Tag Archives: America

New from the White House: the alternate truths historical timeline since 1946

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Some hoary old myths of World and American history have been dispelled since President Donald J Trump moved into the White House, and that process is continuing with the ongoing alternative truths campaign initiated by the President’s loyal staff. Below, we summarise the alternate truth historical timeline as it is now understood.

Donald Trump was born in 1946, and by the tender age of ten had already gained first class degrees at both Harvard and Yale, reflecting his phenomenal IQ of 276. During his teens, he became a test pilot and then the leading combat pilot in the USAF, recording 65 kills in the Korean conflict alone. Moving into his twenties, Donald took up fighting and tennis, becoming undisputed World Boxing champion at four different weights simultaneously, as well as winning the tennis Grand Slam for five consecutive years. His sporting career went from strength to strength, culminating with a late bid to become a soccer star. He subsequently helped the USA win soccer’s World Cup in 1962, 1966 and 1970, scoring a hat trick on each occasion and being lauded by Pelé and Bobby Moore as their “most difficult opponent”. Trump rounded off his club soccer career by joining Manchester United in time to win them the 1968 European Cup, scoring all four goals at Wembley.

Moving on from sport into business, Donald founded ICI and the IMF and became a multi-trillionaire in the six months after European Cup glory. This enabled him to take up responsibility for the funding of the continuance of the Apollo program, in which he took an active part, becoming the first man to walk on the moon in July 1969. Not content with this, Donald not only became the first man to hit a golf shot on the moon, he also actually achieved a hole in one, finishing 24 under par in history’s first extra-terrestrial round of golf and putting one lost ball into permanent lunar orbit. 

Back on Earth, Donald’s achievements continued apace. In the early seventies he returned to combat duties for the US Air Force, reducing Vietnam to a vanquished enemy with his 754 successful fighter sorties, knocking down an average of 2.54 MIG fighters per mission.

Having become the first American to win two wars single handed, beating Errol Flynn’s record by one, Donald Trump somewhat belatedly entered the world of entertainment, winning best actor Oscars for his first seventeen movies. He is particularly remembered for his bravura performance as Darth Vader in Star Wars, Danny Zuko in Grease and the shark in Jaws.

The historical achievements were mounting up, and there seemed to be few fields left for this remarkable man to conquer. Becoming bored with sports, space exploration and movies, it was time for Donald to tread the boards of the world’s greatest stages, creating roles such as Lear, Othello, Lady Macbeth and the Grinch.

Throughout his life up until the end of the seventies, Donald felt that his incredible singing ability had been rather masked by his mastery of acting. Now though, his gift as an operatic tenor came to the fore as he performed all the great roles in a decade of virtuoso vocal displays. Perhaps his greatest triumph was his definitive version of Nessun Dorma, which became the most widely admired operatic performance of all time, providing the theme to the Italia 90 World Cup in which Donald also made a sporting comeback at the age of 44, scoring another hat trick to win a fourth title for the USA as Germany were trounced in the Final by 5-0.

In the next two decades, Donald relaxed slightly to concentrate on his personal life and establish a reputation as the world’s greatest lover and most attractive man. During this time, Donald was heavily in demand by all of the world’s most beautiful women, all of whom wanted to bear him a little Trump to improve the planet’s gene pool. It is estimated that Donald took 12,000 lovers in this period, whilst remaining a good and faithful family man and also becoming the first swimmer to conquer the Atlantic and the Pacific. In response to doubters, Donald later swam both oceans again, in one day, followed up by a solo trek across Antarctica.

Finally, for the crowning achievement of this extraordinary life to date, it was time for the Donald to bestow the gift of himself on politics. Starting out humbly as the power behind the Reagan and Bush dynasties, Donald also seduced Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain to ensure that the USA had a strategic platform off the coast of Europe and single-handedly causing the collapse of communism. Later, Donald became the Governor of every state barring Florida and Hawaii, reserving these for golf projects. When the time was finally right for him to run for President, Donald’s global reputation and skilfully developed power base would ensure him a landslide victory to eclipse any in history.

And this greatest of all triumphs is what we have just witnessed. Donald won all the states to romp home to the White House, gaining 99.86% of the popular vote and attracting 60 billion adoring fans to his record-breaking inauguration. In so doing, he has established a new American domination of global politics which is expected to last für ein tausend Jahre.

Hail to the Chief! Hail Donald Trump!! Hail, hail, Heil!!!

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Donald Trump Confirms US/UK Special Relationship With Leeds United Buyout   –   by Rob Atkinson


In his first act following his shock US Election victory, President Elect Donald Trump has revealed that, in an early effort to strengthen links between the USA and Great Britain, he is in advanced talks with Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino for a total buyout of the Elland Road club. 

