Having missed the last two games to Newport and Forest due to the opportunity I had to take it was good to be back at Elland Road after the international break. Having managed at long last to go to Florida and Disneyworld on holiday with my family and swim with the dophins it was something I have wanted to do for the last 14 years. The only drawback to this was Hurricane Irma. With some of the group still over there it has been very worrying to hear that they would have to ride out the storm due to no places on the planes. To hear they have now got on the last flight out of Orlando before the airport shuts in a few hours is such a relief and the sooner they are on their way the better. Having seen on WACCOE that there are some of our fans still out there with their families, please stay safe and my fingers are crossed that you escape the worst of the storm.
My first visit was to the tunnel at the bottom of Lowfields to see the mural that has been painted that the LUFC Trust raised funds for. Although I didn’t vote for this design, it looks great and is a fitting tribute to Wilko and the team. After taking photos of this, then the new fan bar outside the North East corner I headed first to the club shop, before Billy’s Bar to meet Peter Wilkinson who had come over from South Africa and is a member of the Johannesburg Supporters Club. After having a chat to Steph and William I said I was going to look for Peter and he was right in front of me as he’d spotted me. Lots of people were going past and saying hello to me. It was nice to be told that I’d been missed and also that because I hadn’t written my blog for Follow Me and Leeds United they were glad I was back! There were some Irish fans there from East Antrim and Louth who I was introduced before I had a chat with Susan. She has just got a puppy and knowing my love for the great Leeds United number 4, named him Bremner! That’s so nice.
The Peacock was my next port of call and I was asked to take some photos by some of the regulars including Terje from Norway and then had a good chat with some more. One asked me what we would do today and I said that I expected us to turn up as a team not like in the past where the break affected the play big style. It was pointed out that Christiansen had also said that he broke that duck in Cyprus. I just felt that things would be completely different under this regime as they want to win.. On my way out I saw the lad from Germany who supports Carl Zeiss Jena and said hello. The team name always brings back fond memories for me as that is the only home game my dad attended with me as he came from Zeitz (near Leipzig) in East Germany. I can always remember passing the ground on the way to see some of my dad’s family when it was under the Russian rule. Again today has already shown the breadth of the great Leeds United worldwide support including a shout out to our fans travelling from Cornwall and down south. As ever our true loyal support for what was going to be a big expected crowd of over 30,000.
The team today was Wiedwald, Anita, Cooper, Jansson, Ayling, Phillips, O’Kane, Hernandez, Saiz, Roofe and Lasogga making his debut. Subs were Dallas for Anita (45), Klich for O’Kane (56) and Grot for Lasogga (62). Subs not used were Lonergan, Shaughnessy, Cibicki and Alioski. Attendance was 33,404 with 372 Burton fans. Leeds won 5-0 with goals from Lasogga 20 and 59, Phillips 35, Hernandez (pen) 44 and Roofe 54.
There was a great buzz about the ground as kick off approached and I was expecting a good atmosphere and good football. The first thing Burton did was turn us around so that we attacked the Kop in the first half. My first thoughts were that it wouldn’t make a difference as playing towards the South Stand when it is full of Leeds fans too means that we don’t get inconvenienced anymore. We had two attacks in the first few minutes where we were unlucky not to take an early lead, denied by an off the line clearance and their goalie. It didn’t take long for Lasogga to score on his debut to put us into the lead. When Phillips hit a shot from the edge of the box to give us a second, this immediately gave us some breathing space. The scoring wasn’t over either and Saiz linking well together Lasogga meant the latter hit the post before having a further shot tipped over the bar. We didn’t have long to wait then when we were awarded a penalty which Hernandez took to put us 3-0 up at the break. When someone had told me that was Eddie Gray’s score prediction earlier, I don’t think even he expected that score line by half time!
The second half saw Leeds continue where they left off as Burton remained well and truly under the cosh. Roofe was the next one to score before Lasogga scored his second of the game with a header. The bit that really impressed me was Wiedwald using the sweeper keeper role to our advantage, then the pace of the attack and the ball was nestling in the back of the Burton goal before you knew it. 5-0 and it was game over. Not quite as Burton had a rare attack, but as the final shot ballooned over the bar, there was nothing at all to worry about. One thing I will say about Lasogga is look at what happens when someone believes in you and gives you some TLC!
This was what us Leeds fans had been waiting years for, seeing the team playing as a team, having a manager that could bring out the best of his players and an owner who recognises the side before self and the loyalty of a great support. With a near sell-out crowd today, what I will say is that United are back! We are finally looking as a club moving forward in the right way and this is something I feel very positive about. This is the start of the journey of the Sleeping Giant who has awakened becoming a big force in football once again. Because of this my blog from last season has been put together for a book called The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United Season 2016-2017 that should be out for Christmas! Despite it being early doors, the fact that we have gone eight games unbeaten and want to win games goes a long way to giving us a great start to the season. Believe me Leeds United fans, but I think there are some good times on the way for our long suffering fans. If you can get to Elland Road to be part of it, go to away games, watch the game on TV, listen on the radio or read my blog, we can all share our passion for this club and as always I think our fans are second to none! Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again rang out from the terraces with our gallows humour and I love it! It was great seeing the South Stand sing East Stand, East Stand give us a song, who did just that and the Kop joined in. There are special times coming back to Leeds and even though we may have ups and downs along the way, we should take each game as it comes and enjoy it. Let others worry about having to play us once again but they can let us have the three points every time please!
Tuesday sees our second home game in a week against Birmingham and after going second in the table today after our 5-0 win it will be great to see us carry this on. Being second in the table means we have to aspire for automatic promotion and keep this run going. Instead of playing a one dimensional game which never changes we have been playing some fantastic football with players who want to play for the shirt. Giving their all, the same as the fans, is all we ask and long may it continue! See you Tuesday LUFC – Marching on Together!