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      Friday
      Feb052016

      Chairs Report: Peanuts, Snoopy and the return of the Red Baron

      This week the Chair reflects on the culture of protest, channelling a bit of Charlie Brown.

      We start with a straightforward holding up of hands. The Trust was wrong to believe there was an unstoppable appetite for protest over the moving of the Middlesbrough game.

      You may recall we called for all the Leeds United family to come together to explore the prospect of a boycott of this game moved by Sky Sports with little more than a month’s notice after receiving countless protestations to take action.

      That call has fallen on surprisingly stony ground predominately over the last two weeks and it is clear that while some individuals are taking their own personal stand (I for one won’t be at Elland Road that evening), there is no point continuing suggesting a boycott as an effective means of telling the football authorities or the paymaster television companies that enough is enough. Quite simply, it seems the bulk of the support doesn’t want to hear that.

      As Chair I take full responsibility for miss-judging the mood of the support. Whatever initial anger was out there is diluted by Stockholm Syndrome it seems. I and we got it wrong.

      That is not to say all reactions to this obscene disregard for supporters are invalid. Our Scandinavian and Irish regular-attending Leeds fans have generated a lot of sympathy and publicity around their shoddy treatment – the circulation this week of a letter and bill to Sky Sports from some Norwegian fans being a case in point. I congratulate them on that, they have shown more resourcefulness in that one act than all the fans groups, bloggers, forums, fanzines and twitter warriors have shown in three years.

      Connected to this, you may recall the Trust publicised a request from Fredrikstad-based Leeds supporters about wanting to make a statement about their treatment.

      They intend to be in Leeds that weekend to try and enjoy their paid-for weekend as much as possible. They asked that the Trust publicise this and we were happy to do so. In particular, they have asked all Leeds fans who wish to show solidarity with them and others affected to meet outside the Queens Hotel/City Square at 22.30pm on the February 12 (Friday). The Trust again is more than happy to do so.

      We feel that if the term "we're all Leeds aren't we" means anything, it means we stand with our foreign-based fans to show the world that when Sky and the Football League mess supporters around, they are messing with us all. The Trust is happy this peaceful event will be worthwhile and we are equally happy to give our support to the Fredrikstad group. We hope all who read this and the original request are equally so inclined.

      A simple publishing of a meeting point is one thing, flying a plane over Elland Road during a game is another (an experience from 2007 I won’t be repeating).

      Whatever message that return of the Red Baron (as Bates called the 2007 version) intends to display, it reminds us that as a support we do tend to have “all just a little bit of history repeating” going on (and this week saw Groundhog Day as well). That also reminds us that in reality, successful protest, the organising of, the bringing together of, the stimulating and executing of, is actually a rare breed in the Leeds United annals of history, despite the unique levels of incompetence we have been subjected to.

      Let’s put the 2012 marches, lead so admirably and at some personal cost by the then Trust Chair Gary Cooper, to one side. A unique combination of circumstances generated by Bates/Harvey and 10 seasons of pain which despite the best antics of our majority owner and that pain now becoming 14 seasons long is presently not replicated, brought that about. But the truth is where most supporters of other clubs suffering the outrages we have would have reacted earlier and stronger, we tend to collectively shrug and speculate on how the latest piece of idiocy will be topped (and we don’t usually have to wait long to find out).

      As much as it may depress some of us, the reality is most Leeds fans have an unending capacity to take abuse. That discomforting truth should be recognised by those whose constant mantra is “what are insert supporters group here doing about it”. Such a mantra is oblivious to the fact that all protest has to come from the support. As the first paragraph shows, there is a massive gap between rhetoric and possibility. If individual supporters don’t volunteer themselves in place to say ‘enough is enough’ they can’t expect organisations run by volunteers to magically do it for them.

      I must admit I know supporters, let’s call them the Peanuts gang, who have been questioning their supporter role over the last couple of weeks. In their opinion, we as a fan base are completely hamstrung at the moment because of the divisions that are ripping our support base in half, both as a collective and as individuals. They all know that the football club is in an awful place, but deep down they are all football fans at heart.

