Almanack: Ground for divorce at Elland Road?

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The Independent Online
RUMOURS reach Almanack of dark deeds at Elland Road, shared home of Leeds United of the FA Premiership and Hunslet rugby league club. The two clubs' landlord is Leeds City Council, which took over the ground in order to help the football club when they were in financial difficulties in the 1980s.

Leeds United have never been entirely happy about sharing the ground with such comparatively lowly co-tenants - they grumble about damage to the pitch and so on - and lately their anti-Hunslet campaign has stepped up a gear on two fronts. At official level, Almanack gathers, United are seeking assurances that rugby league will not be played on the ground in the run-up to the European football championships, for which Elland Road is one of the venues.

And the football club, some claim, are also taking unusual 'unofficial' steps: things like locked dressing-room doors and strangely impaired water supplies crop up in conversations with Hunslet fans. Paul Daly, the rugby league team's coach, admits to 'one or two' such incidents but will not discuss details. However, he is refreshingly forthright about the general atmosphere between the two teams. 'I think Leeds United want us there like a boil on Howard Wilkinson's bottom, to be honest,' he says. 'But what they've got to realise is that seven or eight years ago Leeds United were struggling for finance and they gladly let Hunslet Rugby League Club come to Elland Road.' Daly bears no ill-will towards the football club, and would like to see his team move away from Elland Road. 'I would love to be back in Hunslet, with us own stadium, with us own facilities . . . but they built a motorway through Hunslet.' So in the meantime, the awkward bedfellows remain together. 'We're going to work our remaining 13-year lease out,' says Daly. 'And by golly, we're not leaving unless the terms are right.'