Leeds “Fans” Tweet Horrific Silvestri Family Death Threats   –   by Rob Atkinson

United 'keeper Marco Silvestri - targeted by cowards

United ‘keeper Marco Silvestri – targeted by moronic cowards

Football is about the players and it’s also about the supporters; a lot of the appeal of the game is based on the on-field battle between two teams of players – as well as the off-field rivalry, often raucous and profane, between two rabidly opposed sets of fans. 

But there’s also that vexatious relationship between the players of any particular team and the supporters of the club those players turn out for. That’s always been an interesting dynamic to say the least – you often hear players say that their fans’ support is worth an extra man, or a goal start. This has often been the case at Leeds United in particular, where the fervour and volume of support, the sheer intensity of the fans, has traditionally been of legendary proportions.

Nowadays, though, there’s an extra dimension to that fan/player interaction. It used to be about massed chants and acres of swaying scarves on the Kop. The nearest a fan got to any one-to-one repartee was perhaps a supporters’ club function. All that changed with the advent of social media. Now, fans can make their views known to a wide audience via blogs and the ubiquitous Internet forum. Or they can get up close and personal, by tweeting their views directly to their heroes @Twitter. Often, this can be productive and useful, or at least funny and entertaining.

But unfortunately, there’s always the odd one or two that go way too far and cross the line. And that’s happened this week, in the wake of Leeds United’s late surrender of two points at Bristol City

There are those who feel that United ‘keeper Marco Silvestri was not entirely free of blame in at least one of City’s two last-gasp goals. Fair enough, it’s a point of view that I can relate to. And the opportunity is clearly there, in these instant communication times, to get your frustration and annoyance out there. The replacement of Silvestri by Ross Turnbull was strongly mooted. Nothing wrong with that, we all have our opinions. 

But – actual death threats, aimed at Silvestri and his family? Tweeting that you hope the Leeds ‘keeper crashes his car and dies? Really?? What on earth motivates people – even assuming that they’re clueless, attention-seeking kids – what could possibly move any human being deliberately to visit such chilling and malicious filth on another human being – all because something went awry in a game of football? Note the Twitter handles well: @billylufc_ and @akawhatadave – let’s hope they can be shamed as well as named.

Two sick products of two warped minds

Two sick products of two warped minds

And there I shall stop speculating on whatever mental process led up to the publication of such tawdry, irresponsible rubbish. It simply beats me that anyone could even imagine doing such a thing. To try and figure out the motivations behind this perversion is surely a hopeless task. We’re talking about diseased minds here, and profoundly inadequate personalities

The main point, surely, is that the player or players targeted by such evil rubbish should be protected from it in the future. This is not a case of “sticks and stones“. Direct threats in particular have to be taken seriously, lest someone should fall tragically foul of that one in ten thousand case where the sicko actually means it, and acts accordingly. And when players’ families are involved, it’s all the more important to take a very stern line where at all possible. 

Idiots on Twitter have felt the weight of the law in the past, and this should definitely be the aim in the cases highlighted here as well as any similar cases. Leeds United have a responsibility to report the matter, fans’ groups should be seeking to assist in this, and the police should investigate and act without delay. It’s not beyond the wit of man to hold these nasty little people to account, and to leave them in no doubt that they’ve made a serious error of judgement; that such unsavoury behaviour will not be tolerated. 

Sadly, at least one prominent Leeds fans’ publication, The Square Ball, seem very reticent about requests that they should condemn these vicious tweets and assist in the ostracism of those responsible. This blog is at a loss to understand what appears to be a head-in-the-sand stance from such a respected publication. Perhaps they will have second and better thoughts. Please. 

In the meantime, Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything calls upon Leeds United AFC, the Football authorities and the police to act with all speed and vigour, in order to ensure there is no repetition of such extreme unpleasantness. All decent fans of Leeds, and indeed of Football and sport in general, will surely wish to condemn the offenders and see them pulled up short. 

It’s not a pleasant subject to write or to read about. But there is no place for squeamishness here, nor for faint hearts, nor elastic principles. The players and their families must be sheltered from the kind of evil inherent in the examples you see above.

That, surely, is something we can all agree on. 

19 responses to “Leeds “Fans” Tweet Horrific Silvestri Family Death Threats   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. The great Bill Shankly was quoted “life and death? no it’s more important than that”. With my Tony Hancock hat on I may, just may, pull a face at a result but to twitter what these “twits” have said beggars belief. Shame on them.


  2. johnnybangkok

    Well said Rob. I for one, totally agree with you


  3. Words fail me rob ,, it makes me ashamed to be in some way associated with these dick heads


  4. Belfast White

    Could not agree more Rob.


