Rest In Peace Trevor Cherry 29.4.2020

You were always my friend Carole’s hero hence why she made her banner, Power to yer boot Trevor. More sad news and so soon after losing Norman Hunter. Thoughts with your family and friends.

Change of topic – Photos from my early days of following Leeds at 11th April 2020

Additional photos added 8th May 2020. To take my mind off the challenging times due to coronavirus, I have started sharing some photos from my earlier days of following Leeds. Enjoy the memories.

Paris 1975 – European Cup Final

Barcelona 1975 – European Cup Semi-Final

Anderlecht 1975 – European Cup plus one photo from Luton on our way back

Zurich 1974 – European Cup

Pre-season friendlies

Amsterdam 1976

Odense 1976

Molenbeek 1977

************

Ipswich 1974

QPR 1974 – Champions – We Won the League!

Coventry 1974-75

Three Legs in the 70s

Rangers v Hearts 1976 at Hampden Park

Celtic 1976

Arsenal 6th December 1975

Wolverhampton Wanderers FA Cup 6th round 19.3.77

Burnley 27.9.75 & in Supporters Club/ Three Legs

Selby train and Shrewsbury lot

Norman Hunter RIP 17.4.20

Yorkshire Post photos

Salonika 1973

Ipswich 13/1/75

Wolves 1976

Scotland v Wales at Anfield 12.10.77

England v Scotland International 4.6.77

Scotland v England at Hampden Park 15th May 1976
Hampden Park – Scotland v Northern Ireland 1st June 1977
Leeds fans outside the pub in Wrexham, Wales v Scotland 28th May 1977

Photos from my early days of following Leeds United

Trevor Cherry rest in peace 29.4.2020

Daily Express photos 1975

 
The Square Ball 1990-1991 season – issue no 5. Famous Leeds fans – Princess Diana!
Billy Bremner, Paul Reaney and Don Revie at The Irish Centre, Leeds
Big H banner made by Ian and Leslie Halmshaw together with a poem by them too.

Menwith Hill Supporters Club dinner

Hibernian away 24th October 1973

Wembley FA Cup Final 6th May 1972 sadly only one photo

Eindhoven 1976 pushing the car round Europe, saved by the Army Les, Marj, Jan and Paul

 
The Kop’s Night Out at The Queens Hall, Leeds
Peter Lorimer’s testimonial fundraising event 24th September 1977

Leeds United team performing Cinderella at the City Varieties

Croda International – Croday Canaries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

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

Leeds United are never out of the news but the timing of the FA revealing their results from the Kiko case showed their true colours once again. The announcement at 7.30pm the evening before our game today, proclaimed, they had found him guilty on the probability of his supposed racist comment when we played at Charlton last year. Why on earth were their written findings not announced too so they could be scrutinised to see how they came to that conclusion? What happened to innocent until found guilty? Why is it assumed that the accuser was telling the truth and not Kiko when he denied the accusations? I think it is disgraceful that when Kiko said that he would never use words in a racist meaning, that the FA are able to cast a slur on someone that will be there for the rest of his life with their decision. I never saw anything untoward happen during the Charlton game and didn’t capture any photos that I took at the time that would have said something had taken place. Kiko had the support of the Leeds fans at the game today which shows that I’m not the only one questioning the decision that was made. I await the written findings from the FA now.

Our morning stop was in Selby and back in my neck of the woods. My friend Sue and I met at Selby High for girls in 1966 and have been friends ever since. Her dad took me to my first Leeds game for Sue’s 12th birthday and as you say, the rest is history as we are still here supporting our team. By the time we arrived in Hull the sun was shining. With more storms on the horizon it was a nice surprise. This time we had been given behind the goal which had sold out in minutes, but I know many Leeds fans had their tickets cancelled in the Hull end in the last few days. With an empty upper tier in the main stand, it would have made sense to sell them to our fans as they’d have sold out quickly too. The Leeds fans were in good voice underneath the stand where I’d gone after putting my flag up. With lads on shoulders or balancing on the partitions, they were keeping the rest of us entertained. I’d been queuing for a cuppa only to realise it was five minutes to kick-off so abandoned my queue to go to my seat.

