Tag Archives: gutter press

Leeds, Spurs, Everyone: Give Arsenal’s Main Man a Chance   –   by Rob Atkinson


The Tories think you are STUPID. That’s why they talk at you in three word, alliterative sentences, which they repeat over and over. 
Strong and stable. Brexit means Brexit. Magic money tree. Enough is enough. Coalition of Chaos. 

It’s the crudest and most obvious form of brainwashing you could imagine, but the Tories think – because you didn’t go to Eton, Harrow and then the Varsity – that you will be easily-led enough to vote FOR fox-hunting, the end of our NHS, tax rises for everyone except the rich, cuts in police and education, the Dementia Tax – and all the other nasties that the Nasty Party wants to foist on the many, so that the few can continue to ride their beloved gravy train.

They think you’ll be daft and masochistic enough to vote AGAINST free education, a decent living wage, investment in housing and social care and 10,000 extra police to make our streets safer. They think you’re THAT stupid. Well, are you?
I have a three word sentence for you. VOTE THEM OUT. And a four word sentence. BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE. 
Because, in one respect, the Tories are right. Enough IS enough. Seven years of Tory rule have dangerously weakened our front-line defences, driven teachers to despair, piled more pressure onto overworked and underpaid nurses and junior doctors. They’ve made a mess of the economy and a laughing-stock of the nation.

Now Trump is supporting the woman who failed as Home Secretary, who is failing as Prime Minister and who wants YOU to back her vague and uncosted manifesto – in effect, sign a blank cheque – for another five grim years, so that she can continue to run down vital services and sell off infrastructure. When Trump supports something, you know it can’t be good.
The last seven years of ideological austerity, which have seen national debt double to almost £2 trillion, are ample proof that the Tories are hopelessly malign and clueless. Enough really IS enough. And this election will be your last chance to make a fresh start before the Tories rig the democracy game to make sure they stay in power forever. Don’t be stupid. Don’t let them do it. The stakes are high, have your say on Thursday, and get rid of the Tories. 
Give Mr. Corbyn your trust and your faith. Give him a chance to put things right for the many, not just the few. It’s probably the chance of a lifetime to escape the yoke of neoliberalism. 

America missed the opportunity afforded them by Bernie Sanders. Look where they are now. We must not make the same mistake. 

#VoteLabour #JC4PM #ToriesOut

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Daily Star Fabricates Leeds Story, Wins Weekly Gutter Press Award   –   by Rob Atkinson

That award-winning Star rubbish - with original incorrect pic

That award-winning Daily Star rubbish – with original incorrect image

The weekly award for Most Outrageously Crap Made-Up Story About Leeds United, keenly fought over by the entire cadre of gutter press tabloids, has this week been awarded to the Daily Star – even though it’s only Monday. The judging panel decided that it was so unlikely anyone would come up with a worse effort this week, than that dreamed up by clueless Star hack Jeremy Cross, it was safe to award the trophy – a pile of pig ordure tastefully crafted in finest pewter, to the ridiculous yet amusing sports scribbler. 

The story, based on zero evidence and fraught with inaccuracies, was deemed to be in the finest traditions of tabloid journalism for those reasons alone. The fact that the piece, which centred on young Sam Byram as the player the Star wish to unsettle, was illustrated with a picture of team-mate Luke Murphy, was the clincher for the award. A spokesman said: “The brilliance of making up a highly unlikely shot-in-the-dark story about one player, accompanied by a picture of a quite different player, was well appreciated by the awards panel. We’re seriously considering inducting Jeremy Cross into our legendary Salon des Incompétents Hall of Tabloid Fame, for services to base hackery.”

Following a hasty correction, the original picture of Luke Murphy was replaced by one of Byram, around whom the Cross fantasy had originally been spun, disappointingly detracting somewhat from the brilliant effrontery of the piece. However, this craven piece of backtracking was not thought sufficiently cowardly for the Gutter Hack Award to be withdrawn.

