Even by Leeds United standards, a club with a propensity for the chaotic, the last couple of weeks have been dramatic.

On the pitch, Leeds went from victory over league leaders Derby County to a heavy defeat against Ipswich Town. Neil Redfearn’s young side still struggling to find any sort of consistency despite glimpses of genuine quality. Off the pitch meanwhile, a fresh injection of £20m in capital was overshadowed by the league banning Leeds owner Massimo Cellino.

When Les Reed and Barry Mason penned Leeds’ anthem Marching On Together in 1972, the ‘ups and downs’ they spoke of was tribute to Leeds United’s rise from the ashes of Leeds City FC and the transformation from also-rans to a European force under Don Revie. Football in Leeds had already endured struggles but they were spread across half a century of existence.

Nowadays, when Leeds United fans echo ‘ups and downs’ back as the club anthem is blasted over the PA system at Elland Road, we don’t need a fifty year window to sample dramatic rises and falls, oftentimes you need only look at the week preceding the match to see evidence of the turbulent nature of the club. ‘Ups and downs’ is less a celebratory statement of how far we’ve come to deserve our achievements like it was when Revie’s side were an all-conquering force, today it’s a roar of defiance at the chaos we regularly endure to simply exist as a football club.

And what’s most frustrating is The Football League’s part in continuing the chaos. When Leeds were being stripped apart and thrown into further financial ruin by Ken Bates and GFH, the League sat idly by and barely made a squeak. But when someone finally comes along and throws a few quid in to balance the books and try to re-establish an even footing for the club, the League go out of their way to have him removed.

I’ve often dismissed fellow Leeds United fans as paranoid when they’ve claimed the authorities ‘have it in for us’ but recent events do make you wonder.

I could understand and accept the League’s position if they weren’t so inconsistent and had stopped to consider the repercussions of the witch hunt they seem to be on. Rules are in place for a reason, but they’re enforced at the League’s discretion. Unless the League have a viable alternative to Massimo Cellino lined up, banning him serves only to damage a member club and that’s wildly at odds with the League’s mandate.

None of this is to say I’m totally convinced by Massimo Cellino. He’s a difficult man to get to grips with, his personality too wild and erratic to be someone who, in an ideal world, I’d have running my football club.

But when you weigh that up against an improved financial situation at the club, a better playing squad and the lack of viable alternatives, he’s the best option Leeds United have.

The biggest difference Massimo has made to Leeds United is that for the first time in years, our main focus as a fanbase has been on the football. As fans, all we really want to do is play out our ‘ups and downs’ on the pitch without the dark cloud of ownership uncertainty hanging over the club. This is why the League must recognise the instability they’re causing and move quickly to put an end to the drama.

Meanwhile, Neil Redfearn will attempt to redirect attentions back towards the football this weekend when his young side take on Fulham. Ross McCormack makes his return to Elland Road as part of a side who were hammered 5-0 by Watford last weekend while Leeds will be desperate to make amends for the poor showing at Ipswich.

  • David Lockwood

    The FL are either very, very stupid, a possibility which is not beyond question,,or they are deliberately attempting to damage the infrastructure of Leeds United and put our future at risk. I suppose there is a third possibility which is is that they are so full of their own self importance that they don’t care about Leeds and just want to make a point. Well, my point is that whatever the reason they are still tossers and they won’t change. How any credible organisation can have a figure head like Harvey is beyond me?

    • Dicko

      Totally agree. they are a power craving ego bunch of twats. Harvey shame on you especially as you worked as the puppet for the biggest crook of them all (papa smurf).Allegedly You did benefit financially though so maybe that’s why the cracks were plastered over!!!!!! It cant be that the law in England allows an individual to invest significant sums in a BUSINESS, allows them to become a Director and then allow a bunch of ego tossers to rule at a later date (I know they tries to stop it…….but failed) he has to step down. However he can come back in March………it’s mental and only in football because he wouldn’t / couldn’t happen in other business.
      By the way Cellino is absolutely nuts but it’s still an injustice and deffo a vendetta against the man if not the club or both.

  • I mean, what you wrote is all wrong, TSS. The Football League couldn’t do anything about Bates under their rules. But Cellino is not a fit owner under them. He’s a convicted crook.

