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Thursday, 29 April 2010 - Press Release

Press release: Leeds fans demand transparency
Leeds, April 29, 2010: Leeds United fans are striking a blow to remove the cloak of secrecy that shrouds the League One club.
A group of fans, informally called the Campaign for Change, have identified ten key areas of concern along with a list of relevant questions about the direction the club is taking and are demanding answers from current chairman Ken Bates.
The issues of concern can be seen at the website and on Saturday, April 24, 12,000 leaflets with a condensed set of ten questions and 9,000 stickers were distributed among fans before the club’s 4-1 victory over MK Dons.
Such was the fan interest in the ‘tenforken’ questions at the MK Dons game, that on top of the planned 4,000 leaflets for the Charlton game, there will be a further 40,000 leaflets distributed at the Bristol Rovers game.
The ‘tenforken’ initiative came on the back of an open ‘Lorimer’s Bar’ forum with fans at Elland Road last Tuesday, where Ken Bates and his self-awarded reputation for no-nonsense straight-talking, looked a little shaky under direct questioning.
Replying to fans' concerns on a wide range of subjects, the Monaco-based tax exile surprised some in the audience when he:
  • Confirmed that he didn't have a clue who owned the club, saying it was 'tough' if disgruntled fans felt they had nowhere to take their concerns.
  • Said that in the current climate no one would lend money to football clubs, so his plans for a ‘Leeds Village’ hotel and shopping project are stalled.
  • Refused to take any responsibility for the club’s failure to re-purchase the Thorp Arch training complex (sold by the previous regime to raise funds) or the fact that, five years on, neither of his stated twin aims of ownership of Elland Road and Thorp Arch have been achieved.
  • Alleged that Leeds had, as yet, received no money at all from Aston Villa for the summer sale of Fabian Delph, almost a year after the player was sold.
Questions at the meeting reflected growing discontent with a regime which has seen Leeds United at its lowest ever league position, with many questions remaining unanswered about the identity of the club’s owners, planning projects, court costs for libel cases, the status of the club’s Yorkshire Radio station, investment, pricing and priorities.
A spokesperson for the fan campaign said: “For the last ten years Leeds United fans have been kept in the dark by a succession of chairmen and owners about the state of the club. We demand greater transparency on key issues such as how the club is run and where our financial support goes – and that demand will extend not only to Ken Bates’s tenure but also to subsequent owners.”
Notes to editors: 
The Campaign For Change was formed by a small group of concerned fans from all Leeds United supporters groups with an initial meeting on Wednesday April 14, 2010. Some seventy people joined the initial meeting and pledges of support have reached the thousands since.
The movement is a democratic process that will see all fans who support the issues having a say on future campaigns and action.
For further information see:


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Ken blinks first??

Yesterday it became apparent that Leeds United had secured a deal to have Leeds' monumental clash with Charlton 'beamed' back to Elland Road's big screen so Whites fans who weren't lucky enough to secure a seat at The Valley were able to watch the game live from The East Stand.

If that wasn't enough excellent news for Leeds fans, the revelation that admission would be free of charge, yes you read that correctly; For the first time in Ken Bates' five years in charge of Leeds United he was going to let a human being who wasn't on the Leeds United payroll pass into Elland Road without them having to part with any cash, property, limbs or internal organs! Just walk in and sit down!!*

*Providing you are a member or season ticket holder and you let the club know you're coming before Friday afternoon, otherwise its £5.

Ken explained on the Official site that it was a 'Thank You" to the clubs season ticket holders and members. Now call me cynical but I remember paying on both occasions to watch Leeds in the play-off games at Carlisle and Millwall in the Banqueting Suite and the Pavilion respectively. Paying to watch Leeds in a glorified living room, where the safety and staffing of such an event was a fraction of what Saturday is going to cost, not to mention that both games were on Sky Sports! What's changed Ken? Has the recent campaign of got you a little hot under the collar? Did you realise on Saturday that the 'vocal minority' is no longer a minority?

