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Leeds, Leeds, Not Leeds
on 3 December 2013
I'm not a Leeds fan, so I was looking forward to learning more about the club's perceived injustices from an unbiased standpoint. The bits about the injustices such as the European finals in the 1970s are actually excellent and very insightful, with good research having been carried out by trying to track down referees and ex-players. These parts are really gripping and well written.
On the negative side, there are large sections of the book which are off-topic and not even about Leeds - covering, for example, various injustices in the history of world football (from Maradona to the Southern Area Christian League!!). Then later on, there are extensive chapters which are essentially biographies about Brian Clough and Don Revie. A lot of this needed to be cut because it diverges too far from the subject of the book.
So has football cheated Leeds? Well, like any club, they've had their fair share of bad luck and some of this has come on the biggest stage (i.e. European finals), but some of the complaints come across as a bit bitter and like there is chip on the shoulder. However, I suppose this gives the book a bit of an edge: it wouldn't be as interesting if the author didn't approach writing the book with the premise that Leeds are the most hated club in the country.
Finally, sections about how great Leeds fans are show far too much bias ("It is almost impossible to find a more loyal fan than a Leeds United fan, of that there is no doubt"). It's a bit narrow minded to suggest other fans aren't equally loyal (e.g. Newcastle fans who have been equally trophyless of late... or what about those who turn out to see their team every week in League 2?) and their core support is obviously helped by Leeds being the 3rd largest city in the country and not because their fans happen to be particularly special above any other fan.