Leeds United “Spygate”: Let’s Not Pretend It Hasn’t Happened Before – by Rob Atkinson


A timely tweet (above) from journalist Amitai Winehouse has exposed the nauseating media hypocrisy gathering like a cloud of effluvium around “Spygate” – the ridiculously over-hyped episode of Derby County players being observed training in plain sight. There’s nothing illegal about it, and it’s clearly happened before (also reported in the Daily Telegraph) and with zero fuss. So why this eagerly overemphasised storm in a teacup? Why the dark threats of FA investigations, why the demands by media no-marks for sanctions? Could it just possibly be due to the fact that Leeds United are involved, and all these hysterical attention-seekers have spied a bandwagon ripe for the jumping on?

Some will say that United manager Marcelo Bielsa emerges from this with little credit. I say he is left in splendid isolation as the only honest man involved, while various hacks, opponents and other such hypocrites – yes, that word again – trip over each other in their desperation to make some capital out of a non-event and perhaps somehow upset a Leeds United apple cart that is threatening to become an unstoppable juggernaut.

Reviewing the Sky Sports coverage of last night’s match against a cluelessly inferior Derby County is not an edifying experience. The assembled pundits and presenters took ages to drag themselves around to addressing the actual football business of the evening – instead, they were positively salivating at “this sensational breaking story” as they termed it. The “story” was Bielsa being frank, honest and anything but contrite about what he clearly sees as a variation on scouting – but the assembled po-faced hypocrites were determined to paint it as a betrayal of trust and decency only one small step down from Judas Iscariot‘s behaviour in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Exactly how the said hypocrites feel this is justified, given the evidence in the image above, is difficult to imagine. But it’s Leeds, so they’ll do their best. At some point though, there will have to be some acknowledgement that, yes, it’s happened before and, no, the whole of the football world didn’t have a cow and demand anyone’s head on a plate. The delicious irony is that the instance above was during Jose Mourinho‘s time at Chelsea, and who was on the playing staff at the time? None other than last night’s whinger-in-chief, the initially scandalised and ultimately demoralised Frank Lampard. So does Frank know that this sort of thing has happened before? Of course he bloody does.

I took the further step earlier today of tweeting the image above to Keith Andrews, the most vocal of last night’s pundits, to ask him if he’d be commenting about Mourinho in similar vein to his over the top attack on Bielsa. Or, I asked, is he content to be receipted and filed as just another hypocrite. How that word keeps cropping up when you’re writing about Leeds United’s legions of critics. I won’t be holding my breath for a reply.

Another bandwagon-jumper was former footballer, current Midlands apologist and of course historical woman beater Stan Collymore. He called for last night’s match to be replayed, and for Bielsa to be beheaded on Tower Hill, or something. Women beaters tend to find it difficult to ascend the moral high ground, so I possibly didn’t pay too much attention to Stan’s bletherings.

At the end of the day, it was still about the football, however much Sky wished and tried to make it otherwise. And, on the football pitch, Leeds United beautifully and ruthlessly dismembered Derby County in a performance of passion, skill and control. Young Jack Clarke, starting for the first time, showed some more of his blossoming genius and was at times unplayable. He reminded me of what they used to say about the late, great Stanley Matthews: “You knew how Stan was going to beat you, you knew exactly what he was going to do. But stopping him was another matter entirely”. In the end, I felt sorry for the Derby left back, who stood in need of being taken off with twisted blood. Clarke destroyed his opponent and was heavily involved in both goals. What a prospect United have here.

But the whole team performed well, and it was as complete a performance as we’ve seen for a while. Denied an early penalty by a daft offside call, Leeds simply went about their business and never gave Derby a sniff. It was wonderful to behold, as was that smacked puppy look on Lampard’s face at the end – the same expression he wore after our 4-1 battering of his outclassed team at Pride Park in August. This time, he paused after the final whistle for only a cursory handshake before flouncing off down the tunnel, doubtless pondering on how to field further questions about Spygate without sounding like he was making lame excuses.

And so a very satisfactory day ended, and now we wait to see what, if anything, our corrupt football authorities try to do about the storm the media have so assiduously whipped up. And that’s when we need to shove the evidence of prior occurrences right in their smug faces – so please, anybody who reads this, find Amitai Winehouse’s tweet and share, share, share. You know it makes sense.

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41 responses to “Leeds United “Spygate”: Let’s Not Pretend It Hasn’t Happened Before – by Rob Atkinson

  1. NickB(50yrsLU)

    Not everyone’s against us – look at Lineker on Twitter; he’s full of praise for our quality of play, singles out Clarke – quite rightly – and mocks Lampard by saying that first goal was obviously the result of careful spying! There are some hilarious images people have put up, including the yucky proposed badge with the arm across the chest, holding binoculars. A brilliant other one is the two Salisbury Russians with LUFC crest on their chests, and the caption ‘We were looking for Derby Cathedral’! Jenas, on the other hand, is a sanctimonious jerk, with no personality, who merely got swept along on the initial sensationalist wave of outrage whipped up by the media. 10 points deduction, Jermain? Fine, we’ll still finish top! Dirty Leeds? I can live with that. At least we play clean, unlike Derby, who sent on Waghorn with the express purpose of crippling one of our players. How is Jansson today?

