Nov 23 2017

Wolves away 22nd November 2017

First of all I would like to give a big apology for forgetting to mention Wayne Ogden in my blog on Sunday who escorted me to Elland Road in his little yellow car. He recognised my beret as he passed my car and I recognised his registration plate so thank you lol!!

Today was going to be a late set off to get there after work. As we were going straight to the ground too it didn’t feel like I was going to a football match and later on Sue and I said we maybe should have gone to see the Christmas lights switch on instead. It’s funny how memories from the past can come flooding back.  As we passed a big roundabout outside Derby it brought back immediate memories of the mini bus I was driving getting attacked by Newcastle fans. Luckily I saw them crossing the road ahead of us and as there was a gap in the traffic I put my foot down on the pedal to get past them. They saw the scarves hanging out of the windows and banged on the side of the van and nicked a scarf if I remember right. A bit further along the way to Wolverhampton I recognised another roundabout where my mini broke down on the way to Birmingham. After a push we got it going again and managed to get to the ground before my friend Sue who had carried on in her car but got lost. As traffic was heavy we arrived just before kickoff and luckily the rain kept off whilst we walked down to the ground although I had to keep hold of my beret so the wind didn’t take off with it. I kept to the path at the top of the hill though as I had visions of ending up on my backside in the mud.

Luckily although loads of our fans arrived at the ground together we got in relatively quickly. After a couple of photos and putting my banner up I found my seat which was right on the half way line and near the front with loads of fans around me that I knew.

The team today was the same as on Sunday with Lonergan, Ayling, Cooper, Berardi, Jansson, Vieira, Phillips, Saiz, Alioski, Roofe and Hernandez. Subs were Ekuban for Roofe (68), O’Kane for Hernandez (68) and Dallas for Saiz (77). Leeds lost 4-1 with Alioski scoring the Leeds goal (48) and Wolves being awarded a penalty for their fourth goal. Vieira was sent off for a second bookable offence although I will have to see it again to see what happened.  Attendance was 28,914 with approx. 2,300 Leeds fans.

The game started off pretty even but we were guilty of some very bad passing from many of our players which meant the ball was intercepted too often. We’d had an attack before Wolves started coming at us and were breaking us down very easily and had a lot of pace. When it looked like a long pass would go out for a throw in, a Wolves player ran so fast he kept it in and the resulting cross meant Lonergan had to make a great save.  Wolves had shown what they could do though. Jansson passed the ball back to Lonergan which had me screaming at him to not do that as it put us under pressure, especially as he booted the ball up front and Wolves won it straight back. They attacked us once more but won a free kick outside the penalty area after a foul from Cooper. As soon as the ball left their player’s foot it sailed above our “wall” which had also left a big gap, into the left hand side of Lonergan with him having no chance of getting near the ball. It was very poor defending from my point of view with the wall. Wolves then took the game by the scruff of the neck with constant attacking. Although we had the same team as Sunday we needed to change the formation to close them down in the middle as we were constantly caught out with their speed. I said we needed to do this before they got a second goal which of course we didn’t. With Hernandez out of position over the opposite side of the pitch Berardi was left wide open with no support as they ran through to score a second goal. It was a good goal but something that we shouldn’t have let them get despite all the mistakes in passing, as we had a chance to change the formation and stop this happening. For the rest of the first half they ran rings around us. The ref as usual started booking our players as Wolves were let off. I don’t know when I saw their number 15 for the first time, but he was a giant of a player so it was no use hoofing balls up for Roofe to get as he didn’t stand a chance against him. It reminded me of games in the past where when we had a tall centre forward we would put balls along the ground and when we had a small centre forward as in Aidan Butterworth and David McNiven we would always cross the ball high into the box!

A couple of fans took off to the pub as they’d seen enough. If there’d been beer served in the ground I reckon many others would have joined others downstairs creating great gaps on the terraces and they’d have made a killing. As it was no one booed the team off at half time, I suppose because they knew we were playing the league leaders at this moment in time. Sue thought we would get beaten today though as she’d had a feeling whilst I thought a draw would be good and anything more than that a bonus. At times we had looked scared stiff of Wolves and that caused us to make constant mistakes.

At half time I met one of the lads who was at our song recording last weekend who sang a couple I didn’t know for me to record. I made a mess of this first time though as I don’t think the video worked argh! I also heard Kevin Sharp was on the pitch at half time but when I got back up into the stand I couldn’t get a good photo. Sue said she watched it on the screen, silly me never even saw that!

At the start of the second half there were no changes on the pitch so I said it was shit or bust basically and I hope Christiansen knew what he was doing. As we kicked off, straight away we were playing how we should with the ball on the floor and with more vigor; could it be a tale of two halves? When a lovely pass from Saiz set up Alioski when he beat their defender to volley the ball into the net and pull one back I hoped we could get a second and at least get a draw. Playing like this we started to get a grip on the game only for things to take a turn for the worse again with the Vieira sending off.  Another game with 10 men again and probably up against it once more.  Even though we kept at it we were on the back foot again as Wolves scored a third to really put the game out of reach. The score line then ended up even worse when Lonergan and their player tangled as he tried to stop them scoring just to the right of his goal. That was it then game over and a big defeat in the end.

It wasn’t unexpected for many fans but I was hoping we could have got at least a point out of it. The tactics in the first half really lost us the game because by not closing them down, they were running through us with ease. On Sunday we had Vieira and Phillips playing alongside each other making us stronger in midfield whereas today, one played more up front than the other. Back to the drawing board and although I shrug my shoulders and carry on to the next one, it is disappointing to see that for most of the game we weren’t even in it.

At least Jack went home happy having been giving Ayling’s shirt at the end of the game. As I went to leave the ground I realised I’d lost my little Toby Nye badge which gutted me so I went back in the stand to look for it. Hopefully I can get another and it is well worth the £1.50 I paid for it as it goes towards his cancer funding. Well I certainly found out I’m not fit; I suppose I shouldn’t have set off running, but as there were very few Leeds fans left in the ground at this point, I thought I’d better go quickly. All I ended up doing was puffing and panting all the way to the top of the hill; not good!

As I reached the road and glanced up to the right, I had visions of our earlier days of visiting Molineux especially of being in the South Bank when it was such an imposing stand. The game before we went to Paris for the European Cup Final in 1975 was terrible for us Leeds fans as not many of us went to that game. My friends and I had travelled by train going into a pub opposite the station first and then the one next to the subway by the ground  We saw Sally a Leeds fan from London get wrapped around a lamp post and her scarf pinched as well as kicked and punched.  All of this is written in my book Follow Me and Leeds United. Leeds fans were waiting for the gates to open when Wolves fans came up behind us and attacked us. Although the lads put up a fight, we were seriously outnumbered and in the end Sue and I ran with the others and I tripped over a wall in the process. There were continuous running battles after that and it was awful. Some things you never forget!

I thought we may get back on time with no detours this week as normally travelling back from away games most of the motorways end up shut at some point.  Well I was wrong; just as we wanted to pull onto the motorway a police car blocked our way due to an accident and we ended up on the toll road. At least we had a short service stop then as I could feel a headache coming on so a welcome Costa coffee beckoned.

Saturday sees another early kickoff and us going straight to the game. I do prefer the stop on the way to a game though or at least having a bacon sarnie in Billy’s bar before we leave. At least with getting back early (although no doubt we will travel all around South Yorkshire before ending back at the same place an hour later), I might go Christmas shopping.  I hope it is us singing that “you should have gone Christmas shopping” to the Barnsley fans and not the other way round. As it’s coming up to my favourite time of the year though I might as well make the most of it!

We’ll see what our visit to Barnsley brings this time. Last season we got an early goal then lost so it isn’t an easy ground to go to; in fact we’ve had some absolute shockers there. Hearing Nikki and her dog Rita haven’t got a ticket for QPR is sad as they go everywhere and are part of our loyal support. I realise fans want to see us play but loyal fans should always be looked after; these are the ones who stay with the team through thick and thin and are not fickle or supporters who only come when times are good. If Leeds can’t help get Nikki tickets, I wonder if QPR can. Let me know if anyone has any ideas.  See you on Saturday LUFC – Marching on Together. 

 

 

Nov 20 2017

BBC Radio Leeds Interview with Katherine Hannah 19th November 2017

Nov 19 2017

Middlesbrough Home19th November 2017

It’s been such a busy week in the background. Monday evening saw me travel to Leeds to be in the Trust’s Podcast and it was nice to see someone tweeting about it from America. Also saw someone today who said they were the one who’d said it was a great listen so thank you. Yesterday saw the unique recording of the old Leeds United songs from the terraces from the Shed days until the present and I want to say a big thank you to everyone who turned up to take part. By the time I got to Elland Road to do that I was that emotional I thought I would cry; when I was on the motorway it mentioned an incident and the traffic slowed down and I thought I may be delayed, so it was such a relief to see that whatever had happened was on the other side of the motorway. After a quick meet up with some in the Peacock, Gary Edwards, Mick Hewitt and I headed to Radio Yorkshire for an interview to promote the recordings which went very well. A very big thank you to Leeds United, especially Angus Kinnear and Laura Mitchell for their help in letting us use the LUDO lounge for both the practice and the recording which is greatly appreciated.

Today I set off early from home with my granddaughter Laura and despite the frozen windscreen the sun was shining. Although it was quite cold I knew it would warm up but the conditions felt great for a football game. As we came around the roundabout at Elland Road, I saw two magpies out of the corner of my eye then spotted four in total. That’s it I said, we are definitely going to win now! The reason for the early start was because I had an interview to attend with Adam Pope and Katherine Hannah from BBC Radio Leeds regarding the songs recording. I’d tried to look yesterday to see where the Lucas Radebe lounge was as I couldn’t find it. I had thought it was in the West Stand where the Director’s entrance now stands which it turned out to be. We headed down the West Stand side which was blocked off for Leeds fans and got through to where we needed to be with some help from a steward. It was nice to meet up with Adam and Katherine and have the interview which went out at half time today. Hopefully I can get a copy for my website. Laura was chuffed to bits to get asked a question too and we got some photos after me initially forgetting! We also caught up with Noel Whelan too and some of our Danish fans before heading back around the ground via the Kop bumping into Becky and Chris from the West Midlands and some of the Galway Whites. As usual, stopping for a chat and taking photos which meant Laura wanted to know when we would get to McDonalds for her dinner. I wanted to call in the club shop first because after chatting to Cath our steward about wanting my new book outside the Director’s entrance, I said I’d check if the shop had any as I knew they’d sold out. We did call in there and I couldn’t see them so will have to email and check the situation. As we were sat in McDonalds, I was asked if I was Heidi and was told that he enjoyed reading my blog so I made sure I got a photo so he can see himself on it tonight. A family came looking for spaces and I said they could squeeze in next to us and they said thank you. There wasn’t enough room for the whole family to sit down so I ensured they got our places when we got up to go. As I took a photo and told them it would be on my blog tonight, the man asked my name as he recognised my Follow Me and Leeds United name. It turned out we both knew the same person and had been commenting on the same thread!  It’s a small world. As it is, hopefully Simon will soon be back with his family and that won’t be a moment too soon! 

