Leeds Fans Must Now be United Behind Club and Team – by Rob Atkinson


Leeds Fans United

Every Leeds United fan knows that following the Whites automatically includes you as part of the most fanatical and vociferous band of supporters anywhere. In short, the greatest fans around. This is an article of faith with United fans, not even a matter for debate. So mote it be. 

How very odd, then, to find yourself shaking your head in baffled disbelief at some of the social media output from the massed keyboards of this elite cadre of support. Clearly, with an online presence that probably runs into the millions worldwide, not everybody is going to agree all the time, for instance, on the vexed subject of United’s transfer policy. Still, the why-oh-why stance of a small but loud minority of the virtual support is hard to stomach for those of us who were brought up on the credo of “my club, right or wrong”.

It’s not only a transfer window thing, either. In fact, compared to the negative attitude of some “supporters” towards players struggling for form and confidence, Victor Orta and his transfer team are being afforded a relatively easy ride. Even so, the amount of uninformed criticism surrounding United’s recruitment efforts, during this and other transfer windows, tends to make Twitter an area of the Internet it’s wiser to avoid, especially for those who prefer their blood pressure to remain at a good safe level. Needless to say, that’s not a luxury in which I can indulge, being of the blogger/columnist persuasion, and my hypertension suffers accordingly.

Transfers are complex matters, due to all manner of factors: finances, agents, rival clubs, media and so on. I don’t envy the United officials trying to negotiate such choppy waters while being assailed and vilified on all sides by a section of online fans not overly burdened with any knowledge of what they’re talking about, and even less so by any tact, restraint or decorum. It can’t make the job any easier and, every now and again, you do see a faintly exasperated comment from the club along the lines of “we’re doing our best, we all want good outcomes, please be patient”. Sadly, such assurances usually fall on deaf ears; there are those out there, it seems, who wallow in negativity and relish any chance to have a moan or offer their unqualified opinions. 

It’s the carping criticism of certain players, though, that really offends and annoys. Take Patrick Bamford, for instance. Now, some of the criticism he receives has been fairly gentle and possibly even merited, though his record at United is good, taking into account last season’s injury woes. His milder critics peddle a ruefully humorous line, referring to Patrick as “Lord Bamford of Beeston” and wondering, tongue in cheek, if he shouldn’t delegate his goal-scoring duties to his butler. That’s the kind of thing that, reaching a player’s ears, might make him smile and redouble his determination to succeed. It’s harmless fun and, if the line is drawn there, nobody could really complain. 

But the more serious and malicious abuse is blatantly counter-productive, a classic case of a pistol levelled directly at our own collective foot. Players, and strikers in particular, thrive on confidence and encouragement. It makes little sense to hurl abuse and ill-founded criticism at a player such as Bamford, who will not be assisted by suggestions that he couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo, or that he’s worth less than a written-off, wheel-less banger rusting in a ditch. All that and worse has been flung at Bamford.

Fortunately and thankfully, the lad has a resilient character and a cold determination to succeed. His goal at Bristol City, the movement and the finish from that aristocratic forehead, testify to that. Long may his ability to rise above the howling of the mob continue.

Now, the window is closed until January, and it’s been a far better one than the usual suspects referred to above would wish you to believe. The squad has been purged of certain disruptive elements as identified by Marcelo Bielsa himself and, despite FFP strictures, the overall quality is arguably higher. In any event, we go with what we’ve got; if the performance at Ashton Gate can be maintained or even improved upon, it’ll take a fabulous opposing performance to stop us in any given match.

Whether you’re a matchgoing, raucous fanatic, or confined to long distance support, the message from here is the same. Get behind the team, get behind the club. We’re all on the same journey. Marching On Together.

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26 responses to “Leeds Fans Must Now be United Behind Club and Team – by Rob Atkinson

  1. The squad looks good to me Rob, and team spirit may be even higher this year?
    I love Marcelo and he has learned so much about the Championship since last season.
    One area of wariness has to be goalkeeper, where Kiko can be erratic, and coming for crosses leaves a lot to be desired – ask the Skipper!
    Both back up goalkeepers are untried, and young.
    However if Mr Bielsa is happy then I am too.
    I am a big Bamford fan, and would expect 25 goals from him, if he keeps healthy.
    He thrives on our support!
    Just on the Window.
    I have been keeping a tally.
    We have released/push out/sold 28 players in this window.
    This could be 29 if Cibicki is moved on.

    MOT!!

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    • I think Anita is still on the books as well, or maybe I missed something?

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      • I think you may be right Rob.
        He seems to be in a long negotiation over money – of all things!!
        Of those released, more than half are ‘Victor’s boys’.

