Leeds United v Huddersfield Town 7th March 2020 at Elland Road

I’d not been worried at all about today’s game until a lad started talking to me about it at work. Suddenly, my stomach churning started but I decided that my out of sight, out of mind method works best! Just concentrate on Leeds United, it works wonders. Having been ill all week which I’ve blamed on going to Hull, it meant I haven’t posted as much this week. As we headed to Elland Road earlier than usual, it was because I’d won a couple of corporate tickets for the game. It was going to be a change to my usual routine of heading to the Peacock as my hubby accompanied me into the Pavilion. The place was packed out with more tables than usual and I know for some fans, it is the only way they can get a ticket now Elland Road is sold out every game. We enjoyed a three-course meal, drinks (we stuck with water and soft drinks) and saw Jermaine Beckford, Tony Dorigo, John Hendrie, Steve Hodge and Neil Aspin. The latter remembered coming to the Selby branch of the Supporter’s Club do when he won player of the year which he said must have been 1985. Ian and his daughter Lucy from Stafford had got the other pair of tickets in our group who also enjoyed the great hospitality that had been put on. The staff were very helpful and there was a good atmosphere in there. There were fans who had travelled from Bulgaria, Thailand, Australia and later I met a Danish Leeds fan to name a few, which shows once again the great worldwide fanbase we have.

Thank you for the support Tina, who had travelled from Scotland for the game, for buying my book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United. Also, thanks to those of you who spoke to me about following my blogs too. As we headed into the game things didn’t quite go to plan. I was swapping places with my daughter Michelle as she was joining my hubby in the corporate seats whilst I was going in the Kop as usual with my daughter Danielle and granddaughter Laura. As I waited for the girls, my hubby was queuing to get into the stand only to come back out of the turnstile. The damn ticket wouldn’t work, and it turns out that his wasn’t the only ticket with an issue today. As it was close to kick off, we got him in on the other ticket to make sure that one worked, and Michelle went to get a new one printed. We got in just before the teams came out.

The team: Meslier, Ayling, Cooper, Berardi, White, Dallas, Harrison, Costa, Bamford, Hernandez and Klich. Subs: Roberts for Bamford (79), Shackleton for Klich (83) and Alioski for Harrison (90). Referee: O. Langford. Attendance: 36,514 with 2,647 Town fans who’d sold out their allocation making this the highest of the season. Leeds won the game 2-0 with goals from Luke Ayling (3) and Bamford (51).

With Phillips out injured, Berardi came back into the defence again with White taking Phillip’s role. Leeds got off to a thunderous start taking the lead in the third minute. Harrison crossed a wonderful ball from the left to Ayling, who met it with a superb volley that hit the underside of the crossbar before hitting the back of the net as Elland Road erupted. What a start, that is just what we needed to set the tone of the game. I’d say that was a great celebration from Ayling for his daughter’s third birthday today. Things evened out for a while as Town had a good chance but Meslier managed to save the ball when he sat on it. They had a couple of corners and had lots of players trying to put Meslier off and it was nice to end up with the free kick for a foul with one of them.

Before the game when scores were being predicted, nearly everyone said we would concede one goal, whereas I insisted we had to give them nothing. Our breaking out of defence into attack nearly brought us a second goal but Costa’s chance went wide, as did another couple of chances by Harrison and White.

We’d gone into the break in the lead and I said we needed to start the second half the same as we did the first. Well I wasn’t far wrong. Although their keeper had to be on his toes to keep out both Harrison and Bamford, we increased our lead six minutes after the restart. Leeds won a free kick to the left of the box which Hernandez took. Their keeper made a fantastic save from White, but Bamford made no mistake when the ball came to him and he stuck it into the net to lift the roof off Elland Road. I was pleased to see Bamford get the just rewards for his hard work of recent weeks. During the game we were guilty of some bad passing at times from Berardi and Hernandez which resulted in Town getting the upper hand, but overall, we managed to deal with them quite well. When Harrison hit a fantastic shot from the left of us, it hit the angle of the crossbar and post to the right of us and Hernandez’s shot was then blocked. Wow, that move so deserved a goal. Elland Road was bouncing as the noise erupted around the ground into fever pitch as Leeds played some fantastic passing football. This was brought to a halt when a Town player went down before going off injured. That was a real shame because it took the sting out of the game. Although Town hadn’t given up, when one shot rebounded off Meslier, our defence were there backing him up and got the ball to safety. When the linesman to our left went off injured and the fourth official came on instead, we were hoping that he’d be better with the offside rule. Wrong! The first thing he did was put the flag up for offside to a chorus of boos from the Leeds fans. I hadn’t been unduly worried about them scoring but knew we’d be heading into a lot of injury time. With the goal, all the subs and the ref injury, I was expecting at least seven minutes added on, so it was a nice surprise to see only five minutes on the clock. When their player went down in the penalty area under a challenge in front of the South Stand, my heart sank as I expected the ref to point to the penalty spot. It was a relief when he gave a goal kick, and someone said their player was booked for diving. The ref had been very busy with his bookings today with three Leeds and three Town in total going into the book.

Another win and another three points which is all I ask for. Well done Leeds United as you’ve sent a fan base home very happy! Don’t worry about those other teams around us, concentrate on us and play to our strengths. We can do this just ‘Keep Fighting’ and never give up. See you for that early start to Cardiff on Sunday, 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

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Hull City v Leeds United 29th February 2020 at the KCOM Stadium

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Middlesbrough v Leeds United 26th February 2020 at The Riverside

Travelling to the game after work, I found out on the coach that I’d won a corporate ticket to the Huddersfield game. As someone who always wears my Leeds colours, it was a relief to know that I can still do that. Having never been in corporate before as I prefer to be on the terraces, it will be a different experience that’s for sure. I’m going to meet a friend for my book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United a bit earlier than intended now, so hopefully that doesn’t impact too much on her. Also, it was nice to see Jonny Joseph secretary of LUSC Los Angeles travelling with us to the game.

We were the last coach to arrive for the police escort and we set off as soon as we got there. Getting to the ground was no issue but trying to get 15 coachloads of Leeds fans who arrived at the same time through the turnstiles, was a bigger challenge. I met some Leeds fans who said they’d been talking to a friend in Australia who knew me. As I share my blog with the Australian Whites it is nice to know that fans do read it. Another fan told me to keep posting on LinkedIn too so thank you everyone who does read my blogs. Eventually as one of the queues didn’t move, I went through a different one but only one turnstile was working. Eventually the second one started working again but then the lad in front of me couldn’t get his ticket to work. At first, we thought it was because we were in the wrong turnstile according to the ticket, but he let me through first and mine worked. Luckily, we still got in before kick-off and my flag was put up at the front of the stand. I went the wrong way across the stand to find my seat before I retraced my steps and found it just as the game started. I also had to delete lots of photos on my camera as the SD card was full, what an idiot for not checking it from Saturday! It meant I’d to go back at the end of the game to find our steward Phil Thumbsup Cresswell who was celebrating his 60th birthday, as the photo I took at the start wouldn’t open.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Berardi, Hernandez, Bamford, Costa, Harrison, Klich and Dallas. Sub: Shackleton for Hernandez (73). Referee: G. Ward. Attendance: 24,647 with 4,400 Leeds fans. Leeds won the game with a goal by Klich in injury time at the end of the first half (45+1).

It didn’t take long to realise that Boro’s finishing was very poor and I felt that the game was there for the taking. Even though we weren’t passing brilliantly at times which went to Boro players instead, their shots at goal were way off target with one going out for a Leeds throw. As far as I was concerned, they could do that all game. One thing I noticed was they had narrowed the pitch which I felt took us a little while to get used to. We’d had a couple of chances with a Bamford header being saved and another shot from him going narrowly wide. Stuart Dallas had a great shot saved by their keeper before we had a penalty appeal turned down when Costa was brought down in the area. Leeds continued to attack and both Harrison and Bamford had shots saved by their keeper. With injury time on the clock, Leeds pressed forward again, and Bamford passed the ball to Hernandez only to see his shot bounce back off the post. Just when we thought the chance had gone, Hernandez got the ball again and passed to Klich who put the ball into the net to send the Leeds fans wild just before the whistle went for half time. A very timely goal to put us in a good position. There was a lively atmosphere down underneath the stands which wasn’t surprising but it’s nice to hear happy singing Leeds fans.

The second half saw the Boro keeper once again keeping a Leeds shot out this time from Dallas. Not long after this Boro looked as if they wanted to get something out of the game and Casilla was called into action making a great save from a long-range shot. They started to put some pressure on us but our breaking out from defence into attack was good to see. The keeper then denied Hernandez a goal before we had another penalty appeal turned down. This one was even more blatant when Harrison was fouled in the area, but the referee played on. He did play on numerous times for both sides which is better than having stop and start free kicks all over the place, but he got that decision wrong. Harrison was limping for a short while afterwards. I thought Howson started to get into the game more which impacted on the way Boro played and they hit the crossbar with Casilla beaten. That was the only time I worried they may get back into the game. Leeds looked certain to double the lead as Ayling passed the ball from the byline across the goalmouth. As shouts went up saying how did Bamford miss that one, replays later showed that the ball deflected just in front of him which luckily for Boro ensured their keeper could save it. The deflection was the difference to the ball not going in the net. I said it wasn’t going to make a difference as we would win, Boro were rubbish and weren’t allowed to score. We didn’t give up and Harrison came close again with another shot going narrowly wide. Leeds had to be on their toes in the final minutes when Boro won a free kick just outside the area, with Casilla eventually saving the ball after a deflection. We managed to see the game out to get a vital win and another three points. That’ll do for me Leeds so keep going! After the team had clapped the Leeds fans at the end of the game, Phillips who was still injured came and got the Leeds fans cheering three times with his new routine again. As the team were heading off the pitch suddenly, the few Boro fans behind the goal started trying to get to some Leeds fans. When I zoomed the camera in, they were mostly young kids oh dear!

Saturday sees us head to Hull for the lunchtime kick-off but same as Boro tonight, the clubs could have given us even more tickets and we would have sold them. I can’t believe they would rather throw the money away than have Leeds fans take over their grounds even more! With more bad weather forecast for the weekend with high winds, I hope they shut the high bridge at Goole as I do not want to go over that. I can remember going over there in a double decker bus with the Halifax Whites and many of them on the top deck were trying to get the bus to tip over by all going to the seats at the left-hand side. To say I was worried is an understatement. It was that same horrendous feeling I’d had whilst crossing Carlton bridge last Sunday with the river high and starting to flood which two days later became a torrent. 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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Leeds United v Reading 22nd February 2020 at Elland Road

Being back at Elland Road for the second home game in a week was just the therapy I needed after waking up not feeling well and having to drag myself to the game. Even though the trip was via Rastrick and Wakefield, as usual, once I was back at the ground and amongst our fans, I started to feel better. Whilst taking a photo of some friends, I had to encourage a Reading fan to join in for the photo. When he said I wouldn’t want a Reading fan on the photo, my remark was that I don’t discriminate against anyone and am very inclusive with my photos. With a quick trip to the Peacock, I hadn’t realised there was a queue to the back door as I walked right past everyone until it was pointed out to me. It didn’t take long to get in there though and the Peacock choir were in full voice which was nice to hear. Going into the ground we went via the fan zone so we could hear Paul Wilson performing on the stage. His song The King of Elland Road was used to promote my book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United and my granddaughter Hannah loves singing this.

My walk to the front of the Kop took me to the right place where Argentinian journalist Andrea D’Emilio was just getting her photo taken. She had contacted me a few months back to say she was coming to the game and wanted to meet me. Thank you for a copy of the book she has written Los Locos Del Loco, La Hinchada de Marcelo Bielsa which is appreciated. She signed the book to Heidi a crazy Leeds fan and I can guarantee that I certainly am lol!

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Hernandez, Bamford, Costa, Klich, Phillips, Dallas and Harrison. Subs: Alioski for Phillips (injured 37) and Shackleton for Hernandez (85). Leeds won the game 1-0 with Hernandez scoring the Leeds goal (57). Referee: J. Gillett.  Attendance: 35,483 with 806 Reading fans.

