You don’t even know me/ you say that I’m not living right/ you don’t understand me, so why do you judge my life?

The issue of Elland Road boycotts has no doubt been playing on many of our minds lately. It’s going to be, as we watch in increasingly jaded disbelief as the bearded miser hangs in there dribbling nonsensical bile into the 11/12 season despite obvious, excruciatingly real interest from potential outside purchasers of our wayward vessel.

When I consider the respective arguments on the subject, I’ve recently become aware that my inner dialogue closely mimics the lyrics of Armand Van Helden’s 1999 floor-filler and yelp for individualism ‘You Don’t Know Me’. Thought it’d be worth explaining that one early.

A mass boycott sounds wonderfully powerful in theory, but ignores a fundamental truth: we do not all support the same Leeds United, and people are going to get narked about the implication that they do.

Each of our relationships with the club is different, based on so much of the practical stuff on which football relationships develop: when we first walked through the turnstiles, the company we keep, the stuff we shout and responses to that stuff we perceive, right down to the angle and viewpoint from which most fixtures have been watched.

Effectively we’re all dating a partner who conceals the fact they’re seeing everyone else from us using a stunning mastery of the dark arts.

Added to that, people don’t want to be told that they need to do something about their soured relationship before they’ve truly admitted it to themselves. People don’t want to be told what to do at the best of times.

Edicts from a moral high-ground, even one as valid as that looking down on the carnage of the Bates years, are never going to sit well here. It’s not going to be rationally considered; it’s going to feel like a cutting barb at any other loved one or cherished artefact from childhood, and be taken very personally indeed.

There’s also some less deep-rooted concerns working against a successful boycott. For part-timers like me, there are also times when personal narratives draw you to your season’s fixture selections. This is very true of our League Cup third round tie. An Everton-supporting old mate of mine and I have been waiting on any old cup match between our respective loves for the best part of a decade.

To finally draw it and then get wind that the high profile-ish TV fixture is being targeted by some as the perfect mass-boycott – well, as an anti-Bates bore myself, it’s a bit awkward isn’t it? To have that little bit of pleasure in a personal rivalry tested, or be a small part of larger statement? Shucks. If I end up going, I will be trying really hard not to have much fun.

This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts.

Yes, it’s time for another explanatory excerpt from the same (golden?) era of commercial dance music as Van Helden. There’s been some talk that some sort of campaign of hands-on ‘re-education’ aimed at the supposedly apathetic of the fanbase needs to be taken on.

The objectives are noble, but the truth is probably that there’s a majority who know full well that Bates isn’t a benign influence on proceedings – it’s just that the personalisation of the experience means they’re able to separate church from state with more ease than it’d be assumed. Their relationship with the mighty white gods can never be tainted by such crass influences as the tight-fisted merchant in the temple.

People are going to need serious reassurances to just not go. “We’ve only just met Rodolph and it’s been going so well so far – when will we get to see him again?” is just one of many similar concerns. If a boycott is achieved, there should be preparations for fallout. Some people are going to need a heavyweight group hug.

Aside from all this cod philosophising over late 90s house beats, our team, against the odds, seems to be decent, and it would be a bit of a shame to give them no-one to impress. If injuries and/or suspensions strike this extremely thin group, a vaguely intimidating Elland Road is going to be even more important in keeping the points tally ticking.

And as fans, you can’t help but want that to happen. When you start hoping for defeats and -10 administrations just to show Ken that his policies have failed, you might as well not boycott, but pack it in forever.

This is not an argument to do the opposite and pack the place to the rafters – but surely the repeated struggles over the 20k mark doesn’t exactly suggest that the Bates strategy is heartily backed here. Ken knows full stadiums and full tills with him at the helm are not even a dream his tendency towards delusion can conjure.

We’ll surely all get behind a short sharp shock of ‘make things worse to make things better’ in a situation without a glimmer of hope, in which he’s sold every last asset and scared off every potential investor on earth.

It may seem very much like that time is now, but it’s not quite. While there’s an offer on the table that just requires the use of one of them damn BICs, continuing to hold our own on the pitch, with a few fans in the stands, might just be a major lever in getting one of the suitors of our club to get in that office and point a gun, metaphorical or otherwise, at the old codger’s head.

