Too Many Leeds United “Fans” Forget That Saiz Matters – by Rob Atkinson


Saiz leaves early after zero dribbles and one spit

Characteristically, Leeds United has contrived to make a drama out of a crisis, compounding the humiliation of an FA Cup Third Round exit at minnows Newport by adding the embarrassment of an on-pitch spitting scandal, as well as the six-match loss of star player Samu Sáiz. To make matters even worse, the intellectually-challenged end of the Whites’ support then took to Twitter with the express intention, so it seemed, of unleashing their long-repressed bigotry and incipient racism by attacking Sáiz in the worst kind of Daily Mail-reading Colonel Blimp-inspired terms. It made for very unedifying reading, even for Twitter after one of Leeds’ frequent bad days at the office.

There’s no getting around the fact that spitting at a sporting opponent is a disgusting matter, deserving of punishment and not to be tolerated – or even mitigated, if it comes to that. It initially seemed an odd affair to me, with some confusion and delay surrounding the red card in the immediate aftermath of Newport’s late winner. But Sáiz appears now to have admitted, acknowledged and apologised for his transgression, so that’s that. He’s bang to rights and indefensible, he’ll have to do his time, repent at leisure and make sure he sticks to his vow that this will never happen again.

Incidentally, and particularly for those who think I’m an uncritical Sáiz apologist, his conduct has worried me before, and I’ve gone into print hoping he’d see the error of his ways. This was over an early season tendency to wave imaginary cards when fouled, something that risked attracting the ref’s attention negatively, and a habit I’ve always hated. So I don’t see Samu as any sort of paragon of virtue; even so, some of the stick and abuse he’s received from alleged Leeds fans since the Case of the Newport Spit has been sickening in the extreme – decorum prohibits the reproduction of many of the remarks here. Suffice to say that there’s been a nasty, racist overtone in the murkier regions of the Leeds Twitter hashtag, many of the boneheads who like to comment there seeming to have forgotten what the little Spanish wizard has contributed to our faltering season so far.

It’s not big and it’s not clever, but then again, that just about sums up some of our Twitter knuckle-draggers. Sadly, the temptation to jump aboard a Brexiteer anti-“foreign signing” bandwagon appears to have been just too much to resist for many of these hard-of-thinking opportunists, with some of them engaged for hours on end in trying to outdo their IQ-minus cronies in a competition to see who could be the most offensively tasteless in their treatment of United’s best player this season.

The subtext emerging was of a groundswell of opposition, again mainly at the thicker end of United’s online adherents, to the idea of signing non-British players in the first place. Some Leeds fans, apparently, will not be happy until United’s first team consists of blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan stereotypes, goose-stepping their way towards the lower leagues with the Sieg Heils echoing from the stands – a harking back to the early and mid-eighties. But those days are gone; the continental and global lads are here to stay, they will continue to provide the best hopes of success – and the Twitter and other social media morons are welcome to crawl back under the stones from which they should never, in these more enlightened times, emerge.

It’s to be hoped that this will be a storm in a teacup, that United will safely negotiate the enforced and unfortunate absence of Sáiz – and that, when he returns, he will be given the warm welcome that his value to the team deserves. And that will probably be the case, because Leeds will surely move to cover for the lad’s loss, while the bulk of the United support are a silent yet match-day raucous majority, who will always be behind the men in the shirts, whether they hail from Selby or Spain.

Samu’s been a silly lad, but many, many young footballers are guilty of that; he’s not the first, he’ll not be the last, and it’s got absolutely bugger-all to do with his nationality. So, enough of all that nonsense. What we need now is to get stuck in as a United Leeds for the rest of the season, that’s boardroom, management, players and fans – and put this sorry incident behind us. The rest of the transfer window promises to be interesting or maybe even exciting, and meanwhile there’s a formidable array of opposition waiting to tackle a Samu-less Leeds. Let’s stick together, ignore the ten-a-penny haters – and show them all what we’re really capable of.

33 responses to “Too Many Leeds United “Fans” Forget That Saiz Matters – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Agree totally..what has his race got to do with this incident? Nothing at all..Stupid thing to do and damaging for Leeds now that he will miss 6 games.but he does need to be fined though for all the games he will be out his wage during all these games is a fair response no matter who did what he did..