With Leeds turned around at kick-off so that we would be attacking the Kop in the first half, for once I wasn’t unduly worried or superstitious. As I said to someone before the game, I don’t worry about any other club and make my observations on what I see on the pitch. With the weather conditions of heavy winds going to have an impact on the game, it was a case of playing the best we can. Leeds set off on the attack and Costa had a great chance that went wide of the post. After a foul on one of our players, the referee played the advantage and Klich brought a save out of their keeper. What was good to see was the referee then go back and book the player for the foul. The same thing had happened to Ayling previously when he ended up in the book after an advantage to Reading was played. Phillips made a couple of crunching tackles to win the ball as Leeds continued to press forward. Casilla made a good save to keep Reading out just before the half hour mark. Phillips was treated for an injury and sadly not long afterwards had to be replaced by Alioski. That was such a shame as he’d been playing well once again, but hopefully the injury isn’t going to be too bad although he was still limping at the end of the game. Dallas switched sides as Leeds reshuffled the team but continued to attack and were very unlucky to go into the break on equal terms due to good defending and goalkeeping. One attack had stood out when our player was in an offside position but stood back as another one took the ball forward. The linesman to our left immediately put his flag up as the Leeds fans were going mad saying the one offside hadn’t touched the ball. I wasn’t sure if the referee overruled him and we played on as I couldn’t see to be sure, so hopefully someone else can clarify what happened.

Leeds started the second half on the attack too, coming close with shots from both Klich and Costa going wide. Bamford was the next to have a shot saved before Leeds took the lead through Hernandez at the second attempt. With his first shot blocked, the ball rebounded for him to hit the ball into the top corner of the goal to the delight of the Leeds United fans. Reading had been dealt with mostly as our players closed them down, but they won a free kick when their player was already on his way down before anyone touched him. Justice was served as their player blasted the ball way over the goal to the cheers of the Leeds fans. Hernandez’s free kick brought a great save out of their keeper as we limited Reading’s chances. In the last minutes of the game though, Casilla made a great save to ensure we got the win right at the death. Another three points which is good to see in our challenge for automatic promotion. With two away games at both Boro and Hull, just play to our strengths and don’t give up. We can do this Leeds! 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 now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Leeds United v Bristol City 15th February 2020 at Elland Road

With other Leeds fans calling for our support to be the twelfth man today, it was fantastic to see us getting that siege mentality back, getting behind the lads and having a fantastic atmosphere. We must do this for every game and it certainly made a difference today along with a fighting performance from the team. Keep going Leeds, we can do this!

Despite storm Dennis on its way to lashing the UK today, I managed to get to Elland Road with my granddaughter Alexis during a lull in the weather. Getting there in good time we went to the front of the club shop to meet Paul who was buying two of my books Back to Reality and Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United. Enjoy the read and it was good to hear that he enjoys reading my blogs all the time so thank you for the support. We had a quick visit to the Peacock, and it was nice to see some of the Halifax Whites in there with Shuy who was here from Australia. It turned out he had a ticket not far from me in the ground. Again, we timed it right getting into the ground before the rain started but it meant there would be challenging conditions for the players today.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Dallas, Costa, Bamford, Klich, Hernandez, Phillips and Harrison. Subs: Augustin for Bamford (75) and Shackleton for Hernandez (90). Referee: T. Robinson. Attendance was 35,819 with 1,203 Bristol fans. Leeds won the game 1-0 with a goal by Ayling (16).

Leeds were up for the game from the off as we attacked towards the South Stand. We continued to attack and took a deserved lead in the 16th minute when Leeds had shot after shot blocked before Ayling got on the end of the ball to hit it into the net. Within a few minutes Bamford put the ball into the net to give us a second goal or so we thought, only for the linesman to put his flag up for offside. Once again, a Bamford goal was chalked off by the officials. That is at least three goals he has been denied this season due to official decisions or being awarded as an own goal instead. That is so frustrating for him and us. It felt that had that goal been awarded, then we would have gone on to get a hatful. Costa was brought down by a Bristol player only for the ref to play on. With that Costa ran on and hit a fantastic shot that their keeper did well to save. I said he should get his angry head on more often! It had been a very one-sided game with Leeds fighting for every ball, continuing to attack and kept Bristol down to a late chance as we went into the break with a one goal lead. The Leeds crowd had played their part too which was great to see and hear despite many of them at the front of the stands having to contend with the worst of the weather. I’m glad our seats are far enough back and that we aren’t in the family stand anymore as we used to get wet in those seats.

The second half saw Bristol attack first, but Leeds carried on dominating the game as Harrison and Costa kept attacking down the flanks.  Phillips was in great form again showing how much we had missed him as he put some great balls through. We looked dangerous every time we came forward and the Bristol keeper was in fantastic form as he kept out what looked like certain goals from Bamford and Costa. Bamford’s shot was low and looked to be going under the keeper only for him to land on the ball and stop it going into the goal. Costa had beaten the keeper only for him to somehow fling himself at the ball to stop it going into the net. He led a charmed life that’s for sure and Bristol had him to thank for keeping the score down. As we had attack after attack, I thought we wouldn’t attempt to make any changes to the team. I was disappointed to see Bamford was then taken off for Augustin as I didn’t think he deserved to be subbed. What he brings to the team cannot be discounted and he looked disappointed to be taken off. I would like to have seen him stay on as well as Augustin as you could see immediately the difference once he went off. Shortly afterwards we gained the upper hand again as Harrison’s shot hit the crossbar. We deserved that second goal but unfortunately with the woodwork and the keeper in outstanding form it was proving hard to get. We had limited Bristol to very few attacks and most of them were dealt with comfortably although one looked too close for comfort. Shackleton came on to replace Hernandez to ensure we got the points. It was great to see Shackleton add pace to the game in injury time as Leeds attacked and we were unlucky that Augustin’s shot went past the wrong side of the post.

As the final whistle blew everyone on the terraces were ecstatic to get the win. As the cheering went on for ages it really was good to see how everyone had come together today and that’s what we need to do every game. I loved this side today and everyone played their part so well done to everybody. The three points were very important today as we got the win and the bonus of a clean sheet as other teams around us capitulated. Another home game next week with Reading the visitors and hopefully I am meeting an Argentinian journalist so want to be there early. Enjoy the win everyone and see you next week. 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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Brentford v Leeds United 11th February at Griffin Park

Leeds fans are at their best when we are all on the same page with that siege mentality. Now, more than ever we need to get that back despite results or differences of opinions. Keep fighting, never say die and do our best to get that spine-tingling atmosphere back which I love. The team will know we are behind them and must also never give up. We must still believe, and I am not ready to throw the towel in yet.

The one thing that has really upset me this last week is seeing that our older fans are getting the blame for the dire atmospheres and being told to stop going to away games. Eventually I got so riled up I had to say something. Those who have built up their loyalty over years and years, through thick and thin, through good and bad times should roll over and let others have their tickets? Not in a million years should that happen and I for one am not going to relinquish my ticket. Whether the demographic change of our support has something to do with things changing I am not sure, but loyal fans getting the blame is not the way to do it. Our support has stood up over the years which is why we have the worldwide fan base that we have, and their loyalty should be acknowledged. Embrace what we have because we do know for certain, that if things do change for the worse again, those fans will still be there regardless. We are going to do this, come on Leeds. Someone passed me in the seats and said he’d stuck up for me so I’m assuming it was to do with this.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Klich, Dallas, Phillips, Costa, White, Harrison, Hernandez and Bamford. Sub: Augustin for Bamford (76). Leeds drew 1-1 with Cooper getting our goal (39). Referee: R.Jones. Attendance: 12,294 with 1,400 Leeds fans.

My message to Leeds before the game was that I was still behind Bielsa, Leeds should Keep Fighting and never say die. The team should prove the doubters wrong starting with Brentford. I’m glad my pep talk worked lol! Seriously though I’m still going to believe we can do this however hard it is. Leeds tonight produced a great fighting performance and the psychological boost of gaining a point and coming away from the game playing well will be immense.

On arrival at the ground just before kick-off, I immediately recognised someone from the past, a Goole White. I’m not sure how long ago it was that we travelled to away games, but I never forget a face. That came in useful in the 70s and 80s when things were very hairy for us fans on the terraces especially if you were surrounded by the opposition fans. Seeing a familiar face was good even if you had to pretend you were not a Leeds fan, so they did not get sussed. Ask me what happened yesterday, and I don’t stand a chance of remembering lol. The lad next to me had messaged his mate saying that he was sat next to me. When his mate said watch out for the camera he was too late as I’d already taken his photo, oops!

Although the first chance of the game fell to Brentford, Leeds started well having plenty of possession and when Harrison cut in from the wing beating a few Brentford players he got into a good position to shoot, only for his final shot to lack power. Phillips was back after his recent suspension and he is pivotal in the way we play and his performance tonight was immense. Leeds continued to dominate but another chance lacked power and their keeper saved it very easily. When Brentford did get a chance to shoot, it looked as if it was on target and going in but luckily for us whizzed past the outside of the post. Leeds started passing across the back after previously using our best form of defence, attack. This came back to haunt us shortly afterwards as Cooper passed the ball back to Casilla only for him to slip and let their player in to score. After having a fantastic atmosphere on the terraces, that was like a kick in the teeth having dominated the game so far. The Leeds fans picked themselves up again getting behind the team, as Brentford looked for a second goal but Ayling defended well, blocked for a corner. As Leeds stepped up their attack again, we won a corner at the far end of the pitch. As we don’t usually do well from corners, it was great when Cooper got on the end of Harrison’s corner to put the ball into the net. Leeds ran back to the centre to get straight on with the game as the Leeds fans celebrated. Leeds ended up on the attack as the whistle blew for half time, but they had played well and deserved to be on level terms at the break having gone a goal down. Leeds were also the better team.

The second half started quietly before Leeds broke away on a counterattack with Costa and Klich playing a great one two between them, but their keeper saved Costa’s shot. Leeds started to ramp up the pressure down the flanks with both Harrison and Costa starting to battle and beat their man as Leeds started to look for a winner. Brentford were finding it hard to get into the game and eventually they won a free kick on the right-hand side of the box. Our defence in the wall stood tall as they were able to block the shot. Leeds continued to attack with all the team pressing and although we won a couple of corners, were unable to make the pressure count. At one point when one of the Brentford players was down, another one had his arms around the referee. Klich had played well once again as Leeds were clapped off the pitch from an exuberant away support. It was a good point and they’d played well as a team and battled which was good to see and long may it continue. This will be our last visit to Griffin Park as Brentford move to their new ground shortly. In one sense, it is sad to see the demise of a traditional ground with terraces underneath the seating area for the away fans. Even though it hasn’t been the best of grounds for us to win points over the years, it had a nice feel about it.

As Leeds showed today, a battling performance and being together with the fans are what we need going forwards. We’ve just got to believe and never give up and take each game as at comes. After a detour home eventually getting to bed at 3.00am, I was up again at 6.30am for work along with lots of other Leeds fans. The things we do to follow our team! See you on Saturday against Bristol City. 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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Nottingham Forest V Leeds United 8th February 2020 at the City Ground

 Last week’s defeat by Wigan saw social media once again go into meltdown. Fans are entitled to their opinions and I learnt a long time ago that there will always be lots of differences in them. What I do find very sad though, is how toxic it became when I started to read a lot of the comments. Bielsa will not get everything right that’s for sure, but for those calling for his head that is something I cannot agree with. There is still a long way to go and I still have hope and belief that we can turn this around. With the result going against us again today, the social media side will not be any better this week.

After stopping in Mansfield, we got to the ground 30 minutes before kick-off, getting dropped off outside the turnstiles. One thing that surprised me was getting straight into the ground without the pre-requisite bag searches which for once were missing. My flag was hung up near the front of the stand which I could see from my seat which was next to the divide between the two sets of fans.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Dallas, Klich, Alioski, White, Hernandez, Bamford, Costa and Harrison. Subs: Roberts for Hernandez (59), Shackleton for Alioski (70) and Jean-Kevin Augustin making his debut for Bamford (71).  Referee. O. Langford. Leeds lost the game 2-0. Attendance 29,455 with 1,993 Leeds fans.

