LUST: ‘Splitters’ Attempting to Unite the Supporters?

Reg: Listen. If you wanted to join the P.F.J., you’d have to really hate the Romans.

Brian: I do!!

Reg: Oh yeah? How much?

Brian: A lot!!

Reg: Right, you’re in. Listen, the only people we hate more than the Romans are the f**king Judean People’s Front.

P.F.J.: Yeah…

Judith: Splitters.

P.F.J.: Splitters…

Francis: And the Judean Popular People’s Front.

P.F.J.: Yeah, oh yeah! Splitters. Splitters…

Loretta: And the People’s Front of Judea.

P.F.J.: Yeah. Splitters. Splitters…

Reg: What?

Loretta: The People’s Front of Judea. Splitters.

Reg: We’re The People’s Front of Judea!!

Loretta: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.

Reg: People’s Front! Huh!

Francis: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?

Reg: He’s over there.

P.F.J.: Splitter!!

All but the overwhelmingly unenlightened will doubtless recognise the above passage of dialogue as being taken from ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’; for those not familiar, it’s lifted from the scene where Brian (Graham Chapman) first approaches representatives of the revolutionary group, The People’s Front of Judea (P.F.J.), seeking permission to join them. The P.F.J. are one of a number of splinter groups, all of whom have the same mandate (to overthrow the Romans) but never appear to get anywhere as petty differences with their peers always seem to supersede their very purpose for being…

Splitters!!

Splitters!!

Looking back over the last couple of years, it’d be difficult not to draw a compelling parallel between the Python’s commentary on the nature of such organisations and the experiences of LUST and those individuals and parties who appear to resent their very reason for existing.

During a summer where almost every Leeds supporter to a man wanted to see the departure of Ken Bates and the arrival of new, credible owners, LUST were subjected to criticism, some vitriolic, and some that went way beyond the boundaries of decency despite pushing for that very agenda. Despite being the first to reveal stirrings of a possible takeover and repeatedly prompting the club to release press statements by making their own revelations, the organisation and it’s chairman, Gary Cooper, were accused of being liars, self-publicists and troublemakers.

On some occasions, criticisms of LUST during that period could be understood from certain perspectives; some supporters had reservations with regard to the timing, contents or the wisdom of releasing certain statements; others believed the Trust didn’t step back at times when it was maybe best to allow matters to play out behind closed doors; also in retrospect, changes in the nature of the whole takeover process and the parties allegedly involved also undoubtedly served to show that believing that anything in football is certain will make a fool out of anyone. “Dare to dream’ is a statement that continues to taint the body’s credibility in the eyes of certain individuals.

Following the formal announcement, the Trust chose – in line with the wishes of their members – to remain silent, opting to allow GFH the opportunity to settle in, make clear their plans and work through their first transfer window, before making any public comment. On Wednesday evening, the board staged their first public meeting since the installation of the new regime and within minutes the social media criticism and arguments resumed – but can anybody actually justify why this time?

While tweeting from the meeting, it became clear both from the replies I was getting and comments on the timelines that the support remained split; it appears that as skilled as Bates was with his ‘divide and conquer’ tactics, Leeds fans need little encouragement to showboat their divisive tendencies independent of a catalyst. The same accusations of self-importance and trouble causing re-surfaced, but the question is, did those who chose to wage cyber war on the Trust again really listen to what they were saying?

One dominant theme emerged during the course of the meeting, one wish, one desire – simply for GFH to be open and truthful with supporters; should a supporters’ group really be chastised for that? Certainly it’d be hard to fault LUST on their approach to attempting to engage with the new owners – having sent an initial message of congratulations along with an offer to assist the club in any way they can, they have since repeated that offer, making themselves available for whenever would be convenient and they also extended an invite to the club to send a representative to last night’s meeting.

In response, LUST have heard nothing from the club, at least not beyond confirmation that they wouldn’t be sending anybody to the meeting (despite LUFC employing a Supporters’ Liaison Officer) as 3 weeks notice wasn’t considered ample. Rather than make an issue of it, Gary Cooper last night chose not to linger on the point, simply affirming that in line with the club’s wishes, LUST would provide a greater period of notice ahead of the March meeting.

So back to the point of last night’s meeting. What did those present want? Quite simply they wanted to know what was happening at their club. Contrary to the default belief of many of the Trust’s most consistent knockers, people were not demanding that GFH move along if they don’t have billions behind them, simply as supporters, they believe we have the right to know the direction in which the club is moving.

