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

 

Reading v Leeds United 26th November at the Madejski Stadium

It was very disappointing to see all the empty seats in the home end today, especially since they have stopped giving our fans the whole end. With a “singing end” that cost them money today, Reading is another club who are happy to throw money away especially as Leeds would have sold more tickets for the game.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Bamford, Hernandez, Harrison, Klich, Phillips, Dallas, White and Roberts. Subs: Costa for Roberts (went off injured, 34), Alioski for Klich (66) and Shackleton for Harrison (90). Leeds won the game 1-0 with a goal from Harrison (87). Attendance was 16,918 with 2,050 Leeds fans.

Leeds started the game on the attack but when this broke down Reading counterattacked with Leeds chasing back in defence. Luckily for us their player missed the ball and we were able to clear it. The game was fairly even, but Reading were keeping tight shackles on our players resulting in some misplaced passes from us. Roberts went down injured around the half hour mark and he ended up going straight down the tunnel. I hope it’s as a precaution and not that his recent injury has flared up again but this brought Costa on as his replacement. Casilla had to be on his toes a couple of times as he raced forward to get the ball in the penalty area plus making a good save to deny Reading the lead. Leeds shouted for a handball incident just before the break but the ref said to play on. I thought it looked blatant but would need to see it again to be sure.

Thank you Bob for buying my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United having already bought some of my previous books. Another fan had just finished reading my joint book with Andrew Dalton, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United. As this book is based solely on the 80s, he said that it brought back so many memories of games he attended at the time. It is nice to get good feedback from fans too and as always the support is appreciated.

The second half saw Leeds attacking our end with some purpose. Again the game was pretty even with both sides cancelling each other out. With one attack Dallas hit a great shot which came back off the crossbar in our best chance of the game. Reading were still looking for a goal themselves winning a few corners but Leeds were standing firm. With White once again showing great composure on the ball, I really hoped he would get on the scoresheet. When Alioski came on for Klich it took a few minutes for the formation to take effect as Reading came at us again. Their keeper made a save from Dallas before Reading won a free-kick just outside the area from another attack. After Casilla made the save their player was stopped by Dallas from crossing it back into the area. Harrison picked the ball up as Leeds raced out of defence with a fantastic move, passed back to Dallas who with a great cross field ball found Alioski haring down the wing. He then passed the ball to Costa, whose pin point cross found Harrison at the far post in acres of space to head the ball into the net to send the Leeds fans wild behind the goal. Apparently it took 15 seconds from defence into scoring the goal, with Harrison involved in both the start and finish of the move, wow!! Just before we scored, I felt we would fight until the end and there was always that chance of a late goal. Some Leeds fans must have been in the stand to the right because just after we scored loads of Reading fans and stewards went chasing down the tunnel. I’d seen some fans thrown out earlier in the game in the same area, but I wasn’t sure if they were Leeds fans or not. It was good to see Shackleton back on the pitch even if it was only for injury time. Leeds weren’t going to let Reading get back into the game as we held on for the win and another three points to put us on top of the league. A very happy fan base left the ground to head home.

I’ll be there early on Saturday as I’ve to be at the players’ entrance by 1.15pm to get my photo taken with Marcelo Bielsa and my new book. I’m so excited, as is my granddaughter Hannah and can’t wait, 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

Luton v Leeds United 23rd November 2019 at Kenilworth Road

With the international break last week, I took the opportunity to spend some time with my daughter Emily and grandson Freddie. A visit to Elland Road was a must as well as having a photo taken at Billy’s statue to meet my hero. I also received some great news during the week, when I found out that I will be meeting Marcelo Bielsa before the Boro game next week to have a photo taken with him and my new book. I’m so excited and what an honour to be able to meet him. With the book bought by Big Kev Wilky who I bumped into in Halifax and Nikki who I assisted at the game today, my grateful thanks go to both of them for the support. It was also nice to hear that one lad had bought all my books and is waiting to get Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United. I know this has been put on some fans’ Christmas lists too, so I just wanted to remind fans that all my books will make great Christmas presents. Well done to the LUFCTrust who have extended their exhibition in the Merrion Centre until Christmas although only on weekends or when Leeds are playing. They have been able to get more things to exhibit and I was more than happy to let my things stay on display. I was also the lucky winner of a signed print from the 1972 FA Cup Final from the WACCOE forum draw and due to Mark, I was able to get this today. Another prized Leeds possession for me.

After picking up Mark in Halifax we headed to Leeds to pick Nikki up before heading to the ground. With a nice stop in Bedford we got to the ground 30 minutes before kick-off. As I was Nikki’s carer today, after Danny’s comment that I needed to bark, I had the coach in uproar when I asked him if he was calling me a dog? It was funny as we had a right laugh at the comment. It wasn’t the first time I was told I had to bark today either. With Rita now retired and Annie still in training, Nikki is hoping that the Boro game will see Annie making an appearance with her at Elland Road. As we got in through the gates, the lad gave up trying to see what I had in my bags and let me through without even looking at our tickets.

