Tag Archives: Shaun Harvey

Football League to Dish the Dirt on “Impatient” Russell Crowe   –   by Rob Atkinson

Russell Crowe - bloodless coup?

Russell Crowe – bloodless coup?

The Football League‘s clandestine “Stop Leeds United Getting Serious Investment” Task Force was swinging into action yet again yesterday amid some alarm at FLHQ that Hollywood A-lister Russell Crowe might possibly be contemplating getting financially involved in the club he has long supported. A League spokesman confirmed “Our special anti Leeds United people are looking into this. And there will doubtless be something we can – ahem – stone the Crowe with, never fear! (chortle)”

As a first step, the League have consulted the Forbes “Rich List” and it is understood that they were perturbed by what was revealed about the actor’s heavy-duty financial clout. A senior figure in the FL structure –  who refused to be named, but admitted that his initials were Shaun Harvey – also expressed “concern” that Crowe is already involved in part-ownership with a highly successful Australian Rugby League club, showing no signs of leading them into administration. The League are understood to be taking the threat of good news for Leeds extremely seriously.

Russell Crowe is playing his cards close to his chest – having previously asked his near 1.7 million Twitter followers if purchasing a stake in Leeds would be “a good idea”, he now says he is “impatient” to see Leeds achieving success. He has also been in tweeting dialogue with a Leeds fan group, discussing ways and means. The League position on consultation with fans is unequivocally clear. “We don’t like it,” stated our incognito contact, “Once you start involving riff-raff like fans, you’re on the slippery slope to some sort of new-age, new-fangled, hippy, pinko liberal “democracy” thing. We really don’t go for that at all. Give us a good old-fashioned familiar, honest, fit and proper rapist or money-launderer – they’re the sort of people that we really can do business with. You know where you are with them.”

United’s currently suspended owner Massimo Cellino, meanwhile, has confirmed that he does not intend “immediately” to return as Leeds President when his disqualification lapses. Instead, he will pursue remedial avenues of his own, as an individual, with no formal connection to Leeds United AFC. “Is better this way,” the Italian insisted. “Now, when horse’s head found in bed with a one-a these guys scare half to death, like-a that brutto figlio di puttana bastardo, Signor Shaun, no need to worry about sanction for club. I will take care of business in my own special way, my friend.”

Russell Crowe himself had nothing specific to say about any potential League investigation, but confirmed through a spokesman that he would give the signal to “unleash hell”, should circumstances indicate that such a course of action is necessary. The veteran actor dropped a further hint as to his likely attitude, cryptically proclaiming: “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next. We are Leeds.”

The officials of the Board of the Football League, both individually and collectively, are understood to be “cacking themselves” after seeing the Cellino and Crowe quotes. A senior figure has sent out for clean underwear three times today alone, and evidence has been shown to us of a bulk order of “Nicky” quilted toilet roll as well as some Far-Eastern “herbal relaxation infusions”. It appears that the investigation into Mr. Crowe will proceed – but preparations are also well advanced for a sudden retreat, if and when necessary. “If hell is unleashed, we shall all be leaving the country the same day,” our source confirmed, pale of face and wringing palsied hands. “This really is becoming a bit too dodgy, even for seasoned duckers and divers such as us. Whether we’re dealing with Crowe or Cellino, or even waking one fine morning with some severed item of equine anatomy, it’s a distinctly worrying picture. A mad Italian and an erstwhile Hollywood hell-unleasher. Jesus. Those are two seriously intimidating mothers, though – aren’t they?? Criminy.”

Shaun Harvey, 94, is incontinently scared. 

 

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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“.

Leeds United to Quit England?? Cellino in Shock “Serie A” Pledge – by Rob Atkinson

Cellino: bring on Juve and Milan

Cellino: bring on Juve and Milan

More sensational developments are unfolding in the ever more confusing story about the year-long struggle at Elland Road, over the ownership, management and league membership of Leeds United. Documents have become available in the last 24 hours that prove the extraordinary determination of controversial banned owner and convicted yachtsman Massimo Cellino, to hang on to the club he’s had to negotiate so hard to own.

The newly declassified information is from last year’s Football League “Fit & Proper” appeal hearing in London, and it indicates the lengths Massimo Cellino was prepared to go to, in order to overturn the Football League’s rejection of him as a “fit and proper person” to own the club. Sensationally, Cellino undertook to achieve promotion within a defined time span for the fallen Yorkshire giants, not to the FA Premier League – but to the Italian top flight, Serie A.