Thank you Ken, for your wonderful generosity! although as I am unable to attend do I now get a minor refund on my £450 season ticket?

Monday, 26 April 2010

Killer Watt!

Its been a long standing complaint of mine that in recent years Leeds United have been unable to sign/attract Premiership youngsters or reserve players to the club on loan. Success stories of such deals have been seen at Birmingham and Hull when Frazier Campbell and Nicklas Bendtner fired their respective temporary employers to promotion. Even this season Brentford have loaned several top flight fringe players to comfortably avoid relegation back to League 2. Meanwhile Leeds have had to make do with ageing Championship players who have been deemed surplus to requirements. I realise this isn't an exact science, the 'Premiership' tag of a borrowed player doesn't guarantee success and the odd Max Gradel is available from The Football League but young, talented players who are struggling to get into the large, expensively assembled squads of the 'Big Four' come with a certain amount of security, for all but Leeds United it would seem...

Step forward Sanchez Watt. An innocuous signing at the end of the recent 'loan window' the Arsenal loanee has been limited to cameo appearances so far and looked set to go the way of Hogan Ephraim and countless others before him, a loanee to make up the numbers. I'm sure Sanchez was as surprised as I was to learn that he was starting arguably Leeds' biggest game of the season. Drafted in at left midfield to hopefully offer Leeds pace and energy going forward, qualities so scarce at League One level. Twelve minutes had elapsed before his first telling contribution when he dispossessed his man on half way before feeding Luciano Becchio with what was probably the most accomplished through ball seen by a Leeds player all season. Luciano gobbled up the chance with his new found composure in 1-on-1 situations and Leeds were on their way!

Unfortunately he was powerless to prevent an equalising goal that again underlined Leeds' defensive frailties and let MK Dons back in the game. Thankfully that didn't prevent the lad being involved in pretty much everything Leeds did thereafter, credited with an assist for Max Gradel's goal, although how much he knew about it is debatable as the ball ricocheted  off a number of legs before falling to Max with only the goalkeeper to beat. Sanchez was so influential that Mathias Doumbe deemed it necessary to try snapping him in half with a two-footed lunge shortly before half time and was duly dismissed by referee Michael Oliver.

With more space available in the second half the front players pulled The Dons in every direction with some neat play and pacey attacking and the introduction of Jermaine Beckford signalled Simon Grayson's intent. He was duly rewarded soon after when a flowing move, again involving the impressive Watt was finished off with a sublime volley at full stretch from Leeds' leading scorer. This was the cue for Sanchez Watt to take a well earned rest and he left the field to a standing ovation, an excellent performance from the young lad on his first start in a very tense atmosphere. Leeds and Jermaine Beckford added another without him and MK Dons had two further players dismissed in an entertaining game.

Quite what Simon Grayson does with this now is open to debate, do you release Watt on Frazer Richardson at The Valley or do you opt for a more experienced professional in what is a monumental fixture for Leeds United? Personally I'd throw him in there, he can't be any worse than Gary McSheffrey and he possesses that magical fearless quality that only seems to come with youth. (or is it that top flight players can handle pressure better than their League One counterparts?)

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Thursday, 22 April 2010

"We won't do a Leeds...!" - Part 2

Back in February I had a look at the football clubs desperately trying to avoid 'Doing a Leeds!'

That particular post and Part One of this series can be found here - PART 1

Two months later and  more clubs have joined the race to imitate the Mighty Whites. It seems that all the laughing and back-slapping at Leeds' demise over the last few years has somehow drawn attention away from the fact that there were very serious lessons to be learnt from Leeds United's mismanagement. All of which have been overlooked amidst the gloating.

