Tag Archives: justice

Leeds Need to “Nail” Huddersfield’s Mooy: Ironic Whinge from Town Fan – by Rob Atkinson

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Terriers fan, moral high-ground holder and justice evader David Foster

As the latest Yorkshire Derby edges closer, with Huddersfield Town due to host Leeds United at High Noon on Sunday, the build-up took a slightly hysterical turn earlier today, when respected YEP reporter Phil Hay observed that United’s main job would be to “nail Aaron Mooy. If he runs the show, Huddersfield will win”. A fair enough observation, you’d have thought – but the reaction among certain Huddersfield fans of nervous and delicate dispositions was frankly ludicrous.

One Town fan in particular, a Mr. Duncan Foster, twittered his distress: “What an appalling tweet. If you worked for me I would fire you. To suggest “nail” a player is wrong. You have a responsibility”. Mr Foster, you may not be surprised to learn, is a drama director – so his hissy fit and histrionics were possibly to be expected. Feelings run high when local rivals meet, and that appears to be particularly the case among the denizens of Huddersfield’s Coronation Street-style cobbled streets, with their dark, satanic mills and packs of rabid poodles.

Ironically, Aaron Mooy himself has some form in the matter of “nailing” opponents – and in a much more literal sense of that word than Hay intended. Huddersfield’s early season win at Elland Road turned on an incident which many, Town manager David Wagner included, felt should have earned Mooy a red card, when he was guilty of a two-footed challenge on Liam Bridcutt. To add insult to injury, Mooy not only remained on the pitch, he also went on to score a fine winner. Huddersfield fans are neither the first nor the only ones to suffer from selective memory disorder but, in the case of Mooy, Leeds could respond with “live by the sword, die by the sword”. Phil Hay, for his part, found it scarcely credible that anyone could seriously think he’d been advocating injuring the Town man. The Town side of the exchange reeked of small-time paranoia and opportunism, and what has to be said is a slightly precious attitude from Huddersfield’s most prominent drama queen, Mr Foster.

It has to be said also that any attempt to occupy the moral high ground on the part of “Corrie” director Mr. Foster tends to leave a slightly odd and repellent taste in the mouth. Foster, who was secretary of his local branch of Gamblers’ Anonymous at the time, narrowly escaped a driving ban in 2010. He was found with over twice the legal limit of alcohol according to a breathalyser test, asleep at the wheel of his car, which was parked three metres from the kerb, engine running and lights on. Foster escaped a ban only “by the skin of his teeth” after an emotional plea to magistrates, citing his many debts and his utter penitence. Such a narrow escape from just deserts puts him almost in the Aaron Mooy class for dodging justice, but it does also tend to make him look a bit of a hypocrite when he lectures a professional journalist about “having a responsibility” – and on the most specious and contrived of pretexts. Still, it takes all sorts.

The fact of the matter is, Phil Hay has it spot on with his analysis. Huddersfield work their best moves through Aaron Mooy, and any sensible opponent would set out to nullify him, if they can. Clearly, a team of Leeds United’s reputation and devotion to the beautiful game will take a more scientific approach than the one chosen by Mooy himself at Elland Road. We are not, after all, a side known for dirty or foul play.

After his assault on Liam Bridcutt, can that dirty dog Mooy – or indeed the hardly blemish-free Mr. Foster – really say the same? 

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Leeds Utd Players Take Note: April 5th is NOT Just Any Day – By Rob Atkinson

Leeds Fans

We Are Leeds, We Neither Forgive Nor Forget

There have been many famous rallying speeches over the whole history of combat, whether it be in the theatre of war or merely a matter of winning a game of football. We can all name the famous motivators in each sphere: Elizabeth I or Henry V, Admiral Lord Nelson or Winston Churchill, each of whom fired up their troops to give their all in battle for England. Sir Alf Ramsey did the same for the Three Lions heroes of 1966 and of course our own Don Revie was unrivalled as he created a team who would run through walls for him, inspired by the steely cry of “Keep Fighting”.

But sometimes, tub-thumping speeches should not be necessary – the occasion speaks for itself and demands pride, passion and commitment more than any mere words could possibly do. The Leeds United players who take the field against QPR tonight, 5th April, should be fully aware that today is a date when nothing less than every last drop of blood, sweat and tears will suffice. The United army will demand that – and more – as will those glued to their radios at home. And rightly so.