I don’t know what is happening with the searching of bags before the game but they are well and truly going way over the top in my opinion. Why oh why have they started taking people’s drinks off them when the same things can be bought at the other side of the turnstiles. Today I also saw two or three bottles of perfume that had been confiscated. Knowing how pricey these things can be, I really think this is getting out of hand!

After a quick trip to the Peacock where I got chatting to a young Coventry White at the bar, we got into the ground early as I knew there was another large crowd expected.  As we walked around the ground two fellas has just been talking about them being in my fourth book. We found the page they were on and hopefully Father Christmas will be good to them!! All four books would make good Christmas presents for the Leeds fan in your life! Also there was going to be a mosaic held up in the East Stand and flags put in every seat in the Kop and South Stand.  The sad thing is the amount of bad feeling shown on social media.  I know many people thought this shouldn’t happen at Leeds but I felt this was different to drums and clappers which we definitely don’t need. We are a traditional and unique support but I thought the East Stand would do what they were asked to do but personally I wish it had said Marching on Together rather than just Together and also knew the kids plus some of the adults would enjoy waving the flags. 

Personally I’m all up for taking scarves and banners in, especially if we can recreate the days when everyone held their scarves up aloft in the Kop singing “You’ll never walk alone”.  The best one we ever did was against Manchester City in the FA Cup when Trevor Cherry popped up to score in the last few minutes when we were just resigning ourselves to a replay at Maine Road. The scenes that day were awesome and will always be remembered by me. It was also my one and only time of standing on the barrier after we’d scored although I kept falling off and got up four times in all.  Now I realise why Collar was always held on by someone when he was stood on a barrier leading the singing!! I decided to take a video today rather than just photos when the team came out to ensure I got the whole atmosphere.  Whatever anyone’s misgiving were, the East Stand looked impressive as well as the flag waving.  It wasn’t just the visual aspect that was good, I felt it contributed to the atmosphere as a whole especially as the team were up for the game from the word go.

The team today was Lonergan, Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Jansson, Phillips, Vieira, Hernandez, Roofe, Saiz and Alioski.  Subs were Ekuban (first game after his broken foot) for Roofe (79), O’Kane for Saiz (88) and Pennington for Alioski (90). Leeds won 2-1 with goals from Hernandez (24) and Alioski (54). Attendance was 33,771 with 2,535 Boro fans.

Just as I reached my seat, I realised that because I’d changed bags, that I’d forgotten something once again. In this case it was my football glasses so I was glad it was a good sunny day which hopefully meant I wouldn’t miss too much. I just can’t read numbers on the backs of players or see their faces from a distance. As this was going to be the first time we came up against Monk on his return to Elland Road since defecting to Boro over the summer, it meant he would come in for some stick from the Leeds fans. I just wanted us to become the twelfth man today because in the past this is something that has proved its worth time after time. It meant teams were intimidated from the start and that’s a bonus to start with.

As we kicked off Leeds straight away showed they were up for the game today and it was fairly even for the first 20 minutes. Although I wasn’t unduly worried today for some reason, Lonergan made a great save in front of us that seemed to happen in slow motion. Boro appealed for a penalty and showed some bad habits in diving all over the place. The referee was particularly bad, giving loads of free kicks to Boro and leaving challenges on us to go unpunished.  With one on Berardi when he “somersaulted” a few times and then got up, their player wasn’t even spoken to. I thought if he’d have stayed down the Boro player would have been sent off but Berardi showed professionalism by getting up straight away. It wasn’t long after this where we took the lead. We attacked and the ball came from Alioski on the right and ended up with Hernandez in space who cracked the ball into the net. Brilliant, it was so good to get a goal and go into the lead. The team were in high spirits and fighting well and playing together which was good to see.  Although Boro had a few attacks we dealt with them well and went into the break still in the lead.  There was a great deal of litter from the Mosaics all across the front of the East Stand due to the big children effect coming into play with paper aeroplanes flying all over. These turned into paper balls at the start of the second half which one of the stewards didn’t find amusing.

The second half started with Leeds on the attack and before long we scored a second beauty of a goal which came from sheer determination. Roofe battled to win the ball, eventually overcoming their player and passed it to Hernandez on the West Stand side. He put a peach of a cross in for Alioski to finish it to put us two goals up, cue fantastic celebrations on the terraces. Saiz had a wonderful effort denied by a post as we started to play some really attractive football especially coming out of defence and running at Boro putting them under pressure. We could have even put the game to bed when Cooper ended up beating the offside trap as the linesman kept his flag down and had an open goal, but his header went wide. That was such a shame but wasn’t meant to be. Whilst Boro had a couple of chances I thought we coped very well defensively although I wasn’t aware Ayling had kicked one off the line!! The worst decision of the game was when Boro were awarded a penalty on the say so of the linesman; as someone said it was an off the ball incident. After seeing the replay of this after, both the referee and linesman should suffer repercussions for the disgraceful decision that was made.  Their player flung Ayling to the ground and he then grabbed the Boro player’s leg and pulled him down.  Seeing the replay and that the boot of their player was heading straight to Ayling’s face, there is no wonder he grabbed hold of his leg to prevent a kicking! There were loads of angry fans in the South Stand who were going berserk and plenty of plastic flag poles found their way to the pitch side. Pontus tried calming some fans but I don’t think it worked although I wasn’t sure if they’d reacted badly to him. This gave Boro a chance to get back into the game as they scored the penalty sending Lonergan the wrong way. The lad behind me told him to go to his left which is where the ball ended up.  He got it right this time!! The timing of the goal meant there was still plenty of time until the end of the game.

A couple of times the South Stand kept the ball and although they came close a couple of times, we started counter attacking and putting in some fantastic crosses.  Ekuban came on for Roofe who had been leading the forward line today and had played better in his position of strength. Ekuban himself also showed some great pace and Alioski ended up on fire with so many attacks coming down the left of the pitch so it was a great shame to see Alioski substituted by Pennington on full time. He didn’t want to come off the pitch though and looked gutted and when my daughter Dani commented he came off after Howson spoke to him, it didn’t register with me. With seven minutes injury time facing us though and we were showing our best form of defence is attack, I thought maybe Pablo going off would have been better even though he played well too. As it was, despite the length of the injury time we managed to keep Boro out and claim the three points to see Leeds very happy all around. It was only as the players were thanking each other that I realised Jonny Howson was playing for Boro as I’d forgotten that he’d gone there.

As the players were going off the pitch, two men came onto the pitch, one in a feathered coat who I’d seen in the director’s box at one of our recent games. They were running all over the pitch having a great time and it turned out to be a couple of Italian comedians similar to Ant and Dec who were having a whale of a time. At least there were plenty of flags at the end for the kids and plenty of fans going around collecting spares.  My youngest granddaughter Alexis thought it was great when we got back to their house to be given a flag. It was also lovely to have a great Sunday tea cooked by my daughter instead of me doing it so a big thank you to her.

We have a mid-week game at Wolves facing us although I didn’t realise they were top of the table, before having the early kick off game at Barnsley facing us next weekend. I take each game as they come and don’t expect any easy games but the win today will have done a great deal to raise the confidence and self-esteem of the team. The atmosphere had been great today with only a short spell after they scored that deflated the Leeds crowd.  Keep going Leeds, as I’ve said many times there will be swings and roundabouts, ups and downs, but we will get there in the end. Stability is the key; see you at Wolves and Barnsley – LUFC – Marching on Together!

Heidi Haigh – author of:
Follow Me and Leeds United
Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds Fan
The Sleeping Giant Awakens 2016-2017 out now!
Co-author of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United. Leeds United in the 1980s

Nov 05 2017

Brentford away 4th November 2017

Good news with the fund raising for Toby Nye as £150,000 has been raised so only £50,000 to go; this should be achievable by Christmas with auctions and other events being done. I’ve also had an appearance on Radio Yorkshire Thursday morning where as usual I talked a lot. As I was told afterwards that is what they want!!

With a late kick off today of 5.30pm for the live Sky game we still set off from Leeds at 8.00am. This gave us a decent run down to London where we stayed in Staines until 4.00 pm. Our original plans to go to Twickenham changed due to a big rugby game being played there today. We had a laugh whilst in the pub when one of our party got his phone out of his pocket as it was ringing but when he got the phone out it was silent. I said I could still hear something and all of a sudden he got his own phone out of his pocket that was ringing. He had us in stitches then as he’d no idea whose the other phone was? He’d only been in one other pub nearby so he went back there to see if anyone had lost their phone. It only turned out to be the landlords although he’d no idea how it had turned up in his pocket. He’d probably picked it up on leaving thinking it was his but at least all turned out well.

When we arrived at the ground we got dropped off at the end of the street and decided to go straight in as it was approximately 40 minutes to kick off. After a quick search of the bags we got in and Sue and I hung our banners across the back of the stand. I only realised later that some fans had hung theirs over the front of the stand. I then went back downstairs onto the terraces to take some photos before the game began and chat to a few fans. Due to the recent defeats it was vital we got at least a point today although Griffin Park hadn’t been a good hunting ground for us previously. 

The team today was Lonergan, Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Jansson, O’Kane, Phillips, Vieira, Lasogga, Alioski and Saiz. Subs were Hernandez for O’Kane (45), Roofe for Lasogga (45) and Got for Alioski (80). Attendance was 11,068 with 1,647 Leeds fans. Leeds lost 3-1 with Alioski scoring for Leeds (67).

Leeds started off under the cosh from the start of the game and it was a very nervy few minutes. With Brentford’s first attack Lonergan flapped at the ball as they won a corner. Brentford were making the most of playing in the tight knit ground although the referee was falling for every little touch as their players kept hitting the deck. One time the linesman to our left had put his flag up to give us the throw in only for the ref to overrule him. We had a couple of shots on target which were easily saved by their goalie.

A comedy show happened next as the ball came over to Lonergan who wasn’t under pressure only for him to drop the ball giving their player an easy tap in of the ball to put Brentford into the lead. Damn, damn, damn up against it once more. The first half played out with Brentford on top and us struggling to do anything else of note. It was made worse when Brentford were awarded a penalty a Jansson took their player out in the penalty area. I shouted that Lonergan could make amends and save it but as it was he didn’t need to, as their player skied the ball over the net. I was hoping that would be our get out of jail card.

At half time my stomach was churning like mad with nerves as I stopped to have a word with Gary Edwards. As we were discussing the game so far a couple of men in front of him joined in. I didn’t agree with their version of things especially when discussing Lonergan flapping at the ball. Although he did make one great save in between I didn’t like the way we were passing back all the time getting put under pressure then hoofing the ball up front. I said he was still doing the same as what Wiedwald had been doing under pressure and they said Wiedwald was a coward and should never play for us again whilst I disagreed. When they said they would have Silvestri back in his place that did it for me and I left them to it saying never in a month of Sundays would I have him back! Opinions, opinions! Trying to get down the steps at half time was very difficult but eventually I got to the half way mark before going back into the stand for the second half.

