A worrying rhetoric coming from within Leeds United
09 Feb 2020 01:56 pm, by YorkshireSquare
There is a worrying rhetoric coming out from the club at the moment. One that seems to imply that supporters have no right to vent their frustrations and in by doing so are compounding if not causing the recent poor form witnessed on the pitch. Last week when speaking to Adam Pope on BBC Radio Leeds Chief Executive Angus Kinnear said; "I think it’s important supporters stay together with the team. When the nervousness creeps in, it transmits to the players and it affects their performance." Owner Andrea Radrizzani also chipped in on Twitter after defeat to Nottingham Forest; “How can’t you support a team/club that have reached the best result of last 16 years!”
The statements from the club hierarchy worry me for two reasons. Firstly it implies that those at the top have no appreciation of the history of the club, no understanding of why Leeds United fans are frustrated and worried. Last season may have delivered the highest league position since our relegation but in many ways it was the same old story as we capitulated yet again. The first team in ten years who were top at Christmas not to be promoted, the first team with a first leg lead in the play-offs not to make the final. Failure compounded by previous years of hurt.
Defeats to Watford and Doncaster in play-off finals, getting knocked out by Millwall in the semi-finals, promising starts under Monk and Christianson fading away. Failure runs throughout our history, it’s ingrained in our memories. So it’s no wonder with last season fresh in the mind that fans are panicking. Our eleven-point lead gone and with the form that of relegation contenders not champions many see the writing on the wall. Yes, we are still second but how much longer will we remain the automatic promotion places? We could be fifth come Wednesday evening. The fans have every right to express their feelings and to question why the fans feel the way they do show a complete lack of understanding of what has gone before.
My second concern is that this deflection of responsibility means that the club are not looking for solutions to the issues that have manifested themselves since losing a three-nil lead against Cardiff back in December. This poor run of form, two wins and five losses in the last ten games had been going on for nearly two months. It’s only in recent weeks that the fans have become anxious yet certain people at the club seem to be pushing the blame onto the fans, or the officials, never the players or manager. I wouldn’t expect them to blame the manager or players in public but likewise I wouldn’t expect them to come out and blame the fans either.
Radrizzani’s insinuation that the fans aren’t supporting the club is misguided. The fans turn up in fantastic numbers to support the team, both home and away. Singing their hearts out every game, singing the names of the players, even those who may not be in form and frustrate them. 1,400 made the trip over the Pennines to watch the U18s play against Manchester United, don’t ever question this fanbase and its loyalty to the club. Ups and downs, highs and lows they will always be here, it’s their right to question an owner who has only been here for three years.
Ken Bates tried to split the fanbase to deflect from the poor running of the club, it seems there are efforts now to split the fan base to deflect from performances on the pitch. As Angus Kinnear himself said; “What I do know is that when the fans and the team are united we’re formidable at home and away.” And so it must be again, results breed confidence from the fans, the club must look within themselves to find solutions to the current issues because against Forest they looked out of idea.