The team: Casilla, Berardi, White, Dallas, Klich, Hernandez, Phillips, Roberts, Harrison, Bamford and Ayling. Subs: Cooper for Berardi (59), Costa for Harrison (65) and Clarke for Roberts (71). Leeds won the game 2-1 with Bamford getting a brace (51 and 90) although the winner was deemed to be an own goal by some. Attendance was 10,068 with 1,035 Leeds fans.

With the smallest allocation of away tickets this season, I hadn’t realised that we had Luton fans in with us as I’d headed towards the no man’s land area. It was nice to see little Nathan from Halifax be our mascot today as he came out of the tunnel with Bamford. As there have been a few away games this season where we have had no mascot, it was good to see today. As far as I could remember, it was also the first time this season that we have been turned around at the kick-off so Leeds were attacking our end.

The game set off at a fast pace with both teams trying to attack. Although we didn’t have many clear chances, we had a couple of opportunities where striking a first time ball at the goal may have resulted in us taking the lead. Their player went down in the penalty area but I thought we took the ball cleanly as they shouted for a penalty. Bamford brought a save out of their goalie as Leeds had a lot of possession, before Luton won a corner. A fleeting thought was I hoped they wouldn’t get a goal against the run of play which luckily for us didn’t happen. A flurry of opportunities just after this saw Leeds unlucky not to take the lead when Bamford’s shot came back off the post before first Phillips, then Harrison saw their keeper deny us the lead. Their keeper denied both Bamford and Roberts another scoring opportunity as we went in to the half time break on even terms. With the rain pouring down, Leeds had played well on a tight pitch that just wasn’t long enough for Harrison to get on the end of some of the passes. With it being an old school ground, we had to come through the houses to get onto the terraces. With talk of Luton moving grounds in the future, this will certainly be a relic of the past. I can remember going in the opposite end when Leeds fans were banned on some Luton season tickets and also we went straight to the game at Luton on our way back from Anderlecht during our European Cup run in 1975.

The second half saw Leeds attack the far end and their keeper once against made a save to keep us out. When Phillips won the ball from Izzy Brown who was now playing for Luton, he went down looking for a foul but the ref said play on. White won the ball and sent a delightful cross for Bamford to run onto and stick the ball into the net to put us into the lead. We came close to a second goal before Luton had an attack. With Brown now on the left of us, he managed to get his cross in which was headed into the net to equalise. With our lead lasting only three minutes that was a disappointment. Their goal gave Luton the impetus to start attacking us and they had a couple of good runs when Casilla made an important save. With their next attack, the ball ended up in the net in front of us as my heart sank only for the Leeds fans to start cheering as the linesman had his flag up for offside. What a relief. I was very disappointed then with the reaction of a Luton steward, who made the Leeds lad move off the steps who was doing filming for the club. He had been there all game and it looked like he was moved out of spite to me. We had a few more shots on target which their keeper saved but with one shot, a bit more power behind it would have caused him problems. I suddenly realised that Luton, despite their early time wasting, would be happy with a draw as they hung back in the middle of the field. In that moment I thought that Leeds could go out and get the winner and to keep fighting until the final whistle blew. With the whole 90+ minutes of the game going really fast, Leeds had another attack and as if in slow motion, Bamford’s shot after Klich’s pass, crept into the left hand side of the post. That was the cue for the Leeds fans to go wild tumbling down the stairs, as I was trying to keep my feet and take some photos. When my toes were crushed by someone standing on my foot, I tried to move back across the front of the stand out of the way. Luton tried to attack us with one final push but we were able to keep them out to gain the win and three points.

It was good to come away from the ground knowing we had got a winning goal in the final moments of the half. With another game at Reading and then Boro next Saturday, I will take each game as it comes. Go out and do your best Leeds and get as many points as possible whilst I keep an open mind. We can do it so just keep going. 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 Blackburn Rovers 9th November 2019 at Elland Road

It’s been a busy week relating to Leeds United starting with the opening of the Leeds United shop in the White Rose Centre last Sunday. I queued for ages with my granddaughter Hannah to go and meet the players who were there Alioski and Meslier plus Josh Warrington too. We thought we were nearly at the front of the queue only to find out we had to queue further in the unit opposite the shop. There was talk that the players were going at 12.00pm and we still hadn’t got into the shop and there were still loads of fans behind us. Luckily they were still there by the time we got in and despite being told we couldn’t take any photos by a young girl, there were no issues when we got to the front of the queue with Stix helping to take the photos.

Thursday saw the LUFCTrust, Allan Clarke and Paul Trevillion evening at the Centenary Exhibition in the Merrion Centre. With my friend Linda who made my flag that is on show there and my daughter Danielle, we had a great evening and the entertainment and stories from both Allan and Paul were first class. I could stay listening to them both forever. A well done to the LUFCTrust too for organising this and also if you haven’t visited the exhibition please go, as it is well worth it. Allan said that to make sure Leeds fans have a voice, they should join the LUFCTrust.

