The Football League Loves Leeds Utd and They Don’t Want to Let Us Go – by Rob Atkinson


All this talk of how everybody hates Leeds United, of how we’re the pariahs of the football world. What utter nonsense. If you look at the evidence, at a set of statistics that quite frankly beggar belief, you’re forced to conclude that what’s going on here is anything but hate. It’s got to be love, an unrequited adoration on the part of the Football League for its most famous member.

How else do you explain the fact that Leeds United has now gone 50 (FIFTY) league games in almost exactly one calendar year, without being awarded a penalty? And the closely related fact that, in the same span of time, NINE penalties have been awarded against us, culminating in the one against Brentford which resulted from a dive of which Tom Daley would have been justly proud. It must be love – because, evidently, the Football League just can’t bear to see us go. Not in an upwards direction, anyway.

Some cynics will say that money is at the root of this heartfelt longing to keep United where they are. Certainly, various clubs’ coffers would ring dolefully hollow without the annual visit of the White Army. Apparently, 8,000 of our number will travel for a rare untelevised trip to Blackburn after the international break. Let’s face it, that’ll keep them in hotpots for years.

Whatever the cause or motivation, the League policy of “no penalties for you, Leeds” is starting to provoke comment. Yesterday’s referee, Jeremy Simpson, was actually the last official to award Leeds a spot kick, against Reading early last season. The fact that we missed that penalty and lost the game clearly cut no ice with an outraged Football League. No penalties have been awarded to us since, and Mr. Simpson was required to atone for his sin and thereby make a fool of himself at the Brentford match, by awarding a penalty to the Bees which could charitably have been described as farcical.

The League might regard yesterday’s shenanigans as in some way making up for the penalty we got twelve or so moons ago, but, in adding a laughably one-sided refereeing display to the joke penalty, with a dubious injury-time red card thrown in for good luck, they really are letting their motives show. Perhaps a rethink is needed?

At the end of the day, if this Leeds squad under Bielsa performs to the levels of which it’s capable, it will be beyond the powers of the League and its whistle-happy henchmen to keep us down, unless they’re prepared to get really silly about this Leeds love-sickness of theirs. Perhaps sanctions will be applied in the wake of that Pontus outburst of honesty just after the final whistle? Who knows.

However much the League adores us and hotly desires to keep us within their slimy embrace, it seems likely that we will be leaving, moving onwards and upwards. It’s probably not going to be an amicable separation. These unrequited love things usually end in acrimony and bitterness. But the League will just have to suck it up and look for a new love. They’ll probably have Newcastle back next year, if that helps.

Not that I care how they feel. This was always a one-sided love. After 15 years, I’ll be happy to say goodbye and move on without a backward glance. Sorry, FL, but that’s just how the cookie crumbles. Ultimately, you’ll find, we’re simply out of your league.

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13 responses to “The Football League Loves Leeds Utd and They Don’t Want to Let Us Go – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Robert Parr

    Rob,
    I have to say you have eloquently written exactly what most honest fan’s thoughts were after that farce yesterday.
    Usually, we are cheated in a much more subtle way, but now and then like yesterday, they out do themselves and the desperation to keep us down reaches pathetic proportions.
    It was dangerous, but marvellous to see the level of passion and honesty from Pontus Jansson after the game. MOT against all the odds!
    I just love being a Leeds fan. I actually feel superior in a way!

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    • There’s nowt like a good siege complex to engender a feeling of comradeship – now we just have to make it work for us and get out of this poxy league. Thanks for the kind words, MOT 👍

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  2. You’re probably right. It wasn’t just the dive for the penalty, Brentford players had been diving after every tackle and Ref Simpson bought every one. The problem is in proving it. It’s a bit like the Brett Cavannaugh case in the U.S., it was obvious that he was lying but there was no proof in law. It was a bad weekend for justice!

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  3. Pontas said what every Leeds fan in the world was thinking yesterday teatime. His outburst compared to the utter filth we often hear on TV was like a few minutes out of Andy Pandy. However, even in those days the tartan skirted ladies in brogues and the Mary Whitehouse disciples were disgusted at the secret love affair of Andy with Luby Lou. When the penalty was given I was gobsmaked, not at the decision but your very uncanny prediction.
    Despite the hatred, despite the vicious envy of our great club I really believe this will be our season. The build is not complete, but the keel is strong and solid and we just need to complete the superstructure. Biesla is Nelson and our club is the Victory.

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  4. Simpson is the worst referee that I have ever seen Rob and I’m sure that he had a Brentford shirt on under his referees shirt.
    I’m so paranoid about the Football League that I wouldn’t be surprised if the injuries that Leeds have are fake and been forced onto us by the Football League, because we are so good with a strong team and it’s not fair on the other poor 23 teams, who Leeds subsidize every season.
    Leeds fill every away allocation and also give every one of the 23 opposing teams their biggest home attendance of the season.
    Don’t be surprised if the Football league has threatened Leeds with a points reduction if we don’t play a weakened team.
    Nothing surprises me anymore in this dishonest, corrupt world that we live in.
    As you say, they just can’t bear us to leave the poxy Football League.

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  5. Manston White

    Sorry, it does seem the FL are endorsing teams to take our players out. Even the subs can join in. They can’t keep us down fairly. They will throw the book at Jansson for saying what’s right.

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  6. Reality Cheque

    Once again your article hits the nail on the head and reflects what every genuine Leeds United fan feels after witnessing “blatant bias” yet again from football officials. Pontus will probably be taken to the cleaners for daring to speak the absolute truth on behalf of his teammates and fans.
    However, have you noticed how Mr Bielsa is responding to such clear injustice? He is refusing to adopt a “victim” approach or foster a siege mentality. He refused to bite on the “bait” when it was pointed out before the game the fact that Leeds hadn’t had a penalty awarded for 49 games. He refuses to accept that referees don’t make mistakes and wants all responsibility for results to be on his own shoulders! What a leader, he wants us to embrace positivity, responsibility for our own fate and belief in ourselves to achieve success in the battle field which is the Championship. It makes a refreshing change if you reflect on his approach and motives. ALAW

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  7. Mark Grost

    Don’t let the FA get you down, people all over the world join the Leeds love train love train, and join hands cause they can’t stop us winning the league!!!

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  8. howard mackey

    SPOT on Rob !
    Regards H.

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  9. My neighbour is a rabid Hudds fan and gloated every time we lost when they were where they belong (championship). He’s gone quiet now they are rooted in bottom 3. The ref was a cheat or a fool who couldn’t see a plane flying at him. All these clubs love playing us at home, even the Millwall animals who in return sent 300 to ER. When we get the injured back and if AR finally spends the millions he never did in January this just might be our year. Great article as usual Rob. The passion of Pontus in his playing and that wonderful interview was a joy to see!

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