Judean Peoples Front Of Yorkshire: The Leeds Twitter Feuds Must End
I’m sure you’ve been through this somewhere, maybe on holiday or working away from home. You bump into some bloke or a woman, total stranger, and they turn out to be a Leeds United fan and you spend a few hours having a great time talking about favourite players, mad away-days, astounding victories and so on. You leave feeling genuinely uplifted.
Now imagine another scenario, you meet the same person in the same circumstances. Total stranger, you only know their first name of their nickname and that they support Leeds United but instead of bonding over the mutual support of your favourite football team you instantly pile into a massive short order row about who owns the club, who wants to own the club, who used to own the club, who owned the club before them, who is managing the club, who managed the club before them, how the previous owners treated the previous manager, how the owners before that treated the manager before that, how it might have been if certain things hadn’t happened and the big one what if the owners or the managers or the previous owners and managers weren’t always telling the truth and what if it all goes wrong in the future? What if the club is sold, what if that one off comment the new owner made in the heady says of his early ownership turns out to just be excitability?
Imagine an insane, abusive row just exploded between the two of you and it attracted a load of other total strangers and a few allies and that in turn expanded the row into one so big that it looked like those clouds of loose soldier's helmets, spears and exclamation marks that used to appear when Asterix and Obelix beat up a load of Romans.
That’s what is happening on Twitter right now for Leeds United fans and has been for at least eight months.
It’s absolutely nuts. You start off a conversation or join in one and within minutes so many different factions join in it’s hard to explain what your original point was without it being shouted down, twisted or turned totally on its head. It is of course very easy and accurate to compare it to the “People's Front Of Judea? Splitters!” scene in The Life of Brian - should we call it The Life of Byram? Or even The Life Of Brian McD?
At one point during one of these rows I actually realised I was having a conversation with someone who totally agreed with my original Tweet but who had arrived so late to the battle that he didn’t understand the starting point of the row.
Alliances are impossible. People who are berating you for one position one week are supporting you for the same or similar position a week later. It’s like being in a debate in a hall of mirrors in a fairground FunHouse.
The biggest anger magnet in this digital clusterf*** is the apparent ability for certain fans to see into the future, or worry about the future. This is an easy position to fall into. After the appointment of Hockaday I was feeling desperate for what was to become of us, yes within 12 weeks under Redfearn we were the form side in the division for a month. Watching us against Brentford under new man Darko I was depressed because Redfearn had seemed to be getting a good response from the squad and had made clever substitutions that won us 10 points out of a possible 12.
The micro analysis of what has happened, why it happened, who was responsible and who was to blame combined with the forensic examination of people with the fear makes for a rolling row that just goes on and on and round and round. One minute you’re thinking “I like that Leeds fan on Twitter” the next it’s “who is this idiot?”.
Blessed or cursed with too much communication with each other and those long long hours between matches means anyone hashtag searching #LUFC will see a fan base eating themselves. Digital cannibalism. I think we’d be better off treating each fan like that stranger we meet on holiday who supports the same club as us. Focus on the good things we share and stop worrying the future to death. I know it’s hard not to get involved if you care but there are better people to have rows with than people supporting the same side as you. Especially as you cant even see them and you’re judging people by a timeline not a face to face.