Mr. Cellino refused to answer questions about the takeover this morning, saying only: “You think you no find owner madder than Big Mass, hey? Ha! Va’ fa Napoli!!” A spokesman for Mr. Trump, however, was more forthcoming, stating that the deal was imminent and that the terms included the appointment of Cellino as Attorney General in the initial Trump administration. 

Early indications are that Trump plans to develop the Elland Road stadium as a matter of priority, with the building of two or three skyscrapers on the site of the existing West Stand, as well as a wall around the LS11 postal code, to be paid for by the local Mexican Taco Takeaway franchise.

Current team boss Garry Monk was unconcerned by the change in ownership, advising that it would be “business as usual”. Rumours that the grass banking in the West Stand car park is to be referred to henceforth as a “grassy knoll” have neither been confirmed nor denied.

President Elect Trump himself said that he’d had a tiring week, that he was exultant over the greatest achievement of his life, and that all his thoughts and efforts were now concentrated on beating Newcastle United and Liverpool.

Leeds United to Quit England?? Cellino in Shock “Serie A” Pledge – by Rob Atkinson

Cellino: bring on Juve and Milan

Cellino: bring on Juve and Milan

More sensational developments are unfolding in the ever more confusing story about the year-long struggle at Elland Road, over the ownership, management and league membership of Leeds United. Documents have become available in the last 24 hours that prove the extraordinary determination of controversial banned owner and convicted yachtsman Massimo Cellino, to hang on to the club he’s had to negotiate so hard to own.

The newly declassified information is from last year’s Football League “Fit & Proper” appeal hearing in London, and it indicates the lengths Massimo Cellino was prepared to go to, in order to overturn the Football League’s rejection of him as a “fit and proper person” to own the club. Sensationally, Cellino undertook to achieve promotion within a defined time span for the fallen Yorkshire giants, not to the FA Premier League – but to the Italian top flight, Serie A.

A spokesperson for Cellino, Avril Primero, was tight-lipped when she was quizzed, on April the 1st, about what would certainly be a controversial move. “What a load of bologna,” she said, through tight lips. “Where did you get hold of this rubbish? Un tale carico di merda!

The story, though, refused to go away. The religious affairs correspondent of Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything was able to speak personally late the next night, via ship-to-shore phone from the blog’s duty-free yacht “Nélie”, to the Pope in the Vatican. When pressed on the Serie A story, the Pontiff – a keen cricket fan – was willing to confirm that Leeds’ participation in the Italian top league was “nailed on” for the start of 2016/17 – if things went as planned with the Football League. “The Italian league is open to this, my son,” the Argie Pontiff confided. “There had previously been a suggestion of Glasgow Rangers,” added the leader of the world’s Catholics, “but as you might guess, I ruled THAT one right out of court. Then someone called Harvey mentioned Sheffield Wendies, but I simply laughed. Really, who are these people… Leeds though? ¡Excelente!

The Football League itself was reluctant to comment at that stage of proceedings, with matters poised so delicately. “We have no comment at this stage”, commented a League official, reluctantly, “Matters are so delicately poised.” The FA Premier League indicated that this was not a matter for them presently, but that such a move might well attract some support. “We certainly don’t want Leeds United in our nice clean league”, ejaculated the FA Officer in charge of bungs and bribes.

The then United owners GFH were less forthcoming yet. When asked if competing against the likes of Juventus, Milan, Napoli and Serie A giants Cagliari formed part of their strategic vision for the Whites, they stated simply “We couldn’t give a camel’s left knacker. We just want our money, cash on the nail, coppish? Then we can send Davey Haigh to Dubai, we’ve got big plans for him…”

Massimo Cellino, seemingly unruffled by these revelations from last year, is nevertheless unlikely to be present at the Brentford game on Saturday, preferring to remain in Miami where he is stocking his new refrigerator with beer in preparation for “a major interview” later today. When asked if, despite the Football League ban, he’d have any input into the contents of the team sheet, Mr. Cellino appeared to misunderstand. “Yes, you’re right, team issa sheet, so I stay here, drink beer, buy bitch, talk random Leeds fans onna phone”, he confirmed. “Is better that way, my friend.”

Shaun Harvey is 107.

Leeds Fans Need to Seriously Consider 4 Month Away Games Boycott – by Rob Atkinson

Leeds United's massive away support

Leeds United’s massive away support

This article was originally published on April 8 this year, at a time when Life, Leeds United the Universe & Everything, in common with all other fans and bloggers with the interests of Leeds United at heart, could clearly see that the FL, smarting from defeat in the High Court, remained determined to “get” Massimo Cellino eventually. This was true then and it’s been proven true on Monday, with the League decision once again to disqualify the Italian under its Owners and Directors Rules, the so-called “Fit & Proper Test”.