Sadly, the winner was unable to accept his award in person, as he was busy rifling through the dustbins of an England U-21 International for his next made-up “scoop”. In the absence of Jeremy Cross, the trophy was picked up by his faithful assistant, Jeremy Mildly-Annoyed.

The Daily Star is regrettably not available from newsagents, as they prefer more serious publications – like The Sun – but it can be obtained wherever budget toilet paper is sold. 

Mail Exclusive: “LUFC Owner Cellino is Clone of Saddam” – by Rob Atkinson

In a story that will rock the football world for its breathtaking lack of any supporting material, the Daily Heil can reveal that Massimo Cellino, previously supposed to be an Italian corn billionaire, is in fact a genetic mutation of executed tyrant Saddam Hussain. It is further thought – although this publication has seen no actual evidence – that the purchase of Leeds United in 2012 was funded entirely through secret funds generated by the proceeds of the sale of Weapons of Mass Destruction, transported clandestinely aboard Cellino’s evil yacht, Nélie.

Whilst the Heil is unable to prove any of these cast-iron facts, we are quite happy to go into print with them. We strongly believe that slurs and smears against Leeds United – fabricated and groundless though they may be – are firmly in the realm of public interest journalism, as per the best tradition of our current proprietors and their card-carrying Nazi forerunners.

Now it is firmly established, beyond any reasonable figment of our sports editor’s imagination, that Leeds as a club is owned by the living clone of Saddam and funded by the proceeds of his evil if non-existent WMD, we at the Heil are calling upon the gentlemen of the Football League to act – and to act now. Leeds United has for too long been a stain on our national game – although this publication has seen no evidence of this. Nevertheless, the continued existence of Leeds reflects badly on the Football League and its venerable administrators and officials, money-launderers, jailed tycoons and convicted rapists.

Your super, soaraway Heil will not rest until the Son of Saddam and his vile crew have been dispatched to the nethermost pit of Hell where they most assuredly belong – although this publication has seen no evidence of this.

Paul Dacre is the holder of the Iron Cross.

Should Gutter Rags Mail and Mirror be BANNED from Leeds United? – by Rob Atkinson

Short and sweet this one, folks (at least my trolls will be pleased…)

Many of you will have read my occasional rants about the gutter end of the national press and their entirely destructive attitude towards Leeds United. In pandering to market forces (as, clearly, most of their readership will hate, loathe and detest the very name of our heroes in white), these toilet rolls lose no opportunity to have a dig – the Daily Fail have been at it again today, descending to the type of spite normally associated with pigtail-pulling schoolgirls. I’d provide a link but, on this occasion, I simply can’t be arsed.

Simple question, then, and I value your input as ever – should these two imposters and certain other of the gutter end of the Fourth Estate be banned from Elland Road?

I’d appreciate your views and, if possible, a little bit of the reasoning behind them.

I’d do a poll – but again, quite frankly, I really can’t be bothered. This is one question I just want to get out of the way with as little fuss and bother as possible. After all, it doesn’t affect me, as I never put money into the pockets of these dire excuses for news journals (and I’m sure many of you are the same) – but it does make my teeth itch that the talentless and booze-raddled hacks concerned are infesting the Leeds United press box, and absorbing the gratis hospitality. And no, it’s not envy. Been there, done that; but I was – naturally – coming from a supportive angle, as I love the club. The attitude and agenda of the hostile gutter press is diametrically opposite to mine. And, even though I don’t buy their crap, I’m sick of seeing it happen and reading snippets of their venom online. So, I just wondered what people think about a ban.

Over to you, with thanks.

Tabloid Smears Can’t Mask Growing Optimism at Leeds – by Rob Atkinson

Big Mass

Big Mass

It’s been just another few days in the grubby life of tabloid sports journalism UK style. Those booze-befuddled hacks, desperate to sell more copies than their fellow downmarket scandal rags, wallow happily in a sea of effluent they’ve excreted themselves, pandering to their readership’s darker prejudices. The target, of course, is everybody else’s favourite bêtes noires, our own beloved heroes in white, Leeds United.

