Different Rules Apply for the Damned United and the Blessed Man U – by Rob Atkinson


Damned United

The title of this blog is, of course, an exercise in the bleedin’ obvious. We all know only too well that there is a Damned United and a Blessed United. The media in this country drew that distinction long ago – the Damned shall be portrayed at all times in the harshest possible light, whilst for the Blessed, it shall be all soft focus, moonlight and roses, to a background of sweet music. So mote it be.

That’s what the media do, of course. They need their standby heroes and their polar opposite reliable villains; shades of grey are a little too subtle for their target audience. The public they’re catering to is, for the most part, easily led and uncritical. Thinking is not the occupation of choice for most of that vast audience out there so, OK – the papers and the broadcast media will do the thinking, and they’ll tell the people what to think.  The pity of it is that the people who actually run the game in this country go along so easily, all unprotesting, with the clichéd template used by those making the editorial decisions.

The vast difference in the treatment by the authorities of their perennial villains and their cherished angels has been illustrated yet again, in sharp focus, over recent weeks. At nasty, naughty Leeds United, they are 101 days into the reign of Massimo Cellino – or “Convicted Fraudster Massimo Cellino” as the gutter Red Tops like to refer to him. It’s been an interesting time at Elland Road, to say the least. Cellino has gone through the place like a dose of salts, employing the kind of hands-on approach that would put even a full-contact masseur to shame. Dead wood has been cut out, there has been a detailed inventory of the club at all levels, malign influences have been neutralised – even the secret cameras in the bogs and the boardroom have been binned. Now, the new Don of Elland Road is embarking upon a player recruitment campaign in the wake of mugging Fulham FC out of £11 million for a flash-in-the-pan, disinterested and somewhat stroppy Scottish striker.

Many are now saying that Signor Cellino is the best thing to hit LS11 in several decades – yet this is the man the Football League were determined to bar from any involvement in Leeds United, preferring to leave our ailing club to the tender mercies of GFH Capital, whose erstwhile football CEO now languishes in a Dubai jail.  The League did their level best to hound Cellino from these shores, even as they turned a blind eye and cocked a deaf ear to some fairly horrendous wrongdoings elsewhere.  So Blackpool’s rapist director was left unmolested, and Birmingham’s jailed money-launderer was spared any undue attention – but Cellino was pursued with unseemly vigour by the spiteful old men of Preston, Lancashire. Fortunately, the Italian’s legal team knew far too much for the superannuated dolts of the League and he was able to take charge of a football club that sorely needed him, with results we are now beginning to see. But official resentment over that judicial defeat still simmers – and they’ll be out to get Big Mass, if they possibly can.

Meanwhile, over there on the wrong side of the Pennines, an even hotter resentment curdles still over the surprisingly stiff start to last season’s League programme for football’s darlings The Pride of Devon, the one and only Mighty Manchester United themselves.  As I wrote on October 6th last, Man U were positively seething about the relatively difficult early fixtures and – naturally – they complained loud and long, which is what they always do. My satirical spin on the matter was that the League would – equally naturally – lean over backwards to redress the balance for football’s most petulant club. Well, it turned out that I was actually a bit of a prophet, even though I thought I was merely poking fun.

This year’s opening fixtures for the Pride of Devon, you see, are a model of discreet gentleness, an opening six games designed to give Wapping’s Wondermen a maximum 18 out of 18 points fillip to get their season off to just the right start.  Man U face all three promoted teams in that initial phase of the season – Burnley, QPR and Leicester, together with Sunderland, West Ham, and Swansea – not one game against a team finishing in the top half last season. Now, what are the odds on that?? Is there a mathematician in the house??

Clearly, last season’s awkward start still rankles with somebody from the Theatre of Hollow Myths, and it has been made expressly clear that such a thing is not to happen again. True to form, the game’s so-called “ruling body” has rolled over onto its back, legs akimbo, and begged those nice people at Man U to have their way with it. There’s the standard stench of hypocrisy and favouritism about the whole thing, and absolutely no dignity, decency or integrity at all.  Plus ça change… 

The fact is, of course, that for all this breast-beating about how they get the kid-glove treatment, whilst we get the spiky knuckledusters – we probably wouldn’t want it any other way.  I mean – really – would we?  Do you fancy supporting a club that gets everything handed to them on a plate? A club that is open to accusations of crass ineptitude in any season where they don’t win absolutely everything? Not for me, thanks.

By the same token, there’s a kind of perverse satisfaction in supporting a team hated by the country’s media – swill-gobbling hacks to a man that they are – as well as by the supposed great and good in the corridors of power. For goodness sake, just look at these people – they quite literally do not have a clue. Would we even want the support and succour of such a bunch of muppets? I would respectfully submit: no, we most certainly would not. Leave that kind of patronage to Man U and their global throng of armchair supporters, their vast markets of tat-buying dunderheads from Torquay to Singapore. They know no better, they are not equipped to make judgements as to what is and what is not desirable in terms of who their “friends” are – however highly-placed.

