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      Friday
      Nov212014

      Blackburn (A) - Additional Information

      As with previous away fixtures at Rotherham and Cardiff, we've spoken to Stuart Caley, Stadium Safety Officer - Blackburn Rovers, and his team who have sent us the following information for the game;

      Car Parking

       Around the stadium is limited due to major road works. There is some availability on the club’s own car parks but will be on a first come, first served basis at £10 per vehicle. There is parking available at the service area at junction 4 on the M65, which is where vehicles are directed to leave for Ewood Park but this would then involve a walk of about 1 mile but can have advantages in getting away after the game, albeit uphill.

      Coach Parking

      Coaches will be directed by the police to park at the stadium behind the stand in which your tickets are for. Coaches parked on the club property will be charged £20 each. Please advise all your coach operators to allow plenty of time to arrive at the stadium in order that the spectators can get into the ground before kick-off, last season some were very much on the last minute. In addition I understand that the M62 has some speed restrictions through road work sections. Please also be aware that Middlesbrough are travelling to Wigan and it is expected that they will be taking up to 50 coaches, many of which may also be using the M62.

      Alcohol

      Alcohol will be served in plastic glasses at the ground but obviously should the behaviour of the supporters give cause for us to change this decision we reserve the right to do so. The Fernhurst Public House does not routinely open its doors to away supporters as it used to but the Golden Cup next to junction 4 of the motorway will accept away fans.

      Searching

      All supporters will be searched prior to entry into the ground and that they should not be in possession of any items which are prohibited by Ground Regulations. Any supporters found to be possession of such items will be handed to the police.

      Football Special Train

      Additionally, having spoken to West Yorkshire Police today, there will be an additional 'Football Special' train from Blackburn to Leeds, with no stops, leaving at 17.35. Space will be limited to 400 and will be on a first come first served basis. The scheduled 'service' train will be at 17.53 but will stop at all stations.

      We hope everyone travelling will do so within the set guidelines and use 'common sense' at all times whilst giving the lads on the pitch everything for 90+ minutes. There is addional travel information on our 'Away Days' section HERE.

      Safe travels and see you there.

      Paul Keat

      Chairman
      Leeds United Supporters Trust

       

       

      Thursday
      Nov062014

      The day we went to Cardiff...

      Saturday I went to the Cardiff City Stadium for the first time. As a man who values principles, be it in life in general and football in particular, I have always refused to attend games at Cardiff’s new stadium (or any other ground for that matter) where a travel/ticket “bubble” system is/was in place. Therefore, I was looking forward to a trip to Cardiff, the chance to drink in a few decent real ale pubs I haven’t seen since 2006 and also meet up with the Trusts' Cardiff City equivalents.

      Upon arrival at the Cardiff City Stadium the first thing I noticed was something was missing, some important aspect of the culture of the football day experience seemed to have been removed from the scene, it took me a few minutes to realise what it was, there was no programme sellers. There were people who might have passed for programme sellers selling those lottery tickets football clubs disguise as fund-raising opportunities but no sign of programmes. Now call me a footballing train-spotter if you want but I like to take home an indication I attended a game and whilst the content of programmes across the country can be eclectic for an average £3 I’m always happy to get one. It took a chat with a member of Cardiff City’s Trust to understand what the situation was: all the programme seller had been sacked by the Tan administration and replaced by booth’s inside the stadium. The only other place you can purchase a programme is at the Supporters Club area (built into the stadium just down from a much smaller Trust 'cupboard'). For me that felt an attack on a well-respected tradition of sorting out your programme in advance of the use of a turnstile.

      Making my way towards the away end you note that it is not possible to walk around the outside of the stadium to it, instead you are forced to go back to the road and then enter a more brutalist caged area (not quite as bad as Millwall but in that ball-park), again this suggested to me an alien understanding of fan culture but we seem to have got used to it these days. Inside I was greeted by a steward keen to direct me to the toilets, different i thought. Instead I went straight to a booth and guess what? Yes! I purchased a programme!

