Leeds United: Dialogue is key in TV and ticket debates – Ritchie

A Sky Sports TV camera at Elland Road.

A Sky Sports TV camera at Elland Road.

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THERE has been a lot in the news recently about fans being angry with clubs over ticketing prices and with TV broadcasters regarding the scheduling of games and for me, the big thing has got to be more dialogue.

There just does not seem to be a lot of genuine dialogue between the powers that be and supporters at the minute – and that can then lead to a perception that they don’t care about the fans.

Throughout football, fans seem to becoming more alienated and are saying they don’t get a second thought when things are happening to affect them at their club.

At the end of the day, it is ‘their’ club and they pay wages indirectly. Maybe not all of it, but some of it because many are there every home game and go away as well. I just think that there should be a lot more dialogue.

It is a sticky thing. Yes, there’s a lot of money involved in the game, but all clubs need to find a way to be more accommodating towards fans.

At Liverpool, there was obviously a major U-turn over planned ticket price rises this week with the club issuing a public apology to supporters after the walk-out of 10,000 fans in the 77th minute of the game against Sunderland at Anfield.

It was a victory for the fans, but also a little bit late for the club to stand down. There should have been more negotiations before, I thought.

It seems to have backfired on the owners and fans took a real stand and forced the club a little bit.

I just think that they should probably have consulted with the fans beforehand and said: ‘Right, this is what we are want to do, what do you think?’ and how can we work around it.

Fans are always going to turn around and disagree to a hike in prices, whatever it is. But it seems as though Liverpool’s owners kind of shut the gate partly after the horse has bolted.

It should have been a more negotiable situation.

That walk-out protest added real weight to the fans’ protests, although Liverpool were winning 2-0 and doing really well at the time!

There’s also the ongoing situation with kick-off times and games being rearranged for the benefit of television, which Leeds know plenty about.

I heard on Talksport that the top four in the Premier League are also playing on Valentine’s Day and that will cause a lot of friction for fans too.

There’s also the situation with the scheduled games on the next FA Cup weekend and a lot of people are moaning about game times there, Manchester City being one.

Certainly in football, there are a lot of things that the powers that be can get better at. Let’s talk about these things.

Leeds have the weekend off before facing Middlesbrough in a televised game at Elland Road on Monday and it’s a good game for them for Steve Evans in terms of gauging his players as well.

It is a tall order for Leeds, but Boro aren’t in the best of form and only drew late on against MK Dons in the week, thanks to a goal from Jordan Rhodes.

He had made just two substitute appearances since moving from Blackburn, so maybe he will get his first start at Leeds now.

I have known Jordan since he was pretty much born. His dad Andy was at Oldham with us and he is one of those who, wherever you put him, I think he will score goals, so Leeds will have to be on their guard.

He’s just a poacher who is good in the air who can sniff out a goal. He’s a definite talent and one of those types who can be out of the game for 90-odd minutes and then just pop up with a winning or equalising goal or whatever.

He’s a real talent and that’s why Boro have paid such money for him.

It’s a hard game for Leeds for sure. They have nearly always been tough encounters with Boro and it actually has a bit of a derby feel to it. They have always been good games, with a bit of edge to them and they might help Leeds.