Your verdict: Another Leeds crisis

January 20, 2004
By Dominic Raynor
(Archive)

Crisis club Leeds United, £82million in debt, have until Monday to find the funds to prevent the club falling into the hands of administrators and have probed their players about the possibility of a wage deferment scheme.

Chairman Trevor Birch wants the players to defer 30% of their wages until the end of the season to provide Leeds with the £5million needed to see them through the next four months.

The players say they are 'fully behind' the club but seem reluctant to take a pay cut and it is reported that they would prefer the sale of a teammate to stave off administration.

  • Email newsdesk@soccernet.com with your thoughts.

  • As a Leeds fan, I am appalled at the gross mismanagement that has taken place at all levels of the club - on the field since the departure of David O'Leary, and off it for significantly longer. That Peter Ridsdale can walk away from the club and not face any kind of censure for his roll in this debacle sickens me, for if I were to do the same to my business, leaving my staff with uncertain futures, I would surely be prosecuted for directorial misconduct to the full extent of the statute - and rightly so.

    Regarding the club's request for players to defer their salaries until the end of the year, whatever that is supposed to achieve. Yes, the top players are millionaires, and yes they earn far more money than I am likely to see in my lifetime. However, if a player mismanaged his personal finances to the same degree as Leeds have mismanaged theirs, and asked their club to bail them out of debt, would the club be under any obligation to pay them 35% more for nothing?

    Why are the players being lynched when it is clearly the management structure that are to blame for destabilising the club, which has had a flow-on effect throughout the squad?
    Paul Knox, Australia

    I may be missing something here but if the players of Leeds United agree to deferral of wages payments to the tune of £5million between now and the end of the current season, doesn't that mean that Leeds United will be a further £5million in debt and that will be on top of any other debts they may incur between now and the end of the season.
    Ken Lorne

    In any other business in the world, if a group of employers were under-performing so incredibly as these 'stars' of Leeds United are at the present, pay-cuts or sackings, even mid-contract would be installed and justified.

    Remember, the contracts these 'players' so loyally make reference to when justifying the reasons to get upset by rumours of pay decreases, aren't so 'contractual' when they want to leave the club mid-term - like Mark Viduka not so long ago.

    Anyway - these contracts pay the players on the basis that they perform to the best of their ability for the club, which cannot be said for almost two thirds of the regular first team this season.

    They will get the money back at the end of the season in any case, so I think it is time for the players to shut up and support the club through its present crisis. A club that has supported them through their own wholly inadequate performances in the last two years.

    This will show the rest of the country that they are not indeed arrogant, lazy under-performing spoilt brats, but actually care about the club they earn a living for.
    Oliver, Leeds

    As a Leeds supporter all my life the story I read about players not prepared to take a pay cut for their club sickens me.

    I emigrated to Australia over eight years ago. Over the last three years the Brisbane Lions have won the AFL Premiership. The AFL clubs are salary capped and after winning for the third straight year there were rumours that players would depart to other clubs to reduce the salary cap. It didn't happen. All the senior players at the club took a pay cut to play for the club.

    Why on earth doesn't that happen in soccer? There will be no club for the players to play at with the attitude they have. Then again why do they care.
    James Frank

    I believe that Leeds should sell one of the players. While I am sickened by the fact that these players are being paid far more than I will ever earn to kick a ball around it is the organization who painted themselves into this corner by signing their contracts.

    Perhaps this is the moment to look at some type of a hard salary cap in the Premiership (if not across all of UEFA). If you look at the NFL in the US they have a hard salary cap, enjoy enormous parity in terms of team quality, and is probably the only professional sports league in the US that is making a profit.
    Calvin Shaw, Canada

    I believe that it is a shame that the players are being portrayed as the villains in all of this. Does the name 'Risdale' ring a bell to anyone?

    Due to his total mis-management of the club's financial affairs the players remaining and the fans are left to pick up the pieces. He has ruined a club that only years ago qualified for the Champions League with home grown talent with a sprinkle of overseas players.
    Duncan Hurd, Tasmania

    How can they possibly call themselves Leeds UNITED players, when they would rather sell one of their own (and increase the chance of relegation), than agree to a wage deferal.