  2. Agree 100% chrisifiles, disgusting habit & I think fans have a right to criticise such behaviour as long as its done in a constructive manner without bring such things as race into it, unfortunately his 6 match ban has most likely put an end to our chances this season, I mean we’ve struggled with him in the team, imagine what we’ll be like without him, Saiz wont matter for the next 6 games and IMO rightly so.


  3. I actually saw a few comments the other day with regards to Ideguchi that quite frankly made me feel sick.. the lads not even set foot on the pitch for us yet but is already getting the “Chinese buffet” of racist I nsults thrown at him.. utterly deplorable some Leeds Fans.. said for a long time the fans of this great club are both the best thing about Leeds United but also at times the absolute worst.. Can these remedials not understand that attacking your own in such a way only serves to affect the club negatively.. the very thing they purport to love.. as for for Saiz the lads a disgusting prat, but he’s OUR disgusting prat! He needs serious discipline.. iv suggested elsewhere that his wages should go to cover the extra 50k needed for that poorly young boy who they recently helped out..


  4. Belfast White

    Well said, Rob. No one can condone or accept what Saiz did, but the OTT and often vitriolic response of some neanderthal ‘fans’ has shown them to be worse than the very incident they berate. It has been rightly criticised & punished. The club will also suffer. What we don’t need is dribbling sub-primates pandering to an extremist & prejudiced bigotry inferring a flawed human being is somehow less because of their background.


  5. Rob thornhill

    Well put Rob, I agree that spitting is a loathsome act, he got exactly what he deserved. Sadly social media gives the small minded a platform to spout trash, the days of a well thought through calmly written letter are long gone, a reason why I don’t bother to read much of what is written, when done in the spur of the moment, with frustration and anger you are bound to express extreme thoughts! Still at least Johnny Foreigner didn’t jump into the crowd and Kung fu kick a fan….. or did I just imagine that?


  6. Blue Monday

    Absolutely spot on.


  7. Rob, to me it doesn’t matter if a player was born in Macclesfield or on Mars! If they play for our shirt and city, I couldn’t give a hoot.
    Obviously, players that come from other areas of the planet we were all born on, have been brought up slightly differently and act accordingly. Falling over easily, waving the invisible card and on very rare occasions, spitting are things that we may have to ‘coach’ out of the odd player.
    Saiz has been a breath of fresh air to this club and has put more bums on seats than anyone else! Once we sort this side of his game out (and we will), he will show our youngsters the way forward.


  8. jon goldhill

    A quick look on Wikipedia suggests, I find with interest, that spitting seems much more common among us Brits – there are is the Calshot Spit in Hampshire and Mudeford Spit in Dorset to name just two.

    In all seriousness though – I fully agree Rob with the moronic reaction of the twitersphere. More generally and aside from the race issue I also find it a bit baffling how an intentional two footed potentially leg breaking career ending tackle can be forgotten about in 15 minutes while spitting and biting can result in a player being pariahed. Neither are particularly pleasant but it does seem that there is a massive over-reaction

    My biggest concern is how this will affect our season – more quality signings please and Hernández will have to step up to the plate – l don’t think he enjoys the popular Spanish past time of spitting does he?


  9. Whilst not being a daily mail reading bigot lets not forget this is not his first foray into spit the dog territory so he really didnt learn his lesson until caught.
    Secondly we leeds fans know any little bit of controversy attached to our club will be blown out of all proportions.
    This player does deserve the flak he will get not for his nationality or anything else except the simple fact he ignored the warning from earlier in the season and against the same team


  10. Life is LUFC

    Like you I was left wondering what had happened to get a red. I admit when I learned why I did inwardly groan and said you silly lad you’re for it now and so is the club.
    However I agree with all you have said about the abusive nature of quite a lot of the comments I have seen. There is no place now-a-days for that kind of talk we are all entitled to a place on this earth no matter where you are from.
    The lad has now been punished, he has apologised, the apology has been very gracefully accepted…….End of and move on we have a season to win.


  11. ‘Sad but no surprising when 26 per cent (17m of 65M) of people in the UK are racist.


    • I’m honestly surprised it’s so low. Presumably, they’re just the ones who admit/ are proud of it 🙄


    • So low? Then another 26% must be xenophobic, and either way, they both continue to show their true colours when the subject of overseas players is mentioned, and not only the Twitterazzi.