As the game kicked off, this was the noisiest I have ever heard them at the City ground. The flag waving and record playing got their fans wound up plus of course they were playing Leeds United! With Forest starting on the attack, Casilla was called into action twice to make the saves. They looked a strong side winning some corners, which saw man marking around Casilla, leaving him with no room. Leeds had an attack which ended with Alioski’s shot deflecting wide although I didn’t realise that as I was surprised to see we’d got a corner from it. Not long after that Forest took the lead. Hernandez’s pass was very poor, and Forest took advantage by winning possession and running towards us. When their player was in the penalty area looking to cross the ball, instead he took a shot that went past Casilla’s near post and into the net. He really shouldn’t have been beaten with that shot although it was very powerful. That was the score as we went into the break.

The second half saw us start with no changes as Leeds attacked towards the goal in front of the Leeds fans. A counterattack by Forest saw them nearly double their lead but although in loads of space, their final shot was saved by Casilla. Roberts came on as sub and I hoped that playing alongside Bamford would help. Unfortunately, the first tackle on Roberts saw him injured and reports from some fans after the game, indicated that he left on crutches which isn’t a good sign. Augustin came on in place of Bamford which was a shame as I’d like to see us try two strikers up front. Alioski had to go off for me as the Forest players were gunning for him and I thought he would get sent off otherwise. It was nice to see Shackleton come on as sub too. Augustin won a corner and you could almost feel the panic in the Forest defence as they didn’t know what to do with him. Cooper’s header was very close to going over the line as Forest cleared it. Leeds were trying to get something out of the game as they attacked the goal in front of us. A ball boy to the right of us walked very slowly with the ball and then put it on the floor to waste time rather than give it to our player for a throw in. We kept getting caught offside, but one was really annoying as a Forest player handled the ball on the wing first and we didn’t get the free-kick we should have had. There was always a danger we could concede a second goal, but I was hoping to get at least a draw out of the game. As it was with another counterattack, Harrison was bundled off the ball by two of the Forest players as they ran to the far end and scored a second goal at the death. Harrison had been the last man but wasn’t strong enough to take on two players. That sent the Forest fans next to us wild as they surged towards the Leeds fans. Just before the end of the game, one of the Forest stewards indicated to me not to take any photos as our stewards wondered what was going on. I decided to go and get my flag and as I got to the front of the stand the final whistle blew. A few minutes after the end of the game I was stood with my back to the Forest fans as a coin hit my head. Idiots and apparently, they’d been doing that all game. My beret came in handy as it saved me from an injury but a lad earlier, had got a right bruise from one hitting him. All our disabled fans were in that area too which makes it even worse for me. To hear that they had to go through the baying Forest fans to get out of the ground wasn’t good either. Luckily their fans were cleared to make way for them.

Back on the coach there was a lot of resignation from the Leeds fans especially with the trip to Brentford next. After being shown Ayling being interviewed after the game I thought he looked close to tears and was very down. Bielsa had listened to the fans and I thought the subs made us look stronger but we were beaten in the end by two breakaway goals. Just don’t give up Leeds but maybe we need a bit of reverse psychology. We are not challenging for automatic promotion so forget it and take the pressure off yourselves. 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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Leeds United v Wigan 1st February 2020 at Elland Road

With high winds and an icy chill factor, we headed to Elland Road for the game. Due to some fans making mischief on WACCOE with the kick-off time, I decided I’d better check for myself just to make sure it was 3pm. Whilst my granddaughter Laura was having something to eat in McDonalds, I felt really tired and could have gone to sleep. As we came out of there, a man coming towards me said “it’s Heidi isn’t it?” to which I responded that it was. He remembered me going onto the Gelderd End in 1974. When I realised that was 46 years ago, I wondered where the time had gone especially when I’ve said I’m 35 for so many years.

In the Peacock I was chatting with the Goole Whites and reminiscing about travelling with the Selby Whites when I ran the supporter’s club branch. Our coach in those days started off in Goole, then to Snaith, Carlton, Selby, Monk Fryston and Sherburn before we set off to the away games, also picking up some of our RAF lads at Doncaster. We had a very loyal set of fans who went everywhere and it’s always nice to catch up with them. Thank you to Mick Glasby one of our Nottingham Whites for buying my book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United and I appreciate the support. From there we went to the club shop and whilst in there, I got chatting to a man who said I used to travel with them on the Hull coach when Rowan ran it. A few others started talking about me being in the Leeds United documentary “Take us Home” as well as my books and thank you for all your comments which are appreciated. A lad was handing out leaflets for a comedy-drama at the City Varieties called Billy Bremner & Me by Phil Differ. This will take place on Friday 17th April tickets £18. Follow @events105 on Facebook for further details. I am looking forward to going to this as Billy Bremner always was and always will be my hero. After going to the front of the Kop to get my customary photos and chatting to other Leeds fans, we got to our seats as the game kicked off.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Dallas, Klich, Harrison, Costa, Bamford, Hernandez and Alioski. Sub: Roberts for Alioski (64). Leeds lost the game 1-0. Referee: T. Harrington (the fourth official from the Millwall game last Tuesday). Attendance was 35,162 with 519 Wigan fans.

The winds were still swirling, which was going to impact on the game today, but I had high hopes for us to do well. Leeds started off brightly enough and with a bit of luck, would have got something out of the game. Harrison beat their keeper with a shot but was very unlucky when it hit the post and bounced back out again. Wigan looked very strong and were always a threat. When they won an early corner, I was watching who Alioski was marking on the line and looking out for stragglers on their own, but we didn’t have a replica of Millwall’s first goal thank goodness. For some reason I didn’t feel comfortable watching through my glasses today, whether it was because it was so dull, I’m not sure. It was even worse taking them off as I couldn’t make players out so used my camera to zoom in instead. We got into some good positions but were unable to convert any chances. Bamford had moved out wide and put a great cross in, but Harrison was unable to put the ball into the net and Costa put another chance just over the top. Some other chances were way off target though, with an Alioski shot hitting the top of the stand. With some fans getting frustrated that we hadn’t hit the target, I thought the wind was playing havoc with some of the play. Wigan won a free kick at the edge of the box and the resulting shot hit the side netting as we went into the break level. It hadn’t been the best of halves despite having lots of possession.

Downstairs at half-time, my friend Margaret said that four Spanish fans from Madrid had come into the Peacock after I’d left looking for tickets for the game. They said as there were Leeds fans everywhere there were no tickets to be found. They had followed Leeds for a long time but were also Bielsa fans (one was wearing an Argentina shirt under his jumper). Margaret told them their best bet was to go around the ground and see if there were any to be found. I said that I would have headed to the main entrance, told them they were Bielsa fans from abroad and see if they could get in.  In fact, they could have sneaked them in with the Wigan fans as there were plenty of spare seats there!

The second half saw us start off on the attack again, with some fans castigating Bamford when his header was off target. At least he was getting in the position to have a chance in the first place. Wigan headed a chance for us off the line and then they had an attack and won a corner. I zoomed in to see what was happening as the ball went across to the middle. The next thing the ball was nestling in the back of the net as I wondered why Casilla hadn’t had command of his area. Apparently, the ball took a deflection, but I’d like to see the incident again to see what exactly happened. Time wasting tactics started appearing with Wigan players going down like a sack of spuds time after time. I’d be much happier to see these players taken off the pitch and let the game carry on because half of the time there is nothing wrong with them which infuriates me. In comparison, any fouls on our players saw them get up without any trainers coming on to the pitch. Leeds fans shouted for a penalty with a handball, but we were awarded a corner instead. Unfortunately, with heads from fans in front of me I didn’t see it as it was at the far side of the goal and my view was blocked. It was nice to see Roberts come on as sub as we started attacking down the flanks but had no luck when the ball came into the centre of the box. Wigan brought a sub on to calm things down which was their prerogative, but it took the sting out of the game. We had to keep going and not give up and even though I was desperate for us to score, deep down I think I knew it wasn’t going to happen. The longer the game went on, it felt like the ghost of last season’s defeat which was the catalyst for me of us not getting automatic promotion, was having an impact. Wigan were waiting to break when our attacks broke down and with one, they were through and it looked like they had only Casilla to beat when Leeds won the ball back. They had come close before that when they had the rub of the green, but Leeds fought to get the ball back off them to start another attack. We didn’t give up despite lots of the passing across the goal not coming off and were very unlucky in the last minute of the game when Bamford’s header was cleared off the line and Costa’s shot then went over. It wasn’t to be, but loads of fans booed at the end of the game which I find very sad. I know it’s a kick in the teeth when we are beaten and it hurts, but I still believe in Bielsa and the team. There are always going to be ups and downs and we are still in there. After the euphoria at the end of the game on Tuesday, it was back down to earth with a bang today but fingers crossed, the blips will be outdone by us continuing to play good football.

Laura was very excited when I asked her if we should go round to the players’ entrance after the game despite the icy wind. As we stood there, I got talking to some fans about the Documentary who followed me on Facebook and then got talking to some others. There were a lot of fans waiting as this man came to the fence and shouted for everyone to get out of the way to let a van in. Someone shouted to him “where is the please, when there are loads of kids here waiting?” I was astounded with the man’s reply saying that he didn’t need to, which had everyone shaking their heads. He was so arrogant it was unbelievable. As the man behind me said you stupid, stupid man not saying please when there are kids about, obviously hit a chord because the next time he shouted something out, he said please. There is no need at all to treat any of our fans with disdain especially as we are all paying customers. With other club employees around there being so nice, maybe he’s got too big for his boots? I managed to get photos of Laura with a few of the players before we left as she was cold and headed home. I had to laugh as she’d told me not to take too many photos of her today, but she was very happy to pose with the players, especially Jamie Shackleton her favourite player!!

Next Saturday sees us head to Nottingham for the tea-time kick-off at Forest. We can and we will keep fighting. 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 now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Leeds United v Millwall 28th January 2020 at Elland Road

Apologies for the delay for those of you who are waiting to read my blog. Despite having a weekend free with this re-arranged game due to Millwall being involved in the the 4th round of the FA Cup, Leeds United’s social media channels have seen our fans going into over-drive. If it wasn’t TOMA (take over my arse), it was transfers or lack of them according to some. With the talk of investment coming into the club from QSI, this coincided with incoming transfers of Elia Caprile a goalkeeper from Italian club Chievo Verona and 19-year-old Ian Poveda a winger from Manchester City both on permanent deals. The message boards went into overdrive with the incoming of Jean-Kevin Augustin whose loan deal with Monaco from RB Leipzig was cut short so he could be loaned to Leeds for the rest of the season. I thought we would have a feel-good factor around Elland Road due to these signings and was looking forward to the game.

As I’d been at a meeting in Castleford all day, my daughter Dani was picking up my granddaughter Hannah, so I got to the ground for 6.00pm. I decided to go into the club shop for a new lanyard which turned out to be a very expensive trip courtesy of early Easter presents for two of my granddaughters Hannah and Alexis. Whilst in the shop I was pleased to see that my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United had arrived in stock and signed those on display for them. I went to the Peacock and was introduced to George who had gone to extraordinary lengths to get to Elland Road for the recent Boro game. He was coaching in America and had to take a four-hour train journey to New York then walk to a Penn station. From there he travelled by train to Newark airport to get a plane to Iceland and another one to Manchester. When he arrived there, he found out his train to Leeds was cancelled so he got the bus to Elland Road where he eventually met up with his dad in the Peacock. It was all worth it though when Leeds won the game 4-0, but it just shows what Leeds fans do to support their team. I then met my niece Sonya and headed into the ground in time for kick-off.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Hernandez, Bamford, Dallas, Costa, Alioski, Harrison, and Klich. Sub: Shackleton for Hernandez (90+4). Referee: D. England. Leeds won the game 3-2 with goals from Bamford (48 and 66) and Hernandez (62) after going two goals down. Attendance was 34,006 with 471 Millwall fans.

