I must apologise to my followers for this moment of silence. I know there isn’t a need to do this, however I want to. I am extremely proud to have over 80 followers and I feel the very reason you followed me has been put on hold, well this has ended tonight.
As I appear from the shadows it is at the time of year the world we live in takes on a festive holiday filled feeling. So what have I been up to and how is 2014 concluding as we head into the final throes of the year.
I’ve had some fantastic weekends and day trips away with my fiancé which included a fun weekend exploring Leeds for a family members birthday. Leeds is a fantastic city and one that we both love. Who knows what the future holds with regards to this awesome city….
Last Tuesday we went to London and visited the Tower of London Poppies. We tried to go a fortnight ago but couldn’t quite battle our way through the crowds. This time around we were able to walk right around the tower and saw some amazing sights.
I witnessed Northampton Saints lose against Exeter last Friday which was slightly surreal. It’s the first time I’ve seen them lose and now the disappointment that Leeds United provide has been mirrored at Saints.
Towcester Mill has had a handful of visits as the nights draw in, it’s very cozy inside. It’s a shame we can’t quite enjoy the long evenings in the amazing gardens. It’s a good job the Winter Beers are on tap, there will be some reviews coming up soon!
Our hedgehog who became our fourth family member has gone into hibernation. I do have a photo from last month below as he made the most of our feeding station. We also seem to have a new kitten who visits our garden. It’s all go round our neighbourhood!
Work is going very well. I am into the fourth month of my new job and so far so good. I’ve always wanted to be a Branch Manager, now I have it, I won’t be letting go of it!
Ummmm oh and my Dad ran his first half marathon. He is running 2 more and his first Marathon as he raises money for Cancer. Please check out his sponsorship page and if you feel generous then please send him a message or even better a donation.
Phew! I promise I’ll write again soon! It’s far too hard trying to fill so much in one blog post!
This week I listened to the latest interview with eccentric Italian owner Massimo Cellino. Chronic hay fever put aside it was one of the most passionate and exciting interviews I’ve heard since the Champions League years. With Cellino in charge we most certainly seem to be going in the right direction. We have heard many people spout out words in the past with very little substance, ever since Cellino fought the football league to take control he has backed up everything with action. A well known saying actions speak louder than words, Cellino certainly delivers both which is quite exciting in all honesty.
On our Italian tour Leeds United played their first preseason friendly against a local amateur side FC Gheirdeina. The scoreline of 16-0 certainly raised a few eyebrows and the photo above confirmed that United were dominant from start to finish. Most encouraging moments included a first half hat trick for Noel Hunt and a second half double hat trick for Matt Smith. The latter has been subject to a bid from Millwall which Cellino dismissed immediately by saying I like Matt Smith, he is one we can build a team around. Let’s see where this one goes.
Cellino followed up by saying that he would like to build a stronger team spirit and can’t believe that the squad turns up to home games from their own homes. A team coach is the next purchase on his list and he has also made it clear that he expects all players to live in Leeds. This is music to my ears, I love the passion that our owner is expressing, it all makes complete sense. Massimo also confirmed in one of the most encouraging snippets of his interview that Leeds are nearly debt free pending a deal with GHFC, it’s all positive.
Despite selling Ross McCormack the squad has seen three permanent new signings who are now training and involved in our Italian preseason tour. There are also a couple of loan deals that have options to extend if their season proves to be successful which is a shrewd move. Cellino has sold the dream to the Italian players and stipulated that they must learn English to be part of Leeds United. This is a special project and they want to be part of it. One things for sure we are potentially attracting better players on lower salaries. The overpriced UK market was confirmed by the £11m that Fulham paid for McCormack, I still find it laughable but I’m not complaining.
Above we have Tommaso Bianchi and Souleymane Doukara who have joined on a 3 year deal and 12 month loan respectively. These are in addition to Matt Taylor and Marco Silvestri who have joined on 2 year and 4 year Deals.
I will repeat myself by saying it’s very exciting right now with Leeds United and I’m hoping the small number of negative twitter trolls get on board and move along, this is the best option for us suffering fans. It’s never dull at our club, let’s see what this week brings.
So it has finally happened, Ross McCormack today engineered his well publicized move away from Leeds United. Ever since the curtains drew down on last seasons debacle and Cellino started to make his changes to the money leaking ship LUFC, poor old Ross has fallen out of love with the club he declared himself in love with.
