Leeds United Chairman Nooruddin Explains “The Nature of Football” – by Rob Atkinson


The Chairman of Leeds United, Salah Nooruddin, is a man much occupied by weighty matters. Quite apart from his duties in the world of high finance, Mr Nooruddin now obviously has to attend to the day-to-day running of a still huge football club, though some might argue that he is approaching that task with the pragmatic aim of making of it a smaller one.

Mr Nooruddin took the time out of his busy schedule yesterday to grant an interview to the media, presumably prompted by rumblings of discontent among the supporters of a club that has consistently under-achieved in the past decade and which has seen last year’s takeover completed on a scale dwarfed by the likes of those at Manchester City or even Nottingham Forest.  Indeed, little Sheffield United down the M1 appear to have shown Leeds up by getting themselves a rich billionaire. So what’s going on at Leeds? Salah was kind enough to explain, in the simplest of terms, for the benefit of the uninitiated.

Firstly, on the manager Brian McDermott: “He’s the right man to take this club forward.” Hmmmm.  Well, we already knew that one, Salah.  Tell us something new.  The chairman then drew on his extensive knowledge of the professional game as he went on to cover the perilous ground of the club’s progress this season, explaining that we’d had a good start, but that it had turned around a little bit and that this was “the nature of football”. Again, all very illuminating – but is it the nitty-gritty we need to hear?  Those of us who have watched United for the past few decades are all too painfully aware of the nature of football as it applies to Leeds.  It may be summed up as constant depression with peaks of hope and short spells of achievement, but doomed to ultimate disappointment. There’s really no need for an investment banker lecturing us about the nature of football in order for even us bone-headed and unsophisticated fans to realise that.

Mr Nooruddin then proceeded to describe how manager and players are all still settling in and testing each other, a process that some will have noticed has been going on at clubs much higher up the league who have had the bad taste to invest heavily in players and wages.  “When we brought (Brian McDermott) in we were very happy about that. I think it’s been proven on and off the field here”, the chairman confirmed. “He’s done a good job and he’s trying to rebalance the squad. He takes account of the owners’ interests, the club’s interests and the players’ interests. So far we are very happy.” So far. Well, that’s good then.

After the defeat at Millwall, Mr Nooruddin had taken to the Twittersphere to provide a more immediate summary of his feelings as to that performance.  Stating that the club were trying to bring in a striker and a winger, he went on to aver that “the current squad should have won today”.  Again, this apparently profound knowledge of the world of professional football is not backed up by any body of evidence concerning Salah’s experience in anything but banking – but what is Twitter for if not for knee-jerk reactions to events beyond your control?

After yesterday’s interview, Mr Nooruddin may well be feeling quite content that he has acted decisively to mollify United’s notoriously touchy support.  On the other hand, there is the argument that some may find his less-than-qualified statements a little worrying. Bland and glib assertions about the “nature of football” will butter no parsnips, Mr Nooruddin should understand.  Neither will his less than forensic assessment of the current squad, leading to the slightly shaky conclusion that they should have beaten Millwall, impress those match-going fans who have seen it all before, who have heard hollow promises and lame excuses without number and who just want our manager to be provided with the tools he needs to carve himself a level playing field and have some chance of competing with the Leicesters, QPR’s and Burnleys of this world.  That doesn’t seem a lot to ask.

I’d be far more impressed with Mr Nooruddin if he avoided all attempts to speak learnedly, as one handing down knowledge from on high, about the matter of football. He should instead be reassuring the Leeds public that he and his fellow directors are listening to the football wisdom of Mr McDermott, taking on board his recommendations based on a lifetime of experience in the game – and then applying their own specialised financial knowledge and business acumen to the task of sorting out some wonga in order to realise Brian’s wishes for his squad.

Now that would be reassuring.


11 responses to “Leeds United Chairman Nooruddin Explains “The Nature of Football” – by Rob Atkinson

  1. How about an article listing and discussing the unwanted players at leeds? Such as when they’re contracts expire so we can have “one out, one in”. Norris, Pugh, Brown, Tongue, Drury/ White, Hall, Morrison… Also which players who are nearing the end of they’re contracts should we renew? Varney, Diouf, Warnock etc. Would give a great idea to wages available if we knew who was on the way out and when!


    • mrbigwheels

      Would be interesting to see that but…… a vision of all those penguins jumping off the edge into the sea….. has just flashed across my brow!.?.. Depressive.


      • mrbigwheels

        Yes…. Warnock did actually say… “I’m going to stuff that bastard Bates and his mates…. good and proper”.


  2. colin gill

    All very well for you to sit there with your cutting remarks, but answer this. When have you managed the running of a professional football club? Like a lot of kindred spirits you pass on your worldly expertise on all matters. Why not just leave it alone and let people get on with turning this club around, which will not happen overnight.