Millwall started on the attack and put us under pressure in the opening moments of the game. They won an early corner and the referee decided to have words with Alioski and a Millwall player. As Alioski chased their player around Casilla, the ball was sent over their heads to another one at the far post with no one marking him, who headed the ball into the net in the fourth minute. Damn that was just what we didn’t need, and bottles rained down on Millwall as they celebrated in front of the Leeds fans. As Leeds started to attack, we had a couple of players brought down which despite looking bad tackles, were waved play on by the referee. Lo and behold when one of the Millwall players were brought down with a tame tackle, the referee immediately blew for a free kick to Millwall. With both Alioski and Klich going close and Bamford having a shot saved by their keeper as we tried to get an equaliser, the referee surpassed himself well and truly. With Leeds fans in the South Stand shouting for a corner, I couldn’t comment as I didn’t see the resulting shot. When the replay was shown on the scoreboard, the whole ground was in uproar as Dallas’s great shot was saved by their keeper, but instead of a corner, the referee gave a goal kick! That was when I realised once again that we were playing the officials and their absolute biased approach is a disgrace to the profession. Even the linesmen got in on the act by not flagging for the ball going out and as Millwall played on they won a penalty. When I saw Klich walking over to the bench I thought he’d been sent off at first, but he’d gone for a drink. I was convinced it wasn’t a penalty as their player fell over in the area and have heard conflicting reports both for and against it being awarded in the first place. Cooper had a header saved by their keeper and as half time approached, the terraces quietened down. There was a round of applause on the 36th minute for Leeds fan Danny Rahnavard who had recently died suddenly, and his son Olly was going to be in his dad’s seat for the game. This was to celebrate his life but also to show his son that Leeds United are a family. I said we needed a goal on either side of half time to get back into the game but went into the break 2-0 down. I didn’t think they were two goals better than us though despite the score.

There was plenty of talk about the dismal performance of the referee especially as the officials don’t hide their dereliction of duty anymore. Having seen Leeds suffer with bad decisions by the officials more times than I care to remember over the years, it really feels like they have an agenda to keep us down in this league as we are the cash cow for the division. A couple of lads I know said they had a 3-2 bet on for Leeds to win and I said I’d go for that.

Leeds had come out early for the second half and immediately were on the attack as the whistle blew. I didn’t get the prediction of a late goal in the first half right but the one straight after half time happened. With a corner sent over to the middle by Hernandez, their keeper saved from Harrison, but Bamford was on hand to put the rebound into the net to pull a goal back. Leeds continued to attack with intense pressure and played some lovely football. Costa who had been quiet in the first half put on a good show with some great attacking and Klich was also very impressive as Leeds fought to get an equaliser. Their keeper was forced into action to save from Bamford, Hernandez and Harrison to keep us out. Alioski came close to an equaliser before Millwall had another attack. Leeds were on fire with waves of attacking and when Hernandez’s shot hit the back of the net to equalise, Elland Road erupted. Game on now as we went for the winner which came four minutes later when Bamford got his second goal of the game by heading the ball into the net to send everyone wild! Elland Road was bouncing, and the noise was out of this world as well as the euphoria of coming back from two goals down to lead. Casilla had to be alert to keep Millwall out, but I was adamant they were not going to score. When they won a corner, Millwall took ages before they took it but not before one of their players complained to the referee and handed something to him. I took it that someone had thrown something at him whilst waiting to take the corner. We can’t give the EFL any further ammunition to have a go at us so please think before you throw things on the pitch. Leeds had a great chance to put the game to bed when Klich received the ball on the edge of the box in acres of space, but sank to his knees as he blasted the ball over. That was such a shame as he deserved a goal today. As the whistle blew to end the game, the Leeds fans cheered and gave the team a standing ovation as they went around and off the pitch. We also returned to the top of the league with other results going our way and with this important win!

After the game we met my sister Erica and her boyfriend Martin at Billy’s statue and at least he got his birthday present of a win. Although my hands were cold, my heart was on fire with love for Leeds United before we headed home very happy. See you on Saturday for the Wigan game, 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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

QPR v Leeds United 18th January 2020 at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium

After getting home from my brother’s birthday party in the early hours, I found that despite trying to get a few hours sleep before heading to QPR, I found I was wide awake. To ensure I didn’t oversleep, I got up at 3.00am and headed to Elland Road for the coach. Luckily, I managed to sleep most of the way there and back. We managed to have a pub stop in Uxbridge before arriving at the ground in time for kick-off.  With the upper away end having to be accessed at the far side of the ground, we had a nice walk in the sunshine, despite a frosty morning. My flag hung up at the back of the stand, made its first return to a game after being at the recent LUFCTrust Exhibition.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Klich, Harrison, Costa, Bamford, Phillips, Hernandez and Dallas. Subs: Alioski for Dallas (45) and Stevens for Klich (87). Leeds lost the game 1-0 with Phillips getting sent off with a straight red card. The referee: P. Bankes. Attendance: 16,049 with 2,973 Leeds fans. Jack Clarke made his loan debut from the subs bench for QPR after ending his recent loan spell from Spurs at Leeds.

QPR had some big players who bullied us off the ball, getting their first shot of the game in the opening minutes which Casilla saved. Within three minutes, Leeds should have had a penalty when Costa was brought down in the area with a strong challenge, but the referee waved played on. Bamford had a long-range shot trying to beat their keeper who was out of his area, but the shot went wide. Leeds were unlucky not to take the lead when a free kick brought a save out of their keeper which had deflected off one of their players. There had been quite a few strong challenges from the QPR on our players which should have brought an early booking for at least a couple of them. Leeds went behind under controversial circumstances when QPR won a free kick on the edge of our penalty area. As Casilla lined the wall up, I couldn’t believe he was standing at the left-hand side of the goal with a massive space to the right of him which wasn’t covered by anyone. There should have been at least one of our players on the right-hand post for me. As it was when their player got the ball, it hit both his hands before he put the ball into the net. Even though we appealed, the goal was allowed to stand with boos from the Leeds fans ringing out. The linesman should have picked that up and also when Dallas nearly had his shirt ripped off his back, but he was half asleep and missed them both. I still don’t understand how Dallas came to be booked with the latter incident. It took until the 35th minute for one of their players to be booked for a foul with plenty of heavy challenges already taken place. When we had a corner, the balls were always picked up in the middle by the QPR players as I shouted for us to hit it hard and low instead to catch them out. Bamford had a shot saved by their keeper and a second chance went over the crossbar as we went into the break a goal behind.

Alioski replaced Dallas at the start of the second half as Leeds started on the attack. Although we had some good possession, we couldn’t get that breakthrough until Bamford was brought down in the penalty area by their keeper. With the penalty being taken by Bamford, I was hesitant when he took a long run up to the ball. Unfortunately, the low shot to his right was saved by their keeper. Damn, that was the best chance we had to score. As Leeds tried to get something out of the game, shots went wide, but Hernandez came close with a free kick. It just felt like we weren’t going to get a goal despite having lots of possession. Lots of fans were getting frustrated and blaming Bamford for not scoring, saying he should have done better with his chances. As far as I’m concerned, he cannot do it on his own. When Roberts came back into the side, that was when things worked for Bamford. He needs an Allan Clarke alongside him to put the ball into the net. In the closing minutes Phillips got his marching orders with a straight red card in the 88th minute after a bad tackle saw the frustrations creep into his play. He will now be banned for three games. The game ended with our ten men not being able to get an equaliser.

With fans clamouring for reinforcements since Nketiah and Clarke left to go back to Arsenal and Spurs respectively, the pressures are on the club not to have a repeat of last season’s capitulation. Radrizzani had been in the Director’s box in the first half but didn’t appear for the second half and later in the game, Orta was slumped in his seat when we couldn’t get that equaliser. Personally, I had that resigned feeling today, but all is not lost as we are still in a good position with others around us losing points too. We have a break next Saturday due to the Millwall game rearranged to the following Tuesday due to their involvement in the FA Cup. Keep the faith no matter how hard it is, 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 now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday 11th January 2020 at Elland Road

It took a while to get going this morning but as I knew I’d got an excited little girl waiting to be picked up, I had to get a move on. Alexis couldn’t wait to wear her new Leeds United kit she got for Christmas, said she was never going to take it off and as she looked so cute in it, I knew what she meant. There were plenty of queues of traffic along Elland Road two hours before kick-off which quite surprised me. With a new park and ride from Junction 45 of the M1 being trialled today, which although the opposite direction from us, should be a good thing to ease congestion around the ground in the future. After a visit to the Peacock first we headed into the ground in good time. As we stood outside the Kop entrances getting our bags searched, a police bike skidded past on the other side of the fence. A few seconds later a double decker bus appeared with everyone banging on the windows and going mad. It’s a good job the windows stayed intact otherwise lots of the Wednesday fans would have met the tarmac with a bang! For once they had sold all their tickets for the game.

The team: Casilla, Cooper, White, Dallas, Douglas, Bamford, Costa, Klich, Phillips, Harrison and Ayling. Subs: Alioski for Douglas (56), Hernandez for Klich (66) and Stevens for Costa (75). Attendance was 36,422 with 2,644 Wednesday fans. Leeds lost the game 2-0.

I didn’t read a lot of the comments on social media as it looked like many had already made their minds up about today’s game and not in a good way. It was better to go with a clear mind and as usual make my mind up about what I see on the pitch. With Garry Monk back once again with the opposition I thought we wouldn’t let him get the better of us again. Sadly, I was wrong. The first thing that went against us was being turned around to attack the Kop in the first half. Now I assumed that we had lost the toss, but have read on social media since that we won the toss meaning Cooper turned us around? Hopefully someone will clarify if that was the case. I’m sorry, I don’t care if it was to take advantage of the wind, but if that was the reason then it made a psychological disadvantage as we should always kick towards the Kop in the second half from our perspective.

Leeds started brightly enough with a couple of off target shots, before Wednesday had a chance with a header that was off target too before another chance was put wide. Bamford brought a save out of their keeper before Harrison had a great chance that went past the post. There was some lovely footwork where we ran rings round some of the Wednesday players and when Harrison passed the ball through to Klich, the linesman put his flag up as Bamford’s header hit the back of the net. Apparently, it was Klich who was offside in the build-up. Once again Bamford had the ball in the net only to see a goal disallowed. Their keeper kept Wednesday in the game just before half time with saves from Harrison and Bamford. Costa’s late chance was blasted over the bar as we went in on equal terms. The atmosphere on the terraces had been quiet at times and I just wanted us to sing and get behind the team. It felt like there was a lot of anxiousness on the terraces which I didn’t want to affect the players.

The second half saw Bamford with a great chance after Costa crossed from the byline but this time the chance didn’t go his way. Wednesday had a similar chance shortly after before nearly taking the lead from a corner. Even though we had a player on the line marking one of theirs, Casilla scooped the ball out from over their heads. Leeds still had chances which didn’t come to fruition and their keeper saved from Klich. The atmosphere was a lot better in the second half. When Alioski was ready to come on as sub I thought it was going to be Douglas going off. He seemed to be very slow with some of his judgements today although he didn’t play badly. Cooper started doing that a bit later too even though we were still managing to create spaces. When Wednesday started dropping like flies, it was good to see the referee refusing to let their trainers onto the field. A couple of good decisions there to stop time wasting by the opposition. Just after that, Bannan’s cramp miraculously disappeared as he ran to the opposite end of the field, so it was a good decision for once. Their first goal came after White had won the ball and was running forward with it before losing it. Cooper ran back to mark their player and I thought if he’d just stayed where he was their player may have been offside. Unfortunately, he ran on and beat Casilla at the near post to put them into the lead three minutes from time. With five minutes of stoppage time and the Leeds fans roaring the team on, I was hopeful of an equaliser. When Wednesday got the ball on the right-hand side and crossed the ball, the lad beside me said “this is the second” which it turned out to be. Well and truly beaten in the end which is football sadly. I didn’t think they were better than us on the day, but we need to put our chances away. If Bamford’s goal would have stood in the first half it could have been a different game but wasn’t to be. Lots of Leeds fans have got a déjà vu feeling about the season but that depends on whether anyone is brought in during the transfer window. I’m not accepting defeat at this stage of the season, as there is still a long way to go but there were plenty of boos around us at the end of the game as we stayed until the bitter end. All we can do at this moment in time is wait and see what happens and be there to support them as we do.

