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Are YOU a True Leeds United Fan? Find Out Here – by Rob Atkinson

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The Badge and Bielsa – two articles of faith for true Leeds fans

As it’s become quite clear that my guidance is needed out there, in terms of what precisely constitutes a true Leeds United fan, I’ve decided to respond positively and offer my help, in the earnest hope that some deluded and unworthy folk might thus find enlightenment.

Despite the tongue-in-cheek opening paragraph, this is not a joke. There are far too many negative voices out there, and it’s well documented that the players are aware of this and have admitted they’re affected by it. The know-all “fans” behind all of the concerted discouragement seem to feel it’s enough to say “man up and get on with it”, rather than mending their own ways and rediscovering what the meaning of the word “supporter” really is.

I’ve taken plenty of flak for continually pointing this out, and I care not a jot. Because I do think it’s important that there should be voices on social media making at least some attempt to rally the troops and cut out all of the damaging stuff that threatens to help derail our campaign. Happily, I’m only one of quite a few spreading a more positive message. But I do feel that there are people out there, masquerading as Leeds fans, with a definite agenda aimed at keeping us from achieving promotion. Check out how many of the Twitter accounts are of recent origin. There are some opportunists about, seeking to recruit the unwary to their campaign of defeatism.

The fact is that our league position is only dodgy if the poor run continues. It’s down to EVERY #LUFC fan now to do their best to make sure this doesn’t happen. Get behind the team and cut out all the whinging and negativity. If you really are a true Leeds United supporter, you’ll get right behind this, now, when it’s most needed. It’s as simple as that.

#MOT to the Premier League #WGUAFC

 

Leeds United “Fans” Must Take Blame for Paddy’s QPR Penalty Miss – by Rob Atkinson

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Bamford – a victim of the boo boys

Some so-called Leeds United “fans” – mainly the type who spend most of their existences refreshing Twitter, rather than getting off their backsides to go along and support the team – have a distinctly warped idea of the meaning of the word “support”. It’s a word that should be close to the heart of any real football fan, but some of these tragic individuals appear to be utterly unfamiliar with the whole concept of getting behind a team, encouraging them, displaying some partisan fanaticism and alway, ALWAYS keeping the faith.

The Leeds United support base, for me, is divided between the match-goers – still the best bunch in the game – and the non-attendees, whose number includes a significant minority of people who attach themselves to United with the apparent purpose of delighting in any setback and doing their level best to demoralise and dishearten the players the rest of us support through thick and thin. Some of these will clearly be bogus online presences, but that doesn’t explain the sheer volume and levels of negativity out there. It’s not something I’ve heard anyone explain away, but it’s as irritating and damaging as it is inexplicable. And the damage I’m referring to is being sustained directly by the team and its prospects of success.

Football teams thrive on support – how often have you heard the saying “our crowd is worth a goal start”? In the days before social media, you didn’t need to know any more than that – it was your incentive to get along to the game, sing your heart out and support the lads. Those dear, simple days are far behind us now and while, as I stated earlier, the Leeds matchday support is second to none at home and away, the story on Twitter, Facebook etcetera, is markedly different. The LUFC hashtag on Twitter is best avoided for any supporter with a history of high blood pressure, which is bad enough – but the actual players should certainly be banned from ever even looking at such platforms. Any sports psychologist would surely agree with this position, as much of the output is as negative as it is clueless. The point is that the insidious effect of this drip, drip, drip type criticism is well known and widely acknowledged. So the concerted effect on Patrick Bamford of what he will doubtless have read on Twitter, will inevitably be less than positive.

Strikers, more than most footballers, thrive on confidence. Knock a lad’s confidence and, eventually, you will see a deterioration in performance and output. It’s not rocket science, it’s simply common sense. It may well be that some of these moaning Minnies on Twitter are too profoundly stupid to appreciate the damage they’re doing, but that won’t apply to all of them. Some of that dismal number will know exactly what they’re doing, and will enjoy the idea that they can have such an effect, something they surely can’t often experience in other areas of their lives. To them, I say – please go away, be a man united fan or whatever, just don’t darken our Twittersphere again. And I also say “j’accuse“. It’s your fault we lost at QPR today, just as surely as blame attaches to the appalling referee, so it also attaches to you. In a very real sense, you missed that penalty. Anyone who saw Bamford step up to take it would have been fearing he’d miss. The body language was not typical of confidence and self-belief, and it’s those qualities that have been drained away by these non-fans on social media.

Rant over. It’ll have no effect, of course. I’ll get the usual abusive responses, thin-skinned plonkers telling me that they have a perfect right to say what they like, to whom they like. And, sadly, it’s true. Just don’t think you can say these things in the name of Leeds United “support” – not without being picked up on it and challenged over your supposed attachment to a club that would be better off without you. But that’s not enough to deter people who seem to revel in United’s misfortunes, and who remain silent when things are going well.

