Daily Archives: 16/02/2016

Leeds Utd Boss Evans Heralds Radical Shift in Transfer Policy – by Rob Atkinson

cellino-and-steve-evans

One of these men controversially wants to sign “good players”. No, really.

In a shock move that will sweep away well over a decade of tradition, Leeds United boss Steve Evans has signalled a sea-change in the Elland Road club’s transfer policy. Boldly, daringly even, Evans has stated his intent to depart from well-established practice and sign the type of player not seen in the United team for many a long year.

Always a man to speak his mind and think the unthinkable, the Leeds boss is quite explicit in his revolutionary plans – and these plans, remarkably, are already underway. For today, Steve Evans has  revealed that the Whites have held advance talks with summer targets that he controversially categorises as “good players“.

Clearly, Evans is aware that this would be a radical departure from normal practice at Leeds, but insists that these “good players”, bizarre as this might sound, can help to form a good team that can be contenders for promotion to the Premier League. “Good players can be central to competitive league performance”, maintained the ebullient Scot. “Don’t get me wrong, we’ve done OK with the players we’ve signed before. But there’s a school of thought out there which holds that there’s a place for good players in a winning manager’s strategy. That’s something I’m prepared to at least try.”

Leeds fans will be well aware that the club’s usual transfer policy is unsullied by words like “good”. Our squad has mainly been built on solid Yorkshire/Italian traditions characterised by words like “cheap”, “free”, “past-it” and “crap”. The abandonment of these sterling attributes will not be met by universal acclaim. One Elland Road insider expressed grave doubts in the wake of Evans’ controversial remarks. “Is not set in stone, my friend”, our source confided. “Good might mean expensive, for sell, not buy. Is like paying taxes – not necessarily way to go. You can buy a journeyman for your bench, but you can’t buy promotion, my friend.”

Some fans, too, remain unconvinced by this latest statement of transfer strategy. We interviewed a typical supporter as he headed for the White Hart for a lunchtime libation. “Pull the other one, lad”, quipped the cynical one, cynically. “We were promised a beautiful season and that seemed a bit unlikely. Now look what bloody happened there. Then we were told that we had the Sam Byram money, and more besides, to compete in the January transfer window. And what did we end up with – three million profit and chuffin’ Wootton at right back, that’s what. Now they say they’re going to sign “good players”. You bloody what?? That’s the biggest whopper I’ve heard yet, and I’ve interviewed Ken Bates.”

Steve Evans’ P45 is described as “pending”.

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Cellino: “I Speak For The Fans”… But Then Betrays Them?   –   by Rob Atkinson

…and stop lying to us, my friend

An exclusive report in yesterday’s Yorkshire Post, under the byline of Richard Sutcliffe, claims that Leeds United was offered – and decided to refuse – the option of playing Monday night’s rearranged Sky TV fixture against Middlesbrough on Saturday lunchtime. The game would still have been televised, with a kick off of 12:30 as opposed to the original 3:00pm, but it seems very likely that far less disruption would have been caused to travelling fans long-standing transport and accommodation arrangements.

Many fans were put to inconvenience and financial loss by the short-notice announcement of the game’s move to Monday night. The Football League has claimed that an announcement could have been made much earlier, but for United’s behind the scenes attempts to leave the fixture as originally scheduled. Now it appears that a compromise offer of a Saturday lunchtime kick-off, which would have saved the plans of many long-distance supporters due to arrive in Leeds on Saturday, was rejected by the club. 

This will be somewhat galling to say the least for Leeds United fans in general – and those who suffered inconvenience at short notice in particular. United owner Massimo Cellino has done his best to heap all of the blame on the Football League and/or Sky TV. This blog has no track record for defending those bodies, but it does appear from Sutcliffe’s Yorkshire Post article that Cellino will have pointed questions to answer about the treatment of fans in this instance.

Cellino, after all, has presented himself as the defender of fans’ interests in this affair. The club owner, writing in the match day programme for last night’s Boro game, said: “We are aware of many supporters, not only from England but across the world, who made plans to attend this game at the originally scheduled date of Saturday at 3pm. Those fans feel the effect financially and emotionally, but it is difficult for their voices to be heard. It is with their interests in mind that we continue to push for change.”

It would be somewhat bizarre of Cellino to bemoan the financial and emotional effects on fans in one breath, if with another he is rejecting a compromise offer that would have negated virtually all of those undesirable effects. If this report is true, it would seem that our owner, no stranger to the art of manipulating the truth, has once again strayed from the path of strict veracity. Indeed, this would be more than just another casual untruth. Some might say that it’s rank hypocrisy for Cellino to pose as the defender of the fans against those nasty League barons and TV moguls – whilst simultaneously acting behind all of our backs so as to ensure that those fans will suffer the “financial and emotional” effects that it now seems could easily have been avoided. 

There’s no apparent reason to disbelieve the Yorkshire Post claims. Which leaves Leeds United, in the person of Massimo Cellino to answer these questions:

  1. Is this claim by the Yorkshire Post of a compromise offer – allegedly made as early as December 15th – true?
  2. If it is true, then why was it rejected – when acceptance would have minimised disruption to travelling supporters, including many coming from abroad?
  3. How can Cellino claim to be looking out for fans’ interests in these circumstances?
  4. If it can be shown that supporters have incurred financial loss and inconvenience due to actions and positions taken by the club, then what plans does the club have to compensate those fans for that avoidable loss and inconvenience?
  5. When is Leeds United going to return to a more transparent approach in its dealings with supporters?

Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything believes that answers to these questions are the very least that fans deserve. 

Over to you, Mr. Cellino…