    • I haven’t managed a professional football club; I have that in common with Mr Nooruddin. So I refrain from pontificating about “the nature of football” if I possibly can. You keep wearing those comfy blinkers Colin, and carry on making cutting remarks about those who make cutting remarks. I take it the rain’s too nasty for you to go out and do something more productive.


  3. colin gill

    Actually that is what I thought you were doing, pontificating!!!


  4. Counte Of Monte fisto

    The apathy of many of our fan base is appalling. People like Colin are happy to to just let other people ‘get on’ with turning us around. ts the lack of visible getting on which I don’t like

    So when pray learned Colin can we expect the first deviation to occur on this turn from the current direction of under funded mid table also rans?

    Perhaps in Jan – oh no still in conversations with investors & that sort of thing. Perhaps summer of 2014 oh no GFH probably be too busy for that. Ok so what about Jan 2015, too cold again, summer 2016?

    Exactly how do we turn this pathetic squad (only Byram, possibly McCormack maybe in time Mowatt who could ever dream of playing in the lower ends of the EPL) into something competitive?

    The blind faith in GFH & belief that all who question are not fans but moaners is depressing.
    We aren’t talking about small tinkering here, our squad is RANCID from top to bottom, dreaming of 11 academy superstars is just insane. Look at EVERY club who has gone up recently they have ALL received some external funding on players at some point.

    So Coli


  5. Counte Of Monte fisto

    Spurred on by this I thought I would do a quick comparison
    22/12/2012 Leeds 2 – Boro 1 att 25,406 – position 12th
    Team Kenny, Byram, Tate Alan, Lees, Peltier, Green, Tonge, Norris, Thomas Jerome, Diouf, Becchio subs – Ashdown, Pearce, Varney, White, Brown, Somma, McCormack

    01/10/2013 Leeds 2 – Bournemouth 1 att 21,749 – position 11th
    Team Kenny, Peltier, Pearce, Lees, Warnock, Green, Austin, Mowatt, Tonge, McCormack, Hunt
    subs – Cairns, Murphy, Varney, Smith, Diouf, Byram, Poleon.

    So allowing for Boro having an extra 1.5k over Bmth what has changed since GFH took over 100%. Well we have roughly the same crowds and erm a bit worse team.
    Anyone would not swop Tonge & Hunt for Thomas and Becchio?

    So Col in nearly a year what exactly have GFH ‘got on’ with?
    Radio Leeds – 5 mins of Leeds the rest cleckuddersfax available within 1 mile of the ground. Reduced ticket prices – well thats worked, being nice to us rather than nasty – well i will give em that.

    So in summary – we still don’t own ER or TA (remeber a couple of months ago they said they were close to securing funds for that weren’t they), our squad is still crap, we inhabit the same space in the table 11th vs 12th, we have a new rancid kit, we charge people less & still get the same crowds so less revenue. So being nice to us is the sole success they have had so far. Worth the 9 months of due dilliegence alone eh


  6. Proper bruising journalism. At last. More please.

    I’m no accountant. In fact, I’ve always found anything to do with figures a bit of a mystery. Football finance, in particular. But there are things about GFH which, even to me, just don’t make sense. They’re a respected “Investment Bank”, apparently. So they obviously can’t openly plead poverty as the reason for their inaction. But if, as many are starting to believe, they really don’t have any ready cash in the vault, they presumably have speculator clients who do. And surely, what bigger incentive could there be, just now, than the prospect of tapping imto the Sky zillions? Possibly as soon as next season if the investment was big enough (say a 20-25% stake) and quick enough to put us at the front of the queue in the January transfer window. So why do we not get the impression that GFH is furiously beavering away, burning the midnight oil with potential investors to broker just such a deal? The clock’s ticking, chaps and, sooner or later, the top echelon will find a way of ring-fencing itself off from the rest of us.

    One other puzzle. how come our prudently austere owners can be so careless with whatever money they do have? As in “Ooh, look. What’s this down the back of the settee? No! It’s a million quid! Quick! Let’s blow the lot on that slow lad at Crewe!” And “Ooh, I don’t believe this! More lost quids behind the clock on the mantle! Not as many. But if we get a wriggle on, they might buy one of the ones at MU who didn’t get a squad number” And seriously, Guys, that’s exactly how it looked from the South Stand. No way to do business


  7. Sniffers shorts

    Well it’s simple lets hope ….. Did I say hope again …. We have learnt to live on hope ….. Mid to long term …. Do we have the faith anymore it’s wearing ruddy thin….. So BM has been given some funds and our chairman says money is not problem ….. The jungle drums I hear again major investment on the horizon ……. Is it all a mirage in our desert will the storm diminish and the sand settle ….. So we can find the grail the treasure and be gold and shiny once more ……. We will all watch this space ………


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