Drip, Drip, Drip as the Water Torture Goes On for Leeds Fans – by Rob Atkinson


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Dear Mr Haigh – some answers, please

This blog has posed the question in the recent past: what exactly is holding up the latest Leeds United takeover?  But however earnest that enquiry was, I did think that by now there would have been some clarity, some answers – maybe even some of the oft-foretold good news after the dotting of i’s and the crossing of t’s. And then, we could move swiftly in the transfer market with still almost two weeks to go – and perhaps resurrect what is turning into another season of crushing disappointment.

But no. Instead of things getting better, they appear to be on the point of becoming worse.  Instead of some welcome clarity, all is obscured confusion, with rumour and counter-rumour flying about like lost souls in some Leeds fans’ purgatory.  After everything else that has gone on since our last real high point – promotion from League One in 2010 – this drawn-out continuation of unresolved anguish and uncertainty seems almost calculated to cause the maximum stress to anyone out here who loves the club, exposing us to ridicule after we’ve been heard to express optimism in the wake of this or that promise or optimistic smiley tweet from one or other of our prospective owners.

It wouldn’t be so bad if some of this incessant to-ing and fro-ing wasn’t avoidable.  If, for instance, we were just dealing with the inevitable complexities of due process that go along with any major deal, we could perhaps smile bravely and deal with it.  But it’s the coy little hints, the periodical hints and promises that elevate the situation from the mundane level of irritation and disappointment to a needless peak of exquisite cruelty.  Did we really need the Red Bull comments to tantalise is?  Do we really need to know about morning coffee with a billionaire if coffee is all it turns out to be??

Now we are getting indications that the whole thing might be about to collapse, having been previously assured that it would all be done early this window and that, in any event, any delay in completion would not hamper Brian in the transfer market.  And there’s the old refrain striking up again: “business is difficult to do in January”.  That, and the new doubts about the takeover endgame are vying with each other as to which negative piece of information can best sicken and dismay the loyal fans out here, waiting for something good to happen.

It seems likely now that this will drag on, until another transfer window has been safely negotiated with no inconveniently expensive signings, just a couple of loans.  Once again, the suits will be able to heave a sigh of relief.  The most significant announcements from the club lately have been of a sale in the club shops of cut price winter woollies.  Ring-a-ding ding.

It’s difficult sometimes to say – which is the worst aspect of this situation?  Supporting a club that has no apparent ambition to compete with the other clubs in the same division, smaller clubs that are forever out-stripping us in investment and the will to win?  Or being made mugs of time and time again?  Leeds United do not even appear to bother finding new excuses; refinements of the same old ones we’ve all heard before will apparently do, as far as they are concerned.  It’s enough to make the most loyal of fans angry.  I’m loyal, I have Leeds United engraved on my heart – but I’m spitting feathers at what the fans are being expected to put up with.

It’s time some for definitive statement to be made.  Clauses requiring discretion and confidentiality are all well and good, but they don’t address the morale of the fans, and they do nothing to ease the growing unrest and annoyance out here.  Players and staff come and go, even the stadium isn’t forever.  But the fans as a body are the continuous thread running through the history of the club.  We ARE Leeds United – so show us due respect and sort this embarrassing mess out – or at least treat us like adults, end this maddening drip, drip, drip water torture situation – and tell us what’s what.

That’s surely not too much to ask for, is it?

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35 responses to “Drip, Drip, Drip as the Water Torture Goes On for Leeds Fans – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Absolutely, spot on Rob! None of us are enjoying being proved correct to be suspicious of the fanfare the publicity surrounding TOMA2 generated in the media. Haigh appears to think that the fanbase are satisfied with platitudes. Sadly, this regime appear to be as adept at spin as the last lot.

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  2. It’s beyond ridiculous now, haigh clearly don’t have the money to buy the club let alone invest in the squad. If we end up with no additions and a squad that is 75% rubbish,then i can see Sam,Ross and Alex mowatt leaving in the summer. I don’t think i can stomach anymore “open letters” to the club on NewsNow either.

