, man"

Adryan: “Don’t gimme no KFC, man”

News is emerging from a Sky Sports interview with Brazilian starlet Adryan, that will rock every Leeds United supporter who is gullible enough to believe it. Remarkably, after a mere few weeks with the Elland Road club, and no first team appearances, the Flamengo youth product wishes to leave Elland Road to work in a fast food restaurant …. serving burgers!

The incredible truth of the matter is to be found in an exclusive interview given to this channel by Adryan, in which he admits that he simply adores a famous American brand of hamburger. “The truth is that this snack is close to my heart and always will be,” stated the blond boy wonder. He went on:

“It’s impossible not to think about burgers. I have a lot of affection for this food. I can’t think of eating any other kind of junk nourishment. I am a burger eater, so let’s see what happens in the future. But burgers and the cholesterol they contain will always be in my blood.”

These dynamite revelations must surely mean that Adryan’s Elland Road days are numbered, as he heads off to seek his fortune as a minimum-wage purveyor of mechanically-recovered meat products, fried and served up in mouth-watering helpings of convenience-food heaven. You can trust your Super Soaraway Sky when we tell you: Adryan wants OUT of Leeds! You heard it here first, folks.

Believe us. Adryan wants to make it in the burger-selling game. We should know – we’ve been serving up Whoppers since the late eighties, and what’s more we know that when you add two and two, you frequently end up with thirteen and a half.

Colonel Sanders is 149.

Man U to Appeal to FA Over “Cooler” Leeds United Nicknames – by Rob Atkinson

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“The Damned United” – über-cool nickname for The Last Champions

In a shock move designed to placate millions of loyal and bewildered fans across the world, some of whom have even visited the Theatre of Hollow Myths, Man U – famously celebrated as the “Pride of Devon” – are to appeal directly to the Football Association in the matter of what they see as a gross injustice, whereby Leeds United have far cooler nicknames than Manchester’s second/third club.

The matter is being taken very seriously due to an outcry from distressed armchair owners the length and breadth of Cornwall and clear across to Milton Keynes.  A spokesman for Man U was quoted as saying “Some of our fans are very upset indeed.  They’ve heard Leeds United being referred to as “the Damned United” and even as “the Last Champions”, and they fear that these nicknames have a ring of cool credibility that our own branding sadly lacks.” But what about the traditional nicknames for Man U such as the Red Devils? “That’s a problem too,” said the spokesman, glumly. “Too many football fans from other clubs have sussed out that we originally nicked that from Salford RL when we re-branded and stopped being Newton Heath.  The realisation that we’re not the only, nor even the first United – that’s also come as a blow to many of our faithful Sky TV followers. There’s a lot of disillusion out there, especially now the team is so crap…”

The protest to the FA will contain a number of key proposals, including but not limited to new “Branding Fair Play” regulations.  “We’ll also be asking for a right of veto as to nicknames being applied to other clubs,” said our Man U contact. “Nicknames deemed by us as just too cool for anyone but our own Man U will be appropriated and patented as Man U copyright. Sadly, it’s too late for that with the two Leeds nicknames, they’re already solidly identified with that lot from Elland Road.  It’s not fair, it’s not right – but there’s not a lot even we can do about it.  But you tell me how we’re going to convince even our fans that we’re the biggest and greatest in the world when we don’t have the biggest stadium, the most fans, the most money, a winning team – and now we don’t even have the coolest nicknames??  It’s JUST NOT FAIR. Time was we could do what we wanted…”

At this point, the spokesman tailed off, sobbed a little and flounced off for a lie down – but an FA source was able to confirm for us that an Official Whinge had indeed been lodged.  “We are considering the matter,” the FA stated. “Frankly, we feel we should help Man U in this, if at all possible.  We’re aware that our referees haven’t perhaps been as co-operative this season as they have been in the past – and we’ve all been a bit at sea since S’ralex stepped down as Supreme Commander.  We’ll certainly look sympathetically on whatever representations are made to us.”

A Man U supporters group had been prepared to talk to us, but changed their intentions at the last minute after we advised them we’d have to reveal they are based in Kent.  They issued a short statement which read: “We have quite enough people taking the piss out of us already without all this, thanks very much.”

