Football League See Opportunity to Keep Leeds United Within Their Clammy Grasp – by Rob Atkinson


As many of us at least half expected, the football authorities in this country are refusing to see the Derby County “Spygate” storm in a teacup for what it is. Instead, they are assuming their grave and serious faces, and preparing to set the wheels in motion to hammer Leeds United yet again.

It’s no secret that the Football League in particular, driven by the hateful legacy of the late, unlamented Alan Hardaker, have a schizophrenic attitude towards Leeds comprised of love and hate in roughly equal measure. The hatred is a stand alone thing; like the silly kid down your street with a scum shirt on, they despise Leeds but can’t really say why, beyond a vague feeling that their dead dad would approve. The love bit is commercially-motivated: the FL simply do not wish to lose the jewel in their crown to the Premier League.

So, this ridiculous whinge from Lampard and Derby is embarrassingly being given some credence, against all sense and logic, simply because it might just open the door to a chance of clipping Leeds United’s wings. That’s the reality, that’s the measure of the League’s determination to hang onto us if they can. Against a background of one penalty award in almost 70 games, the mood in the Preston HQ is clear enough.

We now have to wait and see what the Leeds United response will be to the ominous “request for comments” on an incident which is demonstrably not without precedent. I hope that the club is prepared to set out its stall and indicate its determination not to be intimidated or cowed down by this, together with its absolute resolve to resist vigorously any attempt to apply sanctions that would threaten a highly promising situation as regards promotion.

As for the fans, we should be prepared to lobby the League in our thousands. Something like this was always likely to happen, especially with Leeds four points clear and set fair to move up and away. The League’s determination to throw a spanner in the Leeds United works must not be tolerated. If they want a fight, let’s give them a bloody good one.

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35 responses to “Football League See Opportunity to Keep Leeds United Within Their Clammy Grasp – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Steve Clark

    For the Football League this trivial matter means that they can turn a blind eye to real issues such as why people with records of imprisonment or bankruptcies can be deemed ‘fit and proper’ people to own football clubs.In the last week there has been a lot of self righteous nonsense just because an ex England player ( in an overrated England team) cannot face the fact that his team lost to Leeds last Friday because they were inferior in the game . I would not put any money on Frank Lampard still being in charge of Derby in a years time.

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  2. Frank Lampard is a very sore loser. He simply cant face the fact his team has lost to us twice. He is also worried he will be next to face the sack. Now, we will all call Frank the “Sore Loser”!

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  3. NickB(50yrsLU)

    I am a bit concerned, but I don’t think a 10-point deduction would derail us. A fine would be inconvenient, knowing Radrizzani’s other business difficulties. But, by far the worst scenario – and unbearable to contemplate – would be deciding Bielsa is unfit to manage. If that was the conclusion, I think there would be such a backlash from influential people, such as Lineker and a host of like-minded ex-footballers and top managers, that the authorities would have to revoke the decision. Nevertheless, a worry we could all do without. It would be nice, for the first time in two decades, to enjoy unadulterated euphoria at this time. But, we are Leeds!

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  4. Does anyone know what the EFL Clubs 2018 Charter actually says?
    I wonder how vague or specific it is?
    I have sent an e-mail to elf for the info, and hope they reply.
    I found what I thought was the Charter on the net, but I could not find this bit.

    enquiries@efl.com

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  5. Mike Durham

    Rob I feel it’s time to mobilise our many millions of supporters and collectively form a fighting fund to take on Korrupt FL! This is beyond a bleedin’ joke and we as a club should be suing the FL for defamation of character. There is no case to answer ; any fool can see that.
    Surely with irrefutable video evidence, we as supporters can show how inept the officiating has been this season ( if we are to be kind ) and demand a level playing field at long last.
    Counsel’s opinion anybody?

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    • While I agree that we have had some diabolical refereeing/linesman this season, and the shirt pulling crack down has evaporated, I think this is a different issue Mike.
      A petition expressing our general disappointment and lack of protection from the EFL would carry more weight in putting the spotlight on them.
      They will use the 2018 Charter as their weapon, and ignore everything that happened before.
      I suspect that their wording is vague, which means if the EFL find us guilty that will be it.
      The club will fight this, if the EFL are too heavy handed.
      We know with the matches we see that teams waste time, feign injury, and pressurise the ref.
      Players abusing each other, and Managers & coaches abusing their rivals.
      If this is part of the Charter, everyone is guilty.