A spokesperson for Cellino, Avril Primero, was tight-lipped when she was quizzed, on April the 1st, about what would certainly be a controversial move. “What a load of bologna,” she said, through tight lips. “Where did you get hold of this rubbish? Un tale carico di merda!

The story, though, refused to go away. The religious affairs correspondent of Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything was able to speak personally late the next night, via ship-to-shore phone from the blog’s duty-free yacht “Nélie”, to the Pope in the Vatican. When pressed on the Serie A story, the Pontiff – a keen cricket fan – was willing to confirm that Leeds’ participation in the Italian top league was “nailed on” for the start of 2016/17 – if things went as planned with the Football League. “The Italian league is open to this, my son,” the Argie Pontiff confided. “There had previously been a suggestion of Glasgow Rangers,” added the leader of the world’s Catholics, “but as you might guess, I ruled THAT one right out of court. Then someone called Harvey mentioned Sheffield Wendies, but I simply laughed. Really, who are these people… Leeds though? ¡Excelente!

The Football League itself was reluctant to comment at that stage of proceedings, with matters poised so delicately. “We have no comment at this stage”, commented a League official, reluctantly, “Matters are so delicately poised.” The FA Premier League indicated that this was not a matter for them presently, but that such a move might well attract some support. “We certainly don’t want Leeds United in our nice clean league”, ejaculated the FA Officer in charge of bungs and bribes.

The then United owners GFH were less forthcoming yet. When asked if competing against the likes of Juventus, Milan, Napoli and Serie A giants Cagliari formed part of their strategic vision for the Whites, they stated simply “We couldn’t give a camel’s left knacker. We just want our money, cash on the nail, coppish? Then we can send Davey Haigh to Dubai, we’ve got big plans for him…”

Massimo Cellino, seemingly unruffled by these revelations from last year, is nevertheless unlikely to be present at the Brentford game on Saturday, preferring to remain in Miami where he is stocking his new refrigerator with beer in preparation for “a major interview” later today. When asked if, despite the Football League ban, he’d have any input into the contents of the team sheet, Mr. Cellino appeared to misunderstand. “Yes, you’re right, team issa sheet, so I stay here, drink beer, buy bitch, talk random Leeds fans onna phone”, he confirmed. “Is better that way, my friend.”

Shaun Harvey is 107.

Unexpected Bonus for Harvey and FL as Leeds Splits Start to Show – by Rob Atkinson

Elland Road: are the foundations crumbling?

Elland Road: are the foundations crumbling?

It’s been just another cataclysmic day at Elland Road. In the wake of a battling draw against Birmingham City on Saturday, when the match officials put in a disgraceful performance that will no doubt have earned them plenty of brownie points at Football League HQ, Monday brought the League’s latest confirmation that the interests of its biggest member club are a long way down the list when there are vendettas to be pursued. Massimo Cellino’s ban under the largely discredited “fit and proper test”, prompted by a legal process that has some way yet to run under Italian law, has been upheld – meaning that the King of Corn must step away from his involvement with Leeds United until April, at which point the conviction, though not finally ratified in Italian courts, will be deemed “spent” under English law. Leeds as an entity are considering their options; meanwhile the individuals concerned have had plenty to say, with alarm and confusion regrettably ensuing.

Sadly, too, there are signs that the strain is beginning to show behind the scenes at Elland Road. This is potentially calamitous, but really not all that surprising; embattled is hardly an adequate word to describe the position of the club throughout this torturous season. Great Britain in the early part of World War II could scarcely have been more isolated or heavily assailed from all directions than the hapless West Yorkshire pariahs of Leeds. It appears highly unlikely on this occasion that a convenient Eisenhower figure is going to appear over the horizon, perhaps backed up by the cavalry. If Leeds are to fight on, they will – as ever – fight alone.

Such a siege situation historically demands unity and solidarity within the ranks as well as clarity and leadership from the top. If you’re lacking those elements, you can rest assured that your walls will ultimately be breached and the barbarian hordes will inundate your enclave with gorily fatal results. At Leeds, the splits are beginning to show – and under the pressure of universal hatred and contempt, those splits, the cracks just now appearing in the very foundations of the club, are liable to widen as they threaten to topple the whole edifice. This is an outcome that Shaun Harvey and his crooked cronies at the Football League must devoutly have wished for – but scarcely dared to hope might happen.