When we contacted Leeds United, they were slightly more forthcoming: “We have no objection to being known as “The Damned United” if that’s what people out there want to do,” we were told. “Furthermore, we can confirm that, as everyone knows, we are the Last Champions and that we’re also the only Damned United worth bothering about, my friend.”

Ticket tout Bobby Charlton is 103.

If You Love Leeds United, You SHOULD Sign this Petition – by Rob Atkinson

Shaun Harvey: pisspoor

Shaun Harvey of the FL: pisspoor

I wrote an article the other day, about why the Football League’s pisspoor and incompetently applied “Fit & Proper Test” should not apply retrospectively to a man in post who has comprehensively demonstrated that he is the best thing to happen to his Football Club in many a month of Sundays.

The club is, of course, Leeds United and the man is our very own Massimo Cellino, genius, nutter and saviour of us all. Now there is a petition calling upon the bewildered old men and corrupt younger ones who make up the Football League, under the dubious leadership of the appalling Shaun Harvey, to see sense in this matter and leave well alone.

If ever there was a time for the supporters of Leeds United – those who can see the good that Big Mass has done anyway – to band together and act collectively, this is IT. Please read, sign and share the petition by clicking HERE.

It’s highly likely that Cellino and his legal team will be able to thwart the FL as they did before. But it is for us, the fans, to make ourselves heard too. One way of doing that is to get this petition supported, in numbers as great as possible.

Please READ this, SIGN it and SHARE it among as many fellow supporters of Leeds United as possible.

Let the buffoons of the Football League know that they are in for a real fight.

Can Darko’s Leeds Cope with the “Cup Final” Mentality of Local Rivals Rotherham? – by Rob Atkinson

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Huddersfield’s low-key celebrations after edging out Leeds

In the wake of Leeds United’s recent failures on the road against inferior local opposition, it’s well past time to take stock of the problem behind this unwelcome phenomenon, which is set fair to drag us down and keep us away from the top level –  if it continues as it has in past campaigns. It’s to be hoped that, in the new Darko Milanic era, things might be different. There were some promising signs against the Wendies the other week, but away from home against pumped-up (yet lower-class) opposition, some fight is what’s sorely needed.

Firstly, let’s put to bed any foolish suggestion that the local opposition aren’t inferior. They are – by definition.  Leeds do not and never have in living memory played local derbies where they are the underdog in terms of club size and history.  We’ve been the biggest club in Yorkshire – by far the biggest, and the only one with a global profile – for the last fifty years plus. Whatever the relative squad merits – and for 90% of the time, Leeds have possessed demonstrably more accomplished players too – any meeting between Leeds and a smaller Yorkshire club has seen the Elland Road outfit cast as Goliath to some horrible, backstreet David. The real question is – does such superiority of status confer any advantage at all?  The answer to that would appear to be a resounding No, and a reminder that, horrible and provincial though David might have been, he still gave Goliath one in the eye.

The extent of the problem may be brought into focus simply by comparing two different sets of results over the past few years.  If you look at league games against other Yorkshire teams, together with a selection of upstarts around the country who have a similar chip on the shoulder, as compared with our reasonably regular Cup meetings with Premier League clubs over the past three or four years, the contrast is startling – and it says a lot about what it has taken to motivate our white-shirted heroes.

Taking league games first, and looking at the locals – the likes of Barnsley, the Sheffield clubs, Huddersfield and Hull, together with self-appointed rivals like Millwall – the results have been unacceptably bad.  Barnsley in particular have visited embarrassment upon us in match after match, often by a significant margin, whilst keeling over to most other clubs and usually only escaping relegation by the skin of their teeth, prior to their welcome demise last year.  Our relatively close West Yorkshire neighbours Huddersfield are nearly as bad for our health. The other season, these two clubs met on the last day, and over the course of ninety minutes, first one and then the other seemed doomed to the drop.  In the end, both escaped because of events elsewhere – and what did both sets of fans do to celebrate their shared reprieve?  Why, they joined together in a rousing chorus of “We all hate Leeds scum” of course.  This tells you all you need to know about what motivates such dire and blinkered clubs – but at least the motivation is there.

