There has always been a bit of an ‘us and them’ attitude between Leeds United supporters and the FA after years of controversy that, in the eyes of Leeds fans, hasn’t been dealt with correctly. If the FA are keen on proving to Leeds United fans that there isn’t any conspiracy or bias against them, they have a funny way of showing it.
Leeds’ heated draw against Brentford at Elland Road has been well documented over the past week with everyone weighing in with an opinion about what should have happened. There were a number of contentious incidents that were always going to be looked back on retrospectively by the FA, who unfortunately are the ones, at the end of the day, that have the final say on these matters.
Needless to say, it’s been a week that has shown up the FA’s incompetence and inability to do right by not only Leeds fans but also for the wellbeing of the Championship's integrity. The most startling judgment the Football Association delivered this week was their take on Sergi Canos’ clear headbutt on Gjanni Alioski after the Macedonian ventured into the Brentford dugout to retrieve the ball with the clock ticking down.
It was a shambolic episode from start to finish with Brentford’s assistant manager Thomas Frank showing his petulant side by refusing to give the ball back to Alioski which was always going to prompt a scuffle between player and manager. Sergi Canos stepped in and for good measure laid a headbutt on Alioski that ended up on his upper back but was intended for the back of his head.
Canos had been substituted by former Bees manager Dean Smith on 77 minutes after having been wasteful in front of goal and it’s clear to see that his sense of direction was still a bit wayward during the headbutt on Alioski.
Regardless of that, the intention was still there by Canos to do damage and once video footage emerged of the incident on Saturday afternoon, there was only going to be one outcome. That is at least what everyone with a good sense of wrong and right thought but the FA have come out and said no further action will be taken against Canos after a three-man panel disciplinary panel reviewed the evidence.
It beggars belief how three people couldn't between themselves see the plainly obvious. There is dubious and then there is Canos’ headbutt on Alioski. In the same breath, the FA have asked Pontus Jansson to explain his comments after the game and for the club to shed light on possible coins being thrown at the Brentford players.
The incidents over the past week and the refereeing display from Jeremy Simpson ruined what could have been an excellent advert for the Championship. Brentford like Leeds, play football the right way and have done so by being ever so shrewd in the transfer market. Former Arsenal player and 25-year-old Nico Yennaris caught the eye in midfield for the Bees as he broke up attacks well and got Brentford on the front foot after being hemmed in.
Leaving the Emirates would have been hard for Yennaris even if the odds on Arsenal to win the Premier League are out at 49/1 on the Betfair exchange but, by joining Brentford, he has a chance of getting back to the Premier League after all. Could Leeds follow a similar model in January and persuade a few talented youngsters on the fringes of the squads of big clubs to join Bielsa’s revolution? It’s looking more and more likely United will need additional legs to see this promotion push through.
Before Leeds can get back to the Premier league they will need to be on the right side of the law and Saturday’s officiating certainly cost the Whites a win. Ideally, it will be great if Leeds don’t have to discuss the FA or the referee from now until the end of the season as the team is left to focus purely on promotion. That may be asking too much and, at times like this, where a travesty of justice has taken place, it's worth remembering that ‘just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.’