Leeds Utd’s Clueless Keyboard Army Don’t Know the Meaning of the Word “Support” – by Rob Atkinson


shame-on-you

You know who you are…

When Caleb Ekuban was denied an equaliser by a fine save from the Fulham ‘keeper, who then saw his side sweep downfield to seal the match 2-0, I held my head in my hands. Not just through frustration or the pain of defeat – but because I knew there would be an immediate explosion of clueless criticism from Leeds United‘s dismal army of Twitter followers, people who seem to be perpetually ready willing and all too able to pounce on any mistake or missed chance, desperately eager to unleash their own brand of unhelpful negativity. And so it came to pass, as the LUFC hashtag was swiftly beset with a barrage of destructive tweets, from football fandom’s very own versions of Leonard Cohen and the Smiths, each of them vying to see who could be the most soul-destroyingly defeatist and treacherous.

I sometimes wonder what these people get out of it. It can’t just be the lols, likes and retweets garnered from those of a similarly pathetic outlook, can it? Perhaps they just want to provoke a reaction, in which case I’m playing into their hands. So be it, then. Certain things need pointing out, after all. One of these is the damage being done to the reputation of the Leeds United support, which has always been famous, or at least notorious, for the raucously partisan nature of its expressed fanaticism. In this digital age, though, the support base of any club will be divided – on a match day at least – into those who go along to support the lads, and those who sit at home, ensconced behind their keyboards, safely anonymous, many of them just waiting to inflict what passes for their wit and wisdom upon the rest of us, whenever things on the field start going wrong. This sort of thing is noticed in various quarters. Fans of other clubs are saying, this famous Leeds United support is nothing special, look at all those idiots on Twitter. And, tragically, they’re bang on the money.

Take the Fulham game. Ekuban was denied by a good save when he was one on one. This is a lad who has had an injury-affected season, and he’s a lad from whom you can see desire and the wish to succeed coming out of every pore. Now, this lad has been working his nuts off every chance he gets, yet feeling the pressure growing for some time. He scored last weekend, and you thought “watch him go now”. But all the talk was of another couple of chances, one on one again, which he sadly didn’t take. And so, instead of the pressure being dissipated, or even relieved a little, it continues to grow. And, lo and behold, the poor lad misses another one on one, the ball goes down the other end, and it’s in our net. How does he feel? And how will he feel if he sees the myriad tweets in response to this unfortunate event, from the army of utterly clueless and unsupportive Leeds “fans” on Twitter? Most of them don’t know one end of a football from another, and yet they’re there in their hundreds, criticising a pro’s technique. It’s ludicrous. Make no mistake, this is not support – it’s death by a thousand tweets, and it’s shameful in the extreme.

And look at Jay Roy Grot. He misses an easy header – and straight away, you get “My grandma would have put that away and she’s been dead twenty years, haw haw haw”. Well done, you Twitter morons, how very original and helpful, I must say. Think of what goes through Grot’s mind as he goes to finish the chance. Half a second is a long time – and when you’ve had a destructive Twitter campaign shooting great ragged holes through your confidence all season, it must seem like an eternity. So maybe there’s a bit of tension in the nerves and muscles as Grot attacks a ball he’d put away 99 times out of a hundred. And the ball goes narrowly over instead of in. Grot’s bang to rights, he’s missed a sitter – but those negative, clueless, lazy and destructive Leeds “fans” are just as culpable.

It’s so annoying, and it’ll likely get worse, with predictably negative results on the team’s morale, and on the confidence of those players not exactly brimming with that valuable commodity in the first place. And it’s particularly nauseating, because you absolutely know that those doling out out the abuse, just to satisfy their own delusions of expertise and knowledge of the game, will change their tune extremely quickly, once the targets of their amateur criticism find some form and start producing. It’s happened so often before, from Ray Hankin, when at least there was no Twitter, through to Jermaine Beckford. As sickening as the stupidity of these people might be, their rank hypocrisy is even more stomach-churning.

Like the thousands of Leeds fans who don’t indulge in this narcissistic “look at me” barrage of bandwagon-jumping criticism, I can see the potential, particularly in Caleb Ekuban. And, far more importantly, so can the football professionals. You’ve got to get in the positions to miss the chances, and that’s the hard part, so the old pros will murmur. Give it time, the lad will come good. I believe they’re right – they were about Beckford, who did so well he now has a stand named after him at Manchester United.

