(Ken Bates, rooting for injuries to both sides at Wembley tomorrow morning)
Though I’m debating whether or not to bother TiVo’ing Sunday’s Community Shield while I’m in transit to Chicago (there might not be any hard drive space left after Michael Irvin’s induction speech), the weekend’s top soccer story is undoubtedly the latest disaster to befall Leeds United — Champions League semi-finalists as recently as 6 years ago. From the Guardian’s Louise Taylor.
Leeds United’s hopes of returning to the Championship at the first attempt appear to have been destroyed after the Football League last night announced that the beleaguered club will start their League One campaign with a 15-point deduction.
Having imposed that sanction – a punishment for failure to comply with the competition’s insolvency policy for clubs which go into administration – the League did return to Leeds their vital golden share. Without it Ken Bates’s club would have been unable to function in League One and might have folded. The Football League insisted the share was being returned due only to Leeds’ “exceptional circumstances”.
Club officials, who have already launched an appeal against the 15-point deduction, appeared more relieved than angry last night. In a statement Leeds said: “We are pleased to announce that the board of the Football League Ltd have agreed to transfer the share in the Football League to Leeds United 2007 Ltd.”
Ray Fell, chairman of the Leeds supporters club, said the points deduction was “a recipe for relegation”. He described fans as “shattered”, adding, “but we’re shattered every day at Elland Road now”.