My ramblings from today are dedicated to my youngest daughter as she laughs at them every week!! Our first stop after driving to Blackpool was to have my photo taken with Jimmy Armfield’s statue before leaving an envelope for him at reception. It was nice to deliver a photo sent from Dave Cocker, of Jimmy getting his World Cup Medal. I hope he enjoys the photo as I still hold him in high esteem from his time as manager of Leeds United!
Our next stop was to the Manchester pub for a pre-match sing song. We certainly weren’t disappointed and had a great couple of hours in there singing to Leeds songs that were constantly played in the pub. Thank you to all the Leeds fans for taking the Leeds Fans LLP cards and please share the word. Seeing the link to Allan Clarke’s interview is very moving and it is brilliant that he has become the Ambassador for Leeds Fans LLP and is supportive of Fan Ownership at Leeds United!
We came out of the pub into the glorious sunshine and decided we didn’t need to go and get our coats out of the car. On arrival at the ground, first aiders were just leading someone away from the road where there was a pool of blood. Not sure if he’d been knocked down, but he didn’t look to be in a good way so hope he was okay. After chatting to a few friends on the way into the ground it was time to watch the match on the beach! I say beach, because that is how the pitch looked and how anyone can play football on such a surface is beyond me. Although it was great to be warm and have the sun out, it was hard to see and trying to focus to take pictures with the camera wasn’t too good. All I could do was point the camera and see what came out. I’ve had to delete a few shots of the pitch and the top of the stand though, oops. The football wasn’t pretty in the first half and there weren’t too many chances, especially as Blackpool had left their shooting boots in the dressing room! We managed to put a few attacks together but didn’t have clear goal scoring opportunities apart from Charlie Taylor I think. As it was Blackpool took the lead just before half time when they were awarded a free kick just beyond the six yard box. The resulting free kick hit the crossbar with a great strike and one of their players reacted the quicker and put the rebound into the net. This goal gave Blackpool a boost and left us thinking what was to come in the second half.
Leeds came out in the second half and started to get into the game. Antenucci who had come on as sub had a great chance to equalise when he looked like he could pick his spot when clean through. He tried burying the ball but the power behind it sent it straight over the crossbar. We have to take our chances when they are there. We didn’t have to wait long before Antenucci had another chance and this time he didn’t miss when he chipped the ball over the goalie to equalise and send the Leeds fans into great celebrations. The goal woke our fans up as we started to urge the team to get a winner. Morison replaced Sharp and some Leeds fans were singing if he scores we’re in the sea! Well I certainly would have taken a winner by him but think it might have been a bit cold in the sea.
Just after that I noticed some Blackpool Stewards talking to a man and women in the Blackpool stand to the right of us. I knew they were Leeds fans but they weren’t doing anything wrong, so it was a shame when they were made to go out of the stand. A few minutes later near to the Leeds fans in the same stand a couple of lads stood up and started singing; more of our fans and they made their way to the bottom of the stand and were escorted out. As a couple more made their way down the steps, all of a sudden a Blackpool fan hit one, then all hell let loose as they launched themselves at some Leeds fans, who although in the home stand hadn’t done anything to warrant the attack they came under. Yes they were in the wrong stand due to a lack of tickets, but to have the violent attack they came under including some kids, was totally out of order. To say there weren’t many Blackpool fans in the 11,000 approx crowd due to them boycotting the match and was made up mostly of Leeds fans, I never expected to see this.
A fella, his face covered in blood was taken out past the front of us for first aid and looked in a bad way. I didn’t realise till later that a young Leeds lad had been hit too as he was taken out. After that the Police were speaking to some Blackpool fans but took ages before they took them out of the stand. We heard they were just let go. There is plenty of video and photographic evidence, so I hope the Blackpool perpetrators are identified straight away and justice prevails.
Whilst this was going on, somehow Steve Morison ended up with a cut head and had a bandage around his head. With the Leeds fans urging them on to victory, we thought we had won with a last minute goal by Bellusci only for the flag to go up for offside! Damn, what a great time it would have been for a winner. As it was a draw was probably a fair result. The performance by the referee in the second half was a disgrace, another one trying to walk the ball into the net for the opposition!
Afterwards we drove to Coral Island to go and meet a friend and have some tea before driving home. On seeing someone give the Leeds salute from a car, we realised it was the Leeds fans who had been in the Blackpool end and the one who had been injured. I asked if they were okay and under the circumstances they were as good as could be, although the young lad still looked in shock in my opinion. I hope they all recover quickly.
Next week gives us a free week with no football. International football shouldn’t affect matches in my opinion, as it is much better to have far away ones on a Saturday instead of mid-week. Blackburn at home is the next one and then there aren’t that many matches left until the end of the season. At least we didn’t get beaten, got a point and kept our good run going. LUFC – Marching on Together!