Tag Archives: Blackpool FC

Are Buoyant Leeds United Facing a Blackpool Banana Skin? – by Rob Atkinson

The Mighty Tangerines celebrate one of their three throw-ins this season

The Mighty Tangerines celebrate one of their three throw-ins this season

With the kind of run Leeds United have been on lately – and, it must be said, the not exactly dominant or decisive way in which those positive results have been gained – a trip to Blackpool might just hold more in the way of a dirty great banana-skin than the long-advertised “fresh air and fun” for our Warriors in White.

That is not to say that Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything expects or would willingly accept anything less than a breezy win against the division’s whipping boys. It’s just that – well, we’ve all been here before; Leeds have this endearing habit of nicking results against the odds, or even disposing of league high-flyers as we’ve done home and away with AFC Bournemouth and Middlesbrough Ironopolis. And then, drat them all to hell and back, they go and let you down against opposition they should be rolling over and stomping into the earth. They’re a contrary mob, our Leeds – coupon-busters more often than most, and not always in a good way.

Even so, it’s difficult to see how United might contrive to lose this one, or even be held to a draw. It’s got victory written all over it; I’ve seen social media conversations devoted entirely to the knotty issue of whether we’ll prevail by five clear goals, or only four. They rightly say that pride goeth before a fall, but that’s not just pride we’re talking about there. It’s dangerously close to hubris or, as we say in the Broad Acres, proper beggin’ for a smack in t’gob. Should such a smack arrive, as would hardly be a surprise to those hard-bitten cynics among us who are students of the many and varied ways in which Leeds United can manage to lose a game, then perhaps those youthful and over-confident denizens of the internet might just consider keeping their injured gobs shut in the future.

All of that verges dangerously on the needlessly pessimistic; perhaps subconsciously this blog is attempting to ward off a negative result at Blackpool by attempting some reverse psychology with the Fates who decide this sort of thing. In reality, Blackpool are where they are – all but actually relegated, well before Easter – because they’re an ill-run club with an inadequate playing staff who have struggled against just about everybody this campaign. The Tangerines are so far behind in the Championship that the likes of Watford and Bournemouth have both lapped them at least once – and the relegation fight has long been a question of Blackpool and two others.

Leeds appear to have learned how to win ugly; Blackpool don’t seem to know one end of a football from the other. On paper, it should be boys against men – with our gallant troops ending up being castigated in the Lancashire Press for unseemly bullying and an unsporting lack of mercy. Would that it might be so. Without wishing to sound spoiled, the experience of seeing our lads hand out a good sound thrashing without once being troubled would be balm to the nerves. Wednesday’s 3-0 win at Fulham was anything but comfortable once you looked beyond the scoreline. What we need now is to go that extra mile and absolutely batter someone.

As if Blackpool’s problems aren’t already severe enough, their sketchy squad is weakened still further by several likely absentees for this weekend. Lugubrious Geordie manager Lee Clark, looking to end a run of six straight defeats, will probably miss Tom Barkhuizen for the game. The 21 year old picked up a foot injury in the loss to Charlton Athletic, and Clark explained, “Tom took a nasty whack on the top of his foot, so he’ll probably not be available for us. He hasn’t trained at all since Charlton.” Jamie O’Hara and Niall Maher are also ruled out for the game and Tony McMahon is suspended. “We are what we are tomorrow,” concluded Clark, glumly.

For Leeds, there is some chance of a first view at this level of January loan signing Granndi Ngoyi, with Rudy Austin also a possible returnee. Steve Morison is pushing for a recall against opposition that even he will fancy scoring against, and youngster Kalvin Phillips will continue to press for a Whites début at some stage. Some Blackpool fans are reportedly boycotting the match in protest at the running of the club, favouring a North West Counties Premier Division encounter instead of more probable Championship pain. It’s to be hoped that their pessimism is justified and that this blog’s wishes of royally tonking someone might be granted on Saturday by the seaside.

And yet that horrible banana-skin vision persists, so I’m not even going to stick my neck out far enough for a score prediction. Braver souls than I are cordially invited to give their own confident result forecasts below…

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Different Rules Apply for the Damned United and the Blessed Man U – by Rob Atkinson

Damned United

The title of this blog is, of course, an exercise in the bleedin’ obvious. We all know only too well that there is a Damned United and a Blessed United. The media in this country drew that distinction long ago – the Damned shall be portrayed at all times in the harshest possible light, whilst for the Blessed, it shall be all soft focus, moonlight and roses, to a background of sweet music. So mote it be.

