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1000 Not Out for the Leeds United Blog With Attitude – by Rob Atkinson

LLUUE2018

Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything – 1000 not out

In December of 2012, I wrote an article about the lack of passion and commitment in the England football team, to launch the blog I’d called Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything. Leeds United were in one of their too-frequent glory-free periods, becalmed in the Championship. Corruption seeped its way through the corridors of power, whether you looked at the rulers of our national game or indeed the nation itself. Millions gazed dead-eyed and compliant at the telly box in the corner, placated by reality TV and the glitz of the Premier League. Six years on, as I clock up article number 1000, it’s self-evident that not much has changed – so there’s been plenty to write about, and ample justification for the odd body-swerve away from our heroes in white.

For the blog itself, though, Life – if not Leeds United and the Universe, never mind Everything – has been quite good. Halfway into its first full year, NewsNow syndication was granted, and my little creation went global – thanks mainly to the happy fact that there are Leeds United fans, in big numbers, simply everywhere throughout the world. Since that time, blog hits have averaged thousands instead of the initial readership of dozens – and now, with this piece, the first “millennium” has been clocked up. Other writing commitments have meant that the frequency of posting is not what it was in the early days, but still, in those thousand articles over six years, almost three million hits have been registered from a shade under two million visitors. Those are numbers I couldn’t have dreamed of as I wrote that first piece, and I’m duly grateful to everyone who’s ever clicked on the blog, made a comment, shared an article, made a donation, or whatever. You’ve all contributed to what I would modestly describe as a fairly successful project. And happily, the blog has led to other things for your humble correspondent – columns in two local newspapers, invitations with hospitality to cover various sporting events – and even admission within the hallowed portal of the Leeds United press box. Despite the occasional grumblings of the mob, perhaps I am actually doing something right.

Still, not everyone has always been happy, needless to say, about everything I’ve written here. As Abraham Lincoln said – and as he had violently confirmed to him by actor-turned-assassin John Wilkes Booth – you cannot please all of the people, all of the time. And, to be fair, I’ve never set out solely to win friends or admirers; I’ve always wanted to be opinionated and partial, being a Leeds fan is a passionate, partisan thing – and you have to speak your mind. I’ve frequently disagreed with fellow supporters and writing colleagues, and with the club itself, as well as with the more obvious groups like rival sets of fans. I’ve made myself deeply unpopular with certain of these groups, and I’ve attracted the usual inarticulate abuse, death threats and more or less sinister promises of harm to my family – mostly anonymous, as you’d expect. But it’s all been worthwhile in terms of getting deeply-held points of view off my chest, and it’s on all fours with my need as a writer of opinion pieces to be more than just a mere cypher, toeing a line drawn by external bodies. I’ve always tried to draw my own line, and this has frequently upset people – but those are the breaks. You have to stand by your own ideals.

So that’s been the rationale behind the first thousand posts on this blog. Apart from the very occasional guest post, it’s all been my own work, and I’d imagine that this will hold true for the next thousand too, however long that might take. I’m happier paddling my own canoe and sticking to my own guns – though I am looking for a site sponsor, so I’m happy to talk to interested parties about that! But the blog, as I hope and trust, will continue to go from strength to strength, particularly as and when Leeds United gets its act together and ascends to the Promised Land of the Premier League. Then, it will be a whole new ball game, both for me and for the club I’ve loved (though not uncritically) for the best part of half a century. Roll on, that glorious day.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone, friend or foe, who has ever given up a few minutes to read this blog. Your time and patience is much appreciated. Thanks also to my little group of trolls, who have afforded me so much amusement without ever seeing the light of day on the comments page. I’m thinking here of people like “Clive”, who imagines he’s had me banned on a few occasions from NewsNow, and is always surprised to see that I’m still there. Thanks go to Clive, and the others too. You need a bit of a laugh sometimes when you’re writing and thinking about the soap opera down at Elland Road, and my trolls, as much as any other group, have been as devoted and amusing as I could possibly wish.

So, it’s onward and upwards from here. Expect post number 1001 whenever there’s anything that needs saying about our beloved Leeds United – or maybe about Life, the Universe, Everything. Please keep reading and commentating and – to those kind, blessed few – donating. It’s a sobering thought that, if every single one of the views over this thousand posts had realised just 20 pence, I’d now be over half a million quid better off. Life’s not like that sadly, but my kind donors still keep the blog going and I’m immensely grateful to them for their generosity. Here we go with Leeds United – Marching On Together.