This week, it’s been the Daily Heil with a mish-mash of unrelated stabs in the dark, all attempting to add up to a hatchet job. Very poor, very amateur … very Daily Heil. The truly awful Daily Mirror, for their part, attempted to up the ante by luring an unwary ex-United hero, Dominic Matteo, asking him a bunch of loaded questions and publishing the result under the supportive title of “Leeds are a laughing stock and I fear they’ll get relegated”.  Matteo’s recent dismissal from his position at the club is, of course, entirely unrelated to the views he now expresses, which in turn have nothing to do with the soiled wad of banknotes undoubtedly pushed his way from the Mirror‘s own filth fund. This blog understands that Matteo himself is less than impressed with the headline, the poor naïve soul. Bit late now, Dom – isn’t it? For future reference: when you sup with the Devil, you’d better use a long spoon.

The good thing is that neither of these pisspoor efforts at spreading alarm and despondency have been any more effective than a cat-flap in an elephant house. They’re irritating, nothing more – the kind of articles you could predict, almost word-for-word, without even having to glance at them. Such is the parlous state of UK tabloid coverage regarding football in general and Leeds United in particular. These people have their agenda and, once you take that on board, their stuff generally means nothing.

The other good thing is that, slowly but with gathering momentum, the Leeds United locomotive is pulling away from the sidings and getting ready for full steam up. The driving force behind this is, of course, United’s own Signor Loco, Massimo Cellino. There is definitely something about this guy that hasn’t been seen in the vicinity of Elland Road since – well, ever. He’s one on his own is Big Mass, they broke the mould when they made him. From a most inauspicious start, he’s gradually won over more and more of the vast Leeds United army out here. Supporters of the maverick Italian have seemed to outnumber the naysayers and doom/gloom merchants for some time now. In the beginning, the balance was rather different.

 

The wisdom of Cellino

The wisdom of Big Mass

The thing about Cellino is, every time he opens his mouth, pure gold pours out. For a stranger to these shores, he has a way with the language that is at once unique, compelling and deeply memorable. We all remember his observations about buying a bitch for a night, but not being able to buy the love, my friend. Admittedly, he’s not the most PC guy around. But that was a hell of a quotable sound-bite for somebody caught unawares by a phone call out of the blue, more than a touch ‘tired and emotional’ and with his guard distinctly down. There’s a fluency to the quote, a rhythm that lodges it in your consciousness. He’s been coming out with similarly notable pronouncements ever since. Some are less printable than others, but all have that Big Mass stamp of authority, confidence and authenticity about them.  Cellino shoots from the lip, he doesn’t waste words and he always makes his point crystal clear.

Actions, they say, speak louder than words – so it’s encouraging that Big Mass has recently started to show himself as a do-er and not just a talker. Shock waves are still reverberating around the football world at the price he extorted from poor old Fulham FC for a flash-in-the-pan Scottish badge-kisser of dubious motivation and fitness. People keep appearing in social media, all shocked-like, and pointing out another two or three internationals who have moved for a combined fee of less than Cellino got for Rossco. Don Revie described his capture of John Giles from Man U as “robbery with violence” – and so it was. By that reckoning, Fulham have been the victims of an armed blag that John McVicar would have been proud of.

The sale of McCormack was greeted by a kind of astounded approval by the Leeds United supporters fraternity – remarkable when you consider it represented the departure of yet another top performer, even though you did have the feeling that No. 44 might have had difficulty reproducing that annus mirabilis form next time around. But there were no mass protests, there was no real social media uproar. People were just too damned impressed by the amount we got. Naturally, there have been some feeble peeps from the usual doom-monger suspects, bleating about the figure being misleading, blah blah. But for the most part, we seem satisfied with the deal – and why the hell not?