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  3. Its a bloody disgrace rob , I can’t help but think , as you have said , that all this talk of another interested party is nothing but an excuse , drag this out till the window is closed and then hold you’re hands up saying “its not our fault there’s no new signings”, its all too convinent if you ask me, and even if it is true this Italian is interested , who the hell wants him with his track record, he makes the cardiff and hull owners look like saints,,,
    Sort it out Leeds , we’re tired of the bullshit

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  4. Well said! Some honesty and clarity is no more than the fans deserve! These people involved in running or potentially running our club come and go and need to show more respect for the fans without who there would be no club!!

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  5. Rob, Leeds United, the real Leeds United is really the fans who endure! ER is precious, but it is a stadium, the players are transient, the managers are transient, the suits are transcient, but we endure. Do we want an Italian job doing on us, emphatically No! Haigh saved us from Bates, he ‘wrestled’ us from the jaws of ‘monster’ Now we have David Haigh, we have Andy Flowers, we could have Pearson. Leeds United needs rescuing now from GFH. Can David Haigh and the fans do it? We are Leeds United, not GFH!

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  6. I am sure this deal will go through.Yes it’s frustrating, as for others buying the club i think the process has come to far for it to collapse at this crucial stage.Would’nt it be amazing if we signed great players on the last day.Am i dreaming again like yorself Rob.I have come to the stage that i will try to keep calm and not slam the team or management.

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  7. Counte Of Monte Fisto

    To be honest Rob, it’s beyond a joke & I am losing interest fast. Even our biggest haters must admit we are an attractive investment.
    I don’t get the loss making comments unless it has something to do with Bates mortgaging season ticket money to syphon into his bank account before he left.
    We have a good average attendance paying upper end prices and as amazon showed last week amazing merchandising potential.
    OK we don’t own ER or TA but at £15-20m (ish) combined it’s barely 2 Jelavic’s in the premier league & the annual rent of £1m is less than 4 weeks wages for Shrek, so go up & it becomes no issue.
    The fact we are on sky more than the evil empire shows how much interest there is in us, after all who ever accused sky of a failure to commercialise every decision.
    So with a huge loyal (willing to be fleeced) fan base, a truly global name (still – although declining) & access to the largest 1 club city in the UK with good interest from the media (written and otherwise) why are we so hard to sell?
    To me Bates chose his successor well when he picked GFH, an investment bank full of unknown unaccountable (to us) investors after a quick buck. Haigh seems decent enough & has obviously had enough with the current restrictions but what’s gone so wrong so fast? it’s hard to view this without seeing the word GREED in front of your eyes.
    Other clubs get investors & by that I don’t mean Man City type investors (though some do) but at least investors who demonstrate an ability to fund their purchase on-going, Southampton, Forrest, Charlton, Reading, Leicester, MK Dons, Uddersfax, Bolton, Stoke, Wigan all have owners who put their own money into making their clubs bigger than they were when the acquired them.
    For us we get secrecy, spin, stumbling blocks, snags, delays etc. & end up without any more money to fund our growth even when the TOMA does eventually take place. WHY?
    Some muppets won’t understand my comments & will spout Ridsadale, slow build nonsense until they croak (which will be long before we are promoted at this rate).
    I just want to be able to compete with Wigan, Stoke, Blackburn, QPR, West Brom, Dull Tigers et all it’s not a lot to ask really is it?
    For us the long suffering we write off another transfer window, another season (lets hope we stay up) and hope (without any expectation) that next year will be better.
    BUT IT WON’T BE!

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    • Our wage bill is much too high for a club without parachute money. The budge was mostly filled by Warnock and that was subsidised by GFH (I’m sure it was previously said that they’d put about 10 million in). We could afford more, but there is indeed season ticket money, catering, any number of other expenses with fat consultancy fees to Bad Santa for arranging them, and so on, and any number of confidentiality agreements to go with them. It will all sort itself out – eventually.

      I did think this delay was down to the other League clubs. Now I think someone is trying to pul a fast one, perhaps having changed the terms of the deal at the last minute. Whether it’s Haigh or GFH, who knows?