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Here’s to the next thousand #LLUUE

 

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Twitter Fans to Demand Leeds Only Sign Players Who Don’t Get Injured – by Rob Atkinson

LUFC Twitter

A Leeds United tweeter, yesterday

Storms in teacups and mountains made out of molehills. These are both specialities of the whinging, petulant, spoilt toddler types that appear to make up an uncomfortably large proportion of the Leeds United Twitter brigade. Time and time again, we see them launching into yet another rant when anything goes wrong at Elland Road. The latest mass tantrum is over Tyler Roberts‘ reported training ground injury from earlier in the week, with some suspecting that a knock the young striker was carrying when he moved from West Brom was actually something more sinister.

Whatever the facts of the case, the over-reaction from United’s more hysterical social media mouthpieces has been little short of embarrassing. And it’s a phenomenon not confined to injuries – anything negative is immediately seized upon and criticised with what almost amounts to a masochistic glee. This is no exaggeration. Certain alleged Leeds fans appear to like nothing more than a bit of a crisis, anything that shows the club in a bad light. They can then flap their virtual gums, competing with each other, so it appears, for the title of who can be the most pessimistic and ridiculously over-the-top negative. It inevitably degenerates into a why-oh-why session, with the usual suspects hurling abuse at the club they purport to follow. Naturally, the more moderate fans get sick of it, and a war of words ensues. It’s all so pointless, and it makes you wonder what other clubs’ fans think of our numerous bad apples – to say nothing of the Leeds players themselves, who must sometimes look on aghast.

It’s got to the point where I honestly feel we’d be better off without a large proportion of our social media “fans”. A lot of them seem to be there wholly or mainly to seek attention, or start an argument from the safely anonymous position of behind their keyboards. I swear that, in the days before so many virtual platforms were available – and when there was a lot more to moan about – there was less of this constant, dreary carping and moaning. Too much of that in the real, physical world of the terraces or the post-match pub would see persistent offenders in receipt of a thick ear, if they were lucky. But the virtual world is a safer place, and these needy types sally forth with impunity.

Some day, somebody will come up with an alternative word for a football adherent to the currently used “supporter” – and it won’t be a day too soon. Because what we see far too regularly on Twitter, Facebook etc etc, cannot be called support. It’s divisive, unhelpful, disloyal – the very antithesis of what football support used to be all about. My dearest wish is that a few of these discontented, attention-seeking, incognito inadequates should seek out other interests in life, and let the rest of us have a debate that hasn’t been dipped and soaked through in the Slough of Despond. Perhaps they could get hobbies, or girlfriends, or boyfriends, or whatever. I suspect that Twitter‘s gain has been a loss to the formerly popular pastimes of stamp-collecting or train-spotting. At least the Twatteratti would meet a few kindred spirits in those areas.

If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. I’ve no choice but to plough through the LUFC hashtag daily, I rely on it as a source of information, or at least as a pointer for where information might be found. To have the Twitter feed clogged with such gloom and doom merchants, who clearly relish and rejoice in their own negativity, is annoying to say the very least. It makes an ordeal out of what should be a useful online repository of fact and opinion.

Let’s be clear: players do get injured, it’s an unfortunate fact of life. For an injury such as that suffered by Tyler Roberts to cause such an explosion of witless whinging is simply unacceptable. Man up and support the club, for Don’s sake. And if you can’t bring yourself to do that, then at least have the grace to stop whining – and get that stamp album out. After all, philately could get you anywhere. Preferably, far away from anything to do with Leeds United.

