Nobody likes us, we don’t care. That’s a mantra that Leeds United fans say about themselves and, by extension, the club they love.
There is a certain sense that this enforced seclusion creates a sort of welcome barrier, a barrier that protects these fans and their club from the hostile elements of football. In essence it’s a cloak that they are proud to bear.
Yes, it is a double-edged sword. For whilst it protects them, it also leads the same fans to feeling a sense of grievance every time a decision seems to go against them. Whether it’s the dealings of the EFL or the decisions of the FA, given an opportunity then you car read ‘the [insert authority name]is corrupt’ across social media.
It’s something, a mentality, that has been ebbing and flowing seemingly forever, accusations often getting caught in the eddies. The latest round of perceived bias came after the events of the recent Leeds United vs Brentford game at Elland Road.
For Leeds United fans it was another case of ‘the FA is corrupt’ as the rulemakers of the game beat the Whites 2-0 in a game that actually finished as a 1-1 draw. However, the increased exposure hasn’t gone down as smoothly as that will many.
That’s especially so judging by the e-mail that we received here at The72 from what we assume is an angry Bees fan. To say he was ‘buzzed’ off would be an understatement and it certainly ‘stung’ him into action.
Starting off by calling some Leeds United fans “semi-illiterate” he then continues to say that their “continuous bitching and moaning” about the events coming from the Brentford game are indicative of the above ‘all against us’ mentality that he summed up as consisting of “pathetic pleas.”
With that out-of-the-way, he produced “a few relevant facts” that he addressed about the events of the game, and his interpretation of them. There were six in total, they can be read below. We’ve also decided to weigh in with our view on each.
1. The Ollie Watkins penalty:
The Bee: “The penalty – as the referee saw it at the time it was a definite call. On close video inspection, yes, the player appeared to be falling before the inevitable, possibly injurious, contact.”
The72: The referee was, as The Bee says, bound by a behind-the-play view and by the need to make a split-second decision. Watkins didn’t ‘appear’ to be on the way down before Bailey Peacock-Farrell made contact – his feet were planted and he was on his way to the turf.
Verdict? The Bee – “It is as it is.” The72 – we agree. Not every decision could/should be reviewed. In this case the referee cannot be blamed, and shouldn’t be.
2. The Canos ‘headbutt’.
The Bee: “Firstly he never made contact and in any event a move was made to the shoulder not the head. Of more importance, was what Alioski doing in the opponents technical area?”
The72: The question of whether Canos made contact or not is NOT the issue. The issue is one of intent, Law 12 of the FA Regulations, sub-section ‘Violent Conduct’ states “when a player uses or attempts to use excessive force or brutality against an opponent” and it is counted as such “regardless of whether contact is made.”
Verdict? The Bee – “Alioski should be charged with unlawful entering the technical area. Fine or match ban.” The72 – As poor an attempt as it was, Canos’ lunge towards Ezgjan Alioski WAS a headbutt. Canos should have been charged with that as per FA Regulations. The fact that an independent commission couldn’t unanimously agree is idiocy – the ‘black-and-white’ is there in the FA’s own rules.
3. Odabajo – second booking
The Bee: “Further action: Nothing can now be done, but yes, the referee was at fault, should have sent him off.”
The72: We agree fully. This was as blatant a second booking as the Watkins ‘penalty’ was, on video review’ as blatant a tumble under zero contact.
4. Leeds United fans launching objects onto the field after Brentford scored penalty
The Bee: “Leeds ‘Supporters’ throwing objects on the pitch (during the penalty taking).”
The72: Objects were thrown, that is inexcusable. So is Neal Maupay standing in front of the South Stand, arms outstretched like a football version of Brazil’s Cristo Redentor statue. Furthermore, in the FA Law mentioned above (Law 12), in sub-section ‘celebration of a goal’ it states that a player deserves a caution for “approaching the spectators in a manner which can cause safety and/or security issues” and “gesturing or acting in a provocative, derisory or inflammatory way.”
Verdict? The Bee – “Further action: Leeds United should be appropriately charged.” The72 – Yes, Leeds United should be charged. But if charged, then Neal Maupay should also be made to explain his reasons for doing what he did.
5. After-match shenanigans
The Bee: ” Player [Jansson] confronting referee after the match – even the players seem to think that everybody is against them!”
The72: Pontus Jansson hardly confronted the referee after the match, although his accusation was out-of-order when he accused Jeremy Simpson of “a robbery”.
Verdict? The Bee – “Jansson charged – correct, and should be punished.” The72 – Agreed. Jansson was rightly charged, and punished under the letter of the FA Laws.
6. Luke Ayling red card for two yellows
The Bee: “Ayling sending off – correct”
The72: Yes, Ayling sending off was correct.
The obviously angry Bees fan ended by saying that Brentford deserved no retrospective punishment, and that three Leeds United players and the club themselves should be punished.
Well, you can count two of those off in that Luke Ayling and Pontus Jansson have served their dues. As for Ezgjan Alioski, I’m not sure that entering an opposition technical area to retrieve the ball to take a throw-in is something that warrants a caution or other retrospective charges, it’s not as if the Macedonian was acting over-provactively in doing so – just wanting to get the ball back into play as quick as possible.
However, the fracas and Canos ill-judged, and woefully exceuted, headbutt was the result of Thomas Frank holding onto the ball like an aggrieved old lady neighbour confiscating a penny floater kicked into her garden by local estate kids.
As The Bee ends with, the scoreline on the day, a 1-1 draw, was a fair result. But his assertions that Leeds United were “fortunate to score a very late goal” cheapens both the accuracy of the pin-point cross and the skill in the planted header.
However, what will likely stir the pot of Leeds United fans most is that The Bee said that Whites fans “should grow up” and in doing so accept “the fact they are not a big club anymore” and that they are currently “no more than an above average Championship club.”
Well, that was certainly not an email we expected to be reading in our inbox. Seems that rose-tinted spectacles are on sale at football grounds throughout the country. Grab a pair whilst they are still available.