This guy gets it.
After the unpopular sale of Chris Wood to Burnley FC, Andrea Radrizzani put out a statement explaining why the club felt they had to sell Wood to a Premier League team. He revealed that the club had tried for over a month to agree on a new contract with Wood, with lower a release clause and guarantees surrounding his future in regards to promotion. However, since the club was unable to come to an agreement, the club felt they had no choice but to sell Wood.
As Radrizzani put it: “We want players at Leeds who consider us a big club and we want players who are committed to our vision to return to the Premier League.”
Compare this to how the club has handled these contract negotiations and situations before. As Christian put it in his article from a couple days ago (which you should read, seriously, it’s good): “For the first time in years we've sold a player, not because they're in the last year of their contract, but because a talented player is wanted by a club from a higher division and we negotiated a fee that we deemed acceptable.”
Almost every other high-profile transfer away from the club had months of name-calling and unprofessional drama and airing of dirty laundry from the club. No information about the negotiation leaked, nor was anyone from the club running to the press to speak ill of Wood. Nothing. Total radio silence.
For supporters of other, actual, functioning clubs, this might not seem remarkable, but for Leeds United fans, this might as well be akin to watching an alien spaceship land. It’s bizarre having a club run properly.
And again, how does the club handle the unpopular transfer? By complaining or having nasty things tweeted about him by the hierarchy of the club? Nope. The club keeps the fans in mind, allowing anyone with a Chris Wood replica shirt to exchange it for a blank one.
As I said on Twitter, this is a good business move by the club. They are already having to write off and/or eat the cost of the pre-printed shirts that haven’t sold. Exchanging for blank shirts means that a number of those people are still going spend money to have a new name printed on the back. Also, people are going to come back to the club shop to exchange the shirt, and a good number of them will buy something else while they are in the shop.
Compare this to how West Ham United handled the departure of Dimitri Payet during the January transfer window. Did the club offer to swap the shirts out of their most popular and famous player? Sort of. The club offered to allow a fan to purchase a new shirt for the low cost of £25, not including name and number printing.
One of the biggest complaints about modern football is the cost of taking a family to a match. It’s one thing to get a season ticket for yourself, but to take the whole family gets extremely expensive. Youth tickets are almost as expensive as regular tickets, and taking a family of four would cost a family in Leeds close to £70 for the cheapest tickets in the family stand with two kids under 11.
This isn’t the time to bring up how expensive the tickets are, because as the attendances have shown, the people are willing to show up to see the club. The demand exists to justify the price.
However, League Cup matches in the midweek are usually poorly attended matches across England. It’s hard for people to make the games with work commitments and the matches are often not exactly “glamour ties”.
So in an effort to boost attendance and give a little back to the fans, Leeds had “kids for a quid” for last night’s match against Newport County, where fans could get a U16 ticket for £1 with the purchase of an adult ticket. For a family of four that wanted to take their two teenagers with them to a game, this would save them £18, making the match just a wee bit more affordable. Yeah, tickets are still probably too much. But at least ticket promotions like this recognize that they still have an opportunity to turn low-demand matches into a well-attended match. After all, empty seats buy no beer and buy no pies.
And finally, another good showing by the new owner. Not only will Leeds United Ladies play their opening match of the season at Elland Road, but the club will allow free entry to the event.
Now, the crowds for women’s football in the UK are usually not great. However, raising the profile of the club and getting a few new fans to come out to the match to see them play is a brilliant plan. Again, beer and pies will be purchased during the match. Perhaps even a visit to the club shop. While the ticket revenue, which wasn’t going to be very much in the first place, won’t exist, the “extra” income from attending the match should end up more than the revenue from the ticket sales anyway. And if even a small percentage of the fans start going to more Leeds United Ladies matches, the promotion will have paid for itself many times over.
This owner seems to be doing all of the things that good, competent owners who run football clubs seem to do. It’s a shame that all of these things are so rare in football, and so rare for Leeds fans, given the disfunction of previous owners.