Chris and Kev - RIP

Chris and Kev – RIP

For April the 5th is a date carved painfully into the hearts of Leeds fans everywhere. On that fateful day 16 years ago, we lost two of our own as Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight were cruelly, foully murdered by savage, uncivilised scum in Taksim Square, Istanbul. This evening’s match is therefore not about League points or position, it’s not even about the farcical running of the club or the inept administration of an incompetent and bumbling Football League. It’s about pride, passion, respect and commemoration – and those four qualities need to burn white-hot within the very being of each man wearing that big Leeds badge over his heart at Elland Road.

If there are any Leeds players unaware of the significance of this occasion – well, shame on them.  And shame on the staff at the club who should be making sure that their charges are at least on nodding acquaintance with a reality beyond their own pay packets.  It’s not been easy to admire many of the Leeds players lately; with a few notable exceptions, they’ve played in a distracted fashion and displayed a distinctly chicken-hearted attitude to the business of playing for the shirt and getting results.  They should be left in no doubt at all that such frailties will not be tolerated tonight – not on April the 5th.  For this match, they should imitate the action of a tiger, as Henry the Fifth put it.  They should stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood – and get stuck in, just as if they really did have the hearts of lions.

Nothing less will do, it’s the very least they owe the Leeds supporters everywhere.  If they don’t know this, then it should be made abundantly clear to them prior to kick off.  They should run out there onto that pitch with no thoughts of money or other distractions: they should emerge onto the field of combat ready and willing to give their all for the Leeds United fans, and especially for the memory of those two lads who never came home.  This should be an occasion for the restoration of pride, for remembering that they have the honour to represent the greatest club in the world, in front of the greatest fans in the Universe.  Defeat is permissible; a defeatist attitude and a failure to step up to the mark is not. Not on April the 5th.

Perhaps the match against Rangers can be a starting point for the Leeds United team, the first steps on the long climb back to respectability.   It really needs to be – there is simply no more appropriate date for the launching of a fight-back, even though this season is now meaningless – apart from the still lingering threat of relegation.  If the Leeds lads can get out there and fight tonight – show that they care, battle for the cause, demonstrate some respect for the fans and those we’ve lost – then maybe they can start to recoup some of the respect they’ve undoubtedly squandered over the past few months.  It’s to be hoped so, because you get nowhere in any professional sport without earning respect.

The April 5th anniversary of the shocking events in Istanbul really means something to the Leeds support.  More than any other date, it’s when we remember and pay our respects – and the players should participate fully in this.  It’s part of deserving to wear the shirt and the badge.  Fans of other clubs love to show their disrespect, they love to wear the shirt of that awful Turkish club whilst grinning and gloating.  Millwall fans, Man U fans – scum like that.  April the 5th is when we rise above it all, in dignity and pride.  The players need to join in with that, too.

Do it tonight, lads – get out there and fight, give everything.  Do it for Chris and Kev, do it for all the rest of us who remember them sixteen years on.  Do it for the shirt, do it for the badge.  Make us proud of you again, on this day above all others.  Then, perhaps, we can go Marching On Together towards a better future, whatever the next few days, weeks and months might bring.  All it takes to start fighting back is that pride, passion and respect. That’s how we commemorate those who died, and that’s how we’ll forge the togetherness we need to restore this great club to where it belongs.  Let’s start that process of fighting back and climbing upwards, on this sad and solemn anniversary, at Elland Road this evening – let’s show them what we’re made of.  If we have enough tigers and lionhearts on the park, Queens Park Rangers will at least know they’ve been in a game – which is the very minimum requirement for any true warriors of Elland Road.

After all: “We’re Leeds – and we’re proud of it”.

RIP Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight, taken far too soon. April 5th, 2000

Leeds United Should be the 1973 Cup-Winners Cup Holders – by Rob Atkinson

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Milan v Leeds 1973 – Leeds Never Stood A Chance

Forty-two years ago today, one of the most notorious injustices in the history of European Football competition was visited upon the hapless heads of Leeds United at the European Cup-Winners’ Cup Final in Salonika, on 16 May 1973. There seems little doubt that the Greek referee, one Christos Michas, was bribed by Leeds’ opponents on the night, AC Milan. UEFA acted in the wake of this tawdry sham, banning Michas from officiating – a tacit admission that something about the match was very wrong indeed. This appeared to be a view shared by the crowd which attended the Final all those years ago; they roundly booed the Milan team as they sheepishly paraded the trophy, showing great sympathy to the unfairly beaten Leeds United team.