It remains the case, clearly, that the League see a dubious conviction on some relatively petty import duty transgression as being far more serious and worthy of action than, say, a conviction for rape (Oyston at Blackpool FC), money laundering (Yeung at Birmingham City) or chronic and serial mismanagement of its biggest and most celebrated member club (Ken Bates, Sean Harvey and GFH Capital at Leeds United over the past decade). This incredibly perverse set of priorities serves to characterise an organisation that has unfailingly demonstrated its naked hostility to Leeds United (its premier member club, let’s not forget) and has utterly failed to abide by its implied duty of care to this club and its fans.

The original article, reproduced below, called on various bodies and all fans to consider an away games boycott, effectively hitting other Football League clubs in the pocket and striking at the central financial interests of the League itself. This remains, in my opinion, the best way forward. The idea received a mixed reception at the time and may well do so again; the idea of giving up those beloved away trips is not easy to stomach for some of our hardier fanatics.

But consider: the League has today acted to bar Massimo Cellino, yet this sanction has to be finite, lasting only until March, when the conviction it’s based on will be spent. So now my call is not for an open-ended boycott, but rather a refusal to buy tickets for away games for the duration of this Football League sanction. I believe that this would be feasible and a high-profile way of making a point by a set of fans who normally turn up in their thousands, lining the pockets of the very people who are against us.

The Football League, having lost an appeal against its disqualification of Massimo Cellino in front of an independent QC, are now showing their true colours in the wake of that humiliating defeat.  Rather than personifying dignity and acceptance of the outcome of a judicial process, they hastened to point out that they were “disappointed” and stated they would be considering the judgement. There is no humility, only arrogance.  There is no recognition of the duty of care they have towards their largest member club and its thousands of long-suffering fans – only naked malice and an avowed intent to plunge that club back into the crisis from which it appears to be on the point of emerging.  It amounts to a vendetta.  Two facts above all have emerged from this over-long saga.

  1. The Football League do not have the interests of Leeds United at heart.
  2. Leeds United are too big for the Football League.

Item 1 above is the mildest way of putting what is increasingly obvious – that the League regard the Leeds takeover situation, not as a chance for a famous old club – exercising its own judgement and right to secure a stable future – to get back onto an even keel, but as an opportunity to hammer that club further into the mire. How else to explain the zest with which its lawyers conducted their side of the appeal argument before Tim Kerr QC?  They resorted to trying to discredit the independent Italian legal expert because of a harmless if misguided comment on a social media platform.  Yet, in the same breath, they were relying on the portions of that witness’s evidence which aided their case.  Kerr rightly threw such selective pleading out of the window – but the underlying message was of a determination to deny Leeds United their rich new owner that amounted to vindictiveness and malice.

The background to this attitude is odd, to say the least.  One of the League’s member clubs has as a majority shareholder a convicted rapist.  The son of that unsavoury character sat on the panel which originally decided that Massimo Cellino was not a fit and proper person to act as a football club owner or director.  The irony is immediately apparent, as is the stench of arrogant hypocrisy.  Really, you couldn’t make it up – if you did, it would be dismissed as fanciful.

Any fan of Leeds United, if of long enough standing, will have witnessed examples of the Football League going through back-breaking contortions to make life as difficult as possible for the Whites of Elland Road.  It’s a tradition that dates back to Alan Hardaker and his rabid hatred of Don Revie.  Hardaker is dead now – but the ugly attitude towards Leeds lives on, through the unctuous reptile that is Brian Mawhinney, as he did his worst in 2007, to the present day with Shaun Harvey in charge – the same Harvey who, in cahoots with Ken Bates, did his level best whilst employed at Elland Road to fulfil his master’s 1984 vow to see Leeds and its fans banished, destroyed, erased from existence. Lest we forget: “I shall not rest until Leeds United are kicked out of the football league. Their fans are the scum of the earth, absolute animals and a disgrace. I will do everything in my power to make sure this happens.” So said Ken Bates, and he came pretty close to success – aided by then Leeds CEO and current FL CEO, Shaun Harvey.

A salute to the League

A salute to the League

The fact of the matter is that Leeds United are simply too big and too historically important for an antiquated and inept organisation like the League.  This is, after all,  a body that embraces failure and the presence of also-rans as core values.  The members of the League are, by definition, clubs who have either failed to stay in the Premier League, or who have never been good enough to get there.  It’s a has-been or never-was League for bit-part players, chorus members.  The stars, the principals in the pantheon of English football, ply their trade outside of the jurisdiction of the FL. At the moment, Leeds United form part of the Football League’s brigade of failures.  The events of the past few months have shown us clearly how vital it is for United to shake the dust of this two-bit organisation from their feet, and move on up.