That’s what the media do, of course. They need their standby heroes and their polar opposite reliable villains; shades of grey are a little too subtle for their target audience. The public they’re catering to is, for the most part, easily led and uncritical. Thinking is not the occupation of choice for most of that vast audience out there so, OK – the papers and the broadcast media will do the thinking, and they’ll tell the people what to think.  The pity of it is that the people who actually run the game in this country go along so easily, all unprotesting, with the clichéd template used by those making the editorial decisions.

The vast difference in the treatment by the authorities of their perennial villains and their cherished angels has been illustrated yet again, in sharp focus, over recent weeks. At nasty, naughty Leeds United, they are 101 days into the reign of Massimo Cellino – or “Convicted Fraudster Massimo Cellino” as the gutter Red Tops like to refer to him. It’s been an interesting time at Elland Road, to say the least. Cellino has gone through the place like a dose of salts, employing the kind of hands-on approach that would put even a full-contact masseur to shame. Dead wood has been cut out, there has been a detailed inventory of the club at all levels, malign influences have been neutralised – even the secret cameras in the bogs and the boardroom have been binned. Now, the new Don of Elland Road is embarking upon a player recruitment campaign in the wake of mugging Fulham FC out of £11 million for a flash-in-the-pan, disinterested and somewhat stroppy Scottish striker.

Many are now saying that Signor Cellino is the best thing to hit LS11 in several decades – yet this is the man the Football League were determined to bar from any involvement in Leeds United, preferring to leave our ailing club to the tender mercies of GFH Capital, whose erstwhile football CEO now languishes in a Dubai jail.  The League did their level best to hound Cellino from these shores, even as they turned a blind eye and cocked a deaf ear to some fairly horrendous wrongdoings elsewhere.  So Blackpool’s rapist director was left unmolested, and Birmingham’s jailed money-launderer was spared any undue attention – but Cellino was pursued with unseemly vigour by the spiteful old men of Preston, Lancashire. Fortunately, the Italian’s legal team knew far too much for the superannuated dolts of the League and he was able to take charge of a football club that sorely needed him, with results we are now beginning to see. But official resentment over that judicial defeat still simmers – and they’ll be out to get Big Mass, if they possibly can.

Meanwhile, over there on the wrong side of the Pennines, an even hotter resentment curdles still over the surprisingly stiff start to last season’s League programme for football’s darlings The Pride of Devon, the one and only Mighty Manchester United themselves.  As I wrote on October 6th last, Man U were positively seething about the relatively difficult early fixtures and – naturally – they complained loud and long, which is what they always do. My satirical spin on the matter was that the League would – equally naturally – lean over backwards to redress the balance for football’s most petulant club. Well, it turned out that I was actually a bit of a prophet, even though I thought I was merely poking fun.

This year’s opening fixtures for the Pride of Devon, you see, are a model of discreet gentleness, an opening six games designed to give Wapping’s Wondermen a maximum 18 out of 18 points fillip to get their season off to just the right start.  Man U face all three promoted teams in that initial phase of the season – Burnley, QPR and Leicester, together with Sunderland, West Ham, and Swansea – not one game against a team finishing in the top half last season. Now, what are the odds on that?? Is there a mathematician in the house??

Clearly, last season’s awkward start still rankles with somebody from the Theatre of Hollow Myths, and it has been made expressly clear that such a thing is not to happen again. True to form, the game’s so-called “ruling body” has rolled over onto its back, legs akimbo, and begged those nice people at Man U to have their way with it. There’s the standard stench of hypocrisy and favouritism about the whole thing, and absolutely no dignity, decency or integrity at all.  Plus ça change… 

The fact is, of course, that for all this breast-beating about how they get the kid-glove treatment, whilst we get the spiky knuckledusters – we probably wouldn’t want it any other way.  I mean – really – would we?  Do you fancy supporting a club that gets everything handed to them on a plate? A club that is open to accusations of crass ineptitude in any season where they don’t win absolutely everything? Not for me, thanks.

By the same token, there’s a kind of perverse satisfaction in supporting a team hated by the country’s media – swill-gobbling hacks to a man that they are – as well as by the supposed great and good in the corridors of power. For goodness sake, just look at these people – they quite literally do not have a clue. Would we even want the support and succour of such a bunch of muppets? I would respectfully submit: no, we most certainly would not. Leave that kind of patronage to Man U and their global throng of armchair supporters, their vast markets of tat-buying dunderheads from Torquay to Singapore. They know no better, they are not equipped to make judgements as to what is and what is not desirable in terms of who their “friends” are – however highly-placed.