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  2. Leeds oldie

    Absolutely spot on this is as you say blown out of all proportion do people remember the revie era, the famous dosssiers he would get players and staff who wernt involved to draw up,shankley wanting a “report”on there next opponents, fergies trips to .matches to run the rule over “a player” yes sure, and as for lampard he must now be the leagues biggest whinger,should go and have drinks with that lowlife collymore ,even talk sport had the sense to get rid of the woman beater, couldn’t hack it on the field either he was so easy to take out of a game just had to whisper “coward” in his ear and off he would go

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  3. nigel mchugh

    Spygate… week in, week out, midweek games are watched by opposing managers in the stands!! not all of them pay for their ticket neither… sounds more like bush baby than a spy story….

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  4. Life is LUFC

    Well said Rob. What are the chances of getting this piece published in/on the world wide media band wagon.
    I thought world war 3 had started the way the sirens started blaring out.
    There are many many ways the football world has a look at what each other are doing, scouts, the coach/manager roundabout of each club employing the same set of said managers and their training methods being taught at every club they work for. For goodness sake you could say just watching a football match we are all spying because you can tell from the playing style and the playing standard what training methods are being used and if they are effective that goes for physical and mental.
    However, bless the lot of them (with all the wrath of a woman scorned) if they can find something, anything no matter what it is to bash Leeds United with they’ll find it. If they had two brains the other one would still be lonely.
    Let him/her who is without sin cast the first stone. Bunch of bloody (please excuse my language) HYPOCRITES.
    That was a damned good game and the Leeds lads proved their training works both mentally and physically, now do I apologise for spying on the game?

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  5. Well said Rob. It is called opposition scouting and I have no doubt that most clubs in the top divisions are doing this. I loved Klich’s binocular pose – I sense this will become a regular part of the fan’s repertoire!

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  6. Reality Cheque

    Rob, a little spy, who shall remain nameless, has told me that Stoke have bought a game of Twister and are using it on the training ground to try and help their defenders to cope with Clarke next weekend.

    I am also reliably informed that Crouch has been ordered to patrol the perimeter of Thorp Arch and watch our preparations over the hedges.

    Watch a fantastic performance last night Rob, I am glad I can type this because I have lost my voice. Can it really happen for our Centenary?

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    • I was on tenterhooks last night because, due to the ridiculous Spygate crap, I’ve rarely wanted to win a game more. Just hoping we can carry that form forward now. Jack Clarke gives us an extra dimension – yes, it could really happen!

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  7. Frank Lampard at Chelsea from 2001 – 2014
    Small World.
    Will he call out Chelsea as cheats, and hand his medals back??

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  8. I think the media hyped it up just so they could then all make crappy ‘spy’ puns in their match reports today.
    Hilarious that one of the Sky pundits stated something along the lines of ‘ it’s a shame we’re talking about the spying because we should be talking about the great football Leeds played this evening. Yeah! Well whose doing the talking you obvious plank!
    The whole thing should just have been laughed off by all concerned.
    Utterly brillliant performance from Leeds. I think Alioski is becoming my new favourite player! He really winds dirty hackers like Derby up and never stops running and tackling. MOT

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  9. Reality Cheque

    Only a woman beating cowardly clown could suggest punishing 22 professional players by forcing them to play a 47th league game in order to punish Leeds United’s head coach who did not consult any of his players about “spying” at Derby’s training ground and I doubt whether the Derby players would consider such a course of action as “justice”.

    Hopefully, this matter will be kept in perspective despite the determination of Sky Sports pundits to delay Brexit deliberations until Leeds United are relegated to non league status.

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  10. Gordon Baxedale

    Hi Rob, the 72nd anniversary match last night gave me the reason why I should live a little bit longer to see promotion once again.
    Super, special players that we have now made my evening , very proud to asuppoter since 1947. Clarke reminded me in the first goal of watching Stan Mathews in the 1953 FA final, just a drop of the shoulder and goodnight to his marker.
    Thanks for you blog it brings common sense to a non event.

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  11. Mike Durham

    I feel that anybody who watched that game last night will perhaps know the real meaning of cheating! Inept refereeing once again costing us a scoreline more appropriate to the match ( or rather, mismatch! )
    Perhaps Mr Lampard could realise that professional football implies that one should maybe be a bit more professional?

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  12. Mike Riley

    A great article Rob. Lampard’s ‘smacked puppy face’. Excellent writing – it made me roar with laughter!
    Stan Collymore spouting on about ethics!! I hardly think Bielsa will be recalibrating his moral compass based on the words of a man who allegedly (for legal purposes) repeatedly ploughed his fist into his girlfriend’s face!
    As for Keith Andrews – I’m with Pontus Janson – I had to look him up this morning to see who he had played for and to try and work out why this whinging nonentity seems to hate Leeds so much. I’m still bemused.
    But to finish with what matters most – Leeds were a total joy to watch last night – Clarke, Alioski, Roofe, Pontus, Pablo, etc etc – All brilliant.