If I were in a position of authority at Elland Road, and not being able to ban these idiots from Twitter, I’d ban my playing staff from having Twitter accounts and from accessing the LUFC hashtag. I’d be that worried about the negative impact of all the criticism, stupid and ill-informed though it undoubtedly is. These so-called Leeds fans are doing the opposition’s job for them, which is treachery in anyone’s book. There’s enough pressure on any young player, just making their way in the game, simply from playing for Leeds United – without a crew of hapless amateurs chelping away in the ether. It doesn’t help, it’s positively harmful. If I were involved in player welfare, I’d look to shield them from that.

It’s pointless highlighting this, of course, except insofar as it gets it all off my chest. The guilty parties will be only too glad of whatever attention their idiocy gains for them; that’s part of the condition that afflicts them. And, even if they all shut up at once, I’d have the likes of Donald Trump and Alan Sugar polluting the virtual environment with their own brand of stupidity. Just at the moment though, I’d take those two morons over the army of dickheads out there infesting the LUFC hashtag. At least they’re not directly harming the football club I’ve loved for almost 50 years.

Rant over. For now.

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44 responses to “Leeds Utd’s Clueless Keyboard Army Don’t Know the Meaning of the Word “Support” – by Rob Atkinson

  1. I sometimes wonder if half of the LU Twitterati are actually those bastards from the Red Issue…may as well be!

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  2. Rob. mate, I’ll lay off Caleb Ekuban if you stop misrepresenting the witty, poetic music of Leonard Cohen as being full of doom and gloom. MOT

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    • Leonard Cohen as well as being turgid was part of the biggest frauds of the 20th century,namely writing a large proportion of that other fraudster bob dylans canon. Joni Mitchell blew the whistle on that one and look what happened to her. Morrissey is another fraud,constantly crapping on about the rights of animals and plays Israel. Pardon me for digressing but saying as you mentioned both of the above I thought I may as well.

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  3. tony piggott

    simple reply, agreed.

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  4. I’ve been ‘Tweeting’, asking AR to ban his players from Twitter for months! The harm it does is immeasurable. You can’t tell me that players don’t read reviews and see comments on a daily basis. It’s a sad state of affairs. Once, you’d just have to avoid the back-pages of the daily rags, now, abuse and criticism is served up to you directly. I guess, in some way, those who DO make it to games and pay to watch under-performing players, think they have a right, but, I’ve long felt that the vitriol aimed at some players was having a detrimental effect on the team. For that reason, I’d stop my players from seeing it and take them off Social media completely.

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  5. we’ve disagreed on a couple of points in the past but you are spot on with this piece. I have never understood how fickle supposed Leeds fans on the internet are. I have followed the boys for 55 years and have never read so much crap from “supporters” than I do today. If it were possible, which its not, wouldn’t it be nice to say “ok, two games your in charge. Make us win”. The berks would crap themselves.

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  6. Thinlizzywhite

    Succinctly put.
    I don’t subscribe to any social networking sites … except occasionally here. I find it hard to stomach the social platforms that appear made for vindictiveness, Vitriol and outright hatred they seem to (if unintentionally) promote.
    At one time such comments would have been said down the pub over a boozy session. Now it’s spewed across the web for the whole world to see.
    The old adage “keep it in your pants love, it’s not worth looking at” springs to mind.

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  7. John Forsyth

    Rob , enjoyed a very good assessment of tonight’s match and the extreme Twitter critics who have probably not spent £1 this season to watch LUFC . We could have won 1-2 on another night .
    We lost again however and whilst Ekuban has had injury problems our critics have a point when they ask why anyone ever thought he or Grot and others were of of the standard required to compete at the top end of the Championship ? A massive misjudgment surely even for a Club like ours who can’t compete with the wealth available to some in the Championship ? We have paid good money for at least five players who are of an age where they will never be good enough to play above League 1

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  8. Ropey Wyla

    Where were they all when we were tearing it up at the beginning of the season? For me, when you are watching Leeds lose yet again, the non stop chanting of the fans allows you to still feel proud and to have hope for the future. The twitter detractors are chipping away at that, albeit in cyberspace, but they are damaging one of the last remaining things that still makes the club great. We all get frustrated and terribly angry when we lose and expressing that ire is normal but the targeted abuse of individuals is exactly that and is just plain nasty.