Meantime, we are necessarily subject to the rules and attitudes of an outfit that has shown itself beyond reasonable doubt as “not fit for purpose”.  Until Leeds can drag themselves out of the Football League quicksand, they will have to fight their own corner as best they can.  As things stand, Massimo Cellino is in – he is the new owner of the club.  He has the wherewithal and the experience and determination to bring success in a higher sphere to Elland Road, whilst at the same time restoring that famous old ground to club ownership and bringing it up to 21st century standards – the same applies to the training complex at Thorp Arch.  These are good and necessary steps for Leeds – and they are initiatives that the League would prefer to see nipped in the bud, as they remain openly determined to oust Cellino if at all possible.

The fans are in a unique position here to have their say and to vote with their feet.  Those fans are rightly famous throughout the country as providing a travelling army of away support which brings atmosphere and vast income to every ground they visit over the course of a season.  Home clubs keep all of their gate receipts these days, so that away support – so vital to our competing clubs – benefits Leeds United only in terms of vocal encouragement.  The clubs in the Championship – and, by extension, the Football League – benefit financially to a great degree, from the loyalty and commitment of the Leeds United away fans.  Now those fans should put club interests before their own, and be prepared to make a significant sacrifice in order to make an unanswerable point to the Football League – who they have propped up with their hard-earned cash since 2004.

For, surely, it is now time to consider a boycott of ALL away games by ALL fans of Leeds United FC.  The only way of influencing such blind, uncaring officialdom as we are up against, is to hit it hard, in the pocket, where it really hurts.  I would now like to join those voices calling for the Leeds United support to do just that – by withdrawing attendance at away games and letting the other clubs and the League bear the brunt of greatly reduced income as a result of such a boycott.  I should like to see Leeds United Football Club, if possible, refusing to take allocations of away tickets for the duration of any such action.  If the Football League wish to act against the best interests of Leeds United – and its fans – then let fire be fought with fire.  It wouldn’t take long for impoverished Championship clubs to start squealing and complaining to Shaun Harvey and his corrupt crew, as they see their income plunge without that Leeds United pay-day.

Supporters groups such as LUST could be instrumental in backing and organising an initiative such as this.  It seems drastic, and there will be many who would baulk at the removal of one of their lives’ major preoccupations, even if only temporarily.  But those people should ask themselves: why do we have to settle for such unremittingly harsh and malicious treatment from the Football League and its member clubs – think back to the self-interested clubs vote that confirmed the 15 point deduction before the start of 2007/08 – and yet continue to line the pockets of those club and the tin pot League to which they belong?  Why should Leeds United tolerate this situation any longer?  Drastic situation call for drastic measures.  It’s time to fight back.

I should like to see, initially, at least some wider debate about the merits and demerits of an away games boycott.  I’m sure it’s an argument that would rage hot and heavy.  But I believe, at this stage, that such a boycott is our one good chance of having our say and of the powers that be simply having to listen.  The alternative is that they will smile smugly at any peeps of protest, and carry on regardless in their business of keeping Leeds in crisis – to the approval of their rapist and embezzling cronies in Championship boardrooms who continue to be regarded as fit and proper against all justice and logic.

I’d like to call upon LUST, and the MPs of Leeds constituencies, to take up cudgels against the treatment being meted out to Leeds United by the incompetents at the League.  They should be putting the question – why should a football club, alienated and ostracised by the League of its current membership, continue to contribute so massively to the financial well-being of that League?  I believe it’s time to call a halt.  The gloves are off now; if the League want to batter us, then let’s batter them right back.

That’s my say.  What do the Leeds United fans out there think? 

Doctor’s Orders: Warrior Bellusci Should Modify Goal Celebration – by Rob Atkinson

Bellusci - sitting on a problem?

Bellusci – sitting on a problem?

Shortly after the home draw against Sheffield Wendies, I wrote an article expressing concern about Leeds defender Giuseppe Bellusci’s potentially damaging celebratory routine. He has this habit of showing his delight at scoring by executing a singularly ungraceful wheels-up landing from an altitude of approximately four feet, impacting Mother Earth on his unprotected tailbone, or coccyx – as we medical anoraks call it. Bellusci had already performed this trick once, after his worldie free-kick down at Bournemouth. Now, having notched a point-saver against the dee-dahs, he was at it again. Wincing, I took to my computer and penned a cautionary piece, never dreaming anyone would take it seriously.