  5. Our players shouldn’t be on Twatter, it’s a place for insecure people to go and get their kicks by abusing or scoring points over others. For me any celebrity is asking for trouble being on twitter and I don’t think it helps our team at all. Twatters negatives far outweigh its positives ….. Grayson had the right idea


  6. Totally agree with your suggestions Rob … for the first time in over 55 years of supporting Leeds United, I felt ashamed to be associated with these vile animals. they should be traced, prosecuted and be given a lifelong ban from ER, enforced by having an electronic chip implant in their respective necks that goes off when they try to pass through the turnstiles, just like cats or dogs.


  7. KeeefflyWhite

    100% agree. It is sickening what some of these morons tweet and I would not like to be associated with them or them to be associated with Leeds United.
    Players should be allowed to interact on social media without being subjected to these sort of vile messages.
    I do not understand what these sorry excuses for fans get out of such actions. Does it make them feel big? They are just pathetic.
    I am sure that every club has the same element, I have no idea, I don’t follow anyone else, but we do seem to attract our fair share of cretins.
    But it has to be said that I saw many messages of support on Silvestri’s Mrs’ twitter account, condemning the actions of the few.
    How can you stop it? You can’t. Unless there is a direct threat, rather than a ‘I hope you die…’, nothing can be done. But I do thing the club should name and shame on the video screen at each home game and invite the true supporters to show what they think of them. Though some of these idiots would probably get off on that.


  8. It’s a sad world we live in sometimes. I wander if they would have the guts to say it to the players face in person. I think probably not.


  9. Swiss Martin (MOT Basel whites)

    Call me old fashioned, but as they put their pictures and who they are on it, shouldnt arrests be within the hour?
    I know Ive been out of the country a while and I heard the apptitude tests for ebtering the police force in the UK were brought down a level, but shouldnt this be an easy one towards upping the arrest rates of West yorkshires finest?


  10. Ilkleywhite

    Total idiots to write such spiteful comments and total lunacy, its only a game of football after all, everyone makes mistakes, and to blame one person is totally unfair, these are the people that cause major problems at the club, sometimes its supporters of other teams, as you say probably kids, knowing that they can get to someone via social media is a real buzz for them, they are jealous, and I once met up with David Beckham (yes I am a Leeds fan) and he said the most spiteful thing that had ever happened to him was when he was playing for England and walking off the pitch someone said they hoped the baby died of cancer, what was the problem? England had lost 1-0 to Germany, so its not a new problem, there has always been people willing to criticize the slightest error, and having a go, they get excitement out of doing so, social media makes it a platform to do just that, having said that, anyone who writes disgusting or hateful comments should be tracked down and punished, it is not acceptable to wish the death of people on social media, Facebook and Twitter should also ban people who write offensive comments, and on another note, lets hope Marco’s confidence isn’t undermined and he has a good season.


  11. Simon Clarkson

    Bang on the money Rob, these vacuous idiots use the anonymity of twitter to spread hatred in all its vilest forms. I hope they are prosecuted to show others who may be tempted to tweet such filth there are consequences to their actions.


  12. I encounter all manner of issues brought about by Twitter and Facebook ( in fact all aspects of social media) due to my line of work.
    As a result I have acquired an acute distaste for it all.
    It took a huge step for me to venture to offer my thoughts on here.
    I despise the way people use such forums to cowardly attack from afar in the belief they are safe and immune from reprisal.
    In regard to Silvestri…have they never had a bad day at the office? Do they think he played poorly on purpose?
    A distinct lack of judgement and or intelligence has been shown by those “fans” . Let’s hope they are learning a lesson from this thread of yours…but my experience tells me not.


  13. Three games in and this is what we get. This is all you need to unsettle a team. Sign of the times when I remember the kop at Anfield singing Careless Hands. Pathetic


  14. I love Silvestri i really do and if those cretins who tweeted the death threats to him and his family are actually affiliated to my team team then they can feck off away from Elland road. There is a chance however in this current climate of imposters (Jeremy Corbyn springs to mind) that it could be some equally demented troll. Like all TRUE football fans i despise these nutjobs and their bullying. Just as i despise photos posted on the internet of children crying after their team was relegated just to incite local rivals. Equally despicable.


  15. Mr Rearguard

    Too many Leeds fans attending Elland Road fixtures gazing at their facking phones! It’s only 90 minutes (100 if you’re a scum supporter chasing an equalizer) so leave the ruddy blower and get behind the team!


  16. Amazing how many brave keyboard warriors there are. I hope they get nicked! So yes,Silvestri was at fault but nothing excuses this.


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