Anonymous vandals who destroyed the treasured Burley Banksy tributes to Leeds United heroes should be ashamed - comment

It is a sad state of affairs when your only way of getting attention from the public is to deface a wonderful gift to the community. A very small number of silly people doing something that they see as important, to satisfy their own thoroughly selfish and sanctimonious agenda. There is no glory in painting over a memorial to a deceased footballing hero.

Gary Speed Cartoon
Gary Speed Cartoon

Those are not the words of the Yorkshire Evening Post but the words of Nathan Snowden in a comment left on our website in relation to the news that the ‘Burley Banksy’ has had his public art tributes to Leeds United destroyed over the weekend. We cannot put it any better than he has.

His was just one of scores of notes of anger and bemusement, from people right across the city, many of whom declared no interest in football, but who can see the joy so many take from the work of Andy McVeigh.

One particular act by the four-strong so-called ‘cover-up gang’ – which calls itself ‘Leeds Residents Against Graffiti’ – that inflicted the most hurt on Leeds fans was their decision to destroy a tribute to Whites legend Gary Speed on Sunday, the day that would have been his 50th birthday. Whilst it is not known if the timing was deliberate, if it was – and the notion that it is a mere coincidence is a long-shot – then it would appear to be an act of reckless antagonism.

That today marks World Suicide Prevention Day, too, is at once a poignant irony but also a powerful light to shine upon this most spiteful spree of misguided do-gooding.

The first thing to say to the anonymous members of this self-styled ‘clean up’ group is stop. You have caused too much upset already to people who care deeply about that which you’re destroying and the people to whom it pays tribute.

Equally important is to urge people not to take it upon themselves to in any way whatsoever to right this wrong. That is the job of the authorities.

In addition, the interim editor of this newspaper has already reached out to the Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, Tom Riordan, who has agreed to work alongside the YEP and Leeds United to ensure the memory of Gary Speed as well as the city’s widespread affection for Leeds United can win the day.

With a little creativity and a co-ordinated approach, this act of thoughtless selfishness will spawn something that everyone associated with Leeds United is proud of. #MOT