Today I’d arranged to catch up with Daryll from Australia who had travelled over to the game last week. We’d been unable to meet up then due to the Peacock being so packed, so arranged to meet at Billy’s statue instead. At least he has managed to see two home wins in a row! Sadly I didn’t see the lad from Mexico but hope he made the game. Thanks to Keith for buying my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United and it was nice to talking to Tony about all of my books. It’s nice to hear he will want to buy them all in due course, the same as Craig and Michelle who bought the new one today also. As always, I appreciate all the support from fans together with comments made about my books and blog. I do these things because of the Leeds United fans who are second to none. It was nice having a chat with the wife and daughter of one of the lads who I used to travel in to games with in the seventies, who is sadly no longer with us. After going into the Peacock, my granddaughter Alexis and I headed into the ground early. As there was to be the customary minute’s silence and last post played because today is the nearest game to Armistice Day in memory of fallen soldiers, I had to be there in good time. As it was we got in early enough and I managed to get photos of the two Remembrance flags I saw on show, one up on Level 4 belonging to Phil Thumbsup Cresswell and the other from Harry one of our Bradford Whites. I’ve got a photo with Harry that is in the latest book, holding the same flag up at West Bromwich Albion last season. A poignant day, but I’ve so much respect for those who served our country and it is good to see they will never be forgotten.

The team: Casilla, Cooper, White, Ayling, Dallas, Klich, Costa, Roberts, Bamford, Harrison and Phillips. Subs: Berardi for Cooper (injured 72), Hernandez for Costa (81) and Davis for Harrison (90+2). Leeds won the game 2-1 with Bamford scoring a penalty (30) and Harrison (35). Attendance was 35,567 with 973 Blackburn fans.

The game kicked off similarly to last week with passes going astray or not enough power in them to get to our players. With plenty of free-kicks going Blackburn’s way too, the one that really riled the Leeds fans up was being pulled back to the half-way line where one of their players was down injured, when we were on the attack. Blackburn also started with some timewasting tactics but luckily after 20 minutes the ref curtailed some of the blowing up and played on. It was apparent to me that Harrison was up for the game today and on fire with his speed down the wing welcomed. Roberts being back in the squad was also good to see and that has made an impact in my opinion which has benefited a few others. As we started to get on top of our game,  it was Robert’s pass to Ayling in the box that resulted in a penalty given when the latter was brought down. The ref had no hesitation when pointing to the spot. Bamford got hold of the ball to take the penalty and I noticed he had a swagger about him that oozed confidence. Roberts went to try to get the ball to take the penalty but was told by others that Bamford was to take it. When Bamford put the ball into the net to put us into the lead, it took me back to listening to Sniffer on Thursday. He said he told someone the night before Wembley that he was going to score and Leeds were going to win the FA Cup which they did in the Centenary year. This game remains my favourite one of all time and seeing Billy Bremner presented with the FA Cup by Her Majesty the Queen was the highlight for me. The feelings were out of this world and that team is why I’m still the loyal Leeds fan I am today. Bamford enjoyed his celebrations and it will mean a lot to him getting on the scoresheet and should take the pressure off him. Within five minutes, he had received the ball at the left hand side of the box which he passed over to Harrison who scored via the righthand post to put us two up. I’d had no perceptions about the game or scoreline until then, but at that time I thought we could get more goals. As it was, Blackburn had a rare attack and won a  corner. Kiko went for the ball but went straight back on to his line only to see the ball headed past him into the net. I’d thought that was Kiko’s ball all the way and he should have punched it out instead of waiting for the header on the line. It took the sting out of the game just before half-time but we were still in the lead. With Leeds fans being in the bottom half of the West Stand because Blackburn didn’t sell enough tickets, I thought we’d gone back in time. Seeing a steward making everyone sit down time after time, I thought how ridiculous. When fans in the South Stand, Kop and Cheese Wedge were all stood up it made a mockery of the decision.

As Costa got the ball in the second half, I said to the man next to me that I’d forgotten he was on the pitch. Although he’d been involved in some moves in the first half, they had been sporadic. With that he started to get into the game more and looked impressive with a couple of attacks down the wing. Obviously it is something he has to work on for future games but it does show what he can do. With Harrison in good positions to receive the ball, one cross was inches away from Bamford’s outstretched feet. Cooper had a shot saved by their keeper before he had to go off due to injury. I didn’t see him go off the pitch only Berardi coming on, so I’d no idea what had happened. There again Roberts had been brought down by his back foot or so I thought. When I shouted at the ref for not giving us a free kick, the lad in front of me said he hadn’t been touched. Well I know I’m biaised but I was convinced that’s what I’d seen but when things happen so fast, it’s not surprising that I see what I want to lol. Harrison was my man of the match today especially with the chances he had to score. Roberts was also playing well as he was fighting for every ball and brought out a great save from their keeper. Blackburn had a rare attack but Leeds won the ball back and went straight on another attack towards us. When I thought the ball should have been passed to the left of us, it went straight down the centre but as the ball ran kindly for us the final shot was wide. Roberts was brought down at the right hand side of the box and the resulting free-kick saw Bamford wacked off the ball too. A couple of times when Leeds were attacking the linesman to the left of us made some baffling decisions. With the minutes running down, Leeds were able to keep the ball at the Kop end and win the game for another three points. I noticed that Roberts was limping after that last challenge so it’s a good job we’ve got the International break next week. That was until I heard him say he’d been called up for Wales so I just hope he manages to get over the injury quickly. I haven’t heard anything more about Cooper’s injury as yet but hopefully, that isn’t a recurrence of the one he has just come back from and more of a precautionary substitution.

