"Ask Steve"
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Subscribe

    Enter your email address below and we'll send new posts straight to your inbox:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Twitter Updates

    Twitter Updates

      Follow me on Twitter...
      Monday
      Sep292014

      LUST faces exciting future with new Chairman and Board

      We would like to put on record our grateful thanks to previous Chairman, Gary Cooper, who has led the Trust admirably through one of the most difficult periods of the clubs history. We will never forget your personal sacrifice and the outstanding leadership you have offered over the last 5 years giving the shareholders and members a fantastic base to work from. Our loss is Leeds Ladies’ gain. Like-wise with the outgoing board members at the AGM on Wednesday, Aidan Booth, Ashley Tabony, Patrick Bushell, Chris Coleman and Adam Carruthers, who have committed time, personal resources and their skills to the Trust, without want of anything in return. Your dedication provides the new board with a hard act to follow and a high benchmark to achieve.

      This week indeed means the beginning of a new era Gary & Paul at Wembley in Julywithin the Trust. Our new Chairman, Paul Keat, has been selected by the new board due to his experience and knowledge working closely with the previous Chairman for the last 3 years and in the Trust to attain continuity and focus on the things that really matter within our club, Leeds United. Paul has an intimate working knowledge of the Trust and is the natural successor to Gary. We feel he has the attributes to take the Trust to the next step of its development.

      Each of us are fully committed to the work of the Trust, and in particular, achieving the objectives of the Vision Statement and to endeavour to build on the legacy and progress the Trust further in representing an increasing membership at the highest levels of British and European football and provide their United voice as a voice which needs to be heard.

      We, the new board, provide a variety of skills in continuing the work of the Trust in engaging Trust membership, the club, protecting the rights of members attending games home and away, maintaining and developing links with local government, business and police organisations, monitoring financial aspects which involve the club, maintaining the potential to invest into the club through the Fan Share Scheme, working in partnership with local and national media as well as Supporters Direct and the FSF in conjunction with supporters groups both locally and nationally, in whichever division or competition we compete in, and, lastly, being 100% dedicated to providing a voice for every member for the betterment of your experience in supporting our great club.

      To this we commit ourselves.

      One Voice

      On, On, On

      Paul Keat

      Ross Davidson

      Jeremy Walker

      Steve Clay

      Michael Green

      Danny Murphy

      Mike Brennan

      Mick Newton

      John Bond

      Henry Walker 

      Chris Liversidge

       

      To contact us with anything Trust-related, please email chairman@lufctrust.org

      Thursday
      Sep252014

      Gary Cooper gives his farewell statement as Chairman

      At our AGM last night outgoing LUST Chairman, Gary Cooper, gave his thoughts on the last 5 years of his tenure. Here are his thoughts in full...

      Leeds United Supporters Trust – Chairman’s Statement 2014

      If you had asked me in September 2009 how I saw my future probably the last thing I would have predicted would have been the events of the past five years, the trials, the tribulations, the highs and lows, the ups and downs we as Leeds fans have all experienced multiplied by a spotlight and a battle I never asked for or wanted but that I couldn’t ignore or lose for both would have meant the faith shown in me was misplaced, faith that made me determined and focused on keeping the promises I and others made when the trust reformed its board in October 2009.

      The events of the years since have been well documented but much of the detail is little known, detail that’s shines a clear light on the truth not the spun and scripted pictures painted by those who seek to control and manipulate for their own gain whether it be financial or to satisfy their egos. Truth that lies behind the supposed ‘facts’ glossily presented to those willing to believe, desperate to believe because belief is all they have, football supporters fall into that category because of the emotional investment they make in their clubs and the controllers, the manipulators exploit that as a weakness. Five years ago a manipulator thought our ‘weakness’ was his ticket to riches and, in his own mind, immortality but what he thought was our weakness turned out to be the very strength that defeated him, our emotional investment, our belief made us strong and together we made it clear we would not tolerate being called ‘morons’, ‘dissidents’ and in one infamous phone call we were called ‘f*****g idiots’, the man who called us all of those things came up against the kind of belief and strength he rarely saw in a lifetime of dominating and exploiting others, he came up against Leeds United supporters and he waged a war of deceit and disharmony that spoke volumes about him but said nothing about Leeds United and its loyal supporters and despite his best efforts to crush, discredit and destroy those who sought to hold him to account his was a war that ultimately he couldn’t win and I am proud to have been chairman of the trust, your trust, that led the challenge to his manipulation and control.

