Angered at the number of Leeds United games being shown on Sky, Leeds owner Massimo Cellino issued one of his famous vaffanculo diktats and banned the Sky Sports cameras from Elland Road when they turned up to set up cameras for the recent Derby County game.
Faced with a possible misconduct charge from the Football League, Cellino was forced to back down in his game of brinksmanship with the all-powerful Sky conglomerate and eventually allowed the Sky cameras in for the Derby clash – the result being a highly-entertaining 2-2 draw.
Despite ‘reluctantly’ allowing the Sky Sports cameras in for the Derby clash, Cellino vowed that this was the final time it would happen in his eyes. According to the Mail Online, Cellino sent a text to Radio Yorkshire stating, “The damage they done to the club and to the fans, I’m let (sic) them in now, just because we are different from them, but for the season it’s the last time.”
Cellino was annoyed at what he saw as the disproportionately high number of televised games featuring Leeds United being shown on Sky Sports, the Derby game was the fourth Leeds home game and tenth overall for the season. Cellino’s rationale is that the constant attraction from the Sky cameras sees a decline in attendances and thus in-ground revenue with the Mail Online saying “Leeds would pocket £100,000 on each occasion.”
Now, make that five Elland Road games and 11 overall as Sky have chosen the tie against Middlesbrough for live coverage; this necessitating a move from Saturday February 13 to Monday February 15 with a 7.45 kick-off.
— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) January 19, 2016
Whilst the response on the Leeds United website is both brief and perfunctory, this could simply be an element of Leeds keeping their powder dry in advance of a further, more detailed response. That isn’t the case over on Twitter where the reaction has been less guarded and more vociferous in nature.
Leeds United game moved to a Monday – Twitter not happy
— Svend Karlsen (@svendleeds) January 19, 2016
— Ole Hansen (@olekhh) January 18, 2016
— Kirky (@kirky0110) January 19, 2016
— Tom Raynor (@TOMLUFC1995) January 19, 2016
— Billy Morton (@BillyMortonnn) January 19, 2016
— Martin Threadgold (@FredgoldMartin) January 19, 2016
Was looking forward to the Boro game on my birthday for a while there. Cheers, Sky. You utter bellends. #lufc
— Patrick (@Paddyyy) January 19, 2016
— ben (@thebenprocter) January 19, 2016
It is safe to say that Leeds fans on Twitter are not happy about the rearrangement and the loss it is causing overseas fans who have booked travel and accommodation already.