Witch hunt at odds with The Football League’s mandate TSS December 8, 2014 Leeds United 19 Comments 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.