I had already accepted this fate well before the news came out confirming his £11m move to Fulham this morning. Initially I was full of praise for how Ross conducted himself over these last four seasons. I couldn’t have said a bad word against our Captain who single handedly kept us up last year (see my post – without Ross McCormacks goals, from 15th to Bottom) http://wp.me/p3Nw2L-8K
The memories of his performances from last season filled my head, he was surely pushed out of the club by Cellino, surely…?
This was until Ross came out with a typically Ill timed and misjudged statement. In a report published online Ross explained that he had to leave the club, he cited it because Leeds United were no longer the club he fell in love with. Sadly when the Capital city comes a calling and they offer the money it’s easy to fall out of love with anyone or anything.
Ross I would like to put on record my disappointment in this statement. If anything It also confirms the one big difference between players and fans other than the ridiculous salaries. A player will never truly love a football club, unless you are Steven Gerrard who knows only of Liverpool. A player should never say this, the fans love a club, hearing a player say that will always sound out their critics, it’s safe to say you now have plenty of your own.
Obviously there are two sides to every story, however I’m not really concerned about what you will say now the truth has come out about your feelings. Fans will never leave their club, if we all adopted the same approach we wouldn’t have a club. Going back to my previous point, no player can or will ever love LUFC, that’s the fans job. The ones who do will either stay for their entire career aka Gary Kelly or leave to save the club they love aka Alan Smith. Sadly Ross you have done neither, it’s at this point I’d like to say goodbye to you.
Fulham FC you are welcome to Ross, he will probably score you some goals and you will probably go back up to the Premiership. One things for sure, the mighty Leeds United will carry on doing what we always do. We will plug on endlessly selling out every away game and singing the boys who play for us week in week out. Cellino is the man who wants what we all want, passion, values, belief and a hard days work for an honest days pay.
The world will never stop turning around, but the love for a club is a fickle word used by many, sadly Ross that includes you.
We decided to take advantage of the late May Bank Holiday break and packed up the tent for the first camping trip of 2014. The Destination was York, to revisit a city I fell in love with in my early teenage years. I’d hoped to study at Askern Bryan in York for my Diploma before a change of events put that dream to bed. Despite this disappointment I have always loved this city and couldn’t wait to explore it properly with my fiancé.
The weather forecast was mixed which suited us perfectly. This kept changing as we drove up the M1, M18 and finally the A1 as we were greeted by Wagtail Park and the hardest of grounds to pitch our tent on. We were asked to bring Rock Pegs which on first inspection seemed like overkill. It wasn’t until I cockily hit a standard peg into the lush green grass that I discovered it was merely a topping. What lay under this welcoming layer was a silt filled, rocky mixture of quarry type material. After a dash to the local camping shop we had enough rock pegs to erect our tent and canopy securely.
By the time we’d pitched the tent and got camp set up it was too late to wander too far away. There was a lovely fishing lake close by which we walked around and after we’d cooked some chili and drank a couple of beers we watched a film and called it a night. It wasn’t the coldest of nights, however as it was our first camping trip in nearly 9 months we needed to acclimatize. We survived the night and after a late breakfast which comprised of a bacon roll we headed into York.
The Park & Ride is quite simply excellent value for money. To park the car and get a return ticket cost £2.70 each which is far cheaper than parking in the city centre. We used the Sunday afternoon to explore the streets of the city as well as sampling some of the local food and ales. We walked up the Shambles which is a quaint cobbled narrow street lined with shops on both sides. The hustle and bustle of the bank holiday crowd evident and we were caught on a wave of visitors.
We had our Sunday Beef Roast at The Golden Fleece which is the oldest pub in York. It is also the most haunted pub in the city, a claim backed up by the Most Haunted crew, who spent a weekend filming here in the pub/hotel. The place itself is typically quirky and feels very welcoming. There are a couple of skeletons that sit at the bar on a stool and also in the pub garden. All of the floors are wonky and slanted, so much so that my pint of ale was slanted and the gravy was trying to escape from my plate. A quickly constructed defensive wall using my mashed potato prevented any casualties. When we sat for dinner my fiancé did feel a cold sensation next to her side which hung around for a few minutes. It certainly backed up the claims of the owners and many guests who have stayed there.