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  9. Well said Rob. These fans seem to overlook the fact that these players are playing for Leeds. The coach works for Leeds. The players have come through the ranks. They have played for their school team, they have been scouted for being talented and having what it takes to be a professional. I bet many of our expert , know it all loud mouths never got any further than kicking a ball against a wall.
    I wonder how many of these are dad’s and watch their young sons play, and I wonder how they would react if another dad on the touchline was telling his son throughout a game that he was pathetic and useless.. I can well imagine.
    We have problems with our squad, there are players who sadly are not making the grade, there are players who lack experience at this level. There are players who are very young and are learning their trade. However, they are Leeds United, they are all we have just now and despite the flaws we should be giving them as much backing and encouragement as we can. What is the point of moaning and groaning over the same pathetic boring arguments week in and week out when the coach has his hands tied and trying to find his feet after being thrown in the deep end. As far as I am concerned, the state we are in totally vindicates Thomas Christianssen.
    Our frustration, our despair should be aimed upstairs at the very people who have the job of running this club and providing the tools and the means to be successful.
    Then funny thing is, these cretins actually believe they represent the majority of fans, what a joke. I cannot get to games due to my age and health, but I am in touch with many who do and are ashamed at some of the the things they hear and read. Like you, I go back 50years
    and we know what the real beautiful game is all about

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  10. I don’t blame the players for not been good enough to play consistently at this level because it doesn’t achieve nothing but I do blame the club for signing them what do are scouts do watch you tube highlights before signing them because whatever way you slice and dice it we have gone backwards which isn’t good enough

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  11. Well said
    Some of the shit coments people leave on these sites is unreal.Its the same people who where shouting for us to spend 10 million on jordan rhodes the other year .they think spending money you have’nt got is the answer most of them would gladly see risdale back in charge

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  12. gerry hobbs

    That was the best football of the season from the lads last night! Yes, we could have scored at least two, but our passing was incisive and direct as well as meaningful. We never stopped trying from the start and the second half was really entertaining with both Ekuban and Grot working harder than I’ve seen from them before.
    Except for an unlucky arse in the way goal I think we could have won last night – but luck lives with the lucky and Fulham were lucky last night.
    GerryCwmbran
    MOT
    …I don’t follow twitter and neither should our players!

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  13. True comments in the article.
    A lot of moaners doesn´t really support the team – I believe that many of the travelling fans found his attempt good and that he was unlucky and not bad ….

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  14. Agreed. Seen plenty of players not care or try at Leeds in my 25 years of support, but Ekuban isn’t one of them. After he missed and Fulham broke out and scored he looked in tears and Phillips was trying to console him. Give him a good pre season and fingers crossed no injuries and he will be a force next year.

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  15. It’s terrible and embarrassing and has been like this for some time now I’m afraid Rob. Like I’ve always said, we are supposed to be “supporters” and not critics. Everyone and his aunt will have an opinion on the game – which is fair enough, but most of what I see now is just ludicrous and just pure shite.

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  16. If I was a young player, or any aged player would I want to come to Leeds, to be criticised by some bullying know nothing before I have unpacked my suitcase, or stopped living in a hotel room?
    It says a lot about the crap conditions in the UK for workers. They think that the crap they voted for, should be endured by the footballers. Zero hours contracts, disposed of by the company who employed them from a employment agency at a moments notice. Those lucky enough to be employed on a short term contract finished a week early so none of them will sabotage the job they have worked on, to get their own back for the crap conditions they have endured.
    Some fans are reflecting their own poor conditions on the players. Very few people are unionised.
    Footballers used to be the heroes of the working class, now they have become gladiators to be disposed of in the arena on the whim of a reactionary mob. Sorry, it is not a pleasant picture, but hopefully some fans might recognise it.

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  17. Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes. I am always amazed at the number of people who are so perfect in every respect but cannot accept that others may make a mistake. I am sure that if PH was asked and could give a totally honest response it would probably be along the lines of ‘I wouldn’t start from here’. Give the guy, and the team a break, if you can’t find another outlet for your negativity.

