Tag: Leeds United

Match Of The Week 2: Arsenal 1-0 Leeds United

There remains a sense of great expectations surrounding Leeds United. To get a feel for the root cause for this, we only need to spin back four decades, when Don Revie’s team lost out on the Football League Championship to Derby County but managed a little solace in winning the FA Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley. Times have changed since then, of course. In the intervening forty years, Leeds United have been relegated, bounced back, won the last English title before the induction of the Premier League, plummeted back to the third tier of the English league system and only narrowly avoided closure before resurfacing in the Championship, their ambition thwarted, yet undiminished. Perhaps it is this sense of grandeur which, in recent years, seen the club over-perform against superior opposition. Two years ago, they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and gave Spurs a game and a half before succumbing after a replay. This time last year, they faced a trip to The Emirates Stadium to play Arsenal and again managed a draw before slipping up at home in a replay. Whatever limitations the Leeds United teams of the last couple of seasons may have had, they always seem capable of giving those bigger clubs a game in a one-off cup match. If psychology counts for great deal in football, then it could even be argued that,...

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Is The Worm Starting To Turn? Cardiff Fans Walk Out Of Elland Road

In some respects it was inevitable that a group of fans would collectively reach a breaking point, and take a stand at the way supporters are treated by many professional clubs. However the fact that it happened at Elland Road yesterday, and the Cardiff City fans concerned ended up boycotting the end of a game where they had already paid was still a surprise. Cardiff City fans don’t have the greatest of reputations, most notably due to the actions of the Soul Crew – one of the most notorious of the hooligan firms of the 70s, 80s and 90s – and matches between the Bluebirds and Leeds United have had flashpoints in the past (most notably the FA Cup Third Round game between the two in 2002. However, while I would never defend nor condone hooliganism, not every Cardiff City fan is a hooligan. In fact the vast majority of Bluebirds fans are law abiding citizens, and most of their away following just want to follow their team round the country, like fans of most teams. In fact, the club has brought in so many effective measures designed to reduce hooliganism at Cardiff games, that they are the current holders of the title “Football League Family Club of the Year” However, unlike fans from most other teams, Cardiff City fans have to jump through the more than the occasional...

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Who Owns Leeds United? How Football Documentaries Should Be Made

Many years ago, I listened to prize-winning author and ultra-famous Arsenal fan Nick Hornby reading extracts from the book which made his name, Fever Pitch. And the reading was a disappointment. Hornby was good, but just not as funny as the voice, indeterminate and certainly not my own, in which I’d read the original. The same disappointment arose when listening to speeches by Guardian journalist David Conn. Conn is a decent speaker – even when “10-minute” speeches to Supporters Direct conferences exceed half-an-hour, but his words spoke louder from the page in the voice inside my head. This I know to be unfair, after watching the long-heralded documentary Who Owns Leeds United, which aired on October 10th in the BBC’s Yorkshire and Lincolnshire area. For the core material of the programme overpowered concerns about presentation, and the presentation itself was of a standard to which all football documentaries should aspire. The twenty-nine minutes on Leeds’ recent ownership history focused its attention, for reasons lawyers may be best-placed to describe, on the club’s current owner, Kenneth William Bates. Conn told the story of their ownership, since the departure of former chairman Mr Peter Ridsdale esq, with a refreshing clarity. And while the story contained nothing new to close observers of Leeds since 2004 – which would include many readers of this site – it would have provided valuable insight to...

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The People’s Republic Of Elland Road

What on earth is happening at Leeds? I was at Elland Road last Saturday among 600 Pompey fans and the change in atmosphere since last season was palpable. Last year, the atmosphere impressed with fans in good voice and scarves whirling. This year, though, Elland Road is not a happy place, evidenced by the draconian, 1980s style crowd control methods and the strangely messianic images of the club’s chairman in his seat flashed onto the big screen above our heads. It somehow felt we had intruded onto someone else’s battlefield. Ken Bates seems to be stirring up something of a furore among the Leeds faithful since somehow finding the cash to name himself owner of the club at the end of last season. In a flurry of accusations regarding, “The scaremongering arising out of the football governance enquiry” in The Guardian last May, the suggestively pictured Mr Bates did the right thing and married his name to the club. All very well and good you might think – at least he’s made an honest club out of Leeds and maybe now it will be a case of happily ever after. Since then Mr Bates has seemed keen to stamp his authority on the marriage. He is unhappy with media intrusion into the matter and, having taken a side-swipe at the already banned Guardian’s David Conn, ‘the ‘international enemy of Leeds United’...

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Supporters’ Trusts: Some Hard Questions

This weekend the saga of Trust ownership at Wrexham extends. Plymouth Argyle struggle to find an ownership solution to coming out of administration. In the tales of duplicity and ineptness that abound behind these stories, the arguments in favour of the Supporters Trust movement are strengthened. Supporters’ Direct have made clear and cogent points that substantiate these arguments in their recent briefing papers. Yet are Supporters’ Trusts always best placed to take over at their clubs? The current state of financial governance in football does not make for an even playing field for supporter owned clubs. It takes tough customers to have the tenacity to stick with the principles of the Supporter Owned Model when the financial structure of the game allows your business opponents a head start in the competition, despite the fact that they often put the very existence of their ‘business’ at risk, as Supporters’ Direct’s analysis shows. The recent government enquiry into football governance opened its evaluation of supporter ownership with the bald statement, ‘The examples of bad ownership are sufficiently numerous to point to systemic failure. A case can be made that, rather than tighter regulation, a more fundamental ownership change is required.’ The report continues,  ‘The supporters trust ownership model appears to us to be one of the positive developments in English football.’ This is encouraging but the recommendations of the enquiry do little...

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