And the motivation is there for Leeds United, too – just not, seemingly, on those bread-and-butter league occasions when we need it.  What seems to turn your average Leeds United player on over the past few years, is the glamour of the Cup – either domestic cup will do, apparently.  Results and performances in these games have left bewildered fans scratching their heads and wondering how such high achievers can then go on to perform so miserably against the envious pariahs from down the road in Cleckhuddersfax.  Look at the results – going back to League One days.  A narrow home defeat to Liverpool in the League Cup when by common consent we should have won and Snoddy ripped them up from wide areas.  The famous win at Man U when we went to the Theatre of Hollow Myths and showed neither fear nor respect in dumping the Pride of Devon out of the FA Cup.  Draws at Spurs and Arsenal, beating Spurs, Gareth Bale and all, at Elland Road.  Beating other Premier League sides such as Everton and Southampton in games that had you wondering which was the higher status club.  Great occasions – but of course we haven’t the squad to go through and win a cup, so these achievements ultimately gain us little but pride. And, naturally, when we draw a Yorkshire “rival” away in a Cup, we contrive to lose embarrassingly as per Bratfud earlier this season. It’s just not good enough.

Often we will sing to daft smaller clubs’ fans about the Leeds fixtures being their Cup Finals, but this is becoming a joke very much against us.  The teams concerned seem to take the Cup Final thing literally, they get highly motivated, roll their metaphorical sleeves up, the veins in their temples start to throb and the battle cry is sounded.  Their fans, normally present in miserable numbers, are out in force – and they are demanding superhuman endeavour.  Faced with this, too many Leeds teams over the past few years have simply failed to find a comparable level of commitment and effort.  There’s no excuse for that – it has meant we’re almost starting off a goal down – even when we swiftly go a goal up.

The sheer number of local derbies will count against a team which allows itself to suffer this disadvantage, this moral weakness.  For Leeds, since we came back to the second tier, there has usually been one Sheffield or another, usually Barnsley or Huddersfield or Hull, Middlesbrough perhaps – even the just-over-the-border outfits like Oldham and Burnley feel the same ambition and desire to slay the Mighty Leeds.  It amounts to a sizeable chunk of a season’s fixtures – if you fail to perform in these, then you’re struggling.  The pressure is then on to get results against the better teams at the top end of the table, and we don’t fare too well there either.

It’s easy to say that it’s a matter of getting better players.  Largely that’s true.  But we’ve usually had better players than these annoying little Davids, and yet the slingshot has still flown accurately right into Goliath’s eye and knocked us over. Professional football is a game of attitude, motivation, mental readiness to match the opposition and earn the right to make your higher quality tell.  This, over a number of years, is what Leeds United have signally failed to do.

Can it change?  Well, so far this season we’ve played Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield at home  – plus Millwall, who qualify as a southern member of the chip on the shoulder brigade, away.  We’ve four points out of nine to show from that little lot, which is the difference between our current position and sixth – in the play-off zone.  Even three of those lost five points would see us just a point off the top six places.  And the thing is, ALL of those games were distinctly winnable, so it’s no pipe-dream to look at where we might have been.  The difference is down to attitude; our opponents have had it and – with the notable exception of the Huddersfield performance – we simply haven’t.

It’s a sobering message at this stage of the season, with only three such games played – and plenty more to come.  But it’s a message that should be heeded, or the effect on our season will become more profound as it goes on.  The potential is there for us to take advantage of games against inferior but highly-motivated opposition, to match the attitude of these teams and to reap our rewards.  The failure to do this will see us endure yet another season of under-achievement. We have to overcome the “Cup Final Mentality” of certain other clubs, mainly those in Yorkshire but elsewhere too.

The Rotherham game next Friday night is an ideal opportunity for this new, tougher mental attitude to kick in. Again, we have small local rivals who nurse a fierce and unrequited hatred of Leeds United – and they have the odd old boy in their ranks as well as a wily manager who has been busily bigging us up. Our heroes will include a number of quite new foreign signings, who may still be a little wide-eyed and naive on occasions like this. So the ingredients are all there for the relative big boys of Leeds to turn up, find the environment not to their liking – and roll over once again in abject surrender. Please, let it not be so.

