Father of young Leeds fan DEFENDS players after they apologised for viral video that seemed to show stars blanking children waiting to meet them… as he insists players DID greet supporters despite ‘arrogant’ accusations
- The dad of a young Leeds supporter has responded to viral social media footage
- Players were blasted as ‘arrogant’ for seeming to ignore fans waiting to say hello
- But one fan’s father claimed the video was misleading and players were polite
The dad of a young Leeds supporter has responded to viral social media footage that seemed to display players ignoring fans.
Online footage showed several Leeds stars walking out of their hotel ahead of their Premier League match against Bournemouth on Sunday, which they eventually lost 4-1.
Players in the clip trudged out with their heads down, often with headphones in, and appeared to blank expectant supporters hoping to meet their heroes – leading to accusations of ‘arrogance’ and criticism from ex-players.
The Whites then issued an apology to fans on Monday, admitting there was ‘no excuse’ for their actions, with pundit Gary Neville responding by saying no one was falling for their ‘sanitised, vanilla PR guff’.
But the father of a young fan has now insisted the footage was misleading – adding that several players greeted his son and that the ‘negative press’ was unfair.
Leeds players were filmed seeming to ignore fans who had gathered in the hotel to say hello
Despite supporters waving and shouting players’ names, nobody responded – but the father of a young fan (bottom left) has insisted the footage is misleading and that stars did greet his son
He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: ‘We live in Southampton but we heard Dylan could get the chance to see his heroes at Bournemouth. He had a fantastic day.
‘Luke Ayling fist bumped him, Javi Gracia came and tickled his chin and had a chat with him, Jack Harrison had a laugh with him, Adam Forshaw came down the stairs with his hand out to high five him and Brenden Aaronson signed an autograph.
‘Max Wober turned and said hi, Willy Gnonto said hi. He was buzzing. He’s got three autographs, we had a great day and there you have it.
‘Then this morning, Caleb, his elder brother, spotted this post (on social media) and I was gobsmacked. The video just shows the players who didn’t say hi. We know full well they’re under pressure, they’re trying to stay in the Premier League and we’re devastated because we don’t want to be involved in negative press.’
The clip, posted on Twitter, showed members of the Leeds first team walking towards the hotel’s entrance in silence, while a group of fans tried to get their attention.
Most of the Leeds team were listening to music and avoided eye contact as they headed for the door. The young boy waved at the players to try to get their attention but no one looked in his direction, and his view was later blocked by a member of the Leeds security team.
On the club’s website, a statement entitled ‘A Message From the Players’, read: ‘As the first team squad at Leeds United, we wanted to reach out to the fan base regarding yesterday’s game and subsequent posts on social media.
‘Firstly, the performance was not good enough. There is no other way to look at it and the only way to respond is on the pitch. Leeds fans travel up and down the country in huge numbers and deserve more than this.
The father said stars including Willy Gnonto (centre), Max Wober (right) and manager Javi Gracia personally said hello, high-fived his son and ensured the boy had ‘a fantastic day’
Leeds lost the game against Bournemouth 4-1, leaving them a point above the relegation zone
‘Words can’t express how sorry we are that the youngster in the video wearing the Leeds kit is not shown more love from the squad.
‘On a matchday we do an activation walk, before and after this we stop for photos and autographs to ensure we interact with fans, but also that we are on time when leaving for games.
‘However, there is no excuse for not acknowledging fans and if the parents of the fan wearing the Leeds kit in the video could make themselves known to us, we would be grateful.
‘We do not believe that this fight is over and we will keep going until the last ball is kicked this season. Thank you again for your support.’
The footage of players ignoring fans drew widespread criticism online. Ex-Leeds star Paddy Kenny called his former side ’embarrassing’, and insisted they should be ‘ashamed’.
Kenny, who played 81 games for Leeds, condemned the players’ lack of respect for their fans after the incident, called the incident ’embarrassing’ before adding: ‘[I] can’t believe what I’ve watched with this and Arsenal recently, it’s a joke and they all should be ashamed.’
Simon Jordan added that ‘Players have got to do better. I think they forget where they’ve come from,’ while while Piers Morgan called the players ‘selfish arrogant p****s.’
Leeds didn’t fare much better on the pitch, as they were hammered 4-1 by the Cherries to leave them just one point above the relegation zone.
The Gunners have also recently been criticised on social media for appearing to ignore a fan
Paddy Kenny, who played 81 games for Leeds, has slammed his former side’s behaviour
He called their treatment of fans ’embarrassing’ and said that they ‘should be ashamed’
As for the hotel incident, it comes just two weeks after Arsenal players were also heavily criticised for their lack of engagement with one of the club’s mascots.
In a clip posted on the club’s social media channels, the Arsenal players were seen signing a shirt for the young supporter as they made their way into the dressing room.
The clip immediately went viral on Twitter as thousands of people could not understand why none of the players seemed to want to speak to or even make eye contact with the mascot.
The Gunners were accused of being ‘entitled, overpaid and rude’ but the girl’s father insisted the footage was just a ‘small window’ on her day.
Mikel Arteta also had to come to the defence of his players when asked about the matter during a press conference later in the week. Since then, a number of clubs including Man United mocked the Gunners over social media for their tweet.
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