Leeds United: Protestors are noisy but among the minority '“ Lorimer
Every supporter is entitled to their opinion, whether you agree with it or not. Football's a game of opinions and we all have them. When it comes to Leeds United I'm no different to anyone else.
Unfortunately, it seems to me that a lot of factions are developing within our support and the protests we saw against Massimo Cellino this week – widely covered by the press, including this newspaper – were, in my view, an example of minority voices making the most noise.
People don’t like it when they hear me say that those fighting to get rid of the club’s owner are in the minority, but I believe that’s the case – and, as I say, this is not an attempt to deny them their right to say it as they see it. But I think it goes too far to say that most fans, the bulk of our support, are desperate to see him gone.
If things were really so bad, if the situation was really so desperate, would 24,000 still be turning up for a dead rubber against Nottingham Forest on a cold Saturday afternoon? I don’t think they would.
If the situation was so dire or hopeless, would those numbers not be falling dramatically? Surely we’d be seeing a big drop-off.
In no way is the owner or anyone else at Leeds United above criticism. Nobody’s perfect and I’ve been very honest in this column in saying that the results and the team haven’t been good enough. Players have come and gone over the years but, really, the improvement has been very small if there’s been any at all.
But it has to be remembered that last summer the owner gave a decent amount of money to Uwe Rosler to spend. I’ve heard it quoted at £6m or £7m. That’s not a small sum and with that sort of investment, we should have been higher up the Championship this season than we are.
It’s simply not right to say that this team has had no money put into it. Maybe you’d like to see more and that’s a valid viewpoint because certain clubs in the Championship are spending a lot, but it’s easy to overlook the extent of the financial mess which developed at Elland Road a couple of seasons ago. When Massimo Cellino bought in, you’d have needed an absolute fortune and an endless amount of free money to solve the problems straight away. It’s not a secret that there were debts everywhere.
When I speak to supporters, a lot of them seem to appreciate that. They’re not thrilled with the situation or delighted with the performance of the team but I get the feeling that they simply want to go to games, support the team and look for things to move forward.
Protesters, of course, are free to protest and some of our fans will support what they’re doing, but what I can’t hold with is the automatic assumption that these people are speaking for a massive majority.
On the outside, people with no connection to the club look at the situation and believe that’s the case – the media are never slow to pick up on it – but I think it paints the club in an unfair light. Leeds United are stuck in a bit of a rut, that’s true, but we’re not an unmitigated shambles. This situation would be helped if there was one large supporters group who could represent a serious majority, hold proper dialogue with the club and raise legitimate concerns. It used to be like that with the Leeds United Supporters Club but these days I feel like there are so many different agendas out there.
Some people agree with some, other people agree with others. Virtually no-one agrees on everything.
What worries me is that this is going to carry into the summer and next season. I actually feel more positive about the team now than I have all season. The likes of Bridcutt and Diagouraga have been decent signings and even though the results have been mixed, we’re matching up to top teams in the league pretty well. Hopefully that means we’ve got a bit of a platform to work around when the summer window opens.
As I say, I’m not trying to deny anyone the right to a voice. It just concerns me when protests like the ones we’ve seen are taken to mean that every Leeds fan, or even most of them, want a change of regime at Elland Road. Personally I don’t think they do. But that’s only my opinion.