The game was littered with what might charitably be called dodgy decisions by Michas – fouls not given against Leeds, whose every little transgression was rigorously punished. Milan, it seemed, could do no wrong – Leeds were up against impossible odds, to the outrage and disgust of the largely neutral crowd. A Leeds player uninvolved through injury that night, Johnny Giles, had overheard enough before the match to glumly inform his team-mates in the dressing room that they “would not be allowed to win”. Not the best motivation, perhaps, but borne out in the end by the events which unfolded on the pitch.

An attempt at overturning – indeed reversing – this shoddy result took place in 2009 when Yorkshire & Humber MEP Richard Corbett gathered the support of over 12000 people for a petition he presented to UEFA on the 36th anniversary of the 1973 Final. UEFA refused to act on the petition, addressing a long-winded response to Mr Corbett, but failing utterly to expunge from their record such a shameful incident. Milan are still recorded as the 1973 Cup Winners, a situation so bizarre as to be frankly laughable.

At a time when the fortunes of the Elland Road club are once again at a low ebb, there’s frequently some comfort to be had in looking back at what has, at times, been a glorious and trophy-laden history for Yorkshire’s premier football outfit. But some anniversaries – this is one, and there’s shortly to be another when we remember being robbed in Paris in 1975 – simply remind us of how much more that great team could have achieved on a level playing field – if they had not been thwarted at every turn by incompetent or bent refereeing, official intransigence by the Football League, the FA and UEFA – or a grisly combination of all these negative factors.

The European Cup Winners Cup Final in Greece 42 years ago today goes down in history as yet another occasion when Leeds United were the bridesmaids and not the brides – the bald facts of the matter will record Leeds as big-time losers once more, sadly, when the real story of that game goes far beyond the result into very murky territory indeed. Leeds fans will quite rightly see their team as the moral victors on a day of disgrace for UEFA. Tragically, the surviving warriors in white from that May evening so long ago will almost certainly never see matters put right – and so the winners’ medals will continue to adorn trophy cabinets that are shamed by their presence there.

On a day when we yet again face an uncertain future, and when the prospects of more silverware for our great club seem very distant indeed, we salute the real winners of the 16th May 1973 – Leeds United.

Wes Sneijder and His Galatasaray Knives; Vicious, Malicious or Just Stupid?   –   by Rob Atkinson

Wesley Sneijder on the Taksim Square anniversary weekend - stupid or evil?

Wesley Sneijder on the Taksim Square anniversary weekend – stupid or evil?

Another of those mind-boggled moments this morning, when I saw the picture above. Is this for real? Can anyone really be so stupid, vicious or just plain wicked as to pose that tweet on this weekend, above all others? It would be crassly insensitive at any time – on the 15th anniversary weekend of the murder of Chris and Kev, it simply defies belief.

It’s not automatic simply to assume that Wesley Sneidjer – a player who, as far as I’m aware, has no particular grudge against Leeds United – is having some sort of warped go at the club or the fans. He may well simply be exhibiting a Kewell-esque level of dim stupidity, or lack of thought and understanding. In common with so many footballers, Sneijder may not be exactly overburdened with brains. Even so, this is a low and horrible thing to become involved with, at this particular time, as we prepare to pay our 15th anniversary tributes to our murdered brothers.

And the thing is – someone involved is well aware of the implications and the back story here. Footballers don’t do anything on their own beyond, in some more advanced cases, tying their own shoelaces. There’s an army of marketing people, advisers, agents, scum like that. Somebody knows all too well the effect of that tweet on the Leeds United world. They’ll also be well aware of the amusement it will afford to fans of certain clubs who view this kind of thing with sick and moronic relish. Marketing and publicity are arts without a soul or a conscience. If they can sell their product by appealing to the very worst in the malign minority, then they’ll do it – and they’ll do it knowingly – and to hell with the feelings and hurt of those directly or indirectly affected. That’s a kind of evil in itself.

All of that might make us a little more tolerant and understanding of the comparatively harmless phenomenon of mere stupidity, as exhibited that time by Chuckle Brothers Keys and Gray – or indeed by our one-time hero turned traitor and hate figure Harry Kewell. It’s just odd, don’t you feel, that this particular sort of “stupidity” generally manifests itself to the detriment and insult of Leeds United. You don’t get similar “errors of judgement” being made where Man U or Liverpool are concerned – or do you? You tell me.

And please – if anyone is of a mind to justify any of this crap by saying “Well, you lot sing about Munich” – spare me. I’ve heard it all before. It’s not even true, these days – and even if it were, that’d be no reason to heap misery on the heads of people who will be mourning this weekend, remembering loved ones who went to see a football match and never came home. You don’t visit the sins of the idiot minority upon innocent heads – not if you’ve a brain in your skull or any human compassion in your heart, you don’t. So leave it out, if you’re of a “mind” to send such rubbish in. It’ll only get binned anyway.

