Brentford v Leeds United 11th February at Griffin Park

Leeds fans are at their best when we are all on the same page with that siege mentality. Now, more than ever we need to get that back despite results or differences of opinions. Keep fighting, never say die and do our best to get that spine-tingling atmosphere back which I love. The team will know we are behind them and must also never give up. We must still believe, and I am not ready to throw the towel in yet.

The one thing that has really upset me this last week is seeing that our older fans are getting the blame for the dire atmospheres and being told to stop going to away games. Eventually I got so riled up I had to say something. Those who have built up their loyalty over years and years, through thick and thin, through good and bad times should roll over and let others have their tickets? Not in a million years should that happen and I for one am not going to relinquish my ticket. Whether the demographic change of our support has something to do with things changing I am not sure, but loyal fans getting the blame is not the way to do it. Our support has stood up over the years which is why we have the worldwide fan base that we have, and their loyalty should be acknowledged. Embrace what we have because we do know for certain, that if things do change for the worse again, those fans will still be there regardless. We are going to do this, come on Leeds. Someone passed me in the seats and said he’d stuck up for me so I’m assuming it was to do with this.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Klich, Dallas, Phillips, Costa, White, Harrison, Hernandez and Bamford. Sub: Augustin for Bamford (76). Leeds drew 1-1 with Cooper getting our goal (39). Referee: R.Jones. Attendance: 12,294 with 1,400 Leeds fans.

My message to Leeds before the game was that I was still behind Bielsa, Leeds should Keep Fighting and never say die. The team should prove the doubters wrong starting with Brentford. I’m glad my pep talk worked lol! Seriously though I’m still going to believe we can do this however hard it is. Leeds tonight produced a great fighting performance and the psychological boost of gaining a point and coming away from the game playing well will be immense.

On arrival at the ground just before kick-off, I immediately recognised someone from the past, a Goole White. I’m not sure how long ago it was that we travelled to away games, but I never forget a face. That came in useful in the 70s and 80s when things were very hairy for us fans on the terraces especially if you were surrounded by the opposition fans. Seeing a familiar face was good even if you had to pretend you were not a Leeds fan, so they did not get sussed. Ask me what happened yesterday, and I don’t stand a chance of remembering lol. The lad next to me had messaged his mate saying that he was sat next to me. When his mate said watch out for the camera he was too late as I’d already taken his photo, oops!

Although the first chance of the game fell to Brentford, Leeds started well having plenty of possession and when Harrison cut in from the wing beating a few Brentford players he got into a good position to shoot, only for his final shot to lack power. Phillips was back after his recent suspension and he is pivotal in the way we play and his performance tonight was immense. Leeds continued to dominate but another chance lacked power and their keeper saved it very easily. When Brentford did get a chance to shoot, it looked as if it was on target and going in but luckily for us whizzed past the outside of the post. Leeds started passing across the back after previously using our best form of defence, attack. This came back to haunt us shortly afterwards as Cooper passed the ball back to Casilla only for him to slip and let their player in to score. After having a fantastic atmosphere on the terraces, that was like a kick in the teeth having dominated the game so far. The Leeds fans picked themselves up again getting behind the team, as Brentford looked for a second goal but Ayling defended well, blocked for a corner. As Leeds stepped up their attack again, we won a corner at the far end of the pitch. As we don’t usually do well from corners, it was great when Cooper got on the end of Harrison’s corner to put the ball into the net. Leeds ran back to the centre to get straight on with the game as the Leeds fans celebrated. Leeds ended up on the attack as the whistle blew for half time, but they had played well and deserved to be on level terms at the break having gone a goal down. Leeds were also the better team.

The second half started quietly before Leeds broke away on a counterattack with Costa and Klich playing a great one two between them, but their keeper saved Costa’s shot. Leeds started to ramp up the pressure down the flanks with both Harrison and Costa starting to battle and beat their man as Leeds started to look for a winner. Brentford were finding it hard to get into the game and eventually they won a free kick on the right-hand side of the box. Our defence in the wall stood tall as they were able to block the shot. Leeds continued to attack with all the team pressing and although we won a couple of corners, were unable to make the pressure count. At one point when one of the Brentford players was down, another one had his arms around the referee. Klich had played well once again as Leeds were clapped off the pitch from an exuberant away support. It was a good point and they’d played well as a team and battled which was good to see and long may it continue. This will be our last visit to Griffin Park as Brentford move to their new ground shortly. In one sense, it is sad to see the demise of a traditional ground with terraces underneath the seating area for the away fans. Even though it hasn’t been the best of grounds for us to win points over the years, it had a nice feel about it.

As Leeds showed today, a battling performance and being together with the fans are what we need going forwards. We’ve just got to believe and never give up and take each game as at comes. After a detour home eventually getting to bed at 3.00am, I was up again at 6.30am for work along with lots of other Leeds fans. The things we do to follow our team! See you on Saturday against Bristol City. LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

  • Follow Me and Leeds United
  • Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan
  • Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United, Leeds United in the 1980s
  • The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17
  • Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18
  • Out now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

 Website: Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United: Instagram: Heidi Haigh – lufcheidi @followmeandleedsunited

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