No – this blog is quite clear in its own only slightly bitter and cynical mind; Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything would rather see our heroes in white tread the hard road than have everything smoothed over and made easy. It’s a question of self-respect and good taste, don’t you know. The only important thing is that these people should not think we’re sitting here all content, the wool pulled firmly over our eyes. We are not. We know exactly what is going on and, even if the Pride of Devon’s easy start and expected 18-point haul from their opening six games should gain them another unmerited title – we will know how it’s been accomplished. We’ll be watching the referees’ performances with our usual beady eye and, when we’re not fuming over the injustices perpetrated upon the Damned United, we’ll be pointing an accusing finger at every dodgy penalty and offside goal enjoyed by the despicable Chosen Ones.

So just think on. We’re onto you, and we know what you’re all about there, in your ivory towers. Watch it, that’s all. Just – watch it.

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45 responses to “Different Rules Apply for the Damned United and the Blessed Man U – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Hi rob, big mass comes in and wants to run the club his way, keeping it a tight knit outfit,picking players he likes & he’s hammered from pillar to post,crazy Italian …then you read the papers van haallllll wanting to do the same thing, he’s a genius,,scum loving tabloids ,,,MOT

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  2. Having seen their fixtures on sky news yesterday thought exactly the same thing, definitely smells a bit funny to me. Still way they played last year they could be some tough fixtures 😉

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    • We can but hope. Surely this season can’t equal last time around for the sheer, slapstick comedy of Man U’s plummet from their previous false position?? Fingers crossed and MOT

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  3. David Dean

    Interesting to see that Berlisconi’s conviction has been quashed today. Maybe Big Mass is right about Italian law, he is not actually guilty and his conviction will also be thrown out when the appeal is heard – probably that will be the real trial. Well written article Rob but upsetting. Hate to think things are so shit and these people involved in our beloved national sport are such corrupt, moronic bastards. Makes we feel like crying.

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  4. Hi Rob – here’s a stab at sorting out the odds of Man Utd’s first 6 fixtures! There are 19 other teams, and 10 of them were not in the top 10 last year, so the odds for the first fixture are 10/19 (there were 19 teams from which the fixture was chosen). For the 2nd fixture the choice is reduced to 9 out of the other 18 teams left – so 9/18. For the following fixtures the odds become 8/17, 7/16, 6/15 and 5/14. When the odds are one fraction followed by another (etc) you multiply the fractions together i.e. 10/19 x 9/18 x 8/17 x 7/16 x 6/15 x 5/14. I think this comes down to approx 1 chance out of 129 – less than 0.8%. But, of course, there was no fix to avoid complaints again!!
    I hope this is near enough right, and easy enough to follow!!!!

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    • Looks OK to me, but what do I know? Any other numerate types care to comment? Thanks Lincoln, MOT

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      • David Dean

        Clever calculations but odds are the same for whatever matches. 11 million to 1 to win the lottery. Same odds if you chose 123456 as your numbers or any random numbers. It could work against them, new players, new manager seeds of change – if not such a good start early doors against poor opposition we could all be kvellin!

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  5. Well written article, I enjoy your view of the world

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  6. The football league tried to block Cellino because Sean Harvey had a vested interest. He had been trying persuade GFH to sell to some Thai millionaire “friends” of Harvey’s, With cellino out of the picture the door would be left open to Harvey’s (buddies)……. but the courts decided otherwise and poor old Sean is probably poorer for it

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    • More likely Harvey and bates have some sort of scam going around the ownership of erland road and didn’t want cellino sticking his nose in.

      I still find it a strange coincidence cellino found them spy cameras and bates has that office above subway just within transmission distance.

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  7. you just hate Manchester United that much. not all fans abroad sit on armv
    chairs, or bound to them.

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  8. I hope LVG falls flat on his over botoxed face but it looks like the powers that be look certain to prevent that from happening again nice piece Rob

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  9. We all know the greybeards in Preston run shit scared from everything connected to Man U so it was only to be expected they would (try to) rectify their short-comings of last season, the only surprise here is they are so blatant with it, maybe they thought they could slip it in under the radar and it would be lost in among all the news about The Ukraine and Gaza, the fools, but there again we know that already, good article Rob, keep ’em coming, I really look forward to your blogs. PS you never know, maybe there is a god.