The alarming thing about any football club in this type of situation is the marginal advantage it affords all of its rivals. In professional football, as in any top level sport, those margins separating success from disaster are always fine. Games are won and lost, seasons succeed or fail, clubs stand or fall, not by gulfs of clear blue water, but by details of fine tuning. For Leeds, against whom it is an article of faith for rival clubs to raise their game – and engaged as they are in the dog eat dog frenzy at the foot of the table – the writing is now very clearly on the wall. The situation prior to the latest Black Monday was serious enough. Now, things have taken on a still more sombre and frightening aspect.

The reactions from within the club to the League’s latest knife in the back have been confusing, dissonant, unhelpful. At a time when a United front is absolutely crucial, Leeds seems to be an organisation divided within and against itself. The signals from the top – from Cellino himself –  have been of apathy, despair, defiance and then, disastrously, of a most bizarre attempt at self-aggrandisement, all in swift and bewildering succession. First we heard that the Italian was unsure as to whether he would take the reins up again at the end of this present ban. Then it was, well, someone else will sign the cheques; nothing has changed. This was swiftly followed by a rabble-rousing “I’ll be back” in the best Arnie tradition, as he seemed set fair to terminate the League in all its Machiavellian plotting. But at the last, as Monday ebbed away into Tuesday match-day, we had Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino blurting that three players – named as Bianchi, Sloth and Doukara – wish to leave the club in the event of Cellino’s appeal being rejected.

Just how this might be imagined to help the situation is nigh-on impossible to explain – so I won’t even try, as it’s honestly beyond me. But I could provide a list as long as your arm of ways in which such a pronouncement is shatteringly unhelpful. Firstly, we must assume that none of the trio identified as wantaways can be involved in the match-day squad for the visit of league leaders Bournemouth. How can they be? They’ve been publicly outed as the first of the rats clamouring to dive off the sinking ship. Their relationship with team-mates, management and fans must surely be so compromised that they will be of no use in any game, let alone one so difficult. It’s back to that fine-tuning mentioned earlier. In the run up to kick-off in a professional football match, everything has to be exactly right. There is certainly no place for the kind of stun grenade that Cellino has carelessly lobbed into the middle of sensitive preparations for a battle with the usual, highly-motivated opposition.

Even if it’s all just hype and brinkmanship, and the players concerned have no intention of seeking to absent themselves from a struggling, failing club – the damage may well have been done. Even if there are no schisms within the squad, even if Redders does not feel that he’s been dealt an exceptionally cruel hand by his maverick owner – what are the poor, bewildered fans to make of it all? Just what will the atmosphere be like at Elland Road, a ground that should be a cauldron of white-hot support to test the nerve of any opposition? How much good will it do Leeds United if that normally vociferous support are stunned and demoralised, reeling from the news that a good proportion of the squad want out? In the event, Casper Sloth seems to have come out and denied that he’s anything other than totally committed to the Leeds United cause, asserting his own commitment to fight for the shirt and produce better than we have so far seen from him. But, welcome though that might be of itself, doesn’t it merely emphasise the utter failure of Leeds United’s personnel to be seen to be singing from the same hymn sheet? The damage has most likely been done – just how much of a disunited United side will take the field against the table toppers, who are seeking to avenge an unlikely early-season defeat on their own patch?

We keep on saying this – but it’s difficult to think of a worse day in the club’s history, and that is not primarily down to the corrupt and foolish League’s latest travesty; it is more down to the appearance of turmoil and chaos within what should be the Leeds United “circle of trust”. You might argue for the post points deduction era as being comparable in terms of crisis, but that whole minus 15 thing was demonstrably a unifying factor in Dennis Wise’s cobbled-together League One squad. Now, at a time when, more than ever, they need to be able to rely on each other, that priceless quality of unity seems to have been recklessly, thoughtlessly tossed away as intemperate mouths have spoken without caution or reason, with no regard to team spirit or the need to be together and fight a common foe. It might now be down to the fans to somehow overcome their own doubts and trepidation, to get behind the team and inspire them as few if any bands of supporters anywhere are better able to do. But what sort of shape is that support in right now? Not very happy, not very united and not very impressed with the man who had appeared as a saviour – that, surely, is the absolute least of it.

It would be just like Leeds United to bounce back after all, in the course of what must be a Tuesday of healing and rapprochement. It’s happened before, hasn’t it, and not so long ago at that. In the wake of last season’s lowest ebb, with the summary dismissal of McDermott by an owner not yet in situ and Sky TV’s urgent efforts to persuade our star striker he should be demanding a transfer, the team responded and, after a nervous start, utterly destroyed Huddersfield Town 5-1 with that striker – I forget his name – notching a hat-trick. It’s not impossible that a similar scenario could unfold with Bournemouth in opposition (and probably feeling that crisis-torn Leeds are there for the taking). Morison to score three, anyone? It’s not impossible – it’s merely bloody unlikely.