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  6. Tony Stevenson

    Sun Tzu said ‘Knowing your enemy as yourself, one will become invincible’. He was a big fan of spying and I must say, so am I. You name any sport, martial art, track and field, team games – all require that you study your opponent before going up against them. When I boxed I would attend my future adversary’s bout and study his strengths and weaknesses. They did the same to me. In the military gathering intelligence on the enemy is vital. Again, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats all identified. You have to be prepared. Getting to know your opponent, either covertly of overtly is absolutely key. Our skies are filled with satellites, watching the bad guys. Our streets are filled with CCTV, watching the bad guys. Our pavements are walked by undercover officers, watching the bad guys. To me there is no distinction between preparing for combat and preparing to compete in a sports tournament. There is no such thing as spying in sport – it is called due diligence. Check everything and leave nothing to chance. And, it has always been thus. I’ll wager every football team exerts an enormous amount of effort/resources studying the opposition. Others have openly admitted that they do and always have. A man on a public footpath watching a team train is routine stuff. We all do it – deliberately or passively when we watch any game of football. There is a precedent here. One last word – if you step into the arena to take on the unknown, you will lose. Excellent blog by the way Rob. – Let’s hear it for common sense.

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  7. stretch4leeds

    So every club that sends a representative or whose manager attends a football match to observe a team prior to playing them later that week are similarly breaking this as yet unwritten rule? Hope the spoilt little school boy at Derby feels smug with his “Moral Victory” because him and his previous associations are squeaky clean on that score!
    The EFL should see sense and decree that a damned good wedgie for Lampard should be the only punishment dished out to in this matter and have done with it. Am willing to set up an online petition for this to be performed publicly- perhaps just outside his training ground?

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  8. Reality Cheque

    You are aware from my earlier post Rob, that I think our club’s legal team needs significantly strengthening in the same way our management, coaching and playing staff have been transformed for the better.

    We must stand up and vehemently challenge every attempt by the football “powers that be” to impose grossly inconsistently harsh and unprecedented punishments whenever they choose. We need a tough, competent and determined legal team to do a “hard press” and stop allowing our football club to be treated in this way.

    Equally, I think that it is very important that we, as fans, need to respond in an adult way and keep it in perspective rather than slide down to the childish and embarrassing level Lampard has. ALAW.

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  9. If they try and impose any sanction which will effect the team the club should hire a top lawyer and take the EFL to court. I for one would be happy to put some money in towards the legal costs. The fans stand side by side with the club.

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  10. Ken Jarvis

    Hi Rob,

    Be nice if the club released a strongly worded statement, saying, the FA/FL rules are applied differently to them compared to all other football clubs.

    Be it player comments about referees, bad officials, blantant dives, penalties or nasty cynical tackles, the laws of football are not applied equally when it comes to Leeds United.

    Now that would be a lovely hand grenade to toss at those INEPT FA/FL dinosaurs.

    Certainly the world media will start to see the obvious because it’s pretty obvious to every decent Leeds fan, our club is being made a scapegoat once again for football laws that don’t EXIST.

    Enough is Enough

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  11. ugandanleedsfan

    Rob – yer long lost man from Theresa’s long historically-tied outpost, Uganda. Observing the 1%ers and their bootlickers’ dogged ability to hold onto and repetitively push said narrative red-faced ad infinitum worries me. The only weapon they fear the most is the unvarnished truth.

    In this case, Leeds have only one and the most powerful weapon to counter the inevitable points deduction. Leeds’ fans who obviously contribute massively to the revenues of all the other clubs they play against, make a hell of a lot of noise. That ilk cannot stand push back, they are used to blind obedience. We know, we got our independence once we realised that destroying the narrative upfront is what they fear the most.