Many suspect that GFH don’t possess huge funds, that they maybe plan to encourage other backers to aid ambitions of a Premier League return, while in the meantime, attempting to make the most of what they’ve inherited. If that is the case, then for the majority, that’s fine and they are happy to back GFH in everything they do if it’s well intentioned – people simply need a vivid, tangible vision before they can truly buy into project.

Dissenters argued that GFH should have the right to play their cards close to their chest, but after 8 solid years of being kept in the dark by the Leeds board and almost always being betrayed in the process, cynicism remains rife and trust a rare commodity – Adam Pearson’s comments in the press today, expressing a desire to take over the club will only add further fuel to the fire. GFH have pledged engagement, but until that extends beyond retweeting photographs of dogs in Leeds scarves and actually communicating with their audience, then it feels like little has changed.

Sending a representative to the LUST meeting would have been a start, a gesture of goodwill and a signal of intent to genuinely take on board concerns from all quarters. There was also hope that the ‘Meet the Board’ event at Elland Road would both illuminate and reassure fans, but that has now been cancelled with no new date provided.

While GFH remain silent, the scope for conspiracy theories only broadens; people naturally question if they have something to hide. If they are, as hoped, as genuine as they portray themselves to be, then they only need take one simple step to dismiss many of the lingering doubts and do as they promised – engage…only truly engage.

Those who were criticising LUST last night did so on the grounds that they believe their actions are continuing to divide the fans, yet I defy any Leeds fan to deny they have no interest in what is going on at the top. If anything continues to spark arguments its opinions on both sides based on hearsay and rumour… surely putting an end to that is a worthy aspiration that is worth backing?

There was no talk of boycotts last night, no attacks on David Haigh and Salem Patel – indeed there was considerable praise for GFH’s initiatives with ticketing – there was only concern, worries that stem from uncertainty, worries that deep down, all Leeds fans must share. Ultimately it is our club, we support it, pour our money, passion and love into it – we did so before GFH came along and will doubtless continue to do so afterwards.

It’s time supporters were made to feel like they truly belong again, that we matter, that we know where the club is heading and what this new blueprint is. If we all know the exact path down which the club is heading, then surely it’d be easier for all to pull in a universal direction?

Now is that really an aspiration worthy of attacking?

Think on.

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13 responses to “LUST: ‘Splitters’ Attempting to Unite the Supporters?

  1. Great article (as usual). I’ve been labelled anti-LUST over the last few days, something which isn’t true, I think they could be a fantastic organisation, who just suffers from being naive on occasions. What I thought would happen from the informations given during the initial takeover statements/presser is exactly what has happened. Although I do think maybe myself and some of the others who have had our criticisms should go to the next meeting to voice out concerns in more then 140 characters (however, I would also need more notice though). Tom

    • So tell me why do you think GFH have gone quiet? It baffles me. Poss reasons could be they don’t want to be drawn on Warnock future yet? What others?

  2. i’ve always wanted to align LUST and LUSC and LUISC to the Judean Peoples front sketch, good one. Bates never needed to divide and rule as you point out, he never had credible opposition, until LUST came along, and then spectacularly fell to pieces.

  3. LUST fell to pieces? So working with Supporters Direct, the FSF, Police, Council, FL, YEP, Radio Leeds, blog writers, fanzines, some RMCs, LUSC, & SLI to name a few – is falling to pieces? Wake up.

    • surely their credibility took a massive nosedive when the cliams to be speaking to GFH were rubbished?

  4. my problem with lust is that they jumped on the popularist bates out bandwagon at a time that was hugely convenient to jump on the popularist bates out bandwagon.

    their one click join our movement mechanism offered no credibility other than one click and you can join our movement and sing in front of the camera’s.

    if they offered anything, literally ABSOLUTELY anything, as a credible alternative then they would have had my vote. they had nothing, ABSOLUTELY nothing and, not only that, but the second they realised that GFH weren’t going to laud them as the righteous movement against all things evil then they started making twitter noises that this too wasn’t the direction that lust thought the club should be moving in.

    then, as is now, they offer nothing other than a dissenting voice. they don’t speak for me, they don’t speak for anywhere near the majority, they are literally the last people I would want as the focal point for the re engagement of the fans because they made their position too polarised and have made no attempt to recover it.

    you had your 15 minutes, you fckd it up, go away.

