Today I was picking up Jo in Halifax so had some company on my way to Leeds. After travelling with Jo to Cambridge earlier in the season, we had a good sing song both on the way there and back so I put a Heartbeat CD on for us to enjoy. As we were on the coach ready to leave Elland Road I was talking to my friend Sue when in mid-sentence I shouted “what the hell are you doing there!” Well of course a lone magpie had decided to land on the Peacock fence and I couldn’t believe it. Of course the superstitions arose but I said “no, we are not letting that happen today!”
Our stop today was in Chesterfield and it didn’t take us long to get there. It was very busy for a while but we managed to find some seats. I’d gone back to the bar to queue and as I was stood there this lad to the left of me ran out of the pub saying, I’m not stopping it’s going to kick off! I realised there were a group of them including a couple of lasses so I asked who they were. They were Derby fans on their way to Sheffield Wednesday. I assured them there would be no kicking off from any of us and also said no doubt there would be Leeds fans in the other pubs anyway. Tony bought my co-authored book The Good, the Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United for his son and a big thank you for the support. We arrived at the ground in good time and passed the Beech pub which I think has Leeds fans running it. After a chat to big Mick Hewitt I went into the ground and kept talking to people so only got into the stand five minutes before kick-off.
There were changes to the team today: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor, Phillips, Vieira, Wood, Doukara, Roofe and Hernandez. Subs were Sacko for Doukara and Pedraza for Phillips. Attendance was 6,073 with approx. 1600 Leeds fans. There was also a beam back of the game at Elland Road.
It was a nice sunny day as the game kicked off although there was a lot of apprehension in the air from the Leeds fans. Some were really positive whereas I was going to take things as they came. We started off quite well and it wasn’t long before we had the ball in the net. As I was just going to zoom in on the players celebrating I realised the fans arms in front of me had gone down as the goal had been disallowed. As it was too far away to see why, I will look forward to seeing highlights later. Instead of this giving us the impetus though and got us fired up, it was Burton who seemed to be getting into the game more. We had a lot of passes going astray as the anxiety amongst the players took hold. The score remained goalless at half time but as many fans had heard that Fulham were winning at Huddersfield the mood was quite sombre. The Leeds fans had tried to get things going many a time but you could sense that there was a lot of apprehension about. As I spoke to Greeny at half time, he said things had a de ja vue about them as we had been in this position before. I said I couldn’t see us doing it sadly as I’d had a gut feeling things wouldn’t work for us.
In the second half Leeds were attacking the goal to our right where the Leeds fans on the terraces were. We were close to the pitch and had a good view at this end. One cross from Charlie Taylor at the far side of the pitch was pin pointed right to the top of Chris Wood’s head only for a defender to get in front of him. We did have a couple of chances and I said as things could go either way at the time, the first goal would tell which way it was going. On 75 minutes we heard the Burton fans for the first time since the start of the game and for some reason it had an effect as the ball ended up in our net. I’d also just said their players had long legs whilst our players had short legs, but as they persevered they got around our players to score. If that wasn’t all it didn’t take long before they got a second. The consensus from many angry fans was that we had bottled it and thrown it away. I said maybe we could make a comeback then we scored a goal to pull one back. Although we came close to scoring another a bit later, we were destined to our second defeat in a week.
As we were walking back to the coaches a lad said he’s just bought my second book Once a Leeds fan, always a Leeds fan on his Kindle so unfortunately I couldn’t autograph that for him! I’d arranged to see Allen one of the Welsh lads at the game as he wanted my book Follow Me and Leeds United. I thought I’d seen him in the opposite side of the ground to me but thought I’d have to post it out to him. All of a sudden he appeared at the side of me so a big thank you to Allen too. As with any of the books, I look forward to receiving feedback about them in due course.
Whilst I realise we hadn’t played well in many games this season, for some reason we got points that kept us up in the top six for a long while. Yes it is gutting that we have got so near but yet so far, but I would hate to see us play like this in a play off or at Wembley, as well as the money it would cost us. If we were by some miracle to still get there I would take it but as I say gut feelings tell me otherwise. It is such a shame but if this is to be the case then we need to go all out next season and get automatic promotion, never mind depending on play offs! Whether this happens at all depends so much on what happens next at Leeds over the next few weeks. With so many players on loans or not signed contracts including Monk, we look to be teetering on a knife edge once again. For once I want us to have stability and build on what we have got. Starting again by getting rid of most of the team is not an option at all! We as fans have shown how good our support is and how we will back the team and the club and now we shall see what happens with this 50:50 ownership. Whether mc goes in June as suggested, then only time will tell. Also with the full house signs up for the Norwich home game next week, we really have nothing to play for now but as they say until the fat lady stops singing there is always a chance! See you there LUFC – Marching on Together.