Leeds United v Liverpool 12th September 2021 at Elland Road

Liverpool H 12th September 2021

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I had an extra visit to Elland Road last week after being invited to film for Premier League Productions about the Viduka four goal game in 2000/2001. I’m looking forward to getting a link to share in due course and it was lovely being back in the ground. I also managed to meet Tom Woodhead who was able to get our Leeds United songs recordings ready for being reproduced onto CDs. I need to find out the costs involved to do this, as we have 3 CDs with over 200 songs and chants from the Scratching Shed days until recently. We want to keep the costs down as any monies raised after these have been paid will go to the Leeds United Foundation/Academy, but we are a step closer in getting this project completed.

I finally received my birthday present from my family with my Billy Bremner statue from Clarke Sculptures. The attention to detail is fantastic and I love him although I misjudged the size of the statue. Luckily, he fits perfectly on my windowsill.

After a trip via Rastrick and Wakefield, we arrived at the ground in plenty of time and headed to the Peacock Garden and there was a lovely atmosphere there. It was good catching up with fans including some of our Norwegian fans before heading into the ground early, as an excited granddaughter couldn’t wait any longer! I had people messaging me at the start of the game as I’d been spotted on TV before heading up to my seat.

Team: Meslier, Cooper, Ayling, Dallas, Raphinha, Harrison, Rodrigo, Bamford, Firpo, Llorente and Phillips.

Subs: Struijk for Llorente (injured 33), Roberts for Rodrigo (45), Daniel James (making his debut after his transfer from man u) for Harrison 68.

Subs not used: Klaesson, Shackleton, Klich, Cresswell, Summerville, McCarron.

Leeds lost the game 3-0.

Booked: Llorente, Cooper.

Sent off: Struijk.

Attendance: 36,507 with 2,913 Liverpool fans.

Referee: Craig Pawson.

Leeds came out to a crescendo of noise from around the ground and Leeds fans in full voice. Liverpool survived an early scare after a build up from Phillips and Raphinha ended when Rodrigo’s shot was hit straight at their keeper. As Liverpool got more into the game, most of their play came down our left-hand side. Firpo had a battle on his hands but at one point with the ball trickling out for a corner to Liverpool, he had plenty of time to get to the ball and play it out either for a throw in or kick it up the pitch. I was surprised when he made no attempt to get the ball. As he went to mark a player in the centre from the corner, I was convinced he was injured.  From then on, we didn’t deal with all the space they had on the left-hand side as they attacked towards the Kop and Liverpool continued to put pressure on us so it was no surprise when they took the lead. It looked to be an easy goal when they passed it into the middle to hit it into the net. From our point of view, there were a few passes from us that didn’t get to our men which was quite frustrating as it kept putting us on the back foot. Llorente then went down injured having already received a booking when he took one for the team and had to go off after half an hour. As wave after wave of Liverpool attacks kept on coming, they got a second goal but luckily for us it was chalked off for offside. They did miss an open goal, but Meslier had to make a good save after their first chance at goal was blocked. We did have a chance, but Ayling’s shot went over the bar as we headed into the break a goal down.

Sadly, within five minutes of the second half starting, Liverpool got a second goal. Struijk did well as he had battled to keep them out, but they scored from the resulting corner to put us on the back foot. I hadn’t given up hope at this time as there was always the chance for us to get back in the game despite being two goals down. Roberts had a header saved by their keeper before the game changed with Struijk being sent off. He won a tackle and came away with the ball before their player collapsed in a heap and the Liverpool bench came racing on to the pitch. I have seen the replays of the tackle and still believe it wasn’t a sending off despite the lad getting injured. He tried standing up and his foot gave way from what I could see. but he was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital. With the lengthy delay I said we’d have an extra eight minutes to play at the end of the game which proved to be correct.

Leeds continued to attack as the game went from end-to-end, before Leeds were unlucky not to get a goal back when Bamford hit a long range shot at the goal with their keeper out of his area. Their keeper got back to tip the ball over the top to give Leeds a corner. The referee eventually gave Leeds a free kick to the sarcastic jeers from the Leeds fans because every decision had been going Liverpool’s way. For instance, when the ball came off their man in the penalty area, a goal kick was given when it should have been a corner. As Liverpool scored a third goal in injury time the final score showed us well beaten on the day, but that didn’t stop the Leeds fans still getting behind the team until the whistle blew for full time.

It was always going to be a tough game today, but I will always believe we can get something out of it despite other fans expecting this result, as we will keep fighting until the end. The timing of the international break when the season is only just starting, has a huge impact on the league preparations in my opinion. With a Friday night visit to Newcastle, it is vital that we get the points from that game so fingers crossed things will go our way. See you there. LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

Burnley v Leeds United 29th August 2021 at Turf Moor

Burnley A 29th August 2021

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Going to a football game after two hours of sleep isn’t a good idea but at least I managed a bit of sleep on the coach. With my stomach churning for hours plus other family things that had me worried (nothing to do with covid), I was looking forward to switching off from everything by watching Leeds. To cap it all off, I went to take my first photo only for the SD card in my camera to be locked. I unlocked it or so I thought and found it was still locked, so tried again moving the white button. I still had the same issue so took the SD card out only to find the button had broken off, so the SD card was unusable. Sorry for that, as it means I had to take photos with my phone instead so limited the amount I have taken.

After a stop in Bury we arrived at the ground 40 minutes before kick-off and were quickly through the turnstiles. I managed to put my flag up at the front of the stand which was good as there haven’t been any chances to do that so far this season. As I was stood there talking, the Leeds players were taking shots at the goal when suddenly the ball hit Nikki in the face who goes to games with her guide dog Annie. Apparently Raphinha went over to apologise according to her son, but he certainly had a hard shot.  I didn’t know what to expect from the game and both Firpo and Klich were out due to covid (the latter may or may not have had it when playing for his country earlier this year). The Leeds fans were in full voice at the start of the game, as I headed to my seat.

Team: Meslier, Cooper, Ayling, Struijk, Llorente, Dallas, Harrison, Bamford, Phillips, Raphinha and Rodrigo.

Subs: Shackleton for Llorente (65) and Roberts for Rodrigo (73).

Subs not used: Klaesson, Summerville, Costa, Forshaw, Gelhardt, Cresswell and McCarron.

Leeds drew the game 1-1 with Bamford equalising for Leeds (86).

Attendance: 18,665 with 2,350 Leeds fans.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Booked: Phillips, Struijk, Rodrigo.

It was noticeable in the early stages of the game that Burnley had decided to kick lumps out of the Leeds players. There was one incident to the left of our goal, which should have seen a red card for their player but only a yellow was shown. With some of the fouls being committed, I couldn’t understand why VAR hadn’t recommended they should be seen again. I’m all for letting the game flow more which is better, but some of the decisions were very poor and could have caused serious injury to some of our players. Burnley could actually play some good football without resorting to those tactics, having raised their game to play us.

Meslier made a great save but found himself under extreme pressure at corners. Wood ended up in the back of the net when the Leeds players stood up to his pushing and shoving which served him right. Burnley did end up with the ball in the net, but the whistle had already blown for a foul. Meslier was doing very well commanding his area and his arms looked very long as he caught many a ball. Some of our passing was very poor which Burnley capitalised on, but one of the best moves of the half showed our class and we were very unlucky not to take the lead. The only thing we were guilty of was taking that one step too many when catching them unawares with an early shot, may have worked better.

At half time, to say we were at a Premier League ground and because they only let us have half a stand now, there were only three toilets available for the lasses to use forcing big queues. Is it too much to ask to have decent facilities at football grounds?

The second half saw Burnley get more into the game as a couple of chances went wide before they took the lead. With the ball running in their favour, their header hit the bar only to fall for Wood to stick his foot out to put the ball into the net. As Burnley had a spell of pressure, things quietened for a short while on the terraces from the Leeds fans before there was a great roar as they got behind the team. When it looked like we would never score, the team started piling the pressure on and Raphinha with a touch of magic got round their defence and saw his shot blocked which came out to Shackleton. He hit a shot low and hard which deflected for Bamford at the far post to stick the ball into the net in front of the celebrating Leeds fans. It was a shame there wasn’t long left as Leeds stepped up a gear as they looked for a winner, although Meslier made a save from Burnley as the game ended in a draw. Raphinha made his way over to Nikki at the front of the Leeds fans to hand her his shirt which made up for being hit by the ball before the game. It was a hard point won by Leeds as we go into the international break before our next game against Liverpool in two weeks’ time. See you then, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Leeds United v Crewe Alexandra 2nd round Carabao Cup 24th August 2021 at Elland Road

Crewe Alexandra Carabao Cup 2nd round 24.8.21

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It was a warm and pleasant evening as I set off in plenty of time for the game tonight. Saturday had seen lots of issues traffic wise, so I wanted to avoid any potential hold ups. It was lovely in the Peacock Garden and before the game, it was good to catch up with a few lifelong friends. There were lots of younger children at the game tonight which was lovely to see and there was a buzz around the ground.

