Supporters' Have Their Say

Last updated : 30 October 2003 By Kevin Markey
The Leeds United Independent Fans Association said the annual figures were a result of "excessive spending, lack of proper control, rash financial decisions and a culture of arrogance and instability."

In a statement the LUIFA said: "We feel these figures reflect the supporters' continued assertion that Leeds United has been mismanaged and badly run from board level down for several seasons now.

"There is a lack of planning regarding the ongoing operations of the club with all effort going towards reducing debt at the expense of the day to day operation of the club.

"In view of this the club must implement a long term plan that will create stability and enable the club to recover from its present untenable position, a plan which involves its grass roots support and its local community and which accepts the current disastrous situation for exactly what it is.

"While we wish the club to be successful and to see Leeds United in a stable position, we have little faith that the present board and senior management are capable of this without a serious long-term strategy of which there is scant evidence."

John Boocock, chairman of the Leeds United Supporters' Trust, also voiced their concern on recent events. "I'm not surprised at these financial results, but I am still very angry," he said.

"I understand there's a cash injection of £4.4m coming in, yet the only place this can possibly be spent is on the pitch.

"If they don't then they are staring at the Nationwide League and calling in the receivers the very next day. This team has to play their way out of it."

Boocock insisted a Roman Abramovich-type figure would not necessarily be advantageous, unless their interests lay in the local community. "It's the last thing Leeds want," he added.

"Leeds want to stop thinking they are a super-duper dot com business and start thinking more about the people who matter most, the community."

Supporters' club chairman Ray Fell said the figures came as a blow and said: "I think we were all expecting bad news but the bad news is that the overall debt doesn't seem to have changed.

"People were thinking that with Rio Ferdinand being sold we were now secure but from that moment on things have just been going downhill.

"We have gambled on players and their values and that has just increased the pressures.

"These figures go to June and since then there has been some work done at the club in terms of moving towards a restructuring of the debt.

"The arrival of Trevor Birch will hopefully leave the chairman more time to get on with that restructuring.

"Things haven't been going for us but there were some good signs against Manchester United and Liverpool.

"We need a period of stability. The supporters have stayed behind the team remarkably well because I think we understand the problems the club is going through. If we all stick together we can make some progress."