Tag Archives: sponsorship

Leeds United’s Banned Youngster Jordan Stevens is a Victim of Official Hypocrisy – by Rob Atkinson

Jordan Stevens

Jordan Stevens, shirt sponsored by Unibet

The stench of hypocrisy drifts its noisome way around the decision to ban Leeds United’s Jordan Stevens “from all football related activities” for the heinous crime of placing bets. The ban, along with a £1,200 fine, prevents young Stevens from training or associating with the club for what amounts to 6 weeks in purdah. This is a young man who acknowledges that he has broken a rule, but who is suffering from boredom and home-sickness, two well-known factors in driving many a young person temporarily off the rails.

So what’s the solution? Why, to separate Stevens from the source of his professional development and day to day occupation, and this at a time when Marvin Sordell, a former professional footballer who campaigns on mental health issues, is calling on the FA to do more for young players this afflicted. To isolate Stevens at this time, when he feels this way, is like pouring oil on a wildfire in the hope that it may be extinguished.

And the hypocrisy gets worse. As United fan James Levy points out on Twitter “Player done for gambling who plays for 32Red sponsored club, playing in SkyBet sponsored division, where televised games have commercials for Bet365 before and during the match. And the player is the one with the gambling problem!”.

We must surely be getting used now to disproportionate and ridiculous penalties being handed down, whenever any transgression is accompanied by a Leeds United affiliation on the part of the offender. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it, or take it meekly without protest. The football authorities are bang to rights here on imposing a ridiculously inappropriate and draconian penalty, when surely a mere playing ban would have sufficed, allowing Jordan to continue under the guidance and support of the club. Instead, he’s been cut off from all that, and left to paddle his own canoe at a time when a more constructive approach would have yielded positive benefits as well as teaching the same lesson. What lesson does this teach Jordan, or indeed any of us? How much respect can we now have for such an arrogant and uncaring ruling body?

The answer is the same as Boris Johnson‘s record as PM in Commons votes – a big, fat ZERO.  

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New Leeds Shirts Have That Boring, Blank Look   –   by Rob Atkinson

Nice new t-shirts

I can’t count how many times over the years I’ve longed for Leeds United to be able to take the field at Elland Road once more, wearing shirts of pure, pristine white, unsullied by any tacky sponsor’s logo. Over those years, we’ve had many and varied brands besmirching the hallowed material, from RFW via Lion Cabinets, Top Man, Admiral and many more, through to the ill-fated Enterprise Insurance. I’ve regarded them all with more or less disgust and hostility – longing nostalgically for more innocent, pre-sponsorship days.

And now those days are back, if only temporarily. Barring a late twist, Leeds will be running out in colours free of any endorsement to start the forthcoming season. And do you know what? I’m not sure I like it. In fact I suspect I really don’t. 

If that seems a little contrary, I can only hold my hands up and agree that it is. After all, this is what I’ve been wishing for these past 35 years. I was against shirt sponsorship right from the start, right from those early days of Hitachi and then Crown Paints on the red shirts of Liverpool FC. It just seemed too, too tacky for words, an offence against football aesthetics. To this day, I can’t handle Sharp (spit) electronics products without feeling the need of a bath – though this has more to do with the identity of the club sponsored, no doubt, than any deep-seated objection to Sharp – who once supplied me with a very nice radio-cassette player for my student bedroom.

The only Leeds sponsor I came anywhere near liking was the iconic, title-winning Evening Post logo of 1991-92. That seemed properly Yorkshire, and – with Leeds dominantly resurgent – it neatly captured and still recalls the Zeitgeist of those heady days.

So I am, perhaps, being a little churlish to complain now. And I’m not in particularly good company either. The bulk of the Twitteratti seem to like the new shirt, there’s a general buzz of approval among all but the more portly chaps out there, who are viewing the snugness of the design with deep suspicion. The problem I have with the shirt, after all this time whinging about the tackiness of logos and how they detract from the all-important badge, is that without a sponsor’s brand plastered onto the chest, it looks curiously featureless. It looks, I’m afraid, like a t-shirt. 

It would seem that, for me, the commercial age has swallowed up the sport of football, and made of it a dependent creature, bereft of much of its colour and detail in the absence of those once alien logos. A sports shirt now somehow doesn’t look right without its accompanying branding. It looks a bit forlorn, rather naked – as if somebody’s sent it out too hastily, having forgotten to apply the finishing touches. 

Perhaps I’ll get used to it, if Leeds do indeed play the season out unendorsed. Almost certainly I’ll have more depressing things to worry and write about as hostilities get under way. And at least Leeds will be, as is their wont, the exception rather than the rule, swimming against the tide as such a maverick and popularly unpopular club ought.

But, in the long term, I find it hard to embrace the concept of these featureless, bland tops. Perhaps the best I can hope for is that the contractual spat with Enterprise Insurance can be resolved, leaving United free once again to sell their very soul to the highest bidder. We will then just need a sufficiently cool brand name and ideally a vast amount of money. 

Red Bull, anyone?

Oldham Board Member on Talent Coming Through Prison System – by Rob Atkinson

Evans - desperate enough to sign for Oldum

Evans – desperate enough to sign for Oldum

Oldham Athletic director Barry Owen, a former Greater Manchester Police superintendent, has welcomed news that there is an “80% likelihood” of convicted rapist Ched Evans signing for the League One club. Mr Owen, who was also instrumental in Oldham’s decision to sign ex-con Lee Hughes after he had served time for causing death by dangerous driving, was however scathing about the modern prison service and its patchy record of providing cheap players for the Boundary Park outfit.

