Opinion: Side Before Self, and Leeds Fans LLP

Written by Simon O'Rourke

Side Before Self, every time. We all know the mantra; it was first uttered by the late, great, Billy Bremner in relation to his approach to playing for Leeds United. It encapsulated the spirit of Don Revie’s team, a team that approached football games in a manner rarely seen before, or since. Personal accolades meant little to the likes of Billy Bremner; he put the club first at all times.

In the past fifteen years, Bremner’s mantra has been flipped on it’s head at boardroom level. Self Before Side could yet end up being the title of Ken Bates’ eventual eulogy. Leeds United is a football club that inspires a fierce, unyielding following from fans. If you speak to honest fans from rival clubs, they’ll point to Leeds United’s number one asset; not a dynamic young midfielder, but the fan base.

It is that fan base that now has an opportunity, after years of being kicked at every possible juncture, to have the last laugh. We as a collective fan base have derided the clubs owners for over a decade, and demanded that they listen to fans and make decisions that are best for the club. Those demands have fallen on deaf ears. From Gerald Krasner, to Ken Bates, to GFH; Leeds United has been so far down on the priority list at “big decision time” that you’d be forgiven for wondering if the owners knew the business they owned was a professional football team.

Just thirteen years ago to the day, Leeds United were sixth in The Premier League with five games to play. Today, the club enjoys mid-table obscurity in The second tier only as a result of an inspiring revival under the guidance of the Dynamic Duo of Neil Redfearn and Steve Thompson, a coaching duo who both seem to embrace Side Before Self. Since the turn of the year, Leeds United’s playing style has been all about a work ethic that puts the club and team before personal accolades. While mid table obscurity is being celebrated because of the dire position the club were in at the turn of the year, it’s an unacceptable position for a club of Leeds United’s size and with such a storied and successful history. Leeds United is an elite football club. To deny that is to deny history. Our fans deserve better, our fans deserve a bigger stage.


The chance that Leeds United fans have screamed out for has finally arrived in the shape of Leeds Fans LLP. If you want fan ownership of Leeds United, if you want boardroom level shenanigans to be a thing of the past, if you want Leeds United to get back that “family feeling” then this is the last chance you’re likely to see a fundraising effort of this size and scope. The backroom staff of volunteers in this effort exceeds one hundred Leeds Fans and associates, all with different expertise. The executive team reads like that of an elite Football Club plying their trade on a yearly basis in The Champions League. We won’t see this again, not in my lifetime.

Leeds United face an uncertain few months at boardroom level, and we as a fan base need to be ready to stand up and be counted should the opportunity for investment arrive.  We need to tell Gulf Finance House in particular that we’ve simply had enough of their nonsense, their constant and unyielding nonsense. They have our club; we want it back. If you’ve ever wanted to effect change at the heart of this club, The Last Big Club still outside The Premier League, then your opportunity will come on April 7th when the acquisition of shares is made public. With the buy-in as low as £100, there’s an opportunity for all fans to join in something special.


Final thought: I wrote 90% of this article prior to today’s utter shambles at Elland Road. It seems the club may have done a lot of free PR work for Leeds Fans LLP. There is no better time to act.

About the author

Simon O'Rourke

A lifelong Leeds United fan, Simon moved to Nova Scotia in 2002. Married for seven years with three children, Simon's first love has always been Leeds United. Simon is the owner of 1919 Media, a website design and development company whose name is a homage to Leeds United.