Well, it is never easy being a Leeds United supporter, is it? After entering the ballot for tickets for the last home game of the season it was gutting to find out that I had not been one of the lucky ones. Checking and re-checking my emails, logging onto the Leeds website to double check my account became a constant thorn in my side. It has taken me a good 48 hours to come to terms with this, even shedding a few tears as I felt so demoralised, plus I know that I am not the only supporter feeling this way. Following Leeds United has always been my respite that helps me cope, so have really struggled since we have not been allowed to travel home and away to follow our team but have had to accept that I will not be at a game this season.
Many other fans were also in the same situation, but I feel sorry for those with an even better record of support than myself who have missed out too. For those who deride some of our fantastic supporters as being super fans who feel they are entitled to tickets, they would need to walk in their shoes to understand why they feel let down. Dedication and loyalty are something that we should all understand have brought about the fantastic worldwide fan base that Leeds United have. This is shown by their long records of going to games with some of them hardly missing any during a period from 20-50 years, which is an outstanding achievement and an even better record than I will ever have. They have gone to every game over the years which have involved Leeds United including home, away, friendlies plus pre-season tours abroad which became a way of life and this is what should count, the number of consecutive games. Games which have involved very poor crowds over the years would see these fans in attendance regardless of how and who Leeds were playing. This is where the dedication and loyalty come in with never or rarely missing a game, so it is not just about who has supported Leeds United the longest. That is not to deride any Leeds United supporter but to explain why missing a game has caused such an uproar. With having only 4,000 tickets for us apparently, being lucky in the ballot was made harder by not factoring any loyalty into our season ticket holders’ applications. For some fans though tomorrow never comes, and details emerging on social media of two Leeds United fans having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, if any exceptions need to be made for them to attend then that should be the case. Good luck to those who have got tickets and I know I will be jealous not being there in person for the game but watching on TV instead.
Without any prompting from me though, it has been nice seeing and hearing the support from other fans for me to get a ticket (no, it has not made a difference) and I appreciate their comments. There may still be light at the end of the tunnel for a few more fans as yet. News has filtered through that some fans who won tickets in the ballot are not going to get their tickets for the WBA game so there is still a chance to be there, however small.
Team: Meslier, Ayling (Captain), Harrison, Bamford, Klich, Phillips, Llorente, Struijk, Dallas, Raphinha and Alioski. Subs: Rodrigo for Bamford (58), Roberts for Klich (76) and Poveda for Raphinha (81). Subs not used: Casilla, Cooper, Davis, Shackleton, Berardi and Jenkins. Leeds won the game 4-0 with goals from Klich (44), Harrison (60) and a brace from Rodrigo (77 And 79). Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: G. Scott. Booked: Phillips.
I can’t wait to be back amongst our fans going to both home and away games and the photo was taken by me from our coach when travelling to Ipswich on 13th January 2018.
Leeds were put under pressure from Burnley in the first 10 minutes with first Bamford putting the ball out for a corner then a good challenge from Llorente to win the ball for Leeds. The whistle blew for a free kick given to Burnley, but I must have missed what it was for. We had a few misplaced passes not reaching our players before Leeds settled into the game and started ramping up the pressure. Bamford forced a saved from ex-Leeds keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell after it looked like he’d lost it when he slipped in the penalty area but got up again and shot. Complaints were made from the Burnley players that when Bamford got up off the floor to shoot that he had fouled their player. Chris Wood and Charlie Taylor made up the Burnley ex-Leeds contingent. Harrison was then penalised for offside which was a shame as it would have been a great opportunity. Dallas then had a shot on the turn that went over the top of the goal. Alioski missed the ball and fouled their man to give Burnley a free kick. Leeds went on the attack again and won another corner this time with a deflected shot from Dallas. Llorente required treatment after a knee in the back and was down for a while.
Alioski had a shot blocked then Raphinha was fouled, and a free kick given. We looked to get into some good positions for a long range shot but kept passing the ball around as we tried to find a way through their defence. An excellent cross from Llorente saw another corner given. After some sustained pressure from Leeds, Burnley made a break but were stopped by the Leeds defence. As they tried attacking again, some good defending from Raphinha forced Taylor’s attack over the line for a throw in. As Leeds came forward again, a challenge from Taylor in the box whipped the ball off Raphinha’s toes giving Leeds another corner. After a short corner, a great cross in from Phillips was headed just wide from Struijk.