Individuals in the civilised world are taught in the early years of schooling the fundamentals of money, the most basic of which being that 'you can't buy what you can't afford'. However, it seems that English football is so far up its own ass, with The Premiership now a global brand and home to some of the world's best players that more than a few Chairmen now believe that they're untouchable. Believing that the most basic rule of economy, the cornerstone that civilisations have been built upon for Millennia, now no longer applies... Currently the biggest culprits are:

Portsmouth F.C.
Possibly the second biggest financial implosion of a football club (behind ourselves) in living memory. Guilty of over spending on transfer fees, wages and 'Chasing the dream'. The hierarchy at Fratton Park deemed that an improved squad of players would ensure Premiership revenue for the foreseeable future and gambled thus... Unfortunately the unforeseen banking collapse and a few other factors have left the South coast club £119M in debt, in administration and struggling to stay afloat. Despite already being relegated to The Championship they have reached The F.A.Cup Final for the 2nd time in 3 seasons but have seen another financial lifeline severed today when they were refused permission to compete in next season's Europa League due to their financial problems. Quite what the future holds for 'Pompey' this Summer is unclear but a brief look at Leeds United's horrific close season in 2007 might shed some light on the matter.

Southend United
Escaped a 'winding up' order this week when they successfully scraped together £370,000 (approx.) for our old friends at H.M.R.C. I'm assuming the money was saved by not paying their players on time for the last few months. Odds on for relegation to the basement division in the next week or so, it doesn't appear that this will be the end of the troubles at Roots Hall. Another club that got excited after promotion to The Championship and is now clinging on to existence.

Liverpool F.C.
You might think that this is a surprise inclusion but when your millionaire owners put the club up for sale, something is afoot. Destined to miss out on the money-spinning Champions League places this season after already cutting the gravy train short at the group stages this year. The Anfield faithful could be set for some rocky times as Roberto Mancini lines up Fernando Torres and surely Steven Gerrard's undying love for all things 'scouse' will be put to the test this Summer. If that wasn't bad enough they're lumbered with a 2nd rate manager, sat on a £15M contract and refusing to admit defeat. Subsequently they find themselves in a very expensive and damaging catch 22 situation. I'm not suggesting that financial implosion is on the horizon but it could certainly be a lean few years for 'The Kop'.

Cardiff City F.C.
Like a bad smell that won't go away, Peter Ridsdale's Welsh inbreds have seemingly been on death row for an eternity. Several court hearings have come and gone, lies, apologies, more lies and cover-ups have left The Bluebirds on a precipice. Putting all their hopes in a successful Play-off campaign that will see a bank-busting promotion to The Premiership and thus solving any financial problems is all that remains (you'd have thought Mr Ridsdale would have learnt not to put all his goldfish in one tank by now). Failure to secure promotion will hopefully put them to the sword in the coming months and Ridsdale will finally have to start telling the truth.

As usual there are lots of other Chairmen nationwide blindingly claiming "We won't do a Leeds!" and convincing supporters and the public alike that their club is not in a financial mess... I'm sure as the season comes to a close these cracks will start to appear...

Just a quick note, since my last post on this matter Chester City have ceased to exist. Victims of more men in suits playing Russian roulette with historic football clubs. Likely to be the first of several smaller outfits who disappear off the face of the Earth (perhaps Bob Geldoff will form a charity to save endangered clubs). As crazy as that notion is, its likely to happen before the Football Association realise that Mr Murdoch's billions are  only serving the elite few whilst the smaller clubs that hold the whole thing up are scraping their pennies together in order to 'Live the dream..'

Perhaps the fact that English football is slowly slipping the way their Italian counterparts went in the early part of the Millennium will provide a wake up call. No teams in the last four of The Champions League, the 'Big Four' consistently losing top players to La Liga and all of this whilst the 20 top flight clubs carry a debt that is more than the leading leagues from Spain, Italy and Germany combined.