Whatever the outcome of the match on Tuesday evening, Leeds have to get it right in the hours and days immediately afterwards. They have to put a stop to all of these mixed messages – and certainly there should be an immediate halt to any tactic of broadcasting the message of “the players love me so much, they don’t want to stay without me”. Wiser counsel must prevail and, with that in mind, it is to be hoped we hear a bit less of certain highly vocal and emotional parties – and a lot more of the new Chief Operating Officer, Matt Child. His was the sole voice of reason and sanity on Monday; amid all of the confusion swirling around him, he spoke quite well. He might just offer some sort of navigable route out of the morass in which we currently flounder.

The one thing we cannot hope for is any sympathy from outside of the club, its support and a very few gentlemen of the press who have demonstrated in the past their unwillingness to follow the herd on its Leeds-hating stampede towards the common gutter. So, we are just going to have to make the best of things, as usual, strive to support the team against the south-coast high-flyers on Tuesday evening – and simply hope against hope (and against all realistic probability) for better times ahead. Surely, even this remorselessly grim season must yet have some positive moments in store for us?

 

Football League in “Cellino Not Crooked Enough” Admission – by Rob Atkinson

Image

Sh**n H*rv*y

In an uncharacteristic burst of frankness and honesty, a highly-placed source at the Football League has freely admitted that the problem they have with Massimo Cellino, shortly due to have an appeal heard against his banning as Leeds United owner, is that he’s “just that bit too honest and successful” for what the League see as ideal Leeds United ownership material. Sh**n H*rv*y (name disguised to protect the guilty) told a Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything reporter last night, “Signor Cellino isn’t really what we’re looking for in the case of Leeds United. He’s had a couple of convictions, but they’re really not all that promising – one quashed and the other soon to be “spent” under English law. There’s talk of an embezzlement rap, but – you know – we had the ideal man in there for a decade, he was set fair to ruin Leeds as who knows better than me? And now they’re looking at someone with real money?  No, it’s not what the League are looking for, it’s not what the Football Family are looking for.”

Pressed on the FL requirements for approval, Mr. H*rv*y revealed, “We’re looking for the kind of man who would get in there and start upsetting people. The League feel that they have a responsibility to the memory of the late, great Alan Hardaker here.  He set the standard for hating Leeds, a standard which, as an institution, we hold dear – one we’re very proud of. What we’re really after is someone like Mr Tan down at Cardiff – imagine if he had gone up to Leeds and had them playing in red!  Even dear old Ken never dared try that.”  Our reporter asked about other owners who had received approval without too much fuss and bother, citing the porn barons who control West Ham, people with Russian mafia connections who are doing very well in West London and various other members of what is known as the “Well Dodgy Geezers Club” including rapists and money-launderers.  Again, our League spokesman was very clear about this:

“It’s a matter of choosing the best man for a particular job.  You’re quite right in saying that Cellino is squeaky clean compared to certain other football owners – but we have to do something to stretch this out.  Cellino is seriously rich, and there’s a very real fear out there that Leeds United could enter an extremely successful period unless we’re very, very careful.  That’s happened before, on more than one occasion, and it’s not something our members like, it’s not something 99.9% of the fans out there want to see happening.  Because don’t forget – once they’re up, there’s nothing much we of the Football League can do, with dodgy refs and the like, to prevent them being successful. Mr Tinkler has been retired a long time, after all! As a responsible governing body, we just have to get this right for the many – and not just look at the selfish interests of one deeply unpopular club.”

So, what’s actually going to happen?  Mr H*rv*y smiled, winked, tapped his nose conspiratorially and told us that the League are happy to play a long game here. “We know that Leeds are financially stretched again just now, and our utterly brilliant transfer embargo will put the bite on their squad plans – not to mention this pesky £20 million capital injection.  Let’s just spin it out and see what happens. Our back-room staff have dug out all of the legal documentation surrounding that whole minus fifteen points thing, and we’re ready to go again at the drop of a hat.” He chuckled, ever so slightly maliciously. “I’m really hopeful that, if Leeds do get out of the Championship, it’ll be in the ‘down’ direction – not ‘up’. And then – well, it’s game on, isn’t it!!”