The team: Meslier, Cooper, Ayling, White, Hernandez, Harrison, Costa, Bamford, Dallas, Phillips and Klich. Subs: Roberts for Bamford (66), Shackleton for Hernandez (88) and Alioski for Harrison (89). Referee: K. Stroud. Attendance: 16,178 with 3,519 Leeds fans plus 100+ in the Hull ends that came to join us in the away end. Leeds won the game 4-0 with goals from Ayling (5), Hernandez (47) and Roberts with a brace (81 and 84).

With a Leeds United team and the fans having a siege mentality today, we had to show others that together we are a force to be dealt with. Within five minutes we got off to a flying start taking the lead, when a fantastic shot from outside the area hurtled into the net from a deflection. As I was wondering who number 7 was as I didn’t have my glasses on, the fans starting chanting for Ayling. I must have had reminisces of Peter Lorimer with that shot. As the sun was shining so brightly and it was hard to see I put my glasses on as they have tinted lenses. It also got very hot in the sun although later when it went behind the clouds there was a chill in the air. A few minutes later another fantastic shot from Hernandez bounced back off the crossbar when it looked destined to give us a second goal. With Meslier making his league debut, he was very composed having taken the place of Casilla and I felt we were in safe hands. He made a save from a deflected Hull shot but Hull didn’t really put him under too much pressure. We had lots of possession during the first half and when Phillips was bundled off the ball to set up a Hull attack, he looked very upset. I think it was Ayling who tried to cheer him up. With Phillips coming back in after his injury, it looked like he may have to go off at half time as Berardi was being warmed up at the side of the pitch. Both Harrison and Costa were playing well down both wings, but we weren’t able to capitalise on our dominance before the break.

Luckily for us Phillips came back out for the second half as we set off with a bang after Hull had an early chance to equalise. Meslier made the save and a minute later we had doubled our lead. A great cross from Harrison saw Costa pass the ball to Hernandez who stuck it into the net to the jubilance of the Leeds fans. As Leeds continued to dominate, Hull had their keeper to thank for keeping our score down to two goals as he saved from both Costa and Klich. Hull did have a couple of chances but Meslier was on form tipping the ball over the crossbar and with another I thought he’d pushed the ball around the post when in fact it had hit it. He had the ball covered though. Bamford was booked after he’d been fouled. He’d got around their player on the wing after being held back and then their player pushed Bamford right in front of the ref. We couldn’t believe both getting booked instead of just the Hull player. Harrison hit a great shot which bounced back off the post with the keeper beaten which was a shame as he deserved a goal for that effort. When Costa had another shot saved by the keeper, Hull should be thankful he kept the score line down. As it was, we did increase our lead with Roberts getting a brace after pinpoint passes from Klich. The first was after Leeds charged out from defence with some great attacking which Roberts finished off and the second one was a header. That was it, game over as Hull fans streamed to the exits with the Leeds fans celebrating. The result was no more than we deserved though, and it was so nice to get a big win and the just rewards for our dominance even though at times it wasn’t a good game. In the last 15 minutes though Leeds our fitness levels told, as we were charging out of defence. I thought Harrison played very well today, and Costa got into the game a lot too. That was the reply needed from Leeds today to the powers that be, and long may it continue. On our way out of the ground there were a group of fans here from Argentina and one of them took a photo including me and then I caught our rogue’s gallery going back to the coaches. On our way back to Leeds a couple of photos showed how bad the flooding was in my locality which was sad to see.

Next week sees me going in early for my hospitality win but I may still go in my own seat for the game. I need to meet up with some fans and catch some of the Peacock Choir singing prior to the game so as usual it will be a busy day. Thanks for the feedback today from fans who have read my books, blogs or wanting to meet up for signings. As always, your comments are appreciated. See you on Saturday, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Middlesbrough v Leeds United 26th February 2020 at The Riverside

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Leeds United v Reading 22nd February 2020 at Elland Road

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Brentford v Leeds United 11th February at Griffin Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Leeds United v Wigan 1st February 2020 at Elland Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Saturday sees us head to Nottingham for the tea-time kick-off at Forest. We can and we will keep fighting. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Leeds United v Millwall 28th January 2020 at Elland Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

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

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

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

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

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

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

Having met some Irish fans who had left home at 5.00am this morning for the game, we will be in the same position next week with our visit to QPR. With it being a 12.30pm kick off, it means another long day for us travelling to London. With another sell-out crowd from the Leeds fans, our loyalty is second to none. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

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