For whom the Bell toils

LEEDS United fans! As the club’s Director of Commercial Affairs, Paul Bell wants to know about YOU! He’d like to know where you go on matchdays, what you do and when you do it – all so he can try to change it. How about pop bands and cheerleaders at Elland Road for example? Or social media?

“I have been thinking about the way we get Twitter into the match day routine,” he writes. “Can comments be moderated so that we can post Tweets onto the Giant Screen?”

Moderation, yes. Because if there’s one thing about Leeds United supporters I don’t believe the club’s actually interested in, it’s what we think. From Yorkshire Radio to LUTV, Ken Bates has consistently sought new ways for the club to say nothing, and they need to know where we are and what we do so they can sell it to us, preferably at arm’s length, or – even better – down a wire.

On Wednesday, the club launched LUTV Box Office, presenting existing subscribers with the opportunity to watch the pre-season games against SK Brann and Wolves on a pay-per-view basis. If the plan was to so entice a non-subscriber with the exciting prospect of “one camera coverage” from Norway that they would peel off the £40 annual fee, plus £5 for each of the ground-breaking broadcasts, it hasn’t.

Instead, existing subscribers reacted angrily to the venture (a “disgrace”, “bare-faced cheek”, “daylight robbery”) and several sought to cancel their contracts. Today brought the third day of unanswered messages to Director of Commercial Affairs Paul Bell on various forums, blogs and on twitter, as the man bringing social networking to Leeds United neglects to use it to engage with critique.

The decision to charge LUTV subscribers extra for pre-season friendlies not only irritates them, but represents a missed opportunity to attract new viewers on a trial basis. On the assumption, of course, that it’s preferable to expand Leeds United’s existing fanbase rather than milk its loyalty.

Just as our New Year’s revolution stated, the internet is enabling the voices of Leeds United supporters everywhere to crescendo into new, entirely authentic forms. According to Felix Wetzel, an associate of Paul Bell, “social media only works within an open and transparent environment.” Perhaps that’s why fans use it effectively, while the club doesn’t? Just a thought.

3 Responses to “For whom the Bell toils”

  1. I wonder whether I’m alone in finding it a little amateurish that the discussion on how our football club should be run is happening on the blog of a man named Felix who practices NLP.

    For fucks sake Leeds get a grip.

  2. Unfortunately for our great club the people in charge of making decisions related to social media and digital… do not have a clue about the digital landscape and how it works.

    It is a real shame as well because a lot of Leeds support is online and available to talk to, unfortunately the attitude is to ignore or talk down.

    Speaking from a purely professional point of view: the people in charge of certain areas of the club are simply not qualified to be so.

  3. A belated thanks for your comments. Anyone who hasn’t yet seen it should read Lee’s excellent post on this issue: Leeds United Online: The Story of PPV, Tweets & Social Media.

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