Team: Meslier, Phillips (Captain), Llorente (making his comeback after injury), Firpo, Struijk, Roberts, Costa, Rodrigo, Forshaw (returning to first team from injury since 2019), Shackleton and Harrison.

Subs: Ayling for Llorente (45), Klich for Forshaw (61), Bamford for Rodrigo (69).

Subs not used: Klaesson, Cresswell, Summerville, Dallas.

Leeds won the game 3-0 with Phillips (79) and Harrison with a brace (85, 90) scoring the goals.

Attendance: 34,154 with 1,494 Crewe fans.

Referee: Benjamin Speedie.

Booked: No Leeds players.

Bielsa named a strong side for the game today which was good to see. Having a good cup run breeds winning and confidence for me and something I would like to see again. There was a good atmosphere in the ground as Leeds saw Forshaw’s shot saved by the keeper in front of the South Stand. With the Crewe defence holding firm, a good free kick from Phillips saw them clear a Llorente header off the line before the keeper saved another shot from Harrison. Leeds had been on top for most of the half but had been unable to get that breakthrough goal so far. Rodrigo’s shot was blocked before another chance just before half time saw Firpo’s shot hit the outside of the post.

Ayling was brought on at half-time to replace Llorente who had been given a good 45-minute workout and Forshaw had a further 15 minutes before being subbed. Roberts was then denied a goal with another clearance off the line. With Crewe having a rare attack that saw Meslier make the save, he looked to be very confident in his area. Bamford came on for Rodrigo as Leeds upped their game. With attack after attack which saw them constantly passing the ball, with the fans shouting for them to shoot, we needed that clinical finish to avoid the game going to penalties after 90 minutes. Bamford was on fire and looked so confident, showing that the 5-year contract extension was the right decision. Leeds took the lead from a Harrison corner where Phillips hit a low shot into the net. After a great run from Bamford, he calmly passed the ball to Harrison in lots of space who hit the ball into the net to give Leeds a second goal. Bamford was instrumental with a third goal shortly afterwards, with Roberts denied a goal but Harrison followed up to get his second goal of the game.

Bamford coming on as sub had changed the game and the fitness of the team told in the end. The Crewe fans could be heard chanting for their team at the end of the game which I thought was good. With them returning some tickets, it meant that Leeds had sold the lower part of the stand to our fans. With the team clapping the fans as they walked around the pitch at the end of the game, it was noticeable that Costa had gone straight down the tunnel and not joined them. My thoughts were, is he going out on loan before the transfer deadline as that has been rumoured? Although he had put some great runs in down the wing, his final finishing was poor. We’ll find out soon enough.

Having been messaged to appear on BBC Radio 5 Live after the game, I found out that I’d been stood up as they decided that Mbappe moving on was more newsworthy. Never mind. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get away from the ground as I was back home by 10.30pm. Despite that, I kept falling asleep whilst trying to type my blog up but that was due to not sleeping well the night before. It had been a good game of football despite not scoring until very late but once we got one, that opened the floodgates. The fans had been in good voice and showed how much fans being at games had been missed. Back to league action on Sunday with our trip to Burnley so see you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Leeds United v Everton 21st August 2021 at Elland Road

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Honours timeline South Stand

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Harrogate Whites LUSC & The Centenary White

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At long last, Leeds fans got their wish to return to Elland Road with a capacity crowd. It was fantastic to be back and also an emotional time for many, as excited fans made their early starts to get to the ground. I was on my way from Halifax by 10.00am as I decided I couldn’t wait any longer. The first Leeds fan I saw was someone who I had taken a photo of at Glenavon many moons ago. It was good talking to many fans today and there were some great conversations to be had as we shared memories of supporting Leeds United, until the heavens opened which put a stop to some of those in the Peacock Garden. Getting into the ground early though was the plan for many of us and the atmosphere was buzzing. Flags had been put out for the fans on our seats, so this contributed to the crescendo of noise as the teams came out. It was also very emotional seeing the fans and legends on the big screen who had lost their lives throughout the pandemic. I’d already found the tears easy to come this morning when Steve a Bournemouth White, had shared some photos of Steve Denney who died last summer. Rest in Peace lads and lasses.

Last night saw a fantastic evening courtesy of the Harrogate Whites LUSC and The Centenary Whites, raising money for Alzheimer’s disease with a Stan Bowles calendar. It was great being back with a bunch of Leeds fans singing along to songs and I’m looking forward to a repeat of this at the Irish Centre later this year.

Team: Meslier, Cooper, Ayling, Dallas, Phillips (recalled to the side), Raphinha, Klich, Harrison, Firpo (making his first Premier League start), Bamford and Struijk.

Subs: Roberts for Klich (60), Shackleton for Firpo (60).

Subs not used: Klaesson, Rodrigo, Forshaw, Costa, Summerville, Drameh, Cresswell.

Leeds drew 2-2 with Klich (41) and Raphinha (72) scoring the Leeds goals.

Attendance: 36,293 with 2,843 Everton fans.

Booked: Cooper, Bamford.

Referee: Darren England.

Everton started on the attack with a long range shot that went past the outside of the post. The game was quite even, but Leeds were able to deal with the few Everton threats towards the Kop as they attacked the South Stand. Bamford had a shot blocked and Ayling had a shot that went behind for a corner. From the corner Phillips came close, when he took a shot from the edge of the box which took a deflection that wasn’t far away from opening the scoring. Against the run of play an Everton man went down in the penalty area under a tame challenge and was moaning like anything. With Klich down injured and getting treatment, suddenly, the referee under pressure from the Everton players, decided he was going to look at VAR after all. Klich had been receiving treatment for a couple of minutes before this happened, so it wasn’t straight after the challenge. After taking an age to study the tv screen, the referee decided to award Everton a penalty. Surprise, surprise, whenever it is in our favour, it takes a quick look and nothing is awarded our way, but they always take a long time when the judgement results in an award for the opposition. Meslier guessed right but sadly was not able to keep the ball out as Everton took the lead at around the 30-minute mark. Leeds were not going to give up with out a fight though, as Raphinha came close with a shot that went wide. Bamford ended up booked but all that did was make him step up a gear. Some great persistent play on the right-hand side saw him pass a great ball to Klich in the middle of the pitch in loads of space to hit the ball into the net to equalise just before half time. When six minutes of injury time was put up, the referee must have counted the long time he looked at the TV screen because there wasn’t that much time to add on in my opinion. Our equaliser had come at the right time.

It didn’t take Everton long to go back into the lead at the start of the second half as the ball kept running in their favour. That gave them the incentive and they had another chance shortly afterwards. Meslier made a great save soon afterwards to keep them out. Leeds started to put more pressure on Everton as they won a few corners and from one, Raphinha sent a fantastic shot into the goal to equalise on the day for the second time. Instead of celebrating though, the players were straight back to the centre of the pitch to get on with the game. They were looking to win the game, not accept a draw at that stage. A couple of headers from first Cooper, then Struijk came close, before Meslier was called into action again to save a shot from Everton. Leeds battled until the end and there were shouts for a penalty to Leeds for a foul and also a hand ball. Sadly, the referee didn’t check with VAR as he blew his whistle for the end of the game.

Leeds showed character to come back twice from a goal down today and give us our first point of the season. There is a long way to go, and we looked a lot sharper today although some passes still went astray. I’ve no idea who had the bright idea to keep one of the gates shut when we were trying to get out of the ground, but that had the potential for causing a crushing incident. Onto the Carabao Cup game against Crewe on Tuesday. Well done lads and keep on fighting. LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

man utd v Leeds United 14th August 2021 at Old Trafford

Overlap Fan Debate 11th August 2021

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man utd A 14th August 2021

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United Are Back! With a spring in my step because away days are back, I was parked up at Elland Road very early for the coach. Being back with our fans today, in the ground, watching Leeds United play live was very emotional but it was a great feeling know I would be travelling to the game. Although a minute’s silence was on the cards where both clubs were remembering players, friends and fans who have died, it ended up being an applause instead. I was waiting for the applause to stop and the whistle to be blown for the silence, but they must have decided it was so noisy that it didn’t happen. I’d already shed a tear when I saw the list which included Leeds players’ names. As it was, I’d have been an emotional wreck if the silence would have happened.