  5. The trust was probably set up with the best of intentions. I would say the EU was set up with the best of intentions. The theory is good but the practise is not. LUST only really came into my life at the beginning of this takeover. I thought with the regular demands and updates i heard, that the organisation must have information i’d like to hear. The website was full of hate for Bates, that’s a given. Hate for anyobe who doesn’t agree with the trust and in a lot of cases hate for other trust members, with most threads decending into the i go to more games than you argument which generally pops up at post 4-7 if anyone questions the trusts actions. I am a “member” that said i registered to use the forum and never used it. I’d be interrested to see how many of the 8000 members are active.
    LUST could be so much better but it seems the general consensus is to demand information on finances that GFH are not going to release at this point, whilst wanting wholesale changes to long standing infastructure with 17 games left in the season. There has been massive change in the last 6 months all i would say good. Ticket prices will not be changed when people have paid for this season. To sign off and add some balance i agree people want to know the clubs intent for the future. I agree that the fans are ready to hear more and but have to be realistic about what infornation they are giing to get. Can we at least give the dust chance to settle. Gfh have had the keys not even 2 months. They probably don’t even have the whole plan themselves yet and the only person who has info on warnock, is himself. I am sure they are asking the questions themselves.

  6. I too am a ‘member’ of LUST but having listened to the whole of the meeting on the live feed and having seen some of the LUST board’s responses on WACCOE I have no intention of giving them my support.

    They are naive at times albeit well-intentioned but are so biased against Ken Bates and so desperate to get a seat at the table with the owners, they will use any opportunity to take a pop when not given it.

    Does it not occur to LUST that GFH have had more pressing matters to deal with in the last 40 days than speaking to a body that has regular access to just 2500 members? – i.e. A body that represents a small minority of our fanbase?

    There was the matter of two FA Cup games, transfer window and getting an audited set of accounts – the matter of getting some representative staff in this country on the board and in jobs. They know what they have to do – in the short term they plugged financial holes – in the longer term they need to re-engage and re-excite the fanbase… it will take time.

    LUST will get their chance – but in turn with Season Ticket holders, Members, LUDO and other groups…. LUST with their 2500 members are hardly the big priority.

    As a parting point – naiveity….

    LUST have suggested that Allan Clarke be put up as a rival presidential candidate to Ken Bates. How did this come about?

    I bet the lUST inbox wasn’t full of members asking for him – maybe many dismayed that KB was to be kept on.

    If LUST TRULY represented their fanbase, they would have asked for suggestions as to who/what should be done as an alternative…

    Do we put up an alternative candidate?
    If so – who?
    A list of alternatives… Hunter, Lorimer, Reaney, Clarke, Sheridan, McAllister, Strachan, Hughes…..

    Instead we got a phone call to Allan, news he was no longer attending matches and a fait accompli

    True GFH aren’t engaging with fans – but are LUST truly engaging with members?

  7. But what have GFH ever given us?

    Well there’s cheaper tickets for half term
    Yeah well that’s to be expected…
    And half season tickets
    Well that’s as maybe but…
    And an improved contract for Byram and 4 other of our youth team players
    But yes but what else have they given us eh?
    Well they improved cash flow before the takeover stopping administration
    Yes…
    And financed loan deals up to Christmas
    Ah – yes – but they sold Becchio
    True they sold Becchio who wanted more than the improved contract they offered him
    ….and replaced him with Morison – a player who has a first touch
    Oh yes and don’t forget they kicked Ken Bates out of the programme on match day
    .,.,and off Yorkshire Radio

    Ok – so I ask again ….

    Apart from cheaper tickets for half term, half season tickets, an improved contract for Byram and 4 other youth team players, improved cash flow, financing deals to Christmas, replacing Becchio with Morison, kicking Ken Bates off the programme and Yorkshire Radio……

    What have GFH Capital ever done for us?

  8. Great article &a lot of good replies. I would have more sympathy with the leaders of lust if only they weren’t so negative. All supporters want to belong but we all have to accept that the business side of things is nothing to do with us. As for their obsession with the late ken bates – pathetic no financial stake = no influence. That has already been proved. I don’t really care who the president is. Well maybe Peter ridsdale would be stretching it a bit far. If neil warnock is wanted next season he will stay whether we are in the championship or whether a miracle happens. Stop worrying people and concentrate on the football

  9. LUST only asked questions that should have been asked10 years ago.If fans had asked questions rather than blindly follow we might not be in the state we have been. A fans voice , daring to ask uncomfortable questions when needed, to work closely with the club as and when required is what’s need and in my opinion Gary and LUST fit that bill.Yep, they have made some mistakes, no surprise there. BUT i’d rather that than just bitching and backstabbing that seems to be happening from cyber warriors who couldn’t unite Leeds United fans if they tried. It takes a big man to stick his head above the parapet and be counted , making POSITIVE moves for the benefit for all Leeds fans. Could you do it ? I couldn’t and not ashamed to admit it. The clue is in our name Leeds UNITED, when we can all unite the club we all love can finally move on and be a true powerhouse in English football again, that’s what i want , how about you ?

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