You’ve had the close of a transfer window to squeeze out a last taunt to the morons, and we might even politely ignore you inevitably claiming the early sparks of this season as your own, Ken, so just go. Go. Go. We’ve been waiting like muppets for this beat to drop way too long, and pride means we can’t leave our little dance floors now. There’s some solo shapes to be cut with the right DJ on the decks.

29 Responses

  1. Tim Campbell

    The Chairman is delusional of that there is no doubt! Taunts from the terraces are merely water off a ducks back for the old fart. He is and has always been in it for the money. If the takeover does not happen by the weekend, and by all reports in the YEP this is a realistic timescale, then the spectre of administration once again hangs over the club, only this time bates will be forced out once and for all. Lower attendances at ER meaning less income will facilitate this.

    • mrbigwheels

      It’s ok Colin…. He’s not bidding for the club… unfortunately, but Gary thinks he’s got the right words in his dance floor tunes.

  2. Waltzing Masinga

    Good, solid article. However, people like Mr Bates exploit this passivity about the ownership of LUFC. I absolutely agree, we all have a different relationship with Leeds United, but we all share a plethora of common-bonds with fellow supporters. One of the most salient is the basic premise that Leeds United Football Club should be playing top-tier football. It is a hard fact this will not happen under the current regime. The Chairman does not act in the best interests of our club, and if you disagree name me any other chairman that:

    (i) regularly insults the fans;
    (ii) considers himself a “saviour” when the fact is he rigged the administration in 2007;
    (iii) drags LUFC through the Court system pursuing personal vendettas in the name of Leeds United (and using the clubs meagre resources no doubt to fund such ventures);
    (iv) fails season on season to invest in the playing squad and spends any excess;
    (v) lies to the players about the club’s “ambition”;
    (vi) sells all our best players.

    Need more, I’ve got more.

    It’s time for the WHOLE of the Leeds United fanbase to unite and oust this parasitic greedy b*stard who is ruining our fine club. It is REVOLUTION OR REVOLT time.

    Now, if this Takeover fails, and I am hoping it doesn’t) we all have to boycott and force Bates to put the club into administration. I am a lawyer and I’ve studied the Fit and Proper Person Test. Should Leeds United go into administration again under Bates, he would be precluded from buying Leeds back. Bates would not be able to be a director nor have Controlling stake in the club.

    Finally, we would rid ourselves of the cancer and can look to a horizon without the lies, spin, and bullsh*t this old man has fed the good Leeds United fans for the past seven years. We’re almost there, keep the faith, MOT.

    • mrbigwheels

      Sounds like you’re the right man for the job of taking Bates on, the only problem is some fans are only just understanding what the word ‘Boycott’ means, many still think his first name is Geoffrey. Throw them a conversation including the word ‘administration’ and that could halve the attendence at ER very quickly. Job done but the co-op would be busy. I like the positivity of your plan though.

      • Chareose

        Well if thats true then we need to push hard asap because it may be the final bit of motivation Bates needs to sign the take over……..
        However back to reality, 24000 fans will still go to the next home game and Ken bates reign will continue……

    • Irving08

      Sorry, but a mass boycott is a non-starter. Absent coercion, the collective action problem is inusurmountable. Administration is too negative an incentive for voluntary cooperation. There would need to be some assurance about what comes after.

    • RC

      I value your opinion however my personal one is that people dont like Bates cause he sells the best players at the club. Yet many are calling for this boycott so we go into administration. Well in adminstration as we should all know well from past experience under Captain Birds Eye they sell your best players and you have no choice in the matter and how much contract they are under is irrelevant. So say goodbye to Lees Pearce Mccormack Becchio Peltier White and probably more.

  3. Tare

    Nice touch Gary but still.. for the record here I want to see and “hear” the Whites in PL. Some boys here are presuming all doom and gloom with NWs team no cherries to pick up. But there is this so called Team Spirit which is unknown quantity even in the Physics Science. Tare

  4. David Lockwood

    Eh, Bates is taking the piss and we are philosphising like this Gary? There is only one thing that Bates understands and it is cold cash. If you don’t hit him there they he will be taking the piss for ever, lol. I think fans need to decide for themselves though how long they are prepared to put up with the shite that he is handing out. Some people have a greater tolerance for it than others. That has been evidenced over the past two seasons. Good luck to you, I am out of here!