Having met some Irish fans who had left home at 5.00am this morning for the game, we will be in the same position next week with our visit to QPR. With it being a 12.30pm kick off, it means another long day for us travelling to London. With another sell-out crowd from the Leeds fans, our loyalty is second to none. 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 now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Arsenal v Leeds United 6th January 2020 at The Emirates – FA Cup 3rd round

With an early morning appearance on BBC Radio Leeds talking about Leeds United and the FA Cup, I arrived a few minutes late for my slot. Then it was back to work before a very late set off for the game as the only way I could make it was to travel by train. I know everything about the day was going to be tight timewise, but arriving at the station 10 minutes before the train was due to leave was too stressful for me. At least the train was on time whereas a couple of the earlier trains were 30 minutes late due to cable issues in Leeds. I assumed this was something to do with the high winds that had appeared later this afternoon. It was a relief to be on the train and heading in the right direction. The next part that was to be a challenge for me was getting the underground to the game. Someone had pointed out to me earlier, that I had been travelling to games in London for years, the only thing was that I have travelled by coach in recent times. It’s a long time since we travelled by Wallace Arnold coaches in the 70s and had to make our own way to the grounds.

Just before the train arrived at Kings Cross, the conductor wished us good luck. A young lad started talking saying he was jealous that we were going to the game and he had to watch it on TV. A woman and another man started talking to us about getting to the game too which was nice. We had been given good instructions from Nikki about how to get to the ground due to the nearest stations being closed from 7pm, as we were arriving after that time. Her instructions were spot on and thank you to her as we were through the first set of barriers and on to the Victoria line in no time. As we were checking we were on the right platform, a Leeds fan came up to me asking if I was the book lady and had I gone to Austria? As we chatted, I remembered the situation immediately as he had been on one of the busses to go to the ground when the German fans got on. The driver refused to let them travel and turfed them off, which was a good job as they’d clocked the lad and his mate as Leeds fans. It’s a small world though but as usual where Leeds fans are concerned, we carried on chatting where we left off all those years ago. As we got off the underground with lots of other Leeds fans, luckily, we had a good escort who knew where he was going. Even though everyone was heading in the same direction it was good not to have to think where to find the ground. The one thing about the Emirates is that it looks impressive from the outside and a big improvement from Highbury. Heading into the clock end was a far cry from the 70s where we used to be followed by gangs of Arsenal fans around the stand trying to get away from them. One year everyone in front of me scattered and I was faced with some of their fans shouting, “come on”, trying to take Leeds fans on. That is one thing I don’t miss for sure as well as getting back to the coaches with no issues or getting ambushed in the café on Kings Cross station. There were massive queues getting into the ground as it was getting near kick-off but there were plenty of singing Leeds fans about with lots having been in London for hours before the game. There were some familiar faces around which was good to see but plenty of new faces. For a great stand outside, the concourse inside and toilets I thought were very poor especially trying to find out where the ladies were. I also prefer to be nearer the pitch no matter how impressive the ground looks from the stands too. When I got to my seat someone was already in it but as everyone was standing up, it didn’t really matter. It was nice to hear that Pontus Jansson despite being sold, and Jack Clarke who had his loan period recalled, had come to support Leeds.

The team: Meslier, Ayling, Harrison, Klich, Phillips, Alioski, Douglas, Robbie Gotts (making his debut), Berardi, White and Bamford. Subs: Dallas for Gotts (60), Costa for Alioski (61) and Stevens for Ayling (78).  Attendance was 58,403 with 8,000 Leeds fans. Leeds lost the game 1-0. Referee: A. Taylor.

The first 45 minutes belonged to Leeds and what a performance. We totally outclassed Arsenal as we took the game to them and were very unlucky not to have gone into an early lead.  Both Meslier and their keeper were called into action before Bamford’s great strike hit the crossbar. Leeds continued to get shots on target from both Harrison and White which their keeper saved before Alioski’s shot across the goal was agonisingly close. Arsenal had their keeper to thank for keeping them in the game with further saves from both Harrison and Alioski. Gotts had a late chance but unfortunately the ball went over the crossbar, but he’d had a good debut. This had been a very impressive performance from Leeds United and the Leeds fans had also been outstanding in the library at the Emirates putting their fans to shame. I’m sure I hadn’t heard them singing until their first chant of Arsenal in the 49th minute.  Leeds had a sold-out allocation that could have been sold twice over as there were plenty of fans still looking for tickets before the game.

At half-time I was trying to find some fans from the Fullerton Park branch as we were travelling back on the coach with them which was an easier option. At times I had struggled to see any familiar faces around me in the stand. As I am on the automatic ticket scheme it meant I wasn’t with the usual away season ticket holders. Thank you, Angie, for pointing me in the right direction as it turned out they were just a few rows nearer the front from where my seat was. I felt happier knowing where the coaches were parked for after the game.

The second half saw Arsenal come out on the attack. As they had been humiliated in the first half it looked like they’d had a rollicking from their new manager. The referee had let a lot of things go during the game, some which had been to our advantage which I thought were justified but including some tackles on our players that should have been punished. They then started falling over very easily winning a free kick just outside the area which then hit the crossbar. Meslier had been having a great game and I was very impressed with him. I felt completely at ease with his distribution and the saves he made. Unfortunately, when they scored, they got the luck of the green when the ball deflected to their player just in front of Meslier to put the ball into the net. Just before that Bamford had another shot saved by their keeper. Leeds tried to get back into the game and never gave up, but on the day couldn’t get the ball into the net. Sadly, for me, Costa was very poor when he came on as sub. I’m not sure if he was playing out of position but he looked very lightweight with no conviction. The positives were that we had plenty of shots on target that brought saves out of their keeper and played some great Bielsa ball. I’m very proud to be a Leeds fan as always and we put up a great show to the world with our great performance.

As I was waiting downstairs after the game, it was nice to see lots of familiar faces there amidst the singing Leeds fans. Suddenly to the right of me, I heard a commotion as things started to kick off. It looked like one of the police had hit a Leeds fan which started it off. I heard afterwards that a lad had been banging on the kiosk with the pump it up song when he was man handled and thrown to the floor. Maybe he shouldn’t have been banging on it, but I don’t think there was any need to react the way the police did which was way over the top. I think the lad was still on the floor as I left the ground but not sure if he’d been arrested.

Back to the league with the game against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday but we can use the momentum and the high feeling of putting in a great performance to go on a good run. Keep fighting Leeds with the best fans in the world and I’ll 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 now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

West Bromwich Albion (WBA) v Leeds United 1st January 2020 at The Hawthorns

I hope everyone had a great start to the New Year. Mine was “chilling” in the hot tub with my granddaughters and looking forward to 2020. As WBA was a 5.15pm kick-off for Sky, we didn’t leave Leeds until 11.00am on a lovely sunny day. As we headed down the M1 it didn’t take long for the weather to become overcast and miserable. At our stop in Sutton Coldfield, it looks like we upset some of the locals. They weren’t impressed with us as one said, “don’t know why they’re even in here when they’re playing Albion, it’s f**king miles away!” A pub stop with Leeds fans in it is why lol!

As we got to the ground over an hour before kick-off, we went straight in. It was nice to have very friendly and chatty police officers treat us nicely as well as their stewards. A very big contrast to games in the 80s when fans used to be arrested for cheering when Leeds scored a goal. Give me days like today anytime. After chatting to many fans and taking their photos, I went to take one last one of Gary and the Shropshire Whites flag. In doing so, I nearly threw myself down the steps but regained my balance. Luckily, I’d put the strap for my camera around my wrist as it flung into the air otherwise it would have become airborne without it.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Alioski, Cooper, White, Klich, Dallas, Phillips, Nketiah, Costa and Harrison. Subs: Bamford for Nketiah (45) and Douglas for Alioski (45). The game ended in a 1-1 draw with Bamford equalising for Leeds (52). Attendance was 25,618 with 1,989 Leeds fans.

The game was less than a couple of minutes old before WBA took the lead when the ball was deemed to have crossed the line when Leeds failed to clear it. They had won a corner; the ball was headed back across the goal and their player’s attempt was awarded a goal despite Harrison clearing it off the line. Having heard this decision was inconclusive and another saying it had crossed the line, I’d like to see it again for myself. One thing, despite any differences with my opinion, it wouldn’t change the goal being awarded. I found myself shaking when they scored and hoped it was because it was getting slightly colder. WBA came close again a short time later, but this time hit the side netting. After we lost the ball in one incident, Bielsa looked to be getting frustrated on the side of the pitch. With Bamford on the bench, it was up to Nketiah to show what he could do but for me he couldn’t do the lone striker role. I kept screaming at him to go and put their keeper under pressure like Bamford does, but it took 30 minutes before he did that. We did get into the game more though despite Casilla making some fantastic saves to prevent WBA going further into the lead. The nearest we had come to a goal was their keeper saving from Costa. There was no doubt in my mind and those stood around me, that Nketiah was going to be replaced at half-time with Bamford which proved to be the case. Douglas also came on to replace Alioski which was another good decision.

We straight away looked stronger at the start of the second half with the substitutions and with Bamford putting players under pressure, we were getting the better of WBA. Harrison put a great ball over to the centre for Bamford to equalise within seven minutes of the restart, with a deflected header. WBA came back at us straight away but Casilla once again denied them a goal before we counter attacked with Bamford coming close to a second. Although WBA were always going to be a threat, Leeds continued to attack and we saw some brilliant moves, many with Harrison just in front of us and Costa at the other side. I felt we could get a winner at that time as we were getting on top and nearly did, but the flag went up for offside although I’m sure that decision was wrong. Yes, I am biased, but seriously would like to see that one again. With
Casilla making another save at the death, the game ended in a score draw which was a good point today and meant we stayed at the top of the table.

Bartley came to clap the Leeds fans at the end of the game and Ayling was having a laugh with him. When WBA had been attacking our end in the first half, I’d seen Ayling winding him up. This game also turned out to be the last game Nketiah played for us as he has returned to Arsenal cutting his loan spell short. He was a good super sub for me but his body language at times today showed his heart wasn’t in it. I’d thought at the Birmingham game that he’d been the happiest I’d seen him for a while, probably because he’d made the decision to leave. With Clarke’s loan also rescinded with him returning to Spurs, we will find out soon enough whether we bring anyone else into the team.

With our FA Cup tie against Arsenal next, I for one still love the magic of the cup regardless of those who chose to devalue the competition. Either by writing us off, saying throw the towel in, play the youngsters, rest the first team, it doesn’t matter etc., well I disagree. The last few years have proved that being out of the cup gives no guarantees in getting promoted either, often proving detrimental to the cause. Winning breeds winning and getting a good cup run in can help us achieve our aim. I’ll stand by that claim too having seen how our best cup runs in the past have kept that fighting spirit going. As I am racing to the game after work, it will be touch and go to make it for kick-off, but I’m looking for everything to fall into place nicely with no stress. 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 now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

Birmingham v Leeds United 29th December 2019 at the St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium

After spending three hours feeling sick and gipping during the night, I was glad when the feeling eventually subsided. Although this meant I had very little sleep, I decided to get up rather than have an extra half an hour in bed and take the dog for a walk before heading for Leeds. There was very little traffic on the roads which was lovely, and I found myself parked up at the ground in plenty of time for the coach. I woke up just as we pulled up for our pub stop and was one of the first to get off the coach. As two of us queued up for a drink, I wondered where everyone else was. It turned out we had gone in the wrong pub, oh dear! When I eventually joined some of my friends, Keith said that if we won today then I would have to do the same when we play West Bromwich Albion on New Year’s Day. It looks like I may have started something now after today’s game lol!

After the Birmingham fans caused trouble at the Elland Road fixture for our Centenary game, it was Leeds fans who ended up punished for it with a reduced allocation of tickets and no beer on sale inside the ground today. Another club who uses financial suicide when we could have sold the tickets three times over; it doesn’t make sense to me. Thank you Phil Thumbsup Cresswell for buying my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Harrison, Klich, Nketiah, Phillips, Costa, Alioski and Dallas. Subs: Roberts for Nketiah (81) and Berardi for Klich (86). Ref: K Stroud. Attendance was 22,059 with approximately 2,000 Leeds fans. Leeds won the game 5-4 with goals from Costa 15, Harrison 21, Ayling 69, Dallas 84 and Harding own goal 90+5.