...turns out he didn't know.

…turns out he didn’t know

Wesley Sneidjer, unknowingly it seems from the above, has provided the ammunition for a lot of evil morons out there to make what was always going to be a hard weekend for many into something much more hurtful and upsetting yet. I hope he really is suitably contrite. An apologetic tweet was the least he could do, and the removal of the offending item is a real bonus. But the fact remains that there was full awareness somewhere behind this; people seeking to capitalise on hatred and murder. And for those all-too-well-aware smart guys behind it – well, let’s just hope that they eventually find out there’s something in Karma after all.

RIP lads. 15 years on - never forget, never forgive.

RIP lads. 15 years on – never forget, never forgive.

Lord Chancellor “Concerned” Over Recent Leeds United Legal Successes – by Rob Atkinson

Lord Chancellor: are the Scales of Justice tipping worryingly towards Leeds?

Lord Chancellor: are the Scales of Justice tipping worryingly towards Leeds?

In the wake of two unsuccessful legal challenges involving Leeds United FC, the Lord Chancellor has expressed “concern” at what he fears may be an unhealthy trend towards fairer treatment of the club.

The Whites’ defender (see what we did there?) Giuseppe Bellusci was recently cleared of a racist abuse charge after a complaint by Norwich City’s Cameron Jerome was found “not proven”, due largely to the lack of independent corroboration.

More recently, a damages action launched by former United technical director Gwyn Williams has been thrown out in the High Court. Williams had been summarily dismissed for gross misconduct after sending emails to members of Leeds staff which included “obscene” images. It was claimed for Williams that the emails had been part of a “Dirty Leeds” joke, reflecting the “hard but fair” approach of the Super Leeds team in the early 1970s. Williams had claimed compensation of £250,000, but his claim was rejected – the court holding that the sending of “obscene and pornographic e-mails” was “a sufficiently serious breach of the duty of implied trust and confidence as to amount to a repudiation of the contract”.

Now the Lord Chancellor himself, alarmed at two successive high-profile judicial decisions going Leeds United’s way, has stepped into the debate. A statement from the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice advised, inter alia, “In what is still ostensibly a Leeds-hating country, it is deeply unsatisfactory and a waste of opportunity that not one, but two, gift-wrapped chances to hammer the club in the legal arena have, seemingly, been casually passed up. It is this sort of laissez-faire approach to the dispensation of justice that could, eventually, see Leeds overcome its problems and return to top-flight football. This Office is confident that such an eventuality would not be in accord with the wishes of the vast majority of UK citizens, who still hate Leeds and don’t know why, but suspect their dads told them to.”

The current holder of the office of Lord Chancellor, Christopher Stephen Grayling, is himself no stranger to professional and personal controversy. Issues have been raised in the past over his second property expenses claims, his comparison of Moss Side in Manchester to TV’s The Wire, the knowing misuse of crime statistics whilst in opposition to highlight a supposed rise in violent crime, his illegal backing of “Christian Bed & Breakfast owners'” rights to refuse accommodation to gay couples and perhaps most seriously the “loss” of a computer disk identifying the marksman who shot Mark Duggan (The Duggan shooting triggered the 2011 England riots).

The Lord Chancellor’s Office, however, have dismissed suggestions that this somewhat unfortunate history means that the Secretary of State for Justice (a position also held by the Lord Chancellor) cannot hope to hold the moral high ground when criticising the legal actions failing against Leeds. “Mr Grayling is a Tory cabinet minister,” we were told. “Of course he’s going to have things like that on his record. Any self-respecting senior Tory will. It’s what they do. But that shouldn’t blind us to the fact that any suggestion of Leeds getting a fair crack of the whip in the courts has to be extremely bad news for all concerned.”

The Chief Executive of the Football League, Mr. Shaun “The Sheep” Harvey, yesterday threw his support behind the Lord Chancellor’s stated position. “Yes, I’ve been shocked that two judicial bodies, one of them operating under the aegis of the FA itself, have seen fit to find for Leeds lately. It’s not a policy that finds favour with us here at the Football League. We know how to treat Leeds,” added the bald buffoon, whose track record of leading clubs into administration is almost unique, “and we don’t care how stupid and ridiculous it makes us look. We have a job to do here, and we’re inspired by that famous Ken Bates quote from 1984: ‘I shall not rest until Leeds United are kicked out of the Football League. Their fans are the scum of the Earth, absolute animals and a disgrace. I will do everything in my power to make this happen’. Fine words, as we can all agree – and we of the Football League are guided by them. The FA and the High Court would do well, in my opinion, to look at the example we’re setting.”

