I was glad that I’d have plenty to occupy me today as it marks the anniversary of my baby daughter’s death. Amidst those sorrows, all Leeds fans will be remembering the families and friends of Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight on the eve of their tragic deaths in Turkey. Always in our hearts, gone but never forgotten. MOT
A big thank you once again for the help from fans who gave me the chance to get to the game, as always that is greatly appreciated. As it was we made it to the ground in good time and didn’t encounter any hold ups thank goodness.
It was nice to catch up with some friends in the Griffin pub by the away end. It was also nice to see both sets of fans mixing with no issues. It was funny to see that fans were getting served at the back window of the pub at the same time as a police forensics officer was working underneath it. Apparently the pub had been broken into during the previous night and whilst sorry to hear that, as Leeds fans were getting served they were putting fingerprints on the area that was being checked for…. you’ve guessed it, fingerprints! You couldn’t make it up really but as long as those queuing for booze don’t get a knock on the door…… Valencia White was there again and his mates were laughing that all he’d brought with him for his trip to the UK was his toothbrush. Then we had a laugh as he was wearing three t-shirts, two pairs of socks and undies and was mixing and matching! He asked if he smelt and then said “forget that lol!” He’s here until the Newcastle game so maybe he’ll have cadged a bath by then. But as he slept rough one night to raise money for charity, he will know how to survive and he’s a good lad. I made my way into the pub and didn’t realise there was a side door until I’d struggled through the crowd of fans. I went out that way as I wasn’t going to make the same mistake. I’d had loads of fans speaking to me, some who told me they really enjoy reading my blogs so a big thank you to them. I then saw Collar and had a good chat with him before I headed into the ground just before kickoff.
Before the game we’d heard that Cooper was being charged due to him stamping on a Reading player’s face last Saturday. Whilst I couldn’t disagree with the charge in retrospect, the fact one of the Reading players got away with a forearm smash on Wood in the same game wasn’t right as he should have faced a charge too. Because Cooper pleaded guilty to the charge it meant he was banned from tonight’s game. Whenever anyone asked what I thought the score would be I told them I wasn’t confident of getting a result here as we didn’t have a good record against them.
The team was Green, Berardi, Ayling, Jansson, Bartley, Barrow, Hernandez, Dallas, Wood, Bridcutt and Phillips. subs were Pedraza for Dallas, Roofe for Barrow and Doukara for Bridcutt. Attendance was 10,759 with approx. 1,700 Leeds fans.
We started off quite brightly and it was noticeable that Bridcutt was getting stuck in unlike at Reading. Ayling had come back into the team after his suspension and I thought that he was getting roasted by their player every time they attacked and was constantly caught out of position. Now I like Ayling but it seemed as though the suspension had had an effect on his performance. We struggled to get any momentum going forward though. Suddenly after 16 minutes we were up against it once more. Although it wasn’t a good view of the goal we were defending from the seats above the terracing, I saw Green make a great save only for the rebound to go straight to a Brentford player who put the ball into the net. Before we knew it we were two goals down despite the heroics of Green who was to end up my man of the match making some crucial saves to keep the score line down. Any shots we had were tame in comparison unfortunately. At half time the fans I spoke to weren’t very happy with the way things were going.
Despite coming out more up for it at the start of the second half, I don’t think we’d have scored if we’d have stayed there for a month of Sundays. Although having just read that Jansson had a header cleared off the line which couldn’t be seen from my seat I would gladly have been proved wrong. The consensus amongst the Leeds fans I spoke to felt that something has happened behind the scenes as we didn’t look like a team playing for each other as we have done in the past. The game was littered with errors and players who had looked solid previously seemed jittery. I said we should forget any talk of going up because as soon as we get near to anything we self-destruct. I realise there is still a chance at this stage, but I’m going to try reverse psychology in the fact that we should pretend we are just trying to get into a play-off position instead! Sorry but on the whole this was another poor and rubbish performance and I felt sorry for the lad from Greece and the couple from Norway stood next to me at the game. When I think how far they have travelled to see the terrible performance today and at Reading, I don’t think I’ve anything to complain about despite the miles travelled to the game. Many Leeds fan left the game saying how rubbish it had been and asking for my opinion where I agreed with the rubbish statement. After another tour around the country due to shut motorways I finally got into bed at 3.00 am with a few hours’ sleep before work. Many other fans were still on the road at that time though.
Our next couple of games really are crucial now with Preston first on Saturday and the return of Simon Grayson and Glynn Snodin. As our ex-manager returns, I don’t think I’m under any illusions as to what is heading our way especially as they won 5-0 today and seem to be scoring for fun. Let’s hope that we can be up for it again with another big crowd behind us. We really need to get back to winning ways otherwise we may as well forget about promotion this season altogether. Monk and the team have over achieved for certain and I’m grateful for the fact that I’ve begun to enjoy the football once again rather than being resigned to losing all the time. Interestingly in my opinion, since we’ve reverted to playing deeper with the return of Bridcutt into the side, our play as a team seems to have suffered. Our best form of defence is attack so maybe it’s time to revert to what helped us start on our winning run.
We’ll have to be the twelfth man on Saturday and I know we can do this as Leeds fans in full voice at both ends of the stadium are awesome. Simon and Glynn know all about our fans though with both supporting Leeds too, but I’m hoping we can scare the Preston team to death so to speak. See you there LUFC – Marching on Together!