To my surprise, however, there was some professional interest out there in Twitterland. No less a personage than the highly respected American “Tailbone Specialist” Dr. Patrick Foye, M.D. – Director of the “Coccyx Pain Center” at New Jersey Medical School – commented on the article, asking: “Can anyone point me to a video clip showing this athlete doing this celebratory display where he lands on his tailbone /coccyx region?” Happily, one of my remarkable band of regular readers, D. Bowden, was considerate enough to post in the same comments thread the following video clip of Giuseppe’s Bournemouth crash-landing.

The good doctor was clearly most alarmed. “Yikes!” he responded. “Definitely an avoidable risk for tailbone pain! In the world of risks/benefits, we all take risks, and sometimes it’s just to look cool. But this doesn’t look cool at all. All risk; no benefit. Good soccer skills though. Thanks for the video share.

Once I’d got over my surprise at an actual doctor taking the time and trouble to address a concern raised by my humble blog, it occurred to me that this was as near to wisdom straight from the horse’s mouth as we’re likely to get. In short, it’s expertise (given freely and without thought of recompense) that anybody running this risk will disregard strictly at his peril. It seems to me also that, as his employers, Leeds United might do well to review Bellusci’s post-goal conduct and perhaps have a quiet word with him about it.

After all – as ever with Leeds United – we have no shortage of problems, controversies and other issues both on and off the pitch. There is no need to go courting ill-fortune at the best of times and, at Elland Road, it’s always in plentiful supply anyway. Even if we were a mundane and boring football club, like certain of our Yorkshire neighbours, we wouldn’t be looking to the playing staff to enliven proceedings by inflicting orthopaedic disaster upon themselves. Better, surely, just to consider the matter and perhaps arrive at a more tranquil alternative for the celebration of future goals. And let us fervently hope that there are many more to come for, defender or no defender, Bellusci has the potential to be a Leeds United hero in the opposition’s penalty area.

My thanks to Doctor Foye for his valuable input and expert advice; I hope it reaches the ears of our Warrior in time for him to adopt a slightly more circumspect approach in whatever moments of joy and triumph the rest of this season may hold.

Sky Sports Exclusive: Leeds Star Adryan “Wants to Leave United to be Fast Food Server” – by Rob Atkinson

Adryan: "Don't gimme no KFC, man"

Adryan: “Don’t gimme no KFC, man”

News is emerging from a Sky Sports interview with Brazilian starlet Adryan, that will rock every Leeds United supporter who is gullible enough to believe it. Remarkably, after a mere few weeks with the Elland Road club, and no first team appearances, the Flamengo youth product wishes to leave Elland Road to work in a fast food restaurant …. serving burgers!

The incredible truth of the matter is to be found in an exclusive interview given to this channel by Adryan, in which he admits that he simply adores a famous American brand of hamburger. “The truth is that this snack is close to my heart and always will be,” stated the blond boy wonder. He went on:

“It’s impossible not to think about burgers. I have a lot of affection for this food. I can’t think of eating any other kind of junk nourishment. I am a burger eater, so let’s see what happens in the future. But burgers and the cholesterol they contain will always be in my blood.”

These dynamite revelations must surely mean that Adryan’s Elland Road days are numbered, as he heads off to seek his fortune as a minimum-wage purveyor of mechanically-recovered meat products, fried and served up in mouth-watering helpings of convenience-food heaven. You can trust your Super Soaraway Sky when we tell you: Adryan wants OUT of Leeds! You heard it here first, folks.

Believe us. Adryan wants to make it in the burger-selling game. We should know – we’ve been serving up Whoppers since the late eighties, and what’s more we know that when you add two and two, you frequently end up with thirteen and a half.

Colonel Sanders is 149.

Former Leeds Man Sabella Outwits Man Utd Boss van Gaal in World Cup – by Rob Atkinson

Alejandro Sabella - formerly of Elland Road parish

Alejandro Sabella – formerly of Elland Road parish

So we are to be spared a rerun of the 1974 World Cup Final, when a technically superior Holland contrived somehow to lose to those pesky, arrogant Deutschers. Instead, it will be a best of three decider as Argentina and Germany, tied after the tournaments of 1986 and 1990 at one head-to-head World Cup apiece, do battle in Brazil for the title of ultimate Champions 2014 style.

In truth, all that will be decided is who is the best of an indifferent bunch at this over-hyped, over-rated tournament. Germany booked their Final place on Tuesday, beating a Brazil side of whom their angry fans could with justification sing “It’s just like watching Barnsley”. The Germans had nowt to beat, as we say in God’s Own Country, but they will find Argentina a much tougher proposition. To Messi and his men falls the responsibility of preserving South American infallibility where tournaments held in the Americas are concerned. No European side has ever won the World Cup over there – can a good but by no means brilliant Germany really be the first?