If there’s one thing more than any other that can make me wish for the good old days pre-social media, it’s this. In many ways, things were better back then, although the likes of Terry Yorath and George McCluskey among others, who suffered greatly from some minority terrace barracking, might possibly beg to differ. But all that notwithstanding, there was an honesty about support in those days that is absent from large areas of the online LUFC presence. And what worries me is that this great club, which has always relied on the fanatical fervour of its support, may well pay a heavy price for the abominable attitude of some of its so-called fans.

If only we could all go back to “Marching On Together” – but seemingly, that’s just too much to ask.

How Trash Media is Giving an Undeserved Platform to the Clueless End of the Leeds Support – by Rob Atkinson

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The Leeds United purveyor of clueless rubbish – now with own media platform

One of the worst things about any Leeds United defeat is venturing on to social media afterwards and having your senses bombarded by the witless comments of the knowledge-free element of Leeds United’s online support – those armchair experts who are suddenly sure that they know far better than Marcelo Bielsa and that, into the bargain, they are somehow equipped to do a far better job, be it in player recruitment, tactics, selection or coaching. The easy thing to do, of course, is laugh at such brainless rubbish, as well as at the overgrown spoilt children who spout it. But the time after a chastening defeat is a raw and uncomfortable interlude – perhaps it’s better to stay away from Twitter, Facebook and the other mouthpieces of the terminally idiotic, and concentrate on more informed sources instead.

Sadly, though, even that course is not free from its irritant factor. Because, over the past year or so, it’s been noticeable just how many of these “news sources” seem to consist largely of websites that spend far too much time trawling the gutter section of social media, and recycling the arrant nonsense to be found there as some sort of reportage. So, you get headlines like:

‘TERRIBLE TODAY’ – THESE LEEDS UNITED FANS WERE FAR FROM IMPRESSED WITH MIDFIELDER IN WEEKEND LOSS

or:

”ALWAYS BOTTLE IT IN THE BIG GAMES” – LEEDS UNITED FANS CRITICISE UNDERPERFORMING STARS AFTER STUNNING DEFEAT

Rubbish like that will always get the clicks, of course, which has to be the sole reason for quoting such uninformed, nay, brainless sources in the first place. But it’s all so dismally disappointing, and moreover it’s incredibly depressing that so many so-called fans will provide such material in the first place, when their first and only function is to support the team. The point is that, before the advent of social media, the ramblings of such ignoramus fans would only bother those unlucky enough to live with them, or perhaps share a public bar with them in those difficult early post-defeat hours. But now, everyone can tell the world their idiot opinions and, as if that were not bad enough, there’s some eager hack ready to take such bletherings down, for quotation and recycling as “news”. That’s such a crock, I can hardly bear to write about it. As if it’s not bad enough having that IQ deficient has-been Robbie Savage foisted upon us. At least he once played the game, or at least his own version of it.

I exempt Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything, of course, from these very salient and all too relevant remarks, along with various other highly reputable Leeds United blogs, and even some from other clubs too. The problem that I’m targeting – and I’m entirely sincere about this – is the consequence of the knee-jerk reaction merchant, who simply goes onto Twitter or Facebook to vent some spleen, with no thought or intention of being taken seriously as news – and who then finds him or herself quoted as some sort of authority, even when they’re calling a respected footballer some childish name, or otherwise making solid gold asses of themselves. You’re always going to get that, sadly – the real guilty parties are those who lazily reap these worthless comments wholesale and retail them piecemeal, simply as clickbait. It’s deeply annoying – and God only knows what the professionals must make of it. The fact of the matter is that what some herbert in Bramley thinks is not news – but it’s being presented as such by cynical opportunists, along with the collective lack of wisdom of the dimmer end of Leeds United’s (or any club’s, for that matter) support.

It appears, though, that trash media will be with us for as long as there are enough clueless so-called “fans” to spout their rubbish into the ether – and that’s likely to be forever, as we live in the age of instant and unconsidered opinion. It’s almost enough to make you miss the days when the worst problem of this sort were the sad little legion of pub bores. At least, with them, at the cost of a pint of perfectly good ale, you could if you so chose empty your glass over their thick heads and douse the problem that way. Maybe some virtual equivalent of that drastic option would be a useful next step for those who seek to improve the Internet and online news experience.

I’m honestly not putting the knock on thousands of football fans out there with perfectly valid views – it’s just that those fans seem to be both in the minority and ignored by the said trash media, who only want the laughably extreme views – because that’s what gets the clicks. Every now and again, you get somebody sensible being quoted, or maybe a knowledgeable ex-pro – but it’s becoming rarer, because so many “news sources”, the online equivalents of the Sun or Daily Sport, choose this easy, lazy option of scraping the social media barrel and giving a voice to those who would, quite frankly, be better off with laryngitis.

Let these opportunist websites do a bit of honest work, for a change, and switch to seeking quotes from the clued-up and not the clueless. And let the rentagob “fans”, who seem to think they know better than a world-renowned coach like Bielsa, stick to the pub where they belong. And may they end up with those well-deserved and nobly sacrificed pints right over their empty heads.

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

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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

 

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

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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.