Our reporter gently pointed out that Mr Cellino appeared perfectly willing to keep guiding the club through any short-term difficulties even while his appeal was pending, and that there was even talk of high-profile loan signings with a view to securing Championship survival and pushing on next year. “You bloody what!?” bellowed an exasperated Chief Executive. “Well, that’s bloody torn it, hasn’t it? So what about poor old Millwall and Blackpool, eh?? Back to the drawing board, then.  Christ all bloody mighty….!!”

The League later contacted us by phone, asking us not to take Mr H*rv*y’s statement to us, as above, too literally.  “He’s been working hard on this, and things had been going extremely well, or so we’d thought.  Sh**n had put away a couple of shandies when he spoke to you, and this has possibly led to him – ahem – quoting himself out of context.  The Football League do not hate Leeds United, who are a very valuable part of the Football Family. We will continue to do everything possible to expedite this ownership appeal situation, and we hope to have a further, definitive statement sometime before the end of next season.”

Brian Mawhinney is 94.

Almost 20,000 Leeds Fans Already Support Football League “Cellino” Petition – by Rob Atkinson

Nearly 20,000 now...

Nearly 20,000 now…

The following article has been submitted by petition organisers for inclusion on this blog, and adapted by myself for publication here.
One final push for the petition!
At the time of writing the petition has been signed by 19,599 fans. It would be great to get it over the 20,000 mark. A massive 85 countries around the world are represented by those who have signed the petition! 

The petition can be found here and we urge all your readers to take a look and, if they agree with the sentiment, sign, share on Facebook and RT on twitter! If everyone who has signed can find another fan to sign we would be approaching 40,000! Just click on the link below:

Please – Sign Here!!


If we can help show the following aims are being achieved, then we can say with justice that the petition has been a success:
 
a) To make clear the sense of injustice and the strong feelings of many Leeds fans 
b) To bring what many fans feel is extremely unfair treatment of Leeds United by the Football League to mass media attention 
c) To put additional pressure on the Football League to think again as to whether they are really acting in the club’s best interests

We ask the FL to look again at the FPP test and to ask themselves if it is truly fit for purpose, especially for an owner in situ. There are directors and owners of other clubs who have done far worse than Massimo Cellino. The crux of the matter is that he is now an owner in situ and the rules the FL developed were to assess potential owners prior to purchase. Their sole aim in this matter is to assess if that person is fit and proper to run a football club – nothing else. What better way to assess this in the Leeds United case than by monitoring how Cellino is running the club, rather than looking at old evidence to make a decision? Indeed, Cellino would be able to run any club in Italy, or be a director/owner of any other UK company. Why should these rules be so different? Are the FL really acting in the best interests of Leeds United by asking for Cellino to resign – only for him to be able to take his place again in March? Isn’t this actually just needless disruption for the sake of it, seemingly calculated to destabilise the League’s biggest club?

There is another extremely important point to make here. Those that vote on the Football League are not impartial – not by any stretch of the imagination. Financially the FL are better off with Leeds United in it. Also, other clubs have a better chance of succeeding if Leeds United are sanctioned. Sean Harvey was 100% correct not to vote – but we feel that NONE of the voters (chairman of competing clubs) are impartial. It should ALL be decided upon by completely independent parties. You wouldn’t find relatives of the victim on a court Jury so why are chairman of rival clubs asked to make a decision on Leeds United? 


It is not as simple as Cellino resigning and coming back in March as there are similar court cases on the horizon, so the question has to be asked as to whether the rules are truly fit for purpose. Whether he has or hasn’t paid the correct import duty/tax on a boat or car really shouldn’t be relevant as to whether he can do a good job for Leeds in running the club. He ran Calgiari in Italy for over 20 years! We need the Football League to take a good look at what they are trying to achieve and whether their current rules achieve it. They say he is ‘dishonest’ and therefore should be banned. How is tax duty on a boat / car worse than those that live as a tax exile in order to pay less taxes throughout their lives! What about the many other directors of clubs who have a far more chequered past than Cellino! Let’s not forget that there are the likes of money-launderers and convicted rapists among these seemingly untouchable gentlemen…

