The last few days has been tough for any Leeds fan, we had the news that the takeover had collapsed which sparked mass panic, anger and worry.
That was quickly followed by a club statement suggesting the takeover wasn’t off at all, but that the buyers exclusivity period was now over. In other words ‘Leeds are still for sale, but it’s now a free for all’
Unfortunately, by the time the fans had chance to digest the information some had already turned on the supporters trust, some still believed it was all made up by Bates’ to sell season tickets, but worryingly, fans started turning on each other.
As the thought of another season with Ken Bates in charge started to sink in, some fans made the decision to boycott Elland Road until his regime was over, stating that they could support the club without supporting Bates. This then sparked an angry reaction from the match attending fans, who claimed that any real fan wouldn’t boycott games at any cost.
Cue a ‘best fan’ contest, with both sides of the argument being expressed profusely on forums and twitter without any sign of reason or a middle ground, for a team with united in it’s name, we couldn’t be less so.
What fans need to realise, and realise quickly, is that there is no wrong or right way to handle this. If somebody wants to boycott games in a personal protest to Ken Bates then that doesn’t mean they support the club any less, they still cheer every goal and kick every ball, they just don’t want to put any money into the club while Bates is around.
At the same time, we mustn’t let ourselves believe that protesting about Bates at games always has a negative effect on the players, the players are professionals who, considering the level they play at, should be more than able to handle a few chants about our owner. This was backed up at the weekend as we cruised to a 4-0 win over Shrewsbury with ‘Bates out’ chants ringing out.
Now is the time for fans to stick together, we don’t have to agree to do the same things, but we have to understand that whatever action somebody takes is because of a love of the club. We cant start dividing a week before the season starts, especially considering there is a chance the takeover will still take place, we need to be united from the start as we all want the same thing, Bates out, and a return to the Premier League.
If we needed any more inspiration to put down our weapons it must surely be the thought of Ken Bates laughing away at the sight of us minions and morons turning on each other. Make no mistake, a disjointed fan base would please Bates no-end.
In the midst of all this, the takeover looks to be back on track, with reports claiming that talks over the weekend were ‘very positive’ and the LUST chairman Gary Cooper confirming on WACCOE that the buyers representative ‘”could see no other outcome’’. Considering the league season starts this weekend, it could not be better timed.
On the topic of LUST, fans need to remember their purpose. They are a supporters trust that have been the voice of the fans throughout, they are as frustrated as us at not being able to tell us more information than they have, but the criticism they are starting to receive is unfair. On the day that they confirmed the takeovers collapse they were only relaying information from the buyers, as at that point in the day, the deal was dead in the water. After LUSTs statement, there were frantic discussions to try and rescue the deal, this is where we appear to be at today.
So at least for now, we need to keep the faith and be united again. Leeds are renowned for having one of the best fan bases in the world, but we can only justify being called that if we stick together through the ups and downs, at least until the word stops going round.
Twitter – @giddy_goose