    For the past two years, these players have been overpaid and have underperformed. They are in my eyes, partially responsible for the clubs current predictiment and must accept some of the responsibility.

    I would play for Leeds United for nothing, and would even offer to defer 30% of my wage if it meant saving our club. That's because I love Leeds United. Lets face facts, a 30% deferal on £20k a week doesn't mean that Alan Smith won't be able to pay his electricty bill now does it.

    If I were Trevor Birch, I would sell them all now, and play the juniors until the end of the season.
    Mark Brow, Leeds


  • Also, Cheslea have had a second bid for Sott Parker rejected and have been told to 'get lost' by Charlton....

    Perhaps the Charlton Chairman should ask West Ham, Southampton and Blackburn if they didn't want Chelsea's money.

    To date all Chelsea have done is make two private bids for a player, which Charlton have gone public about - not exactly the actions of a professional organisation.

    Still it's there loss when they start their annual slip down the table.
    Bob Sandhurst, Berkshire

    I think that Chelsea are trying to get a grip on the fact that clubs might be overcharging them where player transfers are concerned. The Hernan Crespo and Makelele deals seem suspiciously in this realm.

    They might be overcompensating where Scott Parker is concerned. Parker has the potential to become one of the combative midfielders in the Premiership in the near future, so a bid in the region of £7million seems under valued for a midfielder of his potential.

    He is very much in the mould of Frank Lampard as well so I would argue that Chelsea also would not want to pay so much for a player in a position in which Chelsea seem to have more than adequate cover.
    Melsk

    Great to see that the BIG 3 don't have it all their own way. Hopefully Parker will not hold the club to emotional ransom like Saha did with Fulham.

    It would be boring watching these three teams knocking the other teams around and have to wait for the three to go head to head to see a competitive game .

    A balanced league will be far more successful than an unbalanced one.
    Kevin Speakman

    Money can't buy happiness, are Chelsea smiling after they buying all the talent from other clubs? NO!

    Why don't they leave Charlton be and develop their team by using the already amazing line-up they have.

    I think they are only trying to buy Scott Parker because they don't want Charlton taking over 3rd place in the league.
    Robert Bazeley

    Great, isn't it? Chelsea say hands off Joe Cole as he is part of their future yet ignore Charlton's comments saying exactly the same about Scott Parker.

    These predatory clubs always have to buy success. How about nurturing talent for themselves.
    Brian Gray

    All Chelsea are trying to do is destablisize the team prior to the return game at their ground early in February having been soundly beaten at the Valley - knowing they cannot provide the sand dunes of last year as a playing surface, and get away with it again.
    Don Nash


  • Also, Cameroon are ready to unveil a new one piece strip for the African Nations Cup....

    I'm not one to complain about the advancements in technology in regards to football. I like the way FIFA and UEFA change the ball to make it swerve more and come off the boot faster and I don't really mind that Cameroon will be wearing a one piece in international matches. So long as it's not introduced by my Amateur club I don't care who wears it...except for Liverpool and England!
    Gary Henshaw

    Well, there needs to be some way of Cameroon making the headlines. I guess their consistent collection of red cards and lack of discipline is not enough, they have to break the rules of the uniform now too.

    I still applaud FIFA's decision not to let them use the basketball style jerseys in WC 2003 without T-shirts underneath.
    Eric Barber

    Cameroon's new kit is very interesting, but I feel that Puma are throwing away shirt sales revenues by having a one piece kit. I collect jerseys and I like to wear many of my collection, but I can't see myself purchasing a one-piece kit and wearing it around town, because I think I would look like a prat.

    I don't know why Puma has chosen Cameroon as their "kit guinea pig", but I hope this trend, like abhorrent coloured boots, soon fades away, leaving us with a shirt, shorts, and socks, teamed with BLACK football boots.
    Iain Harvey, Canada


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