Having “lived the dream”, fans are now living the nightmare
IF Leeds United “lived the dream” – as Peter Ridsdale so memorably claimed – on their march to the Champions’ League semi-finals, then their fans might think they have been living the nightmare ever since.
Having failed to return to the game’s top tier, the conviction of prospective owner Massimo Cellino for evading import tax due on his yacht adds further farce to the seemingly neverending soap opera unfolding at Elland Road.
If, as now seems likely, the Football League decide the Italian tycoon fails to pass its owners and directors test, then there must be a concern over Leeds’s short-term future.
GFH and managing director David Haigh say the club will not go back into administration, but with United losing £1m a month, there is a need for an individual or consortium with significant financial clout to ride to the rescue.
Massimo Cellino fitted that bill, but with his deal to buy the club now looking scuppered, viable alternatives are thin on the ground.
The fate of Leeds United is important to the city. A successful football club drives confidence, creates a sense of buzz and attracts inward investment.
Leeds have a level of support other clubs can only dream about. The potential of the club is huge. But unless it finds the stability and investment it needs, the glory days will remain a dim and distant memory.
The rising cost of a second class service
HAVING breathed a sigh of relief that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has ruled out the introduction of parking charges at railway stations, passengers instead face the prospect of fare rises.
It’s a growing concern after the Government announced it wanted to find ways to cut the amount it pays in subsidies to keep local services running.
A fare hike would tick most boxes. The Government would save money and Northern Rail, which runs most of those local services, wouldn’t lose out.
Once again, however, no thought is given to hard-pressed passengers who are expected to keep paying more for a service that fails to deliver value for money.