“Revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.” 

Che Guevara might not be the best figurehead, but the Leeds United Supporters Trust seem to understand what he was getting at when he spoke of forcing revolution. In their latest statement, the Trust put across a message of unity from the players who seem to be staging their own in-house revolt against the evil Ken Bates.

Similarly, Neil Warnock has returned from holiday and seems intent on joining the rebellion. “Close sources” – often code for “don’t quote me on this, but…” – reveal that Neil Warnock is losing patience with our controversial leader and may head for the hills if he isn’t provided the funds to build a promotion-capable team for next season.

In truth, none of this is really news. Robert Snodgrass has been speaking of broken promises and a lack of ambition since April and has shown little sign of letting up since. Neil Warnock meanwhile has made clear from the very beginning that he expects the chairman to match his ambition financially, so it comes as no surprise that the club’s failure to capture several names has left him considering his options.

It’s a familiarly depressing situation Leeds United fans are currently faced with, but the timing of the players statement and Neil Warnock’s “close sources” speaking to the press may be cause for some optimism.

The statement from LUST isn’t the desperate plea of greedy footballers struggling to live on a few thousand pounds per week and demanding more money. Irrespective of how fans may rate the ability of these players, if they were simply looking for more money they’d just up sticks and move. Neil Kilkenny and Bradley Johnson are two perfect examples of highly criticised players who managed to find better contracts elsewhere without too much effort.

Neil Warnock doesn’t have to stick around and try to force the issue at Elland Road either, if he was to hand in his resignation today he’d be inundated with offers of employment within a couple days.

It may be rare and difficult to believe, but the frustrations of the players and manager really are the same as ours. Neil Warnock didn’t come to Elland Road for financial reasons, and most of the players we currently have could get more money elsewhere. The reason they chose Leeds United is because returning Leeds United to the Premier League immortalises them. For most, it’ll be the single biggest achievement of their relatively short careers, a feat that will be spoken about for years to come and celebrated long after they’ve retired.

Make no mistake, the size of this club still attracts players – ambitious players that want to achieve something in football.

But the open market of football still dictates their cost. Even if Player A is willing to take a 50% paycut for his shot at immortality, he’s going to be wondering why a club of Leeds United’s size is struggling to compete financially with it’s rivals. Will Player’s B, C and D accept similar terms when they share the same concerns? Probably not.

You can have all the fans and all the potential in the world, but it means nothing without the financial power to beat your opposition – that’s the grim reality of modern football. One which Ken Bates has steadfastly refused to accept.

The reason growing pressure from players and manager alike could be reassuring is because they clearly understand we’re going nowhere without suitable investment. Despite my growing scepticism, the aforementioned leaks may suggest there really is something in these takeover rumours, and that the players and manager are trying to apply pressure on Ken Bates.

It’s also interesting that no one has been sold yet despite an obvious cashflow problem. Ross McCormack and Robert Snodgrass have both been linked with high-value moves away from Elland Road, but neither seem to be in any particular rush to find the exit. I suspect they may be awaiting news from ongoing talks before deciding their future.

Seems that it’s still a waiting game, but with pressure mounting from all sides the club are being pushed hard for a response. The stonewall of silence at Elland Road has held strong so far, but it’s hard to believe Ken Bates will be able to hold in one of his trademark outbursts for much longer… Until then, I’m remaining cautiously optimistic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.