“Her Majesty’s Prison Service can do better than this”, said the erstwhile top cop. “A club like ours is always looking for value on the field of play, and those who have done their porridge are the kind of likely lads the Athletic should always be looking for, in my view. We’ve now had two good lads coming through the HMP production line, and we’ll be on the lookout for more, if the Home Office can just get their bloody finger out. These guys are cheap as chips – and that’s the bottom line, after all.”

When it was put to Mr Owen that the Evans signing was likely to be even less popular among fans than that of Lee Hughes, he raised an eyebrow. “I don’t really see where you’re coming from, lad. Evans wants to play football, so we’re going to accommodate him, aren’t we? Makes sense. A few faint hearts were all for refusing him a contract – but after all, the lad was unlikely to take no for an answer…”

We put it to the former police officer that any decision to sign Evans might have severe implications for club sponsorship. “Storm in a teacup,” he scoffed. “These things blow over. Look at Bowyer and Woodgate at Leeds United. Proper fuss and bother, but that soon went away. Well, it did when they were transferred away from Leeds, anyway. We’re Oldham, lad. If we were Leeds, I wouldn’t dream of this sort of thing, the League would burn the ground down. Look at the kerfuffle over a bit of duty on a boat. But that’s Leeds, in’t it? We won’t have same sort of fuss here, mark my words.”

So are there no misgivings, no twinges of conscience? “Look lad, don’t be daft. That’s a £3 million striker there, and we could ‘ave him for as little as £400 a week. As long as he’s not actually in a cell, he’ll do for us at that price.”

A Latics Supporters Club spokesman, when asked for his take on the matter, would only reply with a glum but defiantly brief rendition of the club’s one and only song “Come on, Old-um“, before trailing away into the Lancastrian murk.

Barry Owen is 83, though his IQ is a youthful 60.

 

Marching On Together: Please Support This Fast-Growing Leeds United Blog – by Rob Atkinson

Unrivalled support

Unrivalled support

Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything is growing rapidly. Back in September of last year, just before it was included on the News Now platform, the blog had received a total of only 13,000 hits in a little under nine months.  It was growing, but very slowly.  Now, that figure stands on the brink of the 900,000 mark. Sometime in May, if not before, somebody will register the one millionth hit. There are 1,182 WordPress followers, with an additional 2,891 following by email.  And it’ll be onwards and upwards from here.

I’m determined to see this blog continue to grow and thrive. Other projects will spring from it, notably a book about the varied fortunes of Leeds United between the Championship success of 1974 and that of 1992 – a “Full Circle” period that includes the thinly-chronicled second division years of the 1980s.  I believe that I provide a valuable service in trying to keep Leeds United fans – and others – around the world informed and amused.  Many are the comments I have had saying that this blog has cheered things up when the situation around Elland Road has seemed bleak.  It’s heart-warming and fulfilling to get feedback like that; it inspires me, as it would any writer, to carry on trying to provide what readers want.  I’m passionate about Leeds United Football Club, and I don’t hold back from communicating this in my blogs – which I try to keep coming at the rate of roughly one per day (sometimes more) where other commitments allow.

Every little helps

Every little helps

To do any and all of this, I need your help. I need individuals to read and share the blog so that those numbers continue to climb – this is so important. I also need small donors, people willing to click the PayPal button on the top right of each page, and give even a quid or two – or maybe commit to a quid or so a month – because it all helps. Many of you have been kind enough to do this already, for which I am humbly grateful – and as those people know, I always write to express that gratitude. Those who have donated £10 or more will receive a complimentary copy of the Full Circle book when it is published.

To put the value and helpfulness of small donations into context: if everybody who ever clicked on an article on this site had donated as much as 10p a time, I’d have been able to fund publication of my book under my own steam by now.  Every little counts – and there are a lot of you out there, with more joining every day.  Please help, if you can.

But as well as straightforward donations and increased readership and following, I also need people who are prepared to get more heavily involved – those who are willing and able to place adverts, sponsor sections of the blog – or even the whole thing. I would ask anybody interested in this to visit the Contacts section – and drop me a line. Again it helps the blog – and with hits running to an average of 25,000 a week and rising, it should be of benefit to you and your business, too.  And I know that there are some extremely enterprising and successful people out there, following this and other blogs – well, you’d be extremely welcome on board here.  But hurry – if Signor Cellino nips in first for a full site sponsorship, I can hardly say no!  And I believe he does have a few bob to spare…

This blog is going places.  I really believe that. It’s just a matter of time – and of how much support and encouragement I can hope to receive from my valued readers and fellow Leeds United fans. So, please help if you can – become a Friend of the Blog. Join in and get on board, and let’s make a big success.  Respond to the articles, join in the debates that ensue.  There are exciting times ahead – Leeds United may be about to turn a corner, so let’s all go forward and succeed together.  I’m actually thinking of instituting a Friends of the Blog list – and I’m open to any other suggestions for helping Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything keep on growing and thriving.

Last, but not least – to my small but dedicated band of trolls, the ones who write in so often and so passionately – but for my eyes alone (as their input hardly ever sees the light of day) – do not worry; none of this is aimed at you! You just continue to entertain me and make me laugh, if you will; I require nothing more from you.  You certainly help with the blog’s readership figures – but my request for actual help and support is aimed at true Leeds United fans and friends and followers of the blog.  Thanks, though –  I’m glad we could clear that up…

Ciao – Siamo Leeds.  Marciando Avanti Insieme