Date:Friday January 27 2012
Tim Steere talks about the lack of transparency at Leeds United in his latest article for Vital Leeds.
One of the main criticisms aimed at the club in recent years is about a lack of transparency. Do fans really know what is happening at the club?
Ken Bates has taken particular umbrage with the documentary from the BBC about who owns the club, the biggest question about Leeds United, resulting in the current banning order on the corporation.
The openness of a company to its shareholders is paramount, if you invest sums of money into a business; you want to know how it is run and where everything is going.
A logical and seemingly obvious request, but football clubs seem to be one of the only businesses where it`s not always clear. It`s the biggest bone of contention with a lot of fans and their clubs.
This was a worry when it came to Jonny Howson`s transfer to Norwich this week. Would we really find out what happened? Was Jonny pushed? Did he choose to go? Why did he go?
Surprisingly, there was a very honest and open interview with the former captain about his move and why it happened. When I was reading it, it was a revelation. For the first time in a long time there was a player who on leaving the club told the fans exactly why.
There was a real passion about his club, the club he`s supported since he was a boy and has been a part of all his playing career.
It seems he knew that that`s what the fans wanted to hear, the real reasons. He`s a Leeds fan himself, and his open admissions will no doubt be gratefully received. Because ultimately, that`s what we want about what`s happening at the club. Transparency.
Granted this is a small step, but thanks should go to Jonny for his efforts in that regard.
He confessed that he wanted Premiership football, and what player wouldn`t? It would show a complete lack of ambition if he didn`t.
But the most chilling aspect came with the words that he didn`t think it would come at Leeds United. Words that make the heart sink. If a boyhood Leeds fan, who is captain of the club he`s loved all his life, doesn`t think Leeds can do it this season, then who will believe it?
This may be a case of reading too much into it. No-one this season at any Championship club can guarantee they will play Premiership football next season. Confident, maybe. Guaranteed? No.
So with less than 6 months to go, Howson says he doesn`t blame the club for taking the money, and with him injured until March at the latest and with the possibility of him leaving on a Bosman free transfer, I can`t blame the club either.
Ken Bates then said on Yorkshire Radio that over 14 months of negotiations proved fruitless as Jonny was adamant that he wanted Premiership football. Seemingly waiting for a bid to come in, and as soon as it came, he would want to leave. Seemingly, the stories tie up.
An accusation thrown at the club is that they don`t offer contracts that the players deserve, leading to the departure of our best players, hence a lack of ambition. Something the LUST speak about in their latest statement about how they want to see things change at the club.
It is a very honourable and heartfelt statement which is well worth a read. I would find it hard for any Leeds fans to read it and not agree with everything written.
The issue about contracts was levelled at the club for Jonny`s departure. How much fans think this has to do with Howson`s departure will never be fully agreed by everyone one hundred per cent.
It seems though that based on what Jonny has said, the contract didn`t matter. It was purely a footballing decision of wanting to play in the Premiership.
But Jonny`s words on how there was no guarantees on Leeds being there next season may worry many fans about a perceived lack of ambition. Or, its just pure logistics. Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to promotion, but a contract at Norwich (who more than likely will stay up) and Premiership football at Carrow Road was guaranteed for Jonny.
On that basis alone, Jonny was open and honest about it and took the offer. It may be a slight at the clubs direction or just sheer logic. Whatever it is, I don`t think any Leeds fan begrudges him the move. He`s spoken openly about it; he`s been transparent and told it as it is.
Let`s hope that becomes more commonplace at the club in the future.
Vital Leeds are the proud sponsors of the Thames Valley Whites Regional Supporters club
The fastest growing Leeds United supporters club in the South of England, with over 200 members since its formation in April 2009, travel to all games home and away.
The branch has pick up points at Basingstoke, Reading, Didcot, Abingdon, Oxford, Bicester and Banbury and will consider other pick up points on request.
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Date:Friday January 27 2012
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