      They tell us that in their head they know that the only way for the fans to force any change at the way Leeds United is run is to stop putting money into the club. Yet in the same sentence (and I’m no different) also know that in their heart, there is simply no way that they will ever do that. Even at the moment with the club dying on its posterior, devoid of any ideas both on and off the pitch, 95% of us know that we will stump up our season ticket money next season and subsequent seasons and stumble on. It’s enough to make Charlie Brown even more depressed.

      These loyal fans honestly believe that we are scraping the bottom now in terms of support, and those that still go are too stubborn, too addicted or both to ever stop. This is not the voice of the discontented, this is the voice of our core fan base. It may have been missed in the clamour to point fingers a lot, but since July the Trust has been clear that change comes from the bottom up, it can’t be manufactured by those of us often referred to by those who will never take any action as “the usual suspects”.

      So what is to be done? Well let’s start by being realistic. Until that 95% (and the 5% who will walk this summer) speak as one voice, no -one, not even the Trust, LFU, LUSC, South Stand 5, The Square Ball, Waccoe and the legends of bloggers/tweeters/air-plane hirers, will be in a position to effectively bring about change alone. As the 2010-11 "Campaign for Change" showed, even when together in wanting certain objectives achieved unity is at a premium.

      Until we stop fighting the battles of the past and focus on what we collectively need (a club with ambition, good financial management and a footballing medium term game-plan) no amount of boycotts, fly-bys, 17 minute walks to the concourse will change anything.

      However should you collectively become one, in approach and in resolve, then a lot of those aforementioned groups, including the Trust, will be waiting and with you. Action, progress, being heard … that has to come from the support, start with you. In the meantime the Trust will continue to articulate the values and principles embedded in a Supporters Trust, including promotion of the ideal of supporter ownership and judge the club (owners, directors, senior management) on the merits of its actions.

      As fond of quoting Mao as I am, never has the adage “a million mile walk starts with a single step” been more relevant to matters Leeds United. Each of you can decide what that first step is for you, it could be to wave to the Red Baron on Saturday, it could be with your seat empty on the 15th and to not switch your TV on. Or, you can decide you have yet to take enough, it is entirely possible the mood of Leeds fans is never readable.

      Personally I think showing our Norwegian brothers we really care (as discussed earlier) about how they are treated is the best and most enhancing way to start, you never know, like Snoopy flying a by-plane, you might enjoy it.

      Cheers

       

      Michael

      Friday
      Jan222016

      Support Our Norwegian fellow Leeds fans against Sky Sports and the Football League spoiling planned game trips.

      The Trust has been contacted by a group of Norwegian Leeds United supporters whose trip to the Middlesbrough game has been made a nightmare by the re-scheduling for Sky Sports.

      These Fredrikstad based Leeds fans, a large loyal group, fly in on Friday 12th February and leave Monday morning (15th). They will, of course, now not be able to attend Elland Road. Given the forward planning required it is simply unacceptable to expect them to wait till 3 weeks before a game just in case Sky Sports are allowed by the Football League to change the date of a game. We know of other fans, Irish in particular, who are equally affected.

      The Fredrikstad Leeds supporters want to make a statement about their treatment. They intend to be in Leeds that weekend to try and enjoy their paid for weekend as much as possible. They have asked that the Trust publicise this. Specially they have asked all Leeds fans who wish to show solidarity with them and others affected to meet outside the Queens Hotel/City Square at 22.30pm on the 12th February. The Trust is more than happy to do so. We feel that if the term "we're all Leeds ain't we" means anything it means we stand with our foreign based but regular attendee fans to show the world that when Sky and the Football League mess supporters around they are messing with us all.

      The Trust is happy this peaceful event will be worthwhile and we are equally happy to give our support to the Fredrikstad group. We hope all who read this are equally so inclined.

      Wednesday
      Jan202016

      Trust Statement on the Middlesbrough Game Move.