If that wasn’t enough reason for a burgeoning optimism about LS11, then throw in a rash of signings since Ross sulked off down south, mostly unknown to us it’s true – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t quality. Nobody had heard of Hasselbaink before he arrived, or Radebe, or even Yeboah to a certain extent. Cellino and his deal-maker Salerno have form for finding rough diamonds and polishing them up. They managed it in a Fiat 500, and their stock is a lot higher now that they’re in charge of a Porsche. And all the time, Big Mass is there, hands on, sorting problems and building towards the new season, generally smiling, throwing out little nuggets about having millions in working capital – generally creating an atmosphere of positivity around Leeds that we haven’t seen the like of since before Publicity Pete got found out. A 16-0 pre-season win has done nothing to harm this heady feeling of reckless happiness, either (doom-mongers: “Who were we playing, Brazil?? Haw, haw, haw.”)

In such a swaggering manner are we sauntering expectantly towards the new season and 46 acid tests of the new regime. It won’t be all moonlight and roses, we can be sure enough of that. But there does now seem to be a new, unfamiliar optimism in the air, a feeling that last season can be consigned to history with a lot of its baggage now shed and a tasty few signings on board – with more to come. The feeling is growing that the new season will see a Leeds United worthy of our support – and that is support well worth having, when the crowd are up for it and the team are fighting for the shirt. We’ve seen those days before, long ago admittedly – but who knows? Maybe they’re on the point of coming back.

If that is the case – well, it’d take more than a few miserable and talent-free hacks wielding their poison pens to deflect us from our path onwards and upwards.  We’ll be Marching On Together quite shortly now, setting off on that League marathon with a visit to darkest Millwall. Bring it on, then. Forza Leeds and the tabloids can stick their spite and negativity where the sun don’t shine.

Sacked Matteo Takes Mirror’s Thirty Pieces of Silver – by Rob Atkinson

Let me say right from the start – Dominic Matteo is a Leeds United hero. He’s earned that status, as have a select few before and since his time at Elland Road, by virtue of one historic, iconic moment. When Matteo rose at the near post to head home a corner into Milan’s net at the legendary San Siro, he sealed his place in Leeds United folklore – a place cemented by his subsequent performances in the white shirt. Yes, Dom Matteo is a bona fide Leeds hero. But even heroes are not immune from criticism.

Peter Lorimer could doubtless vouch for that, if he was of a mind to. His place in United’s pantheon of greats is a far more elevated and glittering one than even San Siro hero Matteo’s. Lorimer made his debut at the tender age of 15 and went on to forge a fearsome reputation as the rocket-shot weapon in the Leeds locker. Lash, they called him, and legend had it that goalkeepers would dive out of the way of one of his 90 mph strikes, rather than attempt a save and thereby risk injury or worse. Lorimer played a massive part in the golden era of Super Leeds; his “legend” status was surely indisputable.

Except, of course, he’s viewed very differently these days. Peter Lorimer is guilty, in the eyes of many Leeds fans, of selling his soul to the devil, in the not-so-cuddly guise of Wicked Uncle Ken Bates. That such a sparkling reputation as Lorimer’s could be so sullied should be a warning, surely, to lesser lights – that treachery and duplicity will not be tolerated by Leeds fans, no matter what your achievements are. It’s a warning that Dom Matteo, with his peroration in the paper that hates Leeds United more than any other gutter rag you could name, appears to have failed to heed.

In writing for the Mirror – a toilet tissue of a so-called “newspaper” – Matteo risks putting himself outside of the Leeds United family. He risks becoming a pariah – which is how some now see the iconic “Lash” Lorimer. The Mirror is not the only scandal rag currently to have a pop at Leeds – the lamentable Mail, often known as the Daily Heil by those with the inside track on editorial politics, has also had a go. It’s not too surprising; the gin-raddled hacks who staff these chip-wrappers-in-waiting are well aware that bad news about United sells copies among the cluelessly-ignorant, Leeds-hating hoi polloi.