      Mr Bates may wish to challenge that statement, Mr Bates I am sure would want you all to believe differently, Mr Bates has spent his life shielding himself from challenges by using the power of his wealth to make litigious threats to frighten those who challenge him into silence and in many cases that will work, honest people usually have families to feed and can’t afford the threat of expensive Court cases fighting lawyers paid for from the pockets of the ‘controlled’. I promised that LUST would tell the story, I promised that we would let all Leeds fans who wanted to know the truth of the last five years the chance to learn it, as Chairman of LUST I have not been able to keep that promise because of the threat of litigation and ongoing Court cases, as Gary Cooper I have nothing left to lose, blood cannot be drawn from a stone. So I would say to Mr Bates and anyone else who challenges the truth, as of tomorrow Gary Cooper begins work on his book, a book that will keep the promises made, a book that will document the facts not spin the fiction, a book that will challenge preconceptions, allegations and the lies told to deliberately mislead, confuse and divide Leeds United supporters, a book that will not be silenced by threats. If anyone wishes to instruct solicitors please let them know I am very happy to face their questions in Court but they should know this, I hope those they might represent are as happy to face questions in the same court too!

      Moving on to the last year and the changes we have seen at LUFC. The tenure of GFH ended in a similar farce to that in which it began. Our members asked us to seek dialogue with the clubs custodians and we did that, we engaged with David Haigh and Paul Hunt on all matters and a regular basis, not always in the manner I am sure they would have liked but always and as promised in an honest and forthright way speaking only of the feelings of our members, good and bad, and in fairness to both David and Paul they might not always have wanted to hear what we had to say but rarely did they shy away from taking the call. At last year’s AGM the clubs managing director sat in this very room taking questions from those present and being threatened by a former trust chairman if he ever allowed a certain ex-chairman who is now a nobody anywhere near LUFC again, that man was David Haigh, now instead of being sat here he is sat in a cell in Dubai. Many will be of the opinion that David Haigh got what he deserved, many feel karma is the force behind the plight in which he finds himself lying in the bed he made for himself, some may feel he was foolish, naive, self-serving or plain silly to shift seemingly from pillar to post and who am I to say anyone is wrong? But what is wrong is that a man who, if so minded, could shed a lot of light on the shadows cast over this club in its recent past has been silenced and his liberty taken away by the accusations of those who would not dare sit in this room and take questions from any of you, men who hide behind creative accounting and the assurance that in their world they will be protected from the truth about their credibility, their lack of ability and the consequences of their actions. It is wrong and regardless of what you think of David Haigh his incarceration and silence should not be the price to be paid for secrecy surrounding the failings of others.

      So what has your trust been up too for the last twelve months, some have suggested we have been relatively quiet and I suppose it might seem that way given the more public events of the previous four years. We have continued to represent our members and the wider fans base on individual and group issues, Steve Clay and the ‘Ask Steve’ initiative has had many successes dealing with arrests, ground ejections, stewarding and policing problems, ground and travel safety amongst a whole host of other problems encountered when supporting our club, the job Steve has done has been nothing short of outstanding and we are all lucky to have him on our side. Your board has again represented you at the highest levels both in cross party policy talks at Westminster and in meetings with MP’s such as Andy Burnham who have a passionate interest in the game and a sincere understanding of the value of supporter inclusion. Through your trust Leeds United was represented on the national stage at the joint FSF/SD conference again in July and also on the international stage at European level in Italy at the Football Supporters of Europe Congress too. Your voice has been heard and your thoughts communicated to those who can influence the kind of ideas and changes you want to be made. Sadly and despite more hours of hard work than I think I can ever remember as trust chairman it seems the fan share scheme we put so much effort into is pretty much on hold as our current custodian really doesn’t seem interested in talking about the possibilities at this time which for me personally is something of a wasted opportunity when so many changes to the structure of our club are taking place, this is a change which could have united and engaged a massive section of the fan base and been a real positive for the club both now and in the future – as with many things the fan share scheme remains a wait and see?

      In March, following the collapsed Sport Capital bid we saw a majority stake in the club sold to Massimo Cellino, a man many see as the saviour of Leeds United and indeed that may well come to be the case. Having formally met Mr Cellino on two occasions and having had the chance to speak to him at length about all things Leeds United I have to say I do like him. It is impossible not to be impressed by his passion and his charismatic personality. He has a natural ability to captivate a room, to command his space and the attention of others, he is clearly and demonstrably a driven and ambitious man and all of those traits could make him the right man at the right time for Leeds United and I desperately hope that transpires to be the case. Just today the Guardian reports the Sardinian Judges ruling may well impact upon the current ownership situation and more worryingly it seems the ruling has been known by LUFC since late July which is arounf the time a certain ex chairman who is a nobody began his courting of Mr Cellino and met with him on more than one occasion, one meeting involved a certain Football League CEO who will be tasked with ensuring the rules are applied by the Football League based upon the Judges statement too! I would offer a word of caution to those who are set to replace me and the board members standing down with me tonight, Mr Cellino is not a man disposed to ‘listening’ and it won’t be easy representing the thoughts of your members to him. Since our meeting in May and despite promises made and assurances given not a single call or email has been responded too! It won’t be easy but if Mr Cellino gets it right on the pitch it might not have to be easy, fingers crossed and good luck to the new board.