    Are their rules stupid? You can certainly argue it. And certainly I don’t think the Football League really cares much about its member clubs. But it’s not pursuing a “witch hunt”. It’s applying its rules. You’d need to find examples of times it had not applied them to others to successfully argue it’s singling out Leeds.

    Look, I know he’s the messiah and we’re really excited how he’s steered us into contention for relegation and completely omitted to buy Elland Road as promised. But we knew he was a crook and knew they would likely disqualify him. We’ve known that from day one.

    • TSS

      LOL, fair points, and as I say above, he hasn’t totally convinced me either, his good points have just outweighed the bad so far.

      As for The League not applying the test very well, Carson Yeung remains a telling example. They had no idea who our owner was under Bates so couldn’t possibly determine fit and proper status, yet never did anything to remove him. Do you really believe GFH were thoroughly vetted and if they were, why isn’t the ability to run a football club box one on their checklist?

      But both examples are beside the point, the Football League is merely a membership association of clubs, any enforcement of any rule has to be weighed up against the consequences to the club. The rules (this one more than most) are supposed to serve the club’s best interests, but they can’t argue they’re doing right by a member unless they demonstrate an alternative. If the enforcement of this rule leaves Leeds United in financial ruin (which without wanting to scaremonger, it most likely will) then the very basis of the rule being implemented is laughable – and the League don’t appear to have considered that. Their mandate is to serve the clubs, not destroy them.

      • But Carson Yeung stepped down before his conviction. I agree with you that the rules are stupid but they weren’t misapplied to him.

        Yes, in the ideal world, the FL would vet owners carefully but they are shit scared of legal action. If they bar people from owning clubs, they face expensive legal action. That’s why their fit and proper test is so laughably restricted. So are they spineless and close to useless? Yes. They don’t actually vet anyone beyond seeing whether a court has found them guilty of a particular sort of crime. Should they grow some balls and actually serve the clubs? Yes, they should but they aren’t going to.

        What football needs is a government regulator with defined powers.

        I agree entirely with your last paragraph. It’s shit that we are on the end of their incompetence. I think it’s yet another black mark against GFH, who knew perfectly well that Cellino would fail the fit and proper test and didn’t care.

        • Irving08

          Surely better self-regulation, as opposed to regulation from without, is the better way forward.

          • Because football does that so well?

          • Irving08

            No, but it is a change of ethos we need, not external regulation, which leaves people, morally speaking, roughly where they are. This applies to the whole of English society, but the Football League, being less corrupted by money and greed than most sectors, has a fighting chance – due to its traditions and still largely largely community basis, of effecting a moral revolution from within.

      • Conceived-a-White

        I have no facts to back this statement up, it’s just a feeling (hope). I suspect MC’s legal response may kick the FL where it hurts. He may just show them up. All Leeds fans will be hoping he does just that. He will then truly be the Italian Messiah……..MOT forever.

    • stelufc

      Members of the krasner consortium were convicted crooks though, Geoffrey Richmond for tax fraud and Simon morris for property fraud and blackmail.

      the football league could have nipped things in the bud then.

      incidentally shaun Harvey joined Leeds under the krasner consortium, not bates and began his football career order Richmond at both Scarborough and bradford

      • I think the fit and proper person test actually postdated Krasner’s takeover. And it’s a test for directors, not for people who fund takeovers.

        I mean, we’re not disputing that it’s a stupid test that has done nothing to protect clubs and is likely to hurt Leeds. And I think it would be fair to say that the FL is keen to make an example of Cellino partly because of Carson Yeung. But they’re not picking on us becasue we’re Leeds.

  • George Wood

    “When Les Reed and Barry Mason penned Leeds’ anthem Marching On Together in 1973″

    Oh dear me. The song was ‘penned’ in 1972 and is called Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!

    • TSS

      “Oh dear me” You make it sound like I’ve committed a cardinal sin! LOL.

      1973 was a typo I corrected immediately after posting, not sure why it was/is displayed to you that way – I’m guessing the site cache hadn’t refreshed for some reason.

