Tag Archives: LUST

Leeds Fans Need to Seriously Consider 4 Month Away Games Boycott – by Rob Atkinson

Leeds United's massive away support

Leeds United’s massive away support

This article was originally published on April 8 this year, at a time when Life, Leeds United the Universe & Everything, in common with all other fans and bloggers with the interests of Leeds United at heart, could clearly see that the FL, smarting from defeat in the High Court, remained determined to “get” Massimo Cellino eventually. This was true then and it’s been proven true on Monday, with the League decision once again to disqualify the Italian under its Owners and Directors Rules, the so-called “Fit & Proper Test”.

It remains the case, clearly, that the League see a dubious conviction on some relatively petty import duty transgression as being far more serious and worthy of action than, say, a conviction for rape (Oyston at Blackpool FC), money laundering (Yeung at Birmingham City) or chronic and serial mismanagement of its biggest and most celebrated member club (Ken Bates, Sean Harvey and GFH Capital at Leeds United over the past decade). This incredibly perverse set of priorities serves to characterise an organisation that has unfailingly demonstrated its naked hostility to Leeds United (its premier member club, let’s not forget) and has utterly failed to abide by its implied duty of care to this club and its fans.

The original article, reproduced below, called on various bodies and all fans to consider an away games boycott, effectively hitting other Football League clubs in the pocket and striking at the central financial interests of the League itself. This remains, in my opinion, the best way forward. The idea received a mixed reception at the time and may well do so again; the idea of giving up those beloved away trips is not easy to stomach for some of our hardier fanatics.

But consider: the League has today acted to bar Massimo Cellino, yet this sanction has to be finite, lasting only until March, when the conviction it’s based on will be spent. So now my call is not for an open-ended boycott, but rather a refusal to buy tickets for away games for the duration of this Football League sanction. I believe that this would be feasible and a high-profile way of making a point by a set of fans who normally turn up in their thousands, lining the pockets of the very people who are against us.

The Football League, having lost an appeal against its disqualification of Massimo Cellino in front of an independent QC, are now showing their true colours in the wake of that humiliating defeat.  Rather than personifying dignity and acceptance of the outcome of a judicial process, they hastened to point out that they were “disappointed” and stated they would be considering the judgement. There is no humility, only arrogance.  There is no recognition of the duty of care they have towards their largest member club and its thousands of long-suffering fans – only naked malice and an avowed intent to plunge that club back into the crisis from which it appears to be on the point of emerging.  It amounts to a vendetta.  Two facts above all have emerged from this over-long saga.

  1. The Football League do not have the interests of Leeds United at heart.
  2. Leeds United are too big for the Football League.

Item 1 above is the mildest way of putting what is increasingly obvious – that the League regard the Leeds takeover situation, not as a chance for a famous old club – exercising its own judgement and right to secure a stable future – to get back onto an even keel, but as an opportunity to hammer that club further into the mire. How else to explain the zest with which its lawyers conducted their side of the appeal argument before Tim Kerr QC?  They resorted to trying to discredit the independent Italian legal expert because of a harmless if misguided comment on a social media platform.  Yet, in the same breath, they were relying on the portions of that witness’s evidence which aided their case.  Kerr rightly threw such selective pleading out of the window – but the underlying message was of a determination to deny Leeds United their rich new owner that amounted to vindictiveness and malice.

The background to this attitude is odd, to say the least.  One of the League’s member clubs has as a majority shareholder a convicted rapist.  The son of that unsavoury character sat on the panel which originally decided that Massimo Cellino was not a fit and proper person to act as a football club owner or director.  The irony is immediately apparent, as is the stench of arrogant hypocrisy.  Really, you couldn’t make it up – if you did, it would be dismissed as fanciful.

Any fan of Leeds United, if of long enough standing, will have witnessed examples of the Football League going through back-breaking contortions to make life as difficult as possible for the Whites of Elland Road.  It’s a tradition that dates back to Alan Hardaker and his rabid hatred of Don Revie.  Hardaker is dead now – but the ugly attitude towards Leeds lives on, through the unctuous reptile that is Brian Mawhinney, as he did his worst in 2007, to the present day with Shaun Harvey in charge – the same Harvey who, in cahoots with Ken Bates, did his level best whilst employed at Elland Road to fulfil his master’s 1984 vow to see Leeds and its fans banished, destroyed, erased from existence. Lest we forget: “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 sure this happens.” So said Ken Bates, and he came pretty close to success – aided by then Leeds CEO and current FL CEO, Shaun Harvey.

