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      Thursday
      Apr162015

      Home is where the heart is...

      Somewhere out there in twitter land is a man who every Thursday puts out a tweet counting the number of weeks since our club “President” announced he would rebuy Elland Road by. This article isn’t to berate or show up Massimo Cellino for that number of weeks soon becoming more than 50 but instead to remind ourselves just where Elland Road sits in our collective consciousness.

      Every time one of us passes Elland Road on a train from London, whether match day or not, we are always struck by two things. The first is how there is always someone on the train who will blurt out their awe, usually along the lines of “oh so that’s Elland Road” and secondly how even in its least flattering state (and let’s face it the old girl is not at her best in this era) a sense of “place” is generated, it’s the home of Leeds United, still, despite the last 12 seasons, one of the best known football clubs on the planet.

      We all know the complications, someone else owns our ground, others including Leeds City Council own some of the land around it. It’s been out of the clubs asset list since 2004 and despite a few stories over the years suggesting otherwise we don’t look like getting it back quickly. Yet despite the consequences of the Krasner Board cashing in for short-term cash flow, it is our ground and it belongs to the supporters. Without football and Leeds United it’s just a bit of land that might not generate any capital value as much else.

      It sits as it does, dominating the low ground of Beeston, majestic in its contradictions and clashing architecture. As anyone who purchased the recently released book on the place instantly recognises, it has been even more imposing, the days of large diamond footlight stanchions are alas gone. However it remains omni-special, a continuity exists that Arsenal, Sunderland or Brighton fans don’t have (although none of those clubs modern manifestations are bad grounds). Iconic doesn’t cover it sufficiently.

      Yet for all the symbolism you only have to recall changes in the area around the ground to know there is no guarantee we will always play at Elland Road. The recently completed Police building sits on a site once occupied by a greyhound stadium. The Park + Ride and other car parks occupies where our training ground was until Thorp Arch opened (remember when someone tells you Thorp Arch is not up to scratch remind them what we used to have!!). Change is everywhere, we may even one day have a railway station close by (even basket case Coventry City can progress one of those). The question is how do we ensure the heart of Leeds United remains Elland Road?

      We could, although it would be risky, assume that the limited value to be extracted from using the site for anything else than sport would help (developers however have a way of generating value from where others see none). We could equally assume because no-one has plans to relocate us the issue isn’t important, although some of us whose memories stretch beyond Kalvin Phillips debut will recall the 1999-2000 relocation plans that a certain ex chairman was promoting. No, in truth, if you want to take the slightest risk out of the equation there is only one way forward.

      4 years ago the Government enacted a series of measures designed to allow communities to protect local assets it valued. One of those processes is called “Assets of Community Value”. You may wonder what that has to do with football grounds, well have a look HERE, which explains it well. When you also look HERE you note which ground stands out by its absence!

      We have seen a lot of social media talk around recently of “if not now when?” When it comes to securing Elland Road as a football ground for Leeds United in perpetuity that is correct, regardless of who claims ownership. The Leeds United Supporters Trust would be more than happy to be the prime-movers around making progress on this but we need to be clear, it’s not about one fan group or another having a pet project, it’s about doing something for Leeds United supporters to achieve.

      Elland Road is our collective home, let’s ensure it stays that way.

       

      You can join the Trust FREE by clicking HERE and adding your details. Alternatively, you can become a shareholder for just £5 per year by filling in the form and clicking on the Individual Shareholding PayPal link below it

      Tuesday
      Apr142015

      LUST Statement on LUFC Accounts

      The Leeds United Supporters Trust are disappointed to find that not only have the widely circulated losses for Leeds United being confirmed as £23m for 13-14 but also that additional possible futures issues, like the contingency required to cover a possible court case with the kit suppliers, has surfaced.

      The Trust is constantly reminding owners and directors of the need for supporters to feel a period of stability will accrue, the publication of the accounts today doesn’t assist that process, no matter how much flowery justification the present still under a ban President inserts.

      The Trust will continue to campaign for the financial transparency Mr Cellino promised last year but has failed to follow through on and we re-iterate the 8 demands for clarity we issued in our statement on the 9th of April.

      The Board - Leeds United Supporters Trust

      Thursday
      Apr092015

      Trust Statement: Leadership at LUFC

      “Just because things are different
      doesn’t mean anything has changed”

      This week is exactly 1 year since Massimo Cellino, via his company Eleonora Sport, was allowed by the Football League to commence ownership of Leeds United. We stood 16th in the Championship at the time. 7 months later the same Football League initiated a process that lead to Mr Cellino being banned till May 2015 from control of the club, you may recall this Trust communication HERE  which appealed for all parties to put the interests of the support first. We were 15th at the time but quickly sunk to 21st before Cellino accepted his fate.
       