Christiansen had made a double substitution at the start of the second half bringing on Roofe for Losagga, playing him in the middle and Hernandez for O’Kane. It didn’t take long for us to start playing better and put some pressure on to Brentford.. We had suddenly upped our game and looked in a better shape as we attacked towards the Leeds fans. It was the first time I had a good view of the goal in front of us from the seats as I was on row B just to the right of the goal. When the ball came over from the right their goalie did the same as Lonergan by missing the ball which Alioski gratefully headed into the net to equalise. As Alioski headed to the Leeds fans to celebrate most of the others were heading back to the centre circle to get on with the game. As the game carried on I thought we could go one better and clinch all three points at that stage as we took the game by the scruff of the neck.

Unfortunately as soon as Christiansen made his third sub by bringing Grot on for Alioski, this decision changed the game, as Roofe went back out to the wing instead of staying in the centre of the park. I have no idea why this sub was made as were on the attack and he should have kept things as they were.. He probably thought Grot could be a game changer but sadly for me I have seen nothing in his play that would make me think that. I feel he needs to play for the younger lads or go out on loan for game time as he hasn’t done anything for me. With that Brentford managed to get their.noses back in front again with a free kick that sailed into the net from the edge of the box. Admittedly they’d had a couple of long range shots that I was grateful had hit the woodwork but we had come close too with Vieira having his strike saved by their goalie. As I untied my banner in the last few moments I missed Brentford putting the game out of reach by scoring a third. We were well and truly beaten whereas as I felt totally pig sick and totally deflated. 

As I did a fan video for Sportsline on Monday evening, all I could think of was we have been beaten both times I have done this, the first one at Millwall and today’s effort. I may have to refuse to do anymore if this carries on! As I was doing this one lad said he was embarrassed to be Leeds so I said I never would be but agreed it was a deflating situation. Lots of fans are pretty upset at the moment with a few wanting to jack things in and many wanting Christiansen sacked. I don’t know where we are going to go at this moment in time as I wanted us to persevere by keeping Christiansen. With Orta having made the signings it is very much a different set up these days and I don’t know how changing manager would make a difference in this case. Although we are now in 10th place having been at the heady heights of top of the league in September, we have come down to earth with a bump. We did stand a chance with the half time changes but then our change of suicidal tactics with the last sub cost us the game.

As we walked out of the ground Del from the Thames Valley Whites was waiting for me to get my new book and a big thank you for the support as usual. We got away from the ground very quickly and I was just dropping asleep when our driver beeped the horn as a Hungarian lorry encroached our lane on the motorway waking me up with a jump. The same thing happened again later on the M1 with another lorry. We ended up going straight through to Leeds without stopping and managing to get through the roadworks before the lanes were shut and get diverted. The journey passed very quickly as I slept most of the way back and managed to be at home right on midnight!

We have another international break next week; the songs recording on 18th November before Middlesbrough come to Elland Road on 19th November with the return of Monk. As things stand, they have started to get a few wins under their belt just at the wrong time for us. Time will tell what happens in the meantime and whether Christiansen will, still be here. I would like to think we can work through this as a team but unfortunately I haven’t got a crystal ball to say that things will turn out okay for us by persisting with him.  See you at the Boro game LUFC – Marching on Together. 

 

Nov 01 2017

Derby County 31st October 2017

As we made our way to Elland Road I wasn’t looking forward to the cold, there again I think it was colder in our house than outside! After a quick trip to the ticket office and club shop we headed to the Peacock. I was meeting Garry to personalise the two books he was aiming to buy in the club shop but it turned out they had sold out of them. As it was he caught me before leaving home so I was able to bring some copies with. Thanks for the support Garry which is appreciated. After chatting with some fans about the game and others about our songs recording on 18th November, it was time to head into the ground in time for kick off. It seemed quieter outside than at recent games but as it was a different half term for many I still assumed we would have a decent crowd.

At the start of the game we had the Royal British Legion and the Yorkshire Regiment in and as it was our nearest game to Armistice Day, the last post was played on the bugle before two minutes silence. This was impeccably observed and as usual great respect shown to the fallen soldiers in the World Wars and recent times.

The team today was Lonergan, Ayling, Pennington, Jansson, Dallas, Roofe, Saiz, Alioski, Lasogga, Vieira and O’Kane. Subs were Sacko for Roofe (76), Grot for Pennington (84) and Hernandez for Alioski (84). Leeds lost 2-1 with Lasogga scoring our goal (7 minutes). Attendance was 28,565 with 852 Derby fans.

Leeds started off strongly attacking the South Stand and it didn’t take long before we took the lead. Saiz passed the ball across to Lasogga in a good position at the right of the goal who scored in the seventh minute. The one thing I noticed was that we had limited our passing back to the goalie which in itself stops the pressure on our defence. We had some fantastic moves especially from Saiz once again but couldn’t build on our goal lead.  We were playing well and kept Derby at bay for most of the half although with a couple of attacks their number 17 I think it was, threw himself to the ground twice in blatant dives. Luckily nothing was given but the first dive was so blatant he should have been booked for it. I didn’t realise until further into the game that Bradley Johnson and Scott Carson both ex-Leeds players were in the Derby team. We looked in control of the game and I wanted to ensure we went into half time still in the lead to give us a good chance in the second half. As it was Lonergan was redundant for a lot of the first half although once when he got the ball he slowed the game right down waiting for everyone to get back into position. He should have immediately thrown the ball out to Alioski on the wing to set up a quick counter attack. Now that’s one thing Wiedwald was good at, being able to turn our defence into attack by playing out from the back.

At the start of the second half Derby came out with renewed vigour and were already on the pitch waiting before Leeds came back out. We immediately started passing back at the start of the half and Jansson was nearly caught out a couple of times with short passes. For some reason we had reverted to type instead of carrying on playing to our strengths. We nearly got a second goal when Alioski had Carson tipping the ball out of the top corner and had a couple of good attacks before it looked like we had run out of steam. I wondered if we should change things after the hour mark and thought Roofe wasn’t really in the game at that time. How I wished that sub had been made because from our attack that broke down, all of a sudden their player was haring down the left hand side towards the South Stand on his own. Roofe was still stood on the half way line watching him when he realised he needed to chase him but it was too late and before we knew it the ball was in the net. This also gave Derby the impetus to start attacking us although we still looked as if we could contain them at that point. I can’t remember at which point the crowd were doing a great WACCOE but when everything went quiet, you could feel the tension in the air. I still thought we could get something out of the game until the ref pointed to the spot at the far end after their player was fouled near the edge of the box. Many have said the foul was outside but I cannot be sure as I haven’t seen it. As their player sent Lonergan the wrong way to put Derby into the lead that’s when you could see the game slipping away from us. We still did have a couple of chances but Grot and Lasogga went for the same ball denying one chance. Lasogga missed a great chance to equalise when his shot went above the crossbar rather than under it sadly. I would definitely have taken a draw at that stage once again. It was a very disappointing end to the game and it feels like our fitness levels aren’t good enough. As my hubby pointed out it reminded him of when Wilko started out and we could only play for 60 minutes, then 70 and eventually managed to play for 90 minutes.

As I listened to BBC Radio Leeds on the way home and the slating both the team and TC were getting from both the panels and fans texting in, I felt quite sad that expectations had gone from high to so low very quickly. I have a coping mechanism which is I can forget what happens on the pitch very quickly and just move on to the next game.  I know I’ve said there will be plenty of swings and roundabouts and ups and downs along the way, but we have to be patient. What many seem to have forgotten is that we have had to start again this season with a new team and manager and it is going to take time for things to go in the right direction. I realise with our great start to the season that it gave us all the hope that this time things were going to work out well for us until reality has set in once again.

We head for Brentford on Saturday with a teatime kick off for the live game on Sky.  I always hope we can turn things around and in one sense we were unlucky to lose today, but at the end of the day it is results that count and we really need the three points to give us some hope back. Fingers crossed we can put up a good performance and do another Bristol City please. See you there – LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

Oct 28 2017

Sheffield United Home 27th October 2017

I couldn’t believe how quickly my new book The Sleeping Giant Awakens 2016-17 has ended up being published as I’d only done the final proofreading the other week. Leeds United’s Club Shop got their quota yesterday and I’d agreed to go in and sign them all for them. My own quota arrived today and I managed to sell one to a neighbour as soon as I walked out of the door! I dropped my daughter Emily and granddaughter Laura at the White Rose Centre whilst I signed all of my books that were in the shop ready for sale. A would like to say a big thank you for the hospitality given to me in the shop and also for sorting out my tickets for me. In the middle of signing the books, realisation dawned on me that I had left my season tickets at home. As I was leaving the house my bum bag broke so I transferred everything to another bag, or so I thought.  I didn’t look in the pocket where the most important things were kept! It was nice to have plenty fans come and speak to me in the shop and even buying my new book so a big thank you to them. I also got called a legend by one fan which was nice to hear. Before I forget I’d better give a shout out for Hungry Duck and Stutcha who I met in the Peacock and took their photos.

Today was called the Team Toby day; Toby Nye aged four is fighting Neuroblastoma and his family is trying to raise the £200,000 for his treatment which isn’t funded by the NHS. With all the staff at Elland Road donating their wages from today and fans raising money too, hopefully the family will get the amount they need. I decided as my books had arrived that I should donate one of them towards their fundraising and a copy was handed to the family tonight by my daughter Michelle as every little helps. I was so glad to see that Toby along with his brother Ollie were able to lead the teams out for tonight’s game. Everyone also gave Toby a round of applause on four minutes which was good to see. Good luck with your fight little man.

The team today was Lonergan, Anita, Ayling, Pennington, Cooper, Saiz, Alioski, Phillips, Lasogga, O’Kane and Vieira. Subs were Jansson for Cooper (56), Hernandez for Alioski (70) and Grot for Anita (83). Attendance was 34,504 with 2,533 Sheffield Utd fans. Leeds lost 2-1 with Phillips scoring our goal (34).

The game kicked off and with more or less Sheffield’s first attack they found themselves a goal up. As the ball came to the middle of the goal right in front of us, it came to Billy Sharp (ex-Leeds) on his own and there was no way he was missing that one. That wasn’t a good start to the game for us and not a good start for my camera as it turned out the memory on the SD card was full! It looks like I’ll have to have some rearranging of files and backing things up on both my computer and camera before we play Derby. For the next 20 odd minutes we found ourselves at sixes and sevens as Sheffield swarmed all over us and we didn’t get much of a look in. With us passing back a lot, Lonergan was nearly caught out when he held on to the ball too long and nearly had it whipped off his toes.  With the ref not booking their players for the fouls they were committing left, right and centre it meant Sheff Utd continued doing this for a long time before they got their first booking. We eventually started to get an attack together when the ball came over to Phillips near the edge of the box he struck the ball into the net to equalise on 34 minutes. We were lucky not to go behind again before half time as Lonergan made a fantastic double save to deny Sheffield Utd another goal. I did think that Sharp handled the ball twice with one attack though.

