Tag Archives: Don Goodman

Isn’t it Time TV Stopped Pandering to the “We All Hate Leeds” Brigade? – by Rob Atkinson

Bafc LUFC

Burton Albion & Sky Sports v Leeds United

Watching Leeds United on the telly has health implications for your standard Whites fanatic, the kind with the iconic LUFC running through them like a stick of rock. Football devotees in general, and Leeds fans in particular, are hardly known for their Zen-like state of calmness, and it frequently seems to me that the telly people are doing their utmost to wind me up with their continual sniping at Yorkshire’s Number One football club. Because, whenever I’m stuck with TV coverage as opposed to being there, I always end up feeling as though my blood pressure has spiked, and I’m left foaming at the mouth, longing to give some smug pundit the baseball bat treatment.

The Burton Albion game on Boxing Day was a case in point. The Championship minnows had enjoyed two victories on the trot, and Sky Sports were all a-flutter to see them make that three against Big Bad Leeds. When the Brewers took the lead with a narrowly offside goal, the commentators glossed over it – Ronaldo Vieira shouldn’t have stepped out, their logic ran, so it was bad defending. If Vieira had stayed put, the lad would have been onside – but the pundits weren’t in any mood to let facts interfere with their “Chuffed that Leeds are losing” position. For the time being, they were as happy as a scum fan with a new easy chair (though that had changed by the time Ronnie, living up to both his names, put Kemar Roofe in for the winner).

Right at the end of the first half, Leeds defender Gaetano Berardi sailed into a challenge on Burton man Sean Scanell, and what followed was highly instructive. It was the kind of tackle that, when perpetrated by some media darling in a Man U shirt, elicits a roguish chuckle from the commentators, with the remark “That would have earned you a new contract back in the day, but now it’s a wee bit naughty”. The fact is that Berardi won the ball – with both feet, admittedly. But only the ball suffered, no blood was shed and no bones were broken. Still, the pundits were all pursed lips and sanctimony; their outraged verdict was that our man could and should have seen red.

In the second half, it was yours truly seeing red, as Albion’s goalscorer Tom Naylor, delivered the classic over-the-top leg-breaker on Vieira, studs into Ronnie’s standing leg, an absolutely atrocious challenge. From the Sky gantry, there was only the most sheepish of reactions – “Ooh, that’s another bad one” etc. There was none of the red card bloodlust, none of the hysteria that Berardi’s comparatively innocuous challenge had prompted. On the day, both incidents resulted in yellow cards – harsh in Berardi’s case, and a gross under-reaction to the Naylor assault on Vieira. But it was the Sky reaction that was the most disgusting aspect of the whole matter; they even edited the Naylor foul out of their highlights package, focusing the disciplinary spotlight firmly on the Berardi challenge. Sky TV do seem to have a heavy hand in editing Leeds highlights – the other week, they even edited Gjanni Alioski’s sumptuous winning goal right out of their Barnsley v United clip, which is a tad harsh, even by their anti-Leeds standards.

The thing is, these are not isolated examples. It happens time and again, most weeks in fact. There’s usually some dedicated Leeds-hating has-been in the co-commentary seat, and always an anti-United spin on the description of pivotal events. It’s no mystery as to what’s behind it – hating the Elland Road boys is still a national preoccupation, a good four decades after the Super Leeds era that got them all in such a resentful froth. So it’s in broadcast media’s commercial interests to hype up the hate, just as it is for them to view Man U through sentimentally rose-tinted glasses, catering to their tragic legions of armchair TV subscribers. Both attitudes are commercially sensible – but it doesn’t make them right.

Let’s face it, Leeds United are big box office for Sky’s Championship coverage, and it’s about time a little bit more respect was shown, if not outright gratitude. That’s only right and just, not that these are words figuring prominently in any broadcaster’s lexicon. But, for the sake of my blood pressure if nothing else, and to prevent me hurling something at my costly flat-screen technology – it’s time for the TV companies to wise up, grow up, and lay off my beloved Leeds.