    • How democratic of you to label those that voted out racist. George Orwell must be laughing in his grave now that his “Newspeak” rules. We all must be “Haters” too,just because we didn’t want to be part of a superstate run by unelected psychopaths intent on New World Order. Use your brain and as a rule of thumb,if Tony Blair utters anything then do the opposite.


  12. Where is the line drawn on decency ?

    Is spitting at an opponent forgivable whereas racism is not ? And are we being lenient on Saiz because he is one of our best players ? Personally , if any Leeds United player was found guilty of being racist to another player then I would hope that the club would react accordingly. My personal view is that the players have a duty to the club and city , regardless of where they have come from or how good they are – Saiz has let the club down big time , and I would have no hesitation in sacking him if it was down to me. It’s a disposable act.

    Regardless of where he has come from , he needs to learn how to behave. The game in England deserves protection and he should be tought that waving his hands around asking for bookings and spitting at opponents is simply not the way that we do things. It’s horrible , and there is no place for it in the game.

    He is also a role model – young kids worship the guy , and will think that all this carry on is acceptable. It is not. Full stop.

    Of course he won’t be sacked – there’s too much money involved , and also as football fans we are blinkered with regards our own club.

    However I will stand up for what is right – I was disgusted a few years ago when Suarez was done for racism and for biting a player. I was the first to call for him to be sacked , and I won’t be two-faced about things when it comes to my teams players.

    Saiz should be sacked straight away – regardless of talent or race.



    • Respect your opinion, but disagree. Education is the way forward, rather than some grand gesture to expiate ourselves whilst costing us a quality player. And what would be the effect on our ability to attract talent if we were to act in such a draconian manner? Sorry – it just doesn’t work.


      • Would you want a player sacked if found guilty if racism ?

        My point is where do we draw the line on decency ?

        And Saiz is not a young player – he’s 27 in a few weeks. He’s a role model for the club and the city. If he behaved like that in my place of work he would be sacked immediately. Just because he has been one of our best players doesn’t mean that he should be treated differently to anyone else.


      • I think there is a line to be drawn, but it’s some way beyond one disgusting spit in the heat of the moment. That’s a dirty habit. Racism is a cancer of the soul; the two situations are not comparable.


      • I’m afraid I don’t agree. There is no place for either , and you appear to be condoning what Saiz has done simply because he’s a Leeds united player.


      • It’s your prerogative to disagree, no problem at all with that. All I’d ask is a sense of proportion, and some restraint when bandying daft words like condoning when, if you actually read the article, that’s clearly not the case.


      • The last thing I would want is to cause you any offence – I like your articles and for the most part , I like your point of view. I like a good argument and in that respect I also like to listen to other people’s points of view and will hold my hands up when wrong.

        My point of view over what Saiz has done will not change. I think football as a whole should stand up and be a little less tolerant in these situations. I have tried to bring my son up correctly , and I don’t want him thinking that how Saiz has behaved is normal. I absolutely agree that what he has done is nowhere as bad a being racist , and I understand that your article is more about confronting the racist reaction to what he has done , simply because he is a foreigner.

        If my reaction seems over the top , I can assure you it is not because it’s a racist reaction. My view is that we should all challenge what Saiz has done , and not be lenient on him because he is our best player. I don’t care where he comes from !!!


  13. I hope that last paragraph is not taken the wrong way – I haven’t got a racist bone in my body !!!


  14. T’was ever this in the land of people who worship,the Sun and the Daily Heil I’m afraid. Rob. BTW the Grauniad ran a piece today about whether all this spitting business is really so abhorrent citing the Saiz incident among others.
    Apparently the Newport player involved is not that fussed and reckons Saiz is one of his favourite EPL players. Personally I hate spitting,whether in the street or directed at a person. As you quite rightly say though racism is far more destructive.


    • Good to see a bit of perspective in the press. Spitting IS disgusting, but it’s become one of those almost compulsory bandwagons that people feel they must perforce jump aboard, for fear of being though morally weak. A sense of proportion is needed, nobody died or even got injured – and that’s the context we need.


  15. You’ll always be wecomed in South Wales even if your owners and management never live up to your fans. No point in getting to a final if the directors steal all the tickets.


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