Next week I’m going to take advantage of the break to do some Christmas shopping before we return for two away games in a row with first Luton and then Reading. Middlesbrough sees our next home game so hopefully I’ll catch up with some of you then. 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

 

LUFCTrust – an evening with Allan Clarke and Paul Trevillion at the Merrion Centre, Leeds 7.11.19

I’d like to say a big thank you to the organisers from the Trust for making the evening possible and to both Allan Clarke and Paul Trevillion for the entertainment. You were fantastic and I could have stayed listening to your stories forever. Along with Dave Cocker and Ben Shires it was a great night and was so glad to be there. As Allan said, if we want our voices to be heard, join the LUFCTrust! 

Also thank you to Lee and Cayne for buying my book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United. It was nice to catch up with friends with my daughter Danielle including Linda, who was the creator of my flag that is on show in the Centenary Exhibition. If you haven’t been to see the exhibition as yet, I would thoroughly recommend visiting it.

Leeds United v QPR 2nd November 2019 at Elland Road

I handed a copy of my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United to Stix, Leeds United’s Player Liasion Officer at the recent VIP event of the Leeds United Trust Centenary Exhibition. Last Monday Stix had been asked to ring me up to thank me for the book from Bielsa himself which was a really nice gesture. Imagine my surprise and amazement that had me buzzing, when on Tuesday morning I received a telephone call from the great man himself. Wow, Marcelo Bielsa on the phone to me!!! For him to take the time to ring a Leeds United fan himself just shows to me what a treasure he is for the club. Although he needed his interpreter for some of the conversation and would need him to help read the book, he did say he would like to get a photo of me with the book. Hopefully this can be arranged in the near future which would be an honour for me. Fingers crossed this can be arranged. I’d also like to thank my neighbour Keith for buying 10 of the books at once.

Although it was another miserable day as the rain started again on our way to Leeds, my granddaughter Hannah and I headed to the players’ entrance to see the team arriving. With the team arriving later than usual, we were there longer than I’d intended which didn’t work out well for some of my new books that were in a new bag. Oh well, it means that my daughter has ended up with one of the damaged books now.  I met up with Bev and Steve our Bournemouth Whites who did the foreword for the book as loyal Leeds fans, just as they were leaving the Peacock. Thanks for the support in buying a book and I appreciate their help. We stayed in the Peacock for a while and there was a great atmosphere in there and with the weather being bad, it was rammed with fans. A young girl was attending her first game from Newcastle and I caught up with Mick from Nottingham. Butch from The White Rose branch was celebrating his 60th birthday and also Chris who stands behind us in the ground was also enjoying birthday celebrations so happy birthday to them both. I wondered why the Peacock had started emptying and assumed it was because the rain had stopped, only to have it pointed out to me by Hannah that there were only 20 minutes left until kick-off.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Dallas, Bamford, Harrison, Klich, Costa, Roberts, Phillips and White. Subs: Hernandez for Costa (77) and Davis for Harrison (84). Leeds won the game 2-0 with goals from Roberts (39) and Harrison (82). Attendance was 35,284 with 1,093 QPR fans.

The opening minutes saw some passes going astray as the wet conditions contributed to some scrappy play. QPR were seeing a lot of the ball courtesy of the ref, who kept blowing up for every challenge on them which after numerous times started to rile the Leeds fans up. With some of them unjustified, it was good to see him letting things go more after approx. 20 minutes. They were also looking to waste as much time as possible. In the meantime, QPR had come close to opening the scoring but the shot went wide. Klich got into a glorious position in lots of space in the middle of the goal but hit the ball over the bar. He looked to have the goal at his mercy but it was only then that I realised how small their keeper was. Ayling headed over the bar from a free kick before it looked like Bamford had rounded their keeper and was going to slot the ball into the net, only for the ball to be whipped off his toes by a defender. With the ball ending up back with their keeper, he’d been so close to scoring. Leeds continued to attack and were stringing together some play down the left hand side towards the South Stand but ended with Bamford’s header going wide. Shortly after this, Leeds took a deserved lead when Harrison passed the ball across to Tyler Roberts who struck his first time shot into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. It was no more than Leeds deserved and it was good to get the goal just before the break. Although QPR came close to scoring when the ball was crossed across the box in front of us and their player missed it by inches, I wasn’t unduly worried. Bamford had a header saved on the stroke of half-time before the whistle blew.

Although I’d been chatting below the stands with my friend Carole for what seemed ages, I couldn’t believe it when I got back to my seat and found the Leeds team had come back out onto the pitch but not QPR. Leeds set off in the second half attacking the goal in front of us with first Costa, then Roberts involved, before the latter’s pass just missed the foot of the outstretched Bamford. To me, Costa had been playing so much better today and in my opinion, having Roberts there to help him made such a difference to his game. Roberts and Klich had shots at the goal before we got a second goal, or so we thought.  Bamford’s diving header after a great cross from Roberts had everyone cheering before realising the linesman had put his flag up for offside. After coming so close to scoring it would have been great to see Bamford on the scoresheet but it wasn’t to be. Cooper had the ball and as he ran towards the goal, some around us shouted shoot. Well he did as they asked but it went wide, so they started saying you should have passed it instead! It was quite funny though. QPR had a couple of rare attacks before Leeds did indeed score a second goal. Harrison passed the ball across to Klich in the penalty area but it rebounded back to him so he slotted the ball into the net. Almost immediately Harrison came off as Davis came on and the young lad immediately ran at goal but his shot was saved by the keeper. After another good run down the wing from Davis the keeper saved a shot from Roberts before the whistle blew for full-time.