But the Mail are just winging it; the Mirror have managed to lure the presumably unwary Dom Matteo, a contemporary Leeds hero, over to their dark and loathsome operation. It’s not a particularly wise move on the part of Matteo, recently sacked by Leeds – though he would surely claim this has had nothing whatsoever to do with his outburst in the most degraded of all gutter rags, the Sun not excepted. Had wiser counsel prevailed, Dom may well have stuck to disseminating his wisdom through the pages of the Yorkshire Evening Post, which benefits from both a more enlightened editorial stance and a readership to match. At least that way, his glowing reputation among Leeds fans would not stand at risk of becoming tarnished – as it does today.

It’s to be hoped that Matteo was well paid for his intemperate contribution in the slimy pages of the Mirror. Exactly how much it’s been worth to him, we’re likely to be left to guess. Thirty pieces of silver, perhaps? It’s a tad out-dated and probably not all that inflation-proof – but in the circumstances, it does seem appropriate.

Mirror Reports Brazilian International is Latest to Quit Leeds – by Rob Atkinson

Brazilian midfield genius Embargo - leaving Leeds

Brazilian midfield genius Embargo – leaving Leeds

In yet another Elland Road exclusive, the Mirror can disclose that the latest high-profile star to turn his back on the troubled West Yorkshire giants is expected finally to depart the club today.

Your Sensational Soaraway Mirror (Ed: is this soaraway thing OK, or is it already in use??) has been keeping a close eye on developments at Leeds over the past few months, and has been able to keep their long-suffering fans up to date with what is rapidly becoming a summer of humiliation for the once-mighty “Lilywhites” (check if this is actually Leeds, or just Spurs or someone – Ed.)

Only yesterday, we reported the latest in a series of embarrassing cost-cutting measures, with players being required to bring packed lunches, wash their own kit, pay to train and hire the stadium for home matches whilst coughing up for travel and overnight stays on away trips. Your ever-reliable Mirror* has also charted the inevitable departures from the club, faithfully reporting the exit of Ross McCormack to Newcastle, Norwich and Fulham for a fee of £6m, £8m and ten MILLION pounds.

Now, in the most worrying development yet, the Mirror understands that the transfer of Embargo, a tricky Brazilian international playmaker, is set to be confirmed today, in the latest shattering blow to the crisis-torn club’s already slender hopes for the coming season. The burning question is: how much more are the worried fans of Leeds United actually prepared to take??  (Ed: could we stretch this to a double-page feature – really take the piss? Who is this Embargo anyway, has he figured in the World Cup??)

With the loss of Embargo, the Leeds midfield options look to be severely limited. In an interview which took place yesterday in the head of our Chief Sportswriter, Oliver Scum, ex-Leeds star Eddie Lorimer stated: “It’s ridiculous. We were going to build a team around Embargo, and now he’s going – and we’re not even being told where.” (Ed: maybe ditch this bit and make up a Norwich connection??)

Whatever the outcome of this summer’s wheeling and dealing, it seems certain that, for Leeds United – shorn of their world-class, globally celebrated Brazilian midfield genius Embargo (Ed: steady on, old boy – we don’t even know who he is yet) – this is going to be a long, hard season, culminating in relegation, bankruptcy, administration and flats being built on the site of a demolished Elland Road. (Like it, like it!! – Ed.)

Yes, it’s party time at the Mirror. Help us celebrate folks – buy tomorrow’s paper with its 28-page pullout on “The Death of Leeds United”. Yippee!!!!

* Mirror: means of seeing everything back-to-front and the wrong way round.