We had a walk around Parliament Street which is the widest most open street in York and also had a tour of the York baths. This was conducted by a very knowledgeable Canadian historian by the name of Ryan, who not only told us about the Roman Baths in York, but also covered wars, deaths, Christianity and many other topics. By the time we left this small room which gathering heat the longer we stayed down there we were gasping the fresh air to celebrate our freedom. Joking aside it was well worth the £3.50 it cost plus a small contribution to Ryan’s education costs!
By a friends recommendation (thanks Aimee) we went to an off license called The House of the Trembling Madness. Above this there was also a bar which quite simply oozed class and style. The decor comprised of stuffed animals and randomly placed gothic designs framed by some stunning timber open framed roof trusses and beams. The place was busy and the small number of chairs and tables filled. The bar was small and quaint and the food smelled delightful. We helped ourselves to a couple of IPA’s and shopped till we dropped as I was reunited with some of my favourite Australian beers imported in their shop.
We returned to camp just before the forecasted rain and had a very chilled out Sunday night. We ate some cheese and crackers and watched Taken 2 and the first half of American Hustle. Following on from last nights shock chill factor I put on an extra layer in an effort to get a warm comfortable nights sleep to get me in good stead for Mondays day of adventure. Historical visits, walks, haunted sightings and more local pubs awaited us, we certainly had a lot planned!
One final York related story before I bring this 1st Part of the blog to a conclusion. There are cats all over the city on various buildings. It is said that any building that is graced with the presence of a cat, is a happy place. We spotted a couple of these cats with one been on the front of The Golden Fleece Pub. Based on this story, I think it’s safe to say that my fiancé encountered a good happy spirit!
To be continued…….
In a week that started with more Tuesday night humiliation who could have predicted the way it would play out by Friday evening. Following his successful purchase of Leeds United, Massimo Cellino celebrated in the way most Yorkshire folk do, by hitting the local for a pint or two.
In an alternative look at this weeks events we start at The Old Peacock. Massimo Cellino has just secured his purchase of Leeds United and in the process posed for a photo or two with some fans. Massimo quipped in a somewhat believable Yorkshire/Italian accent that “he was-a extremely excited, hey hey, a, bellisimo pleased to be-a in charge of ze greatest team in a England” he followed this by saying “hey up love, I’ll av another pint of 1919”
David “Devil” Haigh hits the local news by stating his intent to join Massimo as his Chief of stationery ordering, it’s at this point nobody questions his purchase of security equipment via his Staples online account. This turns out to come back and haunt him as the week draws to an end. David is politely told by Massimo to “join the devil and burn in hell” it’s still not clear who he means as last week Haigh was referred to as the devil by Massimo.
The Square Ball threw their opinions out into the open and the most creative cover seen in a long time confirmed what we’d all feared. Poor old Brian has been controlled by Haigh, Patel and Narooooodin. Sadly for us it’s become apparent that despite the harmony we were led to believe, Brian has been pulled in all directions. It’s still a mystery as to who controlled his hand that threw his little notepad in the dug out. The said notepad was last seen in the Vicarage Road turf as Wootton and Lees gave Watford a 3rd goal.
Friday saw the most bizarre twist yet as Cellino opened up an Order Confirmation addressed to the Chief of Stationery ordering. Nobody knows the exact date of this document but it confirmed the purchase of some not so discreet security cameras. Some think it could date back to the purchase of Gold Fish in the Quidsdale days, however if this is the case then he negotiated some pretty damn good repayment terms which makes it highly unlikely, ruling him out.
Once Massimo called in the CSI Leeds crime lab to carry out a thorough sweep of Elland Road, Haigh quickly departed grasping his belongings including the shiny Leeds scarf he wore for his photos at the club. Now whilst the timing of his resignation is purely coincidental the further discovery of cameras in the toilets has done little to help his defense.
As I sat in the pub convincing myself that the tip I had for the Grand National would come good, something better happened. Rewind back a couple of hours and Leeds United were extremely unlucky going down to another defeat at Wigan. A Jack Butland mistake was the difference between a side firmly in the play offs and a Leeds side playing for the Summer.
Now going back to the better thing that happened, the news broke that Massimo Cellino had won his appeal against the football league. I had to pinch myself at first, not because of the news but because of the timing of it. For once it couldn’t have happened at a better time, as the players were left to think through another defeat, a lift of positive proportions was presented to the club.
I am still a little bit uncertain as to what this will bring but I do now know that anything can be expected. One of the first thoughts in my head was about our manager, how long will he last? The interview that hit social media last week was pretty damning but frankly honest. It is safe to say that those fans who hounded Cellino away from Elland Road on the night of the January transfer window ending are the same ones phoning McDermott and giving him abuse.