      I note that it appears as if Haigh’s coffee date with whatshisname came to nothing, maybe he was counting on raising some more cash. Who knows. One day, if we’re lucky, fans will own some part of the club, and we’ll have a bit more transparency. I believe that’s what happens at Arsenal. But here and now, whoever owns the club, we aren’t going to know it all or be in charge of our own income for a few years. We can only hope for investment. And wait. And let Haigh know what we think of him for shooting his big mouth off so often about how BM will have this or that and we’ll have news.

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  8. oldcomrade

    Sorry Rob, i think you’re pissing into the wind with this one, recent history should have learned us that where our club is concerned, the paying public matter not one jot, everything is done under a cloak of secrecy and every now and then they throw us a small morsel, ie funds are in place for transfers, and we continue to fall for it. The club i have followed since 1962 is in the hands of people that have little or no regard for for the loyal fans, they have no intention of letting us in on whats going on. So we plod on behind them or walk away. Many will, but i dont want to. Leeds United has been part of my life for too long now, but the the uncertainty sure does hurt

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  9. LUFC is seen as a share or stock, has been passed around and has interested companies/individuals that are in the main, carpet baggers. History repeats itself. Cov, B’ham, Pompey and soon Blackburn. These people have no interest in the heartbeat or social relevance of clubs, just interested in buying at A and selling at B. The whole system of club purchase needs ratifying and proper due diligence should be overseen by the FA whose ‘right and proper persons’ charter seems to be failing on many levels.

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  10. David Smith

    Rob, thanks for the blog – I take the view if you don’t understand what the hell is going on, there is little hope for simple souls like myself who live hundreds of miles away ! It amazes me how little unofficial, but accurate information leaks out from Leeds’ HQ – particularly when in other walks of life, not least in politics, the newspapers are awash with news, scandal and diatribe !!

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  11. It’s all smoke and mirrors pr spin bullshit call it what you like this take over was never going to be sort before the transfer window closed just looking forward to all the bullshit come the first or second week of February panto season is 12 months long at Leeds and deep down we all love it just hope and pray me and my 12 year old lad can mot one day

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  12. Looks like its going tits up rob..every other club with takeover plans,complete theres in days,not at leeds.its pathetic really.only at leeds,could it take so long..i think its on the verge of collapse.

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  13. Reality Cheque

    Hi Rob, this is my first post on your site so hope that I manage to pass your stringent screening test !! I just wondered whether, having supported Leeds since 1968, I am the only fan concerned about the fact that initially three quarters and now half of David Haighs (gang of four?) consortium are too ashamed or embarrassed to have their names associated with our great club and prefer not to make their identities known publicly? Everyone seems to be offering the excuse (on their behalf) of them not wanting other clubs, player’s agents etc to know their true wealth which would inflate transfer fees. Perhaps we can be forgiven for daring to dream that these faceless guys are so loaded and have become so successful in the world of business by never having been able to do any hard bargaining or strong negotiation to broker amazing deals in the dog eat dog world of business??? Sorry, I don’t swallow any of that and was very suspicious from the details (or lack of) announced on 30th November concerning this proposed takeover. Personally, I cannot even begin to trust anyone who wishes to remain anonymous and faceless in relation to their involvement with our great club.

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    • I think it’s really that some of us don’t want BM’s funds made public, not the wealth of Haigh’s associates or their investment in the club. Why they have to hide their faces we can only guess. Bates is unlikely to be involved with them, but who else, who knows? Maybe only Haigh and Flowers are actually committed and the rest has been a bluff, with H&F hoping for committment that hasn’t been forthcoming.

      I don’t think any of us really trust them. We need what we once had, local business people running a properly organised club or, even better, what Portsmouth now have. But they went through worse than us to get it.

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  14. Well we going to wait till summer to get any new players, so I am going to wait till next season before I go E.R again.
    I stopped watching the games after Mad Max was sold and only stared going again this year so it will be wait and see.

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  15. LeedsBowyer

    What are you all moaning about? Haven’t you heard Noel Hunt has returned to fitness?? No pleasing some people…

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  16. me i think haigh is doin his best, i feel he has been the driving force behind everything using gfh merely as a tool to get his foot in the door. i firmly feel this second t/o was always haighs plan but his tool has now become a hindrance due to unwanted further outside interest. gfh have obviously put the stoppers on all deals but what makes me wonder is this.. the funding provided thus far by haigh/flowers.. surely this level of investment must have come with some form of exclusivity. if not it could have been a grave error in judgement of gfh’s loyalties and may see haigh and gfh parting company sometime soon
    ..