It was good to get a win and also to score two goals to set us up for our second home game next weekend against Blackburn. Hopefully I will catch up with a couple of fans from Australia and Mexico before the 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

 

Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United 26th October 2019 at Hillsborough

Get yourself to the Merrion Centre this week if you can, to see the Leeds United Trust Centenary Exhibition with lots of fantastic Leeds United memorabilia on show lent by fans. It is well worth it and brings back so many memories. #LUFCTrust100  #100yearsofLeedsUnited. Tickets for this are available on https://awinningcollection.eventbrite.co.uk priced at £10 Adults, £5 Concessions and £20 for a family (based on two adults, two children.

I’d like to thank Adele and Harry from the Bradford Whites for their continuous support of buying my books. Today Follow Me and Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United are the next ones they will read. David also purchased my new book so I am looking forward to hearing feedback in due course. It was nice to meet up with Paul Wilson the creator of The King of Elland Road song that has been making its way onto the terraces. His music, along with photos from Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United have been put to video by Philip Daniel and my grateful thanks go to both of them for helping me get this out onto social media. Hopefully this link works

https://www.facebook.com/philip.daniel.79827/videos/1207011026157348/UzpfSTEwMDAwMjY0NDM5MDU5NzoyMzg1MjgyMjQ4MjM2NTY1/

As I left home on a miserable wet day for Elland Road and encountered flooded roads on the way, I wondered if the game would get called off. With Hillsborough being known to flood before it was always a possibility, but luckily although raining when we arrived and the river next to the ground being fast flowing, it was still quite low down. We’d had a short pub stop at Junction 39 and got dropped off right outside the ground so got in relatively early. It was strange not having my flag to put up today but as it’s a replica of one I had in the 70s, it was important it was part of the memorabilia on show in the Centenary Exhibition along with my metal badge collection. I had a few fans asking if we’d win today but I hesitated as I said I wouldn’t predict a score and just wanted three points. I’d seen Garry Monk mentioned in a few media posts but it was only this morning that I realised he was now manager at Wednesday. That saying, I knew he would make it awkward for us and it wouldn’t be an easy game, although I’d have loved a replica of our 6-1 game here.

I went to the front of the stand to find David who was in the lower seats and caught up with one of our recent away mascots and his dad who were also in that section. Last year there had been no issues with me going to the lower section to hang my flag up but the Wednesday steward in charge today was having none of it. We were only having a quick chat and although she relented for two seconds for us to finish our conversation, the lad who’d let them up the stairs got into trouble. At least she was happy for another of the stewards to act as a go between though so at least David got his book. I caught a poignant photo of Nikki, her husband and Rita her guide dog and I’m so glad I saw them. Last week saw Rita’s last home game, but today was her last game with the Leeds fans as she retires as a guide dog. As soon as Rita heard me she started barking which melted my heart and she will be sorely missed at games. Nikki will still be at games with her new guide dog, but I will look fondly at all the photos I have taken of Nikki and Rita over the years as she’s been a fantastic Leeds fan.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Berardi, White, Dallas, Alioski, Klich, Harrison, Costa, Phillips and Bamford. Subs: Nketiah for Bamford (45 went off injured) and Cooper for Costa (76). Attendance was 27,516 with 4,700 Leeds fans. The game ended in a goalless draw.

Within a couple of minutes with Wednesday on the attack, Casilla raced out of his area but his clearance was a little haphazard but luckily for us we got it away. We’d White to thank for a great tackle as Wednesday were looking dangerous plus Casilla made a great save to keep them out. With a couple of giants in their team who were proving difficult, Leeds were struggling to get some momentum going. Again Leeds had plenty of possession but were unable to get that finishing ball into the net, many times by passing out to the wings instead of having a shot. Catching the opposition unawares by hitting a first time ball instead of that one touch too many could have made an impact and changed the game for us. The ref started surpassing himself (those fans before the game who had waved to him, please tell him he wasn’t very good), giving Wednesday plenty of free kicks before Bamford had to have treatment for a kick on the back of his ankle. Casilla was called into action again just before the break, before Leeds could have taken the lead at the death only for Bamford’s header to be denied a goal with a great save from their keeper. Despite the last minute chance, it hadn’t been a good half from a Leeds fan’s perspective and we were hoping for better things in the second half.