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  13. I’m more bothered about the two blatant penalties that we should have had. Although I do love reading the opinions of has been and never have beens(jenas). Our man in Derby should have used a drone anyway or tied a couple of phones to a tree. Be a little more subtle next time when you’re in the field sir,just to save us from these paragons of virtue. I’m off to watch a few bond films now, Casino Royale starring martin keowns Arsenal team mates , A View to a Kick starring Collymore and Licensed To Thrill Revoked starring Jermaine jenas

    Like

  14. Noel Whelan summed up last nights match on radio Leeds by saying that Leeds made Derby look like a team fighting relegation, that Leeds were that good. “GET IN” Noel.

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  15. Jim J Chapman

    The EFL are a disgrace. They are totally involved in allowing betting organisations sponsor their income to pay prats which make crap findings on clubs and indinviduals. Wake up EFL and look at your own house first before going after others!!!!!!

    Like

  16. Mr Rearguard

    Didn’t the same Frank Lampshade once helped wheel a large washing bin into the Chelsea changing room so Jose could give an ‘illegal’ half time team talk, despite being banned by UEFA from attending the match?

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  17. Steve Clark

    Watching last night’s game on Sky it seemed incomprehensible how the presenters spent so much time chewing over ‘Spygate’ and blowing a trivial matter out of all proportion. At the end of the day Leeds won because they were a better team than Derby. There a lot more serious matters facing football in this country, but these will never be confronted while much of the media harks on about episodes, that in the overall scheme of things, are completely irrelevant. Moreover, Leeds united certainly don’t need to pay any attention to the opinions of Stan Collymore; a person who as a player quite carelessly wasted his talent.

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  18. Ken Jarvis

    Hi Rob,

    We are, once again, the centre of attention for the sour, bitter bunch of footballing hyprocripts who just love to show their Anti-Leeds agenda.

    I didn’t hear much from any of those clowns about when Liverpool TAPPED UP Van Dijk when he was still a Southampton player. That’s a greater offence than looking over a training fence???.

    Sure why don’t the INEPT FA/FL ban managers from sitting in the stands watching other teams play….is that not a form of spying????

    Oh, another issues those clowns can investigate is, the INCOMPENTENT officials Leeds United have to endure every bloody match.

    What a joke last night, 2 penalties not given (1 ruled out due to a horrendous offside error by the dopey linesman) & at least one Derby player should have walked after they committed 4 nasty filthy cynical tackles on our players – they were out to injure them big time.

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  19. Life is LUFC

    I was incensed when I saw BT Sport weighing in on this and sent them this compaint. I just felt as an ex employee I had to say something I was bloody livid. It is true if you brought the company into disrepute now matter the gravity of the offence you would be sacked.
    “I worked for BT for 30 years plus and a sacking offence was to bring the company into disrepute. Your coverage of the Leeds United “Spygate” falls into that category.
    I find your coverage of this incident wholly offensive.
    Do you realise you are damaging a brand name and also contributing to the downfall of a football club.
    If I had done something of this ilk against BT I would have been sacked on the spot.
    I think you had better look to your double standards and do something about it.
    Even when Leeds United are promoted to the premier league I will not be purchasing a BT sports package. You need to be careful about offending your customers. Something as minor ( as you will not doubt think) can and does drive potential customers away.
    Think on and take some action”.

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  20. Brad Twersky

    Although unproven, we all know the bias that exists against us. So there’s no chance I’m going to wake up one day this week and be greeted by a headline of Bielsa being suspended for four games or something ridiculous like that…is there?

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  21. I already cancelled my BT account.
    It is not worth the money anyway, for what you get.
    Let us hope others follow, and punish them!!

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  22. terry obrien

    I have no doubt this practice is well practiced by all football clubs at some point. The whole thing is very similar to the situation around the city of Westminster where the colours are plainly flown by the hypocrites , in this instance read Martin Keown and start the list there. My main concern though would be the pliers this spy had in his possession, could they have been for the purposes of torture? I haven’t seen or heard this being noted by any of the concerned pundits on tv, perhaps they fear ending up trapped in a dentist’s chair being asked ” is it safe”? Regards Terry

    On Sat, 12 Jan 2019, 13:37 Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything Rob Atkinson posted: ” A timely tweet (above) from journalist Amitai > Winehouse has exposed the nauseating media hypocrisy gathering like a cloud > of effluvium around “Spygate” – the ridiculously over-hyped episode of > Derby County players being observed training in plain sight. ” >

    Like

  23. Steve Trebert

    I would like to know what uncle Harry Redknapp would say. I would be interested to hear his take on this. Need I say more

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  24. Spot on Rob. Lampard is a big girls blouse. If he spent fifteen hours last week studying Leeds and thats the best he can produce he would be advised to join a Sunday league.
    Come and see us train. See how we laugh, joke and combine fun with getting fit. See how week we are at set pieces etc and the if you think you are hard enough come and have a go. We fear nobody
    PS. Have changed my mind about Lineker, top man

    Like

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