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  18. SW white147

    Couldn’t agree more. Slightly ironic asking form “shares” on twitter/Facebook though!

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  19. David Smith

    Whilst it has become increasingly apparent during this season and very much evident against Fulham, the size, stature & physicality of the majority of Leeds players compared to players in the other Championship teams, is I suggest a major reason for our appalling season thus far! Rob, it literally looks like men against boys on occasions out there and whilst the skills of the diminutive Saiz, Alioski & Hernandez are a joy to watch when they get into their stride, surely their lack of height and physical presence needs to be balanced out in the overall team. Time and time again at dead ball situations in our box and in our opponents box, we expect Jansson to work miracles. Last year he was not alone, with Bartley & Wood there to share the responsibilities and for the first time in many seasons our corners were worrying teams and yes actually producing goals! It maybe too simplistic to reminisce here about my school footballing days, but to make a good competitive match, the teacher would divide the teams up so that both sides has smattering of bigger lads on each side and filled the teams up with the rest. My point here is that our recruitment or is that Mr Orta’s recruitment since losing the likes of Bartley, Wood & Taylor, has been to try and unearth a team of Messi sized footballers, which maybe all well and good if they had his talent, but in the combative and very competitive Championship, this policy is clearly not working & could be contributing to the number of injuries? Rant over. MOT

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    • Sorry, but if you look at the heights of the u23s signed by Orta apart for the Bulgarian lad they had tended to be taller than average, all of the u23s centre backs are over 6 foot 3 inch tall. The facts do not agree with your argument.

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  20. Some good points made however the reality o is the guy may just not be good enough at this level. Which can be said about a number of our players.

    Thought we played well second half, and like previous seasons Fulham is a cracking away day.

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  21. Great article mate and every word is true.

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  22. Never a truer bunch of words typed, Rob.
    We are Leeds, we have huge potential, the only way is up – and we’ll get there faster if we stick together.
    The thing is, because we are Leeds, we already have enough critics and haters everywhere – we do not need to troll our own team. Nothing we are trying to do is aided by the totally pointless dead weight of rabid insults and negativity from homegrown internet cowards.
    They are not fans – true fans support even when the going gets tough.
    Granted that this season has limped towards yet another frustrating mid-table conclusion, which is hard to accept – but these are the times to show our true character, to have some balls……
    Get behind the lads, MOT always.

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  23. I’m an old git, so I don’t Tweet or go on Facebook. But if I was a pro footballer these days, there’s no way I’d have a Twitter account. It’s just asking for trouble. Say nowt, hear nowt.

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  24. Evening Rob, as I watched the game last night knowing we were the underdogs, I thought we did alright. You can see the difference between a team unbeaten in so many games to a team that has picked up more points than Sunderland and Burton since the turn of the year?!? I think 😐
    The issue start’s and finishes with the recruitment team I’m afraid. Every year we get rid off the gem’s and bring in nobody’s which is making life difficult for any manager that comes in! I’m not on any social media as I have a life haha
    All the best, I’m going to enjoy 30th birthday knowing that I can’t read any of the keyboard warriors.

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  25. Well said couldn’t have put it better myself!! Don’t read Twitter or newsnow when we get beat it’s so depressing.Lassoga was getting it early in the season then the same people were asking the club to sign him up. Our motto is ups and downs we’ll it is to true supporters who go to the games every week

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  26. We live in an age when google and twitter are already censoring free speech anyway and whether I agree with the tweets or disagree,I will defend the right of the tweeters to say what they like. Personally I prefer to save my criticism for the incompetent buffoons who continually select players who aren’t up to it. However I have never rated ekuban,o Kane or cooper and the sooner Saiz pisses off the better too. No sympathy for any of them.

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  27. Interesting article Rob and I wonder if our Owners comments after the Middlesbrough performance add fuel to the We have given them everything possible to just focus on the football,” said the Leeds chief, speaking exclusively to talkSPORT host Jim White.

    “As a club we support them in everything – we gave them long-term contracts, we supported them going to a mid-season camp in Spain.

    “We did everything they wanted, but we didn’t get back their commitment, passion and the spirit, particularly in the last game, the most important game against Middlesbrough away and we played very poorly.

    “For me, that was the bottom of the season because there was no commitment, no passion and no spirit.

