Outrage as Leeds United tour Myanmar
If you cast your mind back a month in the Championship, the news was normal, well most of it. Wolves had won promotion and the title was in touch. People were starting to believe that Neil Warnock could get another promotion, this time with Cardiff. And the last piece was Leeds United announcing an end-of-season tour to Myanmar.
Yes, you read that right.
Now, let’s be honest, being a Leeds fan is hard at the best of times. Especially with how badly this season went. But, personally, when I saw this news all I could think was, we truly are one of England’s true laughing stocks.
Why Exactly Tour Myanmar?
Leeds United Owner, Andrea Radrizzani kept reiterating the point that he nor the club would earn any money for this trip. The main aim was to ‘spread the word of football.’
The announcement was met with frustration and bewilderment by people across the country. This is a country where 700,000 of the Rohingya minority have fled due to military operations taking place.
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, the Shadow Sports Minister, called the decision to travel to Myanmar as ‘morally corrupt’.
The trip may be seen as a controversial one, but if you cast your minds back to 2016, Leicester City travelled to the same country. Correct me if I’m wrong but the trip wasn’t deemed ‘morally corrupt’ back then.
Let’s Get Down To Business
When the squad was announced it was met with some surprise. The 23 man party was mainly filled by academy players, joined by only five members of the first-team.
Arriving in Myanmar, the atmosphere was tense, to say the least. Less than a day after a 20+ hour flight, Leeds were thrown straight into action against the Myanmar League All-Stars in Yangon.
The handful of Leeds fans that were there maybe regretted that decision 20 minutes in. A typical Whites defence allowed striker Joseph Mpande a free header, which he glanced into the top corner. That’s right, Leeds losing to a league all-star team from Myanmar.
Samu Saiz levelled things four minutes later from the penalty spot but Leeds eventually went on to lose the game 2-1.
Golden Palace Rehabilitation
After that, the Yorkshire club took a stroll to the Golden Temple. I mean, what better to do after taking an embarrassing defeat, right?
Well, it obviously seemed to work as the day after Leeds played the Myanmar national team. (Trust me, they’re world class). A 2-0 win in Mandalay ended the tour on a high with goals from Ryan Edmondson and Jay-Roy Grot securing the victory.
And as you can see here, no one was more thrilled than this commentator…
— Alternative Commentary (@AlternativeComs) May 12, 2018
No Harm Done?
Leeds United did no wrong in going to Myanmar, although it was a strange pick, to say the least. Avoiding controversy hasn’t been the club’s strong suit over the past couple of decades.
But, having said this, the club did some things right. Embracing the culture was a big part of the trip. Giving back to kids by leading training sessions and handing fans club shirts can only be seen as a good deed.
Business interest’s or not, I think Mr Radrizzani should try avoid the spotlight. It naturally shines on Leeds United without any decisions being made.