Leeds United –  you just need to get psyched-up and go out to win some of these pesky and troublesome “Cup Finals”.  Darko can inculcate his principles and make a pretty pattern of play – but when blood and guts are needed, some fight and some grit – then it really is up to you lads who wear the shirt we’d all of us out here be willing to walk on hot coals for. 

“Fit & Proper Test” Should NOT Apply to Leeds Chief Cellino – by Rob Atkinson

Cellino - here to stay

Cellino – here to stay

There are still rumblings of thwarted frustration emanating from the lair of the Football League’s assorted mandarins, buffoons and early-onset Alzheimer’s cases. The discontent surrounding this misbegotten cabal of power-mad crumblies dates from their humiliating reverse at the hands of Massimo Cellino’s legal team, as he successfully fought their original decision to bar him from owning Leeds United. The League, represented by ex-Leeds CEO and serial football disaster Shaun Harvey, as well as the son of convicted rapist Owen Oyston among other unsavoury characters, was forced to back down and rubber-stamp Cellino’s acquisition of Leeds, amid much grumbling and ill grace. It was always likely that, given the opportunity, they would return to stalk their quarry once again.

The persistent niggle which may yet afford that opportunity is the mention by the appeal judge of a possible imputation of dishonesty against Cellino when the full decision of the Italian court became available. This, he remarked, could once again leave Cellino open to disqualification under what is loosely known as the “Fit and Proper Test”. Rumours now abound that Sandra Lepore, the Italian judge in the Nélie tax avoidance case, has indeed found that our Massimo was more than merely naughty and misguided in his import duty dealings. Massimo’s legal men have been mobilised once more, declaring that the judgement is full of holes and that an appeal is inevitable. Meanwhile, the hapless oafs at the League have been unable to get a look at the alleged full judgement and have even had to resort to asking Cellino’s own lawyer for a copy. As if this mess were not messy enough, another court case is pending against Big Mass, so a further sullying of his reputation is not impossible – probably not even unlikely.

So, where does all this leave Massimo Cellino and his future as absolute ruler at Elland Road? Bang to rights, some would say. He’s been called dishonest, and the fit and proper test exists to exclude dishonest types (though not, apparently, convicted rapists). So, technically at least, Cellino could be held to account once again and ultimately forced to sell Leeds United, with all the enormously toxic fallout that situation would carry along with it. In reality, of course, things are unlikely to be so straightforward.

The most important consideration here and now is that Cellino is installed in LS11, that he is making all the decisions, for good or ill – and that he has already wrought enormous changes at Yorkshire’s premier club, with much, much more change in the pipeline. That much is indisputable fact. The ongoing revolution promises, but is not limited to, the repurchase of the Elland Road stadium, and its subsequent redevelopment, the building of a new training complex much closer to the club, the continuing reorganisation of the football side of things including transfer policy and, for all we know, the ongoing hiring and firing of several more coaches before Christmas (although plainly we’re not one of those awful Watford-type clubs that have already had half-a-dozen managers since August…)

It is the undeniable fact of Massimo being the man in possession that is crucial here. The “Fit and Proper Test”, by its own exacting conditions, is clearly intended to be a fail-safe tool whereby prospective owners and directors may be assessed ahead of assuming control, in the absence of any opportunity to see how they shape up in action. By that reckoning, Cellino should already be beyond the scope of such a precautionary measure. He has been in situ and extremely active – with a high degree of success, it must be said – for a good few months now. The financial state of the Football League’s most illustrious member club has been improved beyond all recognition; the squad has been revamped courtesy of some rather effective recruitment and at least one thieves’ bargain of a sale. In short, Cellino has dispensed with the need for any pre-emptive, anticipatory “Fit and Proper Test”, by the simple expedient of getting in and doing a fantastic job; he has shown that he is a fit and proper owner of Leeds United by dragging the club up by its bootstraps and improving things enormously, in a relatively short space of time. The future now looks bright for the Whites.