    • RC

      Do you seriously think any money lost through gate receipts will stop Bates? if he wants to run us in to the ground as many people have said then all wages that cant be paid from tickets sure as hell won’t be coming out of his pocket it will just create debt in LUFC’s name.

  5. pete58

    surely the idea of being united is based on the temporary suspension of individualism , for the greater longer term good.

    • Will23

      United as individuals, yes. Each with their own desires, passions and relationship to the club, ie not conforming to some single person’s idea which always makes me smirk at those who think collectivism is a saintly phenomenon when it’s nothing more than coercion backed by a threat-act as I say or else. Who decides what is for the greater good? A majority? 50m frenchmen can’t be wrong, they used to say.

      Best premises

  6. Pattaya Rag

    I guess an education is a birthright when you live in Adel.

    Why say it in 10 words when you can wax lyrically for a 1,000. Nothing new here, move on.

    • Matthew

      You must be new here. TSS before he got some helpers always did decent, long as hell reports on stuff. He and his helpers, or should I say contributers do a decent job at summing up the goings on at Leeds United.
      He must be doing something right, he has almost 10,000 followers, a half dozen Leeds people following him on twitter eg Dewsy, Ross McCormack and a few others.
      Don’t hate, appreciate.

      • RC

        So the newspaper might get very boring if everyone decides that you should say it as simply and shortly as possible, for example transfers/takeovers ‘Rhodes Blackburn £8m’ im sure that would boost their sales dramatically if all articles read like that lol

  7. Matthew

    If any boycotts were to happen you need a way of getting the message to the tens of thosands of people that go to games. There’s no sense doing it if only a few thosand stop coming, you need one clear and concise boycott that hits Bates all at once.
    Imagine the reaction of the press if attendaces go from 24,000, to under 10,000 in the space of a week.

    And those fans were outside Elland Road instead protesting or staying at home.

  8. Bookydave

    bitter old men at the end of their lives are capable of extreme self destruction based on delusional principals and pig headed stubborness – Bates out!

  9. Mark Goodwin

    Now is the hour.
    If Bates stays I think that even the most passive supporter needs to stand up for the club we love. Anyone fancy a trip to Monaco to sort things out once and for all?

  10. SMG

    Really good read and finally someone realises that not all fans who love LUFC wants to boycott games. I hate the Bates regime, however, I won’t stop going to watch my team just because some fans want to make a stand. Unfortunately it wouldn’t make a damn difference. 20 yrs I’ve not missed a season and will still go regardless of who’s at the helm.

  11. Soluble Tablet

    Very enjoyable article. But a further influence on the decision surrounding “should I go to the game?” relates to the performances of the team. At the moment we’re doing okay, but having seen the Peterborough game I wouldn’t get too carried away. People who are fed up with Bates will find it easier to stay at home when the results are going against us and I can foresee a landslide effect. Three or four poor performances and attendances for the mid-week fixtures in particular are likely to dip below 16,000 I suspect. Financially unsustainable for the current board in my view.

  12. Andrew Keogh

    I think the issue of boycott or even its converse – Occupy Elland Road (idea I saw on – I think – Leeds Rumours: just stay put and protest at the end of the game) will only come to a head if/when the push towards the top of the Championship tanks seriously. Then all hell is likely to break out with everyone’s pent up frustrations surfacing at once. As long as it looks as if a credible promotion push is on the cards then people will understandably say ‘just support the team’. and boycott/occupation will look like a distraction or even undermining the team to many people.

    Watch this space

  13. Yorkshirian

    Some people posting on here seem to forget that whilst for us, our club is a passion, for the owner(s) it is not. They harvest our passion and turn it in to cash. Old Bates likes to stoke up a bit of passion, one way or the other, doesnt he -but don’t keep throwing your money at him like you’re doing the right thing or he’ll never sling his hook.
    We could all do our damnedest to go and see (only) away games. That is at least as good a way of supporting the team and it would bring supporter’s on both sides of the argument together.

  14. mrbigwheels

    Your article Gary embraces with clarity todays exact position with the LUFC fanbase. The individual relationship each of us have with our white church, the sanctum to live the footballing dream, emotionally and physically.
    Reading the comments of the last week on various sites I think your lines stand out and summarise a powerful week for the Leeds fan despite ‘the silence’. I for one applaud the depth of article here on TSS and am grateful to its contributors for giving me a very important partner that is a vital element of my white football religion. Many thanks.


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