It was quite chilly as we waited at the tunnel at the right for the Leeds players to come out for their pre-game kick-about. As they went back inside, we headed to our seats in readiness for the start of the game. The teams then come out from the tunnel to the left of the stand which I find weird.

I had no pre-conceptions about the game, just as always wanting us to win and get three points. I could never have imagined that within 21 minutes we would be leading two nil. Our first goal came as we raced out of defence into attack and Harrison put Costa through who slotted the ball home to put us into the lead. Six minutes later we went even further into the lead when Harrison’s deflected shot ended up in the back of the net. At that point it looked like Birmingham were there for the taking. In true Leeds fashion though we weren’t going to make things easy for us. When three of our players went to mark one of theirs, it left an unmarked player on the left of the pitch to run towards our goal, pass it into the middle for them to pull a goal back. The game continued at a fast pace and before I knew it the whistle went for half time with us leading 2-1.

It had been nice catching up with Gary Edwards, Collar and Rupert (one of my Selby Whites) so the game had already kicked off when I got back up into the stand. My heart sank when we didn’t clear from a corner and Birmingham equalised. Two goals up and again we had thrown a lead away. If we thought that was the end of the goals, we were very much mistaken as this ended up being a game of goals galore. When Luke Ayling hit a fantastic shot from the edge of the box in front of us to put us 3-2 up to restore our lead, he was over the moon as were we. Birmingham nearly scored an own goal for us from a Phillips corner but had their keeper to thank for keeping the ball out. He then saved from Alioski before the game turned once again as Birmingham equalised with a header. Damn, with Birmingham fans only wakening up when they scored with their keep right on till the end of the road song, then Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again we shut them up within a minute. Leeds regained the lead when Ayling passed the ball for Dallas to bang the ball into the net. A day of our defence not clearing the ball and Casilla looking decidedly shaky showed when Birmingham equalised for the fourth time in the first minute of injury time making it 4-4 which looked to be the final score. More drama was to come though when we got a winner courtesy of an own goal, to send everyone in the away end wild. Berardi won the ball as Leeds powered forward and Ayling hit the ball hard across the area which flew into the net from their player to give us a winner on the day. 5-4, who would have thought we would come out winners by that score. For once though we never let Birmingham take the lead as we always restored it as we had our shooting boots on today. Although we had been a little lightweight at times with our tackling with Harrison and Costa getting pushed off the ball, the whole team showed a resilience and a never give up attitude which saw us get the win and three points to put us back to the top of the table. With this being our last game of the year, we stand proudly in a great position to go into the final countdown in our quest for promotion. I just want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and will see you at West Bromwich Albion on New Year’s Day. Just on a poignant note, with 2019 a year that started badly for us as a family with my husband’s cancer diagnosis, my daughter Danielle and I came out of the ground to the news that our chocolate Labrador Maisie had left us to go over the rainbow. She was the one who wouldn’t leave my husband alone, so he went to the doctors. I am glad 2019 is at an end now and look forward to a great 2020 where Leeds get promoted in our Centenary year! 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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Leeds United v Preston 26th December 2019 at Elland Road

I hope everyone has had a good Christmas. The start of the week saw the Junior Members Christmas party at Elland Road. It turned out to be the most people I have seen attend this event over the last few years. Unfortunately, it meant there were queues galore for everything and as they had to get more tables and chairs out, the disco and games were cancelled which was a shame. The Christmas dinner was excellent though so well done for that.

I heard on Christmas Eve that my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United will be in the club shop in the New Year which was great news. For those who received it for Christmas including my sister Erica and nephew Steve, enjoy the read. A big thank you to Kate, Matt, Susan and Bremner for buying the book too as your support is greatly appreciated.

With it being a 5.15pm kick-off for Sky TV, I picked my granddaughter Hannah up early to allow plenty of time to get there. After a quick trip to the club shop and McDonald’s we got into the Peacock with over three hours to spare having met a young man from Greece who was attending his first game at Elland Road. We ended up sitting outside under the wooden seating area as I knew I wouldn’t be able to stand up for that length of time. I’d started looking at my phone and realised someone had taken a photo of me for a change and turned around to find Chris laughing at me. That meant he had to have his photo taken too. Eventually Hannah and I were joined there by more of my family before heading into the ground. Once inside, as I stood talking to Susan, a young lad next to us with his friend started talking to us and immediately bought my book. By the time we had finished chatting it was nearly time for the game to start.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Alioski, Klich, Bamford, Harrison, Dallas, Costa and Phillips. Subs: Nketiah for Bamford (64). Ref. D. Bond. The game ended in a 1-1 draw with Dallas equalising in the 89th minute. Attendance was 35,638 with 805 Preston fans.

With Preston playing in green and yellow I kept thinking we were already playing West Bromwich Albion for some reason. For the first twenty minutes of the game, Preston put us under a lot of pressure although we had started on the attack. Both Ayling and Cooper were guilty of putting passes across the pitch that were too short and were picked up by the Preston players who were showing they wanted the ball more than us. There was a lot of sloppy passing going on as we struggled to get going. When Casilla went haring out of the area to get to the ball, he did have enough time to get to it. Unfortunately, he made a mess of the clearance and we were lucky not to get punished with a goal against us. I just thought Preston could have their 10 minutes of play then we could take over the game which didn’t end up being the case. Preston weren’t giving up as they constantly attacked us. We kept passing back to Casilla and no one was taking charge of the ball or looking like they wanted it at all. When we reverted to the long ball especially from goal kicks, they were a waste of time as the ball never went to our players or was won by us. As Leeds attacked, we lost the ball and with Preston players haring down on our goal I just knew they were going to score. After this they started with their time wasting and cheating antics of staying down with pretend injuries. At times we were bullied off the ball and Preston also showed their true colours early on when their answer to stopping us was to foul us. How some of their players didn’t end up in the book early on was a mystery. I got a little worried that our players were going to get themselves in bother as they were very close to retaliating as well as some pushing and shoving. It was important that we didn’t lose our cool which is what Preston wanted. We did try getting back into the game with the last ten minutes of the half, but it had been a very poor 45 minutes for Leeds.

At the start of the second half, Cooper’s first pass was too short again which Preston took advantage of. You can always tell when things aren’t going well on the pitch as there were plenty of expletives around us today. Things were starting to improve when Dallas brought a save out of the Preston keeper. The ref played on with two of the Preston players down on the floor which I was glad about as it was about time they were ignored.  Leeds had been attacking when Nketiah was stood at the side of the pitch ready to be brought on. As we were wondering who was going to go off as plenty of players hadn’t been playing well, it flashed up on the scoreboard that Bamford was being replaced. Everyone around me was mystified as he had been getting involved in holding up play and making every effort to get involved and get the ball. There were plenty of boos around me when he went off with one man saying that Bielsa had lost the plot. With our first attack after the substitution, Nketiah passed to Costa in the box and his cross went over Harrison and reached Alioski whose shot sailed over the bar. That had been a good chance and when Nketiah’s header was pushed around the post by the Preston keeper when it looked like a goal all the way, plenty began to think it wasn’t going to happen for us today. With 15 minutes to go, it was very quiet around the ground for a couple of minutes as the realisation sunk in but then the Leeds fans got behind the team. The last minutes of the game belonged to Leeds as they went on the attack, looking for that equaliser. Alioski’s shot hit the foot of the post and rebounded out, then Harrison’s shot across the box put Preston under pressure and Alioski was denied once again but this time by their keeper. On another day he could have had a hattrick. Leeds were piling on the pressure when the ball came back out to Dallas on the edge of the area. He let fly with a deflected shot that went into the top of the net to send the Leeds fans wild as Elland Road erupted. Leeds were straight back to the middle of the park ready to get on with the game as they were looking for a winner. Although we kept on looking for the winner, in the end we had to settle for a draw. At least we didn’t lose, and it didn’t feel like a loss like the Cardiff game had as we had gotten the late equaliser this time. Bielsa’s decision to sub Bamford could be justified in the sense that we had some pace, attacked and got a goal. Personally I would have liked to have seen him stay on the pitch as well as Nketiah.

With a run of three away games to come with the visit to Birmingham and West Brom in the league and Arsenal in the FA Cup, none of these will be easy games. We will have to up our game, but I do feel the tactics at the start of the game today were not right. As well as our sloppiness, we let Preston dictate the game rather than us play to our strengths and let them worry about us. There was also too much playing back to Casilla today which at times put us under pressure too. Onto our next game and for those of you who are going to Birmingham, I’ll 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 now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Fulham v Leeds United 21st December 2019 at Craven Cottage

First of all, I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas. Irrespective of the football result today, for those of you going through their own traumas, I wish you all the luck in the world and keep fighting. Having had a very challenging year for my family, I am looking forward to spending the time with them during my favourite time of the year.

Last Monday I was asked to take part in a Leeds United Centenary project that will take place in March. I have agreed to do this, and it was nice to hear that my name was put forward to join in by another couple of people. Thank you for recommending me which is appreciated. Thank you to Kate, Sharon, Angela and Matt for buying my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United. For those of you who find this amongst your Christmas presents, enjoy the read and I look forward to receiving your feedback in due course.

With a 5am get up today, for our trip to London, I picked Nikki and Annie her dog up to get the coach from Elland Road. I was chuffed to bits to see her lead the team out with Ayling last week along with Rita who has now retired as a guide dog. It was good to see Rita get the send-off she deserved, having been an integral part of the Leeds support for so long. Tomorrow sees me take my three granddaughters to the Leeds United junior members Christmas party so if you are going, please ask for a photo.

We went straight to Putney Bridge on arrival in London and headed to Wetherspoons as usual. Imagine our surprise to be told we couldn’t go in because we were Leeds fans! As we frequent the pub chain at every away game and have done for many a year, even getting told we are the best fans they have ever had in a couple of them, this was like a smack in the face. They said that the police had made this a home pub only. Their loss, especially as it was empty, and they were turning away our money. Merry Christmas? Bah humbug more like. We then walked over the Thames back to the other side and I said at least it wasn’t raining and the sun was shining. I would regret saying that later when the heavens opened. Thank you to the 8 Bells who welcomed the Leeds fans with open arms and their chicken and bacon roll tasted delicious. When Bryn our Leeds policeman arrived there to chat to fans, I mentioned we’d been turned away by The Rocket. He couldn’t understand why they had made that a home pub and was going to have a word with them. It took us approx. 10 mins to walk to the ground through the park where the rain had made massive puddles. We were asked eight times if we had got any spare tickets. Apparently, Fulham fans were selling tickets for £150 at the train station which was an extortionate price.

We got in through the disabled entrance at the ground so was glad I didn’t have to negotiate the narrow turnstiles that I came out of backwards last season. A nice lady steward helped me show Nikki to her seat at the front by the corner flag. Not really a good seat which got wet and also had a sign on the pitch saying beware of flying balls. Not good when she is blind! I stayed with her until just before the kick-off when her son Stephen arrived to sit with her. Because of Fulham rebuilding the stand to our left that backs on to the Thames, this had reduced our allocation as we normally take up all the neutral seats too. It was disappointing to see the reaction of some of the Fulham stewards which was a contrast to the lady we had met earlier. Some young lads had been pulled to one side with the senior steward having a right go at them. I didn’t see why he had pulled them to one side and thought he was trying to eject them at first, especially when he indicated they were mouthing off at him. This is where our stewards would have been good (Fulham refused to allow them to attend today), as they would have diffused the situation. A bit later in the same area, I saw Ian one of our members of the Griffin branch trying to get down the steps to get out of the seating area to where the disabled area was. The next thing I saw fans falling down the steps and a couple of punches thrown. As someone was taken out I assumed that’s why it was kicking off but could be wrong. The stand itself is dangerous as someone had already nearly fallen down the steps earlier when walking normally. Having a sign on some stewards saying Here to help is obviously a misprint. All through the first half, fans from the lower part of the stand were sent out through the disabled entrance. When a Leeds fan who was recovering from a dislocated knee asked one steward at half time if she could go out of the disabled entrance due to her injury, she was told no. She was told to get one of us Leeds fans to help her up the stairs instead. How callous and uncaring with a definite lack of Christmas spirit. My daughter Danielle helped her get up the stairs as she was on her own at the time. There was no need to make her do that at all, disgraceful.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Harrison, Bamford, Hernandez, Phillips, Klich, Costa, Cooper, White and Dallas. Alioski for Hernandez (3 went off injured), Nketiah for Costa (45) and Stevens for Ayling (72). Leeds lost 2-1 with Bamford scoring for Leeds (54). Attendance was 18,878 with approx. 1,900 Leeds fans. The ref today was a disgrace to the profession and should have been left in the dressing room at half-time. Inept, clueless, out of his depth together with cheating, diving and time wasting from Fulham meant we were up against it today.