It has been a very busy week for me on the media front. Wednesday saw me spend my birthday at the hotel football at today’s venue representing Leeds United fans due to my blog Follow Me and Leeds United along with Paul Keat. The Overlap Fan Debate was led by Gary Neville and both Paul and I got a chance to speak about Leeds United. Yesterday saw an early morning appearance by audio on BBC Radio Leeds, then filmed for ITV at home before a zoom call with Look North. I’ve an early 7.00am call tomorrow for Radio 5 Live to talk about the game today. I was asked if I had a message for a “united” fan. I said, “there’s only one United, LEEDS!”

Team: Meslier, Cooper (C), Ayling, Struijk, Koch, Dallas, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Bamford, Harrison and Klich.

Subs: Junior Firpo for Rodrigo (45), Costa for Harrison (69), Roberts for Bamford (77).

Subs not used: Kristoffer Klaesson (20-year-old goalkeeper signed from Norwegian side Vålerenga), Phillips. Forshaw, Summerville, Shackleton, Greenwood.

Leeds lost the game 5-1 with Ayling scoring the Leeds goal (48).

Attendance: 72,732 with 3,000 Leeds fans.

Referee: Paul Tierney.

Booked: Cooper, Raphinha.

The teams came out to a noisy reception with the Leeds fans in full voice. It was great to be able to sing Marching on Together amongst our fans. As expected, Leeds came under attack from the start as they won a corner from which Meslier was able to punch the ball away. They got the luck again when Meslier made the save as the clearance rebound looked to be heading into the goal. After sustaining the early pressure Leeds won a corner at the other end after a Raphinha shot and then both Harrison and Klich had a shot saved by the keeper. Another attack saw Bamford’s header go wide on the wrong side of the post. man u took the lead after half an hour when they ran onto a ball that went over our defence and even though Meslier got a foot to it, the ball went into the net. The Leeds fans were straight behind their team, but Leeds went into the break a goal down.

The second half saw Firpo brought on for his Premier League debut. Within three minutes Leeds were on the attack and an unstoppable cracking shot from Ayling into the top corner of the goal sent the Leeds fans on the terraces wild. Trying to take photos and stop myself falling was almost impossible but what a feeling to see that goal go in. Sadly, we weren’t able to keep that lead as they went back in front a few minutes later. Whether we had switched off with our goal or not I’m not sure, but when they got another a couple of minutes later even though Ayling kicked it off the line, I knew we had to change our formation. Suddenly from having hope, it seemed to knock the stuffing out of the lads. To me, Bielsa should have made changes then, but he didn’t make any further changes until we were 5-1 down. By then it was too late to change anything and although Raphinha had a shot that should have been on target and we should have had a penalty in the last minute of the game, it was game over. Our lack of midfield proved to make a huge difference in the end. We had been beaten by the better team on the day, and although I didn’t think there was too much between the teams in the first half, we were comprehensively beaten in the second.

I take each game as it comes, so will put this one behind us and move on to our first home game with Everton next week. Now that one will be very emotional as we see the first full house of Leeds fans at Elland Road. Remembering our legends and fans who are no longer here, will certainly tug at the heart strings. See you then, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Overlap Fan Debate with Gary Neville – Episode 2 – 11th August 20201 including Leeds fans Heidi Haigh and Paul Keat

Here we focus on Everton, Leeds, Newcastle, Villa, Chelsea, racism and the European Super League, as well as touching on many of the talking points around the top 6.

Heidi Haigh and Paul Keat representing Leeds United fans can be heard on 21 minutes

Rest in peace Terry Cooper 31.7.21

Finding out that another of the legends from the great Don Revie side Terry Cooper had died knocked me for six despite knowing he has been ill. With more tears shed, it is a sad day for his family, teammates, and those of us fans who were lucky to have seen the greatest team on earth. We used to call into his sports shop when we used to walk to the ground, and he always made time to talk to us. Taking a photo of Terry and Norman Hunter at the Menwith Hill Supporters Club do when the team used to freely mix with the fans, are cherished memories. Rest in Peace TC.

My thoughts on Terry Cooper can be found at 2.10 on the Just Joe show

Pre-season July 2021 Guiseley, Blackburn, Fleetwood

Follow Me and Leeds United blog 2021-2022

Apologies for the late sharing of photos as unfortunately technical difficulties with my website has delayed this. Finding out that another of the legends from the great Don Revie side Terry Cooper had died knocked me for six despite knowing he has been ill. With more tears shed, it is a sad day for his family, teammates, and those of us fans who were lucky to have seen the greatest team on earth. We used to call into his sports shop when we used to walk to the ground, and he always made time to talk to us. Taking a photo of Terry and Norman Hunter at the Menwith Hill Supporters Club do when the team used to freely mix with the fans, are cherished memories. Rest in Peace TC.

Overlap Fan Debate

On my birthday next week, I have been invited to represent Leeds on the Overlap Fan Debate with Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Roy Keane and Josh Denzel as an integral member/s of the fan channel audience. There will be representatives from a variety of other Premier League clubs including Man Utd, City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Everton and Liverpool.

I have agreed to take part and wear my Leeds colours with pride although I still can’t forgive one of them for finishing Alfie Haaland’s career!

Guiseley v Leeds United at Nethermoor Park 27th July 2021

 

After torrential rain before the game, Guiseley asked for volunteers to clear the pitch which was flooded in places. There was no sign of it by the time I entered the ground, so they did a good job, plus luckily it never rained again throughout the game. The kickoff did get put back 15 minutes due to roadworks causing traffic hold ups near the ground. It was good to be back to see a live football game although I was a little apprehensive at the start, but it was great chatting to many of our fans.  Although it was the Under 23s playing tonight, Marcelo Bielsa turned up to watch them which was good to see. In a fast-paced game from both sides with five goals between them, it was an entertaining welcome back to football. Charlie Cresswell impressed me with his captaincy, being very vocal and showing excellent leadership. With no names on the backs of their shirts at this stage of the season, it is harder to work out who is who, but I thought our number three played well before going off with an injury.

Team:

Caprile, Drameh, McCarron, Jenkins, Cresswell, Kenneh, Summerville, McKinstry, Gelhardt (Dean 52’), Greenwood, Miller (Allen 80’).

Subs: Moore for McCarron, Forshaw for Jenkins 57, (Dean for Gelhardt 52, Allen for Miller 80.

Subs not used: Van Den Heuvel. 

Leeds won the game 3-2 with goals from Summerville (penalty) 19, Greenwood 43, Allen 84.

Referee: Jon Moss.

Attendance: reduced capacity of approx. 2,000.

Blackburn v Leeds United at Ewood Park 28th July 2021

Blackburn A pre-season 28th July 2021

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I drove to this one along with my daughter Danielle and two granddaughters Laura and Alexis and met my sister Erica and Martin on the driveway we had booked. We had sold out our allocation of tickets for this one but could have sold more. It was disappointing to hear that after initially indicating they would sell more to us, that the club were stopped from doing this by the police. With Preston police on duty at the game, they have a good rapport with our fans and are used to us having thousands of fans in attendance so I see no reason why we couldn’t have had more tickets allocated to us.

I was looking forward to having my flag back up at the game only to be told by the head steward that I couldn’t put in front of a safety barrier. He told me to come back and see him before the game but then said he was going to take the netting off covered seats in the other side of the stand anyway, so gave it up as a bad job.

Team: Meslier, Llorente, Koch (Captain), Costa, Junior Firpo making his debut from Klich, Shackleton, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison, Struijk.

Subs: Ayling for Llorente (45), Dallas for Firpo (61), Roberts for Raphinha (61), Greenwood for Rodrigo (61),

Subs not used: Van Den Heuvel. 

Leeds drew the game 1-1 with Struijk scoring (81).

Referee: Darren Bond.

Attendance: 4,500++ Leeds fans which looked to outnumber the Blackburn fans.

Hearing everyone singing Marching on Together as the team came out then Championes was very emotional. How I’ve missed the singing, chanting, watching the team live and seeing our fans due to the behind closed doors games. It was lovely catching up with everyone. I was on TV as the teams came out when I was taking a requested photo which I only knew about when I started receiving messages on my phone.

Klich had our first chance which was saved by their keeper before Meslier was called into action. Raphinha also had a shot saved as we went into half time with no score.  Luckily for us we were under cover but not the team when the torrential downpour in the second half happened. Raphinha had another shot saved before their keeper kept Blackburn in the game with a fantastic save from Struijk after a Harrison corner. Blackburn took the lead from a free kick that deflected off the wall as then Leeds finished the game strongly. Roberts had a shot saved before Struijk equalised after good work from Harrison.

 Fleetwood v Leeds United at Highbury 30th July 2021

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I nearly had to drive to this game on my own but thanks to Gaz and Ella I got a lift with them. After hearing the traffic was crawling on the M62 we headed towards Burnley/Blackburn to avoid this managing to arrive at the ground and park up with 20 minutes to kick off. With approx. 1,400 tickets some Leeds fans in the home ends were allowed to go and join those standing on the terraces behind the goal.