I have always sat on the side of the team and where sometimes I’ve expressed my disappointment, I’ve always understood the reasons as to why we are in this situation. The manager is the right person to lead Leeds United forward, it just seems that we need to see what Cellino wants. He was quoted as saying he wants a coach, not a manager, let’s see if this is still the case once he settles in at Elland Road.
One of the other questions on people’s lips is will Cellino still team up with Farnam and his Together Leeds consortium? I’m not too sure about this one, part of me thinks that now he is in control, he doesn’t need to go off course to his own plans. This guy is a self made multi millionaire who likes to make his own decisions. The one fact that remains is that we suddenly have the financial clout to compete.
So as we head into the new week we will see the way that things go. One thing for certain is David Haigh will still be at Elland Road. Personally I think he has been very true and loyal to the club, through these hard times he has still been there to face it front on. I think his role is important as we look to move onwards into the new dawn.
Let’s enjoy this news for what it is and hope we finally get to see some positive changes that we all crave. I’m excited to be at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night to see the first game under our new owners. Oh going back to the Grand National, my horse didn’t even finish, let alone win.
It’s safe to say that frustration reached boiling point after our home defeat to Charlton. It was so much that even our loyal Captain received his fair share of criticism following his 94th minute penalty miss that denied Leeds a much needed point. The debate amongst fans of the club and supporters across the country is where would Leeds United be without Roscos goals? The findings make pretty disturbing reading, even though 2014 has been a terrible year for Leeds.
It’s at this point that I understand we simply wouldn’t have played minus Ross McCormack. This is based on taking his goals away from our tally. Assume for the point of this post that we have Noel Hunt playing in his place. In fairness this would be pretty accurate! 😉 It is also worth reiterating that when I say with or without Ross I mean with or without his goals scored.
Leeds first league win?
With Ross in the side, Leeds United secured a last minute 2-1 victory against Brighton on the opening day at Elland Road. Without Ross we would have to wait until the first game of September where a 1-0 win away at Bolton was achieved courtesy of a Luke Varney 6th minute strike.
Longest Unbeaten Run?
With Ross in the team, an unbeaten run of 5 matches in December propelled Leeds towards the play off places. Without Ross in this Leeds team would see the side manage a season best 3 match unbeaten run (1 win & 2 draws) during the same month.
Longest winless run?
With Ross in the side the longest we have had to wait for a victory is 7 matches stretching over the Christmas period and the whole of January. Without Ross it is the last 11 matches we haven’t won in.
Victories that were lost?
That memorable 4-2 victory at The Valley that included a delayed kick off and a 4 goal masterpiece from Ross would have turned into a miserable 2-0 defeat. The impressive 2-0 home victory against promotion chasing Wigan (our best performance all season) would’ve been a 0-0 affair. Beating Yeovil 2-0 at Elland Road once again would’ve been a 0-0 draw without Ross and our last victory against Millwall would have ended in a 1-1 draw.
With Ross McCormack and his league goals we find ourselves sat in 15th position comfortably ahead of the Relegation Zone with 7 games remaining. Without Ross not only would we be rock bottom in 24th position but we would be 10 points behind 23rd place Yeovil with the worst goal difference in the league on 24 points and minus 35.
The scary fact is that without Ross McCormack we would have only won 4 matches this season whilst scoring 23 goals. The even more disturbing fact is the slump we find ourselves in with him in the side. Since the turn of the year we have only won 12 points from 16 matches, without Ross we would only have 6 points in 2014.
With Ross McCormacks Goal
P W D L F A G/D PTS Position
39. 13. 8. 18. 52. 58 -6. 47. 15th
Without Ross McCormacks Goals
P W D L F A G/D PTS Position
39. 4. 12. 23.23. 58 -35. 24. 24th
I think we need to make sure his contribution is recognized in what has been a challenging season. The 2013/14 season needs to be quickly put to bed. Once the future of our club is decided one thing is for sure, their will be a big overhaul in the Summer. The biggest decision is will it be under the leadership of Brian McDermott or not?
In a week that has seen Leeds United players paid half their wages (50% more than the majority deserve) and Ken Bates broadcast his self wrote interview on Yorkshire Radio to air his concerns, it certainly has been another “typical” week in the Elland Road saga. Throw in a 4-1 away mauling and the talk of Administration it’s been a hell of a week.
