Passion, devotion and commitment

28 Mar 2014 08:06pm, by YorkshireSquare

On Tuesday night in Bournemouth we saw exactly what passion meant. Not from the eleven in Leeds’ shirts on the pitch but from the 1,300 Leeds fans in the crowd.

One story in particular on that night exemplified the dedication of fans, that was the story of Phil Beeton. Phil’s first Leeds United game was in 1957 but on 18th March 1967 at Elland Road against Manchester City he started a now famous run. 47 years later and Tuesday night was his 2,000th consecutive Leeds United league game. During that run Leeds won three League titles, a League Cup, an FA Cup, two Charity Shields, a Cup Winners Cup and the Fairs Cup twice.

It would be fair to say that the last 10 years have not been nearly as successful as the first 10 years of Phil’s run but that doesn’t stop him. He told the BBC “I love supporting Leeds as much as I did on day one”. His run may be remarkable but I’m sure we all know many more people just like Phil. Fans who follow their team across the country, through thick and thin, in good times and bad. Those there on Tuesday night witnessed a lacklustre, disinterested performance from the players but they gave their all in the stands. Non-stop chanting and singing, from the heart with passion and pride.

It’s hard being a football fan these days. It’s a business now, the bottom line for the players and owners is money. There is little loyalty, only hours after leaving the club on loan Lee Peltier was insulting fans on Twitter. The current owners GFH were in this to make money. Now it looks like they may not they are essentially holding the club to ransom, putting our club in danger to save their losses. As wages are not paid and the threat of administration looms is not them but us that suffer.

We are not customers though, we are supporters, fans. We don’t have a choice in this, it is in our blood, we can’t turn it off. Phil and thousands like him travel the across the country every week, spending thousands or hard earned pounds in devotion of our club. It makes it all the more difficult to see people whose only motivation is making money and self-promotion tearing it apart in front of our eyes. And those fans who travelled all those miles have to watch a team flounder in front of them, seeming to care little for the cause.

At times like these in the clubs history where we are staring into an unknown future the fans are what matter. When the players on the pitch are not giving their all, not getting results the fans are still there. Players, managers, owners will come and go but the fans remain. This club is ours! Monaco habiting tax evaders, Middle Eastern Banks, Dodgy Italian’s may use the club as their play thing but it is our club. Through thick and thin, good and bad, we’ll be there until the world stops going round.