      The “below stairs” area of the away section reminds me of all those modern stadiums where no-one considers it important whether the piping or electrics are showing and nothing tells you it’s a football stadium other than the advertising for the food and drink products on sale (and even then you could think it was a low rent bowling alley you were at given the need for the staff to look like a poor variant of American diner staff). At least the toilets weren’t small but I couldn’t help thinking how when it comes to modern stadiums only Brighton have thought through the spectator experience fully and given the same amount of consideration to the away end as the home stands.

      Once I made my seat (firstly reflecting on the similarities with Reading and Coventry’s grounds) I noted the intrinsically awkward contrast between the blue seats of the original build of the stadium and the red-seated recent addition high to our left. This awkwardness was replicated in the small dots of red in a sea of blue. If colours of supporters garb is the indication then the abomination that was the imposition of the red kit has yet to garner favour with anyone over 7 years old.

      As the game progressed, notwithstanding the result, I noted an atmosphere from the home end that was stilted until the first Cardiff goal. Even as our end rubbed their noses in the consequences of the Tan regime it was almost as if the home supporters knew they had no answer to the taunts (and certainly didn’t have the Leeds United irony laced response mechanism we have developed as a set of fans). I contrasted that with the noise I remember from the 1980’s at Ninian Park, it seemed to me I was experiencing directly something that I always feared was happening in some quarters, a disconnection between the corporate entities that operate in some football clubs and the supporters who were there before the money arrived and will be there afterwards. Unfortunately, it seemed to me that the corporate entity that is Cardiff City was winning and having “sold their soul” for one year of Premier League football the support was settling down for years of paying the price!

      To be fair to Cardiff City they are not alone in this and also to be fair again, there are worse ownership situations than having a foreign based megalomaniac, but it is clear to me at least that Cardiff City are a manifestation of a cultural chasm that might never be closed, which I consider a shame, for them and for football. Still all in all I was glad to make the trip, if only to confirm my original principled absence was well founded. 

      Thursday
      Oct302014

      Cardiff City (A) - Additional Information

      We've been in touch with Cardiff City over the last week or so regarding our game on Saturday 1st Noivember and have been sent the email below with additional information from Adam Gilliatt, Cardiff City SLO (Supporters Liaison Officer), for the game;

       

       

      You may be aware of some of this already but please distribute to your fellow Leeds fans so all attending on Saturday will be aware.

      There will be a RVP for all coaches and minibuses travelling to Cardiff on Saturday.  They are asked to be at Junction 33 of the M4 for 1330 hrs.

      Parking for the coaches and minibuses will be located within the away compound located outside the away turnstiles.  We charge £8 per car, these also park within the away compound subject to availability.  If the compound is full our stewards will direct cars to an alternative parking area which is 250 yards away.  

      We have a dedicated team of stewards who will be there to accommodate you upon your arrival and hope you all enjoy your visit to Cardiff City Stadium. 
      There will be alcohol on sale in the ground with gates opening at 1330 hrs.

      Please see the attached map showing the preferred and quickest route for visiting supporters travelling by car to access the away compound.

      If there is anything else you would like to ask please do not hesitate to contact me.

      Kind Regards

      Adam Gilliatt
      Supporters Liaison Officer / Stadium Department
      Cardiff City Football Club

      Cardiff City Stadium | Leckwith Road | Cardiff | CF11 8AZ 

      Further details are available on the Away Days section of our website for all fans travelling to the fixture by Car, Coach or Train. 

      We would like to thank our board member Steve Clay for making this contact and anticipate further liaison with away clubs at fixtures in future facilitating additional information which we hope will prove useful to all travelling fans in future.

      Board members will also be meeting our counterparts at Cardiff City Supporters Trust and a representative of South Wales Police before the game in discussing the arrangements for fans for the return fixture at Elland Road on Saturday 11th April 2015. 

      Wednesday
      Oct222014

      LUST Statement on Racism

      The Leeds United Supporters Trust condemns all racism in football without hesitation.