      For the people who have served on the board with me over the last five years I have nothing but respect and gratitude for the support you have given me and the efforts you have made on behalf of all our members. John Moran, Gary Hewitt, Steve Cooke, Malcolm Christie, Simon Ridley, Lee Hicken, Rick Duniec, Patrick Bushell, Ross Davidson, Jeremy Walker, Ashley Tabony, Adam Carruthers, Martin Wainright, Chris Coleman, Steve Clay, Aidan Booth, Paul Keat, Martin Birch have all served as board members for varying lengths of time and in varying capacity’s and all have my thanks, it has been a privilege to have worked with you all. To the many who have helped tirelessly from behind the scenes working on financial reports, commercial studies, media and press releases, recruitment, administration, merchandising and many many other aspects of the work the trust has undertaken over the last five years again my heartfelt thanks and appreciation goes to you all.

      To those outside the trust circle who have given us support, the local media, Adam Pope and the WYS team and all from BBC Radio Leeds, Phil Hay and all at the YEP, Radio Aire, The City Talking and the national media especially David Conn whose understanding and expertise is second to none certainly in football terms. Leeds City Council and particularly Tom Riordan and Keith Wakefield who are men of great integrity and honour, all our local MPs who to a man and woman have supported the trust at the highest national levels. Our friends and colleagues at the FSF and Supporters Direct, bodies without whom we would all, as football fans, be a lot worse off and especially Amanda Jacks who represents the interests of our members with Liberty legal expert Melanie Cooke so well. So many people have contributed in so many ways it would be impossible for me to mention them all but to each and every one I am very grateful.

      Finally, to the people who matter most, the people who made all of the successes of the last five years possible, the people for whom it has been a privilege and an honour to serve, to all trust members and Leeds United supporters who stood up to be counted and who supported and gave us the mandate to act on their behalf I say never have I been more proud to be ‘Leeds’ than during the five years I have served you all. Nothing will ever replace your faith, your belief and your support in my heart which will always have a place for all of you in it. I have loved Leeds United since I was a small boy, I have followed my team with pride since I was a young teenager, I have stood and sat and marched and sang and danced with thousands of you over the years but never have I been so proud to be one of you than I have whilst serving as chairman of your trust. Thank you all for this honour and this opportunity, I gave it my best, I didn’t always get it right and at times it pushed me to my limits but I did always put your mandate at the forefront of every word I spoke and every action I took and I sincerely hope you feel I didn’t let you down?

      They say all good things come to an end, this has been a good thing but the time for my end has come and I believe that I am handing over a strong trust, a fit for purpose trust, a trust that can continue to grow and serve it members for many years to come. I maybe vacating my seat but it will be filled and to whoever fills it my support will be strong and available at any time it’s needed.

      Now it’s time for me to pay back the debt I owe to my family for allowing me the time to devote to the trust and its members, my wife and kids have paid a price that maybe no one will ever understand, a price they should never have had to pay and one I hope no future chairman or board members family ever has to pay again. I would urge all members, supporters be they critics or commentators, when sitting in judgement of people who give their time and their hearts freely in the interests of your trust, your club and your fellow supporters please think about that.

      Thank you all.

      Gary Cooper

      LUST Chairman 2009-2014

       

      We will be giving details and profiles of the new Chairman and board members shortly. 

      Wednesday
      Aug132014

      TRUST ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2014 & PUBLIC MEETING

      Date - Wednesday 24th September 2014

      Time - 7.00-7.30pm

      Location - Legends Lounge, South Stand, Elland Road (above Billy's Bar)

      - All Shareholders and members are welcome

      A draft agenda has been proposed and would like to give an opportunity for Shareholders and Members to contribute to the agenda. If there is anything you wish to add to the agenda please let us know as soon as possible by email to Trust Secretary, Paul Keat, HERE.

      Following the AGM meeting at 7.45pm Shareholders and Members are welcome to stay for the Public meeting having the opportunity to take part in the regular Q&A session with the board regarding any issues they wish to raise.

      There will be a buffet available on the evening and our own dedicated bar with a selection of drinks available for purchase. 