Once again it was the under 23s team up against Simon Grayson ex Leeds manager’s team which included Alex Cairns ex-Leeds.

Team: Leeds XI: Van Den Heuvel, Drameh, McCarron, Forshaw, Cresswell (C) (), Kenneh, Summerville, Jenkins, Dean, McKinstry, Miller. 

Subs: Bate for Forshaw 45, Poveda for Miller 45, Moore for Cresswell 59.

Subs not used: Caprile, Allen.

Leeds lost 2-1 with Cresswell (24) getting the goal.

Referee: M Donohue

Attendance: approx. 4,000

Leeds took the lead with a great Cresswell header from a corner and nearly got a second after a deflected shot from Summerville was saved by Cairns. Although Fleetwood had a few chances where they looked likely to score, their players had left their shooting boots at home as they went into the break a goal down.

It didn’t take long for Fleetwood to equalise in the second half due to a mistake made by our keeper. Things went downhill for Leeds when Cresswell had to go off after an earlier injury. Fleetwood were awarded a penalty which although our keeper guessed the right way, he was not able to save it. With four subs brought on for Fleetwood, it became men against the boy’s game. In the final minutes though Leeds were denied an equalise by Cairns’ legs.

 

 

 

 

 

Rest in peace Mick Bates

More sad news from Elland Road with the news that another one of our legends from the great Don Revie side has died. Mick Bates was an integral member of that side with his loyalty and commitment shown. I know he has been ill for some time and my thoughts are with his family and team mates today.

Mick, like all the other players in that team, had a great rapport with us fans. He lived in Sykehouse and I lived in Carlton, both near Goole.

When the troubles on the terraces at away games were at their peak, he arranged for my friend Sue and I to pick up some complementary tickets at Newcastle. 

I last saw him with Eddie Gray at the Plantation when the SLI were raising funds for Don Revie’s statue. I will never forget his kind words of encouragement, telling me I should write my first book Follow Me and Leeds United.

Rest in peace Mick, you will never be forgotten.

Leeds United Legends at Featherstone Rovers

Leeds United Legends

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Had a great time listening to Leeds legends, Allan Clarke, Paul Reaney and Eddie Gray at Featherstone Rovers yesterday. I could listen to them for hours and the Allan and Paul show had us in stitches.
 
Taking their time with a young Leeds fan and giving him coaching tips for when he plays for Leeds United in the future was lovely to see.
 
Privileged to have seen the best team ever play who made me into the Leeds fan I am today. LUFC – Marching on Together!

Heidi Haigh – interview with Leeds United 1st June 2017 – What does Leeds United mean to you

It was good to see this interview appear on my sister’s timeline.

Leeds United v West Bromwich Albion (WBA) 23rd May 2021 at Elland Road

West Bromwich Albion H 23rd May 2021

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With the news that the final game of the season today marks the last one for both Pablo Hernandez and Gaetano Berardi as Leeds United players, it was going to be emotional. With fans back in the stadium for the first time since the Coronavirus outbreak, at least they would make some noise to give the lads a good send off. Thank you, Paul, for buying my book Leeds Are Going to the Premier League. After a quick trip to the Peacock where it was good to catch up with Dave who I had not seen for many a year; he travelled with a group of us to Celtic for a friendly on 11th February 1976.  Sorry I could not catch up with some of you in the lower part as I had to move on.

Although the queues were very long outside the Kop, the queue went down very quickly with us first having to show our tickets and the questionnaire email, before showing our ID at the entrance. The group in front of us going into the West Stand were having their tickets scanned but the scanner said they did not exist. After a short while this was rectified, and everyone got inside without further issues. The West Stand was initially not being used for the game but the upper part where we were had been filled. With wooden seats still there, it is not a surprise that the West Stand is overdue for renewal. To say we were in the corner too, there was a very strong cold wind.

Team: Casilla, Ayling, Alioski, Berardi, Cooper, Phillips, Harrison, Rodrigo, Raphinha, Dallas and Hernandez. Subs: Bamford for Rodrigo (45) and a double substitution for Berardi (Struijk) and Hernandez (Roberts) on 70 minutes gave both players the chance to get a standing ovation which was very emotional. Subs not used: Meslier, Shackleton, Poveda, Casey, Davis and Jenkins. Leeds won the game 3-1 with goals from Rodrigo (17), Phillips (42) and a Bamford penalty (78). Attendance: 8,000 Leeds fans. Referee: David Coote. Booked: Phillips.

It was good to hear the fans singing Marching on Together alongside the music as the team came out onto the pitch. Despite all the social distancing in place, there was a good atmosphere. West Bromwich came close in the opening minutes before Leeds took what we thought was an early lead. After a good attacking run, Hernandez passed across the box where Rodrigo’s pass was met by Harrison who put the ball into the net, only to see this chalked off for offside. We did not have too long to wait for a goal as Raphinha won a corner for Leeds which he took himself. Rodrigo was waiting at the far post to head the ball into the net to put Leeds into the lead in front of the cheering fans. The team were making some good runs and displaying some great attacking football. Raphinha back in defence, made a vital challenge as WBA tried to get back into the game. It was lovely seeing both Hernandez and Berardi playing well and eventually after initially having some fans singing the old version of the song, both heard their names sung by the fans. Pablo Hernandez, Pablo Hernandez, Pablo Hernandez plays for United wi Gaetano Berardi. Gaetano Berardi, Gaetano Berardi, Gaetano Berardi plays for United wi Pablo Hernandez. Just before half time Hernandez was fouled and won Leeds a free kick just outside the box. Phillips hit a great shot into the net from the free kick to score his first Premier League goal as Leeds went into the break with a two-goal cushion. Happy 60th birthday Martin and thanks for the photo.

Bamford was brought on for the start of the second half in place of Rodrigo. Hernandez was doing his best to score a final goal for Leeds, but the WBA keeper saved both his shots. Berardi too tried getting on the score sheet alongside Ayling but were unlucky. WBA decided to up their game and we were very lucky to see the ball eventually go past the outside of the post. That was a little too close for comfort, but it was good to see how relieved the players were as they had a laugh between them.  When the trainer called for Struijk and Roberts to come back from warming up, we realised that there was going to be a double substitution and that Berardi and Hernandez were going to come off together. It was very emotional seeing the hugging from the rest of the team with Alioski in tears as both players made their way off the pitch to a standing ovation. Thanks for everything lads and you will never be forgotten, having been part of our Championship Promotion last season. Eight minutes later Leeds won a penalty for handball and my first thoughts were that Hernandez would have taken it if still on the pitch. As it was Bamford stepped up to score his 17th goal of the season giving him a fantastic record for our first season back in the Premier League. With Leeds in full control and despite some pressure from WBA, it took a mistake from Leeds for them to pull a goal back on 90 minutes. In added time Phillips went down holding his shoulder after a challenge and needed treatment. As the whistle blew for full time, Leeds have had a fantastic season with a credible 9th place. Marcelo Bielsa and the team have made an impact with some fantastic attacking football, having pride in the shirt and never giving up, giving Leeds fans a season to be proud of.

I look forward to having everything back to normal at the start of next season with full crowds in attendance. For those of you who look forward to my blogs and photos, thank you once again for your support and I appreciate your comments. To all of those I spoke to today, it was great to talk, and I look forward to catching up with you again. LUFC – Marching on Together!

Southampton v Leeds United 18th May 2021 at St Mary’s Stadium  

Derby play off second leg 15th May 2019

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Photos from Derby play off second leg 15th May 2019. How good it will be to see our fans back in the ground. How I’ve missed this.

16th May 1973. It does not seem so long ago that I was travelling to Greece for my first European away trip to follow Leeds to the European Cup Winner’s Cup Final in Salonika. The injustices of losing the game with a bribed referee in place, means that I still will never forgive or forget what happened that night. The Greeks in the ground at the end of the game were fantastic with their support of Leeds as they were already aware of the bribe that had taken place whereas us Leeds fans were not. We were in an open-air stadium, all sat on the large stone steps in a torrential downpour and the only dry patches were where we had been sitting. After the game, the Greeks were clamouring for any Leeds memorabilia, so I hung my scarf out of the coach window for a group to fight over and I am glad I had the opportunity to be there.

As I have missed out on tickets once again in the second ballot for the West Brom game, it was good to see a few fans who had not missed a game for at least 40 years being successful this time around. It will be good to get back to normal next season and have my season tickets in place because I know if I must apply for any, then I am never successful. Whilst it will be weird seeing fans back in the ground at Elland Road, I am sure the atmosphere will be second to none as we show other fans how it should be done.

