It was touch and go at one stage this week as to whether I would make the game today. After my surgery on Monday evening I went in to work for a meeting late on Tuesday afternoon and went back in on Wednesday. I only lasted an hour on the latter day before being sent back home due to being sick. Later that day my face and eye began to swell and by Thursday I looked like someone had lamped me one. Luckily with antibiotics both orally and eye drops, the swelling and infection had eased by today so at least I made it. Although feeling weary just before I got to Billy’s bar I soon began to look forward to the game. A Yorkshire derby was always going to be a tough one but I said we should go out and play our best, enjoy ourselves and let others worry about us. Barnsley isn’t a good ground for us results wise though but I was hopeful we could carry on where we left off last week.
As I was taking photos in Billy’s bar I asked to take one of Terry Yorath and some fans who were sat with him. One said did I want to be in the photo too and I said no he’s probably had plenty taken with me and then as I got I reaction said I didn’t mean anything by that! (We’d seen him at the recent kid’s Christmas party). One lad then said are you the one who takes photos all the time and puts them on WACCOE and are you Heidi? After saying yes he said he looks through about 200 photos (I know I get carried away sometimes!) Another one said yes everyone always waits for you to post your photos and I said I know sometimes I’m falling asleep but have to keep waking up to make sure they get posted. It was nice to know that my photos are looked out for!
We left Leeds at 4.00 pm and had to go past the Barnsley turnoff to the next one and come back up north to the junction as apparently there was more space to hold the coaches there. As we headed off to the ground in a police escort we thought it wouldn’t take us long but thought it too late to go to the Metrodome where there was a bar put on for Leeds fans. As it was the escort took that long to get to the ground that it was already 5.10 pm and we hadn’t even parked. Everyone then got off the coach along with hundreds of fans at the same time and headed down to the ground. There was only a small entrance for everyone to get through to the turnstiles but we managed to get through them relatively quickly. Once inside the ground though we got under the stand and tried edging along with everyone else. Those who had been in earlier were already watching approx. 5 lads sat across the metal pipes that went across from one side to another. It also looked like there had been a smoke bomb let off. Once we came out of the toilets there had been a yellow one let off and it stunk foul. We tried walking to the entrances with everyone else and that was when things took a turn for the worse. More and more fans came behind us and it was getting very scary and we were all starting to get crushed. It was bad enough for us but as one lad told us after, he had his son with him and it got so increasingly bad that he nearly had to put him on his shoulders. Because of this I decided to go up the first entrance into the ground to get out of the crush. It’s a long time since I’ve experienced anything like this and there were plenty stewards as we came into the ground who should have held some fans back to prevent this in my opinion.
All of a sudden this lad behind me shouted he’s got a broken collar bone for crying out loud or words to that effect. I looked round to see him trying to protect his son but then he started arguing with the lad at the side of him and nearly came to blows. Unfortunately in a crowd it is hard not to get carried along with everyone and I don’t think anyone was intentionally doing anything. I then decided to go behind them to try and protect the back of the, but the chap still wasn’t going to let things drop and I really thought they were going to come to blows. The poor young lad kept trying to calm his dad down and eventually they went their separate ways. As I was stood at the top of the stairs deciding which way to go, I recognised Josh Warrington in front of me. I then went down to the front after trying to get a photo of him but I’m sure I wobbled the camera. It was then I realised that the front two rows of seats were cordoned off and there was room to put my flag up after all. I put it up right behind the goal then went to find my seat which was in the upper tier. I ended up right about the entrance but it didn’t feel safe at all. Probably because everyone was crammed in together but also the bar wasn’t very high and I thought it would only take a push for you to go head over heels over the top.
The team today was unchanged with Green, Bartley, Ayling, Coyle, Berardi, Roofe, Wood, Hernandez, Vieira, Doukara and Bridcutt. Subs were O’Kane for Vieira and Dallas for Bridcutt. Attendance was 17,817 with 5,241 Leeds fans.
It didn’t take long for Barnsley to come out with all guns blazing as they were at us from the go. After approx. 15 minutes we managed to get to the other end and won a corner. I said we should make this count as we hadn’t got near there very much up until then. As I zoomed my camera in someone said something and I said I’d managed to get the ball going into the net last week. With that I took a picture as Wood put the ball into the net to put us into the lead only to wobble so much that all I got was a blurred photo! Oh dear but it was good to get the goal against the run of play. As we scored the Barnsley fans to the left of us either chased some of our fans out of the corner or were just trying to get to the Leeds fans. There was also something kicking off at the left hand side of the far end too. I’m not sure if it was anything to do with any Leeds fans or not though. We managed to get a few corners as we played on the attack but gradually Barnsley got back into the game courtesy of the number of free kicks given by the ref. Honestly the amount that were being given was so over the top as the Barnsley players would take a slight knock and fall over when they should have been able to stay on their feet. It was after another free kick just before half time that they managed to equalise as we didn’t clear the ball. It was a timely goal for them just before half time. They nearly got a second just before the whistle blew too.