Leeds started on the attack and their keeper made a save from a deflected shot. We had to then regroup when Hernandez pulled up injured in the third minute of the game which meant he had to go off the pitch. Alioski came on to replace him but within four minutes we were a goal down when the ref awarded Fulham a soft penalty from which they duly scored. Both these incidents in a few minutes had given Leeds an uphill battle very early in the game. Despite this, I still thought we could get something from the game but that was before the ref carried on with his ineptitude. When Fulham were falling down at the drop of a hat and time wasting, that was bad enough, but their number 9 led with his elbow three times and despite being spoken to wasn’t booked. Luckily for him, as he should have walked in the second half with a booking that should have been his second. There were plenty of angry fans around me who couldn’t believe what they were witnessing, there again it wasn’t a surprise really. All I ask for is a level playing field and don’t like to see cheating players falling down and conning the ref. To say they are supposed to be professionals, it’s a shame they can’t act that way. Fulham aren’t the first team to play this way this season and no doubt won’t be the last. Harrison was involved in two pieces of play where we came close to scoring. The first one saw their keeper save from Dallas and Klich saw his shot come back off the post. Late in the half, Bamford saw their keeper make a save but the flag had also gone up for offside so wouldn’t have been counted anyway.

The second half saw Nketiah had come in for Costa. I was looking forward to seeing how he played together with Bamford. When Fulham put the ball into our net at the opposite end of the ground, I’d seen the offside flag go up so was expecting it to be disallowed. Not long after this we got the breakthrough after Alioski put Nketiah through and whilst his shot was parried, it came to the feet of Bamford to smash the ball into the net to equalise. With both keepers in action after this, Alioski’s header was saved before Fulham took a great shot that saw Casilla make a fantastic save. This was heading into the top left-hand corner looking at it from the away end, but I was confident that Casilla would be up to it. Unfortunately, Fulham did regain the lead shortly afterwards when the ball wasn’t cleared, and they got the run of the ball to hit the ball into the net. Leeds did keep going until the final whistle blew and in the final minutes had another chance kicked off the line.

It wasn’t to be, but there will always be ups and downs. I’ll take the positives from the game that we are still in a good position in the table despite there being a long way to go. After a 17+ hour round trip, it was nice to get home after a very long day. Boxing Day sees the tea-time kick-off against Preston and another bumper crowd at Elland Road. We can do this Leeds, keep that positive mental attitude going into the next game. 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 now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Leeds United v Cardiff City 14th December at Elland Road

After missing kick-off last Tuesday, my granddaughter Laura and I were in Leeds just after 9am and parked up. We then headed up to the Merrion Centre for the LUFCTrust AGM and called in the Leeds shop there before it started, as I wanted one of the new dark blue training tops. Well done to the board of the Trust for all the hard work they have done and are doing, especially as they are all volunteer Leeds fans. It was great seeing some of the new memorabilia on show and next weekend sees the last days for any Leeds fan to go and see it. After a quick trip to the German Christmas market for my bratwurst, we headed down for the special buses back to Elland Road as the heavens opened again.

On the way into the Peacock we found one of the helpers collecting for the Children’s heart surgery fund. As I had been given more money than the cost of my books on a couple of occasions recently that had been asked to be given to charity, I made sure that I put £10 into this fund as well as a couple of quid. Having had my daughter Charlotte die from congenital heart disease, this is definitely a worthwhile cause. Thank you to all the fans who bought my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United today including some of our Norwegian fans. Anders, Terje, Edward, Vicky and Dave, your support is greatly appreciated. On the way into the ground we called into the East Stand entrance to drop off a couple of small bits for the toy appeal. With another bumper crowd for the last home game before Christmas, Leeds would have an unchanged team.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, White, Dallas, Berardi, Hernandez, Bamford, Harrison, Klich, Costa and Phillips. Subs: Nketiah for Bamford (77), Alioski for Harrison (81) and Struijk for Berardi (84). The game ended 3-3 with Costa (6) and Bamford (8 & penalty 52) the Leeds scorers. Attendance was 34,552 with 710 Cardiff fans.

What a surprise it was to see Nikki leading the team out with Rita the dog getting recognition of her fantastic support of Leeds United before her recent retirement. That was brilliant to see and my daughter Danielle recognised her barking straight away. After Leeds had started on the attack, we had a great start to the game when we found ourselves two goals up within eight minutes. The first goal came after a breakaway attack when we cleared a Cardiff corner as Harrison came away with the ball. He passed out to Hernandez on the wing who put a great pass across the field for Costa to run onto and put the ball into the net. The second one followed two minutes later after Dallas crossed the ball and Bamford scored to send the Leeds fans wild. Leeds had come close to getting a third goal before Cardiff had a chance. Leeds continued to press and won a free-kick outside the area but Bamford’s shot went over the bar and later Ayling’s shot was deflected and went past the wrong side of the post. Cardiff had three chances in the closing minutes of the half and Hernandez was denied a goal by their keeper.  It had been a good first half and at times our one touch passing around the penalty area was fantastic to see as the team were cool, calm and collected.

At the start of the second half, Cardiff came out with more fight and looked more dangerous. Just as I was worried they could get into the game, Leeds had an attack. Bamford was brought down in the penalty area by their keeper and then scored from the penalty, to give us some breathing space with a third goal. After nearly getting a fourth goal, Leeds let Cardiff back into the game when Casilla punched the ball out only for their player to lob the ball back over him into the net. We’d had some passes going astray and then Bielsa made our first sub with Bamford going off for Nketiah. Within five minutes, Leeds were caught out as Cardiff scored a second goal. They had a free kick which caught everyone out as all our players congregated in the middle of the goal to defend it. Cardiff had a player on the touchline at the left hand side of the pitch all on his own so when the ball went straight out to him, it wasn’t expected to go there. He was in acres of space as he sent a cross into the penalty area for their player to head it into the net in the 82nd minute. As Cardiff threatened to get something out of the game they had a player sent off in the 86th minute as he brought Nketiah down on the right wing with a bad foul. I hoped that would limit the threat from Cardiff but unfortunately for us, it didn’t. As we had lost our height with Bamford going off, Bielsa made the decision to bring Struijk on which looked like he wanted to protect the lead and see the game out. It didn’t work out the way we wanted it though, as I think it was a mistake to take Berardi off. Sadly our defence seemed to be at sixes and sevens as two clashed for the same ball and within two minutes they got an equaliser to stun the Leeds support. With nearly the last kick of the game Leeds were unlucky not to get a winner when their keeper made a fantastic save from Nketiah that hit White but went past the wrong side of the post.

That was a sucker punch today having been so far in the lead then letting it slip. The aerial attacks and long throws had put us under pressure and we didn’t cope well with them. With having let in so little goals so far this season, we suddenly let in three in one game. The consensus as we came out of the ground was that Nketiah doesn’t hold the ball up like Bamford does and we lose the ball very easily. It will have been a learning curve today because at times I thought we had become very complacent today. As usual we have to take the rough with the smooth and despite feeling as if we had lost today, the positive is that we got a draw and one point. We are still in second place and in a good position with still a 10 point gap behind us. There is a long way to go and there will be many unexpected scores for all clubs in the Championship still to come.  We just need to keep on getting as many points as we can. Keep the faith and I’ll see you at Fulham next week. 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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Leeds United v Hull City 10th December 2019 at Elland Road

As I left Rastrick with my granddaughter Alexis, the heavens opened into monsoon weather. I wasn’t looking forward to the journey to Elland Road or the thought of being outside in it. As it was I didn’t have any reason to worry because severe traffic issues at a standstill both on the motorway and around the ground ensured we didn’t get to the game until after kick-off. That was probably caused by a bad judgment on my part as I thought it would be easier to get Alexis her McDonalds at the White Rose Centre. Well that part was fine and it was nice to bump into one of our Welsh Whites who said his journey over the tops had been horrendous. Leaving the White Rose saw a 45 minute journey to our parking spot at Elland Road so by the time we got in the ground the game had kicked off. Luckily we hadn’t missed anything although I didn’t get my customary photos of the team coming out with the mascots so apologies for those who like seeing those. We did miss the cat on the pitch though that had to be removed from the ground.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Berardi, Phillips (back from suspension), Hernandez, Bamford, Klich, Harrison, Costa, White and Dallas. Subs: Alioski for Harrison (69), Struijik (making his debut) for Costa (91) and Douglas for Klich (96). Attendance was 35,200 with 1,512 Hull fans. Leeds won 2-0 with an own goal from De Wijs (73) and Alioski scoring the second (82).

It took me another 10 minutes before there was enough break in play to get my glasses out. Although Leeds were seeing a lot of the ball, some of our passing wasn’t always on target. That said Hull were making it difficult for us with some really tight marking which we got around with some lovely touches. Hernandez was denied a goal by their keeper after a great one two with Costa had put him in a great position to get the shot in. When Hull had a shot from the corner that hit the side netting, their fans thought they’d scored. The Leeds fans retaliated with some gallows humour cheering and pretending to score a goal. At the other end Leeds came close when Berardi got on the end of a Phillip’s corner and put the shot narrowly wide. Although Leeds had a few more shots, none were on target.

It was only at the start of the second half that I realised Hull had turned us around at the start of the game. Very observant! Hull were still marking us tightly leaving it a slightly frustrating game, not helped by the referee at times. Hull were getting into the game more and trying to attack having a couple of shots and at that point I thought we should change things. As it was Bielsa thought differently and as usual I trusted his judgement. The ground had gone silent again and I said we needed to up the singing so as not to affect the players. As the crowd started getting behind them Costa found his goal chalked off due to offside. I’d seen the flag go up straight away before he put the ball into the net which was a shame. I said “right Leeds, we’d better score again then.” One of their players did a blatant dive in the penalty area right in front of us trying to get a penalty and got plenty of boos for his effort. One of their attackers looked out of breath and I was sure that our fitness levels would get the better of them in the end, although at that time it looked like a goalless draw was on the cards. Hull had been making things very difficult for us to get any flow to our play going. With our next attack we did indeed get a goal courtesy of an own goal from a Hull player after Costa’s cross wrong footed their keeper. I wasn’t worried about any of Hull’s attacks after we went in front as our players were backing each other up and fighting for the ball. I thought Ayling and Berardi had played exceptionally well and made some really important tackles. Alioski came on as sub and a few minutes later Casilla made a fantastic save with the help of Bamford to keep Hull out. With that, Leeds raced to the South Stand down the right hand side of the pitch. Klich passed the ball to Bamford in the middle and unfortunately his shot hit the post and came back out to Alioski on the left. Alioski then smashed the ball into the net to give us that second goal. I had no doubts that we would see the game out now despite six minutes of injury time. I only realised their keeper had gone down after we had scored and was receiving treatment. Shame on the Hull player for trying to get Bamford into bother afterwards by saying he had deliberately run into their keeper (you’re too sh*t to play for Leeds comes to mind as I couldn’t even remember him such was the lack of impact he made here). Replays later showed Bamford had swerved round the keeper without touching him. Get your facts right first I would say.

The win made this seven wins out of seven as Bielsa carries on emulating Don Revie. Thanks to Alison for buying one lucky person my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United as a Christmas present. Saturday sees another home game this time against Cardiff. Well I aim to be there very early for this one as I am heading to the Merrion Centre first with my granddaughter Laura for the LUFCTrust AGM and also catching up with the new items in the Centenary Exhibition. 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 now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Huddersfield v Leeds United 7th December 2019 at the John Smith’s Stadium

First of all with this day being the 22nd anniversary since the death of my hero Billy Bremner, my thoughts go out to his family. I can’t believe it is so many years ago that I, along with thousands of other fans, lined the streets near Doncaster to say goodbye. My Bremner stone is near Billy’s feet at Elland Road and something I am proud to own courtesy of my family. Leeds fans in the crowd at Huddersfield paid their tributes to the great man by chanting Billy Bremner’s barmy army over and over again.

