Leeds United are never out of the news but the timing of the FA revealing their results from the Kiko case showed their true colours once again. The announcement at 7.30pm the evening before our game today, proclaimed, they had found him guilty on the probability of his supposed racist comment when we played at Charlton last year. Why on earth were their written findings not announced too so they could be scrutinised to see how they came to that conclusion? What happened to innocent until found guilty? Why is it assumed that the accuser was telling the truth and not Kiko when he denied the accusations? I think it is disgraceful that when Kiko said that he would never use words in a racist meaning, that the FA are able to cast a slur on someone that will be there for the rest of his life with their decision. I never saw anything untoward happen during the Charlton game and didn’t capture any photos that I took at the time that would have said something had taken place. Kiko had the support of the Leeds fans at the game today which shows that I’m not the only one questioning the decision that was made. I await the written findings from the FA now.
Our morning stop was in Selby and back in my neck of the woods. My friend Sue and I met at Selby High for girls in 1966 and have been friends ever since. Her dad took me to my first Leeds game for Sue’s 12th birthday and as you say, the rest is history as we are still here supporting our team. By the time we arrived in Hull the sun was shining. With more storms on the horizon it was a nice surprise. This time we had been given behind the goal which had sold out in minutes, but I know many Leeds fans had their tickets cancelled in the Hull end in the last few days. With an empty upper tier in the main stand, it would have made sense to sell them to our fans as they’d have sold out quickly too. The Leeds fans were in good voice underneath the stand where I’d gone after putting my flag up. With lads on shoulders or balancing on the partitions, they were keeping the rest of us entertained. I’d been queuing for a cuppa only to realise it was five minutes to kick-off so abandoned my queue to go to my seat.
The team: Meslier, Cooper, Ayling, White, Hernandez, Harrison, Costa, Bamford, Dallas, Phillips and Klich. Subs: Roberts for Bamford (66), Shackleton for Hernandez (88) and Alioski for Harrison (89). Referee: K. Stroud. Attendance: 16,178 with 3,519 Leeds fans plus 100+ in the Hull ends that came to join us in the away end. Leeds won the game 4-0 with goals from Ayling (5), Hernandez (47) and Roberts with a brace (81 and 84).
With a Leeds United team and the fans having a siege mentality today, we had to show others that together we are a force to be dealt with. Within five minutes we got off to a flying start taking the lead, when a fantastic shot from outside the area hurtled into the net from a deflection. As I was wondering who number 7 was as I didn’t have my glasses on, the fans starting chanting for Ayling. I must have had reminisces of Peter Lorimer with that shot. As the sun was shining so brightly and it was hard to see I put my glasses on as they have tinted lenses. It also got very hot in the sun although later when it went behind the clouds there was a chill in the air. A few minutes later another fantastic shot from Hernandez bounced back off the crossbar when it looked destined to give us a second goal. With Meslier making his league debut, he was very composed having taken the place of Casilla and I felt we were in safe hands. He made a save from a deflected Hull shot but Hull didn’t really put him under too much pressure. We had lots of possession during the first half and when Phillips was bundled off the ball to set up a Hull attack, he looked very upset. I think it was Ayling who tried to cheer him up. With Phillips coming back in after his injury, it looked like he may have to go off at half time as Berardi was being warmed up at the side of the pitch. Both Harrison and Costa were playing well down both wings, but we weren’t able to capitalise on our dominance before the break.
Luckily for us Phillips came back out for the second half as we set off with a bang after Hull had an early chance to equalise. Meslier made the save and a minute later we had doubled our lead. A great cross from Harrison saw Costa pass the ball to Hernandez who stuck it into the net to the jubilance of the Leeds fans. As Leeds continued to dominate, Hull had their keeper to thank for keeping our score down to two goals as he saved from both Costa and Klich. Hull did have a couple of chances but Meslier was on form tipping the ball over the crossbar and with another I thought he’d pushed the ball around the post when in fact it had hit it. He had the ball covered though. Bamford was booked after he’d been fouled. He’d got around their player on the wing after being held back and then their player pushed Bamford right in front of the ref. We couldn’t believe both getting booked instead of just the Hull player. Harrison hit a great shot which bounced back off the post with the keeper beaten which was a shame as he deserved a goal for that effort. When Costa had another shot saved by the keeper, Hull should be thankful he kept the score line down. As it was, we did increase our lead with Roberts getting a brace after pinpoint passes from Klich. The first was after Leeds charged out from defence with some great attacking which Roberts finished off and the second one was a header. That was it, game over as Hull fans streamed to the exits with the Leeds fans celebrating. The result was no more than we deserved though, and it was so nice to get a big win and the just rewards for our dominance even though at times it wasn’t a good game. In the last 15 minutes though Leeds our fitness levels told, as we were charging out of defence. I thought Harrison played very well today, and Costa got into the game a lot too. That was the reply needed from Leeds today to the powers that be, and long may it continue. On our way out of the ground there were a group of fans here from Argentina and one of them took a photo including me and then I caught our rogue’s gallery going back to the coaches. On our way back to Leeds a couple of photos showed how bad the flooding was in my locality which was sad to see.
Next week sees me going in early for my hospitality win but I may still go in my own seat for the game. I need to meet up with some fans and catch some of the Peacock Choir singing prior to the game so as usual it will be a busy day. Thanks for the feedback today from fans who have read my books, blogs or wanting to meet up for signings. As always, your comments are appreciated. See you on Saturday, 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 now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United
Website: www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United: Instagram: Heidi Haigh – lufcheidi @followmeandleedsunited