11 August 2007 :: by
Dennis Wise has had a traumatic pre-season and a hectic final week and the pressure seems to be telling on the little man as he has decided to take the brave but risky decision to take on the Elland Road boo-boys.
"You don't like Batesy and you don't particularly like me, but at the end of the day, you've got us," said Wise bluntly.
The ex-Millwall manager seemed to be paraphrasing their infamous, 'no one like us but we don't care' chant. However, it is his and Bates' Chelsea connection that, inexplicably, seems to rile so many Leeds fans.
Bates and Wise have been the target of a sizable minority of Leeds fans since they arrived at Elland Road.
They have been taunted by chants of "Get the Chelsea out of Leeds" by fans who cannot grasp the basic notion that they are now the Leeds United owner and the Leeds United manager and that they have moved on from Chelsea and left it in Russian hands.
Wise said, "We're part of this football club and how many people would take this on? But we will."
Whilst Wise did preside over the relegation of the team to the third tier of English football for the first time it the club's history the chants are hard on Bates - a man who - even bitter critics like Gerald Krasner and Kevin Blackwell freely admit - saved Leeds from extinction in January 2005 with a day to spare.
Bates has never been given credit for saving Leeds United by many fans who believe fairy stories posted Internet forums that consortia of lifelong Leeds fans were just hours away from ploughing millions into the club. Such stories were mass hallucinations pretty much along the lines that Hitler had in the bunker in April 1945 when he kept ordering imaginary divisions of German tanks to save Berlin from the Soviet Army. Neither the divisions nor the consortia never existed and even when given several chances to buy Leeds United this summer no one managed to come up with enough money to buy the club.
Wise continued, "We love the challenge and we need the fans behind us."
It remains to be seen whether the vocal anti-Bates/Wise minority will decide to support the team or continue their disruptive behaviour and unsettle the team on the pitch again. Leeds fans really do need to be 'united' to overcome the threat of relegation to League Two after the 15 point deduction. The ownership of Leeds United cannot be legally changed until June 30 2008 anyway, so if the Leeds fans continue with their pointless harrying of Bates and Wise they will achieve only one thing - a season-long tour of the grounds of the Football League's bottom division next year. They will drive away potential signings who don't want to be playing at home in front of a hostile crowd and they will distract players from the game on the pitch which is what it is all about. It will only be a matter of time before ordinary Leeds fans begin to grow tired of the endless, smug, self-congratulatory self-indulgence of the anti-Bates/Wise faction at the expense of success on the pitch - then you will have civil war and the club anthem, 'Marching on Together' becomes a self-parody rather than a rousing song of victory.
Wise is the Leeds United manager and he wants the club to succeed and for the fans to support the men wearing the white shirts and he is entitled to ask for that. If you are Leeds supporter and you are not prepared to give that support then you should be examining your motives. Do you hate the former allegiance of your Chairman more than you love the club you profess to support? Your choice. Over to you...
The quotes of Dennis Wise are taken from the Mirror's website. www.mirror.co.uk
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