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  2. howard mackey

    True and to the point Rob , well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. robert horspool

    Having endured many years of being a Leeds fan is nice to see some good loans come in,,, but have to admit, we having to pay out 4 mill in wages and loan fee for Nketiah seems a lot of money to me for a years services. Wasn’t too impressed on how many youngsters we let go too,, for virtually nothing these lads was Leeds future,, surely we cant invest ,,time,, and money in these youngsters just to let them go for a pittance. also the likes of Ollie Mcburn,,, Maupay going for 20 mill,, and we let roof go for,,a measly 6 or 7 mill hes just as good as them,,, have to lay blame on hierarchy for roof not on a long enough contract to get decent money for him,,, I just hoping we have a big enough squad to end up going to the promised land, and don’t burn out after January like we did last year Good Luck lads,,, and we behind you

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  4. As always, wise words that some of our fan base would do well to listen to
    Never understood the rationale behind not getting behind every member of the team to try and raise their performance rather than trying to destroy what confidence they do have and bamford is a great example. The player more than any other individual knows when he’s messed up or missed a chance he needs the fan base to pick him up and tell him to forget about it and keep trying not kick him in the knackers and spit in his face. Bielsa tactics mean that we’re going to create loads of chances but not all of them can be converted and the high tempo and quick passing will lead to mistakes and even cost us goals – his supporter would rather we win 3-2 than grind out a 0-0 or scrape a win. As a fan base we have short memories, I’d take AR, kinnear & Orta over any of the boards we’ve had since Fotherby & Silver

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  5. Life is LUFC

    With you on all this Rob, stop the the bullying, negative trash and get behind your team. We are the 12th man and we can help no end by being there come hell or high water just be positive even if you do not feel it, bury the negative and shout yourself into a positive frenzy…..and you do not have to pay for that bit.
    The problem with many of today’s people they want everything now and if it does not work chuck it out and get another. The throw away society. OK once in a while one of them does not work and you do have to say bye and thanks for all you have tried to do. In to all of this comes the dreaded word…money/cash/dosh call it what you will. Our club is not cash rich and even if it were there are still rules that have to be followed. Leeds fans know more than anyone what it is like to have points deducted and B’ham were lucky they only got 9. Do Leeds fans want to go there again? I for one do not ever want to be there again, I would rather be in this league for another year.
    Stop the player bashing with angry ugly words and try the player support with encouraging words which will be gratefully received by those that are going through their hellish moments and we all have them no matter what our job is. If you say you do not then you are deluding yourself.
    As for Patrick last weekend it was almost as if he had said to himself “oh to hell with this just go out there play and do not worry about what happens”. What a game he had and the look on his face showed he enjoyed it as much as I did watching it.
    There now saying all that cost me nothing and my blood pressure is good.

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  6. Christopher Watson

    Great article. We can and do have different opinions on our beloved club ,it’s management and players, Some will be positive and some negative. A lot borne out of the frustration that a life long love affair will always produce. But nothing is to be gained by pouring out this negativity online in particular when none of us can know what is happening behind the scene, Some of the comments I read on the YEP accusing Raz of being a crook who is at LUFC in order to soak it of cash and then skip town is beyond stupidity. Last season was our best one for a very long time even if it did end badly. The club in the form of the much maligned Orta, has done good business this summer and the club and players deserve and need our support whether at the matches or expressed online. I am not asking any one to believe in magical unicorns but to get totally behind every player in out shirt just like my amazing away support always does. MOT from Austin, Texas, where I shall be getting up early tomorrow as our match starts at 6.30 am here. Best wishes to all who support Leeds United.

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  7. FFP is real but:-
    Derby and Sheffield Wednesday exploited a loophole in this ’not very Fair play agreement’
    by selling the grounds to themselves (the owners).
    This allowed them to post a profit instead of a thumping loss!!
    Thus avoiding penalty points and fines!!
    No action taken against them!!
    Sheffield Wednesday sold their ground for £38 million plus,
    and thus showed a profit of £2.5 million!!
    Derby sold their ground for £50 million, to owner Morris, so they could show a profit!!!!!
    Villa would have had to do the same if they had not got promoted.
    ’Spying’ is a big crime to the FL, but cheating the system is OK??

