Guest submission, submitted yesterday by Dje

Dear LUFC brethren. It’s another of those RIP LEEDS UNITED days. Add it to the long list we’ve collated over recent years. Place it alongside the day the truth of Ridsdale ‘Living His Dream’ came out; the day we fell out of the Premiership; the play-off final against Watford; the day Bates came along; the day Bates took us into administration; the day we fell out of the Championship; the day we entered a pact with a devil named Wise; the day we lost to non-league Histon; the day we failed to reach a League One play-off final; the way we let Beckford leave for free; the way we let Johnson and (to a lesser extent) Kilkenny leave for free; the day we lost 5-2 at Barnsley; the day we threw away a 4-1 advantage and lost 6-4 at home to Preston; the summer we signed almost no one and yet on the last day sold Gradel… and to them the day we let Howson leave for free (seriously £2m?, which it won’t be, it’s as good as free).

The Scratching Shed has been quiet today. There’s been comments added about Howson leaving, but mostly its been grasping and waiting for the dust to settle. There isn’t much to add – not much beyond the general sense of utter disbelief and watching this club become a slow-motion car crash.

The truth is, if ever anyone wanted a signpost put up outside the club telling each and all exactly what this club is about, it was hammered into the sodden earth outside Elland Road today: ‘Everything Must Go!! (enquire inside)’.

For those who have been ‘reasonable’ towards the management of this club in recent years, and have remained positive enough to believe that one way or another a ‘passionate’ and Leeds-supporting Grayson, with a handful of quality players, is just about enough to get us to the lottery of the Championship play-offs, then today must come like a brutal shock. For those that still don’t see the light, those that feel Bates is running the club in a responsible and progressive manner, that Jonny really had to go because he was being unreasonable in expecting us to push for promotion, then all I can say is turn around, see the lemming? (Yes, the one heading for the cliff edge). Now go follow.

On Fear

There’s no schadenfreude here. There’s no ‘told you so’. There’s no winners. We are the losers, in every possible way.

As homosapiens we are finely tuned to be essentially positive in our outlook (’tis why we evolded and the other little fishies still have little more than a ten second memory); but on this occassion it is very hard to find any positives at all. I just wish someone could explain exactly how Bates wins from this?

Today there has been the general chorus of refusing to renew season tickets, and walking away from the club after supporting it for 10, 20, 30, 40, even 50 years in some cases. They aim to hit Bates in the pocket. I promise you, this will be the excuse in the making why we have had to sell McCormack, then Snodgrass, then Lees, then White… “To pay for the irresponsible acts of morons”, or words thereabouts.

Other’s want to up the game and send a message to Bates, with talk of a rally before the match against Ipswich. Calling Sky Sports etc. “Bates Out!” Sorry, with capslock this time: “BATES OUT!!” I can’t blame them. Only the net result will be a form of collective catharsis for collective frustration. You see, Leeds fans are always prepared to listen to another Leeds fan’s point of view – and, despite being Yorkshire men and women, we can be bloody reasonable at this. Unfortunately we don’t have a Yorkshire man at the helm. I’m not even sure we have a man at the helm.

On Loathing

But then let’s hope. Lets hope he is a man, a horribly mortal man. We have it within us all to be one. When the Reaper claims us, we are but mortal. No more. For years I’ve read and heard Leeds fans talk about how old Bates is, how soon he will be likely to die (statistically speaking!). I’ve never been very comfortable with it. Maybe I’m too British and simply too abashed by its macabre triumphantalism.

Just like those Americans who took to the streets in the States when news got out that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, it is not a pleasant spectacle, however understandable it may be.

Celebration of death is always macabre. But after today, and the final tent peg hammered home that Elland Road is one cavenous sales ground, Bates is clearly going nowhere soon with such young bucks like Lees, White and Clayton to whore out for maximum profit. From fear comes the loathing.

So the mind, when cornered, considers the macabre with a little more titilation than it usually does. Hell, after you’ve had the last vestiges of emotion kicked out of you by the news that the club is selling its captain on the cheap, whilst later in the day celebrating how much money it has reaped from next year’s season ticket sales, you tend to be a tad less caring towards the emotions of others.

Which brings us to the death of Mr Bates.

No, this is not an event you have already missed. Nor is it a call to intervene prematurely! It is only a forethought on what, inevitably, will be will be when nature takes its toll.

I’ve racked my brain for the last hour or so, and I just can’t find any figure in modern Britain whose death will be celebrated by so many people as Bates’ will. How horribly sad this is. I mean really how sad that is, especially for his family. As a man they will miss him when he is gone, but still they’ll have to contend with the jubilations of Leeds’ fans (can you imagine the atmosphere and songs at the immediately following match at Elland Road). And they say life is cruel!

The recent release of the film, The Iron Lady, has stirred up resentment amongst quite a few, especially in the North and Scotland, towards Margaret Thatcher. Yet I doubt not so many would literally dance on her grave as they have often claimed they would one day. She is an old woman now, long out of politics, and whose legacy has been blurred as much by the foibles of New Labour and the current coalition.

Really we are entering the creaky-gated doors of the mental hospitals and prisons before we reach such resented characters as Ian Brady and Ian Huntley: the types whose mentioning of their names often follows the phrases ‘throw away the keys’ or ‘bring back hanging’. Choice company then Mr Bates.

That is really quite an achievement, to have mustered such hatred amongst so many for so little personal gain. Considering you have entered the cherished world of football ownership Mr Bates, where frail egos usually seek the unsaturated adulation of the masses, you have so single-handedly failed to win anything but the worst fears of the fans… and their loathing.

Written By Dje