Seeing Alioski’s gesture from our game at Burnley has been reported, I despair that others did not see it as a childish reaction of blowing raspberries at their player but was seen to be something else. With Koch and Klich given early leave due to their forthcoming involvement in the European Championships playing for their countries, I am glad that they both ended the season on a high with an excellent performance. Bielsa had made three changes to the team today with Casilla, Cooper and Rodrigo starting the game. This will also be the first game since Christmas with fans in attendance although no away fans were allowed only 8,000 Southampton fans.

Team: Casilla, Cooper, Ayling, Llorente, Phillips, Bamford, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Dallas, Harrison and Alioski. Subs: Berardi for Llorente (45), Struijk for Phillips (45) and Roberts for Rodrigo (79).

Subs not used: Meslier, Hernandez, Davis, Shackleton, Jenkins and Poveda. Leeds won the game 2-0 with goals from Bamford (73) and Roberts with his first Premier League goal (90+4). Attendance: 8,000 Southampton fans. Referee: Peter Bankes, (David Coote VAR). Booked: Phillips, Struijk and Dallas.

Southampton put Leeds under pressure from the off with Casilla making a good save within the first couple of minutes. Vital defending from Phillips saw the ball deflect off their player forcing Casilla to make the save but the flag went up for offside anyway. Southampton buoyed by their fans in attendance and because they were playing Leeds had upped their game. With one of their players and Llorente challenging for the ball, although there was no shoulder charge the referee gave a free kick because their player went down. Cooper defending well put the ball out for a corner. When Leeds won a corner around the 15-minute mark, the stadium was deathly quiet despite fans being there. When Harrison challenged for the ball and their player stayed down, the commentators were saying it was a definite booking, but no card was shown.

Southampton attacked and with their player nearly through, Casilla had come out of goal but the ball was eventually cleared by Cooper. A great cross from Harrison was cleared for a throw to Leeds before an Ayling shot was well wide. With the team playing 1, 3, 3, 3, 1 it felt like Bielsa was trying to experiment with a different formation. Another good move saw a Harrison cross back headed from Raphinha to Dallas who shot wide. It will come Leeds, it will come. Phillips took a Leeds corner but Llorente’s header was wide. Although it had been a quiet 30 minutes so far with the formation not really working for me, Bielsa had to try something different sometime. Southampton tried claiming for a penalty against Harrison, but nothing was given.

Casilla’s distribution was different to Meslier although he hadn’t done anything wrong, but the first half hadn’t been great so far. Llorente was hit off the ball but when play stopped their player wasn’t booked but Phillips was for an earlier foul. Another save from Casilla put the ball out for a corner and then they shot over the bar. Rodrigo shot wide before Southampton attacked again with the ball bouncing across our area just missing their players. It was noticeable that their players were falling down at the drop of a hat but with one minute time added on, the scores were level at half time.

My thoughts were that Bielsa would change things at the start of the second half and Berardi making his Premier League debut and Struijk came on to replace Llorente and Phillips respectively. Southampton were awarded a free kick in a good position outside the area and the ball hit the angle of the cross bar and post. Leeds started to step up the pressure with first Dallas having a shot saved by the keeper then we were unlucky with another couple of shots blocked. When their player went down in our penalty area, my heart sank but then handball was given against them. Southampton tried again when their player was hardly touched, but he went down like a sack of potatoes that looked like a dive and a free kick was given just to the left of our box. Their player looked up to see what the referee had given and then stayed down.

Bamford was unlucky not to score when he rounded their keeper, but the ball was put out for a corner. As the keeper caught him, the commentators said that if Bamford would have gone down it was a penalty also saying Bielsa would not be happy with him. They do not know Bielsa then! Bamford went to head the ball after good work from Harrison then collided with their player. The trainers came on to the pitch as Bamford required plenty of treatment and was down for a while. The Southampton players looked to be diving all over the place. Good defending from Ayling and then when our attack broke down, Struijk was booked as he stopped their player from running out of defence. Some great play from Raphinha once again saw him cross to Alioski who shot straight at the keeper who saved it. Dallas hit a shot over the crossbar before Leeds took the lead. A great goal from Bamford after beating the offside trap saw him put the ball through the keeper’s legs with 18 minutes left. I knew he would not want to go off earlier when he was injured as he made a record with that goal. Bamford will become only the fourth Leeds player to register 10 away goals in the Premier League in a single season.

Southampton had a long-range shot put wide by Casilla and their corner came to nothing. Some great skill from Raphinha saw his final shot over the bar though it was not far off target. Roberts replaced Rodrigo as it was noted how poor the atmosphere from the Southampton fans was. Raphinha put the ball into the net but Bamford had been flagged offside in the build-up. Some nice play from Roberts saw him brought down and a free kick awarded to Leeds before Southampton had another couple of shots, one wide and another over the top. With six minutes time added on Southampton made a final push for an equaliser with a shot on the turn that looked to be on target but was well wide in the end. Cooper was then penalised, and a free kick awarded to Southampton. Straight out of defence from this with a fantastic throw from Casilla to Raphinha, he passed to Roberts who could not get his shot in. The ball came to Bamford who had a great shot saved by their keeper; when the ball came back out to Roberts, he scored his first Premier League goal deep into injury time to give us a two-goal cushion. Struijk had received treatment from the trainers and went off to the side of the pitch. The final attack from Leeds saw a great run from Harrison then Bamford, before Raphinha shot only to see it saved by their keeper.  Leeds pulled the game around in the second half which gave them another three points guaranteeing a top half finish. Being in eighth place after the game was a great achievement in our first season back in the big time. Although I did not expect anything else, Leeds have done us proud. With the final game of the season upon us and with some fans back in the ground, this will be the first game Leeds have played in front of a crowd since our win against Huddersfield on 7th March 2020. LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

 

Burnley v Leeds United 15th May 2021 at Turf Moor

Well, it is never easy being a Leeds United supporter, is it? After entering the ballot for tickets for the last home game of the season it was gutting to find out that I had not been one of the lucky ones. Checking and re-checking my emails, logging onto the Leeds website to double check my account became a constant thorn in my side. It has taken me a good 48 hours to come to terms with this, even shedding a few tears as I felt so demoralised, plus I know that I am not the only supporter feeling this way. Following Leeds United has always been my respite that helps me cope, so have really struggled since we have not been allowed to travel home and away to follow our team but have had to accept that I will not be at a game this season.

Many other fans were also in the same situation, but I feel sorry for those with an even better record of support than myself who have missed out too. For those who deride some of our fantastic supporters as being super fans who feel they are entitled to tickets, they would need to walk in their shoes to understand why they feel let down. Dedication and loyalty are something that we should all understand have brought about the fantastic worldwide fan base that Leeds United have. This is shown by their long records of going to games with some of them hardly missing any during a period from 20-50 years, which is an outstanding achievement and an even better record than I will ever have. They have gone to every game over the years which have involved Leeds United including home, away, friendlies plus pre-season tours abroad which became a way of life and this is what should count, the number of consecutive games. Games which have involved very poor crowds over the years would see these fans in attendance regardless of how and who Leeds were playing. This is where the dedication and loyalty come in with never or rarely missing a game, so it is not just about who has supported Leeds United the longest. That is not to deride any Leeds United supporter but to explain why missing a game has caused such an uproar. With having only 4,000 tickets for us apparently, being lucky in the ballot was made harder by not factoring any loyalty into our season ticket holders’ applications. For some fans though tomorrow never comes, and details emerging on social media of two Leeds United fans having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, if any exceptions need to be made for them to attend then that should be the case. Good luck to those who have got tickets and I know I will be jealous not being there in person for the game but watching on TV instead.

Without any prompting from me though, it has been nice seeing and hearing the support from other fans for me to get a ticket (no, it has not made a difference) and I appreciate their comments. There may still be light at the end of the tunnel for a few more fans as yet. News has filtered through that some fans who won tickets in the ballot are not going to get their tickets for the WBA game so there is still a chance to be there, however small.

Team: Meslier, Ayling (Captain), Harrison, Bamford, Klich, Phillips, Llorente, Struijk, Dallas, Raphinha and Alioski. Subs: Rodrigo for Bamford (58), Roberts for Klich (76) and Poveda for Raphinha (81). Subs not used: Casilla, Cooper, Davis, Shackleton, Berardi and Jenkins. Leeds won the game 4-0 with goals from Klich (44), Harrison (60) and a brace from Rodrigo (77 And 79). Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: G. Scott.  Booked: Phillips.

I can’t wait to be back amongst our fans going to both home and away games and the photo was taken by me from our coach when travelling to Ipswich on 13th January 2018.