With Nketiah coming on in place of Bamford who had been injured earlier, Leeds upped their game and we came close with a long range shot from Phillips. With other attacks we were still guilty of taking that one pass too many though. When Wednesday ran straight at us attacking the far end and hit a fantastic shot straight over Casilla’s head, I was convinced the ball was going straight into the net. Luckily for us the ball rebounded off the crossbar, hit Casilla, but then went wide. Nketiah brought a great save out of their keeper as he rounded their player in the penalty area. Leeds could have won the game in the last quarter of the game when first Harrison saw his shot kicked off the line and then Alioski’s header hit the post. In the final minutes Casilla made a save to give Leeds a point from the goalless game. One thing I noticed today was how bad Alioski had been when taking a thrown in during the second half. I was adamant they had all been foul throws but it was only when he took the fourth one that he was pulled up for it. It was good to see Ben White get the man of the match from Sky though so well done.

I’m glad we have a week off now before our next game at home to QPR so I’ll look forward to seeing 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 Supporters Trust Centenary Exhibition 24th October 2019

#LUFCTrust100 – if you can, get yourself to the Merrion Centre this week to see the Exhibition with lots of fantastic Leeds United memorabilia on show lent by fans. It is well worth it and brings back so many memories.

#100yearsofLeedsUnited

Preston v Leeds United 22nd October 2019 at Deepdale

My little grandson Freddie went to the pumpkin place near Pontefract and met Stuart Dallas at the weekend so thank you for the photo you had taken with him. Tomorrow night sees the opening event of the Leeds United Memorabilia Exhibition organised by The Trust so I’m looking forward to seeing what is there. My flag didn’t make an appearance at the game tonight due to it being part of the Exhibition along with my collection of badges with most collected during the 70s. There was a little shop in the market that we always made a beeline for before home and away games (unless we set off too early) and whenever there was a new badge available, it had to be bought. I’m very proud of my collection and my grateful thanks go to my late father-in-law who framed them for me.

My daughter Danielle was driving me to this game as we were both going straight from work. We encountered heavy traffic around Birch Services where we had a short break before arriving at our parking spot in Preston in good time. Having a pre-booked spot not far from the ground is great as we were at the ground before your knew it, but also before the turnstiles had even opened. I got in without any issues despite my puppy eating some of my ticket because luckily for me she left the barcode intact!

With my delivery of books only arriving today I managed to get some copies of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United to take with me courtesy of my husband who brought them to work. Glen was the first person to buy one so thank you for your support. I’ll have some at Sheffield Wednesday for those who asked for them and are priced at £14.99 for those who wanted to know, so see you there.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Berardi, White, Alioski, Harrison, Bamford, Klich, Costa, Phillips and Dallas, an unchanged team. Subs: A double substitution of Roberts for Berardi and Nketiah for Bamford (77). Leeds drew 1-1 with Nketiah getting our goal ten minutes after coming on (87), from a looping header that was helped into the goal by a deflection. Attendance was 18,275 with 5,648 Leeds fans which as usual, was a great attendance from Leeds fans but I saw lots of new faces around. One thing I can’t understand is why we haven’t got a Leeds United mascot once again. With all the young kids that go to games it doesn’t make sense to me.

Leeds won a corner in the opening stages of the game but our chance on goal went wide. Leeds nearly gifted Preston an early goal with a short back pass to Casilla from Berardi but luckily Casilla made an early move to win the ball. Leeds started winning corners and continued to attack the Preston goal at the far end with Bamford’s effort hitting the side netting. Although we had chances we weren’t getting any on target which was frustrating some of the fans around me. The first half was going through the motions and Preston started to get into the game more and with all the possession we had been having, I didn’t want them to score against the run of play. With Alioski’s shot going wide of the post after some great attacking football we went into the break on even terms.

The second half started off well with Leeds in the attack but we still didn’t make the most of our chances with most of them going wide and it was around the 60th minute where their goalie saved one on target. With many fans getting frustrated and saying Bielsa needed to make changes, my thoughts were that I had to have confidence in his decisions and maybe we could pull things around. I know many were getting angry with Bamford as he couldn’t get any of his chances on target and whilst I understand their frustrations, my take on it is that he needs someone with him, he cannot do the lone striker. When I think back, it took Chris Wood a long time to be able to take his chances when playing in that role. The one thing that Bamford has done is get more involved on the pitch, often being on the wing and does a lot of work in that way that has to be taken into account.

As it was, Preston took their rare chance by running down the right and crossed to the middle when our attack broke down and were able to score with 15 minutes left on the clock. Bielsa didn’t make a change immediately but then brought on a double substitution of Roberts and Eddie for Berardi and Bamford respectively. A lot of fans were upset that Bamford was subbed because I think like me; they would like to see both him and Eddie playing together. I was brought up on football played 4-4-2 and it is a formation I hanker after, having seen the best Leeds United team ever play under Don Revie with my hero Billy Bremner. Now I don’t know how I would change the team around in that respect, especially as they are brought up to play a different style of football. It may not be quite so easy to change things but at times I would like to see that given a go. The same as last week, Roberts coming on raised the tempo of the game for me. We got the equaliser out of the blue, Nketiah headed the ball which looped towards the goal then dropped onto the goal line. This was then given a helping hand by their player trying to head it off the line but only succeeding in heading it further into the goal. The drama didn’t end there, Leeds fan were screaming for a penalty in the last minutes when Roberts was brought down in the penalty area. Personally I didn’t think it was a clear cut penalty as I thought Roberts dragged his leg behind him but it wasn’t given anyway. Preston came close to scoring in the final minutes before the final whistle went.

