After the sale of Sam Byram to West Ham this week, my loyalty to Leeds United has been tested to the core once again as I’ve been totally demoralised. I am gutted that my ambitions for building the team around the kids is not the same as the clubs. Good luck Sam, I don’t blame you for going and I’m sure you will show everyone what we will be missing out on!
After getting “told off” for seeing lone magpies again last week, I couldn’t believe it when we arrived at the White Rose Centre on our way to Elland Road. My daughter suddenly started saluting a magpie in the tree in front of me whilst I had a meltdown for looking at it! Not again were my thoughts, until Dani pointed out a further one in a tree behind us! That was a relief, one for sorrow, two for joy which at least should mean a win today! The result at the end of 90 minutes would tell if the superstitions worked or not!! I’m sure if anyone would have seen me though, they’d have laughed their heads off.
The team today was Silvestri, Cooper, Bellusci, Wootton, Cook, Murphy, Bridcutt, Dallas, Doukara, Carayol and Taylor. Subs were Wood for Carayol, Antenucci for Doukara and Adeyemi for Murphy.
I couldn’t help but noticing how bad a condition the pitch was in places. I know there has been a lot of rain recently but it seemed to be threadbare in places, plus the linesman looked to be getting stuck in the mud as such! I made sure I was in the ground early today as the mascots included the son of a friend and some Mirfield Whites. I managed to get some photos and hope they all had a great day. That said, after the first half showing I think everyone would have been better off staying at home! The one poignant thing to me today, was the plenty of empty seats especially in the South Stand. To see the singing stand desecrated and segregated is very sad. It has impacted on the atmosphere full stop especially as the sound never travelled today at all. Half of the time you couldn’t hear what was being sung. The club need to turn this around and fast; they won’t do this unless they stop the segregation, stop the pie tax and stop the Category A games. With the lack of football on show, all this will do is drive even more fans away instead of encouraging them to attend.
The first 45 minutes were horrendous and I couldn’t believe how many times I looked at the clock only to see only a couple of minutes had gone past. Dire isn’t the word and once again the formation used by Evans was shown to not work. Why we insist on persisting with this, especially at home is beyond me. We should be showing that we want to win at home but playing with one up front doesn’t show any ambitions of that for me. Bristol, despite being so low in the table, played some good football and continually won the ball and were the better team in the first half. Luckily for us they couldn’t play the final ball or put us under too much pressure otherwise they would have hammered us. Many fans booed them off at half time. I didn’t but I wasn’t happy with the way we had played.
I got talking to some Leeds United fans from Dublin in the Kop at half time, so I hope they have managed to find their picture on here. The second half started very slow until Evans changed the formation and brought Wood on. To me, despite many thinking Wood wasn’t any good, I feel we have missed him badly up front. As soon as he came on you could see the difference on the pitch as Bristol weren’t given the same room and we started to play. Wood managed to win at least three corners for us and even had a hand in the goal. When the ball was crossed it bounced off him and landed at Doukara’s feet in space, who was able to stick the ball low into the net to put us into the lead. It shows what playing a right formation can do too as it changed the game straight away. To be honest though, although we had about a 15 minute spell, Bristol started to look dangerous again but luckily we managed to hold on till the end.
I know we got the three points and a win is a win, but make no mistake about it, we have played really badly many times this season including today. Today, I felt that we are going backwards rather than forwards. At least the result of seeing two magpies shows the superstition idea worked!! Carayol was subbed and again, he hasn’t done much to impress me since coming in apart from the wonder goal which was fantastic by the way. Having seen Botaka frozen out when he showed potential too, I don’t see that Carayol has brought anything different to the team.
With the last week of the transfer window looming I feel at the end of this, will show to me the level of ambition at the club in moving forwards. After the whole team have been spouted for sale, I only hope that if anyone leaves, it will be ones who don’t figure in the team like Sloth and Bianchi. Obviously time will tell on that score but fingers crossed that no more of our young kids are sold.
Before out visit to Bolton in the next round of the FA Cup on Saturday, we have a midweek fixture on Tuesday night at Brentford. I will be driving down by car again and hoping that the traffic and weather will be kind to me so that I get there in time for kick off. In all aspects, this next week is a big one for us Leeds United fans so by the time we have played Bolton, we will see if our season has fizzled out altogether or whether there is some hope ahead of us. It’s not easy being a Leeds United fan that’s for sure. See you at Brentford and Bolton – LUFC – Marching on Together!