Leeds were put under pressure from Burnley in the first 10 minutes with first Bamford putting the ball out for a corner then a good challenge from Llorente to win the ball for Leeds. The whistle blew for a free kick given to Burnley, but I must have missed what it was for. We had a few misplaced passes not reaching our players before Leeds settled into the game and started ramping up the pressure. Bamford forced a saved from ex-Leeds keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell after it looked like he’d lost it when he slipped in the penalty area but got up again and shot.  Complaints were made from the Burnley players that when Bamford got up off the floor to shoot that he had fouled their player. Chris Wood and Charlie Taylor made up the Burnley ex-Leeds contingent. Harrison was then penalised for offside which was a shame as it would have been a great opportunity. Dallas then had a shot on the turn that went over the top of the goal. Alioski missed the ball and fouled their man to give Burnley a free kick. Leeds went on the attack again and won another corner this time with a deflected shot from Dallas. Llorente required treatment after a knee in the back and was down for a while.

Alioski had a shot blocked then Raphinha was fouled, and a free kick given. We looked to get into some good positions for a long range shot but kept passing the ball around as we tried to find a way through their defence. An excellent cross from Llorente saw another corner given. After some sustained pressure from Leeds, Burnley made a break but were stopped by the Leeds defence. As they tried attacking again, some good defending from Raphinha forced Taylor’s attack over the line for a throw in. As Leeds came forward again, a challenge from Taylor in the box whipped the ball off Raphinha’s toes giving Leeds another corner. After a short corner, a great cross in from Phillips was headed just wide from Struijk.

Bamford put the keeper under pressure but luckily didn’t foul him. Leeds were getting more and more into the game after coping with the early pressure. Alioski had a great chance but completely miss hit the ball which went out for a thrown in. Whether it would have been classed offside in the build-up I’m not sure, but it would have been a close decision. Raphinha hit a shot with his back to the goal but with Klich coming in behind him, he would have been in a better position to score. Meslier was quick off the mark to catch the ball and then in a typical move out of defence, Leeds scored a great goal just before half time. Raphinha made a great run and then passed the ball to Klich in the middle of the pitch who ran forward and hit a fantastic curling shot past the keeper. Burnley were straight away moaning at the referee about their player getting tangled with ours at the edge of our box before we broke away to score. Struijk was penalised for a free kick to Burnley at the end of the two minutes added on which was saved by Meslier to keep our lead.

Bamford and Tarkowski tangled off the ball at the start of the second half but the referee let play go on. Ayling made a little contact on Wood then stood off him as he fell to the ground before Burnley had a shot that went wide. Wood should then have been pulled up for a foul by backing in to Llorente, but he was allowed to carry on and only a great save from Meslier to put the ball wide with his legs, prevented an equaliser. Burnley then had another shot over the crossbar. Rodrigo replaced Bamford with over half an hour remaining and shortly afterwards there was no foul given with a Burnley player piggy backing our player. Leeds made a counterattack and their defender just got in front of Rodrigo to put the ball out for a corner. Just after our first substitution was made, an Alioski shot was diverted into the goal from a Harrison back heel to give Leeds a second goal.

To me Wood was trying to con the referee by diving at the edge of our box, pushing Llorente about and needed pulling up for it. Phillips then found himself in the book as Burnley had another shot wide. Raphinha was brought down and Westwood who fouled him was going nuts. The referee had the yellow card out, but he was allowed to remonstrate with Raphinha even though replays showed he did commit a foul. He should have still been given the yellow card but then a red card as well! I found all the spitting from the Burnley subs coming on to the pitch off putting. The next thing the fourth official was speaking with the referee, Bielsa and Dyche at the side of the dug outs. With no one knowing what had happened, Ayling was called over to be spoken to with Alioski. After Alioski had been fouled their player had a go at him whilst still on the floor. The cameras then showed Alioski stick his tongue out and put both hands behind his ears. What a load of cry-babies Burnley have been today, they can dish it out but did not like things not going in their favour. Meslier made another great save with his feet for another corner to Burnley.

Bielsa made another substitution with Roberts replacing Klich with 15 minutes remaining. Within a minute Leeds had scored again with a great goal from Rodrigo which he lifted over the keeper after a fantastic through ball from Harrison. Two minutes later some more fantastic play from Harrison to Rodrigo saw the latter round the keeper to score again to put Leeds 4-0 up. There you go Burnley; football talks and cheating is for losers!

Our final substitution saw Poveda replacing Raphinha. It was nice to have ex-Leeds Lucy Ward commentating the game as I can cope with her good analysis of the game. Burnley had a chance from a corner although the narrow angle was covered by Meslier before putting more pressure on us. Meslier was fouled and a free kick given but the Burnley player tried claiming for a penalty, give me strength. A fantastic ball from Alioski to Rodrigo saw him stopped from claiming his hattrick just as he was about to shoot. Replays showed Taylor didn’t even touch the ball so it should have been a penalty, but VAR didn’t give it, so a corner was given instead. With three minutes added on Roberts sent a hard shot straight at the keeper after their player was hanging on to Rodrigo when he got past him. I don’t think it was a case of the referee playing on but ignoring a few fouls on our players. As the whistle blew, once again it showed an excellent display from Leeds United giving us a great victory and another three points. With just two games to go until the end of the season Leeds have done as I predicted at the start of the season: Aimed for the top! LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) 8th May 2021 at Elland Road

Spurs 8th May 2021

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Having made my first return to Elland Road for ages to pick up our crowdies, I can honestly say that it tugged at the heart strings and I felt very emotional. As we are now in the ballot for the last game of the season against West Bromwich Albion, hopefully it will not be my last visit this season.

Team: Meslier, Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Alioski, Bamford, Harrison, Roberts, Koch, Dallas and Klich. Subs: Raphinha for Roberts (58), Rodrigo for Bamford (79) and Phillips for Klich (90). Subs not used: Casilla, Berardi, Shackleton, Poveda, Hernandez and Davies. Leeds won the game 3-1 with goals from Dallas (13), Bamford (42) and Rodrigo (84). Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: Michael Oliver. Booked: Koch.

With lots of heavy rain for hours prior to the game we will see how the “Spurs” pitch holds up to the weather. As Phillips and Raphinha make the bench today after their recent injuries, Leeds have a strong bench today which was good to see.

Spurs won their first corner after five minutes then we saw some strong defending from both Llorente and Struijk at opposite sides of the pitch. The keeper was forced to save Bamford’s shot after a great pass from Harrison and from a second corner Struijk’s shot went over the bar. A good run from Roberts saw his shot ricochet off their player making it easy for their keeper to collect the ball. Leeds took the lead on 13 minutes after a great cross from Harrison was nearly put into the goal from their player. This brought a save from their keeper, but Dallas blasted the rebound into the net for Leeds. Meslier was then called into action to make a save after a corner. Alioski was brought down with Leeds awarded a free kick, but the look on their player’s face indicated he had done nothing wrong. Leeds didn’t have everything their own way as first Koch blocked a shot then some good play from Struijk got the ball away. There had been quite a few tackles from behind from the Spurs players, but they had avoided any bookings so far. Leeds were then caught out when Spurs equalised about 10 minutes later as they went straight through us with just Meslier to beat. The ball ran for them as they got between two of our players with Alioski too far back to help.

A great run from Harrison ended with his shot saved by the keeper but our couple of corners didn’t come to anything. My heart sank then they put the ball into our net which would have put Spurs into the lead, but the flag had gone up for offside thank goodness. When lines were put up on the TV and VAR looked at it, I knew it was going to be a tight decision as we have had fingernails go against us already this season, but consistency meant it was disallowed. We wasted a short corner before Harrison was pulled up when attacking the ball. Their player was already going down as Harrison put his arm across him to cross the ball. Their keeper got the ball anyway but there was nothing wrong with the challenge. A fantastic build up just before half time between Dallas, Roberts, Harrison and then Alioski saw the latter cross the ball from the byline for Bamford to score to put us back into the lead with a well-timed goal.  This saw Leeds go in at half time in the lead in what had been a great entertaining game.

It was good to see that the pitch had stood up well as Leeds were straight on the attack at the start of the second half. As Spurs were miles offside the linesman waited until Bale put the ball into our net before putting the flag up. Another great cross from Harrison saw Leeds win another corner before Koch took one for the team to bring Son down and earn a booking. Spurs had another chance after a ball from Struijk was picked up by them, but their final shot hit the side netting. Bielsa then decided to make an early change and brought Raphinha on for Roberts moving Dallas into midfield alongside Klich. Prior to this Roberts had done some good work but was not quite clinical enough with his passes. Struijk made a good block which won a corner for Spurs. Raphinha had straight away started to have an impact and was brought down which earned the Spurs player a booking. Leeds then started to pile pressure on Spurs, and I was screaming for us to take a shot after we were in so many great positions, but had to contend with passing the ball between us. Eventually Klich hit a fantastic shot that was saved by their keeper. A free kick was awarded against Harrison which saw a good clearance from Alioski. Alioski was then brought down off the ball which gave us a free kick and their player a booking. Replays showed a deliberate arm from their player who wasn’t even looking at the ball. Their player went down after being outfought by Struijk, but Spurs were awarded a free kick. Alioski defending well, deflected the ball which brought a fantastic save from Meslier. Harrison was penalised for a foul just outside the box as he was running out from defence and their resulting shot hit the top of the bar. A good chance for Leeds was finally hit over the top by Harrison before a second chance for him shortly afterwards was blasted over the bar. He was playing really well but just couldn’t keep those final shots down.