I’d been talking to a couple of Huddersfield fans at work yesterday. One said that they wished they’d never been in the premiership as they now have overpaid prima donnas who won’t play etc. (it looks like some were dropped for today too which proves a point). After seeing the display from some of their players today who went down at the drop of a hat, now that’s one thing I don’t miss, give me our Leeds players any day.

With driving to the game today, it was great to meet my daughter Danielle at my elder daughter’s house in Rastrick, because 15 minutes later we were parked up at the ground. The parking attendant thanked me for being so good and quick to park and said I could teach others how to park properly. It’s a good job he didn’t see me trying to park on the roadside when I went to babysit my grandson later this evening, hence the late blog so apologies for that. We decided to wait for the Leeds coaches to arrive before we eventually went into the ground. As we headed up the hill to the car park as normal, it was only because of some other Leeds fans that we didn’t have a wasted trip to the turnstiles. Huddersfield had changed where we entered the ground so we entered just past where the coaches parked instead. I’d not any issues with that and it was only after we turned around that stewards were told to stop any Leeds fans heading that way.

We got into the ground in good time and had a right laugh when Danielle was asked if she was old enough to be searched. As the age is 16 and she is well into her twenties, it looks like she is carrying on in the family tradition of looking younger. Well my friend Sue and I have remained 35 for a number of years so I forget my real age lol! Thank you to the Bradford Whites for their support and promotions of my books for me. It was funny to hear Adele had been reading one of them whilst in a meeting recently so couldn’t put it down as she got so engrossed in it. Well it was a lot more interesting wasn’t it lol? Thanks to Gary Noble for buying my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United too. Don’t forget these books will make a great present for any Leeds fan.

It was nice to meet up with a steward who helped save a friend of mine’s life at the Middlesbrough game last week. He saw Mags collapse near the LUDO lounge and realised she needed immediate help despite the fact she had been drinking as someone said. His quick response was to get her to the first aid bay then the nurse and doctor in there had to give her CPR as her heart stopped three times. Well done to Martin Grubb, Catriona and Dr Paul Robinson because without them, Mags wouldn’t be here today.

Casilla had a couple of friends in the stand who had travelled from Italy for the game today. He made a couple of crucial saves today which kept us in the game so well done to him. He has come a long way since I was shouting expletives at him after the Derby game and I’ll put my hands up to say that now, I do feel safe with him in goal. His charging out of the area has been brought under control and that has made such a difference to the way he plays.

Just before we’d gone to our seats for the start of the game, we’d been stood outside the stairs next to the partition between the sets of fans. The town fans started banging on the other side of the walls before deciding some of us needed a beer bath so that was reciprocated very quickly. I made sure the stewards were told it had come our way first as well as a bottle as it was straight away looking like our fans were about to get the blame. At half time there were a number of police and stewards in the same place on our side.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, White, Berardi, Dallas, Harrison, Costa, Bamford, Klich, Alioski and Hernandez, Subs: Nketiah for Bamford (77), Oliver Casey making his first team debut for Klich (85) and Douglas for Costa (87). Leeds won the game 2-0 with goals from Alioski (50) and Hernandez (78). Attendance was 23,805 with 2,314 Leeds fans.

I was looking forward to us winning today but knew it wouldn’t be an easy game because town were going to raise their game against us and there were no doubts in my mind that would be the case. It did prove to be a difficult game but with Cooper being out through injury and Phillips suspended for this game, we had to reshuffle the squad at the back. It was apparent to me that White took a short while to settle in because of this but it didn’t take long for him to get there. The one thing Leeds were doing was chasing after every ball lost and that proved a good thing many a time when we won the ball back. I was hoping out fitness would tell in the end though.

Town were given a few free kicks to begin with before things settled down slightly as they were going down at the drop of a hat. Two of their players did have a clash of heads which was a just stoppage. Leeds managed to get on the attack and won a corner. Hernandez sent a low cross into the box and Klich’s shot bounced off the post and away for our first chance of the game. Town retaliated with an attack but found Casilla in great form as he made a fantastic save to keep them out. After one of their players had been down “injured” for a while, more like time wasting to me, it didn’t take him long to start running around in the penalty area. Leeds players were after them like flies and with one of their players on the goal line, Alioski was being a right pest lol as they ran around Casilla. Alioski was doing his job and protecting his keeper! Leeds were standing firm with Casilla making another save and we nearly took the lead just before the break as we raced to the other end but Costa’s shot went over. I was glad that we’d got to half time and kept town out especially as there had been five minutes of injury time played.

At half time a lad had gone into the ladies toilets causing uproar but had disappeared before the stewards arrived. It was nice to hear that a lad going through cancer treatment is responding well to it and good luck in his recovery. Another lad who I’d put in touch with my publisher is getting his book published in March which was good to hear. After me having my photo taken with Bielsa last week, that caused a good topic of conversation with others. I was talking to people that much and taking photos that I decided I better head back into the stand as I was sure the second half would have kicked off. That proved to be the case and luckily I hadn’t missed anything. I had only just got back to my seat as Leeds were on the attack and won a corner before the ball came to Alioski on the edge of the box. As soon as the ball left his foot I knew it was a goal as the Leeds fans went wild. With the hatred from town fans that never existed until we ended up in the same league, it just made me want to win them even more so get in! Trying to keep my feet when everyone was falling around me was difficult as I scraped my leg on the seat in front. Just after that we had another great attack only Bamford’s final header was wide. That was a shame as we could have put the game to bed then. When Bamford did score, his goal was ruled out for offside but replays apparently showed that the goal should have stood. Their keeper saved from Harrison which kept them in the game. Two of our players were booked Klich and White when both of them won the ball for me. Hopefully I’ll get to see these again, as the ball went in the right direction after the tackle. Although town players kept going down, it was noticeable that they didn’t stay down as long now they were behind. When it looked like town had got the better of our defence and were going to equalise, Casilla made a point blank save with his feet which enabled us to bring the ball out of defence. Leeds were starting to make some breaks now and Bamford was starting to get under their skins with a foul eventually bringing him down. Even though he had hurt his arm, our trainers did not come onto the pitch and he eventually got up and carried on. This angered their fans too ha ha. Eventually Bamford got subbed for Nketiah and as he went off he put his thumbs up to the dugout, job done! Within a minute Leeds took a greater lead with a second goal, after breaking away with another fantastic move which ended with Hernandez heading the ball into the net in front of the Leeds fans. Delirious scenes on the terraces as the lads behind me tumbled down the seats and I couldn’t keep my footing and ended up on the floor too. Eventually we all got up and I managed a few photos with lots of happy Leeds fans. That’s all part of the football experience although different from falling down the terraces in the past with no seats. The lad did ask if I was okay which was nice.  For those saying safe standing isn’t required, with railings in place it would certainly stop people falling over lots of seats onto others. With the early kick-off result, Leeds had gone back to the top of the table again. As the Leeds fans continued to sing and celebrate, the town fans started to leave the stadium in abundance knowing they had been beaten. At the end of the game it was nice to see some of the Leeds players interacting with some town players and Alioski swapped shirts.

We were some of the last Leeds fans to leave the stadium as we were near the front of the stand. As we walked past the Leeds coaches I started taking photos of some of our fans but it looked like I was causing a riot. Well a friendly one lol. As we got to the crossroads by the Ford garage, I saw some of the walkers from the Leeds United Trust. They had walked to the ground today from Elland Road with some town fans to raise money for the foodbanks so well done to them. As we stood there loads of police came running past us and vans shot up the road towards the town centre. To say it was so long after the game, I can only surmise that our stragglers had been met by some town fans but no doubt someone will say what happened in time.

Well done Leeds, another three points and onto our midweek game at home to Hull on Tuesday. Keep going and lets enjoy what we are seeing, 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 now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Leeds United v Middlesbrough 30th November 2019 at Elland Road

We headed into Leeds early today as I was meeting Marcelo Bielsa to have a photo taken with my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United. After dreaming half the night about trying to get to meet him but it not happening, I was happy to get to the ground in good time. After meeting Stix at the players’ entrance, my husband, granddaughter Hannah and I were taken into the players’ lounge to wait for the team and Bielsa to arrive. Nice and friendly staff in there contributed to a very welcoming atmosphere and thank you for that. When Stix came to get me, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I thought I’d just get my photo taken at the entrance. As it was, I was taken into the Manager’s office where I got a big hug from Bielsa before going to face the cameras. I wasn’t expecting to be filmed and in the rush I nearly forgot I wanted a photo with my book. The first photo saw Bielsa doing the Leeds salute with me too then I got the other one. After getting a final hug from Bielsa and also getting my book signed by him later as I’d forgotten to do that also, I’d like to say that he is a man in a million. Hannah said she wanted the signed book but unfortunately for her, this one is mine to keep. She then asked if she could have it when I die. I had to laugh at that and said she may need to fight my daughter Danielle for it! Getting this opportunity today though was absolutely brilliant and I am grateful to Stix for arranging this for me and thank you to him too.

After a visit to the Peacock we got in to the ground before the teams came out. As there had been a heavy frost this morning I was expecting it to be colder but had wrapped up well. The sun had been shining making it a nice day for a game of football. I said to a few people that Leeds would win 5-0 today. I know it was a tongue in cheek score line but one day, someone is going to get a hammering so why not start today? As it was I was very close to being right, although my daughter thought I’d had a knock on the head so to speak.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Dallas, Hernandez, Phillips, Costa, Bamford, Klich and Harrison. Subs: Costa for Alioski (76), Nketiah for Bamford (79) and Berardi for Phillips (83). Leeds won the game 4-0 with goals from Bamford (3), a brace from Klich 45+3 and 73) and Costa (67). Attendance was 35,626 with 1,806 Middlesbrough fans.

Leeds set off on the attack at a fast pace which ended with Ayling’s shot wide of the post. As Leeds continued to attack with Harrison running at the defence, their keeper pushed out the resulting header from Bamford. When the ball came back out to Hernandez on the right, his pass found Bamford again, only this time his header was put into the net to give Leeds an early lead after three minutes. Bamford was very unlucky not to get a second shortly afterwards but he was denied again by their keeper. The pace of the game quietened down after approximately 20 minutes and although Boro were seeing more of the ball, Leeds were able to deal with them. Some passing was short which gave Boro a bit of hope when they won the ball back. When Casilla whipped the ball off the toes of one of the Boro players leaving him on his backside, the Leeds fans cheered. It had been a close call, but he was very cool and all credit to him. As half time approached, Bamford got the ball at the left hand side of the penalty area. His cross came back to Klich who then with the luck of a deflection put the ball into the net to double our lead. That was great timing just on the stroke of half-time.

The fans were in good voice at the start of the second-half and the two goal lead had given us some breathing space. We were unlucky not to get a further goal but that was thanks to their keeper making a good save from Harrison. When the fans shouted at Dallas to shoot, well he did as they asked but unfortunately the resulting shot was well wide. We did indeed get another goal when Costa after some good play, got into the penalty area and scored our third of the day. This was also his first league goal for Leeds. Casilla was called into action before the Leeds attack was seen at the Kop end again. When Leeds took a short corner the ball came to Klich on the edge of the box to the right of us. He let fly with a great shot that ended up in the top left hand side of the goal to us. Four goals on the day and I came close to the right score when Phillip’s free-kick nearly made it five, only for their keeper once again making a great save to deny him a goal. Despite Boro seeing some of the ball they didn’t really pose a threat. I knew Woodgate our ex-player was managing them now, but I’d forgotten about Howson playing for them and only saw him clapping the fans at the end.

Thank you to both Gary and Roy for buying my new book so I hope you enjoy the read. Today was a good result for us making it five wins out of five and takes us into our early kick-off next Saturday at Huddersfield. Unfortunately for us Phillips will be banned for this one due to his booking today. I’ll be driving to this one 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 now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

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