Saturday, January 29

Let's face it Americans...only pussies call their game Football when they play it with their hands...real football begins in Leeds, England

With Leeds United AFC still buzzin with the appointment of ex-Chelsea chairman Ken Bates...i came across an open letter to all Leeds United fans worldwide...written by Steve Ahern...a Chelsea feel so much enlightened and refreshed after readin it...the rejuvenation of Leeds is near...

"Dear Fellow Football Fans

Having just watched a certain Mr Ken Bates "introduce" himself as the new Leeds Chairman to the media this afternoon on Sky Sports, I felt I had to write with what Ken calls "some constructive criticism".

That was it - that was as critical as I could honestly be about your new Chairman.

I am a lifelong Chelsea Fan - born and raised just a short walk over the river from my beloved Stamford Bridge. Ken arrived at a sad, decaying Stamford Bridge in the early eighties and inherited an equally sad and decaying team - and a financial situation that the words sad and decay would not do justice to!

Ken bought Chelsea for £1, went to work on the infrastructure, the team, the ground, the debt (boy was there some debt) - and took on (and beat) anybody who dared to stand in his way. The result, and the legacy that Ken has left - is a football team ten points clear in the premiership, a team in one cup final this year already - and in contention for another two, the finest (though not the biggest) stadium in Britain if not the World - and an air of grandeur that has engulfed the entire Club, from the current Chairman down to the youngest or most occasional Supporter.

You'll probably remark that our "newfound success" is a result of the arrival of a certain Mr Abramovich - and I would agree that, from a financial viewpoint, he has made a sigificant difference to our fortunes of late (excuse the pun). But, ask yourself this - would Mr Abramovich have been interested in purchasing Leeds in their (your) current predicament? NO!

Would he have looked at Chelsea in their "pre Bates" era? NO! Mr Abramovich wanted to buy a Club with a solid infrastructure - and Chelsea fitted the bill because of what it had become under the guidance of this Bates fellow.

When I was a kid, Stamford Bridge was a p*** hole. Views in certain areas of the ground were restricted, parts of the ground were derelict and fenced off, the away fans got rained on if the weather was bad (aw bless) and the food was atrocious!

Now, every seat in the ground offers 100% field of view, the whole place looks five minutes old, the away boys enjoy the same facilities as us, and the food is superb!

Years ago, a pint or a pee before the game had to be endured in the street (yeah both) - nowadays both are available in one of London's finest hotels - a hotel that is an integral part of our ground - a ground that Ken built.

So, Leeds United as is, fasten your seat belts as you are about to undertake the ride of your life. Things will have started to happen already, of that I have no doubt, soon, you will notice this stuff happening and will rue the day any of you scoffed at having a "Chelsea Boy" as your Chairman.

I have no doubt whatsoever that Leeds will be back in the Premiership very soon under Ken's guidance, and I will be happy to welcome you back because of who will have led you there. Don't get me wrong, I will still want my Blue-Boys to smash you all over the pitch when we meet - but those games aside, you got a bit of a new fan in me.

Good luck

Steve Ahern

Chelsea Fan"

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