As Spurs came forward again Alioski was on hand to put the ball out for a corner. Meslier made another brilliant save to keep Spurs out before Rodrigo came on to replace Bamford. Alioski was playing really well as we saw more good defending from him. Klich was so close to scoring with another good chance. A great run from Raphinha saw him pass to Rodrigo in loads of space to crack the ball into the net and straight away he acknowledged the cross from Raphinha. As Raphinha received the pass I immediately thought he was offside but then thought no, their player at the far side was playing him on and VAR agreed with this decision. With a 3-1 lead now, Leeds were determined to win the game as Ayling made a great block that sent the ball out for a throw. Phillips replaced Klich as Harrison was awarded man of the match by the commentators. Their keeper made a save from Dallas after he had a good layoff from Rodrigo after an Alioski cross. Spurs got through our defence, but their final shot was well wide when it looked like a good chance as four minutes time was added on. Struijk blocked the ball as we battled until the end and the final whistle blew. That was a fantastic team performance, we had played very well, battled, got a great win and three points giving us 50 points in total. It was great to see another of the “top six” teams finding out that we are up to the challenge. Well done, Leeds, as always, I am proud of you. LUFC – Marching on Together!

Brighton v Leeds United 1st May 2021 at the Amex Stadium (American Express Community Stadium)

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As the Covid situation has had a severe impact on the sales of my last book Leeds are going to the Premier League, it is possible that my next book will be my last one. As it takes a lot of effort in writing my blog and turning them into books, maybe our first season back in the Premier League brings the books to a natural end. Although I will never be a salesperson, my marketing takes place at games and meeting up with fans in person.

Team: Meslier, Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Alioski, Koch, Bamford, Dallas, Harrison, Roberts and Klich. Subs: Poveda for Alioski (45), Rodrigo for Bamford (59) and Hernandez for Llorente (79). Subs not used: Casilla, Berardi, Cody Drameh, Shackleton, Jenkins and Huggins. Leeds lost the game 2-0. Referee: Chris Kavanagh. Booked: Ayling.

Finding out Phillips was injured with a calf injury just before the game kicked off was a blow. Koch on his return from injury would be playing in front of the back four alongside Klich. In one of our first attacks there was a foul from behind on our player, but no foul was given. Meslier was called into early action to make a couple of saves. Roberts was brought down on the wing and the resulting free kick taken by Harrison saw Klich win a corner. Brighton were then awarded a soft penalty against Alioski after he kept impeding their player in the box when trying to win the ball. Meslier was very unlucky not to save it as he guessed the right way, but there was too much power to the ball. This is not a happy hunting ground for us here and recollections of us being 4-0 at half time a few years ago came to mind. The best thing about that game was the input from Leeds fans underneath the stands. Tony Winstanley’s song, Oh Leeds United, I’m so delighted, I chose you as my football team, had a global airing that day. That penalty decision against Alioski seemed to have an impact on his performance. A good run from Dallas was put out for a corner which was taken by Harrison, but we could still not get the ball past the first man. Playing without Phillips is something we will have to work on as we were looking disjointed as a team.  

Llorente took a long shot with their keeper off his line but although worth a shot, the ball went over the goal. Harrison’s cross into the penalty area after some good work from Bamford saw Brighton come under pressure for the first time with a mix up from their player and keeper. Harrison then had a shot saved by their keeper. With Bamford losing out on the ball on the goal line their keeper got the ball but had all the time in the world to take a kick as no one put him under pressure. Roberts had stayed back but as soon as he put the effort in a few minutes later, he won the ball back. Their player kneed Ayling in the face when he went to head the ball then tried dragging him up off the floor.

We were not out of the game yet as Harrison shot wide after a good build up, but it felt like it was going to be one of those games today. Leeds continued attacking with first Alioski and then Ayling after a good run down the wing from Dallas, winning corners. Another corner saw the ball come out to Roberts who saw his powerful shot blocked by their player on the arm. Dallas took a corner that brought an easy catch for their keeper. We really needed to make corners count especially when another one failed to make an impact. Llorente went down after a challenge after receiving a boot on his ribs. To me Brighton were being very sly with their fouls but getting away with them. They won their first corner just before half time and play was stopped as Leeds came away with the ball, even though their player went down after a challenge from his own teammate. As he got up straight away there was no need to blow the whistle in my opinion. Brighton ended the half on the attack and could have put the game to bed. Leeds had tried playing out from the back but Llorente was caught out as the ball was crossed in the box, but they put the ball over with an open goal in front of them. Ben White ran the ball over the line after a long run and then they had another shot wide. Leeds tried coming forwards again, but we had no end product. It was not a classic game by any means as we went in at half time losing by that early penalty.

Alioski was replaced by Poveda at the start of the second half but the first chance went to Brighton but was over the goal. Dallas had moved to left back but as our midfield wasn’t effective, we could have done with him there. Brighton were another team who looked to be raising their game to play us. Poveda was given a right push off the ball in the penalty area by their player but nothing was said to him by the referee. The same challenge with less power won Leeds a free kick later in the game plus their soft penalty was given for minimal contact, what was the difference? Brighton came close to scoring again as Meslier came out and luckily got a touch to the ball to put it behind their attackers. After good work between Poveda, Roberts and Dallas the final cross was caught by their keeper. It was noticeable that Brighton had many giants in their defence but even though Ayling had a low shot, this was blocked too. They were also packing their defence with 11 men so it would need something special to get through them in one of those frustrating games.

Rodrigo coming back from injury replaced Bamford who had been given no support up front. His first challenge saw their player go down very easily and win a free kick. Brighton were still looking dangerous going forward and luckily Harrison blocked their shot but there were shouts for hand ball; unbelievable as the ball hit his chest. They were in space again and shot wide. Some good play from Poveda saw him keep the ball whilst under pressure. Dallas was then nudged off the ball and given a free kick before their player was booked for a foul with 15 minutes left. Leeds were very unlucky with a Dallas shot just over the bar. When Hernandez was brought on, I couldn’t believe it when Llorente was the player subbed. It didn’t have the impact Bielsa was looking for as Brighton were straight on the attack, we didn’t clear the ball far enough and they scored a second goal a minute later. Ayling then received a booking for blocking their player and not getting out of the way.

We had not played well today but Brighton had packed their defence to frustrate us once they had taken that early lead, so we were up against it even more. We did not have any answers to getting past them in a bad day at the races as the final score showed we had been beaten 2-0. It was a relief to hear the final whistle blow to put us out of our misery. Whatever happens we have done well with four games left until the end of this season, which has been unprecedented being played behind closed doors.

Whether it was the game itself that made me feel exhausted or the second Covid jab I had during the week, I am glad we have a week to recover before our next game. That is nothing compared to Phil Hay who has just had brain surgery to remove a benign tumour this week. I wish him a speedy recovery. Tuesday will see me finally visit Elland Road again to go and pick up our crowdies although I can find no details about the one, I did for my granddaughters. It will certainly pull at the heart strings being back there that is for sure. LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

 

Canal Football Club interview with Heidi Haigh, Rob Bagchi & Graham Hyde

Thank you for the interview Arman

Canal Football Club – Leeds United Interview

Leeds United v man utd 25th April 2021 at Elland Road

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I have used my photos taken by the Daily Express in 1975 as they are a reminder of my love for Scotland due to the Leeds United players in the national team and of the Bay City Rollers. With lead singer Les McKeown dying suddenly this week, that is another part of my childhood favourites gone. My friend Linda who is in the photos with me said after a visit to old Trafford in the 70s, that man u fans had put our photo on a dartboard and thrown darts at us! The joys!

Last Tuesday I made an early morning appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live about my opposition to the European Super League. The whole thing collapsed very quickly after all the opposition from fans around the country, but I would not trust those six clubs as far as I could throw them not to try something like that again. These clubs need repercussions especially as Leeds United with our “spying” at Derby resulted in a £200,000 fine for not acting in good faith. Even though we were in the EFL when that happened and not in the EPL I would ban them from Europe for a period for starters. Those people excusing them points deductions because that punishes fans, it has not stopped the powers that be from doing that to other clubs before this. They cannot be treated any differently because they were supposed to be a “big six” club.

