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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Dirty Leeds: 7 Days of Football (11/05/10)

In what will become a weekly feature of Dirty Leeds during the Summer and into next season, lets have a look back at the last 7 days of footballing news;

The only place to start really, Leeds finally escaped the dreaded pit of despair that is League One and in typical Leeds United fashion, it was far from straight forward and at one point had a grown man close to tears... To say that Daryl Duffy's goal rocked me to my very core would be the biggest understatement since Gary Neville revealed he 'admired' David Beckham. If the front man had ran into the crowd following his goal and stabbed me in the chest, I can't imagine it would have hurt more than watching him reel away in celebration of a goal that threatened to unravel 9 months of hard work and condemn Leeds to another season in oblivion.

What happened next was something that even the most long-standing of Whites supporters would consider a 'rarity'. Leeds United's players stood as one and mirrored the passion and desire that their supporters are famed for. Fighting back from the brink of disaster to the most glorious occasion Elland Road has witnessed since 1992... and the rest is history!

A quick mention to each and every player who has participated for Leeds United this season - Thank You!

Ever the epicentre of an argument, a less than sober Ken Bates belittled Merseyside's second club at the club's End of Season Dinner on Saturday night. Alledgedly claiming that Jermaine Beckford still has time to reconsider a Summer move to a "two-bob" club like Everton and stay with Leeds United. 

If money wasn't a factor, then I'd say you have a point Ken. However with Jermaine now 28 years old he needs to fund his future and unless you can relocate your cheque book then nobody can blame the lad for looking after number one. Jermaine has his critics but for a man who has been undoubtedly the single most important player for the club since our relegation form The Premiership and scored the two most legendary goals in our recent history, he owes Leeds United a sum total of - Nothing!

Never has such an over-hyped game been shown so much apathy. Seriously, did anybody outside East Manchester or North London really care which team finished fourth in The Premiership? Strangely more attention was on the fact that Liverpool had dropped out of the 'Big four', rather than which team would replace them. For the record Spurs won 1-0, thanks to a late Peter Crouch header. Again, the real story is where do the Anfield club go from here?

Having entered administration some two months ago with debts rumoured to be around £119M, the South Coast club have now fallen closer to the black hole of extinction with reports of them haemorrhaging £7.5M each month. Quite how they will fair with the lack of regular income between now and August is anybody's guess. Player sales will undoubtedly be rapid and at a fraction of their true worth and funds will fall a long way short of the required millions to stem the flow... Apparently looking at a 17 point deduction before the season even starts in August, one has to question if the club will even make it that far, or will the life support machine be switched off??

Up until the infamous Summer of 2007, point deductions in the English game were a thing of legend, something only found in a small annotation in record books from way back when. Since the Football League dropped the unprecedented sanction of 15 points upon Leeds the day before the start of the new season, several clubs have fallen victim of the new 'toy' of the powers that be. Luton, Bournemouth, Rotherham, Southampton, Crystal Palace amongst others have all been hit with similar sanctions. Admittedly, the rules for entering administration are clear to all and few clubs can have a complaint when the 'minus 10' letter arrives in the post.

Strangely this week Hartlepool United were hit with a 3 point deduction just days before the final day of the season, throwing any plans of winding down, out of the window by dropping them deep into a relegation battle! The reason they were deducted 3 points was due to fielding an ineligible player, who should still have been serving a suspension. Clearly an admin error on someone's part. As it turned out the sanction was irrelevant and The Pools survived on goal difference, condemning Gillingham to the basement division.

Now all this seems perfectly straight forward but if you cast your mind back a few years when West Ham United 'knowingly' played Carlos Tevez in the majority of their games, even though they didn't own the player. The Premier League (Its worth noting the different governing body) decided, after much deliberation that no points would be deducted, thus relegating Sheffield United by the finest of margins; a single goal. Where's the justice in that!? Is it because nobody will really notice if Hartlepool are deducted points, are they too far North to even worry about?

Its also worth remembering that Leeds did something similar at Burnley a few years ago by fielding one too many loan players, although Leeds lost that game, points remained intact.

This seemingly 'random' approach to points deduction and sanctions needs to be clarified for everyone, sooner rather than later.

In the recent General Elections, a major topic has been that of Welfare, and the ridiculous way that this Countries Government's pay out to the terminally lazy and general under-achievers. Its a hot-topic, and probably one that almost won the Tories the vote!

As 'unbelievable' as the majority of tax payers see the current welfare system, The Premier League have adopted one of their own... Currently, clubs relegated from The Premier League into The Championship receive £16M over 2 seasons in 'parachute' payments. These payments are said to 'bridge the gap' in the difference of revenue between the two leagues, allowing clubs to restructure and adapt to their new, lower income. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. Clubs spend all the cash trying to get back and end up where Southampton are. Portsmouth have already been given theirs for next season!!

Inexplicably, and for reasons that I can't grasp at the minute, it has been decided that relegated clubs (Clubs that have FAILED remember) will now receive a whopping £48M over the next 4 seasons following relegation!! Such ridiculous decisions are usually associated with UEFA and their 'rigged' seeding systems. What this new ruling is to achieve, apart from further alienate the lesser clubs in The Football League pyramid, is anybody's guess. Surely the idiots in suits can see that throwing money at the Premier League clubs further diminishes the sense of competition and the integrity of the game. Why not share the wealth equally between the four divisions? What chance have the likes of Millwall or Swindon (should they win promotion) or Leeds for that matter, have against a team who has £48M to spend? Rigged Deck!

Now its obvious that Chelsea are a very good footballing team and are deservedly Champions of England but for Wigan Athletic to be hammered 8-0 in supposedly the 'strongest' league in the world is an absolute shambles. Lets not forget, this is the same team that shipped 9 at White Hart Lane earlier in the season. They should be relegated by default and replaced by a team that can actually call themselves 'professional'.

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