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Tuesday, 3 August 2010

-15 Points, Three Years On…


This coming Sunday marks the 3rd anniversary of the 15 point sanction that Leeds United incurred from The Football League. Leeds were guilty of breaking a rule that didn’t exist, but were left with little option other than to accept the punishment, just 24 hours before the season was due to commence at Prenton Park. The incredibly steep sanction brought to an end one of the most miserable close seasons in the clubs history, a period when even the most intellectually challenged Whites became overly familiar with the terms; “Golden Share”, “CVA”, “HMRC” and discovered who exactly who, Lord Brian Mawhinney was.

I don’t wish to delve into the rights and wrongs of the sanction, the court case and the subsequent “Kop out” from The Football League, that’s been covered from every corner already. The main questions for me are, would we have taken our current situation the morning of that game at Tranmere? and had we started on zero would we be where we are now?

Fifteen points adrift at the foot of League One (The club’s lowest ever position), a partially assembled team of free agents, youth graduates and players on high wages that the club were unable to move on. Understandably, most supporters were just grateful to have a team to support, as the carnage of the Summer became clear the moment the team was announced on that opening day.

So here we are, once again a Championship club with a capable squad that should more than hold their own, in what is not an especially strong division this year. Would you have taken this in 2007? Most would agree that Leeds made hard work of escaping the clutches of the third tier, but given the upheaval that had preceded their arrival, was it really unexpected? With the majority of the “football family” predicting another relegation for The Whites back then, well, when they all ceased their celebration and self-congratulatory appraisal, at the disaster they’d landed upon us, that is.

So what if the power-mad imbeciles at The Football League had a pair of testicles or didn’t hate Leeds United and/or Ken Bates so much? What if the rest of the members had voted in our favour at the ‘Kangaroo Court’? instead of smugly pointing the finger or greedily clapping their hands at the prospect of inflated gate receipts for at least another season – Where would we be now? I’d guess, probably not too far away from where we currently find ourselves, although the current squad is better equipped for the second tier than the one that failed at Wembley against Doncaster.

Personally, I found the “Minus 15” season one of the most enjoyable we’ve had, probably only surpassed by the season just gone. However, writing this and reliving the anger and despair that the rest of British football inflicted upon me and Leeds United, I can confirm that I’m still very bitter about the whole situation and that I will never have any sympathy for clubs who find themselves in similar situations…

How much did the “Minus 15” affect Leeds United?? Not much…

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  1. Was a dark dark time, so glad its over!

  2. The darkest days, club was on the verge of extinction with no friends, the only thing that kept us was the togetherness of the fans, and the oneness of the team, the fact that we felt a huge wrong had been inflicted on the club, we made the play off final that year, and it was, indeed, a bridge to far, but that -15 season had its ups and downs, Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet chucking it in, at the end of January, Gary Mac getting us to the final, if we hadn't had the -15 we would have gone up, the greed of the league chairmen rubbing there hands together because of the huge pay check Leeds United always generates, all I can say is what goes around comes around, Leeds are in a lot better position financially than a lot of other clubs, and the mess the Ridsdale has left Cardiff City in shows how not to run a football club

    MOT Leeds for the premier...2011

  3. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves, Leeds tried taking the p1 ss and playing the system. Whether the rule was legal/in place etc is irrelevant. You gambled years before and lost. It would be unfair on any other team in either division for you not to have had points deducted. Good luck this year tho.

  4. How many team do gamble these days then?

  5. Gambling's not wrong, but accept the consequences

  6. Leeds did!
    -10 points at the end of the season they went down and further -15 points the next season after. Don`t you think it`s a little to much?

  7. Its how it was done, take your club coulours off for a second, if it was another team..... It was attempted piss taking, as the football league, and to be fair the majority of football supporters saw it.

  8. I feel the opposite. I'll always have sympathy for clubs, especially smaller clubs, hit with big points deductions. No fans deserve that.

  9. William, I agree, from a fans point of view, we all just support our clubs with all our hearts, however, bad and deliberatley misleading miss management needs to be punished in fairness to often smaller clubs who are often run on a genuine tight budget.
    If not previously large successful clubs like leeds think they can get away with anything.


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