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      Thursday
      Dec042014

      Football League Decision: In Leeds fans' best Interests?

      Over the last 72 hours we have once again witnessed our club thrown into turmoil by factors outside the control of the fans, players and employees that work so tirelessly to make the club what it really is.

      Whilst all the parties involved are quick to blame one another and those with a potential vested interest sit ready to swoop down like vultures ready to proclaim themselves as the latest saviour of the club, nobody seems interested in examining what is actually in the best interests of Football in general and specifically Leeds United and its long suffering fans.

      For their part, we would question the Football League regarding the timing of this latest action as it appears that it has been timed to cause maximum disruption to any plans that the management of Leeds United might have for the upcoming transfer window and the key fixture period between now and Easter. In terms of their governance, it is our opinion, that it would be much more constructive for them to spend time redeveloping their outdated Owners and Directors test so that it is more robust and fit for purpose. Times have changed over the last ten years and there are countless examples of the test failing to address modern day ownership issues with the current situation at Leeds United being the latest of these. Does it really make sense for the Football league to continue to spend time and resources pursuing the “Nelie” situation when their best case outcome is a three month ban from control of the club? Rather than demonstrating a determination to stamp out rogue behaviour it appears to the general public more as a witch hunt to satisfy their bruised egos. We do not suggest that Owners should be allowed to continue unchecked and are not calling for the Football League to ignore potential activity that would disqualify individuals from owning or controlling a club but, some form of common sense has to prevail and the Football League should also consider the effect on their own credibility and member clubs before imposing any actions. After all the Football League has a duty of care to its member clubs.

      Whilst he has publicly stated that he is running the club under proper rules we would call on Massimo Cellino to confirm that his activities outside of football are also as compliant and that Leeds fans can be assured there are no further actions lingering in the background waiting to surface. Should there be any doubt on this, in the same way that we urge the Football league to utilise common sense and abide by their duty of care obligations, we would further call for Massimo Cellino to make the proper arrangements to ensure that the club will not suffer any further as a result.

      ...and to those potential investors monitoring from the sidelines, we would remind them that whilst any attempts to buy the club would need a willing seller as well as a buyer, they should also be aware that our club is not a tradable commodity that can be bought at a bargain price and sold for a profit. Leeds United comes with a proud history and the supporters will only accept owners that are prepared to commit to maintaining and respecting continuity of those traditions.

      Monday
      Dec012014

      Leeds United Supporters Trust calls for quick action on Fit & Proper Persons Test

      In light of the decision of the Football League today to disqualify Massimo Cellino and the public response of Leeds United, the Leeds United Supporters Trust calls on both the Football League and Massimo Cellino to act in the best interests of the club and its supporters and not to engage in endless legal struggles that ultimately benefit no-one.

      For too long, football administrators and owners have failed to consider the consequences of their actions on loyal Leeds United supporters.

      Our members are frustrated that uncertainty has yet again been introduced to Leeds United and the resulting instability that creates for both the club’s business operations and its supporters. This lack of consideration needs to end and the best interests of Leeds United and the integrity of the Championship need to be protected.

      The Leeds United Supporters Trust calls for an urgent final resolution to the “Nelie” matter that is in the best interests of Leeds United AND its supporters, unfettered by the past or vested interests.

      We further call for any independent disciplinary commission that is established to finish its business in the shortest possible timescale. The Massimo Cellino “fit and proper person” issue has been dragged out for more than nine months, it is imperative it does not drag on endlessly. Supporters from numerous clubs have long been aware that the FPPT has been a process unfit for purpose for some time, today’s events only go to re-enforce that notion.

      The Trust believes we are in uncharted waters and therefore asks that both sides bring clarity and honesty to their public statements and consider the supporters’ need for a stable club at all times.

      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.