      For those who are unable to attend, we are planning on broadcasting the meetings live and and for it to be available later on the Trust Listen Again page. Further details and links will be given closer to the date.

      Alternatively, you can ask your questions via our Twitter feed or on our Facebook page, or by emailing us HERE!

      We look forward to seeing you there.

      PLEASE NOTE: No new shareholder applications will be allowed until after the AGM

      Thursday
      Jul312014

      LUST Update: Millwall Discussions Show Progress

      Over the past few weeks the Trust have been in discussion with Millwall FC, British Transport Police, Met Police and the Millwall Supporters Trust in advance of our forthcoming away fixture following the seemingly avoidable events at the fixture over previous seasons. We are pleased to report that there has been progress between all parties involved in anticipation for our opening day fixture on Saturday 9th August, 3.00pm K.O..

      Last season saw congestion and 'kettling' of our fans at London Bridge station, leading to many fans being bitten by Police Dogs. There has also been unacceptable chanting about the tragedy in Istanbul. The purpose of these discussions is to try to improve the match day experience of everyone attending, from both clubs.

      The outcome of the discussion is as follows;

      London Bridge 
      The station is still having a major overhaul and is still causing problems for passengers in general. There will be a Police presence at Kings Cross and London Bridge. British Transport Police (BTP) said the majority of pubs around London Bridge are welcoming of away fans.

      The Trust asked about dog deployment, BTP said they would use all tactics depending on the scenario. We have stressed that we hope they consider their tactic in using this method of 'control' very carefully beforehand this year, especially when considering recent history.

      The Trust also pointed out the 'kettling' onto one tiny platform last year causing frustration and pushing from the back causing surges and disorder as those at the front got bitten. The Trust have, therefore, agreed to assist with communication on the day in working with the BTP Match Commander using both LUST's and BTP's twitter accounts to communicate updates as they happen throughout the day. We encourage all supporters travelling on the day to watch for announcements to facilitate safe movement before and after the match.

      We encourage all travelling support to consider that QPR, Spurs and West Ham all at home playing in pre-season friendlies on the same day so there could be cross over at Kings Cross.

      Millwall FC
      The Club stated the biggest issue last year was flares by Leeds fans leading to two arrests and banning orders. The Trust asked for the Club to discourage fans from using Istanbul chants and for their ground staff and the Met to be proactive to prevent this from re-occurring. 

      The Trust will contact the Club before the match for updates which will be passed on through our social media.

      Alcohol will be served up to kick off.

      Parking around the ground is poor and it is recommended that anything on display indicating the vehicle belongs to Leeds fans is removed.

      The Met
      They have spoken to the Crown Prosecution Service regarding the chants. The advice given is it is not an offence.  The Trust view is that any scenario must be examined in context, such as manner of behaviour, whether any other actions are involved rather than simply the words used.

      The CPS did accept that throat slitting gestures and stabbing gestures are arrestable and 2 fans were arrested for this last year. The Met will try to get something in the programme notes regarding these chants. The Met were approachable and gave feedback that the call was of benefit.

      Millwall Trust
      The Millwall Trust were very approachable and gave assurances that they could get messages out to their members and are genuinely supportive of our work.

      We are pleased to have been able to have these discussions and will continue to seek opportunities with other Clubs in the future during the 2014/15 season.

      Our 'Away Days' section will be updated shortly with a guide for travel to the game. 

      Fans are reminded to use the 'Ask Steve' section on the Trust website to report any incidents before during and after the game.

      Thursday
      Jul102014

      LUST: Do you have what it takes to join the Board?

      With Chairman Gary Cooper departing at this years AGM in September, a number of other Board members have been considering their positions and feel that it is the right time to step aside and let a new team push the Trust forward. However, a number of the existing Board have committed to stay on after September and provide the all important consistency and historic knowledge that will prove invaluable to any new team.

      Before departing, the existing Board would like to hear from all interested shareholders that would like a place on the Board.

      In the first instance we would ask those of you who are interested to email us at chairman@lufctrust.org answering the following 4 questions;    

      1) What do you understand about the Leeds United Supporters Trust?    
      2) How do you feel in taking on the responsibility of representing over 9,000 members?
      3) What is the main reason for putting yourself forward for this opportunity?    
      4) Do you have any experience in similar roles? Please give further details and examples.

      - Please include your name and a contact telephone number with your application
      - The closing date for applications is Thursday 24th July 2014.

      The Board will process all applications as quickly as possible.

      Constitutionally only Shareholders are able to sit on the Board however, members can upgrade by visiting the website HERE and following instructions.

      We look forward to hearing from you and considering your application.

      Please note: We will look to inform those considered within 7 days of their application. If you have not received an email reply after 7 days then your application was not successful.