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Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Leeds United are too big for League One players

After taking 72 hours to let the horror and indescribable disappointment of Saturday sink in, I thought that my mood would have stabilised enough to write a balanced article on Leeds' latest spineless performance. Unfortunately the sight or thought of anything remotely related to Leeds United or football in general sparks a now familiar series of emotions... Firstly the cold, sinking feeling as the whole situation is re-run for the thousandth time in my head, immediately followed by anger at the fact that it has come down to this, no room for error and staring a Play-off Semi Final nightmare with Huddersfield square in the face!

If getting comprehensively turned over by a bottom six side who lost almost half their team to injury and suspension before kick wasn't bad enough, losing to them when you're supposed to be pushing for promotion and cementing your place in the top two is inexcusable. In fact its laughable when you consider we've passed up similar opportunities this season on at least half a dozen occasions. All of this tempered on Saturday afternoon by living 200 yards form Spotland and having to listen to Rochdale fans celebrate promotion (very meekly it must be added).

Its at this point where I'd usually claim "Never before have I seen a Leeds side so spineless etc" but unfortunately its a trait that has become synonymous with the white shirt in recent years, its not just the high profile collapses in Cardiff or Wembley (or any fixture that contains the word 'Final'), invite more than 30,000 people to Elland Road and every Leeds player suddenly realises they've left there vertebrae in their other kitbag!!

I believe that the term 'Leeds United are too big for League One' does hold some water. Now before all the Norwich City and Swindon Town fans get upset again I'd like to explain myself by updating the statement; 'Leeds United are too big for League One players!' I think its fair to say that fans of any club expect 100% commitment, 100% of the time. At Elland Road that just isn't enough, players are expected to perform consistently and effectively whilst playing their part in a successful team, and rightly so. No disrespect to the likes of Swindon but their fans are surely delighted to be the dark horse this season and had a play-off place been offered back in August a large majority of all connected with the club would surely have been ecstatic. Fans at Elland Road would have broke down in tears...

Leeds players are paid well above the average for this league and enjoy some of the top training facilities in Europe. Unfortunately that doesn't make them better players, give them more mental strength nor does it mould players who can handle the expectation heaped upon them and use it as a catalyst to excel themselves... I'm not sure those players exist in the bottom half of English football's 'top heavy' pyramid. As a result, for Leeds United to get out of League One (should we not squeeze into The Championship this season) surely we have to do away with the ridiculous game plan of trying to achieve promotion 'on the cheap', Southampton have proved this season that investment in quality players really does work and this league isn't just about battling your way to promotion. Its not a coincidence that the last three winners of Coca-Cola League One have all been excellent footballing teams; Swansea, Leicester and now Norwich. The former two now in the upper echelons of The Championship. At the end of the day it comes down to a massive lack of investment... but that's an argument for another day!

My recent article on the amount of players Leeds United have loaned in the last six seasons just serves to underline the problem and prove that no football club achieves anything purely on tactics, attendance figures, history or borrowing players that other clubs have deemed surplus to requirements. Players either have the ability to cope with the pressure of a demanding crowd or they don't. Unfortunately the players that can cost money and are rarely available for loan.

For more Leeds United discussion join the Dirty Leeds message boards at

Friday, 16 April 2010

Leeds v Gillingham Preview

As NewsNow failed to list the recent post, you can find the article here;

Thanks, Dirty Leeds.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Leeds Vs Gillingham Preview


Last 3 Results -

Leeds United

Carlisle 1 Leeds 3 (Becchio (2), Gradel)
Leeds 2 Southend 0 (Gradel, Becchio)
Yeovil 1 Leeds 2 (Naylor (2) )

Gillingham Fc

Gillingham 1 Brighton 1 (Miller)
Millwall 4 Gillingham 0
Gillingham 3 Southend 0 (Oli, Howe, Barcham)