    “I don’t want players in my team and representing Leeds United with this behaviour, so I hope they can learn and will be here with me next year playing better and with more commitment.”

    His comments caused quite a stir and left quite a divide in opinion on whether he should have gone public or spoken to the players behind closed doors. I felt it was fair play to have a go at highly paid professionals for not basically doing what they are paid for.

    The Fulham performance however was far different to Boro particularly in the 2nd half where we played fluent passing football and created some great openings which we had not seen since Sept. Also no justification for abuse of the likes of Ekuban on social media and as PH rightly said we win and loose as a team.
    I have to say it’s not just social media where players get abuse from the fans which I have witnessed several times at Elland Road against the likes of Matt Smith and more recently Jay Roy Grot.
    I think we can rightly say our squad and summer recruitment left us with a weaker squad than last years which is simply not good enough to compete for a top 6 squad and this summer will probably define Andreas ambition to seriously compete next season. With our fan base why can’t we compete with the likes of Wolves and Fulham who don’t benefit from any parachute payments. MOT

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  28. You are both right and wrong , in that some people get off on being negative . But this is now the world we live in , and I don’t think most people take much notice . Btw my granddad could have scored both chances lol.

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  29. Brilliant article. Social media is often just a device used by cowards and bigots to hide behind. They love seeing their comments on line. They equate their comments being published as the equivalent of being on TV in some sad negative vacuum talent show contest.

    It’s easy to support MC/MU etc and bask in the reflected glory of their financially doped teams. LUFC. 15 years out of the top flight, 3years in the 3rd tier and still getting 35,000 crowds! That is the real support. MOT

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  30. Bang on Rob, I couldn’t agree more. I feel myself getting angry and frustrated at some of the negativity on social media and the lack of support some of the players are getting from people calling themselves fans. What they don’t realise is that they are more of an embarrassment to the club than the players they so bemoan. I, on the other hand, in their opinion, am apparently blinkered, foolishly over-optimistic and wasting my money.

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    • Opinion is divided on this one, presumably depending upon whether you’re a Twitter twat or a proper fan. Thanks for the neat summary Sir Les, keep that positivity going – MOT

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  31. Life is LUFC

    Bang on Rob. I have supported Leeds for 50 years. I have expressed my sympathies before about the fans who pay hard earned brass and come away from the game having seen their team lose and not having a good season. I personally feel some of the players are not the right quality……yet. I also feel some of the players try so hard they just cannot get it right. However I would not say any of the horrible things to their faces and I do not do twitter or facebook and if I did I would never say it there either. I have always said if you would not like to be spoken to in that manner then you should not speak to others in the manner.
    I too would ban all at the club if I owned it from having these accounts and not allow them to read the rubbish either. Last week they all wanted Lassoga this week they are shipping the poor lad home…….fickle lot. I really felt for Eckuban when I saw how distraught he was when Fulham scored and was so pleased that Phillips had a few encouraging words with him.
    So all I will say is come on you Leeds United team, ignore the comments they are soul destroying, get out there and do the best you can because the majority of us really do support you no matter what and that’s why hard earned brass is parted with, coming to watch you and sing you through the hard bits.

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    • I just hope the players don’t tar the whole fan base with the Twatteratti brush. I’m sure most of them are more clued-up than that, and truly appreciate our phenomenal match-going support.

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  32. Chris Wheeler

    Taken straight from today’s YEP fans predictions confirms it’s not just Twitter giving the players stick! Can’t blame fans for venting at appalling performances!
    Dire doesn’t even begin to describe Tuesday night’s second-half performance. Abysmal, unforgivable and shocking are equally understated.

    You wonder what goes through our players’ minds. Paid well, supported fantastically and sitting in a hugely privileged position they have failed to meet even the basic requirements of their roles for weeks on end. But Tuesday was a new low.

    Paul Heckingbottom has taken a lot of flak, so too has Victor Orta, and there’s no way that either one is blameless. That said, the players shouldn’t come away scot free.

    The first half showing suggested that a fairly comfortable win could be on the cards, the second half was a cowardly surrender.

    Thank goodness we had that glorious month at the start of the season when we thought we could win the league, otherwise we might be facing relegation in tonight’s game. Instead we go to Villa Park expecting a resounding defeat but with no major consequences – just how the players like it.

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