Former Leeds United chairman Peter Ridsdale has said that he can never forget the “horrific” events in Istanbul back in 2000 when two fans were murdered.
However, he has said that he hopes Leeds fans can cut Gjanni Alioski some slack, with the young Leeds player not having the context to stop him moving to Galatasaray.
That comes after a major news report claimed that he has signed a pre-contract agreement with the Turkish club. [Football Insider]
That news has dominated the headlines for the past 48 hours.
Ridsdale was talking on the White & Jordan Show on talkSPORT on Wednesday.
“I can never forget the night before the game or indeed the night of the game because obviously two of our supporters were murdered that evening,” Ridsdale said.
“I’ll never forget, their families will never forget and I don’t think any long-standing Leeds fans will ever forget.
“It’s one of the most horrific occasions I’ve ever encountered in football.
“The night of the game itself was equally bad in the sense that the police allowed severe intimidation beyond what is acceptable in any sporting environment.”
Jim White asked, “It still lives with you?”
“Very much so,” said Ridsdale. “You can’t forget.”
“Can you understand a number of Leeds United fans, passionate fans, being up in arms at one of their own, Gjanni Alioski, going to Galatasaray?” White asked.
“I can understand it but I do think what it has to be tempered with is… those of us who lived through it understand how disturbing it was and I’ll live with it for the rest of my life.
“But the young lad Alioski clearly wasn’t party to it, probably doesn’t understand the emotion and the context, and perhaps it’s difficult for him to understand the outpouring of anger from Leeds fans. I see it from both sides.
“I totally understand the Leeds fans’ reactions but I hope they will stand back and understand the young player today doesn’t have genuine context and will find it hard to put into context.”
Leeds family hurting
Leeds fans don’t have much time for Ridsdale but this goes beyond football.
He talked openly and emotionally about what was a horrific night for the club and its supporters.
It helps provide the context that Alioski is obviously missing.
Elsewhere, abuse is being dished out on social media and Andy McVeigh’s street art has been vandalised with some shocking graffiti.
He’s now covered the artwork up and it feels like things need to be pulled back and that the Leeds family need to come together again.
It’s such a long way from the feel-good factor we’ve had at Leeds since Bielsa arrived and it doesn’t feel good.
We need to draw a line under Alioski and move on.
In other Leeds United news, Burley Banksy reacts after seeing his Alioski mural vandalised by Leeds fan