At the start of the second half, Leeds upped their performance as the Leeds fans really got behind their team. Saiz started causing Sheff Utd all sorts of problems and was fouled so many times. With another attack it looked like a goal all the way from Saiz only for the ball to rebound off the upright. He set up Alioski with a great cross but his header was saved by their goalie. With one free kick we were trying something different in front of goal with four of our players grouped together in the middle of the penalty area behind everyone else. As soon as the ball was to be kicked they all went back into an onside position. Unfortunately the free kick from Phillips went wide and didn’t test their goalie. We had been putting pressure on the Sheff Utd defence for most of the second half although not really testing their goalie. When Hernandez came on as a sub I was disappointed that Alioski was brought off. I feel that by subbing him all the time (well it seems that way), as happened with some of our younger players in the past, that he needs to play for the whole game to get the best out of him in the long run. We started to lose our shape again and within three minutes of bringing on our final sub Grot, Sheff Utd took the lead once again. Whilst I thought we still had time to get something out of the game, it was disappointing to see the reaction of many fans. I was surprised to see that they just seemed to accept defeat and whilst many left, many were left in stunned silence. Whilst I appreciate it was a knockout blow, our fans normally get straight behind them and for some reason they didn’t. Okay they were right, because we didn’t do anything else that looked like we might sneak another equaliser. At this stage I would have taken a draw, especially when I heard their fans singing they were top of the league. That took me by surprise as I don’t really taken any notice of other teams exploits and wasn’t aware that they were doing well as newcomers having been promoted at the end of last season. One thing Leeds, can we please have the scores shown on the scoreboard for the whole game and not just when we score? It might make the players realise we are losing too!

Reading the message boards after I’d got home, there were lots of scathing messages from fans. Personally I accept that after our great start to the season things have taken a downward spiral. I realise that things are not going to happen overnight for us either though. Once Sheff Utd went into the lead for the first time, for some reason instead of playing to our strengths we resulted to passing back to Lonergan time and time again who ended up hoofing the ball out of defence. When we started playing to our strengths the game changed. Whilst disappointed I’m not down hearted as last season it took a while before things turned in the right direction and I still have hope that things can work out for us in the long run. With Tuesday’s home game against Derby coming up before our visit to Brentford next week, we really do need to win and get the three points. See you then – LUFC – Marching on Together!

Oct 25 2017

Leicester City away Carabao Cup 24th October 2017

It was a late set off today but then ended up being even later as the coach we were travelling on had broken down earlier in the day, so we had to wait for it to get back on the road to take us to the game. Despite this and the traffic being quite heavy we arrived at the ground just before kickoff. A policemen said hello as soon as I got off the coach and the steward who searched me was very pleasant too. When I said I was carrying my books she said “would I be reading them during the game?” I said no I’m an author with my fourth Leeds book coming out and she said she would look out for them.

After a quick trip to the ladies my first sight was the back of a fella in one of the cubicles; at least shut the door please! Then another fella came out of another cubicle. I said “for crying out loud use your own loos”. Saying that, I double checked on my way out that I had indeed gone in the ladies just to make sure I wasn’t in the wrong, having made that mistake at Donny once. I went in the opening in front of the ladies sign instead of behind it and as I got further in thought something didn’t look right. A steward came chasing after me and escorted me out but luckily for me, I didn’t see any embarrassing scenes!

Although we were going to Leicester’s new ground the King Power Stadium, I always liked going to Filbert Street as we always took loads of fans. One memory was walking to a pub that some other Leeds fans couldn’t get in and the bouncers just stood aside to let us in. I got a great cheer from some of the Halifax lads when I got in. Big Brian from Halifax (number 13) aka Uncle Buck to my kids and granddaughters and Godfather to my youngest daughter Emily, died a couple of years ago but he’s never far from our thoughts. RIP. Another memory is of a few of us girls queuing up to get into the boy’s entrance and the police chucking lads younger than us out of the queue. They told the coppers we were older than them but weren’t believed as we were allowed to stay where we were and go in.

The team today had major changes and had Wiedwald, Anita, Jansson, Shaughnessy, Roofe, Hernandez, Phillips, Grot, Borthwick-Jackson, Cibicki and Klich. Subs were Ayling for Borthwick-Jackson (45), Sacko for Cibicki (65) and Vieira for Phillips (72). Leeds lost 3-1 with Hernandez scoring for Leeds (26). Attendance was a sellout crowd for Leicester of 31,516 with 3,300 Leeds fans.

As the game kicked off it was good to see us settle into it pretty well. The Leeds fans were in good voice and put the Leicester fans to shame as they needed to have a drum to try and get their singing going. They were poor overall but did start singing once they were winning later in the game though.  You only sing when you’re winning comes to mind. We’d had a couple of attacks but didn’t look overwhelmed by the Premiership side. Phillips had put two fantastic crosses from in front of the Leeds’s fans over to the opposite side of the pitch only for Roofe to not get on the end of the ball. The lad in front of me said he should have cut inside and not let the ball bounce. All of a sudden Leeds had an attack and as some were shouting for the ball to be passed at the edge of the box, I thought have a go. With that the ball sailed into the net courtesy of Hernandez to put us into the lead, 1-0.

As Leicester tried to get back into the game we were playing further up the field but then were allowing them to break through the middle and put us under pressure. We weren’t being outplayed at all but Leicester got an equaliser not long after we had scored and before half time. The ball was cleared by Wiedwald only to the edge of the penalty area and ended with one of their players putting a shot past him to score. That was a big disappointment in that we couldn’t hold on to the lead. Despite this the Leeds fans kept singing lots of songs including some of the older ones that a group of us will be recording next month.

At half time as I went downstairs there were two policemen stood at the top of the stairs and I had a laugh with one of them. It shows how bad my eyesight is as I thought it looked like he was carrying a drill (It was actually a video camera) well at least I think that’s what it was! After a conversation with one of our fans I have agreed to meet him on Friday in the Peacock to autograph my book which he has bought. Thanks for the support.  As I got down onto the concourse there was smoke arising to the left of me along with the familiar smell of the smoke bombs. At least there wasn’t any thrown onto the pitch this time or the big bombs set off thank goodness.  On the way back up I stood talking with the policeman and another Leeds fan on the stairs.  The former thought we might sneak it as he thought we had been playing well and that was from someone who comes from Leicester.

The second half saw Leeds bring on Ayling at the start in place of Borthwick-Jackson who took a knock earlier. We were playing well in parts but were still passing back too many times to Wiedwald though which is what puts us under pressure. After one attack Anita was shielding the ball and Wiedald raced out to get the ball. We were lucky to get away with the decision as he carried the ball out of the penalty area but the ref and the linesman didn’t react. Sacko a couple of times was given the ball down the side in front of us and with all the acres of space along the line either went inside and lost it or passed it back.  He needs to get the confidence to take the ball to the bye line in the space he was in and cross it from there. Near the end of the game I suddenly realised Jansson was playing and for some reason I’d forgotten he was on the pitch. We certainly didn’t disgrace ourselves as Leicester eventually came out 3-1 winners. Although it was disappointing I am proud to support Leeds United. Seeing the Leeds fans sing even louder and continuous showed the support we have got is phenomenal.  Showing other teams how to support their team with nonstop singing shows just how many teams miss playing us. Having a sellout crowd, it will be interesting to see their next home gate as I bet like Cardiff; it will be way down on tonight. You’re only here to watch the Leeds comes to mind. Seriously though we are one of the biggest draws around and I’m proud to support my team.

At the end of the game I’d got my flag and gone downstairs. Some lads asked for their photos taken when some others ran across to join us and get in the photo. Unfortunately one slipped on the floor which was quite treacherous but at least he was a good sport and had a laugh. I’d been walking gingerly to ensure I didn’t fall.  Luckily for us the coaches were outside the turnstiles when we got out and as one lad came out he asked if I’d had my camera out filming at the end to which I said no. He said the stewards in the stand had been facing the Leeds fans and ignoring the Leicester fans behind them who were throwing things at the Leeds fans. As there was some retaliation it was the Leeds fans getting into bother not them; my friend Sue had said she couldn’t get out of the stand and it was very scary for her so I’m glad I missed it. It was nice to hear that my blog is the first thing that this lad looks out for after a game and to go through my photos. Your comments are greatly appreciated and thank you. With a police escort away from the ground we were back on the motorway in no time at all to find it wasn’t long before it went down to one lane. Obviously they knew approx. 3,000 Leeds fans were heading that way. After a good run home it was good to be relatively early at just gone midnight.

Oct 22 2017

Bristol City away 21st October 2017

I can’t believe how quick my new book “The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17 has appeared on Amazon and will be in the Leeds shop at the end of the month! Great stuff!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleeping-Giant-Awakens-United-2016-17/dp/1780915675/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1508623507&sr=1-1&keywords=the+sleeping+giant+awakens+leeds

As usual I will be getting a quota to sell and will autograph copies for those who want them through me. I always carry one copy of each of my books on me so if anyone wants to meet up please let me know.

As I was getting cash out of the machine last night I heard a voice behind me saying someone is trying to attract your attention. There was no way I was taking my eyes off my card and money as I feared a scam so stuffed my money in my bag quickly. As I turned round to leave this voice behind me said again that someone in the car next to me was trying to catch my attention. I did turn around this time and there was a young lad shouting Leeds, Leeds, Leeds to me, then his dad appeared out of the shop shouting Leeds to me too oops. Sorry lads!! As usual though, Leeds fans are everywhere.

We weren’t leaving Leeds until 8.00 am so it was a normal get up call at 6.30 am before getting to Leeds for the coach. The weather was fine but we would be heading into storm Brian in Bristol but I wasn’t looking forward to the damp cold. I’d forgotten Sue wouldn’t be travelling with me today so had a seat to myself. Before I left home I’d tweeted and put on Facebook, come on Leeds, 3 points today. I also tweeted Leeds saying they could do it and to believe. With so many fans writing us off already with a defeat I had my bolshie head on, and that no we wouldn’t get beaten; we would have our backs to the wall, we would battle and to believe. As Elvis Presley came on the radio singing I just can’t help believing, I wondered if that was a good omen for today and would know by 5.00 pm.

We stopped off in Gloucester and I was one of the first off the coach into the pub. What I would say is don’t ever ask me to get any drinks in, because half of the coach got served before me as somehow I always end up invisible at the bar! Apparently they were 6 staff down who’d phoned in ill before their reinforcements arrived.  The girl who eventually served me had noticed the ones who I knew needed to be served in front of me which was right, but I still don’t know how everyone else off our coach got in front of me though. Instead of queuing again I used the Wetherspoon app and couldn’t believe it when they apologised for the delay! I got my food within 10 minutes so no delay from what I saw and told them so.

