LUFC Are we really the yobs of English football?
One Vital Leeds member was so incensed by two articles in the Yorkshire Evening Post and Yorkshire Post last week that he decided to put a reflection on it from the plus points rather than trying to sell papers and highlight the negatives.
Vital Leeds member Erni has been following Leeds United since 1956 so has seen all the ups and downs on and off the pitch at Elland Road in over 50 years of following Leeds.
This is his slant on the figures released last week.
Last week the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post ran two articles based on the latest arrest figures revealed at football matches, including all 92 Premier League and Football League teams.
The Evening Post ran with the headline Leeds United yob arrests highest in Championship whilst the Post ran with Leeds fans top English football`s league of shame.
They based their accusations on a carefully selected set of statistics issued by the Home Office on football criminality and the trends surrounding it.
The general theme from the Home Office was a picture of declining trouble and a return to 'Family Values` in the Premier and Football Leagues of English football. So why are Leeds bucking the trend and disgracing their fellow clubs, Yorkshire and the city of Leeds.
Surprisingly from what we have read, they are not. The YP (and YEP) are correct in the statistics they publish but published in isolation they present a distorted picture of the trends and behaviour at Leeds United.
The headline thrust off the YP`s article was the number of arrests (149) of Leeds United supporters, which was higher than any other English club.
What the article did not point out was that only eight of these was for violent disorder (still too high I know but down from 37 in the previous year, which is a point worth raising but does not sell newspapers).
The majority of offences were related to public disorder (demonstrations) and alcohol related offences, where Leeds United (rightly) have a zero tolerance approach.
The Yorkshire Post highlighted the high number of banning orders against Leeds united fans (106). What they neglected to reveal was that this was an historic figure based not only on 2010-2011 but from previous season and that the number was down from 156 the previous year or that only 18 new orders had been issued in the current year (down from 34 in the previous year).
No attempt had been made to relate these numbers to the average attendances for any club, so clubs with average attendances of 70k plus (Manchester United) are compared equally with the likes of Accrington Stanley and Barnet.
So the number of historic banning orders for Leeds United had dropped from 156 to 106, the number of new orders had dropped from 34 to 18, the number of violent offences down from 37 to 8 pointing to a very much improved record for Leeds United fans.
The number of arrests accounts for 0.02% including serial offenders or put another way 99.98% of fans are law abiding, trouble free members of the football community.
Should the headline have been:-
LEEDS UNITED YOB ARRESTS HIGHEST IN CHAMPIONSHIP (Evening Post) / LEEDS FANS TOP ENGLISH FOOTBALL`S LEAGUE OF SHAME (Yorkshire Post) or LEEDS UNITED FANS IMPROVING BEHAVIOUR CONTINUES (Leeds fan)
Maybe one sells papers and the other merely attracts glances.
Come on Yorkshire Post, support your clubs and promote what they are doing off the pitch instead of knocking them.
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