The positives are that we got a point away from home where Preston are undefeated this season. There are many fans saying Bielsa is stubborn but I do think he has to go with his own judgements and not swap and change because someone says this and someone else says that. He does make little changes to his starting teams and it should be that players have to fight for places and not become complacent thinking they have a guaranteed place in the team. Bielsa is very thorough in what he does and yes will make mistakes as he is only human, but I still value what he has brought to Leeds United and our team as a whole. There is a long way to go until the end of the season and whilst not playing brilliantly we are up there at the top of the league. Personally I am not a lover of expensive loans and would much rather have kept our personnel, used our youngsters as well as bring the few extra players in. If we do go up, you will lose your loans and the nucleus of your team depth rather than keeping consistency within the team. That saying, the one loan I do love is Ben White as he has done fantastic and fitted in so well, he is one player I’d love to keep.

A man stood in front of me said he reads my blogs and he likes them because I am really nice to everyone so thank you for the comments which are appreciated. Just as we were leaving our parking spot, the lady who owned the house came out and said we were welcome back anytime which was nice to hear. I’d also like to say a big thank you to David Hill once again for his help in sorting this out for me.

We got stuck in traffic near Rochdale as the M62 went down to one lane but luckily got past it all after 15 minutes.  It should have been shut altogether at 9pm but it looked like they’d kept it open until later (11.15pm) to let the majority of the football traffic from Preston get past first which was good. It meant I didn’t get home until 11.35pm, but still that wasn’t too bad on the whole. Saturday sees the early kick-off and short trip over to Sheffield Wednesday 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

 

Leeds United v Birmingham, 19th October 2019 at Elland Road – Centenary game

Happy birthday to Leeds United and also to Leeds United Supporters Club, both 100 years old last Thursday 17th October. I’m privileged to have seen the best team ever play under Don Revie with my hero Billy Bremner. During my 50+ years of following Leeds United I have made some fantastic friends amongst our support and long may it continue.

In a week of celebrations for Leeds United, I’m proud to report that my latest book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United has gone to the printers and will be out soon. Someone said “will it be out for Christmas?” The answer is yes so please think about presents for you or the Leeds fan in your life.

After seeing the 100 year celebrations start with the 100 legends evening last Thursday on the anniversary of the formation of Leeds United, I got very nostalgic. Unfortunately I couldn’t justify the cost after the year we have had as a family but I really wish I’d gone and sod the cost. As it was, it was great seeing all the photos from the event which would have been a great networking event had I been there. I couldn’t go to Australia either so will have to remain jealous of those lucky enough to be there. Catching up with the players from my youth and the best team ever I was privileged to watch, are shared memories for many of us and awe inspiring. Someone said before the game that I should have been invited to this event irrespectively which was really nice to hear anyway so thank you.

As I left home at 9am to pick up my granddaughter Laura and daughter Dani in Rastrick, I was aiming to get to Elland Road for 10am for the opening of the street party. Because we didn’t get there till 10.20am there were over 1919 fans already there so we didn’t get a prize. Both Laura and I won some chocolates for taking penalties against Lucas the Kop Cat. Well Laura scored four in succession including one from a rebound. As I’ve been taking lessons from Leeds United players, my first penalty went sailing past the right hand side of the goal through the gates into the East Stand. For anyone on Facebook who has seen my attempt, at least it’s caused a good laugh with everyone including me. The only time I have played football was for charity with Croda Canaries in the 70s as I prefer watching the game myself. The first time was against Google Dockers and the second time was against nurses from Goole hospital. Because I was lucky enough to borrow a team set of Leeds United kits through John in the Pools Office, I wore number 4 for my hero Billy. I can still hear one of the nurses shouting, “Stop that Billy Bremner” when I ran down the wing. I did miss a penalty that day too hitting the crossbar, but in my defence there were 12 goalkeepers on the line.

It was nice to catch up with many of our fans today and a big thank you to Craig and Michelle for buying my book Follow Me and Leeds United and Mally for buying The Sleeping Giant Awakens. I always carry one each of my books with me so have them for fans who want to meet me at a game. As I’ve just written my sixth book the bag is going to get even heavier. I’d like to say well done to Andrew Dalton my co-author of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United for his new book released on Thursday. With this being an Official History of Leeds United, to hear that one was presented to each of the legends makes it a very proud moment for him so well done Andrew.

Having seen we had a 91 year old Leeds fan being a guest of the club today, it was nice to see our youngest member of three weeks old making her appearance at the game. Baby Charlotte emulated my own daughter of the same name, although she came to her first game at six days old interestingly both going in the South Stand, although in 1991 the South Stand was the family Stand. I’m so glad we managed to catch up with Nikki and Rita her guide dog as this was Rita’s last game as she is retiring. With a film crew following them around I’m glad there is recognition for them both as Rita has been an ever present influence with our fan base as she joins in with the celebrations by barking. She will be sorely missed but is going to a good new home so enjoy your retirement Rita you deserve it. On hearing the West Wales Whites had managed to get to the game despite having broken down after leaving home at 5.30am, shows just what our fans do to get to games.