      As printed in the Yorkshire Evening Post today the Trust calls for all supporters to come together against the obscene re-arrangement of the home game against Middlesbrough (was Saturday 13th February, now Monday 15th February).

      The Trust is calling for all Leeds United fans to come together for a fans’ boycott of the re-arranged home game versus Middlesbrough and the live broadcast.

      By moving the fixture at obscenely short notice, the Football League and Sky TV have once more illustrated where fans rate on the footballing scale of decision-making – at the very bottom.

      These custodians of game are allegedly tasked with protecting its integrity yet have moved the match with no thought for the game’s lifeblood, match-going supporters.

      Football fans plan their lives around the league calendar and Leeds United is an internationally supported club. The Trust has been made aware of inconvenienced supporters from casual match-day goers resident in the city, through London-based season ticket holders unable to attend, to a group of 95 Norwegian fans whose pre-arranged return flight for the Saturday fixture departs on Monday afternoon.

      We are aware that Middlesbrough fans have similar stories. Who will compensate inconvenienced fans? The answer is, of course, depressingly familiar – no one


      To read more of the original article: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/sport/leeds-united/latest-lufc-news/leeds-united-latest-tv-switch-is-a-red-rag-to-cellino-1-7686587#ixzz3xoAGKu2l

      The Trust is clear, we are responding to a bottom up demand from fans, across the spectrum of our support, for action over this outrage. We believe that when the support stands together, rather than with a particular groups voice, we achieve much more and what is right for fans. This isn't about taking sides in a Football League fight with our majority owner, its about fans being respected and given consideration at all times. Both Sky Sports and the Football League have failed in that regard far too often. Enough is enough.

       

       

      Questions and Answers on the possible boycott:

      How would a boycott work?

      Simply, each Leeds United and Middlesbrough fan who is disgusted by the complete lack of consideration for the fans by this short-notice change resolves not to attend the game and not to watch on Sky.

      Who is organising this boycott?

      No-one and everyone. The Trust, and we suspect lots of other groups, have heard the demand for action around this game. Rather than us or other "usual suspects" trying to organise things its a matter for each and every fan to make a personal commitment to showing Sky Sports and the Football League that the game belongs to the fans and not the television stations.

      Will the club suffer from a boycott by fans?

      A bit yes, the ticket revenue will be down on what it would be and if the boycott is significant so will catering income. However, as is clear from the clubs comments since October they too are frustrated by the constant changes to schedules. Factor in also that the match is priced as a Category A game and it is fair to presume the club wouldn't be expecting the bumper crowd the original date would have attracted.

      What will this one-off boycott achieve?

      It is time to show the football world that when fans are put at the end of the queue for consideration they will react to defend their place as the most vital component part of the football experience. The sight of an nearly empty stadium being beamed around the world will send the strongest message possible.

      Why just this one game?

      The demand from the support for action comes from the frustration felt not just at constant changes but the failure with this game to given even a fig-leaf of significant notice to fans. Less than 28 days is obscene, it should be at least twice that. If, and we hope not, the Football League and Sky Sports try to reschedule any further game this season, home or away, with scant regard for fans needs, then a second "bottom up" boycott would be justified. This is a problem we have faced disproportiantly for years, it is time to ensure we don't face it for years to come.

      Friday
      Jan082016

      Chairs Report – don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

      A relatively narrow subject for the first update of the year.

      Even when on the surface things look relatively calm at Leeds United there are
      always under-currents going on.

      An outsider might consider “Cellino verses Sky Sports” or “Massimo, to sell or
      not” as the main issues facing the club, but it is, in fact, the bread and
      butter stuff that reflects perfectly the state of our beloved club.

      We all know, by following events since January 2014, that the infrastructure at
      the club (including the human element) has become stretched. It manifests itself
      most obviously in the interface between the club and the support on match days,
      or in the nature of how tickets are sold (prices etc).

      Recently the Trust email account has had a series of correspondences around
      tickets, seats, stewarding and, of course, as you will recall from before
      Christmas, pies. Without breaking any confidences on the nature of the issues
      raised, a common thread exists, a feeling that supporter/fan/customer service at
      the club is an after-thought.

