Leeds United keep sense of humour despite almost universal dislike - though Sunderland fans may still want them promoted

BBC Radio 6-0-6 presenter Jason Mohammad labours under a weird misapprehension that football fans everywhere wish nothing but success for Leeds United.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 11:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 2:34 pm
Marco Bielsa was at the centre of Spygate

Sunderland fans might not mind if Leeds are promoted this May. It would eradicate the possibility of again paying rip-off prices to enter their Third World stadium next season. But that’s about as far as the well-wishing goes.

The almost universal dislike of the club is well founded and goes back many years.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

When you visit Elland Road, the club’s heritage and tradition is proudly reflected in the name of the Don Revie Stand to the north of the ground and the effigy of Billy Bremner at the South East corner.

In other words, a stand named after one cheat and a statue of another outside.

Their supporters remain wonderfully oblivious to reasons for the dislike. They never have a defence for rotten behaviour: only allusions to others who are “just as bad”. As though umpteen wrongs make a right.

They professed outrage in 2007 when the club was docked points for going into administration. They couldn’t grasp it.

Rules regarding insolvency are there to prevent clubs from attaining an artificially high league position by keeping players at the club with money that really belongs to someone else, while others strive to live within their means.

Effectively, entering administration as a means of avoiding paying the bills is deemed to be a form of cheating. Yet Leeds somehow claimed victimhood.

We could go on. There are many other examples of how various Leeds players, managers, owners and fans have behaved appallingly over the decades.

Evidently it’s genetic. So the latest silly, yet very amusing story to have the word “gate” appended to it by an unimaginative media, pales into insignificance by comparison.

Two defences have been proffered for “Spy-gate”. The first, as usual, is: “Everyone else does it.” The second, from their manager, is that he’s been doing it for years.

And let’s be honest. It’s no big deal. Unearthing information on future opponents by any means is commonplace.

However, Leeds fans are notoriously thin-skinned and were keen to scream their opinions to Jason Mohammad on Saturday night.

The spying in question, allegedly involved a bloke at Derby County’s training ground with binoculars, wire cutters and a change of clothes in his bag.

This caused some difficulty for Leeds fans calling 6-0-6 who couldn’t make the distinction between managers watching games from the stands as guests of rival clubs, and binocular man, who seems to have been inspired by one of the less plausible episodes of George & Mildred.

The punchline was the statement from the club. Seasoned football observers must have spluttered many a gallon of tea when they read it.

LUFC said: “The club will look to work with our head coach and his staff to remind them of the integrity and honesty which are the foundations that Leeds United is built on.”

There are a million criticisms of this consistently awful football club. But never let it be said that a missing sense of humour is among them.