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Last Updated: Monday, 31 March, 2003, 09:21 GMT 10:21 UK
Fans' shock at Ridsdale departure
Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale
Ridsdale's exit came as a shock
Leeds United Supporters' Club chairman Ray Fell said he was shocked by the resignation of chairman Peter Ridsdale.

Ridsdale's exit after six years in charge was announced to the Stock Exchange on Monday, bringing to an end a difficult year at Elland Road.

But Fell admitted it came as a surprise after Ridsdale had earlier insisted he was going nowhere.

"I'm very surprised," he said. "It was only a few days ago he said he was going to see it through.

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"This is the last thing Leeds needs. We seem to have a weekly incident which keeps us in the headlines.

"We are now hoping for some stability and being able to concentrate on football."

Fell admitted Ridsdale's stock with the Elland Road faithful had been falling all season, mainly as a result of him overseeing the sales of several star players.

"I think it will appease a lot of fans. There has been a lot of pressure on Peter to go and a lot will be pleased to see him go," added Fell.

"But I think it has to be a collective responsibility (by all the board).

"Peter, being chairman, has had to pay the price and now we have to wait and see who will replace him.

"It has been a disastrous season. We are hoping we can put this behind us and get back to what we do best, which is supporting Leeds on the pitch.

"Hopefully we can go forward,. We have been stuck in a rut this season."

John Boocock of the Leeds Independent Fans Association fears for the future of the club.

"A new chairman, no chief executive, and a manager (Peter Reid) who is there for eight matches - it does not look good," he said.

I think there will be a situation where there will be more players going
Terry Yorath

"Fans have got to prepare themselves for what happens. It is a dire situation."

Former Leeds player Terry Yorath admitted the sale of players and the sacking of manager Terry Venables 10 days ago was always likely to backfire on Ridsdale.

"I think Peter has been made a scapegoat but he went along with it, absolutely gloating when they were buying players and playing in the Champions League," said Yorath, who played for the Elland Road club between 1967 and 1976.

"So when that goes wrong he has to pay for it."

The immediate problem for Leeds is on the pitch with the club lying in 16th and just four points above the drop zone.

"You have to fear that they might go down," he said. "And once your best players leave the other players left behind like Alan Smith, Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell - will they be happy to play in the First Division?

"I think there will be a situation where there will be more players going and Leeds will end up like they were many years ago - an average team."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Leeds supporters club chairman Ray Fell
"It's a puzzle as to why we are so badly off at Leeds"



LEEDS UNITED

SEE ALSO
Ridsdale vows to fight on
17 Mar 03  |  Leeds United
Ridsdale faces days of destiny
21 Mar 03  |  Leeds United

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