A group of us had a good chat in the pub about the team and what we reckoned would happen today and I also had a catch up with Mick Hewitt. We have 18th November penciled in for our song recording to take place and I’m looking forward to this immensely. The practice went really well and it will be good to finalise our ambitions of getting the cd/dvd done in time. I was on a Facebook thread the other week on one of the Leeds groups but for the life of me cannot remember which group. The thread was about our old sings and I was going to get in touch with a couple on there to see if there were any songs I’d forgotten to include. If anyone can remember being part of this please let me know as I’d be happy to speak further on this.

We arrived at the ground 20 minutes before kickoff and ended up getting off the coach a few at a time as we were stuck in traffic. As I got through the security lines I was looking for entrance 38 so ended up at the far end of the terrace. After asking our steward where the entrance was it turned out that it was the area inside the ground not the turnstile entrance number doh… As I queued up then it was getting closer and closer to kick off and I suddenly saw some of our fans going mad who’d already got into the ground. It turned out that the turnstile was broken and in the end fans were climbing over it. I wasn’t looking forward to climbing over it but luckily the one at the other side was letting fans through so I went through that one. If I’d have gone in the first turnstile I’d come to when arriving at the ground I’d have been at the right place instead I had to walk right back to the other end. When I got in the stand I saw that all the Leeds flags had been placed at the front instead of the back so put mine up and decided to stay there just to the right of the goal as there were spaces there.

The team today was Lonergan, Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Vieira, Phillips, O’Kane, Lasogga, Alioski, Saiz and Pennington. Subs were Sacko for Alioski (81), Anita for Saiz (83) and Grot for Lasogga (90). Leeds won 3-0 with two goals for Saiz (4, 14) and one from Lasogga (67). Attendance was 24,435 with 3,717 Leeds fans

giving Bristol their highest attendance of the season. Dallas had pulled out of the squad after his mother died and condolences are sent to Stuart Dallas and his family on their sad occasion.

The swirling wind and fine rain started more or less as soon as we kicked off so it was going to be a battle against the weather too, but I thought that would work in our favour as it would be a backs to the wall game. Within five minutes Leeds were in the lead with a long range shot from Saiz that flew into the net with a deflection at the far side of the ground.  The celebrating Leeds fans were in good voice and the early goal did everyone the world of good. It wasn’t much later before Saiz scored a second sending everyone wild. Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again had the Leeds fans showing their gallows humour once more. Bristol never gave up and were seeing plenty of the ball though and were a threat, but the difference being Leeds dealt with it. Having Vieira back in midfield alongside Phillips and O’Kane was what I thought we needed to shore it up and it certainly worked. Their first shot on goal was fumbled by Lonergan but he stood tall after that. I felt quite calm for the majority of the game but as it got near half time, I just wanted to ensure Bristol didn’t score as I felt it was vital they didn’t get back into the game. Fantastic support from the Leeds fans although when we scored the dreaded smoke bombs appeared on the pitch, a blue and a yellow one. After the second goal one got thrown which ended up underneath my flag and I was glad when their steward got it away from there.

At half time I said to some young kids that I would take their photo. Bless them, they said hang on a minute and all took their jackets off to show their Leeds shirts. I’m proud of you lads especially as you were doing the Leeds salute. Obviously you’ve been brought up correctly! I tried finding Sue without success and went downstairs to try and find the toilets. As I headed towards the middle of the stand I thought there was no way I was getting through there as the singing hordes of Leeds fans were going mad. As I came back up into the concourse I could smell the smoke and just as I reached the door, someone let off a massive “bomb”. Sorry but whoever let that off in the middle of the crowd of fans really needs their heads testing. My nervous disposition meant the word “s**t” came out of my mouth as I jumped out of my skin.  I wasn’t the only one, as I went down the stairs this man with his crying child showed that it had scared him too,

The second half saw Leeds come out and attack our end. The Leeds fans sang for the whole game and despite the blustery conditions, the team continued where they left off. They played as a team and were backing each other up even though at times we were chasing shadows as Bristol got past us. They never gave up which is all that is asked of them, to keep fighting gives us a chance. When Phillips took a corner the ball came to Lasogga in the box to head home for our third goal and send us all into raptures once again. There were absolute fantastic scenes on the terraces from the celebrating Leeds fans, with many who probably couldn’t believe the score.  I was just thinking I knew we could do it!! I just wanted us to see the game out without giving them a goal.  Around the 80 minute mark there was an altercation in the middle of the park nearer to the bench than us. I missed what happened and even after seeing videos of it afterwards, saw their player square up to Berardi who stood his ground. Some said Berardi had nutted him, others said there was no contact and I couldn’t make my mind up about what happened as he was sent off. I thought their player was play acting and the next thing he got sent off too once he’d been treated for his “injury”! There was lots of jostling by the tunnel and then I thought something had kicked off in there as someone went running down it.  I felt better knowing they’d lost a man too as despite us having a three goal lead I didn’t want Bristol to score. As I was getting my flag untied a Bristol Steward who had been having a good look at it earlier, helped me untie it and a big thank you to him for the assistance.

As it was, we saw the game out to get the win and the three points. Look what happens when they believe in themselves and the fans get behind them! Lots of happy fans were singing the Vieira song as we went out of the ground. I saw these young lads without shirts on as the police headed towards them although I’d not seen anything untoward happen. At least they carried on up the road with the rest of us. I was surprised there wasn’t a welcoming committee of Bristol fans as in the past, there again the ground had emptied very quickly! It was raining very finely on the way back to the coach and it was sad seeing our exhausted disabled fans making their way back. With the weather being so bad, waiting at the end of the road wasn’t a good idea. We were soaked by the time we got back to the coach and I was glad I’d brought some hot water with me for a drink. I took my wet jacket off and had left my big jacket on the coach so was able to keep warm for most of the journey. By the time we reached Tamworth services along with the Harrogate and Keighley whites, I was glad to get a costa to warm me up.

The bad weather started to kick in as we reached Sheffield and despite the weight of the coach it felt a little too precarious for me going over the viaduct. I was glad to get over it quickly and in one piece. Apart from having to negotiate a flood near hell fire cross roads I got home safely and was back in good time. My daughter Dani then showed me the videos of the team having to make two attempts to land at Leeds Bradford airport after flying to this game. I’m glad they arrived safely and it was funny watching them, but I’d blame whoever decided they would fly to this game! There again it is probably because of the Josh Warrington fight tonight and maybe there are more than just Berardi heading to watch him.  Good luck Josh.

We have a busy week with the visit to Leicester in the next round of the Carabao Cup and the Sheffield United home game next Friday. As I’ve said before Leeds, just play to our strengths and enjoy ourselves and let the other teams worry about us.  Hitting them before they have woken up was brilliant!!  See you then – LUFC – Marching on together!

Oct 15 2017

Reading H 14th October 2017

My new book The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United Season 2016-17 is in the final stages. Having got the draft back for proofreading yesterday, I was doing this late into the night yesterday and this morning which meant that the early start for Elland Road didn’t happen. Falling asleep all the time didn’t help though! Having only got the last part to finish before sending it back to my publisher, means that the book will be at the printers shortly so exciting times ahead once again. The good news is that it will also be available in the Club shop!

With my daughter Danielle and granddaughter Hannah we ended up getting to Elland Road at 2.25 pm so went straight into the ground. The only thing about getting there late though, is that I missed the build up to the game. With not getting to the Peacock I missed my friends Sue and Paul, plus Dylan Waugh, Martin Hywood and family so sorry I didn’t make it there. My first port of call was the Kop bar, as I’d arranged to meet a Leeds fan through Gaz who wanted my book Follow Me and Leeds United. As it was I recognised him straight away so have bumped into him on my travels so thanks for the support Mal as that is appreciated. I then spoke to some of the Kippax lads about the songs recording to see if any were singers before chatting to some of the Halifax lads. As I was going into the stand I spoke to a woman who enjoys reading my blogs. She told me she’s bought my first book and her Burnley fan husband had read it and said it was exactly how it was back then. Thanks for the compliment! Despite getting there late, there were still loads of fans who I knew saying hello.

Talking about the old songs we are very close to getting our recording day sorted so I’m looking forward to that especially as our singing practice went really well recently. We will not remember every song and some cannot be included for obvious reasons, but if anyone wishes to contribute to any of the songs please get in touch to be added to the group. If we don’t already have the song on our list you would be accredited with any you tell us about. We have set up a Facebook page called “Leeds United we’ll support you evermore” intended for anyone who has anything to add.

The team today was Lonergan, Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Jansson, O’Kane, Phillips, Hernandez, Roofe, Lasogga and Saiz. Subs were Sacko for Roofe (68), Grot for Lasogga (77) and Dallas for Berardi (89). Leeds lost 1-0 with ex-loanee Barrow scoring for Reading. Attendance was 33,900 with 434 Reading fans.

I was listening to BBC Radio Leeds on the way in to the game and on hearing that Wiedwald had been dropped for the game I was disappointed. My reasons being, that he had become a scapegoat for our latest defeat at Sheffield Wednesday where loads had blamed him for the defeat. It was a collective team defeat and for the first goal I still maintain the two defenders in front of him should have cleared the ball before it got to him. He made two great saves to stop Wednesday getting more goals which seems to have by passed many. We are trying to play a certain way but the players in front of him had started passing back so much that we were getting under more and more pressure. Now fans are entitled to their opinion and I may be in the minority, but I would have maintained status quo today and kept him in goal. After proof reading my latest book, the parallels from last season at this time are frankly very similar.

I have nothing against Lonergan and he did okay today making one really great save in the second half, but our playing out from the back was very poor today, again a collective performance. We also resorted to the long ball with goal kicks that went straight to their players at the other end where Reading started an attack once again. I didn’t pinpoint anything specific today as per our midfield getting overrun in the defeats of late, but we didn’t look very good at all in the first half. Hearing boos from the crowd near us after 10 minutes was a little too early in my opinion when getting behind the team could have improved their play. I know we were still making the same mistakes further up the field which is hard for some fans to take, although personally I was watching closely as to how we would play without having the sweeper keeper to play out from the back. Saiz was the only one who really stood out for me though.

The sell-out crowd once again were expecting a better performance but with us having got off to such a good start to the season and done better than we dared hope, it isn’t going to be a quick fix. It will take time and we have to be patient. I realise patience is thin with many fans which is their choice, but to turn things around on the pitch will take longer than the first few weeks of the season. This is a long term project and whilst the club are looking at the play offs, I still maintain we need to aspire for automatic promotion this year. Playing for the shirt is a must, but I know this will not happen overnight. In the first half I can’t really remember us putting their goalie under any pressure and the crowd were pretty quiet which was not surprising really. The ref as usual started booking our players very quickly and eventually when he gave us a free kick the crowd used their sarcasm by cheering loudly. He surpassed himself when Reading got a free kick for offside and it was taken in our half, what on earth was going on?