The second semi-final saw Holland keep up their own 100% record of World Cup failure. Having confirmed his position of World’s Best Coach, in the eyes of the Man U-obsessed British press at least, by a quirky goal-keeping substitution against Costa Rica, Pride of Devon manager-elect van Gaal then brilliantly decided to stick with his number one No. 1 Cillessen for this shoot-out. Predictably, his confidence affected by that bizarre substitution, the poor lad didn’t get near most of the Argentinean penalties, as erstwhile super-sub Krul sat despondent and abandoned on the bench. So Holland are out, their Manchester-bound coach out-foxed by honorary Yorkshireman Alejandro Sabella, once of the Sheffield Blades and, more pertinently, the Whites of Leeds United.

Who, then, will emerge victorious now? Germany will be on a high after their candy-from-a-baby beating of the Worst Brazil Side Ever. But they’re not anywhere near as good as the hosts made them look – and, if Messi can put in just one truly Messi-esque performance, Europe will be left waiting for its first Americas Cup. That’s the prediction of Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything. Argentina to win, without the need for extra time or a penalty lottery – Germany to be left reflecting that you get nowt for being second, as the Greatest Club Captain of all once said. It’s going to be World Cup glory for ex-Leeds Man Sabella – and with an enviable pedigree like that, will it really be a surprise?

Leeds United Owners Need to Start Playing Straight With the Fans – by Rob Atkinson

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The fans: the BEST asset of Leeds United

Whoever is currently in charge at Leeds United – and the answer to that question is quite frankly anyone’s guess – they do appear to have a dim awareness that the mood out here in fan-land is not entirely sunny and bright.  They seem a little hurt, not to say bewildered, about this.  Plaintive tweets have been seen, assuring us that hard work is going on and that the West Ham bid for our club captain of seven days standing has been turned down.  That nice prospective Tory MP Mr Haigh would like to remind us all that “we made our intentions clear in the summer” – when of course a succession of bids for Rossco from Smogland were turned down, before a new four-year contract secured the services of our lethal marksman – or so we thought.

All in all, the view from the Elland Road boardroom of the various dissident elements out here appears to be that of a rueful parent bemoaning the ungratefulness of spoiled children.  We’ve done all this for them, they seem to be crying woefully, and see how they repay us!

So are we being ungrateful?  Are GFH/Sporting Capital/Signor Cellino/A.N.Other right in thinking that their sterling efforts are being thrown back in their faces by an unappreciative rabble?  Let’s look at a couple of the main issues.

Firstly, the burning issue on everyone’s mind for some time now.  The takeover.  Now we’ve been told various things about this.  It was all done and dusted, waiting only for Football League approval, and things would be in place in time for the transfer window.  We were told this in December; then the forecast changed slightly, and word was that things might just drag over into the start of January – but that Brian’s transfer plans were not affected, and there was a list of targets for board consideration.  Things dragged on.  Now we were told that it was still on track, just i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed.  Brian was looking at four players.  Then we heard that the Football League had asked for more information, that the club was co-operating fully, oh and here’s two loan wingers to shut you lot up.  By this point we’d gone out of the Cup at lowly Rochdale, and we were about to be subjected (with the aid of our two game-changing pacy wide men) to a history-busting defeat at Sheffield Wendies.  Now, here we are in the last week of January, the takeover appears no nearer, the best news we’ve had for ages is a narrow defeat at home to Leicester, there’s been talk of a dodgy Italian convicted fraudster, we’ve had promises of good news for the week just gone (must have missed that) and transfer talk is starting to turn, with a weary inevitability, to the summer window.  Pie in the sky, by and by.

Secondly, there’s this Ross McCormack thing.  Just because we resisted the Smoggies’ overtures in summer, we apparently need our wrists smacked for daring to get all het up when a bid is received from some no-hope East End outfit for our skipper and top-scorer.  Leeds United appear to be wondering: what all the fuss is about?  Why are these people complaining and getting up in arms?  After all, it’s not as if we have a history of selling vital players for a song to Premier League strugglers in January – is it?  Oh, hang on…

West Ham will probably be back – there’s still a week to go and they may just share that annoying habit, common to clubs with some shred of ambition, of being persistent in trying to sign quality players and improve their squad.  You see this kind of thing everywhere these days: clubs splashing the cash, if you’ll pardon the vulgarity, and buying players all over the shop.  It’s enough to give a prudent outfit like Leeds United a bad name.  And you only have to look back over the past few transfer windows to notice that Leeds don’t indulge in all of this “new signings” shenanigans.  No, sir.  They just promise to, that’s all.  And promises are made to be broken.