      Another 5 months on and instability has again reared its ugly head. Despite on the pitch the team racing away from the threat of relegation to a one off height of 11th, all whilst a temporary peace and stability reigned in Massimo’s absence, we have seen the first anniversary of our last completed takeover fully reflect not just the chaos of the last 12 months, or the 3 before that, or the 12 months before that or the previous 8 years before that but our whole existence in over a decade. The last two weeks have placed Leeds United fully back in the limelight for all the wrong reasons and again, the needs of the support, season ticket holders, regular attenders, occasional attenders, fans from afar, for clarity and calm have been blatantly ignored.
       
      Let’s examine events just from that period:
      • A chief operating officer has departed the club, the implication being he was marginalised.
      • The de-facto Director of Football has resigned, so says Cellino, but not before leaving a festering issue by suspending, with board approval, the Assistant Manager. The Director of Football has failed, as have the club, to clarify the resignation and as we speak it is unconfirmed.
      • The Assistant Manager (or Assistant Head Coach depending on interpretation) has been suspended until the end of his current contract (May 2015), having only been put in place a few months earlier after a protracted extraction from Huddersfield Town.
      • The manager, Neil Redfearn, has indicated that he wasn’t consulted on any of this and as a consequence is considering his position. The Manager also has a contract expiring soon and has yet to be communicated with as to his future.
      • A split in the squad, with camps based on their relationship with Cellino, opening up.
      • The Manager apparently instructed on who he can or can’t pick for contractual reasons, with top scorer Antenucci the centre of some confusion.
      • Italian press reports have suggested Cellino wishes to sell and has also expressed an interest in buying Parma. Cellino himself has made contradictory noises around his intentions. He also has been dealing with his numerous Italian court issues.
      • The present “Chairman” of the club, Andrew Umbers has also been seen making suggestions that contradict, with hints that the club is still in some financial difficulty (we await official club confirmation of the £25M losses from 13-14 reported to the Football League as part of the Financial Fair Play process).
      • Agents and journalists have lined up to suggest our talented youngsters (Cook, Mowatt, Byram) will be sold this summer whilst others future remains in considerable doubt, particularly the loans in and those whose contracts expire soon.
      • Reports have said Red Bull were in discussions to buy the club, Cellino publicly acknowledged communication and then Red Bull denied it. Meanwhile others have also publicly stated they are in “multiple discussions” with other parties with a view to putting together some kind of consortium, thus adding to the fevered speculation.
      • The club refusing to pay its staff a living wage despite a football wide campaign.
      • Our minority owners seem to be having some sort of corporate rebuilding, our ex Chairman (and their ex-employee) will soon enjoy a year in a prison cell.
      • Elland Road has not been re-purchased and as yet no site for a new training ground has been found (or if found, purchased).
      • Season ticket renewals have not happened. They would normally have started by now.
      • No indication has been given whether the transfer embargo will be lifted.
      • All in all, and we may have missed some things, this is not what constitutes a stable club.
      What rankles most for us at the Trust is how all of the above is just another manifestation of the fault lines inherent in a club that finds reaching out to the support impossible. The Trust has made at least 3 different attempts to open positive, meaningful communication with the club, mainly with a view to bringing about the stability and clarity so needed by the support. We have to be honest and say the present regime is no more accessible than the Bates era one was. This is both disappointing and regrettable.
       
      The Leeds United Supporters Trust feels that it is ridiculous to expect the support to suffer another summer of chaos and instability. We are particularly concerned that all parties, whether present owners or future bidders, don’t expend their energies at the expense of the footballing side. For us some things need clarifying immediately, they include:
      • Neil Redfearn being given the contract extension his record this season demands.
      • Neil Redfearn to decide who his coaches are (whether that includes Thompson or not).
      • Massimo Cellino to promise to leave footballing matters to the Manager and his staff, regardless of whether Salerno is replaced or not.
      • Cellino/Eleonora Sport/GFH to make a clear statement on whether they intend to listen to offers over the summer. Cellino also to indicate how he intends to de-couple from the club in the event of further convictions in Italy.
      • A transparent explanation of club finances to be made including an honest appraisal of debts and the prospect of the transfer embargo been lifted.
      • The club, via owners and senior staff, to start to open up meaningful dialogue with supporters groups, including the Trust. This dialogue to be based on honesty and integrity.
      • An unequivocal statement on the future of the young talent, with preferably “not for sale” to mean that.
      • A commitment from the club, to its long suffering fan base, to make the period from today until the end of next season as stress free a period as it is possible to muster.
      The Trust is aware that the above is an intense list, but after 14 years of chaos in a variety of forms it is time for the clarity and stability we demanded back in December to come to the fore.
       
      Michael Green, Trust Chairman Paul Keat and The Leeds United Supporters Trust board.
      Thursday
      Feb262015

      Trust Survey Results - February 2015

      Earlier this month we sent all Shareholders and Members an 11 question survey on a number of subjects. We did this to gauge your opinions and to shape the mandate for the Trust.

