I avoided this issue in my match report because, quite frankly, it’s news in it’s own right and goes far beyond the reaches of a 3rd division cup game. The stewarding, policing and protection afforded to our players following the JPT clash on Tuesday night was quite frankly atrocious and there’s been a queue of people from Leeds United lining up to blast Carlisle United’s poor organisation since.

I’ll start with the most opinionated of them all, which is quite obviously Uncle Ken, who pulls no punches by describing Carlisle as a ‘little club’ whose organistation was ‘very basic’. Not really controversial when you consider Ken Bates’ usual rants but I’m sure it’s upset a few people in Carlisle, as will his suggestion that the reasons behind the poor stewarding were ‘to save a few bob’. 

As someone not exactly alien to milking every available penny from whatever scenario presents itself, Ken Bates should be seen as a professor on the subject of maximising profits. For all his faults (and there are far too many to list) he’s shown his real skill in his time at Elland Road by helping our supporters lighten their pockets of those heavy notes that were weighing them down at every available opportunity.  

Ken Bates’ somewhat tactless comments may have hit the nail on the head. To be totally honest, I didn’t spare much of a thought to the stewarding until after the game, but given the over the top reaction many clubs put in place for the visit of Leeds United, it was somewhat restrained, which could mean one of two things.

  • 1) Carlisle naively thought there was no real potential for trouble
  • 2) Ken Bates is right and it was all about cost cutting.

I’m leaning towards the latter as Leeds United have a bad reputation in Carlisle already and anyone with two braincells to rub together could see the potential for trouble. This does mean I’m agreeing with Ken Bates, which is amongst my least favourite things (it irritates me almost as seeing Ashley Cole on the front of this mornings papers), but when a mans right, no matter how much of a distaste for him you have, you have to hold your hands up and agree.

That’s not to say I believe he’s doing this because he cares after the safety of his fellow man. This isn’t a new cuddly, caring version of Ken Bates we’re seeing. Let us not forget he once attempted to erect an electric fence around Stamford Bridge’s pitch to control the Chelsea fans. Maybe my cynicism is getting out of hand, but I can’t help thinking his motives are more to do with the possible compensation, not to mention the need to massage his over-inflated ego with another attention seeking rant.  

Grayson meanwhile was also extremely angered at the incident and says three Leeds United players were attacked while the Police and stewards were slow to react. He says he’s disappointed at the lack of protection afforded to his players and is glad the club intend to take the matter further with official complaints being made by Leeds United.

But finally – and for me, most interesting of all – we come to Richard Naylor. He attacks the stewards for making no effort to get the lads off the field and says it was stupid of them not to expect a pitch invasion. Quite right too. No matter how pointless the competition, it gives the winner the chance to play at Wembley and no matter who the fans are, they’ll celebrate afterwards.

The bit that most interested me about Naylor’s interview however was him questioning what the reaction would have been if this was Leeds United’s fans. As a lifelong Leeds United fan, Richard Naylor knows exactly how quickly we’re judged. Had this been Leeds United fans that stormed the pitch, make no mistake, it’d have been national news and we’d getting plasted from every angle and that’s the really infuriating part for me.

Whilst there was some coverage in the following mornings papers, this was nothing compared to what we’re met with when our own fans do something deemed to be unlawful. I know it’s the price you pay for being such a big club and that no one really cares about Carlisle United, but it’s not just the papers. The FA would have been making statements by now, Lord Mahwinney would be condemning our actions and everyone who is anyone would have an opinion, but because Leeds United are the victims and Carlisle the culprits, no one cares.

It’ll be interesting to see what the FA make of it all when they do decide to pay some attention to the matter. Measly fine and a statement saying ‘we hope the matter can now be put to rest’, you mark my words. That’s if Carlisle United aren’t totally cleared and the matter swept under the carpet anyway.

  • Duncan

    The thing that particularly irritated me was the story about the prat behind the goal shining a blue laser thingy at the Leeds players while they were taking their penalties. Knobhead.

  • Paul S.Wales

    Yes i agree, but why didn’t the players bring this to the attention of the referee when it was happening?

    • Duncan

      Good point, I didn’t think of that

  • Paul

    A good read. Do we know if Harvey has submitted his complaint to the FA yet? He’s said he intends to do it but I doubt the FA will make any comments until they’ve received an official complaint.

  • Tim

    There’s a comment on the Express site that really got my goat

    “Leeds complaining about Carlisle fans that must be a first . leeds fans have a reputation as one of the worst in England and for for once on receiving end all be it was the players but Leeds fans have done the same in the past..Well done Carlisle”

    Claiming that Leeds fans have invaded the pitch and attacked opposition players in the past?!…..Grrrr! If I didn’t detest the Express so much I might register and retort!

  • paull

    It’s yet another example of how ineffective both the FA and football league are at managing their own sport. Naturally as a Leeds fan I’m angry about this but in this case which club we support shouldn’t really matter. According to SG three players were punched i.e. physically assaulted by opposition fans which is totally unacceptable at any level and at any club. Needless to say if it were Leeds fans behaving like this we would see our club booted out of the competition, docked points, fined and banned from future competition so what have the F.A. and football league done about it? They shouldn’t have to wait for a complaint from Leeds United; the referees report should contain enough information to instigate a full investigation.