Leeds United have refused to comment officially on the Lord Chancellor’s intervention, though an anonymous source did wish to address Mr Harvey’s statement. Appearing heavily disguised under a yachting cap, false moustache and rock-star sunglasses, he told Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything “He talk-a sheet, my friend. Sheet. Trus’ me for this, we ain’t-a finish’ with him yet, no way.”

Cameron Jerome’s nickname is “Pinocchio“.

Angry Leeds Fans in Protest at F.L. HQ, Preston TOMORROW – by Rob Atkinson

The Football League: rubber-stamped as corrupt

The Football League: rubber-stamped as corrupt (and incompetent)

The Football League Operations Centre at Edward VII Quay, Navigation Way, Preston PR2 2YF will be the scene of peaceful protest tomorrow, as Leeds United fans turn up in force to hold the League to account for their callous and ignorant treatment of its biggest and most famous member club. The local police are fully aware of the planned protest and have liaised with the organisers to ensure a smooth and peaceful event, between 10:00 and noon on the day.

There is no need to go over the fine details of the League’s mistreatment of Leeds United here. It’s all been well-documented enough – and the League in its complacency has taken not a blind bit of notice despite all the articles, arguments and logic placed before it. Serenely ignorant, they have blundered on, determined to act in the worst interests of United, flying in the face of their own guiding principles. It is time, therefore, to turn up in numbers and to make some noise. We must devoutly hope that the media will take an interest so that, perhaps, a few ripples may spread further afield. This blog understands that BBC Look North are interested in the event – again, let us hope so.

The other purpose of the protest event is officially to present to the FL a printout of the Change.org petition (publicised on this blog a number of times in the past few weeks). This petition has now broken the 20,000 barrier. That’s not so far off an average home attendance for Leeds in these parlous days; pretty good going for a campaign that is largely confined to online media and will therefore not have reached the ears of many less tech-minded Leeds fans.

The protest in Preston is the culmination of months, years, decades of shoddy treatment of our club Leeds United at the hands of the League. Finally, we have the opportunity to be heard.

Support the petition. Support the protest. Make your voice heard. We may never get another chance as good as this.

FA ‘Disappointed’ Over Leeds Utd Bellusci Stance – by Rob Atkinson

 

Prof. Dummfahrt in conference with himself, yesterday

Prof. Dummfahrt in conference with himself, yesterday

It has emerged from FA Headquarters that a growing disquiet over Leeds United’s determination to defend neo-Nazi thug Giuseppe Bellusci is leaving the ruling body “very disappointed”. Professor Hermann Dummfahrt, Head of FA Media Relations, was scathing when asked about Leeds’ intention to resist the unsubstantiated charges. “Nothing’s ever their fault, is it?” he snarled, bitterly. “Well, let me tell you, we at the FA have had quite enough of Leeds and we intend to scupper them good and proper, and by any means necessary.”

Prof. Dummfahrt has also reacted with dismay to news that United owner Massimo Cellino’s “Owners & Directors” suspension will not now kick in until his appeal against the Football League ban has been decided. This should mean that Cellino will, after all, be able to oversee Leeds’ limited transfer options in the January window. “The Football League. Ha!” the FA man spluttered, quite incandescent with rage. “They had one job. One!! And they’ve made a mess of it, a complete balls-up. You’d better believe me when I tell you we’ll be showing the League exactly how to deal with Leeds United”.

When asked what measures could be taken, the Professor was enthusiastic. “We have many options”, he chuckled. “There is this racism thing with Bellusci. The player claims that the everyday Italian word ‘Negareisn’t foul, racist abuse. Poppycock!! Then again, these unreliable, cheating Eyeties are all the same, it’s in their DNA – notorious liars….ahem.”

Feeling it best to move on from the topic of racism, we asked Dummfahrt what other sanctions might apply. “Well, I hear what you say – but don’t assume that our racism investigations end with Bellusci. Leeds also have a player, believe it or not, called Montenegro! Check out those last two syllables – racist as the ace of spades or what??” Hmmm. OK, yes, if you say so… but – what else do you have?