Today (Friday) the head of the PFA explained that they had been in discussions with the club to help negotiate a way through the salary issues. I can’t help but feel that this situation has been caused by the Football League and the PFA are now trying to assist Leeds United. GFH are convinced that Cellino has an obligation to continue to fund the club despite his unsuccessful efforts in taking over the club. This really just reiterates the farcical events and the continued silence from GFH throughout this is unhelpful to say the very least.
If I dig up Thorp Arch, you say I’ll find Mrs Bates missing £1.5m?
Ken Bates reappeared in another strange twist almost like Moriati in Sherlock Holmes. In typical Bates style he tried his best to sling some more shit into the fan. According to Ken, his wife has lent the owners £1.5m and he was approached by Flowers and co to help fund their takeover. Ken is absolutely disgusted by the way Leeds United and the fans have been treated…… Put a sock in it Ken, you almost had me fooled.
This week also saw a flurry of Twitter revelations regarding the sexuality of our MD David Haigh. These were not nice and actually made me feel sad about the level some of our so called fans have stooped to. David Haigh has certainly not had it easy and I can’t help but feel that GFH have hung him out to dry. It was not that long ago that he left the investment bank to be replaced. This makes me feel that he was their sacrificial lamb. Let’s all leave the personal insults alone and try and find a solution to the situation we are in.
I can’t help but feel that the day Leeds United were sold to GFH, it was not going to be too long before this situation arose. I never felt comfortable about being owned by an investment bank who had one aim, to sell bits of the club to other people. I still don’t truly understand who owns what and this is probably why it’s taking so long to make a decision and communicate with the fans.
In conclusion this week really needs to see us bounce back from the 4-1 mauling at Bournemouth (that hurt to write) and get a win at all costs against Doncaster at Elland Road. It’s not about performances, it’s about grinding out as many points as possible. If we do enter Administration a deduction could very easily drag us into a Relegation scrap. Let’s remain positive mind you, the last official statement from David Haigh confirmed we wouldn’t go into Administration, if only I was that sure!
We all expected the Football League to drag their heels in, some of us even thought there would be a long list of stipulations for Cellino to stick to. This morning however the majority of fans and people in the football world were left stunned by the veto shown to Cellino. Now again Leeds United are in turmoil, the victim, a future of uncertainty returns to our once great club.
The last eight weeks have been one hell of a Roller Coaster in our recent history. We have seen a potential buyer told to sling his hook by the football league despite our initial reservations over his suitability. Our manager Brian McDermott was fired and rehired amongst a barrage of confusion, who now is being questioned about his suitability to turn things around. Finally we find GFH Capital, the investment bankers running our club struggling to sell our money leaking ship, how they were deemed Fit & Proper by the Football League is certainly questionable.
So where are we now?
Despite David Haigh reassuring fans that Administration is extremely unlikely, there are those out there that think it may happen. Danny Mills our former defender thinks it should happen sooner rather than later. So what damage would this do if GFH went down this route? Well Leeds United would certainly lose 10 points minimum which would slot us in with Birmingham City five points above the Relegation Zone.
Ross McCormack along with our other tangible assets would be sold and the club stripped back down to make it an appealing sale. Some would argue that this could open the club up to anybody with a few pounds to their name, but would this be a good thing?
David Haigh has strong commercial ties with Red Bull, so maybe there is some substance in his statement that Leeds United would not go into Administration should the Cellino takeover fall through. There are also rumours that Mike Farnham and his Love Leeds group could now be hurried to the negotiation table. I think that GFH would be aggrieved to sell the club to them at a far lower price to what Cellino agreed.
Maybe just maybe David Haigh has managed to convince our hero Vinnie Jones to part with his Hollywood Milllions? Now this is highly unlikely and a lovely fictional scenario, but how cool would this be? It was obvious to all that having Jones at Elland Road on Saturday inspired the team. It could’ve been part of the master plan to show Jones around the club and treat him to the best hospitality that could be offered. The three points were the icing on the cake and Vincent couldn’t wait to throw his money at the club. 😉
Whatever happens it will be a tense few days for all those involved with the club. I was initially disappointed with the Football League and their dismissive attitude towards Cellino, however part of me thinks the King of Corn will return. It’s possible that his sons could be involved and Cellino Senior could bankroll the takeover.
It’s certainly never dull being a Leeds United fan, Bournemouth away tomorrow, three points needed!