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Yorkshire Evening Propaganda - Bucky
Now I should start this piece by explaining forcefully that I have nothing at all against YEP Leeds United writer Paul Dews. Paul is actually a friend. Actually, that's a complete lie - he's a friend of a friend but we have met a couple of times and exchanged some informative and well-intentioned e-mails. He's a good talker, great guy and all round family man. I was pleased to read he had won a journalism award recently. So I want to make it clear that this isn't a personal snipe.
No, my true beef is with his employer - The Yorkshire Evening Post. For many years now, this has been my staple reading diet with my lunchtime door step sandwiches and token offering can of diet Coke. But not for much longer - the YEP has clearly become a propaganda wagon for LUFC, clearly terrified at nudging at the door marked "dissention". I think it's time to find a good book instead. Either that or save "The Sun"..but then what would I read with my sausage sandwich on a morning? Tough one.
Anyway, I should quit talking about food, I'm sounding like John Motson doing a commentary from the World Cup in Japan. Let's get back to the YEP (or rather "NO"). For starters, there is no serious local rival. There is, of course, its sister paper, The Yorkshire Post (note crafty removal of word "evening", introduced for morning use) but this is one of the longest serving "national regional dailies" (if that makes sense) and has its head too far up its own backside to worry about objective (whether fair/correct or not) United reporting. The "through the letterbox" weeklies make excellent cat litter tray liners. So the YEP has a monopoly on biased, one sided United reporting and oh how it revels in it.
On many occasions I have read the back pages in utter disbelief - just how many times has the headline been something like "United swoop to sign striker" whilst the actual narrative reveals nothing of the kind - a tentative enquiry usually being about the most exciting news in the paragraphs to follow. Cynical attempt to sell papers? Surely not!
It was the edition of 29th September, which accompanied a rather nice chicken and stuffing sandwich (damn - there I go again) which really left me choking, laughing out loud or both.
Of course, this followed the 0-0 draw at home with Stoke City. Now I don't think that the team played badly that night to be fair, but they were hardly pulling up trees.
The following day's Evening Post would have us believe we had been watching a club version of Brazil who had just become the unluckiest team ever to draw 0-0 when they should have won by ten. "A 0-0 drubbing" screamed the headline. This was a quote attributed to Clarke Carlisle and, if true, the rangy centre back would do well to carry on letting his feet do the talking because they are doing a superlative job. If it wasn't for the fact that a clever Premiership Manager will probably pluck him up in January, I would give him player of the season right now.
I found myself wondering whether the writer had been watching the same game as me. When I turned the page to the player ratings, it was clear that he hadn't.
Brian Deane - 7/10. My good God - was he serious here, or was this a big joke? 2 would have been about fair because I do recall him actually winning a header in about the 92nd minute (precisely 92 minutes after he should have been brought off). Let's put sentiment to one side - he's a Leeds lad so he will give his all (I hate this saying - I'm a Leeds lad, I would run out on that pitch until I died but I would offer precisely nothing other than prompting a rousing chorus of "Get yer tits out for the lads", "you've never seen a salad" and "ninety pies an hour") - and let's be truthful here. Leeds lad or not, he was useless when he first played for us (but, hey, he did score against Man U so he must be a folk hero, mustn't he?!) and he is now ten times worse. Seven foot four, but can't win a header (has anyone else noticed he actually gets smaller when the ball comes toward him), the first touch of Lennie from "Of mice and men" and goalscoring instinct of Dougie Bader.
How, in God's name, has Blackwell stuck with him for nearly three quarters of our games so far? How the hell did he stay on for a full ninety on Tuesday? Richardson was substituted and rightly so - he had a torrid time. But if Frazer was the yardstick, Deane should have been off after five minutes.
Now I'd be the first to say that Ricketts looks slow and weighty at present. However, upon signing him, Blackwell proclaimed he was the best thing since sliced bread - a "twenty goals a season man". If that's the case, give him a bloody chance! He scored a perfectly good goal against Swindon and was promptly dropped. Now if he had been dropped for Ronaldo, Shevchenko, Eto'o, Pele or Ian Baird, I would have understood..but for Brian Deane? Do me a favour.
And as for JJ, he was the only striker creating chances in the early part of the season. Granted - he was firing them straight at the keeper or the woodwork but, in true commentator speak "at least he was there to have the chance" - it's just that he didn't "pull the trigger" (Copyright for both - Gray and Tyler). He has seemingly been dropped for having good pace, good trickery, good ideas and bad luck in front of goal! Give the kid a chance!
But our boss' selections have worried me somewhat already this season. It seems you can have all the badges and qualifications in the world but sometimes you must see things that 30,000 others, most of who have been watching football for a lifetime, simply can't. How the boss can explain picking the idiot Duberry (part of a triumvirate with Deane and Palmer - the worst players ever to wear a Leeds shirt) overCarlisle and even Kilgallon (in fact - heck - even over the crocked Radebe on crutches and Norman Hunter sat in the stands) is absolutely beyond me, and I am clearly not alone.
Fortunately, at least on that score, Blackwell seems to have found sense - I just hope he has a similar reality check with our "big target man" (this being, er, almost an anagram of "wins f*** all in the air") and gives "Donovan" Ricketts or Joachim an extended run with the impressive-looking Ormerod, who despite his catalogue of disaster against Sunderland (he simply shouldn't have taken the penalty, something else that worries me about the manager - he supported this when he should have been dishing out a bollocking), looked different class on Tuesday - he was, after all, running the forward line single handedly.
Anyway, much in Ronnie Corbett fashion, I have gone off on a major tangent. Where was I? Ah! The YEP (NO!)
All I ask of them is a bit more honesty. I am sure that Don Warters managed to be more objective, but I suppose he was part of the fixtures and fittings from Revie through Clough (see ya later Brian - that'll teach you to say those things about the Don and the disgraceful comments about Hillsborough. You won't be missed) through to Wilko. Now it seems that the "Post" doesn't have a bad thing to say about the club and I am convinced that the powers that be are terrified of not keeping the big hitters inside Elland Road "on side".
Have some balls, tell it like it is and win back the respect of the fans.