Bamford put the keeper under pressure but luckily didn’t foul him. Leeds were getting more and more into the game after coping with the early pressure. Alioski had a great chance but completely miss hit the ball which went out for a thrown in. Whether it would have been classed offside in the build-up I’m not sure, but it would have been a close decision. Raphinha hit a shot with his back to the goal but with Klich coming in behind him, he would have been in a better position to score. Meslier was quick off the mark to catch the ball and then in a typical move out of defence, Leeds scored a great goal just before half time. Raphinha made a great run and then passed the ball to Klich in the middle of the pitch who ran forward and hit a fantastic curling shot past the keeper. Burnley were straight away moaning at the referee about their player getting tangled with ours at the edge of our box before we broke away to score. Struijk was penalised for a free kick to Burnley at the end of the two minutes added on which was saved by Meslier to keep our lead.
Bamford and Tarkowski tangled off the ball at the start of the second half but the referee let play go on. Ayling made a little contact on Wood then stood off him as he fell to the ground before Burnley had a shot that went wide. Wood should then have been pulled up for a foul by backing in to Llorente, but he was allowed to carry on and only a great save from Meslier to put the ball wide with his legs, prevented an equaliser. Burnley then had another shot over the crossbar. Rodrigo replaced Bamford with over half an hour remaining and shortly afterwards there was no foul given with a Burnley player piggy backing our player. Leeds made a counterattack and their defender just got in front of Rodrigo to put the ball out for a corner. Just after our first substitution was made, an Alioski shot was diverted into the goal from a Harrison back heel to give Leeds a second goal.
To me Wood was trying to con the referee by diving at the edge of our box, pushing Llorente about and needed pulling up for it. Phillips then found himself in the book as Burnley had another shot wide. Raphinha was brought down and Westwood who fouled him was going nuts. The referee had the yellow card out, but he was allowed to remonstrate with Raphinha even though replays showed he did commit a foul. He should have still been given the yellow card but then a red card as well! I found all the spitting from the Burnley subs coming on to the pitch off putting. The next thing the fourth official was speaking with the referee, Bielsa and Dyche at the side of the dug outs. With no one knowing what had happened, Ayling was called over to be spoken to with Alioski. After Alioski had been fouled their player had a go at him whilst still on the floor. The cameras then showed Alioski stick his tongue out and put both hands behind his ears. What a load of cry-babies Burnley have been today, they can dish it out but did not like things not going in their favour. Meslier made another great save with his feet for another corner to Burnley.
Bielsa made another substitution with Roberts replacing Klich with 15 minutes remaining. Within a minute Leeds had scored again with a great goal from Rodrigo which he lifted over the keeper after a fantastic through ball from Harrison. Two minutes later some more fantastic play from Harrison to Rodrigo saw the latter round the keeper to score again to put Leeds 4-0 up. There you go Burnley; football talks and cheating is for losers!
Our final substitution saw Poveda replacing Raphinha. It was nice to have ex-Leeds Lucy Ward commentating the game as I can cope with her good analysis of the game. Burnley had a chance from a corner although the narrow angle was covered by Meslier before putting more pressure on us. Meslier was fouled and a free kick given but the Burnley player tried claiming for a penalty, give me strength. A fantastic ball from Alioski to Rodrigo saw him stopped from claiming his hattrick just as he was about to shoot. Replays showed Taylor didn’t even touch the ball so it should have been a penalty, but VAR didn’t give it, so a corner was given instead. With three minutes added on Roberts sent a hard shot straight at the keeper after their player was hanging on to Rodrigo when he got past him. I don’t think it was a case of the referee playing on but ignoring a few fouls on our players. As the whistle blew, once again it showed an excellent display from Leeds United giving us a great victory and another three points. With just two games to go until the end of the season Leeds have done as I predicted at the start of the season: Aimed for the top! LUFC – Marching on Together!