      As for the song title, I know it was released as Leeds, Leeds, Leeds (and even if I hadn’t, it would have taken me all of 3 seconds to look it up on Wikipedia). The thing is, no one actually calls it that, so why wouldn’t I use the title it’s more commonly known by? If this was an article about the song itself, the pedantry would be fair enough, but I don’t think anyone has failed to understand the article because I used a song title most fans will be more familiar with and made a small typo.

  • oldschoolbaby

    Rules are for the guidance of wise men and compliance of fools.
    If you put on Mother Theersa`s spectacles then criticism of Cellino is legitimate and even morally commendable. Sadly, Mother Theresa has passed away and any injection of objectivity quickly reveals football is a cesspit.
    Opinions will get us nowhere. We need a forensic accountant to precis, in laymans terms, how Bates and GFH ( Ridsdale is not irrelevant to this either ) operated. Then a comparable analysis with the activities of Cellino could be submitted to someone with some moral authority for judgement.
    I am quite sure Cellino would come out well. It would highlight how genuine the fan`s frustrations are. It would spotlight the FL`s stupidity. And, hopefully, it would force them to go away and re-assess.

  • markman

    I would say that Cellino,s good points far outweigh his bad points.
    We must of been on the point of yet another administration before he turned up.
    yes,there have been some crazy managerial appointments but overall the club is in a far better financial
    position.

    current league position,not withstanding,i think most fans can see what is being achieved and the youth are at last been given their chance.

    i dont understand how the FL can order MC to stand aside,until march,when there are still appeals going on?

    I would be more concerned about the fact that there are another 2 similar charges against MC that have
    yet to come to court.

    On a more wider point,does a relative minor point of financial chicanery,in the eyes of the FL merit
    a lifetime ban when they allow a convicted rapist and a man languishing in Jail to join their club.?

    i am sure in the eyes of most fans,the fact that we at last have an owner who actually has money and
    seems to have the best interests of the club at heart is the most important fact.

  • henrymouni

    ‘Fit & Proper’ has to mean someone who is capable of running the club well, and investing in its future.

    Bates failed this requirement in spades.
    Would not reveal true owners.
    Two dodgy takeovers, with these invisible owners/investors being prepared to do their claims if Bates got his sticky mitts on the club again.
    He lied constantly to us fans, with one broken promise after another.
    He would not invest in the team, and built a Hotel we will be paying for, forever.
    When he left the club – (He promised he would only sell to someone with big money to invest) – we were close to extinction again!!
    A quick background check told me that GFH had no money, and a poor track record.
    He was not ‘Fit & Proper’ – nothing to do with criminal convictions, has it?

  • PMH

    I agree with Dr Zeb below. The league is not on a witch hunt, it is just grossly incompetent. We’ve all known that Cellino was a crook from day one, if we cared to be at all objective about it. Of course, when you are a drowning man getting pulled out of the ocean you do not ask for the credentials of the person saving you. (“Do you have your lifesaver certificate, chum?) It is just unfortunate that Leeds’ saviour was not someone as wise and honest as he was wealthy.

    • Irving08

      Hmm I have never worked anywhere where people who could claim expenses, when they thought they could get away with it, diidn’t try to pull a trick or two. And how many small investors that have been lucky enougn to make modest capital gains declare these to the Revenue ? All reprehensible, I grant you, but common enough, I suspect, to make a heck a lot of people ‘crooks’. Besides, Cellino is appealing the verdict – and when you think of it why would a man with his wealth knowingly withold customs duty ? Is this an ‘Italian disease’, one wonders ? As for the League, the strongest objection to its actions is not the consequential one (the harm it may do to our club), but that which questions its moral right to condemn Cellino, a point of view expressed with eloquence by Old Schoolboy.

    • oldschoolbaby

      You can`t combat a moral argument so I`m asking what is the point of making your argument at all ?
      Morality, fundamentally, is about the choice between good and evil. Effectively, you have “done the legs” of your own argument in acknowledging we have no choice. Cellino / the bus back to Bahrain / bust full stop or the English promotional whore of a corporate behemoth selling crap to kids ( caffeine is an alkaloid in the same family as strychnine, human beings haven`t evolved to process it very well )
      We are adrift on a sea of amorality. My conscience isn`t unduly troubled climbing into Cellino`s lifeboat