      It was ever-thus in organisations run top-down and predicated on personal ego,
      and we all understand, regardless where you stand on our present ownerships
      virtues (or lack of them), that Leeds United these days are such an organisation.

      Now I want to be clear, I am making no personal criticisms of employees of the
      club under-taking their jobs in what looks to an outsider as a difficult
      atmosphere (as exposed by the Independent newspaper a couple of months ago).

      What I am railing against is the broad direction the club seems set on in its
      relationships with the support and that it seems to stem from the top. The club,
      with a series of both minor and major irritations, seems set on biting the hand
      that feeds it – which, we need to remember, is us with our cash.

      Recently, we have seen: long-standing season ticket holders told to move seats,
      a lack of communication over the changes to the auto-enrolment scheme for cup
      matches and an erratic nature of categories allocated to home games (Hull City
      B, Bristol City A). That’s before we even take into account the pie-tax issue
      and the synthetic segregation of the support in the South Stand.

      Little wonder then, that we sense some real disillusionment among proven loyal
      fans in some of the sentiments we read.

      What irritates the most is that a little bit of thought, the kind of thought a
      customer-focused attitude might bring, could affect significant improvements.
      Little things and quick wins all help when it comes to attracting increased
      support on match days.

      The club has lacked coherent strategic management since September (the departure
      of Adam Pearson from the Chief Executive role). Maybe it’s time to put that
      right, hopefully with someone in the post who can provide the leadership
      required to ensure that the club treats the fans, whether season ticket holders,
      regular ticket buyers, or occasional attendees, with some respect.

      Without that respect, the only outcome will be declining attendances and that
      suits no-one.

      Michael Green - Chair.

      Wednesday
      Dec302015

      2015 - A Trust Year in Quotes.

      Welcome to a “Year in Quotes”. The last 12 months of Trust activity in a series of quotes.

      It has been another chaotic, confused and ultimately wasted year at Leeds United and to be honest quite a mixed one for the Trust too. Below are a collection of quotes that gives a flavour of the issues accrued and the problems faced. I don’t think 2015 will be looked back on fondly but a record of the period will hopefully help ensure 2016 isn’t quite so dysfunctional across the Leeds United spectrum.

      February, part of a Trust statement on the forced winding up of Leeds City Holdings: "The Trust finds it disappointing that the situation has been allowed to get this far, providing further instability to the club. We encourage current Chairman Andrew Umbers to address the matter as soon as possible, so we can once again concentrate on the footballing side of Leeds United without further distraction".

      April, part of a statement demanding stability: “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”.

      April, the club accounts are finally released and they are as bad as feared and predicted: “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.”

      April, part of a Trust statement on the prospect of Elland Road being an Asset of Community Value.: “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.

      For too long, short-termism has ruled the Elland Road roost. It’s time for a different approach. Only we can ensure that different approach by demanding it loud and clear.”

      April, promoting “do it for Redders”: “Let’s have our voice heard so the club get the scale of feeling about him being rewarded for the magnificent job done under trying circumstances.

      Let’s sing his name from the rafters and give him a heart-felt thank you well deserved.

      The Leeds United Supporters Trust thanks Neil Redfearn for his brilliant work in 2014-15.”

      July, Paul Keat resigns from the Trust and the role of Chair due to ill-health.: “The Trust board is sad to lose Paul. His dignity and patience at a time of incessant Leeds United-related turmoil has been a constant over not just the last nine months as chair but also in the previous 3 years when he acted as Secretary. Paul is a gentleman, diligent in his contribution and passionate about the club, he will be missed.”

      July, joint statement from the Trust and Leeds Fans United: “Representatives of the Leeds United Supporters Trust, Leeds Fans Utd, Supporters Direct and The Football Supporters Federation met on Friday 10th July in Leeds to discuss cooperation between Leeds Fans Utd and the Trust.

