At the time of writing, our latest poll shows 90% of 2,251 Leeds United fans have no confidence in Ken Bates’ ability to take this club forward. Protests were held last Thursday and ahead of our Championship clash against Ipswich Town on Saturday and after seven years at the helm, the vast majority of fans are ready to take action.
Quite what that action should be however is a highly contentious and unresolved issue. As ever, Leeds United fans are at odds with one another and struggling to find common ground. Some think the protests should be as vocal and visible as possible, hoping to garner media attention and force the issue into the minds of the general public, whilst others believe such efforts are in vain; that Ken Bates will soldier on regardless and that such actions risk destabilising an already shaky team.
The truth is, both sides make a fair argument. Whilst I’ve seen nothing to suggest the performance of our team is in anyway affected by unrest in the stands, it’s impossible to dismiss that argument completely. I’m sure the players know this isn’t about them and if they did have a problem with the protests, wouldn’t they have released a statement calling for calm by now?
We can’t say for certain either way. We’re all just throwing opinions around in a non-constructive manner and it’s achieving nothing. That includes the protests themselves.
The trouble is, the protests send no clear message. The only reason people gather on mass to shout about something is because they know the local/national media will take an interest and their message will be spread to a wider audience.
Working in London, I’m ideally placed to gauge opinion from the wider public. This morning, I arrived at work and the general consensus seemed to be that Leeds United fans were throwing a mass tantrum because their captain has been sold.
Is that the message we were trying to send? Because I can fully understand why people have come to that conclusion.
The problem we have now is the same problem we had last time. There is no leadership, no organisation leading the charge and spreading the fans message. In creating a club owned Leeds United Members Club, Ken Bates sought to put an end to the democratic fan organisations we’d relied on previously. It is these organisations that are best placed to gauge opinion, speak for the majority and work on a constructive plan of action.
There is no hidden agenda, any Leeds United fan can join, voice their opinion and then everyone unites behind a common goal. It’s not perfect, no one ever claimed democracy was, but it’s certainly more constructive than the haphazard approach we’ve taken so far. You’re not always going to agree with the majority decision, that’s life, but fans should stand shoulder-to-shoulder regardless. I doubt there’s ever been one example where employees of a company unanimously agreed with industrial action, but they’ll stand together all the same.
After seven years, we may finally be making some progress. Many fans have turned to the Leeds United Supporters Trust for leadership, who in turn balloted members and found the majority were in support of the “Bates Out” campaigns.
As the wheels of democracy slowly grind into action, LUST has arranged a strategy meeting for 19:30 tomorrow night (Tuesday 24th of January) at The Magic Sponge where members and non-members alike can gather to voice their opinion and try to agree on a way forward.
For me, this is how it should have worked all along. A democratic supporters club has finally stepped up to take the lead and offered all fans the chance to have their say. Whether you agree with protests or not, I strongly recommend you attend the meeting tomorrow night and get your point across. After all, there’s little point moaning once something has been decided.
Democracy rules and whatever plan LUST sets out tomorrow night, I’ll back it to the hilt – regardless of whether I agree with it personally. That’s the only way we can address this issue in a constructive and positive manner.
Marching On Together!
Photo Credit: Alex Knight Photography