No – this blog is quite clear in its own only slightly bitter and cynical mind; Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything would rather see our heroes in white tread the hard road than have everything smoothed over and made easy. It’s a question of self-respect and good taste, don’t you know. The only important thing is that these people should not think we’re sitting here all content, the wool pulled firmly over our eyes. We are not. We know exactly what is going on and, even if the Pride of Devon’s easy start and expected 18-point haul from their opening six games should gain them another unmerited title – we will know how it’s been accomplished. We’ll be watching the referees’ performances with our usual beady eye and, when we’re not fuming over the injustices perpetrated upon the Damned United, we’ll be pointing an accusing finger at every dodgy penalty and offside goal enjoyed by the despicable Chosen Ones.

So just think on. We’re onto you, and we know what you’re all about there, in your ivory towers. Watch it, that’s all. Just – watch it.

Welcome to Elland Road, Blackpool AND Their ‘Fit & Proper’ Rapist Owner – by Rob Atkinson

Blackpool director Oyston - guilty after every appeal, but "fit & proper"

Blackpool director Oyston – guilty after every appeal, but “fit & proper”

Massimo Cellino’s first home game as Leeds United owner throws up an interesting comparison, as – despite the recent appeal decision in his favour – the Italian remains under the shadow of Football League action at some point in the next few months.  The visitors, Blackpool, have as majority shareholder (and still registered as a director and therefore “fit and proper” in the eyes of the powers that be) convicted rapist Owen Oyston.  In a further twist of irony, Oyston’s son Karl sat on the Football League panel that shook its collective head, tut-tutted in righteous disapproval and sighed in a faintly scandalised fashion – as it ruled Cellino disqualified under its Owners and Directors rules, for import duty unpaid in Italy on an American yacht called Nélie.

Let’s start by exploding some myths.  There are those who now feel that, since Thursday, when the FL announced it was ratifying Cellino as a Leeds United director, there is nothing further to worry about.  This is manifestly untrue, and readers of that brief statement from the Football League will note the presence of giveaway words like “currently”.  There is no stick to beat Cellino with at present – but the League are keeping their powder dry and believe me, they mean to get their man, as and when possible.  On Thursday, the League merely rubber-stamped Cellino’s current status as fit and proper, having no other choice.  He had been found not subject to the OaD disqualifications by a stage of the League’s own process and – for now – that’s it.  But if the Italian judge in the Nélie case, Dr Sandra Lepore, in her reasoned judgement, were to impute dishonesty against Cellino, then he had better watch out again.  Fortunately, he has some decent lawyers and what looks like a sound defence.

So, that’s the “Massimo is now safe from the League” myth dealt with.  Now – what about Oyston?  Here we have a convicted rapist who apparently causes the Football League no qualms at all.  Ah, but – I hear you say – that conviction was ages ago and it’s “spent” now – so it’s not fair to say that the Football League are being unfair in a comparative sense.  The problem with that argument is that it is factually incorrect.  Oyston was found guilty of rape – a foul and horrible crime against the person – and sentenced to 6 years in prison.  He actually served three years and six months,  The rules relating to how convictions become “spent” – i.e. when they do not have to be disclosed in most circumstances and so become less restrictive in terms of professional status etc – are made under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA).  In Oyston’s case, it is entirely clear that his offence will never become spent, as he was sentenced to (and actually served) over two and a half years.  The other limb of the League’s Owners & Directors test relates to “dishonesty” – and it is this provision that threatens to snare our Massimo.  As for Oyston – if it is to be argued that rape is not a dishonest act, then surely what should really be on trial here is the set of regulations that permits such a grotesque result in the first place.  Can you really have an “honest” rapist??

Given that the League – which argued its case in front of Tim Kerr QC with unprecedented zeal and was not above the odd dodgy trick either – seem determined to “get” Cellino, then why, we are surely justified in asking, do they not display a similar determination to rid themselves of a character like Oyston?  And yet that question never arises, except in this and other blogs who seem to feel there’s a blatant contradiction here.