      Leeds Fans Utd acknowledges the 14 years of Trust activity as being important in paving the way for others to progress the idea of supporter ownership. We recognise and respect the enormous role the Trust continues to play in offering Leeds supporters pastoral care and practical assistance.

      While the Trust maintains its belief in the SD model, it recognises that in the present circumstances  the LFU initiative represents a real solution for fan ownership of LUFC.

      As an initial demonstration of our shared interest going forward, we will be emailing each of our shareholders & members to drive increased participation and understanding of each other virtues.”

      July, the Interim Chair sets out the communication streams for the period ahead: “I hope you like these new reports, I hope to establish them as part of the Trust’s communication streams for the foreseeable regardless of who is Chair in October. In the meantime I want to end by sharing with you this little insight which is topical given yesterday’s events. Last Friday I had a busy day, I travelled across the country to attend meetings and interviews on Trust business. At about 6pm as I sat waiting to go into the radio studio when into the waiting area comes Neil Redfearn (he was escorting his partner Lucy Ward as she gave an interview on the progress of women’s football post the 2015 woman’s world cup) who sat down next to me. I immediately decided that it would be inappropriate to even think about probing him on the situation as it stood then between him and the club. Instead we had a cordial and interesting little chat (with Tanya Arnold also holding court with him). The point to this? Well as I went to take my turn being interviewed I was struck by the sheer humanity and dignity of both Neil Redfearn and Lucy Ward at what must have been a difficult time. When yesterday’s news broke I recalled that feeling and it leads me to this conclusion: you can take all the pro/anti positions against owners/managers/players/vocal fans you like but for a select few we should remember they are decent, honourable, normal human beings and when that is lost we all lose. I end by placing on record here and now the Trust’s (and my) best wishes to Neil Redfearn, Lucy Ward, Paul Keat, Steve Clay and to any and all lovers of Leeds United who gave service.”

      July, the Interim Chair has to hit the ground running: I stated very early on into my period as Interim Chair that I wouldn’t shy away from difficult truths and decisions. The difficult things have come early – and that gives those of us on the board time to put our house in order. That will allow us to ensure the one thing we are all striving for: a successful 2015 AGM that re-invigorates the Trust for the steady work ahead.

      I repeat what I said earlier, that no individuals are to blame for the system failures that have accrued over the years, but you can rest assured that it will be volunteers, not systems, that put things right.

      July, the Trust regrets the failure of the club to agree with the Johanneson family the appropriate place for a memorial plaque: “Even at the calmest times for the Trust, issues around the club come across our radar.

      Two that stand out this week are the perception that the Leeds United Academy is being allowed to wither on the vine, and the failure of the club to agree with Albert Johanneson’s relatives the appropriate place for a plaque towards his contribution to breaking down racial prejudice in football.

      Starting with the latter, we have been told the Johanneson family have withdrawn their support for the plaque in an impasse over where it should be placed. Seven years ago, the family contacted the club about commemorating the 50th anniversary of Albert becoming the first black player to appear in an FA Cup final.

      That anniversary passed in May this year – and despite the family agreeing to pay the cost of its placement, we seem no closer to a resolution.

      This should be an easy PR win for the club. At the Trust, we hope common sense prevails and the idea is resolved to everyone’s agreement as soon as possible.

      As an aside, we cannot help but notice that this issue came about in the same week the space for the much-publicised Bates-era museum has been turned into a solicitor’s office. This club’s glorious past matters to the support and it should to the club too.”

      August, Interim Chair welcomes the new season: “There is a time for analysis and a time for hope. It’s definitely the latter this week

      I will try to keep it short this week – the main update being that I have spent most of it writing to those who subscribe annually to let them know of the shareholding issues we have had. If you have not had an email, then check or your spam or let us know if you have changed email addresses. If you haven’t had an email, please email me at chairman@lufctrust.org.

      The season starts tomorrow. We all have our opinions on to why we are in the Championship and how close we are to getting out, but regardless of whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist, surely we can all agree on a few wishes for the season ahead, all themed around stability:

      ·         We would all like stability off the pitch in 2015-16. That means no drama, whether that be worrying financial stuff, ownership legitimacy issues, personnel problems, erratic public relations or even just plain bad planning. The club has to continue on the path it seems to have set this summer. A season where none of the above happen would be almost unique for us and very welcome. If someone then buys Elland Road for the club, that would be a season to remember.