A salute to the League

A salute to the League

The fact of the matter is that Leeds United are simply too big and too historically important for an antiquated and inept organisation like the League.  This is, after all,  a body that embraces failure and the presence of also-rans as core values.  The members of the League are, by definition, clubs who have either failed to stay in the Premier League, or who have never been good enough to get there.  It’s a has-been or never-was League for bit-part players, chorus members.  The stars, the principals in the pantheon of English football, ply their trade outside of the jurisdiction of the FL. At the moment, Leeds United form part of the Football League’s brigade of failures.  The events of the past few months have shown us clearly how vital it is for United to shake the dust of this two-bit organisation from their feet, and move on up.

Meantime, we are necessarily subject to the rules and attitudes of an outfit that has shown itself beyond reasonable doubt as “not fit for purpose”.  Until Leeds can drag themselves out of the Football League quicksand, they will have to fight their own corner as best they can.  As things stand, Massimo Cellino is in – he is the new owner of the club.  He has the wherewithal and the experience and determination to bring success in a higher sphere to Elland Road, whilst at the same time restoring that famous old ground to club ownership and bringing it up to 21st century standards – the same applies to the training complex at Thorp Arch.  These are good and necessary steps for Leeds – and they are initiatives that the League would prefer to see nipped in the bud, as they remain openly determined to oust Cellino if at all possible.

The fans are in a unique position here to have their say and to vote with their feet.  Those fans are rightly famous throughout the country as providing a travelling army of away support which brings atmosphere and vast income to every ground they visit over the course of a season.  Home clubs keep all of their gate receipts these days, so that away support – so vital to our competing clubs – benefits Leeds United only in terms of vocal encouragement.  The clubs in the Championship – and, by extension, the Football League – benefit financially to a great degree, from the loyalty and commitment of the Leeds United away fans.  Now those fans should put club interests before their own, and be prepared to make a significant sacrifice in order to make an unanswerable point to the Football League – who they have propped up with their hard-earned cash since 2004.

For, surely, it is now time to consider a boycott of ALL away games by ALL fans of Leeds United FC.  The only way of influencing such blind, uncaring officialdom as we are up against, is to hit it hard, in the pocket, where it really hurts.  I would now like to join those voices calling for the Leeds United support to do just that – by withdrawing attendance at away games and letting the other clubs and the League bear the brunt of greatly reduced income as a result of such a boycott.  I should like to see Leeds United Football Club, if possible, refusing to take allocations of away tickets for the duration of any such action.  If the Football League wish to act against the best interests of Leeds United – and its fans – then let fire be fought with fire.  It wouldn’t take long for impoverished Championship clubs to start squealing and complaining to Shaun Harvey and his corrupt crew, as they see their income plunge without that Leeds United pay-day.

Supporters groups such as LUST could be instrumental in backing and organising an initiative such as this.  It seems drastic, and there will be many who would baulk at the removal of one of their lives’ major preoccupations, even if only temporarily.  But those people should ask themselves: why do we have to settle for such unremittingly harsh and malicious treatment from the Football League and its member clubs – think back to the self-interested clubs vote that confirmed the 15 point deduction before the start of 2007/08 – and yet continue to line the pockets of those club and the tin pot League to which they belong?  Why should Leeds United tolerate this situation any longer?  Drastic situation call for drastic measures.  It’s time to fight back.

I should like to see, initially, at least some wider debate about the merits and demerits of an away games boycott.  I’m sure it’s an argument that would rage hot and heavy.  But I believe, at this stage, that such a boycott is our one good chance of having our say and of the powers that be simply having to listen.  The alternative is that they will smile smugly at any peeps of protest, and carry on regardless in their business of keeping Leeds in crisis – to the approval of their rapist and embezzling cronies in Championship boardrooms who continue to be regarded as fit and proper against all justice and logic.

I’d like to call upon LUST, and the MPs of Leeds constituencies, to take up cudgels against the treatment being meted out to Leeds United by the incompetents at the League.  They should be putting the question – why should a football club, alienated and ostracised by the League of its current membership, continue to contribute so massively to the financial well-being of that League?  I believe it’s time to call a halt.  The gloves are off now; if the League want to batter us, then let’s batter them right back.

That’s my say.  What do the Leeds United fans out there think? 

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Wilting Flowers Set to Succeed Only in Winding-Up Leeds Fans – by Rob Atkinson

The battle for Leeds United

The battle for Leeds United

Probably the most significant recent development in the Leeds United Takeover Slapstick Farce is the winding up petition (WUP) served by Andrew Flowers, alleged fan of the club and disappointed member of the thwarted Sport Capital which failed to buy a controlling interest in United last month. Amid all of the speculation and rumours surrounding the moral probity of Massimo Cellino, it is interesting to examine the possible motivations of Flowers in the extremely drastic action he has taken.

