THE PAST IS THE PAST...LET'S BE UNITED. That was the sign outside Elland Road across from the Billy Bremner statue, on some local double decker buses, and on the front of The Yorkshire Evening Post. 33,450 fans showed up on opening day to welcome Brighton & Hove Albion. It was deemwd a category C match, with the cheapest prices, due to the distance to the South Coast.
Since Ken Bates is finally banished to his penthouse suite in Monte Carlo, and his Monaco tax haven last week there has been a new beginning for a once European challenging club. You can sense the excitement in the city, in the markets, in the pubs and with the fans walking, driving and taking the football specials to the famous stadium. www.leedsunited.com
The new Middle East owners, GFH Capita,l have ticked all the boxes as far as most United fans are concerned. They have reduced ticket prices, lowered the programme price by 25% from £4 to £3 and brought in a manager who has dignity. patience and class, and doesn't suffer from 'verbal diarrhea'.
Brian McDermott did a decent job at Reading FC before he was fired, but wasn't out of a job for long, and welcomed with open arms by long suffering Yorkies. The attendance was 10,000 up on opening day a year ago and more than 10,000 above last season's average gate.
There was a mass groan when the new owners agreed to Ken Bates staying on as Club President for three years without a salary. Then last week the bombshell, as the 81 year old was relieved of that role. He has been a devisive chairman with lies, nasty comments, some of them even libelous, with a high court case condeming him and making him come up with a massive pay out.
It was decided that enough was enough. He demanded that they pay £500,000 to renew a three year contract for private jet travel from Nice Cote D'Azure Airport to LBA Leeds/ Bradford for his wife and himself ,something he had had since he took over the club and WHICH THE FANS WERE NOT AWARE OF !!. No doubt they took the 10 minute helicopter ride from Monte Carlo, limousine in Leeds and hotel and expensive meals in Leeds and charged them to LUFC. He had burdoned the club with these massive expenses when in Division One and The Championship.
He opened Yorkshire Radio and criticised fans through his programme notes at home matches and charged his legal fees to the struggling club and also claimed £3,000 a month for 'office expenses' at his home, and GOODNESS KNOWS WHAT ELSE. His Yorkshire Radio suddenly went off the air this week but the more popular BBC Radio match broadcasts are back.
More good news seems likely with the persistent rumours that the club willsoon be able to buy back Elland Road and their training facility at Thorp Arch near Wetherby. RED BULL, who are located in Upper Austria and who own Red Bull Salzburg, Red Bull New York plus an F1 team and air races and more, are supposedly interested in getting involved. The energy drink company are not normally just a sponsor, but want to get involved, and maybe changing team uniforms, stadium names and more. We shall just have to see.
The Seagulls went ahead through Argentinian Leonardo Ulloa in the 13th minute past Paddy Kenny but The Whites were soon level through Ross McCormack. In a tense match the three points were not decided until the 4th minute of added time, as new £1 million signing from Crewe Alexandra, 23 year old Luke Murphy bagged the winner to beat goalie Tomasz Kuszczak, and Leeds went MARCHING ON TOGETHER. Next home match is a Capital One Cup Tie with Chesterfield on Wednesday.