Interview With The Vital Leeds Editor
LUFC1, site editor, have been supporting Leeds United since before I can remember (so with my memory, at least since last Thursday.)
What were your views on Leeds receiving a 15-point deduction? Was it deserved and do you think the club will be successful in their attempts to appeal?
This one is a difficult one, we had already been penalised once under the FA regulations, then the Football League sought to punish further for something that was largely out of our control. The Football League points penalty was due to not having the "golden share" returned to us, which was down to not satisfying those non-football organisations that we owed money to. During the various processes though an agreement was made on the whole, If Mr Balloon the Balloon supply man was happy with his 8p in the £1, how come a large organisation such as HM Revenue & Customs was not? With the recent issues highlighted regarding the lax nature of our immigration controls, you`d think they`d have more important things to chase!
As for the appeal, this goes down to whether we get our independent review or not. Uncle Ken is suggesting that if Sheffield United / West Ham can have an independent body rule on the Carlos Tevez affair, how could it be any different should Leeds request one? The Football League (who`d likely go back to those chairmen that don`t like Ken Bates) would reject us, the FA are trying to pass the buck, an independent group of people may favour Leeds United.
With the 15 point deduction, did you feel at any time that Leeds would cease to be a viable football club this year?
No, we were always going to fight and through the agreement met between the administrators and Ken Bates we were only going to go two ways. Either the club was going to have the kind of season we`ve had so far, or on the flip side, Bates would have probably jumped ship and sold up so that another investor could come in to rescue the club. I for one am glad, Vital Leeds United would have been a quiet place had the club been forced into liquidation.
Many football fans have criticised Leeds as you have been able to continue buying players despite of your financial problems and it's been perceived that you have a special treatment from the Football League. What are your views on this?
Special treatment? I hardly call starting the season on -15 points a particularly useful form of special treatment! Many football fans are suggesting this due to the way we`ve responded to it. Had we lost the opening fixtures and were still languishing on the -10 to -15 points mark, I dare say those football fans wouldn`t see the issue.
We were given the "golden share" back, hence allowing us to sign players again, but in response were given a 15 point deduction, on top of the one that saw us relegated from the Championship a game early, you could ask, has the rest of football been fair on Leeds United?
With the 15 point deduction, what were the club's realistic targets ahead of the season?
I`m assuming you have noticed that we wiped out the 15 points as soon as we possibly could, and had them removed in a skip courtesy of one of the clubs sponsors! The clubs realistic short term goal must be to keep winning for as long we possibly can. I was worried when we dived out of the League cup to Portsmouth that it could halt the run, but the fighting spirit within the squad is immense. We need to put a few more teams behind us before affording the luxury of a loss, though an unbeaten season wouldn`t go down too badly at Elland Road!
Long term, I`d say the target is promotion. I`d personally prefer it to be via winning the league (what a story that would be) but if we have to go for a day-out to Wembley to do it, then so be it!
You've began this season superbly, winning all 6 games. What do you think this early success is down to? Can you keep it going?
As mentioned previously, the fighting spirit of the squad has been the making of our performances so far. There have been games, Bristol Rovers and Hartlepool spring to mind whereby we`ve not particularly dominated the games, but have still come out on top, a sign of a good team? I dare say there are still a few Hartlepool "We`re gunning for Leeds" United supporters sobbing every morning into their cornflakes over that loss, and there`s likely to be a few baffled Rovers fans, who can`t work out just how they can put in a good performance, only to lose 3-0!
Some brilliant moves in the transfer window have seen a solid, hard working players come in to compliment those that were already here. Jermaine Beckford choosing not to move to the bright lights of the Championship was a major boost, as shown by the sheer quality of the goals he`s scored. Surprise of the season so far has to go to Tresor Kandol, who looked atrocious last season and yet is now sitting top of the League One scorers table, level with Beckford.
When you consider that our front two strikers combined have scored more than current top team Leyton Orient have all season, you do begin to wonder!
Can we keep it going? Well of course!
After a 100% winning record early on, do you think you could reach the play-offs despite of your 15-point deficit?
Playoffs? What are you on about? They are the worst-case scenario, the league needs to realise we`re gaining promotion this season!
It wasn't long ago that Leeds were in the Premiership and European Cup, how optimistic are you that those days will return in the future?
Very, we`re building a team that will eventually be reminiscent of those Premiership days, I just hope that once we get back there we don`t do what we did last time, and sell them all!
Onto Saturday's game...what are views on the opposition? Are you confident of a 7th successive win?
Having to scrape a last gasp comeback against Carlisle, followed by a slightly earlier comeback at Cheltenham is very reminiscent of the way we played at the start of the season. I`m fairly confident we can continue our push. Probably our hardest test since Nottingham Forest this one. I just hope your crazy bloke doesn`t head-but anyone. I have noticed he has tried to convince everyone that he`s not a nutter!
Who and what areas of your team are your strengths and weaknesses?
Strengths, our team spirit won`t be matched in the league this season at all. It`s a back to the wall job for us and we`re doing it. Weaknesses, well listening to the radio commentary from our match at Bristol Rovers, the communication and organisation at the back wasn`t at its greatest. I just hope that we`ve solved that one!
If I were you I`d watch out for Beckford and Kandol, both scoring for fun and Kandol`s celebration is a sight to behold!
Thanks to Leeds editor LUFC1 for answering our questions.