      We are pleased to give you the results of the survey, as follows;

       

       
       

       

       


      There was a considerable amount of comments on each of the survey questions, all useful and many entertaining ones.

      You can download all 91 pages of the full report HERE.

      The Trust will use the results of the survey and work to the wishes and desires of Shareholders and Members alike as indicated by the results of the survey. Further planning and actions on a number of the questions are currently underway and updates on our progress will be detailed here and if you have anything you wish for us to be involved in please feel free to contact us directly by email at chairman@lufctrust.org.

      Wednesday
      Feb252015

      High5it Competition - 2 Tickets to Watford (H) 29 Feb 2015

      Want to 2 hospitality tickets for the Watford home game on Saturday 28th February courtesy of High5it?

      We'll be sending out an email, with 3 very simple Leeds United related questions, to all Shareholders and Members of the Trust later this evening to give you all an equal chance to make the tickets yours.

      You will have approximately 48 hours to give your answers with the winner being drawn at random from all the winning entries on Friday after 5.00pm with the winner being notified shortly afterwards with all the arrangements for the day.

      If you're not currently a Trust member and want to enter then it's easy to do so, just follow this link HERE and you can select to join FREE or become a shareholder for just £5 per year (payable through PayPal).

      So, come and have a go if you think you're clever enough. You never know, it might just be you!

      Good luck!

      About High5it

      The High5it app has been created by 10 football fans, not a Football Club, Bookmaker or Huge worldwide corporate operation, with the idea that the vast majority of fans understand great football and want to be positive about it.

      We also started to realise it was becoming very easy to be , and slightly popular to be , negative about what we all love to watch every Saturday and sadly even negative towards the players who play it, via comments in the stadium and or social media .

      High5it has a simple message behind its creation , if you want to be positive and support the football team you follow, then pick up your phone during or after the match and give the player or players a High5 , to say that pass , tackle , save , goal or overall performance is what football is all about and well done

      This then creates the fans top 5 most appreciated players and the player with the most High5s from supporters is that games MOTM.

      From this we can also create team of the week for each division, best supported team of that week etc.

      These are unique stats not created by anyone other than you the supporters.

      All clubs will want to be known as the best supported club that week and as this is a percentage it might surprise the big boys – imagine that!

      How many times do we all see a player completely run the game only to hear that some TV pundit has given MOTM to the sub who came on and got an equalising header in the 89th minute – High5it is all about understanding and interacting with the game .

      Fans that use High5it can do so without ever being asked to pay for the pleasure and all further promotions offered to users will be for them to accept or decline.

      At the moment we randomly select 50 people each week to win £50 winners are notified and can already be seen on our social media platforms – will you be one of next weeks winners

      The most important people at any football club are the supporters and this is often overlooked. Ultimately if we can show the club you love that 25,000 of you made “Roy Race “your MOTM the club will listen to you and when they do they will want to interact with you via the High5it app and you will benefit massively from club offers on merchandise, tickets and maybe special player events – Go and meet “Roy Race” at the club because you’ve High5’d him every match for a month!

      The more of you supporters who use High5it the more you’ll get out of it

      High5it’s goal is to one year host the “High5it supporter’s player of the year awards “from the stats you create and invite as many of you as we can along to meet the players on the night.

      So in short, it’s free and easy to use and gives you a worldwide platform to have your say on what you see on the pitch without any opportunity to be negative and you will receive promotions direct to your handset for doing it.

      You can help make High5it grow and be a success with your clubs supporters – it can only be positive for fans, players and clubs!

      T&Cs

      1. The promoter is: Leeds United Supporters Trust whose registered office is at 35 Copley Hall Terrace, Halifax HX3 0TS.

      2. Employees of the Leeds United Supporters Trust or their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition or helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition.

      3. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.

      4. Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are included at the top of this page.

      5. Closing date for entry will be at 5.00pm Friday 27th February 2015. After this time/date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.

      6. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.

      7. The rules of the competition and the prize for each winner are as follows: 

      8. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.

      9. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.

      10. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice. The prize is not transferable to any other Leeds United home game during the 2014/15 season, or any other thereafter. Travel to and from Elland Road is not included in the prize so winners must have their own method of transport.

      11. Winners will be chosen:

      1. at random all winning entries received and verified by Promoter and or its agents,
      2. winning entries will be examined by an independent adjudicator appointed by the Promoter.

      12. The winner will be notified by email and telephone within 3 hours of the closing of the closing time/date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 60 minutes of notification by email, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.

      13. The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected.

      14. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

      15. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.

      16. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by [English] law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of [England].

      17. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current [UK] data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.

      18. The winner’s name will be available 10 days after closing date by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the following address: Leeds United Supporters Trust, 35 Copley Hall Terrace, Halifax HX3 0TS.

      19. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions. All entrants must be over 18 years old or over.

      20. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network. You are providing your information to Leeds United Supporters Trust and not to any other party.