Last time Leeds United played Gillingham, on 19th September 2009, we were 2 points clear of Charlton and easing into this promotion business. 2 goals from the in form Bradley Johnson, one from Jonny Howson and a strike from Jermaine Beckford helped Leeds climb to a 4-1 victory over our Southern opponents and all was well. 6 months on, we're still in the frame for promotion and clawing our way back into it, showing the famous Leeds United 'keep on fighting' mentality. We are it seems, finally getting back on track. Every game is once again being described as the 'biggest game of the season', in relation to our promotion bid. The doom and gloom of defeat to Millwall little over a month ago is being washed dry, but also kept as a reminder to not be complacent in the league. Wins over Southend and Carlisle are finally putting the wheels back on the bus and the expectations of Leeds fucking it up once again are slowly disappearing. This has been the same after many runs of defeat have ended after a win, but now it seems a little more real. Maybe after so many years of mediocrity and underperforming, we will finally be rewarded. Have any of the other promotion candidates had a season as emotionally tiring as us? Top of the league by 11 points at one stage, fucking it up, beating Scum at the Theatre of Wet dreams and our position in the league yo-yoing constantly. Many are calling this game more important than any other this season and it could well be. Millwall, the form team, seem to be slowly taking their foot off the pedal, Swindon are possibly startiing to do the same and Norwich are looking more and more complacent each time a fixture comes up that they're expected to win. We wouldn't dare go and win it would we? Promotion this year has always been the key aspiration to us and this is starting to be shown in our performances. Players are starting to grind down and work again, playing football we like to see.

Leeds' In Form Player ~
Luciano Becchio -
Luciano Becchio was thought to have joined Patrick Kisnorbo on the sidelines after a bad injury at Norwich, but has made an inspirational comeback to the team. After Jermaine Beckford suffered a loss of form, Becchio filled his boots at Brunton Park, disappointing many six fingered urchins, scoring 2 goals to go with the one he scored vs Southend. Becchio is linking up well with Gradel and the workforce between the two is nothing short of incredible. Gradel reminds some fans of ex peroxide wonder Alan Smith and the comparisons aren't too far off. Becchio wins the headers in the air and the ability to find Gradel with them is perfect. Many wondered how the departure of Jermaine Beckford will affect Leeds United, but every cloud has a silver lining.

Gillingham Key Player ~
Simeon Jackson -
Jackson was seen a possible replacment for Beckford, some even thought he was out of our league after Premier League teams sniffed around the Canadian international. Jackson has showed brilliant ability at this level, but it is unknown whether he'd be able to perform in a higher league. His strength and and heading are resemblant to that of Becchio, but with the pace and shooting ability, there is a likeness to Jermaine Beckford. Jackson has had a good 1st season in League 1, netting 14 goals in 38 appearances and many of Gillingham's points have come from Jackson saving them time after time.

Mo's Prediction -

Leeds are in good form, but Gillingham have a brilliant home record. Unfortunately for Gillingham, they also have players injured, so I'm going for a 2-0 Leeds win.

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Thursday, 8 April 2010

Lionel Messi: A New Breed of Footballer...

The phrase 'World Class' is used on a daily basis in football, Andy Gray and his colleagues file anything that passes over a goal-line within an inch or two or the woodwork or a ball that reaches its destination without bouncing firmly into the 'World Class' drawer. Protagonists are even encouraged to 'Take a bow' for their magnificent feats and ability. In reality, most of those superlatives are penned in the heat of the moment and on reflection few players manage to reach such a pinnacle that they can be referred to as 'World Class' and only a fraction of those manage to maintain such an accolade.

"Is Lionel Messi the best player this planet has ever seen...??"

Depending on their age, any football fan asked to name the three best players of all time would undoubtedly mention some of the following names; Diego Maradonna, Pele, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldinho, George Weah, Kaka, Marco Van Basten or even Cristiano Ronaldo, your grandparents might mention legends such as George Best, Bobby Moore, Puskas or Jairzinho. It seems this season another name can not only be added to that illustrious list of talent but possibly be placed at the summit; Is Lionel Messi the best player this planet has ever seen??