That’s the nub of it, really.  If the powers that be at Elland Road really want to know why some of us out here are less than happy with the way things are being run, they really need to look to themselves – and try and avoid a few less-than-helpful practices.  For instance – and this is especially important for people who have set their stall out with “transparency and fan engagement” as buzzwords – could we have a bit more straightforwardness, and a few less tantalising tweets, coy hints, teasing smileys and irrelevant bollocks about coffee mornings with random billionaires?  That would be nice.  And again – if you’re going to make promises about transfer targets and takeover completions – why not keep a few of them?  That would possibly go towards filling the credibility vacuum that you currently inhabit.

What the fans really want, in the extremely short term, is to be treated like adults rather than as unruly and demanding children whose expectations have to be carefully managed, lest they become recalcitrant and ill-behaved.  All of this drip, drip of promising but ultimately false rumours will not get us anywhere.  No more Red Bull jokes, please.  Likewise, less of the details about coffee-based pre-prandial engagements – unless there’s something likely to come of it by way of solid investment and the funding of some ambitious plans.  Contrary to what you might think, you suits in the boardroom, we’re all grown-ups out here, and we want to be dealt with fairly and squarely, rather than fed a diet of condescending rubbish designed to obscure what’s really going on.

If Ross McCormack is still a Leeds United player by the end of January, I’ll be happy, if a little worried about his future in the summer and beyond.  But don’t expect me to be all ecstatic just because one preliminary bid has been turned down – recent history has taught me, and others out here, not to be quite so gullible.  It’s taught us to expect the worst of Leeds United, for then we won’t be quite so disappointed when the worst happens – as it has over the recent past, with unfailing regularity.  And don’t expect us to be grateful when promises are made and broken, when expectations are raised and then sent crashing down.  There’s no use pouting away in the boardroom about how unappreciative we all are.  Treat us as adults, tell us straight, stop peddling crap – and then see how the attitude changes.  It’s worth a try, gentlemen, surely?

Just at the moment, all the McCormack talk dominates other matters, and we’re being invited to be happy that a bid has been turned down.  Meanwhile, the last few days of this window slip by, and while we all wait and see if the Hammers come back with an improved bid, we’re not nagging you about takeover completions and inward bound signings – are we?  Well some of us are, and we’ll continue to do so, whatever smokescreens may be put up to deflect us.

There’s an old saying from across the Atlantic: “The wind blew, and the crap flew, and for days the vision was bad.”  Count on it, Mr Haigh & Co – most of the fans of Leeds United are a lot more clear-sighted than you might wish to believe.

Thierry Henry to Fire Leeds United to Promotion? – by Rob Atkinson

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Thierry Henry – short term deal with Leeds?

Twitter didn’t exactly go into meltdown last night but, on the basis of one optimistic tweet from Phil Hay, the respected local journalist with his finger on the pulse of Leeds United, it did start to get decidedly warm.  The gist of it was that good things were being heard about the imminent takeover of Leeds United and that good times might just be about to roll.  A couple more juicily-tantalising snippets were added into what became a heady mix, with David Haigh tweeting that he couldn’t wait to be at the Barnsley match next weekend as Elland Road would be “rocking”.  We heard also that Haigh is over in Austria, a country linked strongly to Red Bull who have in turn been linked strongly with Leeds United.

Now, it would be all too easy to take these morsels of information and add them up to make something totally unrealistic.  Then again, the elements do seem to combine of themselves into the oft-talked about “Dare to Dream” scenario.  One particularly exotic rumour that arises out of such an optimistic outlook is the possibility that one of Red Bull’s most marketable assets, Thierry Henry, might be on the point of jumping on board at Leeds United to provide the sort of boost that even a pair of Red Bull wings could hardly hope to emulate.  Even at the age of 36, the French superstar could inflict massive damage in this league, even if mainly from the bench.  Could there be anything in it?

On the face of it – why not?  The team is in good shape at the moment; there are a couple of obvious areas where improvement is needed and all Leeds fans will be hoping to see those addressed in January.  But with the current doubt over the fitness and commitment of El-Hadji Diouf, there may well be a vacancy in the squad for someone who can do something special, someone who can add a touch of class and elevate the profile of the club at the same time.

The combination of Diouf and Warnock was an unlikely one – but it happened.  Let’s not forget either that Dioufy was something of a star with World Cup heroics behind him and a global profile.  Thierry Henry is all this, and more – and at this stage of his career, what could be more of a challenge to him than the task of reviving a sleeping giant, a club where he would catch the imagination of the fans and raise the atmosphere that extra notch or two, giving the whole place a lift and the team new impetus?  That’s a scenario well known to Leeds fans with long enough memories as the “Gordon Strachan factor”.

