Leeds United have hit out at those abusing Karen Carney on Twitter for her views about the club, despite the fact they are yet to formally apologise or delete their own inflammatory tweet about her.
Leeds have incurred the wrath of many following their controversial post criticising Carney’s post-match analysis of their resounding 5-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night.
The tweet has attracted more than 4,000 comments – including many sexist and abusive posts, and the club have now reached out to Carney in a bid to defuse the situation.
As reported by the Times on Wednesday, Leeds have invited her to come to the club’s training ground and carry out a TV report on them ahead of their FA Cup third-round match at Crawley Town on January 10.
However, as of yet there has been no formal apology.
And on Wednesday afternoon the Elland Road outfit released a statement condemning those who have lashed out at Carney.
Leeds United have released a statement slamming those condemning Karen Carney on Twitter
Carney claimed Marcelo Bielsa’s side benefited from the Covid-19 hiatus earlier this year
Leeds responded to Carney’s claims on Twitter in a move that has itself been criticised
‘Leeds United completely condemns any abuse received by Karen Carney on social media following last night’s Premier League game with West Bromwich Albion,’ it read.
‘Everyone at our club respects Karen greatly for all she has achieved in the game, as well as her work in the media and the charity work she undertakes.’
Carney, 33, who is a former England Women’s footballer with 144 international caps, said during Amazon Prime Sport’s coverage at the Hawthorns that Marcelo Bielsa’s side were aided in winning the Championship last season by the Covid-19 hiatus in March.
Leeds, who won the second tier with 93 points, responded to Carney’s comments via Twitter by poking fun at her words after she claimed the suspension of the league gave the team ‘respite’ – boasting how they had won the league by 10 points to end a 16-year absence from the top flight.
Carney, who was targeted by trolls on social media afterwards, had said on Tuesday night: ‘They [Leeds] out-run everyone and credit to them. My only concern would be, would they blow up at the end of the season?
‘We saw that in the last couple of seasons and I actually think they got promoted because of Covid in terms of it gave them a bit of respite. I don’t know whether they would have gone up if they didn’t have that break.’
And following Leeds’ response, a fierce backlash has gathered, with the Women in Football network slamming the Premier League club and their owner Andrea Radrizzani for an ‘inciteful and inappropriate’ retort.
Women in Football have hit out at Leeds for their inflammatory tweet about Carney
Leeds returned to the top flight after a 16-year hiatus by winning the Championship last season
Carney won 144 caps for England – the third highest ever – and now works in the media
‘Whether you agree with the comment or not, singling out and ridiculing an individual on an official club account is not what we’re here for,’ they tweeted on Wednesday morning.
‘Karen Carney is a well-informed pundit. This tweet is inciteful & inappropriate. Not a good look now, or at any time.’
Later on Tuesday night, Leeds owner Radrizzani admitted he was ‘responsible’ for the tweet, insisting he wanted to defend the club after her ‘disrespectful’ comments.
He wrote in a post on his own Twitter account: ‘I take the responsibility of the Club tweet. I consider that comment completely unnecessary and disrespectful to our Club and particularly to the fantastic hard work of our players and coaches whom were understanding on the pitch for the last two championship seasons by all stats.’
The Italian businessman was not the only member of the Leeds camp to condemn the comment made by Carney – who last year went public about her battle with depression – as Leeds players made their feelings clear on social media.
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani (above) defended their tweet by claiming Carney’s comments were ‘disrespectful’ to the club – and he too has been condemned by Women in Football
Midfielder Mateusz Klich and defender Ben White – who was on loan at Elland Road last season – posted emojis below the club’s response to signal their opposition to her views.
Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling also chimed in, criticising Carney for a lack of accuracy in her claims.
In the five games before the first coronavirus lockdown, Leeds won every single game without conceding a single goal. Bielsa’s side even lost the first game after the coronavirus hiatus against Cardiff City, implying Leeds did not benefit from a break at all.
Stelling tweeted: ‘Leeds so lucky that Covid intervened. They had only won five in a row before the season was suspended. Clearly running out of steam !!!’
Carney was criticised for the comments by Leeds player Mateusz Klich, Ben White – who was on loan there last season – and Sky Sports’ Jeff Stelling (above)
Leeds fans piled on with one Twitter user posting: ‘She’s really not helping the cause of female pundits is she?’ followed by a laughing emoji while another tweeted: ‘And they wonder why women pundits get such a bad reputation… embarrassing.’
There was also one which read: ‘Oh dear lord, she really shouldn’t be reporting on football, what a ridiculous thing to actually say particularly out loud on TV.’
‘This is why women shouldn’t be pundits,’ posted another Twitter user while there were several ‘back in the kitchen’ type digs and one calling Carney a ‘s***’.
But some decided to step in and leap to Carney’s defence after Leeds’ post, with former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand urging them to delete it, while others claimed it only encouraged the ‘vile abuse’ from other fans.
‘Poor from the @LUFC social team,’ wrote one fan. ‘Trying to embarrass a hard-working pundit who will now be subject to vile abuse from #LUFC fans! Disgrace.’
Another wrote: ‘This is disgusting. Leeds United should be ashamed. Clubs shouldn’t directly target people like this, especially when it’s just routine punditry. The replies are what would be expected.’
And one, replying to the Leeds owner, asked: ‘Do you also take responsibility for some of the horrendous abuse Karen Carney is receiving as a result of the tweet?’
Many – including Rio Ferdinand (above) criticised Leeds for calling out on Carney on Twitter
Manager Bielsa is known for his hard-working training regimes and in-game tactics, which Carney paid tribute to in her coverage.
However, the Leeds boss has often been attributed with the phrase ‘Bielsa Burnout’, which stems from the Argentine’s teams running out of steam due to fatigue.
An example was during the 2014-15 season with Marseille where the French side led the league after 19 games and being branded the ‘autumn champions’ that term. Bielsa’s side went on to finish fourth after a steep drop in form.
Bielsa’s Leeds are performing well in their first season back in the top flight since 2004, with three wins in their last four games – including a 5-0 win at West Brom on Tuesday – lifting them up to 11th in the table and 12 points above the relegation zone.