At half time I went downstairs on to the concourse which was more sparsely populated than before the game and went to some different toilets further under the stand. As I was in a cubicle I heard someone shout “if you are going to use the ladies loos then for crying out loud shut the bloody door!” I knew straight away that the lads were using the ladies loos once again. Why they can’t use the gents, I have no idea why. I realised then that the whole toilets looked a complete mess with water all over the floor. It was only as I was coming out that I found the reason why as a woman told me the first toilet had been kicked over. I knew then that this was not caused by any female fan but by the lads using the ladies. I had heard that some fans damage the toilets on occasions but for the life of me I cannot understand why? We are better than this and do not need any wanton destruction of anything. It has taken us years to get away from that reputation but some fans seem to be hell bent on getting that part back again. One thing I do not agree with is damaging anything and if any of us females would have seen it happening then I am sure we would have tried to stop it, our fans or not!
As I was going back into the stand some young lads asked for their photos taking. I then went to the front of the stand to get photos of all the flags and took a few of fans who shouted me. At the start of the second half Leeds carried on where they left off as Barnsley once again took the game to them. With only a few minutes on the clock Barnsley took the lead as they looked to attack us with ease. A group of lads next to us tried to get some clapping going at around 50 minutes and were chanting there is only one Mark (together with his last name). Unfortunately as I joined in there was only this small group who were doing it. I realised this was for a Leeds lad who had died recently.
I said we needed to change things but we didn’t and before we knew it the ref once again gave them a free kick in a dangerous position. Straight from the free kick the ball beat the wall and as Green stretched out he was nowhere near tall enough to get anywhere near the ball! Damn and double drat! The one thing I have noticed is that with Green’s lack of height he needs some protection in the box. Why we don’t have a man on either post is beyond me to be honest. With Billy Bremner and Paul Reaney saving loads of chances over the years, it makes sense to me that we do this for set pieces or corners. After leading 1-0 all of a sudden we were losing 3-1 within 10 minutes of the restart. We were under the cosh and with another Barnsley attack there must have been at least six Leeds players at the back not marking anyone. We were at sixes and sevens all over the place and I was screaming at Monk to change things. He eventually did after a few moments but I reckon we should have changed whatever formation we were using straight away in the second half as it wasn’t working. Some players were trying but half of the time we were second best. We did manage to pull a goal back when Chris Wood was attacking the goal in front of us. As the defender tried to clear it the ball hit his hand and the ref had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. He only had a word with the Barnsley player though when I thought it should have been an automatic booking for it. Chris Wood put the ball into the net sending the keeper the wrong way to give us hope that we could at least get a draw out of the game. We had a couple of chances but the longer the game went on it wasn’t looking likely that we would get an equaliser. When five minutes extra time was put up I thought we stood a chance but as the minutes ticked away I got a feeling that there was no chance that we would score and unfortunately I was right. It was a very disappointing result for us but apart from all the free kicks Barnsley got which helped them immensely, they probably deserved the victory.
As the game finished one of the Leeds players took his shirt off and gave it to someone stood at the front of the stand which was a nice gesture. Plenty fans clapped them as they went off the pitch though despite their disappointment with the score. As it was a very fine drizzle I wrapped my scarf around my head to prevent my wound getting wet which worked very well. After an hour of being escorted away from the ground we eventually found ourselves back on the M1 but at the junction we had to turn around at earlier. It was quicker getting back to Leeds from there than it had been to get from the ground. As I left the coach to go back to my car Terry Yorath passed me and said something as I said goodbye! I then picked my daughter Dani up who had travelled with the White Rose branch and we headed for home.
We have our rearranged game with Forest on Wednesday before next Sunday heading to Sutton for the next round of the FA Cup. It will be an early morning call as it is a 2.00 pm kick off but at least I can sleep on the coach. I was talking to someone in the ground who went to Sutton the last time we played them. He said that all of a sudden in the ground the Leeds fans got attacked by a load of Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham fans (I think that’s who he said) and they had a right battle on their hands. The next thing a load of fans with blue and white scarves jumped over the fence to join the Leeds fans and when asked who they were they said they were Millwall. They hated Cockneys and had come to help the Leeds fans against them! You learn something every day!
Before I finish it is looking more and more likely that I will be unable to go to the Birmingham game due to the change of the game due to Sky TV. To say I am mad is an understatement as I never expected this! If so then unfortunately I won’t be there to take any photos or do my blog for those of you around the world who look forward to them. Okay luckily at least you can see the game for yourselves but for me personally, to change it from a Saturday to a Friday night is something I hate!
See you on Wednesday – LUFC – Marching on Together!