Leeds Fans Aren’t Hooligans – Time To Stop Living In The Past

It hasn’t been the best week for Leeds, we’ve been back in the press for all the wrong reasons.

While jumping around like a lunatic after seeing Michael Tonge smash that goal in I noticed a few fans run on the pitch but didn’t think much of it. At least, until it turned out that one of our ‘fans’ had pushed Chris Kirkland in the face.

It’s hard to describe the feeling I had next. Don’t get me wrong, it was a stupid thing to do and I’m glad he’s been caught and jailed, but my first thought wasn’t of Kirkland, I was already picturing the headlines.

‘’Dirty Leeds back to their old ways’’

It wasn’t what other teams fans thought of us that bothered me, we’re all used to being an unpopular lot, but the last few years has seen a significant change in Leeds fans behaviour at games, and this had the potential to undo all of that hard work.

The ‘fan’ in question got a 4 month prison sentence for his actions on Friday night, deserved too, but what sentence do the rest of us fans now have to pay because of one mindless idiot?

Within minutes of the final whistle we had Dave Jones calling us ALL vile animals in the biggest generalisation possible, he told the world how our chants and taunts were a ‘form of racism’ and insisted that our fans should be banned from all away games.

That was all it took for the press to jump on the bandwagon, with all the focus being on our fans once again. Not one report that I have seen to date has said anything about the turkey chants from the Sheffield Wednesday crowd, or the rest. No mention of the flares thrown on the pitch, nothing. It’s as if people think that what happened to Kirkland excuses other behaviour.

For the record, our ‘Jimmy Savile’ chants were in response to being told we had a town full of, shall we say, Jimmy Savile’s. As far as terrace banter goes this was as sarcastic as they come, yet Jones clearly took a dislike to our response and decided that it was in fact all our fault. Sorry Dave.

Of course, he has since said ‘sorry’ to us nicer fans. That is, at least, before carrying on his rant.

“I apologise for tarring Leeds fans with the same brush, but look at it from my point of view: that one person ran on and attacked Chris Kirkland”

Translation – Sorry, but I’m not sorry at all, look at it from my point of view, one person ran on and attacked Chris Kirkland, therefore you are all vile animals.

“But it wasn’t just about one person: after he’d done it, he was being slapped on the back as if he was a hero. I didn’t hear any of the other Leeds fans booing him. Who bought him his ticket, when he was a banned fan? Who hid him? Who sat next to him?”

See, after watching the video again, nobody is slapping him on the back because of what he’d done, we’d just scored and pretty much everyone was watching Michael Tonge celebrate. At the time, hardly any of us saw it happen.

“It wasn’t just one or 40 or 400 Leeds fans chanting like they did. It was thousands. And when people say to me it’s just football banter, that doesn’t wash. Nobody should be subjected to vile abuse, and fans shouldn’t chant vile things at each other”

Not sure 40 people singing would be classed as much of a chant anyway but what was he expecting? If our fans go to an away game and hear chants about Turkey, they are always going to respond in numbers. I agree about not being subjected to vile abuse, that’s fair enough, so how about mentioning that to your fans too? Unless of course, singing about what happened in Turkey doesn’t class as being ‘vile abuse’?

“I was angry with the whole situation.
“I thought those days had gone, but it seems to be getting worse. At all stadiums, you go to watch a football match; it should be a family day.”

Is it getting worse though? really? In regards to it being a family day I can see his point, but you have to question why the game like that got moved to a Friday night.

Either way, the majority of our fans have spent the last few years rebuilding our reputation and have been commended by away grounds all over the country for their behaviour, it’s just a shame that some people and the press would prefer to live in the past and judge all Leeds fans as hooligans, rather than just concentrating on the actions of one mindless idiot.

Twitter – @giddy_goose