We got into the ground very early although I nearly got stuck in the turnstile by trying to get my bag through with me rather than lift it up. By heading straight to the front of the stand to take photos, I wanted to be in a prime spot to capture photos of the flags in the South Stand. Some fans had got permission to have flags on sticks which had badges from the good old days which were really good to see. The Leeds legends were also introduced to the fans before the game and were greeted with many songs about some of the players which were lovely to hear. Fans in the North East, East Stand lower and the Cheese Wedge held up either white, blue or yellow sheets of paper to spell out 100. With fireworks welcoming the teams onto the pitch it was great to see Leeds United were wearing tracksuit tops with their names on and then wave to the crowd. This resonated with many Leeds fans of the great Revie side, the greatest team ever in the 70s, we were privileged to see. It was lovely seeing Leeds playing in an all-white strip today with Casilla our keeper wearing green, another throwback to the late 60s/70s. Talking about tracksuit tops, it was great meeting up with the Cocker family today. Les Cocker worked alongside Don Revie and was an important member of his backroom staff. Les’s son Dave had brought along his dad’s tracksuit top from the 1973 FA Cup Final and it was to be a special day with his son Lee and grandson Cain, because the young lad was going to wear the top at the game today. I had the privilege of getting my photo taken with it before the game too and Dave and his family are rightly proud of Les’s contribution to Leeds United and so am I.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Berardi, Dallas, White, Ayling, Costa, Bamford, Harrison, Klich and Phillips. Subs: Nketiah for Bamford (45), Roberts for Klich (61) and Douglas for Costa (84). Leeds won the game 1-0 with Phillips scoring the only goal of the game (65). Attendance was 35,731 with 1,996 Birmingham fans.

There was a good atmosphere amongst the crowd as the game set off at a blistering pace with Leeds starting on the attack and winning a few corners in succession. Alioski brought a save out of their keeper as we took the game to Birmingham We were seeing a lot of the ball and continued to attack although lacked the killer touch to stick the ball into the net. Birmingham saw very few attacks until the half hour mark and my fleeting thoughts were; don’t let them score against the run of play but their shot went wide. Things quietened on the terraces just before the break as Leeds had a couple of good attacks. After some great play between Bamford and Costa which saw the latter’s shot blocked, Klich and Dallas were thwarted by their keeper as we went into the break on equal terms.

The second half saw Nketiah come on to replace Bamford as Bielsa tried to change things around. As we attacked the Kop end, Birmingham fouled our player before Nketiah was brought down in the area. Instead of awarding a penalty, the ball was brought back to the edge of the penalty area to give Leeds a free-kick. Sadly the resulting free-kick was sent wide by Alioski. The second half saw Birmingham start to come into the game more with one shot inches away from the top of the goal before White made a brilliant tackle to prevent them scoring. With Birmingham starting to run at our goal down the centre of the pitch and shooting from the edge of the area, I said that is something we should still do. With our patient build-ups and passing the ball to the sides, we should catch them unawares by doing the unexpected. Roberts came on for Klich which saw Costa up his game for me. A few minutes later after good work from Harrison, the ball came to Phillips in the middle of the penalty area who slammed the ball into the back of the net to put us into the lead. It was a relief in one sense as it stopped the crowd getting too restless. Harrison brought a save out of their keeper as Leeds limited Birmingham attacks. There was no way we could lose this game today, as we had to win our centenary game for me and Birmingham had their keeper to thank as he prevented Leeds taking a bigger lead. Just before the end of the game in injury time, Birmingham won a free-kick on the edge of the box in front of the South Stand. It was good to see the ball blocked and Birmingham kept out. With the clock ticking down, it was not good seeing the ball kept in the South Stand as adding more minutes on for time wasting was counter-productive in my opinion. Luckily for us we got the win in our centenary game and the three points, as Leeds fans cheered when the final whistle blew.

We decided to head to the front of the stand as strands of blue and gold tinsel were fired into the air. I thought some souvenirs would be nice to get hold of. As we got down the stand it started kicking off in the West Stand with the away fans in the corner next to ours in the South Stand. With police fighting them back I was surprised to see their fans kicking off. Were they bad losers? I’m not sure what started them being idiots but this went on for ages before things died down. As we headed to the exits someone said they had let the Birmingham fans straight out and things were kicking off outside. Luckily for us the trouble was at the far end of Elland Road to where we were parked so were able to keep out of the way. One lad we knew hadn’t been so lucky in the ground. Being at the front of the South Stand he decided to get out of the way as he’d got his young son with him. As he turned away he was hit in the face by a coin thrown from the Birmingham fans which put a dampener on the day. Hopefully he won’t have any after effects later on today.

With another game on Tuesday with our visit to Preston, before another away game at Sheffield Wednesday next week, it’s going to be a busy week for football. I’m hoping I’ve recovered from the dreadful lurgy that started this morning and culminated in a lost voice, sore throat and upper respiratory issues. We will be driving to Preston so won’t get there until late but I’m hoping that my ticket will be fine. Luckily when my puppy chewed my ticket up she left the bar code intact and most of the ticket so fingers crossed I can get straight in. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

  • Follow Me and Leeds United
  • Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan
  • Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United, Leeds United in the 1980s
  • The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17
  • Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18
  • Out soon: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

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

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