Relief for Leeds Fans as The Sun Fabricates “Ross Wants Out” Story – by Rob Atkinson

The gutter end of the Fourth Estate are after us again

The gutter end of the Fourth Estate are after us again

Summertime is always a tense part of the calendar for the long-suffering fans of Leeds United – rivalled only by the January transfer window, as we wait in uncomfortable anticipation for the identity of the next star to be sold for a song.  That’s the way it’s been for a good – well, bad – few years now.  It remains to be seen whether things will be substantially different under the reign of il Duce Massimo Cellino.

Clearly, this year’s speculation was inevitably going to surround Ross McCormack.  Top scorer last time around and always first in line to wear his heart on his sleeve when it came to confirming his love for and commitment to Leeds United, McCormack is the jewel in the crown for club and fans.  Such a player is bound to be marked down by the rutting hogs of Fleet Street as the Number One target for their idle speculation, scare stories, made-up rumours and downright lies as they set about their task of appealing to the Leeds-hating majority of their readership.  The lower you go into the gutter, the higher the proportion of Leeds-haters there will be among the buyers of whichever toilet roll you’re talking about – and at the very bottom of the sewer, beneath even the excrement and detritus that is the Mirror, the Mail and the Express, there you will find the Sun and the Sport, rotting away in a noisome mulch of their own writing.

So it’s a big relief when one of these illiterate rags comes out with a clearly made-up story.  Such a one, you can bet your bottom dollar, is Simon Austin’s pisspoor effort today in the Sun.  No sources are quoted – unsurprisingly.  The whole thing stinks of a speculative effort which the hack concerned will quietly forget about when it’s proved wrong.  Austin is merely doing his masters’ bidding in an effort to thrill the anti-Leeds brigade out there – all in the interests of selling more copies.  This commercial prime mover, the need to sell, sell, sell, has always ranked for the Sun and similar toilet papers, far, far above any such considerations as factual reportage and journalistic integrity.  The net effect of all this is that anyone who hates Leeds United will get another cheap if temporary thrill – and anybody with the individualism, originality and sheer good taste to love the club will breathe a sigh of satisfaction and murmur to themselves “It’s in the Sun, so it must be bollocks”.

Similarly, today has brought a couple of snide little reports in the Sport and the Mirror – further examples of the very worst of the British press –  about the Leeds players bringing packed lunches in to training.  Here, it’s the crafty implications of penury that are offensive, not so much any factual inaccuracy.  It’s Fleet Street acting as a purveyor of anti-LUFC propaganda that irritates. The thought of booze-sodden hacks having a chortle over this sort of thing is annoying – but again, it’s merely a sign that they’re doing their level best to paint as negative a picture as possible of a club that it’s firmly in their commercial interests to be seen hating.  It’s a gutter press thing, a talentless hack thing – it should be regarded as natural in terms of what happens all the time at the very bottom of any cess-pit.  The particularly disappointing aspect is that certain internet outlets, who should know better, pick up these myths and recycle them as fact

The moral, of course, is to avoid all of the bog-roll tabloids, or – at the very least – to take their lies merely as confirmation that there’s nothing to worry about as yet. More reliable information is usually available from the better-informed blogs of several clubs, from players’ Twitter feeds, from the so-called “quality” press (some of them) – or even (occasionally) from Leeds United itself.  The local press also provides an option that is almost respectable as compared to the mendacious hacks who peddle their lies for the gutter-end of the national press.

For the time being, then, there is no cause for alarm.  The Sun says that Ross wants out; so we can be tolerably certain that – at present – he’s looking forward to another season of stand-out performances in the white shirt of Leeds United.

 

Norwich in for McCormack … Yeah, Yeah, Put a New Record On – by Rob Atkinson

Ross McCormack

Ross McCormack

They’re not the brightest bunch down at the Daily Fail – they seem to lack any real intelligence or imagination.  This is odd for a representative of the gutter end of the Fourth Estate which depends so much on fabrication and ludicrous hogwash for the majority of its output.  Perhaps the strain of supporting Mr Camoron’s ridiculous and unelected regime has addled those tiny brains.  Whatever the cause of this rag’s latest foray into Fantasy Island territory, it’s all getting more than a little boring now.