      ·         We would all like stability on the footballing managing/coaching side – and across the spectrum not just the first team. No Leeds United manager/head coach has seen out an initial contract since David O’Leary. It’s time for someone to plan medium term and for that someone to be given the time to do so. That someone, hopefully, is Uwe Rosler. Equally, after the upheaval of the last year at the academy, Thorpe Arch also needs a period of stability. We hope the soothing words of Adam Pearson, as expressed earlier this week, prove to be true.

      ·         We would all like stability on the pitch. That doesn’t mean we win every game, it does mean we want to see a team that grows as new signings bed in. We want to see the youngsters, last season’s remaining imports and the odd survivor from pre 2014-15 knitting together to give the fans real hope that medium-term progress and a future pop at promotion are feasible. Obviously the first two bits of stability are required to help this one occur. Personally I am not stressing this season. It’s unrealistic to expect to be competitive immediately but I do want to see a stall set out and some decent football. It’s not a lot to ask for my 400+ mile round trip to home games.

      ·         We would all like stability among us the support. Something important has been lacking with us all for more than 14 years: a common outlook and purpose, a unity that is vital to generate the right match day atmosphere. Maybe, with events we can’t even guess at, this is the season all the division and angst forced on us by previous club regimes (and some by the present one) are diluted, old enmities are put away and Elland Road rocks to the atmosphere we used to so love to generate (regardless of results).

      ·         Finally we would all like stability in the game of football. Take out the greed, lose the faking, forget the excess hype, reverse the sky-high prices, call out the racist/sexist/homophobic idiots and it just might be we have a season that reminds us why we so love the game (even after what it has done to Leeds Fans over the decades).

      It is a whole new season, may 15-16 be everything you wanted. Enjoy.

      Michael Green (interim Chair).”

      August, the Trust supports the Reading fans show of support for one of its coaches: “Finally on a more somber note, we visit Reading on Sunday for our first away league game of the season. The Berkshire club recently announced its U21 coach Eamonn Dolan has undertaken some chemotherapy related to bladder cancer.

      We of course wish him well and we ask that if there is one of those applause minutes on his behalf (likely to be minute 21) we respect it as we would expect others to respect us in similar circumstances.”

      September, from the last Interim Chairs report: “All it leaves me to do is to thank those, particularly board members and off-piste advisors, who have supported me during this Interim period, to indicate that I am available to be nominated for Chair should the incoming board want to do so, to encourage as many Shareholders and Leeds supporters to attend the AGM on September 26 and to welcome in advance those who will join the board then.

      Here is to a bright Trust (and club) future.”

      October, first Chair’s statement after the Trust 2015 AGM: “It is my intention to keep you all informed through these reports regularly (I won’t promise weekly as it is not a full on, full time role). I will carry on in the style I used as Interim Chair, being honest and direct about how things are, internally with the Trust and in terms of the Club. No flannel, no hiding unpalatable truths, slow to claim praise, quick to accept the work needed. Whatever the next 12 months brings you won’t lack for information”.

      October, The Trust reacts to the news Cellino has been given a second unprecedented ban by the Football League: “In light of the decision of the Football League today to disqualify Massimo Cellino for a second time in 12 months, the Leeds United Supporters Trust calls on Massimo Cellino to act in the best interests of the club and its supporters and the Football League to bring clarity to this endless situation.

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

      Bans may be issued, lawyers instructed and appeals called but nobody seems interested in examining what is actually in the best interests of Leeds United and its long suffering fans.

      The Trust would question the Football League regarding the timing of this latest action given the four months elapsing since the case this new ban relates to was concluded and in light of the other events at Elland Road today. 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.