Is it because Oyston was convicted before the Owners and Directors rules were laid down?  That dog won’t bite, I’m afraid.  One of the salient points to emerge from the Cellino appeal was that the OaD rules are on-going in their application.  In other words, should any owner or director be found to rest within the scope of disqualification at any time, then the League can consider that person under OaD – and act accordingly.  So, after all that – why is there no action against Oyston?  And why, on the other hand, is there such a remorseless determination to exclude Cellino?

Some will point out that Oyston has always maintained his innocence and has persisted with all possible avenues of appeal.  As regards his protestations – well, to paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies in the Profumo case, “he would say that, wouldn’t he?”  The appeal options have availed Oyston naught.  He lost in the Court of Appeal and he lost again at the European Court of Human Rights, which held that his appeal was “manifestly ill-founded”.  Given all of that, the Football League would appear on the face of it to have some explaining to do, as to why they continue blithely to ignore the fact that they are, in effect, nurturing a rapist viper in the bosom of their “football family”.

As Blackpool visit Leeds United on Saturday, the two contradictory sides of this whole issue are brought into close contact, whether both parties are actually present at the match or not.  The more that Leeds United fans get to know Massimo Cellino, the more warmly he is regarded.  His deeds in the short period of his control have more than matched the words he uttered beforehand.  He has cleared off at least two debts that could have led to Leeds United being wound-up and going to the wall (whether in their heart of hearts the League mandarins consider this to be A Good Thing will probably remain moot).  But Cellino is undeniably acting as a fit and proper owner should, in protecting the best interests of his club.  Our various owners in recent history have signally failed to do this; indeed the newly released financial results for the most recent period available cast severe doubt on the fitness of GFH to run a piss-up in a brewery, never mind a leading football club.  Which begs more questions: why were the Football League not more diligent in investigating GFH? Or Ken Bates?  Why pursue the one man who is ready, willing and able – through his own resources – to steer Leeds United away from crisis?

The Football League, instead of sulking about their appeal defeat, need to look at this whole picture – including some of the dubious characters currently infesting boardrooms up and down the land.  They need to be very sure that they are pursuing rectitude and not a vendetta.  The upshot should be that they act fairly – and are seen to be acting fairly.  It might seem, on the face of it, rather unfair to drag Oyston’s name into all of this, when he’s served his time and so on.  But it’s the League who have to carry the can for that as well, in allowing such seemingly blatant contradictions to persist.  They have hung Mr Oyston out to dry, simply by giving the appearance of leaving him – a convicted rapist and guilty under the law of a foul and disgusting crime – in undisturbed peace, whilst harassing Cellino at every turn as he tries to do thousands of people a good turn by saving their beloved football club.

It simply doesn’t add up, and the Football League would appear to be bang to rights on the most glaring double standards rap you could possibly imagine.  I hope that these arguments can eventually be put directly to a responsible person in the League – perhaps by a Leeds area MP willing to take up cudgels on the club’s behalf.  And I hope we get some answers because – again, on the face of it – Leeds United could very well lose their saviour in the next few months, under the least transparent and most unfair set of circumstances imaginable.

Do these arrogant, faceless people really imagine that we’re going to tolerate that?

The Football League: Incompetent, Corrupt, Arrogant Hypocrites – by Rob Atkinson

The Football League Panel, yesterday

The Football League Panel, yesterday

The classic defence against a libel suit is “But it’s the truth, m’Lud”. I therefore have no qualms about the title of this blog, which I hope will be read by some of the parties to what was, ultimately, an indefensible decision to block Eleonora Sport’s proposed takeover of Leeds United.  In bending over backwards to apply the letter of their Owners and Directors (OAD) Test, the League have proven themselves unable – or more likely unwilling –  to see the wood for the trees. They are blatantly guilty of pettifogging insistence on the letter, as opposed to the spirit, of the so-called “Fit & Proper” test.  The fact is that any set of regulations must be capable of interpretation so as to allow for the achievement of the greater good.  In other words, rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.  The League now stand before the football and sporting world as purblind fools. Worse, they are hypocritical fools, fools with selective vision, fools who are self-evidently prey to massive conflicts of interest.

The most obvious problem with today’s decision has nothing whatsoever to do with Massimo Cellino, and everything to do with several people who are happily getting on with the business of running various football clubs whilst at the same time carrying the burden of shady dealings which you might – on today’s evidence – have expected to disqualify them from their football activities.

