I wasn’t going to write about this because if we are honest it’s a bit of a non-event really. But the hypocritical faux outrage by some members of the media and ex-professionals now claiming to be ‘pundits’ over the last 24 hours has been quite frankly ridiculous. Amongst them Stan Collymore claims Leeds should be 'sanctioned' by the FA and at a minimum replay the fixture and Jermaine Jenas is clamouring for a points deduction! Seriously lads, get a bit of perspective.
I don’t doubt this is the first time Bielsa has deployed this tactic, he practically admitted that but I also don’t doubt that this goes on week in week out. Since our pioneering manager Don Revie teams have scouted other teams and produced dossiers and reports on the opposition. Andre Villas-Boas has openly admitted to spying on opposition training sessions for Jose Mourinho’s Opponent Observation Department whilst at Chelsea. A policy which Frank Lampard has directly benefited from and makes his outrage seem all the more hypocritical.
Now lets talk about the good all lads in the media. The same media Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville rightly pointed out have spied on England training sessions using tall ladders and long lenses to get photos of line-ups and tactics. The same media that then published this information in the national newspapers handing out opponents and advantage. Do anything for a story eh lads? Well the same applied here, anything for the win. It may not be morally right but nothing illegal has been done, Derbyshire Police confirmed this.
Let’s put things in to perspective. There is only one FA rule that people seems to be suggesting Leeds could have broken here;
Paragraph 3.4 of Section 2 – Membership states: “In all matters and transactions relating to The League each Club shall behave towards each other Club and The League with the utmost good faith.”
This is such a vague rule and surely could apply to all manner of things clubs do and do not get punished for. On the more trivial level surely Norwich painting the away dressing room pink to ‘lower their opponents testosterone levels’ before a game could be seen as ‘not in good faith’. On a more serious level to punish a club for watching a training session from a public path and not punish those clubs who consistently break Financial Fair Play rules would be ludicrous.
There are a few things that can be concluded from this bizarre event. Firstly despite everyone saying how professional Frank Lampard was in his interviews pre and post-game the situation has clearly rattled him and as a result his players too. Any gains Leeds can have got from someone peeping through the fence will have been marginal at best, but Frank Lampard losing his mind may have cost Derby much more. On the other hand Marcelo Bielsa looked unflapped and if anything it has brought a tight-knit Leeds squad even closer together.
The most constructive thing Frank Lampard can do in training next week is look at that Leeds performance and see where he is falling short. Maybe he should give Derby Fencing a call too , because quite frankly if you don’t want people spying on your training session don’t conduct it in a place openly visible from a public highway.
Friday night was not only a fantastic performance from the lads but this whole #spygate situation has brought the rest of the country together against Leeds United, and do you know what? Leeds are best when it’s us vs everyone else. We thrive in it.