      Leeds United fans have been at the forefront of fighting discrimination in the game - proven by LUST's long-standing support of the Kick It Out campaign - and they will rightly be concerned by the serious allegations made by Cameron Jerome.

      However, Giuseppe Bellusci is entitled to the full FA / Football League process, which we hope will be resolved quickly, accurately and fairly. Until the outcome of that process, it is not right for the Supporters Trust to comment further.

      Tuesday
      Oct212014

      Can the people's game come back to the people?

      There is something nearly reassuring that we now have annual  studies of the cost of football. Examples like the BBC Sport “Price of Football 2014” have become part of the football supporters’ landscape and yet, despite the scrutiny process,there is a depressing inevitability of what the studies show.

      Year after year the cost of football rises. It matters not that the income of clubs explode like a rocket heading for the sky (no pun intended) propelled by TV income. Ticket prices continue to rise, with three figures for Premier League tickets not unusual. We get this frustrating information so regularly we perhaps already have become immune to the shock.

      What do we expect? Player’s wages, across the divisions, are out of control, agents still siphon off significant amounts, investment in spectator facilities is billions behind transfer fees and even when there is fan-related investment, the motivation spurred by the corporate end of the market. The people’s game has been hijacked by business; titles are secondary to turnover, qualifying for the Champions League is now bigger than a cup win.

      Does it really take a back-bench MP (Tim Farron, Lib Dem) to point out that third kits are a rip-off and an insult to fans? Well no, we have all known this for years, but his interjection gives the media an excuse to spend a small amount of time exposing the inherent greed before reverting to type, fawning over players, managers and owners.

      Leeds United supporters don’t need studies, statistics and statements to point out the disconnection between players and real life; after all we still ache from the pain of a League 1 journey atPremier League prices. Recent decisions to not continue the crippling pricing policies of the Ken Bates/Shaun Harvey era have only really allowed the cost of season tickets to move closer to divisional norms, but we still pay excessively when you consider the football we watch.

      Solutions and what the future holds will always be difficult to articulate; after all we are becoming conditioned to the mantra “spending equals success”. However,there are basics that even the most corporate-thinking football executive should understand. If you price the average supporter out of the game, when the day comes (and it will) that TV and sponsorship isn’t covering the consequences, you will find yourself owning large empty stadiums no-one is filling. Italian football is already in that cycle of decline, English football threatens to be not far behind.

      For many season ticket holders who live away from Leeds, their loyalty may wobble at the £100+ a game costs for home games. Football and the clubs need to think twice before trying to extract the last drop of blood from loyal supporters. A whole generation of people with below-average incomes are already lost to the game, the fear is only the well off will be able to enjoy football in the very near future. That would add tragedy to what is already a sad situation. The people’s game once meant something and if football is to prosper over the next 10 years it needs to regain that long-lost title.

      There have been recent announcements regarding the integration of fans into club ownership structures. The Labour Party led the way last Friday saying that if elected back in to government, it would oversee "the biggest legislative shake-up in the governance of English and Welsh football clubs since the advent of the game" when it came to fan representation on clubs boards.Today the Government has unveiled a ‘Supporter Ownership and Engagement Expert group’, aimed at promoting supporter-owned clubs. In either case, we hope that the influence of fans bringing real information from the stands will make a difference.

      The Leeds United Supporters Trust has campaigned for real engagement with fans for the last three years(1)(2)(3) and has been involved with the all-party select committee for Culture, Media and Sport. We are pleased that the collective voice of the fans has been listened to.

      We encourage all parties to work for the benefit of the fans. Don’t we deserve it for the long hours on the motorways, the incessant queuing, the inconsistent stewarding, not to mention the at-times absence of a ready supply of chicken balti pies!

      Whatever and whoever provides the voice for the fans in each club, we wholly advocate these efforts. Democratically elected representatives should be encouraged and supported in a collective push for the good of a club, while listening to individual voices. This can only be a good thing. This is the future of our game. The gauntlet has been placed for the politicians to make it happen. If they don’t then what will fans do next May?