The Professor scratched his head and observed wryly “We have to be careful about these things. Forewarned is forearmed, you know? But we have shots in our locker, trust me. There’s the Lady Di situation – you’re not telling me Leeds United had nothing to do with that. And that Schweinhund Polish linesman at Wembley in 1966, who put him up to allowing that verdammt third goal, eh? Then there’s the global financial crisis – when the whole world “did a Leeds” and the poor old bankers got the blame. We’re optimistic there. And – nobody ever got nicked for the Jack the Ripper killings, did they? That’s worth a 15 to 30 point deduction on suspicion alone.”

At this point, our Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything correspondent was, to say the least, somewhat gobsmacked. Feeling that the eminent FA man was, perhaps, pulling his chain a little, our reporter asked Professor Dummfahrt if he was not straying somewhat from the path of reason and sanity. “After all, Professor,” our intrepid correspondent ventured, nervously. “A lot of people, listening to all that you’ve just said, might feel that you’re absolutely barking mad, dribblingly deranged and pursuing some insane and unjustified vendetta against a club earnestly trying to sort out its problems – just how would you respond to that?”

The Professor fixed our man with a steely glare and broke into a bout of cracked and maniacal laughter. “Mad?” he raved. “Mad?? Of course I’m bloody mad, you poor, simple soul!! How the hell do you think I qualified for a senior position at the FA in the first place??”

Leeds Fans: TELL the Football League What They Should be Doing – by Rob Atkinson

Football League officials in sober conclave

Football League officials in sober conclave

The Football League, by their decision this week to disqualify Massimo Cellino as owner/director of Leeds United, have demonstrated their utter inability to appreciate the factors at play in this situation. The arguments have been laid before them; the fact that Cellino’s “dishonesty” is as water unto wine beside the wrongdoings of certain other Football League club shareholders and owners (there are rapists, money-launderers, porn barons and other such unsavoury chaps out there. None of these bad boys attract the attention that Cellino does from the League as they pig-headedly pursue their vendetta).

It’s also true to say that Cellino can point to a highly productive track record as Leeds owner since he first appeared on the scene. Various whimsical coaching appointment decisions aside, he’s got the club on a sounder financial footing than at any time this millennium, he’s assembled a fine and talented squad – at last being gelled by the right coach – and he’s pursuing capital investment with a view to making all our dreams we dare to dream come true. The Football League, by contrast, continue to betray themselves as corrupt, purblind fools who are clearly not fit for purpose in their brief of running the game below elite level.

The text of a current petition at Change.org is reproduced below. I would ask anyone who hasn’t signed it yet to read the arguments advanced by the petition organiser, and to sign it without further delay. If you have signed it, I would urge you to share it as broadly as possible, to ensure the maximum possible support. The grounds laid out below make good sense; this petition deserves universal support from anyone with the interests of Leeds United truly at heart. Since the latest crass League decision, support for the petition has raced up to over 9,000. We need 10,000 at least to have a good chance of generating some media interest and gaining a wider platform for the argument that Massimo Cellino has been good for Leeds United, and that – in the interests of the club and the game in a wider sense – he should be allowed to get on with the job he’s doing.

“Dear The Football League,

The Owners’ and Directors’ test (previously called Fit & Proper Persons test) was brought into effect in 2005. The purpose of the test is to better protect clubs and the reputation and image of the game, thus to protect Football League member clubs from Owners and Directors who might mismanage or ultimately guide a club into administration. With this in mind, rules and guidelines were written to protect member clubs.  The fundamental intention of the test – to protect member clubs and act in their best interests – should not be forgotten.

Since purchasing the club six months ago, Massimo Cellino has turned around Leeds United’s precarious financial position.  Under his control, the club’s debt and operating expense have reduced. Leeds United have signed 15 players – many of whom seem to be extremely talented and don’t demand the high salaries that can often force clubs into administration. For the first time since the turn of the century, Leeds United’s finances seem to be under control.

The dire financial situation which Cellino inherited was caused by the mismanagement of the two previous owners who both passed your Fit & Proper test – namely Ken Bates and GFH Capital.

Massimo Cellino has invested a lot of money in Leeds United – initially through his purchase and then through subsequent investment.  In all probability, if you force him out now, Leeds United would, again, be facing administration. Forcing Cellino out of Leeds United is not in the best interests of one of your member football clubs and would in fact, be very damaging indeed.

The Owner’s & Director’s test is particularly valid prior to an owner taking over a club. However, the same critera should not apply after ownership has begun. In many circumstances, removing the owner could cause harm and instability to a member football club. A new set of guidelines which monitor how the club is actually being run would offer much more insight into determining if the owner or director is fit and proper to run the football club.