    However, a sneaky suspicion tells me this is the last throw of the dice as far as they are concerned, and desperately so, so let’s shout out loud and watch them crumble as the hypocrisy of their stance is about to fall victim of having its bluff called out! Journalists and the public regularly attend training sessions and capture incidents that ordinarily would be hidden from the public glare.

    If that’s the case, how many other “spies” are in attendance at said times? And who tips them off about the possibility of a story?

    My two pennies worth!

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  12. We need to wait for the ‘verdict’ before doing anything.
    The EFL have the support of the majority of clubs, as we have found to our cost.
    The crap Sky deal, was supported by most clubs.
    Until you can get majority support you cannot do anything but sabre rattle.

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  13. I think the EFL think that have to be seen to be seen to be doing something, given the amount of blah generated by this so called ‘scandal. Seeing as there seems to be no actual ruling regarding ‘spying’ I can’t see anything other than a edict being issued and a slap on the wrist.
    Of course this is the EFL so all bets are off I suppose. Any decent lawyer should be able to blow this shower of hypocrites out of the water if need be.MOT

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  14. Life is LUFC

    If I remember correctly Angus sent a letter to the EFL/FA (not sure if it was both or just one of them) with regard to the unfair treatment of Leeds. I am almost sure is was about the time of the Jansson incident. I hope the said bodies will be reminded of that when talking about unfair actions.
    I know it is now not a matter for levity but do we have a case against that little T**T for his over acting and taking it to the actors union for doing so without being a member Equity. I’m sure we can find many rules he has broken.
    On a serious note I am concerned about this turn of events because knowing the EFL/FA they’ll add extra rules in to the agreement just to suit their needs, failing that they will interpret the current rules to suit themselves. I agree with REALITY a good and sound law firm is required now because this kind of intimidation is getting beyond a joke. Also the other gentleman above is quite right the fans need to be supportive but do nothing that can aggravate the situation further no matter how tempting it may be.
    I just hope our team pf players and coaches are not distracted by this and deliver the best games they have ever done just to spite these spiteful and contemptible people and associations.

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  15. Tony Stevenson

    For me – I need to see a specific reference. Within the EFL constitution, rules, laws. What, exactly, has been transgressed? Chapter and verse please? If laws and rules have not been broken then no case to answer.

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  16. Lampard has an over developed sense of importance and is extremely concerned with his profile, needs to succeed and get the top Premiership job he believes he deserves. Mel Morris at Derby is not Abramovich or an Arab Sheik and can’t afford failure so Lampard is under pressure even more so now we’ve just humiliated his team in front of the Sky cameras .
    He’s almost certainly over reacted and over dramatised the situation so the inquiry needs to know exactly what happened and not listen to hearsay.

    How did the police get involved and why ? [Would they attend or bother if someone was looking over your garden fence ? ]
    Why did they use their Twitter account to publicise the issue and their involvement, have they nothing better to do ? Was our man really equipped with pliers, wire cutters, a ladder or just stood on a public footpath looking through the fence ?
    Other related issues of relevance, Bielsa clearly didn’t see this as an offence or an undercover operation or else he wouldn’t have used a member of his own staff . There’s plenty of other people could have prepared a decent report for him and given him deniability if seen .
    Also Lampard’s pious denial that he’s never benefited from or even been aware of such activity before doesn’t hold water . Is he calling AVB a liar who has admitted spying for Mourhino and Chelsea ? Where did he think the information obviously gained since the last game and given to him about the opposition came from ?
    Rob, always enjoy the column which is a cut above the rest .

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  17. Agree with everything in this article lets see what they want to do. Lampard and the rest should grow up, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

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  18. Any time they believe that they have a good chance of punishing Leeds, for even the most miniscule problem, they will with gusto set the wheels in motion to try and stop us , stop us by any means necessary from leaving the most corrupt organisation, the EFL. Can they please tell us under what rule is this listed under, what paragraph, where is it written into the laws of English, in fact would football, you all at the EFL are nothing but a bunch of criminals, along with all the pundits who have jumped up on their soap boxes saying it is wrong, why don’t you talentless so called experts go and put your heads in the gas oven you fucking morons. Remember that no laws have been broken, none at all.