  • timm

    I don’t think enough’s being made of this. & for that top Cumbrian copper to come out & say he’s ‘disappointed’ with SGs comments & for him to say the coppers & stewards did a good job! Well they obviously didn’t did they! Both Carlisle AND the coppers should be investigated & that dickhead copper should be made to apologise for his comments. & let’s not forget our fans who should be praised for not getting on & ripping the shit out of them! Naylor & Bates are bang on on this occasion. I disagree with TSS having a go at Bates on this, this is about Leeds v Carlisle & Bates is most definately Leeds. Or do you think we should give Don Revies son or RedBus a bit more time to come up with the money?! I’d guess that 90% of football fans don’t like their clubs chairman but whether you like Bates or not doesn’t really matter, what matters is that he stepped up & saved this club when others who were so called Leeds fans didn’t. & if his aim is to get us promoted & then sell us then that’ll do for me.

    • TSS

      I’d like nothing more than him to get us promoted and sell us as your scenario suggests, but that doesn’t mean I’m ever going to like or trust him while he is here. I never liked him while he had Chelsea or when he was involved with England and it’s not just some personal vendetta I have against him, but simply an opinion formed from following his career and looking into his past. There just always seems to be an alteria motive with our Kenneth, so whenever he gives a statement to the OS or wherever, I can’t help but think it’s somehow benefitting him.

      All the broken promises (Thorp Arch, ER, investment etc…) add up and I find anything he says hard to believe these days. I know this leaves me in a position where writing from a neutral perspective is largely impossible, which is why I try to avoid any mention of him on here these days, unless I’m writing with my tongue firmly in cheek. On this occasion however, I had to acknowledge him because his opinion mirrored that of my own.

      • timm

        Fair comment. I couldn’t agree more re Becchio though! Where did he go? This is the same player who tries snatching the ball from our recognised penalty taker on more than one occasion! Is it his South American temperament? ie, when his adrenalin’s pumping he wants to have a go but when he has time to think about it he goes missing? Very disappointing.

  • Colin

    Let me make it perfectly clear from the offset that I’m a Leeds fan. But we’re getting a bit carried away. This wasn’t a riot. Players know full well that when opposition fans come onto the pitch, they better get down the tunnel sharpish. They shouldn’t expect Police and stewards to get them to do that. The Police/stewards job was to keep the 2 sets of fans separated and safe. They did that.

    As for the laser – that’s alleged and has not been confirmed by Leeds or any other involved party.

    Have we forgotten the pitch invasion at Hartlepool in April where fans spilled onto the pitch and the game had to be stopped because it was kicking off with a Leeds fan in the Hartlepool end?
    And the pitch invasion by Leeds fans in 2007 against Ipswich was horrible. Forget the players, it was innocent Ipswich fans getting clobbered in that one.

    At the end of the day, Leeds have the second highest number of arrests of any football club in England. We have some idiot fans just like Carlisle had the other night. And all this ‘what would have happened if it was the other way round’ stuff, just stokes the fire for some idiot Leeds fans to have a pop at some Carlisle fans next time that we meet.

    We’re no angels and we’d be wise not to be too vocal on this one. Our reputation precedes us…

  • Colin

    TSS – it can’t be about cost cutting. Football clubs can’t dictate how much police presence there should be. The Police dictate that dependant upon how many stewards you have and the game that you’re hosting. It’s got nothing to do with the club. If the clubs had a say in it, then you know for a fact there wouldn’t be a single policeman at Elland Road games with tight Ken.

    So if there was a problem with a lack of policing/security presence at Carlisle, then the club have nothing to answer for. However, the Cumbrian Police would.

    I seem to remember Dave Whelan, chairman of Wigan saying that there were too many police at their matches and suggested that it was an easy cash cow for the Police. No club can dictate how much police presence there is at a football game. As a football club, you just have to pay the fee that the Police charge.

    Again, Ken is just being a complete tit. Please don’t side with him. His suggestion to control pitch invasions during his time at Chelsea was to put up electric fences. He’s got some front to come out and have a pop at Carlisle fans.

  • TheReaper08

    It’s the double standards that makes me mad,because Leeds fans have a record it’s ok for Carlisle fans to act in this way. So two wrongs do make a right ? Or did I miss something.

    No civilised Leeds fan would condone the actions of the mindless few. Take the incident against Ipswich, it was with the co-operation of fans, police and the club that those idiots were dealt with and rightly so.

    So Carlisle, the Cumbrian police force and the F.A must stand up and deal with this situation.

  • Colin

    I agree Reaper. I think the thing is that outside the Premier League, there’s less pressure to sort out this sort of thing.

    I’m pretty sure that if Accrington Stanley had beaten us in the previous round, and they got beat by Carlisle, then there wouldn’t have been a pitch invasion.

    I actually have sympathy with Carlisle United. For them, this is a MASSIVE result, because they beat LEEDS. The JPT means nothing. But to beat Leeds, who Carlisle and every other football fan knows are one of the top 10 big teams in England, is a massive achievement.

    Not necessarily for all the right reasons, but if Sky cover a game between 2 third division teams, then there has to be a reason and that’s the same reason that has allowed us to be on ITV so much in the FA Cup!

    Big teams like Leeds attract big audiences, big money, big attention and unfortunately big problems.

    I just think it’s an issue that we’ll have to deal with while we’re a big fish in a small (3rd division) pond.

    Personally, I think it’s a compliment that we are oft mentioned on the main page of the BBC website when things like this happen. I remember when we were in the old 2nd division and it was dull, dull, dull. We’re in the 3rd division now and we get all the attention.

    We’re Leeds United. We’ve always had stick, whether it be players, fans or the club. For that reason, I think that’s why we grab all the attention. It’ll sort itself out in the wash. We’ll get back to where we want to be, but it will take a long long time.

    MOT

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