Cellino is now a major part of Leeds United. He has owned the club for six months. He has made large contributions, both on and off the field, and many of the fans are in support of the direction he is now attempting to take the club. Cellino would not be prevented from becoming an owner or director of any other business in the UK.  Considering Cellino has owned Leeds United for six months already, an examination of the financial statements in the periods before and after his takeover would enable you to better judge his ability to control the football club. Forming an opinion based on his non-payment of import duty on a boat in Italy in 2012 is now inappropriate.

Please remember that your responsibility is to act in the best interests of Leeds United and to protect the club from being controlled by someone who might mismanage it. This needs to be the most important factor in your consideration of this matter.  Do you now genuinely believe that Cellino will not manage Leeds United in its best interests?  Are you just desperately seeking to find him dishonest so you can block him for some other reason? We sincerely hope that Shaun Harvey’s relationship with Ken Bates along with Ken Bates apparent desire to regain control of the club is not a factor in your decision.

Everyone signing this petition is requesting that you allow common sense to prevail and that you drop your pursuit of Cellino, attempting to force him out of Leeds United.  Please also take some responsibility for allowing GFH and Ken Bates to purchase Leeds United and control the club for too many years.  The club and its fans have suffered greatly under the control of previous owners and directors.

We would like to bring your attention to your charter which states that ‘The Football League is committed to providing excellent service to its stakeholders and club supporters.  The League is a listening organisation, which aims to be open and fair in its dealings with all persons representing the interests of the game.’

With the above in mind we strongly request that you act in the best interests of Leeds United Football Club and release a statement confirming that you agree that forcing Massimo Cellino out of Leeds United would not be acting in the club’s best interests; and that you will continue to monitor the situation with respect to any future foul play, as you would any other member club.”

Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything is happy to support this petition – and to campaign for an end for the interference by the Football League in the internal affairs of their premier member club. I hope that anybody who reads this article will be prepared to support this as well – and also to help spread the word by sharing this as widely as possible.

Please get involved – please help. Leeds United is your club, so do your bit to make sure the idiots and buffoons of the League aren’t allowed to destroy it.

Karma for the Kaiser as FIFA Ban Beckenbauer (39 Years Too Late) – by Rob Atkinson

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Der Kaiser – justice delayed is justice denied

The news that FIFA has imposed a temporary ban from all football activities on “der KaiserFranz Beckenbauer will come as pretty cold comfort to Leeds United fans of a certain age.  They will remember all too well the massive effect that Beckenbauer, now 69 years old, had on the 1975 European Cup Final at the Parc des Princes, Paris.  Beckenbauer, then as now, was a massively-influential figure in the game, having captained West Germany to World Cup success only the summer before.  He certainly seemed to have an intimidating effect on French referee Michel Kitabdjian, who failed to give two seemingly clear-cut penalties to Leeds in the first half, and then quailed before the furious protests of der Kaiser – and, after a short delay, his Bayern Munich team-mates – having initially seemed to allow a Peter Lorimer volley in the 67th minute.

The rest, sadly for United – who had completely outplayed the defending European Champions up to that point – was history.  Leeds, demoralised and feeling cheated of an advantage which would have been well-merited, subsided to two goals from Roth and Muller, putting an end to their dreams of being top dogs in Europe.  It was difficult to overlook the undue influence that Beckenbauer had wielded over the course of the match, and the Leeds fans who remember the occasion still feel that the German’s standing in the game made it far too easy for him to alter the course of events in Bayern’s favour.

If the English club concerned had played in red, the protests from home might have been more vehement.  As it was, the focus was more on the subsequent actions of disgruntled Leeds fans than on any perceived injustice.  Beckenbauer had got away with two penalty claims, and he’d seemingly managed to sway an incompetent – at best – ref.  It’s little wonder that the very mention of his name gives Leeds United supporters the conniptions to this day.

The fact that Beckenbauer is now in some bother with World Football’s governing body might give rise to a few quiet nods of satisfaction in LS11 and considerably further afield – although of course those old wounds will remain raw until the last Leeds fan to remember that night is long past caring.  The current issue is nothing to do with the 1975 Final – it’s a different matter and it’s thirty-nine years too late anyway.  It’s just that, when someone seems to have got away with such a blatant buggering-up of justice for so long, it’s nice to see them called to account for anything at all. You’re almost reminded of Al Capone’s notorious career, bloodstained and terror-strewn – when he finally went down it was for the white-collar crime of tax evasion.  Hardly reflective of his undoubted crimes, but still.  Justice – of a sort.