What the Fail‘s dim but persistent hacks have cottoned on to is the fact that the best way to rile Leeds United fans is to run yet another story linking our current best player (no challengers to Mr McCormack for this title at the moment) with Norwich City – based purely on that backwoods Norfolk outfit’s notable record of signing some of the Whites’ meagre pool of talent over the past few seasons.

The difference at the moment of course is that Norwich are now a Championship club again, having suffered an hilarious relegation despite securing the services of 75% of the Leeds United League One midfield. When those regular raids on the Elland Road playing staff were going on, the Canaries were, albeit temporarily, Premier League birds.  It’s a distinction far too subtle for the booze-raddled mind of your average FAILOnline fantasist, but that Premier League status did make a difference for as long as it was a fact. It’s a difference that no longer applies, though – so what (we might ask) is the rationale behind the current story linking our Ross to the ex-Premier League (they are no more, they have ceased to be) Canaries?  I’ll tell you what. Nothing. Nada. Zip, zilch and, as Mr Cellino would no doubts say, niente.  It is all, to use a technical term descriptive of the journalistic standards at the Fail, bollocks.

It’s hardly unlikely that Mr McCormack will move on to pastures new this summer.  He will have no shortage of clubs queuing up to recruit him, and on much better terms than his present agreement.  But Leeds United have him tied to a contract, and Ross himself has spoken of the attraction of staying at Elland Road and winning promotion as captain.  Much better, he said, than playing in the Premier League with “just any old club”.  So how much better still are his current circumstances than the scenario of playing for just another Championship Club, against Leeds United (to whom he has consistently pledged his allegiance) – and uprooting his family into the bargain.  It just doesn’t add up.  Then again, neither does your average Fail hack’s expenses account.

The “writers” for the likes of the Sun, the Mail, the Mirror, etc etc, are never going to be good journalists, telling the truth and uncovering legitimate stories.  That’s so far beyond the bounds of probability as to be laughable. But they could at least vary the standard fare a little, in the hope of eventually becoming slightly less pisspoor journalists.  Why not link McCormack at least to a Premier League club?  It’d still be made-up crap, most likely – but at least it wouldn’t be quite such transparently obvious crap.  The current habit of using Norwich all the time, just because of the well-known irritant factor for those of a Leeds persuasion, is lazy; it’s unimaginative; it’s boring.  It doesn’t help the clubs concerned, or the fans of those clubs – and neither does it reflect well on proper journalists working for serious newspapers, who tend to get tarred with the same brush by an undiscriminating public as the morons who rattle off the same old crap from their rightful place at the sewer end of Fleet Street.

So please – do us all a favour.  Put a new record on, or just shut up altogether. Or stick to writing astrology columns. You wouldn’t be missed in the real world of sport – and at least doing horoscopes you’d have a bit more chance of being right once in a blue moon. 

Rejoice! The Disgustingly Bigoted Daily Mail HATES Leeds United – by Rob Atkinson

Daily Heil - leaders of the gutter brigade

Daily Heil – leaders of the gutter brigade

Everybody knows that Leeds United aren’t exactly the toast of Fleet Street, or Wapping, or whatever geographical location you can choose these days as a symbol of the home and hearth of the English national press.  Actually, Fleet Street remains the single most appropriate spiritual location for the gutter end of our national newspaper industry – as the River Fleet was famously one of old London Town’s most noxious and disgusting open sewers.  Some things never really change.

Prominent among the Leeds-hating mainstream press is the scurrilous and disgusting Daily Mail – known as the “Daily Heil” by those of a discriminating nature who are all too well aware of this rag’s antecedents. The hacks at the Heil can always be relied upon to jump on the bandwagon of hating the Damned United in print and, these days, online too.  But it’s a fact that some publications are just so bloody awful that you wouldn’t actually want them printing a positive word about your beloved club.  It’d be a bit like getting a publicity break from Max Clifford.