If Cellino (and his family) were to be forced out, then it is pure speculation as to what would happen next. We just hope the club would be sold without going into administration, otherwise there is a worry that the likes of Bates/Harvey could be sniffing around again and the vast majority of United fans would agree this would not be good for LUFC. There are constant rumours of others ready to take over Leeds but Cellino is the only person who wanted the club so badly he was willing to sign anything to make sure it happened – no one else was willing to pay the asking price. They clearly didn’t want the club as much as he did. Some may say he shouldn’t have signed the original Share Purchase Agreement on those terms or he should have done more in the way of Due Diligence. Had he done that who knows where we would have been now. GFH would probably still own 100% of Leeds. No one else wanted the club enough to pay the asking price. Cellino has shown he is passionate about Leeds. Whilst he has made mistakes he deserves a chance to take this great club to where he wants to take it – The Premier League and then onto the Champions League.
All of the points raised above need to be aired in public and then addressed by the authorities currently engaged in a determined campaign to oust Cellino. This latest push to get the support for the petition over 20,000 and onwards towards 25,000 is a big step on the way to obtaining the kind of national publicity necessary to make a difference – to have a real effect on the issues currently clouding Leeds United’s season.
If you haven’t yet signed – PLEASE do so, then share this widely and ask any friends to sign also. If you have signed – then please share the petition among as many people as you can in order to get even more support.
Leeds United – your club – needs you.

 

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? 

Are YOU One of the 5,226 Loyal Leeds Fans to Fight Harvey and the FL?? – by Rob Atkinson

Harvey - the spectre haunting Elland Road

Harvey – the spectre haunting Elland Road

The other week, rumours were growing by the day that the buffoons of the Football League, under the grievously bent leadership of Shaun Harvey, were about to throw a spanner yet again into the works at Leeds United. Despite things clearly being on the up at Elland Road, the League seem determined still to get their man, that elusive quarry being il Presidente himself, Massimo Cellino. Ignoring the active presence of rapists, pornographers and sundry other unsavoury types at other football clubs, Harvey and his bunch of senile dotards are determined to seek revenge on Big Mass (I call him this because I know it aggravates the WACCOE.com idiots) for thwarting them on appeal earlier this year to take control at Leeds.

So, as tends to happen, a petition was launched. The thing is, this particular petition was really well-worded, straight to the point and advancing the highly relevant argument that the so-called “Fit and Proper Test” should not be applied retrospectively. In other words, once Cellino is in – no matter how he got in – he should be left to get on with it as long as he’s doing a good job and not being naughty.

This was precisely the argument I’d used just days previously, in a blog entitled “Fit & Proper Test’ Should NOT Apply to Leeds Chief Cellino“. So I could hardly wait to sign and publicise such an obviously well thought-out petition, and I subsequently wrote another article encouraging Leeds fans to sign it and share it, so as to attract as much support as possible and show the League they will not be allowed to act without accounting for those actions.

The petition has gone on to be extremely well-supported, with – at the time of writing this – 5,226 signatories since it went live. That’s brilliant – but the thing is, it’s nothing like enough. So, if you’re one of those loyal 5,226 people who have taken the necessary few minutes to show your support for the revolution going on at Elland Road (and your disapproval of Harvey and the League) – then well done. But – what more can you do? Well, tell people, get them to sign too. Share this article, share the petition. Get friends, family, fellow supporters involved. This could be huge – but only if people who love Leeds United are willing to put in the effort to make it work.

If you haven’t signed yet – then please do so, if you feel able. The consequences of Cellino being forced to sell the club are dire at best. The method whereby this sale would be forced is not clear at the moment. What would such compulsion do to the sale price? Who would repay Cellino’s investment so far? Who on earth would end up owning us next? We don’t know, but we can fearfully speculate. The League doesn’t know either – and it doesn’t seem to care. The League seems entirely comfortable with the idea of setting Leeds United off into another fog of uncertainty, losing money and playing staff alike, sliding down the leagues like a greased pig and heading – for all any of us know – for yet another administration. After all, causing clubs to enter administration is rather a speciality of Shaun Harvey in his disaster-strewn and corrupt career so far.

The League doesn’t give a tuppenny toss about the outcome of its intended actions. Stung by losing in court to Cellino, these pompous idiots simply want to regain lost face and show who the bosses are. If Leeds United AFC were to be a casualty of all of this – then you can count on it, none of them would lose a minute’s sleep. Perhaps Harvey and Bates would even share a conspiratorial chuckle between themselves in a smug telephone conversation after Leeds are no more.

Cellino and his legal team can certainly handle themselves – that much we have seen, and it’s quite probable that Harvey and his sorry, discredited mob will yet again be biting off more then they can chew. But it’s up to us fans, too. Please join over 5,000 Leeds United fans in signing and sharing this petition. Do all you can to ensure that everyone who might support it, sees it – and has the chance to register their own opposition to this pathetic and needless League vendetta.

