Silly Red Tape in Leeds Winger Stewart’s “Technicality” Deal Needs Cutting – by Rob Atkinson


Cameron Stewart in training for Leeds United

At last, success in the transfer market for Leeds United – a rare phenomenon for a January transfer window that has normally seen United fans with their noses pressed up against the window, on the outside looking in, as lesser clubs have managed to do deals our erstwhile owner Master Bates refused to sanction.  Those days are receding into the past now as a new atmosphere and a new attitude spreads throughout the club and the support.  Cameron Stewart is described as “highly regarded” and as a wide man with pace and a finish on him, he has to be a welcome addition to Brian’s sluggish squad.  It seems tolerably certain also that a second winger is to be added in the extremely near future, with Palace’s ex-Reading man and McDermott disciple Jimmy Kebe the name on everyone’s lips.  Ross McCormack let the “two signings” cat out of the bag in an incautious tweet which he then removed.  But expect Kebe, another injection of pace and creativity, to sign sometime on Friday.  Clearly, after so many tons of BS from Bates and Warnock, it’s a case of “No Bull Gives You Wingers”.


There is more than a slight annoyance though, over the Cameron Stewart deal.  We’ve signed him, in McDermott’s words, “on a technicality”.  What this means is that the lad has joined on a 93 day emergency loan, which we are told will rule him out of the last four league games of the season – as well as any play-off matches which we may yet just possibly be involved with.  This restriction is due to a rule about how many clubs a player can appear for in one season.  Because Stewart has played half a game for Hull, and has also played (and scored against Leeds) for Charlton this term, he cannot sign permanently for United in this window.  The emergency loan is the only way the deal could be done – and so we have this farcical situation where the winger will be unable to contribute to the very business end of the Leeds’ bid for promotion – if that is what it’s to be.

Now this, to me, is ridiculous.  Sure, you need rules – and this rule is presumably in place to prevent the daft situation of one player appearing in a bewildering variety of different shirts over one league season.  But rules should be our servants, not our masters – in other words they should be there to do a job, and not to cock things up that might otherwise have worked out for the best.  It is clearly Leeds United’s intention that Cameron Stewart will be a Whites player for the foreseeable future – the lad has evidently signed a 3 year deal which will commence in summer.  It’s equally clear that his involvement for Hull Tigers this term has been extremely marginal – one half of one game.  And yet because of this, it may well come about that Leeds will enter a play-offs campaign shorn of someone who could easily have established himself as the main United threat by then.  Not to put too fine a point on it, that sucks.

Common-Sense Dispensation

What this situation is crying out for is the football equivalent of a Papal Dispensation – some ultimate arbitration that can over-rule the sort of silliness created by the rules as they are being applied in this case.  Leeds United have done the right thing in getting the deal done by whatever means possible – if Brian McDermott wants the player, then that is the priority.  But now we need to be looking at either getting the 93 day period extended, citing unusual circumstances and the folly of having an important team member ruled out of the season’s climax – or alternatively, we should strongly request an ad hoc lifting of the “three clubs” rule.  Such a request would be based on the twin arguments that (a) Stewart has appeared for less than one full game for Hull, which is a negligible issue – and (b) a deal is actually in place which will see him become a permanent Leeds player in summer.  This is simply a common-sense argument, and there should always be latitude for the application of common-sense in any set of rules or regulations.

If such a solution could be found – and with the welter of legal eagles and sharp practice merchants surrounding any such deal, it can’t be beyond the wit of man to sort it out – then maybe some of the air of “they’ve always got it in for us”, which hangs permanently over Elland Road, may lift slightly.  I’m as paranoid as the next man, as any reader of this blog will confirm – but there is good reason for that.  Far too often in the past, Leeds have had the crappy end of the stick and have had to watch others being treated with comparative kid gloves.  Should the scenario of Stewart becoming our main man over the coming weeks act itself out, with the new winger firing us to play-off qualification with games to spare, then it would be to say the least controversial that he would have to put his feet up on the strength of half a game for Hull.  And if Leeds then go on to confirm their historical play-off ineptitude, yet another instance of injustice would be added to the club’s long list of grievances against officialdom.

Perhaps, after all, the authorities might look back on situations such as Leeds having to play for the Title only two days after winning the FA Cup in 1972 – and perhaps they may feel that this Stewart anomaly is a good chance to redress the balance a little.  They could even be reminded that rules have been waived in unusual circumstances before, so there is some precedent..  Man U were allowed to sign cup-tied players for their run to the FA Cup Final in 1958 in the wake of the Munich disaster.  Of course, the two situations are hardly comparable; then again, it shouldn’t take a tragedy for common-sense to come into play, and perhaps even the mandarins who rule the game might see this.  Let’s hope so – and let’s keep our fingers crossed for a rare instance whereby that precious commodity of common-sense prevails.