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  8. If you’d added a decent winger to last year’s squad we’d have gone up.
    We have.
    Some of the Leeds fans have sadly grown accustomed to us shipping out 11 each summer and fetching in 11 (of no better quality)

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  9. Nick Bickel

    I agree with the general thrust of your piece, about being positive, especially with regard to the players. But we have every right to question the ability of Orta from time to time; and the Board’s strategy. This transfer window, Orta seems to have redeemed himself after the farce of January where we put everything into one player who never arrived, and which likely precipitated the fading thereafter. I know it was James’ manager who did the dirty on us, but was it wise to have just the one target? Orta was sacked by ‘boro, and has brought in loads of useless individuals who have thankfully largely been removed over this summer. Even before the sale of Roofe, people had calculated the club had banked £33m from player sales. I think we’re still weak in numbers in defence, bearing in mind the high injury record of last season – why didn’t we secure Cameron Carter-Vickers, esp. knowing Bielsa’s connection with Pochettino? Then, there was Nolan, with Colidio, from Inter that never happened. If Radrizzani’s declared caution over FFP is genuine, and not a way of placating fans while he uses the sales proceeds for other things, I really worry that if we do succeed with promotion this season, we’ll be obliged to buy Costa, but then will have to buy at least five or six others, some of whom may have been on loan to us this season. To me, that’s storing up trouble. I know Villa have splashed the cash in this window, but will we be able to do likewise if we win promotion? In contrast to my opinion of the Directors’ approach, I think it is going to be a tremendous season on the field – far better than last year, with ‘Nketiah, man on fire’! – but I just hope we can avoid the injury toll, and the post-Christmas burn-out with such a small squad.

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  10. Reality Cheque

    Totally agree with the message of your post Rob. Whilst I accept that everyone has a right to have differing views and opinions, I definitely do not accept that the most vitriolic social media comments are made by actual or genuine Leeds United “supporters” anyhow. Twitter allows envious fans of other clubs a futile attempt to try and cause discord amongst the best fans in the country

    Its a very true fact that when anyone is trying to make you feel bad about yourself or have a bad day it is because they are having a particularly bad day in their own sad, unfulfilled world and desperately want to try to bring you down to their own levels of failure, despair and hopelessness

    So just imagine how their world looks now that we have Eddie, Costa, Pablo, Bamford, Clarke, Harrison, Klich, Forshaw and have kept Kalvin Phillips plus a production line of exciting talented Under 23’s under the continued tutelage of Marcelo Bielsa!!!!!

    Now wouldn’t that make any grown man cry who doesn’t genuinely support the Mighty Whites Rob?

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  11. Very occasionally during match day games I’ve heard a Leeds fan criticising a player. He (it’s always a he) is usually shouted down. The simple rule is: when a player wears a Leeds shirt we support him. Online criticism is different: posters hide behind their keyboards and you can’t be sure where their loyalty lies. Forums are infested with ‘WUMs’ (wind up merchants) and their comments should not be taken seriously – they are best ignored as attention seeker or malefactors. ‘Reality Cheque’ made a similar point. Nevertheless, just in case some real fans are taken-in by WUMs it is good to read a piece that affirms what supporting Leeds is actually about. Thanks for the blog, Rob.

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  12. John Bennett

    A great article with sound opinions. LUFC MOT!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is close to my heart Rob. Never understood how you can insult, vilify and ridicule a player who wears the shirt with pride, wants to be a positive contribution and loves the club. None of this team applied to play for Leeds, they did not submit a CV and they did not ring up asking if there were any vacancies. They were scouted and they were INVITED to play for LEEDS UNITED
    Some make it, some don’t. Some excel beyond expectations and some don’t. If you or I went to work one day ( love retirement by the way) and we found comments on the noticeboard stating we were useless, a moron, a w****r or a donkey I don’t think we would be at all happy.
    These Twatteratis just don’t have the intelligence to make constructive criticisms. You and I, and the majority of decent fans we have at this club know the problems we have. We are all frustrated with many things, but to take it out on the lads who genuinely go out there and want to play well and want to win to me is just not acceptable.
    Finally, take a good long hard look at the team’s out there who have spent MILLIONS on players and play for teams in the Premiere League who get nowhere, and teams who have spent MILLIONS on promotion and fall flat on their faces. Get behind the lads, it’s early days and there is a long, long way to go.

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  14. Life is LUFC

    Time to get the Penalty Clock out Rob. There were two blatant ones at least yesterday and a twigglet goal that should never have been allowed.
    ALL our lads played well yesterday despite the ref.

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    • Was thinking the same thing, but I’d have to wait for a few more games to mount up, pretty sure we missed one at Ipswich back end of last season. But I’ve got my beady eyes on it, rest assured 👀

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      • Penalties are a very sticky area,
        Looking at incidents from all angles we could have had 3 penalties yesterday Rob.
        Indeed, with all the shirt tugging, pushing and pulling, penalties are there every game for all teams.
        The TV experts see a shove and say “it is not a strong enough push to warrant a penalty”!????
        What does that mean and how do you gauge it?
        Looking at Costa yesterday he was pushed off balance, pretty firmly to my eyes?
        He lost his balance and it was a certain penalty because of this.
        The ‘experts’ thought differently!
        So how can a video ‘ref’ decide??

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      • It’s a worryingly grey area and, although VAR is supposed to get things right and level what’s been perceived as a skewed playing field, I feel that in practice the human judgement factor will continue to favour certain teams wearing certain colour shirts.

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