And so after the initial buzz of the possible takeover, follows the period of doubt, denial and conspiracy theories; some Leeds fans who viewed today’s clash between Spain and Italy as a potential scouting opportunity only a week ago, are now nervously contemplating a return to the League One wilderness under the steady leadership of Redders and the captaincy of Danny Pugh.
Almost two weeks of silence from a man who typically requires an injunction to keep his mouth shut, should be cause for optimism amongst the supporters, although sadly that concept has long since departed on the final ‘Ambition Express’ service which pulled out of Leeds on a tour a mediocre Championship outfits several years back. Will it ever return?
We need developments and fast; both for the forthcoming season and for our sanity. No news may well be good news, but for how much longer? Moreover, it makes penning a takeover diary a bloody nightmare…
Mercifully, at least from this standpoint, there’s no shortage of other things to moan about at Elland Road. So here it is, the takeover-lite ‘110 Days of Torture in Review: The Takeover Diary – Part 2’…
Monday 4th June
After the social media meltdown of the previous Monday there is precious little news on the takeover front; the main point of conjecture being whether we should expect any sort of progress to be made at the start of the week, being that there’s a two-day Bank Holiday. The consensus is, that bearing in mind that the US and Monaco don’t share our public holidays, and the small matter that a potential multi-million pound deal is in the offing, then of course Leeds United aren’t going to just stop negotiations for a few days. Nevertheless, when I put on the 10 o’clock news that evening, I did find myself scrutinising the Jubilee Concert coverage, half-expecting to Shaun Harvey stood on The Mall, watching Robbie Williams on a big screen while consuming a choc ice…
The YEP offer little hope either, relegating their update on the takeover to nothing more than a footnote to another story, claiming that negotiations are likely to “gather pace” this week – journo speak for “we haven’t got a f**king clue!” The rest of the article concerned itself with a possible bid for ‘old boy’ Matthew Kilgallon; a rare glimmer of positive news and maybe a suggestion that Warnock might look to play three centre halves as our potential new 3-1-1 formation takes shape.
Following on from some of their eyebrow raising selections for United’s ‘Match of the 80s’, the YEP raise the bar for the next decade. While the inclusion of the title-clinching victories in Bournemouth and Sheffield are automatic choices, the decision to put the 1-0 league win against Manchester United ahead of the 3-1 Christmas Eve triumph is quite baffling. However, compared with the decision to eschew the 2-1 victory over Leicester in 1990 (most people’s choice) as well games such as the 6-1 demolition job at Hillsborough and the astounding 4-3 victory over Derby in favour of a Coca-Cola Cup final humiliation and the Champions League exit to Rangers beggar belief… the results promise to be intriguing.
Tom Lees is again called upon for interview duties by the official club site; expect him, Jason Pearce, Danny Pugh and (hopefully) Luciano Becchio to be called upon on a rota basis as the only players almost certain to still be here come August.
Elsewhere, the big football story surrounds Joey Barton after he’s allegedly assaulted outside a Liverpool nightclub in the early hours. On reflection, maybe it was inadvisable for a man with Manchester connections and a reputation for being a violent tit, to pick the roughest looking nightspot in Liverpool to visit?
Hey ho! At least at Leeds, we don’t have to put up with petty, publicity seeking gobshites who keep finding themselves in court…
Tuesday 5th June
Andy Lonergan is the latest player to be linked with a move out of Elland Road with Bolton boss, Owen Coyle, considering our keeper to be one of six candidates who may be good enough to warm the Bolton Wanderers bench, come August.
Meanwhile, Brighton’s Spanish full-back is Inigo Calderon is reported to be interesting Neil Warnock as he seeks to bolster our first team 5-a-side squad; naturally thoughts of Federico Bessone immediately spring to mind, a notion somewhat reinforced by the news that Simon Grayson is also keeping tabs on the player
The takeover thread on WACCOE has become a barren wasteland as posters reflect mournfully upon the days when people at least had the energy to make bollocks up that everyone else could invest their every hope into.
Wednesday 6th June
The YEP earn kudos again by laying claim to the most insensitive headline of the day by proclaiming ‘Sheffield United in running to snap up Parker’; the inclusion of the words ‘snap’, ‘running’ and ‘Parker’ an all familiar notion for long suffering Ben.
Keen to keep fans abreast with all the big news through the summer, the official site offers up more happy tidings in terms of some very special treats for special fathers on June 17th. Yet another ‘unique’ opportunity to dine in the Nicky Chapman suite whilst listening to a saxophonist (seriously, who else offers anything comparable?) is available, but remember to book early as places are limited… it is believed a package upgrade that includes a trial at Thorp Arch for the under 35s will be available on the day
For those who’ve had their fill of underwhelming, saxophonist soundtracked dining experiences, a special offer of a free 1975 European Cup final DVD with every retro shirt purchased is sure to tempt a fan base, clearly starved of opportunities to wallow in misery.
Still no word on the ‘end of season’ DVD review, oddly enough…
Thursday 7th June
Walker Morris’ crack team of lawyers take a break from talking to American shysters for a quick saunter over to the courts where the latest Ken Bates case verdict is delivered. Melvyn Levi is awarded £10,000 in damages by the judge who labels our chairman as “boorish” man who exhibited a “chilling lack of concern” for the health of his victims.
An unrepentant Bates told the YEP, “My reaction is that (Mr Levi) hasn’t done too well”; maybe a slightly puzzling statement, although I suppose if you compare the damages to the £50,000 Levi won from the defamation case in 2009, Bates may have a point…
What Bates was rather more coy about, was the issue of who’d be footing the bill, revealing that he wouldn’t be commenting until he’d read the court’s judgement. Being that the judge referred to the sums spent by both sides on the case as being “astounding”, Shaun Harvey admitting the club had spent “a fortune” on legal bills, I think it’s fair to surmise it will be covered by one of the club’s 17 different departments.