Remember: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (and women) do nothing. Doing nothing is not an option if we really want to look out for our club. Support Leeds United – support the petition. Do it as soon as you can and share it with as many as you can, so they can do it too – and so on and so forth, till we have thousands more angry Leeds fans, up in arms, making our feelings known, telling the League to get stuffed. Be in no doubt at all – it really does matter.

MOT – and thanks.

Signature

“Fit & Proper Test” Should NOT Apply to Leeds Chief Cellino – by Rob Atkinson

Cellino - here to stay

Cellino – here to stay

There are still rumblings of thwarted frustration emanating from the lair of the Football League’s assorted mandarins, buffoons and early-onset Alzheimer’s cases. The discontent surrounding this misbegotten cabal of power-mad crumblies dates from their humiliating reverse at the hands of Massimo Cellino’s legal team, as he successfully fought their original decision to bar him from owning Leeds United. The League, represented by ex-Leeds CEO and serial football disaster Shaun Harvey, as well as the son of convicted rapist Owen Oyston among other unsavoury characters, was forced to back down and rubber-stamp Cellino’s acquisition of Leeds, amid much grumbling and ill grace. It was always likely that, given the opportunity, they would return to stalk their quarry once again.

The persistent niggle which may yet afford that opportunity is the mention by the appeal judge of a possible imputation of dishonesty against Cellino when the full decision of the Italian court became available. This, he remarked, could once again leave Cellino open to disqualification under what is loosely known as the “Fit and Proper Test”. Rumours now abound that Sandra Lepore, the Italian judge in the Nélie tax avoidance case, has indeed found that our Massimo was more than merely naughty and misguided in his import duty dealings. Massimo’s legal men have been mobilised once more, declaring that the judgement is full of holes and that an appeal is inevitable. Meanwhile, the hapless oafs at the League have been unable to get a look at the alleged full judgement and have even had to resort to asking Cellino’s own lawyer for a copy. As if this mess were not messy enough, another court case is pending against Big Mass, so a further sullying of his reputation is not impossible – probably not even unlikely.

So, where does all this leave Massimo Cellino and his future as absolute ruler at Elland Road? Bang to rights, some would say. He’s been called dishonest, and the fit and proper test exists to exclude dishonest types (though not, apparently, convicted rapists). So, technically at least, Cellino could be held to account once again and ultimately forced to sell Leeds United, with all the enormously toxic fallout that situation would carry along with it. In reality, of course, things are unlikely to be so straightforward.

The most important consideration here and now is that Cellino is installed in LS11, that he is making all the decisions, for good or ill – and that he has already wrought enormous changes at Yorkshire’s premier club, with much, much more change in the pipeline. That much is indisputable fact. The ongoing revolution promises, but is not limited to, the repurchase of the Elland Road stadium, and its subsequent redevelopment, the building of a new training complex much closer to the club, the continuing reorganisation of the football side of things including transfer policy and, for all we know, the ongoing hiring and firing of several more coaches before Christmas (although plainly we’re not one of those awful Watford-type clubs that have already had half-a-dozen managers since August…)

It is the undeniable fact of Massimo being the man in possession that is crucial here. The “Fit and Proper Test”, by its own exacting conditions, is clearly intended to be a fail-safe tool whereby prospective owners and directors may be assessed ahead of assuming control, in the absence of any opportunity to see how they shape up in action. By that reckoning, Cellino should already be beyond the scope of such a precautionary measure. He has been in situ and extremely active – with a high degree of success, it must be said – for a good few months now. The financial state of the Football League’s most illustrious member club has been improved beyond all recognition; the squad has been revamped courtesy of some rather effective recruitment and at least one thieves’ bargain of a sale. In short, Cellino has dispensed with the need for any pre-emptive, anticipatory “Fit and Proper Test”, by the simple expedient of getting in and doing a fantastic job; he has shown that he is a fit and proper owner of Leeds United by dragging the club up by its bootstraps and improving things enormously, in a relatively short space of time. The future now looks bright for the Whites.

Whatever the technical ins and outs of the law, and of the poorly-drafted and incompetently-applied Football League test, it is this reality of the situation that is surely important now. Cellino has moved well beyond any need for “vetting”, an assessment before the fact of his suitability to own and run a Football League club. He has shown his competence and his enthusiasm – his passion for the job in hand. Leeds United today is a very different entity to the moribund hulk Cellino first walked into just a few months back, a club left half-dead by the year on year depredations of unscrupulous and self-serving men – not excluding the current League CEO. Cellino has almost single-handedly brought about that difference, by the force of his personality as much as by the not inconsiderable investment he has made in the club. There can be no more relevant and accurate assessment of fitness and propriety than this; the League’s pettifogging regulations have been transcended by fact and reality.