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5 Facts About Sky’s Leeds Utd Hater Don Goodman Ahead of QPR Away   –   by Rob Atkinson

Saint Don Goodman the Blinkered

Saint Don Goodman the Blinkered

After a couple of hundred times since last season watching the highlights of Sky’s Huddersfield Town versus Leeds United coverage, mainly to enjoy the Whites’ 3-0 victory over and over again, but also in the spirit of earnest research, this blogger is now able to reveal five hitherto unknown facts about co-commentator Don Goodman, who is also, incidentally, due to provide his pearls of non-wisdom for today’s United fixture at QPR

  1. Don Goodman never made a cynical challenge in his life. We can clearly tell this from the contemptuous and disgusted tone of his voice in proclaiming the cynicism of Scott Wootton‘s challenge on Huddersfield’s Harry Bunn. Clearly, Mr. Goodman would never contemplate such a base action, preferring to stand aside politely applauding when beaten by an opponent.
  2. Similarly, Don Goodman has never ever complained about a bang to rights refereeing decision against him in the whole of his football career. This must be so, because he clearly stated “I really don’t know why players complain about receiving yellow cards when it’s that blatant.” Any other case would leave Goodman open to a charge of being a rank hypocrite.
  3. Goodman never, ever formed part of a group of players clustering around a referee in order to try and influence his decision. As he virtuously points out, “the referee doesn’t need that, he needs to decide for himself.” With such strongly-held convictions as these about the sanctity of match officials’ decision-making, it is blindingly obvious, save for the hypocrisy provision mentioned above, that Goodman could never have transgressed in such an unhelpful manner.
  4. The best way to shut Don Goodman up is undoubtedly for Leeds United to score a goal. From the time of Wootton’s unpunished second foul at Huddersfield, right up until Mirco Antenucci scored United’s opener, Goodman had been bemoaning the lack of a second yellow card and subsequent dismissal for United’s defender. When the ball hit the back of the net, though, Goodman lapsed into a stunned silence lasting a full 18.25 seconds, before glumly observing: “Football isn’t fair sometimes – life isn’t fair sometimes,” adding that “Huddersfield will feel absolutely fuming”.
  5. Don Goodman in the course of his playing career always, but always, took in good part any studs over the ball challenges against him, that he now tends to describe as bearing “no malice” – as well as any sly kicks to the back of the legs late in the game, which can, apparently, be put down to “frustration”. It would have been incongruous for him to have complained about such challenges on himself, given his airy dismissal of the fouls perpetrated on Leeds players by their Huddersfield opponents.

These five new and telling facts about Don Goodman might, perhaps, shed some light on what might otherwise be described as inconsistencies in his co-commentary performance. Whether anyone with Leeds United sympathies, or indeed anyone with a more general ability to distinguish the relative locations of arse and elbow, will be mollified by such revelations, has to be a moot point. 

It may in fact be that Leeds fans as well as other people of intellect and discernment would tend to dismiss the “facts” enumerated above, in favour of a more general principle, as follows:

Don Goodman, from Leeds but never good enough to play for United, is an embittered has-been who is all too happy to accept BSkyB’s coin along with the privilege of jumping on their rabidly anti-Leeds United bandwagon. 

On the whole, that really does seem rather more likely. And doubtless, we can expect more of Mr. Goodman’s unprofessional rubbish live and exclusive from Loftus Road in an hour or so.

Blatant Leeds-Bashing Exposes Amateur Face of Sky Sports   –   by Rob Atkinson

Sky Sports resident has-been Don Goodman

Sky Sports resident has-been Don Goodman

No writer worth his salt – not even a humble blogger such as yours truly – rushes into print with a knee-jerk conclusion based upon sketchy evidence. So you may take it as read that I have ample justification for what I’m about to say. I can point to instance without number of the kind of thing that most recently happened in the live transmission of Huddersfield Town‘s home game against my beloved Leeds United – indeed, I’ve had occasion to mention it before in the course of this season so far.

So I am absolutely entitled to say without fear of contradiction that Sky Sports‘ coverage of Leeds is characterised by shoddy amateurism, blatant prejudice and a naked desire to cater, not to fans of the Whites, but to the large anti-Leeds constituency out there, who pay their subscriptions and want to see their most-disliked team properly hammered, on the pitch, off it, or ideally both. It’s a huge market of clueless haters – and BSkyB evidently know which side their bread is buttered.

The Huddersfield game contained all the usual ingredients; an undertone of desperate desire for United’s opposition to do well (typified by the rising cadence of anticipatory excitement if the home side managed a shot on goal or a dive for a penalty appeal); a less than sympathetic interpretation of the refereeing decisions on the day, the over-riding assumption being that Leeds got all of the breaks; last but not least, the presence of Sky Sports’ very own anti-Leeds hatchet man in Don Goodman, someone who can always be relied upon to see every facet of any game in a distinctly anti-Leeds light.