      We would also call on Massimo Cellino to confirm that his activities outside of football are also as compliant and future trouble free as befits an owner of a great club, and that Leeds fans can be assured there are no further actions lingering in the background that takes us down the same destructive route a third, fourth or fifth time. Should there be any continued doubt on this (and it seems from continued press reports their clearly is doubt), 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, this includes putting in place an experienced English football managing director who stays for the medium term and for our majority and minority owners to consider whether their continued presence at Elland Road is conductive to the good of the loyal support?.

      The long suffering fans of Leeds United and our members are frustrated that uncertainty has yet again been introduced to their club 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. If, as reported it is true that Cellino knew of this second ban before the away ticket statements last Friday and todays manager sacking then the Trust is appalled by the lack of consideration to fans feelings and the blatant lack of respect to us all.

      We further call for any independent appeal disciplinary commission that is established to finish its business in the shortest possible timescale. The Massimo Cellino “fit and proper person” issues has been dragged out for more than twenty months in various guises, it is imperative it does not drag on endlessly.

      The Trust believes Leeds supporters have suffered enough over the years and therefore asks Massimo Cellino brings clarity and honesty to any public statements on the immediate future and consider the supporters’ need for a stable club at all times in how he deals with this latest ban. If, and the case grows daily, it is in the best interests of Leeds United supporters he and GFH should sell, we call on them both to do so with efficiency.”

      October, the Trust loses a great man in the ex-Chair John Cave:The Trust is devastated to hear of the passing of John Cave, not only an ex Chair but also a gentleman and willing listener. RIP JJ”.

      October, Trust statement on the withdrawal of the Cellino threat to limited how many away tickets for Leeds fans: “The Leeds United Supporters Trust welcomes the reversal of the decision around limiting away ticket allocations.

      We welcome the decision made by the club to not take forward the proposal to limit how many away tickets the club will accept (and thus the opportunity for supporters to support the team). We also thank Leeds Fans United for using their good offices to persuade the club of the common sense of reversing that idea.

      The Trust thanks all fans who made their voice heard over the last few days on this issue”.

      October, support for the minute’s appreciation the fans did during the Blackburn Rovers game: “As supporters we are all human, subject to the outrageous outcomes of fate and chance. And it’s the stories behind some of humans that I consider more important than the events of the last few weeks. Whether it’s the passing of John Cave or Skye Thompson, these are the personalities we should focus on at this time, despite my email box telling me the mood of the support is hardening against our current owner”.

      November, after Cellino publically declares he wishes to sell then pulls out of a potential deal with Leeds Fans United: “the Trust is pragmatic, not for us the hyperbole of assuming every new owner is the Messiah, nor condemning people on the basis of not being rich enough.

      That pragmatism knows the outcome is always going to be more complex than perhaps is required and that a successful Leeds United won’t just appear without hard work, sound judgement and good luck. In the meantime, whether it’s the messy compromise, the local businessman, a left-field outsider or the next Abramovich, the Trust will continue to promote the virtues of supporters impute and equity ownership as the sustainable future of football.”

      December, part of the personal statement about the suggested protest over “pie-tax”:When an ownership arrangement (and I use those words deliberately to mean both Cellino and GFH) and a loyal support base are at such odds there can be only one winner. Forget the clique’s about “it’s his club/money and there is nothing we can do about it” in truth all owners are temporary custodians of football clubs, some less worthy of the privilege through their actions than others. It’s OUR club, and when we collectively want it back then change in ownership is inevitable, no matter how long the process takes. It was inevitable when the Bates/Harvey axis lost the plot, it was inevitable when GFH were in free-fall, and it is even more inevitable when in the space of 20 months Cellino has alienated the support more than those previous incumbents put together (and for veterans of the Bates years that is some statement).”

      December, some tweets as Cellino tried to ban Sky Sports from broadcasting the Derby County home game: “and once again Cellino just plays with the Leeds United support like we are some kind of community of serfs that must suffer at his will. One day we will have a stable club that makes decisions in the best interests of the fans and football. Till that day, buckle up.”

      And with that, here is to a happy new year and hopefully one with less of the chaos we have suffered in the last 2.