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  19. This is the part of the Club Charter the EFL say we in contravention of (from the EFL official statement)….Make of it what you will…

    Relevant Regulations

    At this stage the EFL considers that the following Regulations are relevant to this particular issue:

    (a) Regulation 3.4 provides that:

    “In all matters and transactions relating to The League each Club shall behave towards each other Club and The League with the utmost good faith…”

    (b) Regulation 21. The EFL also considers it may be appropriate to take action against individuals, including the Manager, on the basis that Regulation 21 provides as follows:

    “… all Officials and Players shall by virtue of their fulfilment of those roles be deemed to have given to The League:

    21.2.1 an undertaking to The League not to bring The League or any Club, into disrepute;

    21.2.2 an undertaking not to do anything or omit to do anything which will cause a Club to be in breach of the Laws of the Game, the Football Association Rules, these Regulations or the Articles of Association…”

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  20. Tony Stevenson

    Well – we asked for specifics. Everything above is open to interpretation. A man standing on a path watching a training session hardly brings the game into disrepute. I would say that Leeds did indeed hold Derby in high esteem and ‘behaved in the utmost good faith’ and I’ll tell you why. For Derby, not to be considered a serious threat by Leeds would have been an insult to Derby. Imagine going into a game and not being the subject of interest prior to the match. Derby should be flattered that Leeds took them so seriously. Actually we paid Frank Lampard a huge compliment – it’s difficult to understand why he doesn’t see it that way.

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    • While Marcelo may be the most honest manager in Football,
      Lampard has proved to be a liar!!
      He said the ‘spy’ was on his knees with a pair of pliers, which makes it a more serious offence.
      The Derby police have issued a statements, due to all the stories in the media:-
      Derbyshire Police

      @DerbysPolice
      · Jan 11, 2019
      Replying to @DerbysPolice
      Officers conducted routine checks which were all above board. Despite media reports, no damage to the fence was found, and the man was stopped outside the grounds. No arrests were made and the man was sent on his way. (2/2)

      Lampard is scum!

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  21. Grenville Hair

    Here’s what’s going to happen. Now Bielsa has admitted spying on everyone, the EFL will sorrowfully announce a 15 point reduction, with the proviso that relegation to League One was seriously considered but ruled out as a consequence of his fessing up to it. The rules of the league are drawn up so loosely that they can effectively apply any sanction they like, and clubs have very little recourse. Leeds could try the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne but it looks a pretty hopeless case. i think we might dwell on why CEO Angus didn’t know this was going on – and why the club has given the EFL/Sky a gold-plated torpedo to blow our promotion aspirations out of the water. i bet they can’t believe their luck – Don Goodman will be hugging himself. We know they will do all we can to keep us down – and the club – hapless as ever – has given them what they want on a plate. And where is Radrizzani?
    Those Leeds fans under 50 who haven’t experienced the official guerilla campaign against the club since the sixties are sorely deluded if they think this isn’t going to cost us promotion. On that score, nothing has changed, as the Jansson sanction showed. Different rules apply to LUFC and have done so since 1964.

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    • I think Bielsa is doing a great job of making Spygate look every bit as ridiculous as it is. If the League try to apply sanctions for somebody standing on a public highway and failing to avert their eyes simply because a group of footballers are training the other side of a transparent barrier, they’ll get laughed out of court.

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  22. Grenville Hair

    Laughed out of a court of law certainly, Rob, but that’s not what we’re dealing with.

    Still, I hope you’re right.

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    • It is all about opinion (EFL & FA opinions) not on the law.
      However their opinions can probably be challenged in law, but we have to brace ourselves!!

      Rant!
      Marcelo Bielsa – the most honest man in Football!
      Frank Lampard is not!
      The Derbyshire police have confirmed that the ‘spy’ was stood on a public footpath (NOT ON HIS KNEES WITH A PAIR OF PLIERS) as FL stated.
      Chelsea did the same thing while he was there, as mr Villas-Boas confirmed.
      He even used disguises to get inside!!
      FL cannot remember/does not believe it.
      If he was honest he would be calling Chelsea cheats, and sending his medals back!!

      Like

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