The game’s most notable early incident was a clash of heads between Leeds defenders Scott Wootton and Liam Cooper prior to a United corner. The incident was serious enough for Cooper to be knocked unconscious; Wootton fared better, but can hardly have been unaffected by such a harsh meeting of minds. Once Cooper had been replaced by Sol Bamba, with Wootton able to continue, the game proceeded. Over the remaining time in the first half, Wootton committed two challenges which were definitely late and inaccurate – not something we’re unfamiliar with, even when the lad’s head is as clear as it ever gets. Goodman was quick to criticise after the first foul, for which Wootton was booked. “Cynical”, he pronounced, making no allowances for Wootton’s legendary clumsiness or the quite probable after-effects of the Cooper incident. It was noticeable that a couple of studs over the ball challenges on Leeds by Huddersfield drew no criticism, just something bland along the lines of “no malice in that”.

Wootton’s second badly-timed challenge in quick succession had both commentators calling for a second yellow and United down to ten men. Technically, they had a point; the ref could easily have booked Wootton for a second time. But it’s just as possible that he was making allowances for the clash of heads incident, as well as the fact that, on both occasions, Wootton might be said to have been going for the ball, but simply not good enough to get anywhere near it. And the fact is that, seconds prior to Wootton’s second foul, there was a blatant push on Lewis Cook that went unremarked by the commentators and unpunished by the officials. Anyway, these things happen in football and the talking heads are extremely choosy about what they pick up on. Several agricultural Huddersfield challenges during the game passed by with no action from the ref and no adverse comment from Goodman. Late in the game, there was a blatant kick out at a Leeds player by one of the Tesco carrier bags – Goodman just mumbled something about frustration.

The biggest single example of frustration on the day, though, was Goodman himself. He was still whinging about Wootton’s presence on the pitch as the United defender played a long ball down the line, for Stuart Dallas and Chris Wood to combine before Dallas crossed brilliantly to put the first goal on a plate for Mirco Antenucci. A fine goal, which lacked any description of the build-up as Goodman was still riding his hobby-horse. When he recovered from the disappointment of seeing Leeds score, Goodman could only bemoan the fact that “Football is unfair, life is unfair.” So it is, and the very best of hard cheese. The fact is that this embittered ex-footballer only seems to see injustice when Leeds benefit from it.

For the rest of the game, the resentment about Wootton remained a theme, with the only variety provided by snide remarks about United manager Steve Evans being unable to predict his own future beyond the final whistle. Don Goodman’s contribution to a great day for Leeds and for the long-suffering United fans was to carp, moan, bitch and ultimately resort to needless speculation about the prospects of a man who seems to be relishing his task in the Elland Road hot-seat, as well as getting stuck into that task in his own inimitable style.

Ironically, there was scope for some really informed comment if the amateurs behind the microphones had only identified and acted upon it. Some robust challenges went unpunished in the game and, yes, Scott Wootton could easily have seen red before half-time. Most of the officials’ energies seemed devoted to off-field transgressions of the mildest variety. Antenucci got himself booked by taking off his shirt after the first goal, revealing a yellow undershirt with a birthday message on it. Players keep doing this, and they keep getting daft bookings for it. There’s little discretion for refs to do otherwise, and that’s a cause for concern, being ridiculous overkill on the part of the powers that be.

Similarly, the fourth official‘s  main preoccupation, so it seemed, was to stop Steve Evans celebrating after each goal. What a joyless, clueless, ignorant approach to running a game full of passion, commitment and occasional explosive joy. So what if Evans cavorts on the touchline? So what if Antenucci, or any other player, dispenses with his shirt after scoring? Nobody died, after all – and I’d rather see some of the studs-up thugs getting their rightful bookings than this pettifogging, spoilsport obsession with punishing people, simply for celebrating. These annoyingly-beige people might one day succeed in taking all the spontaneity and all the passion out of the game – and where, pray, will we be then?

This sort of arse-about-face set of priorities was and is something that commentators would do well to highlight, given their prominent public platform. But, no. They’d rather take the easy road of showing their true colours – i.e. anything but yellow blue and white when Leeds United are in town. It reflects poorly on Sky and their hatchet-men of choice; it shows them up in a distinctly amateurish and prejudiced light – and it’s happened so many times now that many Leeds fans I know have stopped even laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. They’re rightly annoyed that Leeds are singled out for such treatment – especially from a has-been nonentity like Don Goodman.