Whatever the technical ins and outs of the law, and of the poorly-drafted and incompetently-applied Football League test, it is this reality of the situation that is surely important now. Cellino has moved well beyond any need for “vetting”, an assessment before the fact of his suitability to own and run a Football League club. He has shown his competence and his enthusiasm – his passion for the job in hand. Leeds United today is a very different entity to the moribund hulk Cellino first walked into just a few months back, a club left half-dead by the year on year depredations of unscrupulous and self-serving men – not excluding the current League CEO. Cellino has almost single-handedly brought about that difference, by the force of his personality as much as by the not inconsiderable investment he has made in the club. There can be no more relevant and accurate assessment of fitness and propriety than this; the League’s pettifogging regulations have been transcended by fact and reality.

Should there now be a further attempt to oust Cellino, simply because a collection of prosaic paragraphs and sub-clauses says that there should be, then the interests of Leeds United and football in general would be extremely ill-served. The consequences would be as undesirable as they would be immense; a club of history and distinction could swiftly be reduced from its current state of rapidly recovering health, back onto the critical list, haemorrhaging money left, right and centre, tumbling down the league, with the Official Receiver once again licking his lips with relish. Is this what the Football League, with its implied duty of care, would wish for one of its member clubs? I ask you.

The answer to that last question could well be yes, as many a Leeds fan, pointing to the lessons of history and the various injustices heaped upon their beloved Whites, might gloomily agree. We will have to wait and see what the League, in their extremely finite wisdom, decide to do. But they need to tread carefully, lest they be open to charges of malice, bringing down disaster upon a national institution – just because they technically, possibly, can.

The situation at Leeds today is crystal clear. Massimo Cellino is in charge and he’s doing a good job. Massimo Cellino is proven to be a fit and proper Football League club owner, not least in the context of certain gentlemen who quite clearly aren’t, but who – bizarrely – are not being held to account.

Look at the real-life situation, Harvey & Co, and have a care. You can’t afford to look any more ridiculous than you already do, in the light of recent rather unwise public statements. Exercise a little discretion and leave well alone. Leave United alone. Cellino and Leeds are on the up. Let them get on with it.

Former Leeds Hero Kisnorbo Showing Ominous Signs of Heat Stroke – by Rob Atkinson

Paddy showing early signs of brain fatigue

Paddy showing early signs of brain fatigue

For the second time in a few days, this blog finds itself having to speculate on matters medical. Just recently, I was expressing concerns over Giuseppe Bellusci’s endangered coccyx as a result of his habit of making vertical landings on his tailbone after scoring for Leeds. Now, there is worrying evidence that former skipper Paddy Kisnorbo, currently plying his trade in the sun-drenched environment of his native Australia, may be suffering the effects of chronic heat exhaustion, a condition that can cause confusion, among other undesirable symptoms.

The root cause of this concern can be traced to Kissa’s bizarre recent statement that Ken Bates’ stewardship at the club was A Good Thing for all concerned and that, should the Evil Papa Smurf return to his former role as club despot, many would actually welcome him back. So ridiculous are these opinions – really, Paddy would have made more sense had he sat on a pork pie for a week saying “wibble” – that many are very worried about his state of mind, speculating that the intense heat in Melbourne may have actually melted his brain. Paddy’s cranium and its contents have been a cause for concern in the past, as witness a spectacular head injury whilst at Leeds and his long term use of a bonce bandage thereafter.

Kisnorbo was a genuine hero at Leeds, with the image of the bloodied warrior at the forefront of his fearsome reputation, endearing him to Leeds fans who famously appreciate those willing to shed blood for the cause. Only now is it becoming apparent that the damage may have been more serious than first thought. The long-term effects of a significant concussion, allied to later exposure to heat over a long period of time, can give rise to confusion as previously stated – and even to hallucinations; seeing or hearing things that aren’t true. This is the only feasible explanation for Paddy’s apparent conviction that Bates was anything other than a malign influence at Leeds and somebody who would be chased away by an angry mob, should he ever again darken the doorstep of Elland Road.

Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything wishes Paddy Kisnorbo a full recovery from what seems to be his currently troubled state of health – and we hope and trust that he will be seeing things more clearly again in the very near future.