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  17. Some great comments on Robs very good article, looks like we’re being shafted again.
    Has the Italian gazumped Haighs consortium?
    Who are the members of Haighs consortium? only Flowers is known.
    Does Ken secretly own GFH? It wouldn’t bloody we’ll surprise me.

    My next scheduled trip to ER (500 miles ) is the Charlton game, buying tickets on pay day but right now I’m wondering if I should save my brass. Well over 100 quid for me specially as I pick my nephew up to prevent him going over to the dark side.
    Depressed, or what?
    MOT

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  18. David Lambert

    Hi Rob. I have had the pleasure of reading your page for some time now and I, like all true supporters, share your pain in the bad times, and joy in the good. In fact, i would liken reading your observations, occasional political rants and opinions, as therapy. However, and this is not down to the colour scheme as i personally wish that we would return to the traditional yellow away shirt ( but that is for another day ) but due to the white and blue striping down the page and my questionable eyesight i tend to lose much of the print in the blue stripe.on the background. For the good of my sanity, please can you tweek the wallpaper a little ?
    MOT .

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  19. And now another often mentioned ‘target’ has joined another club…Billy Sharp gone to Donny for rest of the season.

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  20. We should all light torches and mot to the old windmill or Elland Rd and voice our concerns.

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  21. David Lambert

    Thanks for your understanding of the dire situation of a fellow supporter.This goes some way to providing evidence that open and honest communication provides much towards reaching your goals. TAKE NOTE CURRENT OWNERS AND SUITORS should you deem it fit to reach out to your core income and investment, let us not forget that when you purchase a company you take its assets as well as its debts.The core to increasing any company, is to increase its assets. So given that the supporter base is instrumental in providing non corporate income, and in a one team city, where a premier league Leeds United can provide one of the largest match day followings in this and numerous other countries elite leagues, it would be wise, to not only listen, but to remember that, sometimes, you need to talk. And this takes us full circle, back to the initial note. And so, to end my first opinionated post, always remember, many owners have come and many gone, some good, some bad, and some, at the very least, borderline criminal, the one thing that never goes away, is the spirit hope and belief, that is within the very DNA of every true Leeds supporter. A final word to my fellow scribblers on this site, no matter who owns our great club, WE are Leeds, just like the song says.
    MOT

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  22. If nothing has happened by tuesday, there is no way i’ll be going to the ipswich game,by that i mean takeover complete and at least one player in. I would urge others to do the same,otherwise the same old excuses come out and we’ll never have change. Now haigh has stated this week that funds are indeed available to BM, yet nothing has happened so someone is lying. Don’t stand (or sit) for it people,force their hand.

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    • It’s got to come to this; voting with our feet. You never know though, it may be a full takeover, new players and complimentary ‎Ricotta Gnocchi con vino for all by then…

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      • Quite possibly and i wouldn’t say no to a half time anchovy pizza either,but i’ll show my a–e in harvey nicks window if anyone takes over before the end of the month. Personally i’d rather have that Italian as owner rather than a tory.

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  23. The ownership history of our club, from Ridsdale (post-brainfade) through Krasner/admin/CVA/Forward Sports Fund/Bates/Chateau Fiduciaire/BVI/discretionary trusts/GFH(C)/ to the current TOMA2 fiasco, has brought very little except derision and shame upon the name of Leeds United. Interestingly, both FFS and our alleged new buyers both have registered addresses as Post Office Boxes on the Cayman Islands, total size and population smaller than Anglesey… coincidence?
    The whole smiley twitter rubbish, coffees with squillionaires, assertions that Haigh has put in 6 mill (we’ve only got HIS word for that too), partnerships with Gridiron teams etc, it’s all airy-fairy stuff and annoyingly-so when the football on the pitch has turned to poo…

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  24. Alan Groves

    How are you ?? xx Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2014 12:40:45 +0000 To: kiaora09@hotmail.com

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