So we Leeds fans will hope that Beckenbauer’s current problems don’t go away any time soon.  The man himself doesn’t seem unduly concerned though – and his continuing influence will more than likely see him walk out from under yet again.  He wasn’t the first footballer to get away with on-field dodginess, and he won’t be the last – but the injury he helped inflict on Leeds that night bit deep and it took us a long, long time to recover – while Bayern continued to flourish.

Justice?  It’s a gag, we all know that.  But for a while at least, we might hope and dream that it’s finally caught up with der Kaiser.

Witch-hunt: but Brian McDermott and his Sick Mother Deserve Far Better – by Rob Atkinson

McDermott - under unfair pressure

McDermott – under unfair pressure

The football season is over; Leeds United will not kick another ball in anger until sometime in August, with the obvious priority of pre-season training and friendly warm-up matches coming in July, before the start of the Championship business.  Naturally, the club’s manager/coach/whatever you might call him, will have urgent business over the summer; a raft of important issues to resolve.  But, equally natural is the fact that, when the heat of weekly sporting conflict is off, even a man in McDermott’s stressful position, with the heavy responsibilities he bears – even he should surely be allowed to prioritise family matters – especially when the foremost of those matters is the illness of his mother and his consequent understandable desire to be at his family home in southern England after news of her admission to hospital.

It’s the kind of situation that will make anyone re-think their priorities – but the state of affairs at Leeds appears to be such that it’s thought fair play in certain quarters to throw mud at McDermott, even in these sensitive circumstances. That’s bad enough when it’s just club officials doing it, or when the new owner is angling to get the manager out – but it’s even worse when ill-informed Leeds United fans are thus inveigled into joining in what seems likely to end up as a witch-hunt.

Sources close to McDermott claim that he has an eye on Leeds United business and that he has been contactable since heading home.  Leeds United spokespersons appear to differ on those matters.  But it’s a tawdry and disgusting state of affairs when a campaign against a man with his mother’s health on his mind should be carried out by those at the club who clearly have their own agenda, and who seem unwilling to let a small matter like a sick mum dissuade them from launching their insidious and – there’s no other word for it – snide attacks.

This does not show Leeds United in a good light.  It reflects poorly upon the men in charge, who appear to be neglecting sensitivity and compassion for a full measure of malice and vindictiveness.  McDermott evidently has enough on his plate, without penny-pinching executives attempting to lever him out of his job – and at the same time avoid the inconvenient necessity of paying him off.  It might even be counter-productive as a tactic – constructive dismissal cases have been founded upon far flimsier bases.  As a Leeds United fan, somebody whose regard and love for the club will always transcend and out-last the presence of any individual employee, I nevertheless find myself rooting for Brian – and hoping that his seemingly inevitable departure from the club can be managed with dignity, without any further rancour or ill taste – and with McDermott receiving everything that he is due to under his contract.  That’s only fair.

The current situation at Leeds United stinks.  That’s not Cellino’s fault – blame has to be laid at the door of the incompetent and self-serving people who have apparently been running a great club into the ground over the last couple of years – and of course there’s Bates before that.  But Cellino, if he is to appear as the saviour of the Whites, must avoid sinking to the level of those whose mess he’s now trying to clear up.  If McDermott is doing his best to fulfil his duties as best he can, whilst also fulfilling his obligations to his family and specifically his ailing mother – then he should either be left to get on with it, or – if that’s the way the wind is blowing – replaced properly.  Not by a campaign of smear and innuendo, when the truth of the matter appears fully to support Brian’s current actions.

This blog would ask any Leeds United fan inclined to jump on a Cellino-sponsored anti-McDermott bandwagon to think very seriously about what they would do in Brian’s position.  Let’s face it – you’d hasten to your Mum’s bedside, wouldn’t you – having made what provision you could for any obligations under your professional contract.  Anyone would.  You’d worry far more about the man who wouldn’t – the man who’d coldly proceed with business, without a thought for his mother.  Would you want a man like that in charge at Leeds United??

Brian McDermott deserves the sympathy and support of the Leeds United fans in his current thankless situation, even though he has not asked for it. Instead, he’s copping for loads of abuse on social media from supporters of the club who seem inclined unquestioningly to believe everything they’re being told by Leeds United.  Well, if you’ve read this blog, or the YP article linked above – now you’re informed. We may well be notorious football nutters – but we’re human beings first – aren’t we?? Of course we are.

So, for God’s sake, let’s start to act like it.