Elland Road repurchase could sow seeds of mistrust TSS April 26, 2014 Leeds United 63 Comments When Massimo Cellino completed his takeover of Leeds United, I wrote about how he should be judged on actions instead of words and promises, that no matter how successful or unsuccessful his efforts may be, our opinion of him should never be fixed. Never again should we operate on blind faith and give the benefit of doubt to our owners, but instead, we should exercise hyper-vigilance and remain ever-questioning of their actions. It was something everyone seemed to agree with but at times, we’re pathetically easy to charm. With each new era comes a new wave of blind faith supporters who’ll dismiss any questions of our owners failure to deliver on previously stated promises with a half-baked theory they’ve cooked up to protect their belief that we aren’t being strung along once again. They’ll insist there’s a perfectly legitimate reason as to why our latest owner hasn’t delivered on a previously made promise, and perhaps there is? But when fans need to get creative and posit hypothetical explanations as to why a promise hasn’t been delivered, they’re filling an information deficit the owner has created. Take Massimo Cellino’s promise to repurchase Elland Road as an example. Cellino made this promise to every journalist he spoke to, insisting that he’d head to the bank the day after he’d completed his takeover of the club and set in motion a funds transfer to repurchase the ground. Now obviously, this hasn’t happened. You can be cynical and say it was an easy sound-bite to get fans onboard at a time when he was struggling to convince The Football League of his credibility, you could argue that he’s had bigger things to deal with, theorise on the possible contract stipulations that delay a repurchase, the list goes on and on. I’ve heard literally every possibility there is and ever will be so please save your breath, you’re missing the point if you think I want more theories. The truth is, a lot of the theories are perfectly plausible, but none of them change the fact that a promise was made and they’ve come to be because it wasn’t delivered upon. If there’s a legitimate reason for why that is then great. But if there is, why haven’t we heard it? It often feels as if one of the reasons we never get any answers is because our fans aren’t allowed to ask. Not without facing the wrath of the converted at least. Whenever someone raises a genuine question they’re immediately bombarded by the blind faith fans who misinterpret a simple question as some sort of attack on their beloved new leader. They’ve made up their minds, those of you who wish to exercise common-sense and reserve judgement will be harassed until you join their cult and accept that EVERYTHING IS JUST FINE and you should STOP TRYING TO LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN. And maybe everything is fine. But if everything is fine, then why can’t you ask your question without being shot down? Massimo Cellino made a promise which won him a lot of support, surely his failure to deliver on that makes us deserving of an explanation? I do have some faith in Cellino turning our fortunes around (at least in the short to medium turn), but there is no man on earth who could take over this club and not be subjected to a similar degree of questioning. Well, maybe Lucas Radebe, but my point is; this isn’t personal. It’s ongoing diligence. Fans should be asking questions of our owners and should never stop asking questions of them. This remains our club, we’re only seeking reassurance that everything is above board. Some of the major frustrations with GFH and Ken Bates included the PR offensives, lies and broken promises. Bates set up a radio station where he shamelessly dished out propaganda on a weekly basis to control his army of blind followers and keep those asking legitimate questions from getting any answers. Now I’m not saying Massimo Cellino is anything like Ken Bates or GFH, I don’t think for one second that he is, but those of us yet to be converted to his cult of unquestioning followers won’t be encouraged by broken promises that aren’t followed up by an explanation because there’s simply no excuse to deny us one. It’d take him literally two minutes and he owes us that much after making promises to get us onside in the first place. We’ve been through too much at this club for blind faith to be an option. We have to exercise vigilance, continue to question the actions of our owners and stop making excuses for them when they’re perfectly capable of spending two minutes of their lives providing us with one themselves. The point to this entire article is not about whether Cellino is good or bad, nor is it really about the repurchase of Elland Road specifically. It’s meant to address the climate of extreme reactions from our fanbase who seem to think the only reason anyone would ask a question of our owner is if they’re trying to bring about his downfall. It’s a ludicrously paranoid conclusion to draw, but it’s also dangerously counter-productive to an open and honest relationship between fans and our ownership. What harm do those of you needlessly inventing excuses for why Cellino is yet to repurchase Elland Road think asking a simple question can do? And why don’t you think we deserve an answer to it? It isn’t code for a hate mob to gather and hunt down Cellino’s taxi, we’re simply trying to cut through the nonsense and get some straight answers. An open-dialogue between fans and the owner doesn’t start hate campaigns, nor will one broken promise without an explanation. But taking two minutes to respond to a broken promise fills an information void which otherwise leads to some degree of unrest (even if it is limited to fans bitching at each other online). Failure to do so sows seeds of mistrust, especially at Leeds United where many of us have suffered years of empty promises and have grown understandably suspicious of all who pass through this once great club.