On leaving court, Levi hammered the point home, stating:
“Mr Bates or Leeds United have spent £4m in trying to fight two old age pensioners and I think it’s absolutely disgraceful”
Although the exact figures involved may be debated, surely the sentiment cannot. Levi also questioned whether the Football League should really re-consider whether Bates is any longer a ‘fit and proper person’ to run a club. He’s not alone in his thoughts. Arguably the most upsetting aspect of the judgement for Levi is the two year injunction imposed on his nemesis – a real blow to his unique ‘programme notes pension plan’ contributions scheme.
Other revelations were also made in the judgement; most notably was one about an email that Thom Kirwin sent to Shaun Harvey when he was asked to run the appeal for Levi’s whereabouts, enquiring whether it should be accompanied by the ‘Crimewatch theme’. It was also reported that the appeal was broadcast 6 times in the space of a few days.
Nothing however could compare with the real show-stopper, and it’s there in black and white, said under oath from Shaun Harvey – Yorkshire Radio has an audience of 103,000 per week! Oh stop it Shaun, the laughing’s starting to hurt me!
Funnily enough the loss-making radio station, now complicit in costing the club £4m in a feud about a disputed debt of £190,400 that goes back to 2004, that brings you ALL the news on Leeds United didn’t see fit to cover the verdict (I was looking forward to the accompanying ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’ theme)… nor did the website.
Later that evening, a rumour broke about Lorimer and then Shaun Harvey resigning from the club. Cue another online frenzy followed by anger and dismay as the story becomes the latest to be shot to pieces.
Friday 8th June
West Yorkshire Police confirm that investigations are still ongoing into the tunnel ‘incident’ that followed the Doncaster game, back in February and that criminal charges have not yet been ruled out. A spokesman is also happy to confirm that force ‘fully expect’ to be able to draw a line under an incident in Second Division promotion season, when Vinny Jones ‘eyeballed’ the Barnsley bench, by the end of the summer.
‘Fans Representative’ Peter Lorimer, in the spirit of his role, chooses to completely ignore the takeover situation, the court case and any mention of the club in his weekly Leeds United column, instead informing the world know how he’ll be pissing away this month’s blood money at Ladbrokes. Funnily enough, I also thought that France had a decent shot of winning the Euros, but now Peter’s added his endorsement and I struggle to give any credence to anything he says, I’ll be sticking with the Germans.
Over in Poland the Championships get off to an explosive start with a flurry of ridiculous and unjustifiable decisions, nonsense punditry and racial slurs; for those suffering withdrawal symptoms from Ken Bates’ programme notes, it’s a dream come true.
The big news of the day breaks just before 6pm as LUST publish a new statement, revealing that the discontentment amongst the fan base is shared by the players. It’s a bold move by the trust and paints the picture of a very disillusioned and disheartened squad, putting into sharp focus the perception amongst the players of a board that hold little regard for the importance of team building.
A number of significant, if not altogether surprising revelations are to be found within the statement including:
“While they want to stay at Elland Road, the players feel completely undervalued by the club. We understand that some of the contract offers the club has been making have offered a miserly increase in wages, offers which do not come close to what they could earn elsewhere”
“A number of players have grown so frustrated by the situation at Leeds United that they are on the verge of giving up, walking away and accepting offers to place elsewhere. Our sources stressed that these players do not want to leave Leeds”
Predictably, some critics of the trust were quick to come out and condemn the statement, claiming that by not naming names, LUST had no credibility; choosing to ignore the fact that in revealing sources and potentially ruining careers in the process, LUST would never be trusted by any party with the good of Leeds United at heart, ever again.
Curiously, many of these people are seemingly the same ones who take the preaching of Bates, Harvey and Lorimer as gospel, purely as it’s fed through the medium of the website, Yorkshire Radio and the matchday programme.
Some have also claimed that the statement would’ve been better for the inclusion of some direct (if anonymous) quotes; that may be a fairer point, but then again, have those people seen the likes of Adam Clayton and Alex Bruce try and articulate themselves on twitter?
Saturday 9th June
Where the players have sources and representatives close them, it seems Neil Warnock is more of an ‘associates’ kinda guy, as his people reveal to the YEP that our manager is both concerned by the lack of signings this month and the threat of a shortage of funds for the remainder of the summer.
With Warnock and the players working in unison to ramp up the pressure on Bates, the coming week rather has the feel of being one of the most seminal in the club’s history; that the conclusion of the takeover talks – assuming that’s what they are – could define whether we are to be playing or at least vying for top flight football come August 2013, or reprising our role of the big box office, League One freak show.
I’m praying for the best, but at the back of my mind, I’m haunted by visions of Redders commanding operations from the bench at Throstle Nest next month as last year’s youth team get the run-around from Evo-Stick First Division North outfit.
The YEP announce the result of their ‘Match of the 90s’ poll; unsurprisingly the victory at Bramall Lane wins the vote, polling 45%, ahead of the 37% awarded to the promotion party at Bournemouth. Tied for last were the Villa and Rangers game, having not accrued a single vote between them. The two play-off finals and the trips to Bolton, Hereford and Histon are thought to be under consideration for the upcoming ‘Match of the 00s’ poll.
Sunday 10th June
Another quiet morning, but what else could possibly expect? We’re now in the midst of an international football tournament, the Olympics are just around the corner, lawyers are on their holidays, agents have their phones switched off and it is a Sunday.
Monday’s gonna be different though! I’m telling you…