At half time I was downstairs with Carole, Ashley, Margaret and Keith behind the betting area when a Leeds fan asked for a £10 bet on Lasogga to score! We had a laugh with him but said he’d lose his money but I’d be happy to take it!

It was more in the second half that I noticed that O’Kane was playing very deep and had been involved in a lot of the play in the first half picking up balls across the back four I think. This meant that Phillips was playing in the midfield with Hernandez and Roofe with Saiz further forward. I don’t feel this had the desired effect as Phillips needed more support alongside him to make the midfield work. The second half carried on more of the same but things did brighten up a little when Sacko was brought on especially as he kept getting lots of space down the wing as we started attacking in the last 20 minutes. Things did get slightly better with Grot coming on as the other players upped their play but this wasn’t because of Grot. I don’t know how it happened as we had been on the attack, but all of a sudden Reading went forward towards the South Stand where Barrow put the ball into the net to put them into the lead. We should have got a point out of the game in the final minutes when Saiz was brought down in the area and the ref pointed to the spot.  As I wondered who our penalty taker would be I saw Hernandez had got hold of the ball. I watched as O’Kane hovered as if to say he should be taking the penalty but then he walked away. I blame the lad who stands behind us in the Kop for the penalty miss! As Hernandez went to take it, he told us where he was going to put the ball and he was going to miss.  I said it was his fault the goalie saved it but it was a very soft penalty to be frank with not a lot of power behind it. I suppose I felt resigned to things not going our way by the end of the game but on the whole it was a very poor performance. We didn’t put enough pressure on their goal and whilst we did get some shots in they were way off target. Whilst the scoreboard was back in action today, I don’t like the fact that it doesn’t show the score.

It is back to the drawing board for Christiansen. Whilst we need the spine of the team and stability within the club, we have got to be able to change things which unfortunately haven’t been good as of late. Whilst other fans are already writing games off, I will always take each game as it comes. Bristol away next week with a Friday game against Sheffield United the following week with the Carabao Cup game at Leicester in between will be a test as to whether we can change things. Our best form of defence is attack and what got us through the first few games where we remained unbeaten. When we resorted to type with passing back to the goalie and playing deep, along with other clubs sussing us out, this has impacted on us greatly. Some Leeds fans from Dublin were in high spirits at Billy’s statue after the game as we waited for my sister and her grandson to turn up. It was also nice to see Terje from Norway there too.

I just want to mention that last week I was doing some website training with Simon O’Rourke and his skills and knowledge are absolutely fantastic which were a great benefit to me. Having to rearrange the venue at the last minute we headed to the White Rose so we had WIFI access before heading to the Peacock. As usual I had my Leeds shirt on when I saw someone walk past us who I recognised. With that he came back to ask if it was me and tell me that he reads my blog all the time. I knew Peter’s face straight away and it’s nice when fans come for a chat.

The other good news last week was that Elland Road is now an Asset of Community Value and well done to the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust for achieving this. After Radrizzani buying Elland Road back, this news and the plans for the Matthew Murray site and bringing the training facilities back to Leeds from Thorpe Arch, it is good to see all the things going on in the background. Let’s hope it won’t be long for the team to get back to winning ways and give us hope for the future. See you at Bristol – LUFC – Marching on Together!

Oct 14 2017

Reading H 14th October 2017

My new book The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United Season 2016-17 is in the final stages. Having got the draft back for proofreading yesterday, I was doing this late into the night yesterday and this morning which meant that the early start for Elland Road didn’t happen. Falling asleep all the time didn’t help though! Having only got the last part to finish before sending it back to my publisher, means that the book will be at the printers shortly so exciting times ahead once again. The good news is that it will also be available in the Club shop!

With my daughter Danielle and granddaughter Hannah we ended up getting to Elland Road at 2.25 pm so went straight into the ground. The only thing about getting there late though, is that I missed the build up to the game. With not getting to the Peacock I missed my friends Sue and Paul, plus Dylan Waugh, Martin Hywood and family so sorry I didn’t make it there. My first port of call was the Kop bar, as I’d arranged to meet a Leeds fan through Gaz who wanted my book Follow Me and Leeds United. As it was I recognised him straight away so have bumped into him on my travels so thanks for the support Mal as that is appreciated. I then spoke to some of the Kippax lads about the songs recording to see if any were singers before chatting to some of the Halifax lads. As I was going into the stand I spoke to a woman who enjoys reading my blogs. She told me she’s bought my first book and her Burnley fan husband had read it and said it was exactly how it was back then. Thanks for the compliment! Despite getting there late, there were still loads of fans who I knew saying hello.

Talking about the old songs we are very close to getting our recording day sorted so I’m looking forward to that especially as our singing practice went really well recently. We will not remember every song and some cannot be included for obvious reasons, but if anyone wishes to contribute to any of the songs please get in touch to be added to the group. If we don’t already have the song on our list you would be accredited with any you tell us about. We have set up a Facebook page called “Leeds United we’ll support you evermore” intended for anyone who has anything to add.

The team today was Lonergan, Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Jansson, O’Kane, Phillips, Hernandez, Roofe, Lasogga and Saiz. Subs were Sacko for Roofe (68), Grot for Lasogga (77) and Dallas for Berardi (89). Leeds lost 1-0 with ex-loanee Barrow scoring for Reading. Attendance was 33,900 with 434 Reading fans.

I was listening to BBC Radio Leeds on the way in to the game and on hearing that Wiedwald had been dropped for the game I was disappointed. My reasons being, that he had become a scapegoat for our latest defeat at Sheffield Wednesday where loads had blamed him for the defeat. It was a collective team defeat and for the first goal I still maintain the two defenders in front of him should have cleared the ball before it got to him. He made two great saves to stop Wednesday getting more goals which seems to have by passed many. We are trying to play a certain way but the players in front of him had started passing back so much that we were getting under more and more pressure. Now fans are entitled to their opinion and I may be in the minority, but I would have maintained status quo today and kept him in goal. After proof reading my latest book, the parallels from last season at this time are frankly very similar.

I have nothing against Lonergan and he did okay today making one really great save in the second half, but our playing out from the back was very poor today, again a collective performance. We also resorted to the long ball with goal kicks that went straight to their players at the other end where Reading started an attack once again. I didn’t pinpoint anything specific today as per our midfield getting overrun in the defeats of late, but we didn’t look very good at all in the first half. Hearing boos from the crowd near us after 10 minutes was a little too early in my opinion when getting behind the team could have improved their play. I know we were still making the same mistakes further up the field which is hard for some fans to take, although personally I was watching closely as to how we would play without having the sweeper keeper to play out from the back. Saiz was the only one who really stood out for me though.

The sell-out crowd once again were expecting a better performance but with us having got off to such a good start to the season and done better than we dared hope, it isn’t going to be a quick fix. It will take time and we have to be patient. I realise patience is thin with many fans which is their choice, but to turn things around on the pitch will take longer than the first few weeks of the season. This is a long term project and whilst the club are looking at the play offs, I still maintain we need to aspire for automatic promotion this year. Playing for the shirt is a must, but I know this will not happen overnight. In the first half I can’t really remember us putting their goalie under any pressure and the crowd were pretty quiet which was not surprising really. The ref as usual started booking our players very quickly and eventually when he gave us a free kick the crowd used their sarcasm by cheering loudly. He surpassed himself when Reading got a free kick for offside and it was taken in our half, what on earth was going on?

At half time I was downstairs with Carole, Ashley, Margaret and Keith behind the betting area when a Leeds fan asked for a £10 bet on Lasogga to score! We had a laugh with him but said he’d lose his money but I’d be happy to take it!

It was more in the second half that I noticed that O’Kane was playing very deep and had been involved in a lot of the play in the first half picking up balls across the back four I think. This meant that Phillips was playing in the midfield with Hernandez and Roofe with Saiz further forward. I don’t feel this had the desired effect as Phillips needed more support alongside him to make the midfield work. The second half carried on more of the same but things did brighten up a little when Sacko was brought on especially as he kept getting lots of space down the wing as we started attacking in the last 20 minutes. Things did get slightly better with Grot coming on as the other players upped their play but this wasn’t because of Grot. I don’t know how it happened as we had been on the attack, but all of a sudden Reading went forward towards the South Stand where Barrow put the ball into the net to put them into the lead. We should have got a point out of the game in the final minutes when Saiz was brought down in the area and the ref pointed to the spot.  As I wondered who our penalty taker would be I saw Hernandez had got hold of the ball. I watched as O’Kane hovered as if to say he should be taking the penalty but then he walked away. I blame the lad who stands behind us in the Kop for the penalty miss! As Hernandez went to take it, he told us where he was going to put the ball and he was going to miss.  I said it was his fault the goalie saved it but it was a very soft penalty to be frank with not a lot of power behind it. I suppose I felt resigned to things not going our way by the end of the game but on the whole it was a very poor performance. We didn’t put enough pressure on their goal and whilst we did get some shots in they were way off target. Whilst the scoreboard was back in action today, I don’t like the fact that it doesn’t show the score.

It is back to the drawing board for Christiansen. Whilst we need the spine of the team and stability within the club, we have got to be able to change things which unfortunately haven’t been good as of late. Whilst other fans are already writing games off, I will always take each game as it comes. Bristol away next week with a Friday game against Sheffield United the following week with the Carabao Cup game at Leicester in between will be a test as to whether we can change things. Our best form of defence is attack and what got us through the first few games where we remained unbeaten. When we resorted to type with passing back to the goalie and playing deep, along with other clubs sussing us out, this has impacted on us greatly. Some Leeds fans from Dublin were in high spirits at Billy’s statue after the game as we waited for my sister and her grandson to turn up. It was also nice to see Terje from Norway there too.

I just want to mention that last week I was doing some website training with Simon O’Rourke and his skills and knowledge are absolutely fantastic which were a great benefit to me. Having to rearrange the venue at the last minute we headed to the White Rose so we had WIFI access before heading to the Peacock. As usual I had my Leeds shirt on when I saw someone walk past us who I recognised. With that he came back to ask if it was me and tell me that he reads my blog all the time. I knew Peter’s face straight away and it’s nice when fans come for a chat.

The other good news last week was that Elland Road is now an Asset of Community Value and well done to the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust for achieving this. After Radrizzani buying Elland Road back, this news and the plans for the Matthew Murray site and bringing the training facilities back to Leeds from Thorpe Arch, it is good to see all the things going on in the background. Let’s hope it won’t be long for the team to get back to winning ways and give us hope for the future. See you at Bristol – LUFC – Marching on Together!