28 responses to “Silly Red Tape in Leeds Winger Stewart’s “Technicality” Deal Needs Cutting – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Hey Rob you caused my computer to crash by putting the FL and common sense in the same article. I agree with what you say entirely but since when did the authorities ever have sympathy with Leeds?


  2. Ambertigerfan

    Rob, in paragraph three you mention the club you are buying Stewart from as “Hull Tigers”. This is incorrect. There is no club by that name in existence! The club you are buying Stewart from is Hull City AFC, the name retained by the club for the last 109 years and still the correct name in use.

    On Stewart we found he was a player of many step overs, but not much substance. Hopefully you will get better value out of him.


  3. unfortunately ridiculous rules push people to extremes. They could have at least placed him on a recall loan until the end of the month and then entered into a new loan This would have added up to three weeks.


  4. get up and moderate!


  5. Well you’ve thrown a completly different light on things rob , I went to bed last night and slept like a babe dreaming of a play off final win against QPR , Stewart was dancing and jinking down one wing and kebe down the other , Ross mac was on fire with all the service he was getting and Murphy was in the middle dictating play ,, now I’ve woke up to this nightmare situation ,, thanks for shattering my dreams rob !!!


    • That’s what I’m here for Mr O 🙂


      • Mr orange

        On a serious note though , I had no idea that this 93 day rule thing would have these impications , to be honest I’d never bloody heard of it before this week , and the above senario coming into play is quite a worry


      • It’s a bureaucratic nightmare – solvable if someone just does a bit of positive thinking. I see Salem’s Twitter account smiled again overnight – wonder if that’s Kebe in the bag? That’s another loan, but this one will only turn permanent if we go up…

        But at least he can play in the play-offs!


      • Mr orange

        Yeah I think kebe is in the bag , I think they might even shock again this week by signing la fondre ,, fingers crossed ,, and by the way don’t you ever bloody sleep ?! 🙂


      • It’s one of those jobs where you work when you’re awake and sleep when you’re tired 🙂 I had many years of 9 to 5 and I don’t miss it a bit! When my book happens, it’ll mostly be night shifts…


  6. blah, blah, rant, rant. Tantrum, tantrum, blah, blah. Rinse and repeat.


    • That’s Paul’s little rant over with. I won’t trouble you all with the details, except to say his spelling isn’t improving and he appears to hate this blog a little more each day. He’s always at his sulkiest and most tearful after a Man U defeat, which is odd for a self-proclaimed “Leeds fan”.

      I love it when he addresses himself to other contributors as if there was any chance of his words making the cut. Poor deluded bugger. Still – he does give me the odd laugh 🙂


  7. I agree strongly with this article and wish to proffer another example of The World v LUFC: I seem to remember at the time being aggrieved by UEFA fast-tracking the suspension of Lee Bowyer immediately prior to our Champions League semi-final against Valencia, causing our (by far) most influential player to miss the game. Am I wrong about this? Obviously, with Bowyer available for the semi, we would have proceeded to the final, won that, and history would have had a different complexion as we would have qualified for the subsequent Champions League campaign. . . . . .


  8. It smacks of incompetence on the clubs, side though. How did nobody notice that Stewart had played for both Charlton AND Hull? When the tea lady goes out for provisions do they put Cameron Stewart on her list between the digestives and the semi skimmed and ask her to sort it out? I can’t help thinking there is a touch of the smoke with mirrors about all this talk about funds being available too. They’re both welcome additions obviously,but they’re loan signings. I wasn’t expecting a marquee signing but a decent sized tent signing will do.


  9. If this Stewart is such a certainty for the “next messiah” (or Messi) why don’t we sign him permanently NOW ?? Or is this just another FA rule aberration? No wait … its more LUFC BS !


  10. 53.3.12 The Executive shall have discretion to extend the maximum duration of 93 days for an Emergency Loan in extenuating circumstances, such circumstances to be determined in the Executive’s absolute discretion.

    There is space within that regulation for a “common sense rule”, at the Executive’s discretion of course.


    • Nice research, Shaun – I think that provision would do the job and I’d hope that one of our more persuasive types will look into it.


      • Just have to hope in the T/O no-one overly pissed off Mr. Harvey, since it all comes down to his discretion whether it’d be allowed or not.


      • Bloody hell – I was hoping you WERE Mr Harvey, and I’d be able to pull off a coup! 😉


  11. Mansabadman

    I am prepared to overlook this technicality if Stewart can help us start winning again. Plus Brian has plenty of time to plan for Stewart’s absence, which isn’t the case with injuries or suspensions.

    On a related note, HF blocked my latest response to his “angle” on the Kebe deal. For the record, nothing offensive here, he evidently just couldn’t think of a witty retort:

    “What is even stranger is Fat Sam’s decision to sign a League One player (Roger Johnson) on loan for his Cockney Wanderers! We all know they’re going to be relegated, but surely not even Fat Sam can take them down two divisions in one season?! Maybe he’s just planning for the future.”


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