At 22, the Argentine has come of age, currently on form with 16 goals in 9 games (including 3 hat-tricks) in a season that has so far returned 39 goals from just 42 appearances, he has shone on the highest club stage and even scored in The Champions League Final with a 'World Class' header beyond Edwin Van Der Sar, much to the delight of the majority of Great Britain. Granted he plays in arguably the world's best team and isn't required to do any of the defensive work a lesser outfit would demand of him but based on sheer technical ability and the skill of putting the ball in the net has anybody ever come close to a player that is probably still five years from his prime?

Its easy to overreact to such brilliance, especially when the closest rival for the accolade is a lady-boy Portuguese cheat who spends the majority of his time tricking referees and rolling about on the floor. Its quite possible that Messi could have an average World Cup in South Africa and that next season could well be an anti-climax. The fact that Messi is yet to light up the World stage in a major international tournament will always be the defining factor for many but he will get that opportunity in June, in a very average Argentina team.

Arsene Wenger likened Messi's performance against Arsenal on Tuesday night to "watching a Playstation game" the sheer ease that he won the game and the ability to find the net four times was made all the more impressive by the apparent humble attitude of someone blessed with talents never before seen. In some ways the fact that Manchester United suffered such an hilarious reverse on Wednesday was only tempered by the thought of Gary Neville trying to restrain Lionel Messi in the final at The Santiago Bernabeu... Oh Well...

Friday, 2 April 2010

10 years on; Never Forgotten

The 5th of April 2000 is one day that Leeds United fans will never forget. A day of tragedy and despair for fans all over the world that supported the club, that brought the game into mind. The tragic deaths of Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight, stabbed by Galatasary fans, simply for wanting to watch a game of football, brought a whole new spin on the game. I remember watching as an 8 year old on Channel 5 news, which the game was to be staged on later that evening, seeing rioting, fighting and wondering what was going on. My Dad walked out of the room, tears in his eyes, after hearing of 2 Leeds fans being stabbed to death ahead of the game for no reason. At that age, you're too young to fully understand what's gone on, but I had the general gist of it. We watched the news reports in silence and the coverage of what happened still brings grown men to tears today. It only seems like yesterday that this atrocious disaster happened, but it will never be forgotten. Nobody should die going to watch the team they love, no matter what. The muderer that comitted this crime is allowed to walk free and accept no criminal responsibility, disgustingly, even after blood from Kevin and Chris was found on a knive during a raid of his house. It's moments like the death of Kevin and Chris that make you wonder about the important things in life, football comes last every time in instances like this. I urge every Leeds fan that reads this to get down to Elland Road on Monday and pay your respects. Be it flowers or just being there, please show your respects for the tragic deaths of two of your fellow supporters. At the Yeovil game, Leeds fans will be standing with their backs to the pitch, as they did on that horrible night 10 years ago. Maybe you could do this in your front room, your pub, wherever you choose to watch this game. The quest for justice is still ongoing, try to do your part if possible: . I leave you with a poem dedicated to Chris and Kevin, never forget. MOT

I dreamed I saw Chris and Kevin
Down at Elland road today
Said I but lads your some years gone
We never left said they
We never left said they

Still stunned and dreamy I asked of them
Why do you you linger still?
Your love and kindness is our bread
We stayed to eat our fill
We stayed to eat our fill

Is this just one last show from you
Then forever you're away
It's true you may not see us here
But here we'll always stay
But here we'll always stay
So tell us what's your darkness then
Pray tell us where's your light
It's darkest when your heads go down
When you sing our world is bright
When you sing our world is bright

But are we not just mortals lads
Who's time will pass us by?
Our kin and Leeds are part of us
A part that will not die
A part that will not die

I dreamed I saw Chris and Kevin
Down at Elland Road today
Said I but lads you're some years gone
We never left said they
We never left said they

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