The latest in a long line of articles with a distinct and rank anti-Leeds flavour appeared today under the byline of journalistic nonentity Patrick Collins, for whom you will search Wikipedia in vain – a damning indictment of the status and esteem of any “national” journalist.  This particular Patrick is not to be confused with Patrick Barclay, who is a distinguished and erudite sports writer. But the Lesser Patrick’s lazy piece, published by HeilOnline, was typical of the anti-Leeds genre – take a handy quote, put a conveniently negative spin on it, burble on a bit and then submit it, to an uncritical and tasteless editor.  Another day’s work done, another small addition to the Heil‘s record of shame.

One phrase ostensibly describing Don Revie’s Leeds United – and you can imagine the Lesser Patrick toiling over this until he thought he’d got it just right – went as follows: “Those of a certain age will recall a team of extravagant talent, irredeemably tainted by a taste for cynical brutality.”  Now there is rich irony here, albeit of the unconscious kind, something that will have sailed right over the empty head of your average Heil hack.  Because the fact is that, whenever such a wretched scribbler uses the words “irredeemably tainted”, readers everywhere will smile knowingly and think of the history of the Daily Heil. It’s not a story of which anybody but a moron such as Paul Dacre, or some of his allegedly noble and undeniably moronic predecessors, such as Lord Rothermere, could possibly be proud. The record of the Mail is littered with headlines which expose an editorial attitude that belongs in a Berlin bunker.  It is a history of abject shame and an utter poverty of proper journalistic and editorial standards.  If this is not true, then let them sue me.

Just to take the odd example from the past; in the 1930s, this “newspaper’s” proprietor, Lord Rothermere was vociferous in his support for various friends overseas, notably Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.  The Heil’s editorial stance towards these “heroes” of Fascism was therefore somewhat sympathetic, to say the very least. In January 1934, Rothermere himself penned an article headed “Hurrah for the Blackshirts” – and the paper provided details including an address to write to, in the earnest hope that “…young men may join the British Union of Fascists…” The Spectator commented at the time “…the Blackshirts, like the Daily Mail, appeal to people unaccustomed to thinking. The average Daily Mail reader is a potential Blackshirt ready made. When Lord Rothermere tells his clientèle to go and join the Fascists some of them pretty certainly will.”

More recently, the Heil has further immersed itself in disgrace and infamy with a series of headlines attacking minorities – usually conveniently vulnerable minorities – with absolutely no scruples as to whether or not their content contained any truth at all.  One example of this was the trumpeting of the alleged discovery of a “gay gene” which, the rag hoped, might lead to abortions of those pregnancies which could supposedly be identified as leading to the birth of what they would presumably refer to as “gay babies”.  The mind boggles painfully at that – but it’s pretty standard fare, sadly, for the Heil. Columnists in modern times have tended to include those who might be relied upon to continue the not-so-grand Heil tradition of bigotry and ignorance in print as well as online; the prejudiced, ridiculous and brainless Richard Littlejohn is an apt example of this policy.

For all of the reasons referred to above, I’m never all that bothered when another clueless and talent-free Daily Mail hack has a go at my beloved Leeds United. It’s an irritant, nothing more.  And the good bit is that it gives me the kind of excuse I’m always craving to have a go, in my small and humble way, at such a very despicable and diseased organ.

So keep it coming, you modern representatives of Rothermere’s shameful legacy. I’d hate to be identified in any positive way with such a very tawdry publication, fit as it is for nothing better than wiping rear ends; it follows that I’m almost always glad to see the football club I love attacked so regularly by the likes of the Heil.

After all, just as we are defined by the quality and decency of our friends and allies, so too can we be judged in the best possible light by the bigotry and stupidity of our critics and enemies. ‘Twas ever thus – and long may it continue to be true.