Step forward, for instance, Carson Yeung of Birmingham City.  Except Carson cannot actually step forward very far, because he’s languishing in a 12′ by 12′ cell somewhere in China, guilty as charged on five counts of money laundering amounting to somewhere in the region of £55m.  Or there’s that nice Mr Owen Oyston, of Blackpool FC.  He’s a convicted rapist who did time for his crime and will be on the Sex Offenders Register for evermore – but the League have cocked a deaf’un to the misdemeanours of both these men.  Oyston’s son Karl, incidentally, was on the League panel which ruled on Cellino today.  His rapist dad remains a director and majority shareholder at Blackpool, a matter which apparently tasks the gentlemen of the League not one jot.  I wonder how Karl kept either of his faces straight?

Add to this little hymn to venal and otherwise dodgy behaviour the less than appetising track records of various other owners around the League; men who veer just the right side of criminality, but whose conduct in office would surely cause raised eyebrows in a responsible governing body. There’s the porn barons Sullivan and Gold at West Ham United.  Assem Allam at Hull City who wants to re-name his club Hull Tigers, and who advised supporters chanting “City Till We Die” to go ahead and die as soon as they liked.  There’s Vincent Tan at Cardiff City, who has ridden roughshod over the history and tradition of the Bluebirds by making them play in red, who wants his ‘keeper to chip in with some goals and who will hopefully suffer a deserved relegation for sacking the manager who gained Premier League status for him and appointing an inexperienced nobody.

It’s not really that impressive wherever you look around the League – and yet the complacent Burghers who serve on panels such as today’s are blind to it all, blind to everything except their overweening need to find some reason – any reason – to disqualify Massimo Cellino.  They eventually got him on a matter of unpaid tax on his yacht, “Nélie”, for which he was heavily fined and had the boat confiscated.  But there’s neither rhyme nor reason, there’s neither logic nor consistency in the League stance, not given the context of the case and the precedents set by the ongoing acceptance of some of the bad boys mentioned above.  A couple of days ago, I wrote that the League’s treatment of the thousands of Leeds fans sweating upon the outcome to this saga was “Cruel and Unusual”, as defined by the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution.  It always did strike me as a blatant flouting of this amendment that the good old US of A had a liking for leaving convicted criminals incarcerated on Death Row, sometimes for decades – and then casually popping them into an electric chair and snuffing them out.  Cruel indeed – but sadly not that unusual in the States. The unconscionable lengths that the Cellino decision process has been dragged out to – only for that ultimate, smug and self-satisfied “No” at the end of weeks of torture for legions of Whites – does rather smack of this kind of cruelty on a more mundane level.

But the Football League mandarins evidently don’t care about that.  They don’t care about the conflict of interests apparent in the constitution of their panel, including as it did men in charge of football clubs with a vested interest in keeping Leeds, profitable, well-supported Leeds, in the same division as their own teams.  And not forgetting, of course, that son of a rapist.  They don’t care that their organisation is headed by a man in Shaun Harvey who, as United CEO, left Leeds under a cloud when his crooked confrère Ken Bates was ousted, the pair having compassed the near demise of United in nigh on a decade of financial dodginess and general mismanagement. They give not one solitary damn about the glaring examples of criminality elsewhere in club hierarchies throughout the League, nor indeed about the fact that Cellino wanted Leeds, Leeds and most of its fans wanted Cellino and the additional fact that the Italian has the personal wealth necessary to spark a revival at a club which has suffered in penury for twelve long and depressing years.  None of that makes one bit of difference to the shortsighted idiots and hypocritical charlatans of the Football League.  They have chosen to snatch the lifebelt away from the palpably struggling Leeds United and they are prepared to see the club suffer financially and risk possible administration, points deductions, relegation – maybe even liquidation – rather than abandon their tenacious quest to confound this potentially transforming takeover.  Is this in the best interests – interests they are duty-bound to protect, by the way – of their most famous and high-profile member club?

You tell me, then.  By its own lights, what is the Football League worth?  Have they shown an ounce of competence or common sense throughout this farcical process?  The dear old Grauniad says they’re finally stepping up to the plate“, the clear implication being that, as I’ve written above, they’ve not been too bothered in the past about much greater misdeeds than Cellino’s alleged Italian tax faux pas.  Strange how it’s always Leeds United that causes the League to get all moralistic and start enforcing draconian sanctions.  How Mr Hardaker would approve.  But nothing about this case inspires the least confidence, I would argue, in the Football League’s worthiness or ability to judge even a village Best Marrow Contest.  The holes, conflicts and inconsistencies in today’s decision conspire to make that all too tragically clear.

