For starters, this isn’t usually my type of blog but being that I live just a couple of blocks away from the ground and used to support them (keywords there are “used to”) so I’d figured I’d give my say on things. I should note that I am writing this following Leeds loss to Blackburn Rovers tonight (October 29 2015). A game which saw Blackburn take the lead inside the first 20 seconds in the first half and a game which saw Leeds failing to win at home again since February.
Growing up as a kid, I used to be a Leeds fan. I had the shirts and I attended the odd match whenever my friend was in town (a friend who supports Tottenham). I remember the first game I went to was when Leeds were in the Premier League playing Arsenal who went on to destroy Leeds 5-0. Not exactly the way you want to see your favourite team play in your first ever game at attendance. But as the years went on, and my friend required surgery, I stopped attending games but this was long before all the crap that’s happening nowadays.
It wasn’t that long ago that Leeds were in League One. 2009 to be exact. The same league that had Norwich City & Southampton (both now in the Premier League). And if I remember it correctly, the club was being run by Ken Bates at the time, the same man that bought Chelsea for £1 back in 1982, who fans hated. So much that they would protest on a regular basis. It’s kinda sad nowadays that some fans on Twitter who actually want Bates to return.
And now Leeds are owned by Massimo Cellino. A batsh*t Italian who had previously owned Cagliari for 22 years. During his time there, Massimo would work with 36 managers and earned the nickname “Il mangia-allenatori” which stands for “The Manager Eater”. Think it’s safe to say that Leeds fans can use that nickname as he’s already worked with 6 managers in his nearly 2 years as owner. Now I’ve heard arguments that Massimo picks the players he wants and not what the manager… sorry “Head Coach” wants. Just look at some of the signings made in the 2014 Summer Transfer Window. Most of the signings, I think, didn’t even play for the first team in the league and were used either for cup games or for the Under-21 squad. I would argue about which signings were good and which were bad but that’s a blog for another day. This is also the same owner who, allegedly, hates paying for VAT on boats and cars which has led to him being disqualified on two occasions as owner by The Football League. Did I mention that he has been in jail for fraud on two occasions as well?
So where has it all gone wrong under Massimo. Is it his way of running a club? Is it the players not fitting into the club? Is there problems behind the scenes? I guess I’ll never know but I’m assuming the diehard Leeds fans do.
It’s reasons like this that I started doing what is known in the football world as “Doing the 92” where you visit all 92 clubs in the top four divisions in England. Only I changed the rules slightly as I am looking for the team that I feel comfortable supporting. As it stands, I have visited 19 out of 92 and am currently supporting AFC Wimbledon, a team in League Two which is owned by Wimbledon Football Club Supporters Society Limited aka “The Dons Trust”. Basically, it’s a team owned by the fans which is something that I like.
Just look at Blackpool’s owner, Karl Oyston. Here’s an owner who clearly hates the fans, allegedly, or loves tormenting them. Exhibit A in why he’s hated can be summed up in this video by Copa90 which does a better job at summing up everything than I can -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXKCjTRy9OI. Exhibit B is this audio clip from The Football Ramble after Blackpool’s game against Huddersfield Town back in May -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XelfF7pOOXE
Another example of bad/hated football owners in today’s game is Mike Ashley, a man who Newcastle United fans have been begging for years for him to leave. So much that fans have protested in and outside St James’ Park. If there’s anyone else I have missed then please let me know
Overall, football today has clearly changed in the last 10/15 years. Whether it be owners, ticket prices, clubs going into administration or Sky Sports thinking they created football in 1992, it will never be the same.
For someone else’s opinions on Leeds then check out this article by Rob Stkinson -> http://roblufc.org/2015/10/29/if-youre-loyal-to-cellinos-leeds-united-youre-a-mug-by-rob-atkinson/