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  10. Hurt me a little when you mentioned the section of glory hunting people of Singapore as a significantly represented member of the scum-loving brigade. However do rejoice to know that there is a fanatic Leeds Utd fan here in Singapore who has continuously supported the mighty whites since even before we last won the old Division One. After the highs and lows, basement and gutter eternities, it’s great to see sunshine once again wearing white even with a bit of red and green 🙂

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  11. Red Rupert

    hello lads,

    Just a warm and heartfelt hello from the top of the tree here. Nice to see you’re still obsessed with the Reds. Don’t let it upset you and just focus on your real rivals in the distress zone.I’m sure you all enjoyed our unprecedented slip in the PL last year. Just a little aberration but still a long way out of reach for you lot. Anyway, back to normal winning ways again now for us. Enjoy…….oh, and not forgetting to wish you luck in your upcoming challenges vs Rotherham, Bournemouth and Accrington. Nice to talk – had forgotten all about you, actually.

    love as always

    🙂

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  12. NorthLeedsWhites

    But didn’t we (rightfully) laugh at Big Moyesey last season for moaning about Man United’s tough start to the season, and say that it made no difference to their overall points haul in the end as they had to play everyone in the league anyway? I’m not sure what the difference is here. They have a pretty easy start but they still have to play Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool.

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    • Momentum, confidence — it DOES make a difference. But over the season I’m sure they’ll be outclassed.

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      • NorthLeedsWhites

        Which will make their defeats even funnier, because the way they’re carrying on, you’d think they’re going to win every single game. Expectations for them are higher than when Moyes went to them.

        They should learn from us that getting an experienced manager with a decent CV in isn’t a guaranteed solution to their problems!

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  13. Mackdownunder

    We are Leeds and proud stuff the rest.

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  14. Mirfieldwhite

    Alright rob. Bit tough with an eight pint hangover but here goes. I think chances of them playing a top ten side first game are evens. One in two. Second games times that by two gives you four etc. I reckon 64-1. I also think they may just be the new spurs. Throwing money at expensive names and hoping for the best. More importantly I think big massi C is turning the job around. I like the guy and his passion for football is there for all to see. Delighted to see McCormack go. Best transfer deal ever at elland road ? As a side note my mate got invited to the leeds golf day. He was chuffed to bits , his mates were treating him and were plAying with McCormack. The day cost them a fortune but they are mad leeds fans. McCormack walked in after 4 holes because he was cold , and didn’t go to the night do. Says all you need to know about him really. Mot.

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  15. EZYAU (Cornish dialect for those not brought up on pasties)

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  16. All too true Rob , and I love the way the scumbags have to stick their noses in and then try to make out we are off the radar . Ha ha !

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  17. I’m loving the cry babies picture, keep em coming Rob.
    MOT

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  18. Mike Durham

    Cracking article Rob, as ever..
    Yes,it certainly looks as if the plain brown envelopes have landed in PL offices once again! Still you have to take your hat off to Rupert ; his grammar is awfully good for an 8-yr old…..

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  19. Bitesyerlegs74

    Well said Rob. This won’t be the most articulate post you get today but we are LEEDS UNITED. . . . So the rest can just Fuck right off.

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  20. Michel Dyson

    Loved the article,a refreshing hatred of the pampered united. I really hope Van Gaal fails they really will panic then! It’s a digrace they have the easiest possible start. Fixtures should be drawn in lots on tv to avoid a scandalous advantage. If Man Ewe start well (and they should!),someone has to be held to account,the old fools who run the league!

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  21. Rob, send me that mock up photo at the end of your article I love it & want to post it on face book.

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  22. Got it, copied & pasted.

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  23. Batty the hero

    Brilliant blog I am looking forward to this season i can feel a real buzz in the air I hope that goes for us all ,negativity about Cellino by some fans is fair enough after what we have all been through but with new signings new regime the unknown I hope hope the crowds come back cause leeds on a buzz of confidence is the most intimidating grounds for opposing players in England and for our own players the roar on the attack will be better than any drug or quick money fix .

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  24. Thing that made me laugh. The dutch keeper giving all the verbals during the penalty shot out. All the media muppet types giving it “van haal can’t be having that at united, its just not the way, the fans demand they win the right way”

    Where’s I’m sat there thinking “oh shit this guys just right for the scum, another cheat and win at any cost type just like purple nose”

    Have these “experts” never seen the scum play, with neville, keane, giggs, evra, etc.. waving their arms about and chasing the referee half the length of the pitch, or shrek catching the eye of a granny in the crowd, tripping over his fat arse then crying for a penalty?

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  25. More fucked off that adidas have bailed them out with that ridiculous sponsorship deal. They were in serious financial shit. Now they have a cushion for a few seasons where they don’t HAVE to qualify for Europe.

    Also I like adidas trainers, so im going to have to dump them and switch to puma instead, which is annoying.

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  26. Better to be hated than ignored.
    F*ck em all.

    🙂

    MOT

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  27. Let’s not forget though, those muppets chasing MC’s taxi out of the ground in January. We’re not short of our own armchair fans either, !00,000 applications for our last play off final, when we were averaging 22,000 gates for a lot of the season . You watch, if we’re not pulling trees up quick time, the usual moaning will start, a lot of it from the ‘bates saved us’ brigade . Give this bloke time and he will , I believe ,have us battling in the premiership and ALMOST filling ER . Leeds Per Sempri Ciao

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