Reading home 14.10.17

 

 

Oct 09 2017

Authentic Kop Recording by Suzie Evans (nee Isherwood)- Birmingham 24th August 1974

Oct 01 2017

Sheffield Wednesday A 1st October 2017

Yesterday saw us with free time with the game being tomorrow so I attended the Leeds United Supporters Trust meeting first and then headed to join other fans for our singing practice. Unfortunately because of the latter I had to leave the AGM before Allan Clarke spoke which was a shame. Allan is still as passionate about Leeds United as us fans and it is great to listen to him as I did the last time at an LFU meeting.  Our singing practice went really well with a group of Leeds fans and hopefully our recording of all the old Leeds songs and some of the later ones from the terraces will be done soon.

An early kick off beckoned for the rearranged game due to Sky where Leeds fans had sold out their allocation of approx. 4,600 in minutes again. Unfortunately some of our loyal fans were left wanting for tickets due to the influx of fans clamouring for them. Billy’s bar was open for bacon sarnies before we set off to the game. When our coach arrived for the police escort, we pulled up behind a Tetley’s coach.  All of a sudden both coaches started moving and then a group of fans ran alongside us both chasing the other coach!  It did look funny but at least they were lucky they weren’t being left behind as they were only moving us further up the road. Our police escort was very good especially when all the traffic was stopped for us and we drove on the wrong side of the road past everyone. When we arrived at the ground I was surprised to find us dropped off outside the turnstiles and our coaches were going to be there when we came out.  That was good though as normally we had quite a walk which isn’t an issue for some of us. They were usually pretty good here for our disabled fans though who were normally taken on a coach to and from the ground.

The first thing I noticed was a fence had been put up between the home turnstiles and ours outside the Leppings Lane entrance. Having seen a video recently of the Sheffield Utd fans and Wednesday fans posturing at each other, I reckoned this is why it had been put up to separate the two sets of fans. As soon as I got in I went to the front of the stand to hang my banner up and what I can say, is that a steward was really helpful and friendly which was good to see.

The team today was Wiedwald, Ayling, Jansson, Pennington, Berardi, Phillips, O’Kane, Alioski, Saiz, Lasogga and Roofe. Subs were Sacko for Alioski (62) , Hernandez for Roofe (62) and Dallas for Jansson (71) who went off injured with a shoulder injury. Leeds lost the game 3-0 and attendance was 27,972 with approx. 4,600 Leeds fans.

Everyone was in high spirits even though we’d had a couple of hard away games at Millwall and Cardiff. The Sheffield Wednesday message boards had been in melt down due to playing us now as they hadn’t had such a good start to the season. I couldn’t tell you where they were in the table or how they’d played or anything as I don’t take any notice of the opposition, apart from knowing Tom Lees still played for them! The one thing I found I couldn’t tweet on this week was when LUFC said that the last time we’d played them there we’d won 2-0. Maybe I had a premonition!! A big thank you to Nigel from the White Rose LUSC for his support in buying my book Follow Me and Leeds United and enjoy the read! I was glad to catch up with Cayne and his dad Lee as it was Cayne’s first away game today.

In the first 20 minutes of the game though it was all Leeds and we really should have put the game to bed in that time. We had a couple of clear chances and my thoughts were that we had to take our chances when they are there. Saiz had a great run and his cross saw Alioski head it into the side netting. It’s a shame that wasn’t on target as it deserved an end goal. At that time I felt that Wednesday were there for the taking as they didn’t look to have much confidence.  I can’t say what really changed the game though, but all of a sudden Wednesday upped their game and scored. First Jansson then another of our players missed the ball as their player beat Wiedwald to score their first. That was just the tonic that Wednesday needed and they became a different side to the one I’d seen in the opening minutes. I don’t really think Leeds were in the game much after that and we actually made them look good.  The goal had given them confidence and belief and we were at sixes and sevens with a couple of times our players clashing as they went for the same ball. Passes were going short or astray and collectively were looking very poor. As the Wednesday fans chanted “Leeds are falling apart again” and “We all hate Leeds scum” it was with great satisfaction seeing them shut straight up and deflate when the Leeds fans with their gallows humour sang the same back at them.

As they scored their second goal before half time many Leeds fans were getting agitated. From my point of view we were getting overrun in midfield once again and it looked like lessons had not been learnt from our last two away defeats. One suggestion I would like to make to Thomas Christiansen is that he learns from Don Revie.  Don would always have one of his colleagues sat in the stand with the fans. As they were higher up than the side of the pitch they were able to see from a different perspective of how things were not working on the pitch and were able to change things. The fans around me could all see that we needed to bolster that area because Wednesday were bypassing the midfield and putting constant pressure on the back four and goalie. Also we were our own worst enemies by constantly passing back to Wiedwald to enable him to play out from the back, we were putting more and more pressure on our defence.  The best form of defence is attack so by keeping possession going forward we would keep the ball away from the opposition. When one attack came in and they shot at Wiedwald in front of us he palmed the ball away when others around me were shouting he should have caught it. I just thought he maybe wanted to make sure he got the ball away. I really felt that we should have changed our shape in the first half but we didn’t, continuing with the same formation which meant that Wednesday carried on running rings around us.

At half time it was nice to catch up with Tim who was one of my local Leeds fans I went around with in the seventies. We go back a long time as Leeds fans and hearing that he’d had some bad news with his best friend’s family, my heart goes out to them all. That’s what Leeds fans do; support other Leeds fans when needed.

The start of the second half also saw no changes so we carried off where we left off at half time, on the back foot. We were crying out for Christiansen to change things especially as he said he would have a few games plans. Don’t get me wrong, I like him very much and what he is trying to achieve, but seems to have not learnt from the last two away defeats even though he changed the personnel. Just before he made his two subs on 62 minutes Leeds had won a corner on the left hand side to us. When Alioski hit it so hard that it went flying past the goal and out at the other side for a goal kick, everyone groaned. My initial thoughts were why did he hit it so hard and them realised a sub was coming on. I knew then that Alioski was going off which proved to be.  Was that a reaction from him knowing he was being subbed?

We did start off playing brighter and looked more up for the game then as we started to put pressure on Wednesday. Shortly after the subs though Jansson went down injured with his shoulder and ended up going off on a stretcher which was all we needed. It was a case of s**t or bust then as Dallas was brought on. Unfortunately we never really got going after this and to cap it all a bad pass from O’Kane when trying to play out from the back only succeeded in Wednesday getting hold of the ball and scoring a third. They had hit a post and Wiedwald had made two cracking saves before that otherwise they’d have slaughtered us!  It was a bad day at the office today and a very quiet fan base. After the support shown at Cardiff it was a little disappointing that we didn’t sing as much but there again there is only so much some fans can take. There were some boos from fans at the end although that isn’t something I did and I stayed until the bitter end despite fans from both sides disappearing to the exits. On reaching the crossroads to the turnstiles where the Wednesday fans were coming out, we had to walk in between them and the police to get across to our coaches. At least it was placid enough thank goodness.

We now have no game next week due to another International break although it looks like Jansson will miss out after being called up for Sweden.  I feel that we were very poor collectively as a team today. I know many fans are blaming Wiedwald, saying that he isn’t strong enough in his area. With the way we play out from the back, we need our midfield to take the strain and keep the ball more up front. We spend so much time going back towards him that we are constantly putting Wiedwald under pressure so no wonder it looks bad from a fan’s perspective. Personally I do think we have to work from the back but we also need to keep going forwards more rather than backwards so much. We also need to field a stronger midfield away from home and have a different formation. Again I do feel Christiansen is trying to play attacking football, especially on the break but that seems to be playing into the hands of the opposition. We cannot afford to keep on doing this and have to have a different way of freezing out the opposition and if it means an extra man in the midfield and I don’t mean Roofe or Alioski on the wing then so be it!

After the break we have Reading at home to look forward to plus Bristol City away and Leicester in the next round of the Carabao Cup. Let’s hope the rest does us good and if Christiansen wants to send one of his coaches up in to the away stand with us fans, he would definitely see a different game to what he sees pitch side.  It may help him see what we see!!  See you then – LUFC – Marching on Together!

Sep 27 2017

Cardiff 26th September 2017

You know the feeling when you are trying to help another Leeds fan get in touch with someone you know without success? I then tried to ring the number only for it to be unattainable, oh dear.  Mmm that had alarm bells ringing especially when I realised all the texts I’d sent to the “new” number hadn’t had an answer!  I thought I’d messed up when I put the new number into my phone in one of those moments when you do stupid things, but as I found out later on in the evening, it wasn’t my fault. After giving me the new phone number someone else had recommended he kept his old number which made sense. Unfortunately I’d never been told this but at least all’s well that ends well, as I now have the correct number in my phone and the Leeds fan I tried to help was successful in getting sorted out!

It was going to be one of those games where I was relying on others and my grateful thanks once again go to the people who know who they are.

The team today was Wiedwald, Ayling, Jansson, Berardi, Cooper, Roofe, Dallas, Phillips, Hernandez, Alioski and Klich. Subs were Pennington for Hernandez (45), Vieira for Klich (67) and Grot for Alioski (62). Attendance was 27,60 with approximately 2,700 Leeds fans. Leeds lost 3-1 with Roofe (67) scoring the Leeds goal meaning we lost the top spot. Cooper was sent off just before half time for a second bookable offence

It was good to get there in time for kick off managing to out my banner up before finding my seat. On our way into the ground it was nice to be treated with respect by the female stewards who were looking for unacceptable slogans on any flags as they agreed Sue and I were respectable!! There were loads of Leeds fans still arriving after kick off as we found our seats at the start of the game. I’d not realised we were up again Warnock our ex manager and Bamba our ex player though until the night. For the first twenty minutes or so Leeds saw plenty of the ball and things were quite even on the pitch. The ref up to that time hadn’t been too bad then it was as if someone whispered in his ear and he gave us absolutely nothing which meant Cardiff went from strength to strength. Their first goal came from a mistake from us though. Jansson got the ball and instead of turning and going forward passed the ball back to Wiedwald who passed it straight back to Jansson. He then passed the ball out to the wing to Klich who had the ball covered until he slipped and Cardiff took full advantage of this. With their fast counter attack they had the ball in the net on the half hour point giving them the lead. 

We were struggling to contain Cardiff making it look like our team selection was wrong. The ref surpassed himself when he gave a free kick to Cardiff but didn’t send their player off the pitch after treatment. He was more interested in giving our players a ticking off and even though they pointed out that their player needed to go off he totally ignored them. Someone mentioned later on that as he booked our player a new rule meant he could stay on the pitch??  Hopefully someone else will confirm whether this is the case but it wouldn’t surprise me as “rules” seem to get broken many times. A couple of times the reaction of their fans made the linesman flag for a free kick. After a short while Cardiff attacked us again leaving us at sixes and sevens as their player put a hard shot past Wiedwald from the edge of the box. To cap it all just before half time we found ourselves down to 10 men as Cooper tackled their player on the far side and was sent off for a second bookable offence. That knocked the stuffing out of us. Just before half time we thought they’d got a third goal when the ball hit the back of the net but it was disallowed for offside. Going in at half time two goals down wasn’t good though.

