One thing you can never fault Leeds fans for is their commitment to the cause, fans from other teams across the country are often quick to comment on how passionate we are, there’s a reason our anthem is titled ‘Marching on Together’.
Unfortunately, the last few years has seen a divide gradually appear.
The cracks began to form over the last couple of seasons, as fans would clash over the facts surrounding Ken Bates’ tenure as chairman and the way in which we should demonstrate our unhappiness with the lack of quality being brought into the team.
Some believed that a boycott of the games was the best way to drive Bates out, claiming that if the money dried up he’d have no choice but to sell up. This was refuted by others, who were unhappy at the thought of having to give up watching the team they loved. This often led to infighting amongst the masses, with those wanting to boycott being labelled as less passionate and those unwilling to join in seen as being too naive to make the right decision.
What we need to focus on is the sentiment behind both arguments, both sets of fans want Bates out, both want change.
Admittedly, there are still some fans that think of anyone willing to protest as bad for the club. After my previous article regarding Bates I was told that I was spreading negativity around Elland Road, and that the ‘Anti Bates’ mob were the worst kind of fan.
If people do not want to focus on the problems we currently face with Bates in charge then I cannot blame them for that, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and some fans are happy to just turn up every week and watch their team play. Unfortunately, these fans are often ill advised in regards to the truth about the severity of the issue we currently have at our club, regularly taking Bates’ programme notes as factual. I would imagine if they were presented with the whole truth that their opinion would change, but without a fresh start at Leeds this will never be the case.
Leeds United are a proud club. We, the fans, have stuck by them through the ups and downs and throughout those times we have stood side by side in the stands.
The fan that thinks we should boycott stood shoulder to shoulder with the fan that felt that boycotting would make them less of a fan, they were stood shoulder to shoulder with the fan that just wanted to watch football and looked at any form of protest as unwanted negativity. We have all stood with each other and kicked every ball, cheered every goal and out roared the opposition time after time.
When we are united we are at our very best.
So where now? In my opinion, until Bates leaves the club we will never be able to truly be united again. This isn’t just an ‘anti Bates’ article, believe me, I’d much rather be writing about something positive, but this is a call to arms. If we cannot agree on how to protest then that doesn’t mean we should divide and argue among ourselves, there has to be a way forward and to find that we need to return to the days of showing a united front. Elland Road needs to be a fortress for every game.
Whatever way forward you believe to be right, remember that the fan you are disagreeing with, calling a lesser fan, insulting etc wants exactly the same thing as you, a successful Leeds United.
Ken Bates or no Ken Bates, Leeds, the club, the manager and the players will always have the fans to back them up when they’re against the ropes, right now they need us to be united more than ever.
Twitter – @giddy_goose