So I say again, tell me – given all of the above – are the Football League really fit for purpose?  Are they even remotely “fit and proper”?

Not on your bloody Nélie.

Leeds Held as Ref Mathieson Observes “St. Tinkler’s Day” – by Rob Atkinson

Tinkler - immortality beckons

Tinkler – immortality beckons

Former referee Ray Tinkler has been venerated by generations of match officials in this country and further afield ever since his one moment of real fame, way back on 17th April 1971.  On that spring afternoon, the man from Boston, Lincs managed with one crass decision to rob Leeds United of not just one but two Football League titles, thereby elevating himself to demigod status with the powers that be in English football.  The missed offside call which allowed West Brom to score a decisive second that day made the difference at the end of the season, costing United the title by one point.  Further, the resulting crowd invasion of the pitch (And Leeds will go mad! And they’ve every right to go mad!! – BBC Commentator Barry Davies) saw Elland Road closed for the first few home league games of the following season; the points dropped in playing those fixtures elsewhere saw Leeds condemned to second place behind Derby instead of comfortably Champions as they otherwise certainly would have been.

In a country where Leeds have been at odds with the football establishment for over half a century, Tinkler’s little moment in the limelight is quite enough to see his name worshiped by modern-day officials who can only dream, under the all-seeing eye of today’s blanket TV coverage, of making a similarly blatant “mistake” to the disadvantage of the Damned United.  It’s a deep, dark secret – but there is a highly-movable feast known as “St Tinkler’s Day” which is there to be celebrated by any ref who does get the chance to drop a real clanger that will cost the Whites precious points.  Generally speaking, it’s been foreign refs who have most famously “done a Tinkler” – the European Finals of 1973 and 1975 are testimony to this – but the chance will still be grasped eagerly to this day, if there is the least possibility of getting away with it.  What other explanation can there be, after all, for the kind of glaring mess-up made by Scott Mathieson in the Blackpool v United match on Boxing Day?

With the score at 1-1, the game was finely poised going into the last twenty minutes or so.  Lee Peltier had given United a first half lead with a terrific far-post header, only for the Tangerines to equalise somewhat fortuitously, Ince’s shot being deflected away from Paddy Kenny’s reach by the attempted clearance of Marius Zaliukas.

Shortly after this, Leeds’ lethal striker Ross McCormack received a ball outside the area and turned brilliantly to leave a path clear through on goal.  Defender Kirk Broadfoot has little choice but to haul the Scot back just outside the 18 yard box.  It was clearly not a penalty, but – with Broadfoot undeniably the last man – it was just as clearly a red-card offence.  Everyone could see it, Broadfoot himself seemed resigned to it.  And this is where Mathieson saw his golden chance to do a Tinkler.  With the air of a man who was thinking “I’ll be famous for this”, he produced and brandished a mere yellow, to the amazed delight of Broadfoot and the outraged horror of everyone in the United camp.  The free-kick came to nothing, and the game was destined to be a draw.  Maybe United would have overcome ten men, and maybe they wouldn’t – but referee Scott Mathieson, establishment man and Tinkler protege, had done his bit to deny them.

This was not a marginal decision, nor was it at all difficult to get right.  Mathieson’s weak excuse afterwards was that he didn’t think McCormack had the ball under control.  This opens a whole new can of worms, as Ross was being fouled and yet still looked favourite to score – but the warped logic of Mathieson’s position seems to be: Defenders! Make sure your man is incapable of proceeding on goal by whatever foul means possible – just make sure he can’t control the ball, and you won’t be dismissed!  Utter rubbish of course, but a man has to try and justify his Tinkler Tribute by any means possible.

Leeds emerge from the Blackpool game frustrated but with the knowledge of a job well done.  They looked the likelier throughout, and had the game tactically in their grasp from the word go.  An unlucky deflection and a truly woeful refereeing performance stood between United and a deserved victory.  Broadfoot was ironically dismissed in the last few minutes; a straight red for an awful tackle on Marius Zaliukas.  That’s the second time in two games that an opposition player has seen red when faced with the mighty Marius – it seems we have a good’un there, and we’ll just have to hope he remains in one piece.

Onwards to Forest now, and here’s hoping that Leeds can perform just as resolutely as they did at Bloomfield Road.  We’ll have to trust to luck as well, and make a wish that whoever the ref is at the City Ground, he’s not looking for a chance to pay his own tribute to refs’ patron saint Ray Tinkler.