During the break it was nice to catch up with Caerwyn one of our South Wales fans and Simon who’d come up from Cornwall for the game. I received lots of nice comments about my blog from fans and thank you to everyone who took the time to speak to me about it. I want to say a big thank you to Dylan and his son Lucas for their support in buying my book Follow Me and Leeds United. Enjoy the read and I look forward to receiving feedback in due course.  I also got feedback from my second book; Once a Leeds fans, always a Leeds fan that was read by another of our fans and he’d really enjoyed it.  As usual all comments are appreciated.

Immediately at the start of the second half Pennington was brought on in place of Hernandez to shore up our defence with Cooper getting sent off. Before long though we were three goals down and it was game over. 

Leeds didn’t give up though and we started to play better with 10 men than 11. As the Cardiff fans celebrated with top of the league chants as they had been in third place in the top of table clash (it’s been a long time since we could say that), the Leeds fans came into their own showing their loyalty and support for getting behind the team. A constant rendition of we all love Leeds over and over again kept going up a notch and eventually the Cardiff fans sat down and you couldn’t hear them at all. As play stopped after a foul, a rendition of Marching on Together rang out in full voice from the Leeds fans who then carried on where they left off with we all love Leeds until the end of the game. In between all of this Roofe scored a goal to pull one back for us and although if we thought there would be a revival and aspiration for a draw, sadly it wasn’t to be.

It was a disappointing result tonight, there is no getting away from it as I thought Christiansen may have learnt from the Millwall game. I appreciate he wants to play football but the team selection didn’t work in that respect. We were bullied out of the game and again in my opinion Vieira should have been on from the start to add that bit of steel into the midfield. I haven’t been impressed with Grot so far and after he came on as sub, I am still not impressed with him. That said, they should be proud of the support they got from the Leeds fans today and it was good to see Christiansen join the players in clapping us at the end of the game.

It will be a late home coming for lots of fans and especially harder for those of us who are back at work in the early hours of the morning It will be not so far for all our Welsh fans and those who don’t live too far away though. Luckily I was able to sleep both going and coming back but know that plenty of black coffee will be required to keep me going.

Saturday sees the Trust AGM before the singing practice of all the old Leeds songs with a group of Leeds fans. If you know of any singers that should be involved there may be space for them but I will give no promises and they’d need to contact me ASAP if interested.

Sheffield Wednesday away on Sunday beckons so we have to bounce back. Christiansen will have to reflect on what hasn’t worked away from home for us. It’s been a breath of fresh air enjoying the season so far so the result is a bit of a downer, but there will be another good following of Leeds fans at Hillsborough so we need to turn it around and fast.  The international break is around the corner once again which causes further disruption at the wrong time and is one thing we could do without! Forever and ever, we’ll follow our team; we’re Leeds United we rule supreme.  See you there – LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

Sep 23 2017

Ipswich Town Home 23rd September 2017

Waking up to the sun shining made it feel like a good day for football. As Leeds United have another sell out home crowd, today is going to be buzzing around Elland Road and I can’t wait. Talking of not waiting is my granddaughter Hannah. When I picked her up last night I didn’t even get in her house as she put her things straight in the car and said we were off. Admittedly only to my house first but ready for the game today lol! She was soooo excited to be coming to Elland Road and also had brought her spare Leeds shirt to be signed by the players. Oh dear that means I’m not going to be going straight home after the game but heading for the players entrance! A new generation of Leeds fans getting a good start in life being brought up the right way though.

After the defeat at Millwall last week, things looked up with our midweek cup game at Burnley where we won on penalties. I was resigned to the defeat but ecstatic with the win! The different emotions of being a Leeds United fan but I wouldn’t change supporting them for the world as they have been part of my life for over 50 years. I would just like to say that I hope the two Leeds fans who got beaten up outside the Den at Millwall have recovered from their injuries. Sadly by taking a wrong turn they ended up getting beaten up by their fans baying for blood just for being in the wrong place. This is the one thing that I do not want to end up being the norm again; it’s better left in the past.

I’ve had some proud moments this week; I appeared on the phone link to the new Made in Leeds phone in on Monday evening where Josh Warrington commented and agreed with what I said. Thanks Josh. When I asked tongue in cheek as to whether my promotion for season tickets interview on LUTV at the end of May helped with season ticket sales, I was told it certainly did and I should ask for commission next time! Thirdly my comment about getting a rollicking off my hubby for getting a £19 phone bill for ringing the Leeds United ticket office was picked up. This ended up with the announcement yesterday that the phone number was changing to 0371 334 1992 instead of 0871 so no more ripping fans off. Excellent things happening at the club and shows they are listening to fans.

I was supposed to be meeting Kristine from Norway but unfortunately due to an illness in her family she hasn’t made it to the game today and my good wishes go to her and a speedy recovery to her family member. I did meet some other Norwegians in the Peacock though along with a West Coast White from the USA. With it being a full house this normally means lots of our overseas fans attending including our Irish fans as we followed a car from Ireland off the M621. We went into the ground in good time today and for once there were no queues.  It was possible many were still in the fans zone and as we passed it, Marching on Together was blaring out over the speakers.

We had a catch up with Susan, Debbie and James before Hannah went to our seats whilst I stayed lower down the Kop ready to take my photos. I then saw Trampas lower down so went down to have a chat and a catch up. I stayed there initially as the team came out as it was closer for the photos.

The team today was Wiedwald, Ayling, Anita, Cooper (back from injury), Shaughnessy, O’Kane, Phillips, Saiz, Alioski, Lasogga and Hernandez. Subs were Berardi for Anita (60), Dallas for Hernandez (76) and Grot for Lasogga (86). Leeds won 3-2 with goals from Lasogga, (13), Philips (32) and a Bialkowski own goal on 67 minutes. Ipswich scorers were McGoldrick (30) and Garner (71). Attendance was 34,002 with 693 Ipswich fans.

Leeds started off brightly attacking the South Stand as the Leeds fans were in full voice. We put pressure on Ipswich and within 13 minutes we were ahead. Shaughnessy put a great through ball to Lasogga and I was poised to take that perfect photo only for fans to jump up in front of me as he put the ball into the net! Still that was a good start to the game. We didn’t really build on this as Ipswich were still in the game and the majority of it was end to end. When Ipswich won a free kick to the left of the goal it was a small push on their player who went down like a sack of spuds! It was a soft free kick to give away which then resulted in an equaliser when their player had a free header to put the ball into the left hand corner. That was a disappointment but no sooner had the Ipswich fans started celebrating when Phillips ran onto the ball in their penalty area, got the ball round the keeper and put it into the net to restore our lead. That was a welcome goal within a minute to keep us in front on the day. We had a great chance to go further in the lead when Saiz got the ball in space at the edge of the box and I expected him to blast it into the net but he took too long so the chance went. I’d wondered where Anita was for their goal but he certainly prevented Ipswich getting a second equaliser just before the break when he was on the near post to head the ball off the line.  Phew!

The second half saw Leeds head into it with the one goal cushion and we didn’t have it all our way. With our defence doing some great passing to each other and also using our sweeper keeper, at times this got too close for comfort. Wiedwald went haring down the left hand side and got to the ball first with one Ipswich attack.  Rather than blast the ball out for a throw in he played a skilful pass around their player and to one of our players. We weren’t so lucky at times as Ipswich came very close and at times won the ball to put us under pressure. We were still coming out of defence and putting in some great crosses which Saiz and Alioski were running onto although it was a shame we didn’t have a go with a first time ball a couple of times. By taking too long we looked as if we were trying to walk the ball into the net giving Ipswich time to get back and stop us. That first time shot would have caught them unawares. All was not lost though and when Hernandez sent a corner over from the left hand side the ball ended up in the net courtesy of an own goal. I couldn’t see what happened but with the Leeds fans singing it’s your keeper’s fault I assumed he dropped the ball and it went over the line. Unfortunately today saw the scoreboard out of action so I’d no idea how long was left. If we thought having a 3-1 lead meant it was game over, we were sadly wrong. Ipswich attacked the far goal and although Wiedwald saved the first shot it went straight to an Ipswich player to put it into the net and claw a second goal back. As it was there was approx. 20 minutes to play plus injury time as Ipswich put up a fight to get an equaliser. Leeds kept breaking away with some great moves although the finishes didn’t match as we took one pass too many before shooting.

We managed to hold on though and keep our place at the top of the league and at the end of the day; all that counts is that we had a win and another three points. I thought we did enough to win the game though and it was the complete opposite of the Millwall game where we were under the cosh for 90 minutes. The one thing I like about Christiansen is that he always goes onto the pitch at the end of the game to thank everyone but then leaves and lets the team receive the plaudits.

In the ladies at the end of the game there are some women who have no idea how the queuing works. There are two doors and we always queue half and half with each queue using the cubicles on one side and two in the middle. Now this has worked every game for years and years but somehow when we get a lot of new people attending we get some irate women for whom common sense goes out of the window. What I don’t expect to see is a female thinking it is alright to barge into another Leeds fan and assault her (my daughter) to prove some point as she didn’t think our queue should take precedence. It was also someone old enough to know better. This is out of order and as with the women who thought it was okay to push me in the back twice at Burnley, this is not what being Leeds is all about! No one is perfect but a little give and take and knowing how things work can go a long way to not reacting aggressively when there really is no need.

Hannah and I headed for the players entrance and I was surprised that the barriers weren’t already up although it didn’t take long before they were. I saw the Irish lads wearing their hats with badges on so I got their photos. It was nice seeing the Galway and Portsmouth Whites and a big thank you for my chocolates and badge. I’d already caught the sight of their hats in the West Stand and taken a photo.  When Lasogga came out it was good to hear that his wife had given birth to a little girl yesterday as I asked him in German if it was a girl or a boy. Congratulations to them both. There were a few fans there as well as Hannah waiting to see Saiz so it was nice to see them happy once he’d signed autographs and had some photos taking. A funny thing happened just before Saiz got there as Eunan O’Kane was just coming to where we were  This girl was getting really excited to see Eunan and as she went to get a selfie this women laughed and said it was his wife. I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo though! As we were leaving I didn’t see Pontus pass us but Hannah saw him. As fans shouted him he didn’t hang around as he ran up the steps to the Fullerton Park area. Hopefully his injury isn’t too bad then!

Some fans don’t seem to have been happy with the performance today but I’m happy we got the three points. When I think of all the times in recent years that we had a full house and found the team didn’t turn up at all, I think we have come on in leaps and bounds. I’m proud of how far we have come and yes there will be ups and downs along the way but we have to just “Keep Fighting!” I’ll take each game as it comes and we have another couple of big ones with Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday to contend with. Time will tell how we do but I’m going for a good couple of games going our way.  Next weekend sees the practice session of singing the old Leeds songs from the terraces. I’m just in the process of rearranging and updating the words ready for this but am looking forward to the run through. Prior to this is the LUST AGM so it is going to be a busy weekend. See you there – LUFC – Marching on Together!