Scott Gutteridge: My Side of the ‘Paid Cellino Fan’ Story 

In the interests of balance, and in the light of my previous article, I am reproducing Scott Gutteridge’s statement below, unaltered, unedited and without further comment.
I have recently become aware that a rather stupid story has been circulating in some media about my supposed involvement in a bizarre “plot” to somehow undermine Massimo Cellino, the Leeds United owner. I’m just writing this statement in order to put the record straight and to clear up some, frankly, wild inaccuracies.
Nobody who has an interest in Leeds United can be unaware that there are deep divisions at present between the pro and anti Cellino camps. However I am astonished at the media interest in this non-story given that it was a prank which some seem to have fallen for hook, line and sinker.
As an administrator on the In Massimo We Trust (IMWT) Facebook page I joined a website that seemed to me vehemently opposed to the owner in order to have a bit of fun and give them a wind up. I posted a statement there in which I claimed that an “unnamed source” at Leeds United paid me £500 a month to somehow place or write praiseworthy stuff about our owner. It’s kind of bizarre why anyone would believe that I was being paid to do it when I was actually doing it for free in any event and because I support the current owner. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr Cellino did not pay me any money, ever. I have never received any money from the club, ever, and certainly not for writing a few posts on a Facebook site. I support Mr Cellino’s ownership of Leeds United and was posting stuff for free anyway. If you look at it logically it doesn’t make sense that I would be paid to do this when I was doing it anyway. As I have said this was a laugh, a bit of a joke, a prank that I pulled on those that want to get rid of our owner.
I have seen Daily Mail article and it has me quoted. It’s almost like the journalist had spoken to me which is odd because, again nothing could be further from the truth. I did not speak to that journalist. In fact I have never spoken to any journalist in connection with Leeds United. I certainly didn’t give him those quotes. I’m flabbergasted that a reputable newspaper could print stuff I am meant to have said them when in fact I’ve never spoken to them. It seems that The Daily Mail is even less accurate than Billy Paynter!
If you also look at the language used you’ll see it’s not really my style. It appears more in keeping with some signed confession from a hostage of Kim Un-jun. I am also happy confirm that I have never been to North Korea either!
I’m grateful for this opportunity to clear this matter up once and for all. What started as a silly idea seems to have taken on a life of its own. I’m just glad that it can be put back in the place it belongs – the playground so we can all get behind Steve Evans, the team and club to push it where it belongs – The Premiership. MOT

Customised Xmas Gifts Ideal For the Discerning Leeds Fan – by Rob Atkinson

ImageThere’s nothing like the run-up to Christmas to have people scratching heads and worrying over exactly what they can buy for their significant other, doting parent, hopeful child – or just a good mate.  Or some maybe even seeking inspiration for how to pamper themselves a little, with some seasonally-gifted dosh to spend.  It’s a dilemma likely to be a little easier to solve this year than last – IF you have a Leeds United fanatic on your “to buy for” list – and more especially if that Leeds-mad person is one who likes to stand out a little from the crowd.

ImageA relatively new Facebook venture, LUFC Custom, has come to my notice recently – and it’s something I’ve found worthy of looking at time and again as I ponder the question how to bring some Christmas cheer to the Elland Road devotees of my acquaintance.  It’s not an easy task, normally.  Do you go for megastore stuff and risk duplicating the efforts of others? That’s all good for the club and all that – but come on – this is Christmas.  We’re allowed to think of what we really want instead of concentrating on how best to enrich the source of all our many frustrations.

The thing about this LUFC Custom venture is that it does exactly what it says on the tin. Have a glance and see for yourselves.  There is a range of basic products – all the usual type of stuff – but here’s the thing. You actually get to embellish your purchase of choice with a range of enhancements: badges, colours, slogans, your own name or that of a gift recipient – you end up with a custom-designed item that’s truly personal to the person it’s intended for.  Now, tie me to a stake and burn me for a heretic, but I consider that to be a superior sort of choice.  Those relying on the various commercial outlets of the club itself, or on those retailers operating under licence, are likely to find that whatever Santa brings them, he’s also going to have brought for quite a few of their mates, relatives, fellow match-day sufferers, and so on.  It’s all well and good, and it helps Leeds United, and we should definitely do it.  But there is, perhaps, room for a little individuality of expression too. This is where Custom Leeds might just be able to make that important bit of difference.

Don’t listen to me – really, just have a click and a gander at what this guy has to offer. I’m simply making a recommendation here – because it strikes me as a good idea, a worthy venture and potentially something that will add to the options for showing your colours with pride.  The pride will be that bit more keenly felt if you’re sporting something that no-one else is parading around in – just something that bit different and individual to the person who’s designed it.

I’m probably set to take my own advice, as it goes.  I’ve got all the replica shirts, most of the t-shirts and sundry other items of apparel and other memorabilia.  I don’t have the drawer space or the incentive to add to all that.  My next investment may well be something that says something about me and my support for Leeds United – it may even reflect the image of this blog now that it has a respectable number of followers.  The possibilities are limited only by my imagination and the by the impoverished contents of my flea-bitten wallet.

Besides, I deserve a treat – and who knows, I could do a little shopping for others too.  It is nearly Christmas, after all.