This blog has come to the conclusion that Flowers is lashing out in a manner not dissimilar to a spoiled child’s tantrum.  To run further with that analogy, the winding up petition is as much of an over-reaction as that of the wailing child who, denied the biggest share of the sweets, hurls a set of wooden blocks through the dining-room window.  It’s an over-the-top reaction, the product of immature arrogance and spite.  Somebody should perhaps shut Mr Flowers in his room with no toys, until he’s learned how to behave nicely.

A little research shows that it’s not unknown for a WUP to be issued as a tactical measure, designed to impede an unwelcome rival bid as it nears completion.  The website “Company Rescue” states

“In the Leeds United case, it appears Flowers has issued the petition in order to settle the dispute over the bid, which can happen if creditors feel they are ignored.

This kind of action is likely to be dismissed by the Court, however , as a WUP should only be issued if the company is thought to be insolvent.  As Flowers seems to be issuing one to settle a dispute, this could be deemed in the court as an abuse of process.”

Naturally, the courts tend to take a dim view of this sort of thing, as Leeds United in its current guise will be hoping happens in this case.  Their statement last night referred to “abuse of process” and it has to be said that this will do absolutely nothing but harm to Mr Flowers’ reputation if it is shown to be the case.  Another term for less-than-sincere legal action is “frivolous and vexatious”.  Courts and judges just hate this sort of thing.

There is the effect on the fans (remember them?? Hang on, it’s US!) to be considered, too.  Once the supporters cottoned on to the fact that the actions of Flowers pose a serious threat to the reputation or even continued existence of Leeds United – and that cottoning-on did not take long – then sympathy started to drain away from Mr Flowers and from Enterprise Insurance like pus from an open wound.  The idea of being anywhere near the bottom of the league, and then incurring a ten point league penalty, is not a comfortable one for Leeds United fans, not comfortable at all. Minus fifteen is still a vivid memory and still a cause of bitter resentment.  Ten points deducted right now would leave us a precarious 5 points clear of the relegation zone.

Neither will the fans appreciate the prospect of this ridiculous pantomime being dragged out for very much longer.  And yet Flowers’ WUP is due to be considered by the High Court on March 17th – almost six weeks away.  Six more weeks of anguish and uncertainty?  No, thank you.  Another factor evident today is the high incidence overnight of nocturnal emissions in many a South Yorkshire hovel, as desperate fans of smaller clubs dreamed moistly of the possible disappearance of Leeds United from the football landscape.  The tweets today bear witness to this frankly sad level of excitement and anticipation among the inbred, chip-on-the-shoulder tendency.  The attitude of other fans will be of little import to the suits as they go about their squabbling – heavens, they can hardly bother to think about the club’s own fans – but it’s a real enough part of the misery being imposed on us – and a particularly irritating one to the loyal Leeds United following out here, unable to do much but watch in horror and wait in apprehensive uncertainty while this humiliating tussle goes on.  And on, and on…

Over the past few days, and particularly since the news of Flowers’ WUP gained some currency, the attitude of the Leeds United support has appeared to sway significantly in favour of the Italian Cellino, and away from the dubious methods being employed elsewhere.  At first there was much doubt and virtuous rolling of the eyes at the thought of Cellino’s supposed criminality and wickedness – and yet, in the cold light of day, he appears little different to other mega-rich football club owners in this respect.  It’s highly unlikely that his convictions – one apparently suspended, one seemingly quashed – will act so as to fail him under the League’s Fit and Proper Person (FAPP) test.  He has an embezzlement charge hanging over him, but is rightly regarded as innocent until proved otherwise on that score.  And are Cellini’s rivals so squeaky clean?  The background of one Liverpool-based member of one of the consortia begs some critical evaluation, what with drive-by shootings and the like and – let’s not forget – Enterprise Insurance itself is unlikely to be based in Gibraltar simply for the lovely scenery afforded on the Rock.

The sad and frustrating fact is that Mr Flowers has taken a sledgehammer here to crack a peanut.  He filed his application the day after his consortium’s bid collapsed – on the rebound, as it were.  It has all the hallmarks of a fit of pique.  Given the statement from Leeds United last night – and even though that was swiftly watered-down, it’s still out there for people to see due to various assiduous bloggers – it seems inconceivable that Flowers and GFH could sit down around a table and discuss amicably any proposed business over the ownership of a football club which in any event actually belongs in a very real sense to the fans out here.  So what has Flowers to gain?  Read here and here to see what a very serious step a WUP is.  Why would he do that to a club he allegedly has close to his heart?

It will be interesting to see how the feelings of the Leeds United support continue to drift as the next few days go by – but already there has been a significant shift away from Flowers & Co and towards the “King of Corn”.  If Flowers is planning a long game, he risks completely exhausting the patience of the fans, patience that is already wearing dangerously thin.  And he might just find that any support or sympathy he ever had will have completely evaporated long before he ever gets his day in court.