This week promises to be very interesting indeed.  If those tweets from Hay and Haigh carry what I believe they do in between their lines, then it’s fair to say we might expect some significant news before the Barnsley game.  Just how significant that news might be is anyone’s guess – but my guess is that an announcement is distinctly possible  of further takeover details making that “Dare to Dream” scenario burst into reality.  And what was on David Haigh’s mind when he was talking about “Elland Road rocking” on the pre-Christmas weekend when football crowds are notoriously thinned out by last-minute shopping?  It does make you wonder.

Thierry Henry in a Leeds shirt?  Bizarre.  But how wonderful it would be, what an incredible boost.  It seems too good to be true, of course – but if you’re going to dare to dream, then why not be extravagant about it?  A legend like Henry in the famous white shirt – that’d be a hell of a good dream as far as I’m concerned, but could it actually happen?  You just never know – it possibly could.

Murdoch to Hammer Another Nail Into Football’s Coffin?

Uncle Rupert

Uncle Rupert

News is emerging that Rupert Murdoch may be about to unveil a “Summer Super League” plan for football, whereby 16 “elite” clubs would compete in a league-type competition throughout the traditional European close season.  Matches would be played in cities around the world in a transparent move to open up new markets and further popularise the Sky/Murdoch brand before an international audience possibly running to billions.

The drawbacks to such a plan spring readily to mind.  There is an obvious issue around the physical and mental demands upon players who might now be called upon to perform without a break in the whole calendar year.  That is, assuming that the players involved would be the senior players of the “elite” clubs envisaged as making up this league; but that does seem a fair assumption.  It is hardly likely that a project like this would have the necessary appeal and marketability if the competing teams were to field development squads – stars would be a pre-requisite for success.

What, then would be the impact on existing competitions?  It would be easy to imagine that the effect on, say, domestic cups could be quite shattering.  We’ve already had the precedent of Man U withdrawing from the FA Cup one season for some money-making prestige junket to South America where they competed for a version of the World Club Championship, and predictably sank without trace.  If the likes of Man U, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal were to be invited (as they most certainly would be) to compete in Murdoch’s latest commercial fandango, then we could quite probably predict that – at the very least – the FA Cup, and certainly the League Cup would slide yet further down the priority list for these in-demand clubs.  Already we see shadow squads competing for the League Cup, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see withdrawals from that competition, and the treatment of the FA Cup as a proving ground for promising younger players.  It would be the eager crowds in the Far East, Australia, the USA and the Middle East who would have the pleasure of seeing the Premier League’s major talents performing in the flesh.

The question also arises: what of the World Cup, and the slightly lesser competitions held on individual continents?  Would FIFA be prepared to take on Murdoch and his increasingly omnipresent empire?  The days when domestic cup competitions caused a thrill of excitement and a sense of occasion are already receding into golden memory.  Will the same happen to the four-yearly cycle of the greatest international tournament of them all?  It’s not impossible; and if it were to happen, we’d know what to blame – the three M’s.  Murdoch, Money and Markets.

The time is fast approaching when Football as we know it will be in sore need of rescue by seemingly the only people left who actually care enough to want to preserve its proud history and tradition: the fans.  Obviously, I mean those of us who are old enough to remember the game’s great days, before Murdoch got his talons on it; when you stood on a packed terrace and sampled an incomparable atmosphere as you cheered on your favourites for under a pound and moaned mightily when that went up to £1.50.  When the only games shown live on the box were really big ones, Cup Finals, major International games, European nights and maybe the odd smattering of League games here and there.  Those were the days when you would have laughed out loud at any suggestion that one day you might be asked to fork out £60 a month for “entertainment” which might include Norwich v Wigan on a Monday evening.

That’s the reality we have now, and it’s scary to look ahead and see how much more our game might change now that Uncle Rupert has had this spiffy new idea.  He’ll want to make sure his audiences have their entertainment in a way that doesn’t put undue strain on their attention-spans, and allows enough time to sell, sell, sell in those commercial breaks.  Didn’t someone once have a great idea about playing four quarters instead of two halves?  What about time-outs?  Why bother with boring draws, can’t we have an exciting shoot-out?

If you doubt things might actually go down that road – just cast your mind back 25 years, and see if you could have imagined then the kind of game we have to watch today, and ask yourself: couldn’t it maybe happen?  Aren’t we in real danger of losing the last vestiges of the game we used to know and love?  And isn’t it maybe time to think just what the hell we can do about it?