Should there now be a further attempt to oust Cellino, simply because a collection of prosaic paragraphs and sub-clauses says that there should be, then the interests of Leeds United and football in general would be extremely ill-served. The consequences would be as undesirable as they would be immense; a club of history and distinction could swiftly be reduced from its current state of rapidly recovering health, back onto the critical list, haemorrhaging money left, right and centre, tumbling down the league, with the Official Receiver once again licking his lips with relish. Is this what the Football League, with its implied duty of care, would wish for one of its member clubs? I ask you.

The answer to that last question could well be yes, as many a Leeds fan, pointing to the lessons of history and the various injustices heaped upon their beloved Whites, might gloomily agree. We will have to wait and see what the League, in their extremely finite wisdom, decide to do. But they need to tread carefully, lest they be open to charges of malice, bringing down disaster upon a national institution – just because they technically, possibly, can.

The situation at Leeds today is crystal clear. Massimo Cellino is in charge and he’s doing a good job. Massimo Cellino is proven to be a fit and proper Football League club owner, not least in the context of certain gentlemen who quite clearly aren’t, but who – bizarrely – are not being held to account.

Look at the real-life situation, Harvey & Co, and have a care. You can’t afford to look any more ridiculous than you already do, in the light of recent rather unwise public statements. Exercise a little discretion and leave well alone. Leave United alone. Cellino and Leeds are on the up. Let them get on with it.

Football League “In A Huff” As Cellino Finally Owns Leeds United – by Rob Atkinson

Massimo Cellino: from vincerò to "I win"

Massimo Cellino: from vincerò to “I win”

The Football League has said it is “disappointed” with QC Tim Kerr’s Massimo Cellino decision and will now “consider the findings”. The reality of the matter, however, is that the League are surely out of options for the time being, and will have to swallow the bitter pill of defeat.  From their point of view, this will involve the grudging acceptance of Cellino as Leeds United owner, something they clearly feel will lower the tone of their closed shop of club owners.  This comprises, as previously detailed, a convicted rapist, a jailed money-launderer and sundry other less-than-saintly characters.

The incongruity of those facts against the League’s determined and intransigent stance on Cellino – who, by comparison, is something of an angelic choirboy – does not appear to have occurred to the buffoons in the corridors of power.  Are they really that stupid, or is the apparent contradiction indicative of some Machiavellian policy of thwarting Leeds United?  There is much evidence to suggest that this is not mere paranoia; the League have inflicted harm on the Elland Road club at every possible opportunity over the last half century – a continuation of the policy pursued by the late and unlamented Alan Hardaker, confirmed Leeds and Revie hater. Mr Hardaker is presumably spinning in his grave right now; bad cess to him.

The news of Cellino’s stunning success, a tribute to the outstanding advocacy of his legal team, came hard on the heels of what will surely now be seen – in retrospect – as the most meaningless and painless defeat ever, at Wigan.  The performance of the team was better, with more effort and pride on display, as we had all wished on this anniversary of the despicable murders in Istanbul.  The only real downside was the paucity of attacking effect – but shortly after the game ended, it all ceased to matter.  Cellino is in, we have a fabulously wealthy owner of the kind of maverick personality which goes with Leeds and its fans like vino rosso goes with pasta. Monday is Day One of a new era for Leeds United and it seems certain that a very interesting ride is ahead of us all – to say the very least.

What we now have to beware of is the backlash of the Football League who, in their rage and grief, are hardly likely to look upon our beloved Whites with any less hatred and contempt than they have in the past.  We can expect no justice from the imbeciles who run the League; it must be a priority to climb out of it under our own steam at the earliest opportunity – and fall upon the tender mercies of the FA.

Meanwhile, defeat at Wigan behind us and irrelevant, we can afford ourselves some celebration and look forward to better times ahead.  No more grinding poverty, the energy-sapping affliction that seeps into the very soul over a period of time.  It’s a whole new mentality from here on in – no longer the tenants in hock to some faceless suits who control Elland Road stadium, no longer wondering if we can afford the latest dubious talent from League One.  For Leeds United and its devoted, deserving, unrivalled and amazing fans – it’s a whole new ball game from here on in.

For once in a very long while, we have taken on rigid authority and won. The Football League mandarins have been made to look the inept fools that they are – and I have no hesitation at all in saying to Shaun Harvey and his cronies: Up yours, get stuffed and sod off.

I mean that, of course, in the nicest possible way.