It would be wonderfully surprising and uplifting if BSkyB could eliminate this shoddy flaw in their production values, so that the commentary at Championship games might perhaps approach the quality and sheer professionalism that characterises most of their excellent football coverage. But I won’t be holding my breath. Leeds-bashing has long been a national sport, in the media and among rival fans – and Sky all too clearly have their markets to cater to, including that rather large anti-Leeds contingent I mentioned earlier. Still, it’s annoying for those of us who keep the faith and know that Leeds United is a proud and historic name still. And it’s a great pity that Sky, for all their glitz and gloss, continue to employ bitter little men with bitter little minds to sully that name where and when they can.

‘Twas ever thus though, way back to the days of the Don’s Super Leeds. It’s much more “in yer face” now, that’s the thing, with cameras at every game and Leeds-haters well infiltrated into every branch of the media. They should be aware though, that we know the bitter whys and the commercial wherefores of what goes on – and we won’t put up with it in silence. Certainly not on this blog – so think on, Goodman & Co. We’re watching you, so just mind your step.

Plans For Statue of Leeds Legend Mowatt at Elland Road   –   by Rob Atkinson

History-maker Alex Mowatt: to be immortalised outside Elland Road?

Leeds United 1 (Mowatt), Cardiff City 0

After eight barren months without a win at Elland Road, and 32 years since a win over this pesky South Wales outfit on home soil, Tuesday night’s 1-0 victory over Cardiff City came as a welcome relief to everyone with Leeds United carved painfully into their hearts.

It was a win that provoked reactions across the full gamut of human emotional response, from a devastatingly gutted Don Goodman, Sky TV’s Leeds match mickey-taker of choice, right through to the joyful elation of young Alex Mowatt himself, the scorer of a goal fit to win any game of football. Picking the ball up halfway inside Cardiff territory, almost midway through the second half, Mowatt shimmied away from a distant challenge with one sinuous matador’s flourish of his hips, looked up briefly and then back down at the ball – which he caught with an absolute purler of a left foot strike to hammer it into the top right-hand side of the Gelderd End goal.

Cue the mayhem of relief and hysteria as the hardy Leeds fans behind that malnourished goal exploded into cavorting celebration. Mowatt took the rapturous applause with a clutch of delighted – or astounded – teammates dancing dervish-like around him. Meanwhile, poor Goodman, with a face like the smell of gas, sadly relayed news of the goal to a mainly disappointed nation.

It was the undoubted high point of a low-key match between two sides currently locked together in second-tier mediocrity. But that goal will long be remembered, and not just for its sumptuous quality. It was a goal, note well, that brought to an end those two dismal runs of failure. No home wins since March was a shameful record for a club whose home was once regarded by many good judges and Alex Ferguson, as the most hostile and intimidating arena in football. And 32 years is far too long to let a club as deserving of regular sound thrashings as Cardiff are, go unchastised.

So, two monkeys were dislodged from our collective back on Tuesday night, two unwelcome ghosts were laid to rest. It’s fanciful of course – even edging close to bitter sarcasm – to suggest raising a statue to our youthful midfielder on the strength of one sublime strike. But though intended as a bittersweet jest, the jocular notion in this article’s headline sums up the relief generated by one fairly unremarkable but sorely needed victory.

In a week when Massimo Cellino bid farewell to Elland Road – as a matchday spectator, at least, and subject to any late changes of his mercurial mind – and when it also became a distinct possibility that a fans’ consortium might replace the Italian, possibly with a Gladiator on board, it was vital, crucial, utterly necessary to mark this possible fork in the road with a win. And that we did – for which Don be praised.

Onwards and upwards now? Well, perhaps. Despite the shenanigans at boardroom level, it appears that new manager (let’s call him a manager now) Steve Evans is expecting to strengthen his patchy squad significantly before the end of the loan window. And that’s with a view merely to staunching the flow of our life-blood, with the prospect of further major surgery in January. From this small beginning, great changes could come about. Maybe. 

We start anew then, with a home win under our belts, with some cocky old foes subdued for once and with a whole new era quite possibly about to begin. Will things get better now? Is the only way up? We shall see. Don’t forget – next weekend is Cup Final weekend. 

Well – it is for Huddersfield Town and their motley crew of dog-botherers, anyway…