Charlton v Leeds United 28th September 2019 at The Valley

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Well it was nice to see Leeds United rattle other fans this week when Bielsa won FIFA’s Fair Play award for letting Aston Villa score last season. Whilst that is one time I disagreed with Bielsa as we had scored a legitimate goal, it was funny seeing the outrage on social media. It’s a shame there wasn’t the same sense of outrage on hearing that Derby County had wrecked the away dressing room last season at Elland Road as well as leaving a brown substance on the floor. After the whole outrage from Derby over #spygate last season that they whipped up in the media, they certainly haven’t had the same outrage that happens when there is anything to do with Leeds. After the drunken antics and car crashes a couple of days ago involving their players, they seem to have got a lot less coverage than they should. Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

As I left home this morning I put my big coat on as it was raining and cold. As someone tweeted me back saying it was warm in London, I was glad to find out later on that was indeed the case. We had a good trip down to London but hit road closures in the capital that meant we only had just over an hour at our stop near Tower Bridge. The traffic issues didn’t end there though because it took us 1 hour 40 minutes to get to the ground. Our coach was to park outside the ground itself but the amount of time it took the police to decide we could go through after all was ludicrous. Whilst we were waiting for the decision to be made, a reversing police van twice nearly ran some fans over as he clearly wasn’t watching behind him.

With 20 minutes to kick-off we managed to tie my flag up before my daughter Danielle went to the front of the stand, whilst I had to go around the stand to get to the top part. As the team came out I found I wasn’t feeling well and got really hot and felt ready to pass out. As my new glasses made me feel very dizzy I decided to do without today and try them again another day.

The team: Casilla, Cooper, Alioski, Dallas, Phillips, Costa (his first league start as Hernandez was out injured), Bamford, Shackleton, Klich, Harrison and White. Subs: Nketiah for Alioski (45), Forshaw for Shackleton (45) and Roberts for Bamford (68). Attendance was 21,808 with3,179 Leeds fans. Leeds lost the game 1-0 with Charlton’s manager, ex-Leeds player Lee Bowyer, gaining the advantage over Bielsa. Once again Leeds were without a mascot and I can’t understand why?

Leeds started on the attack but the resulting corners didn’t end up in the net although their keeper made a save from White. We were seeing plenty of the ball but Charlton, looking a strong side having gained promotion at the end of last season, blocked most of the chances. We got another couple of shots on target but their keeper saved the shots. Although we had been having most of the chances, Charlton won a few free kicks and on the half hour mark they got the ball into the net in front of the Leeds fans to put them into the lead. That was the cue for me to stop feeling sorry for myself as I gradually started to feel better. Casilla looked to be at fault for their goal as I watched the replay on the screen, as he looked to have stopped the ball and then let it trickle over the line. I’d said before the game that I thought he had been doing better recently especially as last season it ended with me shouting expletives at him. I should have kept my big mouth shut again! Before I knew it the half time whistle had gone in what had been a fast first half.

The second half saw Bielsa make two changes with both Nketiah and Forshaw coming on in place of Alioski and Shackleton. Unfortunately things didn’t get any better as the terraces full of Leeds fans became quieter although the home fans who were in good voice, were helped by a drum! When Bamford lashed out and fouled one of their players, I immediately thought he was in trouble especially when one of the Charlton players came across and pushed him violently. They both received a booking and shortly after that Bamford was subbed which wasn’t a surprise. A few players were letting their frustrations show today, including Phillips, which surprised me. Roberts coming on as sub upped the tempo with the Leeds players but we weren’t clinical enough in front of goal. Even though we had five minutes of injury time we couldn’t get an equaliser and ended up with our first away defeat of the season.

Lee Bowyer came over to clap the Leeds fans at the end of the game and did the Leeds salute. I’d seen someone mention the court case he’d been involved in and said that he’d not forgiven him for leaving Leeds. If Ridsdale had fined him in the first place I think that would have been accepted. To have Bowyer play out of his skin in those games during the trial, get found not guilty and then decided to fine him was wrong in my eyes. It knocked the stuffing out of Bowyer and the relationship with the chairman ended there and then. Things shouldn’t have happened in the first place and started our downfall, but they could have been rescued if it hadn’t have been for Ridsdale in my opinion.

Today was a bad day at the office as we never looked like scoring. It was a bad view for the goal in front of the Leeds fans so I’m not sure how close we came to scoring? With a home game against West Brom on Tuesday and back to London for the Millwall game next week, it feels like normality has resumed. It was good to eventually get home at 11pm after heavy rain most of the way back. A miserable day on the pitch had a miserable ending despite the weather staying fine whilst we were in London. Anyway as we are gluttons for punishment, we’ll be back again on Tuesday so see you there. 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 soon: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

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