I am glad the game was today rather than yesterday as I had an argument with my grandson Freddie’s slide on Friday and came off the worst. After losing my balance, went flying over it landing on my hand and bending my fingers back, it meant a trip to a and e. Luckily, although badly swollen and not being able to bend my fingers, I only sprained them. Although not back to normal yet at least I can use them to type again. As a neighbour observed it was very spectacular sight albeit in my eyes, not like a dying swan but instead like a beached whale.

Team: Meslier, Alioski, Struijk, Llorente, Ayling, Phillips, Bamford, Dallas, Harrison, Roberts and Costa – Bielsa naming an unchanged side. Subs: Poveda for Harrison (68), Klich for Costa (72) and Koch for Roberts (76).  Subs not used: Casilla, Hernandez, Berardi, Shackleton, Crysencio Summerville and Sam Greenwood. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: Craig Pawson. Booked: Ayling, Roberts, Alioski and Bamford.

I know many fans were looking forward to playing man u but to me it was just another game as I only concentrate on Leeds United. There again as soon as I saw the kit, badge, and that awful colour on the pitch, I realised the dislike I felt for them was still underneath the surface with a passion. Some things never change. All I wanted was for Leeds to get something out of the game with a draw, but three points would be a bonus.

They got a free kick on the left-hand side in the first minute which brought an easy save from Meslier. This side proved to be very popular for the free kicks awarded their way as they put their next one over the top. I’m not sure what had happened between Phillips and Fernandes, but something had them laughing together, maybe because Phillips was man marking him. Leeds then saw a shout for hand ball only to see VAR make a quick judgement on it and no penalty given surprise, surprise. Some of our passing lacked conviction but I thought we would get that once we settled down and would be fine. We were having to defend well as we were under constant attack apart from our little spell. When Harrison ran onto the ball on the wing, I assumed he’d been judged offside when the referee stopped the game and gave the free kick to man u.  He was well behind the defender though but when a similar thing happened shortly afterwards, I still had no idea why either of those decisions were given and wished they’d have shown some replays of the incidents.

They were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box, but the shot went over the top. Leeds won our first corner just after the half hour mark, but we could not beat the first man and they got the ball away. A good shot from Dallas straight at the keeper was saved by him. Ayling was closing Rashford down who was through on the wing and ‘slipped’ to bring him down which earned him a booking. Roberts then found himself in the book, but I thought he was unlucky to have been penalised. The referee was already getting me worked up with all the free kicks heading man u’s way athough when Struijk was pulled up replays showed he did stand on James’s foot. A fantastic save from Meslier kept it scoreless going into the break in what had been a very fast first half.

Harrison and Costa had swapped sides at the start of the second half. Leeds had to be on their toes when man u nearly got through, but we defended well and put the ball out for a corner. When their player went down easily in the penalty area and complained, replays showed some jostling with Alioski which never warranted anything further anyway. Leeds were letting them know they were there when our passing became crisper and we battled to come away with the ball. With our short passing between us that had them chasing shadows I knew the lads were doing well. A great through pass from Llorente started a move that ended with a great cross from Costa across the box but no one was near enough to hit it into the net. With Phillips doing some great man marking and then some excellent tackling from Ayling at the edge of the box, man u knew they were in a battle and some of their players did not like it.

Suddenly they were through on the attack again which brought a save from Meslier then Alioski whipped the ball off their toes just as they were ready to shoot. Leeds then went on the attack and a great shot from Costa won us a corner. Alioski then found himself in the book as they won the ball from Costa and started on the attack. As they were dropping like flies when being man marked the referee obliged by giving them, all the free kicks. When one lashed out at Alioski, I knew we were getting under their skins. Poveda replaced Harrison then Roberts was brought down which earned a Maguire booking. When Bamford kicked the ball away in frustration when he couldn’t keep it in play, the referee booked him. Well, the same should have happened to their player in the first half then as he kicked the ball away after a free kick was given to us. The referee missed Costa being fouled and he had to go off injured just after that. That was not a surprise as us winning free kicks was definitely the rarer in the two teams.

Bamford sent a great through ball for Klich to make a shot, but it was quite tame and easily saved by the keeper who then saved a long range shot from Ayling. Struijk was playing well and doing some great defending but the ball was running better for man u as well as the referee giving them absolutely everything. The game was end to end with again good work from Struijk and Poveda. Their player was already trying to go down but Poveda kept snapping at his heels and continued battling to keep the ball. My exasperation with the referee showed with my chosen words as he consistently gave every advantage, he could to man u. In the final minutes we were battling to get the ball away but kept giving it back to them but eventually we were awarded a free kick on the edge of our box. As the final whistle blew and the score remained at 0-0, I was happy with that score. Well done lads it was a good point and a battling performance and as always, I am proud to be Leeds.

With news coming out that Leeds fans can now pick up their crowdies I am looking forward to picking ours up once more dates are released. By the time I tried booking a slot they were all sold out very quickly and it will be so nice getting back to Elland Road. As the last few games are upon us Leeds were in 9th place with a respectable 47 points and have an away game at Brighton next week before Spurs at home the following week. LUFC – Marching on Together!

Leeds United v Liverpool 19th April 2021 at Elland Road

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As the news broke yesterday that Liverpool were one of the ‘big six clubs’ who have signed up to a European super league, this has caused uproar amongst football fans all over the country.  This is all about greed and money in a closed shop where no one can be relegated, and they still want their place in the Premier League. They have been moaning about too many fixtures already but want more games?  Do not let them hold the power, if they want to go then let them, but they cannot come back. Football is about supporting your team through thick and thin, which goes for all the little clubs too. Having already devalued the FA Cup which I hold dear, I still want the little clubs to have a chance to beat the big teams. I also want promotion, relegation, something to fight for and the passion that goes with that. As it is, they have stuck two fingers up to their fans who I feel sorry for, as they are the lifeblood of football teams and without fans football is nothing. Shame on you!

Before the game I was interviewed by Arman from Canal+, the French rights holders for the Premier League. Firstly, on why Leeds is seen as the most hated club in England and secondly how Leeds fans are perceived by other fans clubs and why? I am looking forward to sharing this on my website when available.

Team: Meslier, Ayling (captain), Harrison, Bamford, Struijk, Llorente, Phillips, Alioski, Dallas, Costa and Roberts. Subs: Poveda for Costa (67), Klich for Alioski (79) and Hernandez for Roberts (86). Subs not used: Casilla, Koch, Davis, Berardi, Gelhardt and Shackleton. Leeds drew the game 1-1 with Llorente scoring the Leeds goal (87). Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: Anthony Taylor. Booked: Dallas and Alioski.

The Leeds team were wearing white t-shirts whilst warming up which said, “Football is for the fans”. As the game kicked off Orta was seen holding the same t-shirt up and there was also a big flag up in the Kop which said, “Earn it on the pitch. Football is for the fans”. I could not believe my ears later in the game when the commentators said this was inflammatory from Leeds. So, football is not for fans in their eyes? I will not say what my comments to them were!

As the game kicked off Liverpool were soon on the attack and through. Although I thought their player was offside, he lobbed it wide over Meslier and out for a goal kick. Meslier then was called upon to tip a long range shot over the crossbar to keep them out. Leeds were trying hard to get the better of Liverpool but were overwhelmed with numbers or just couldn’t get the final cross / ball in. Roberts made a good run to keep the ball in, but the final cross was too long. Harrison and Costa were both unlucky to lose the ball and the latter couldn’t get in a position to shoot. A great free kick saw Bamford put the ball wide, but the flag was already up for offside. Alioski made a great tackle in the penalty area after Llorente went down prior to that after he smacked his face when tackling the Liverpool player. Meslier then made another save when the ball came back into the penalty area.

Leeds were trying to play out from the back but kept getting into trouble which enabled Liverpool win a corner. A great cross from Alioski into their penalty area was put wide by their player. What a shame he didn’t do us a favour and put the ball into his own net. Bamford was put through but as he took an extra touch, the ball was cleared for a corner. Dallas then took one for the team and was booked for a foul. After some cool play from Meslier in the penalty area, Liverpool took the lead a minute later with half an hour gone, when we lost their man and they scored after a through ball.

I felt we needed to look at our formation as there was something missing that was just not working out for us. Alioski found himself booked after our attack broke down and he fouled their player. Just then, Harrison passed the ball in the penalty area instead of taking a first time shot to catch them out. We were guilty of trying to go one step further than needed every time. Ayling was brought down with his back leg and earned their player a booking. Llorente then made a bad decision which nearly presented them with a second goal but luckily for us they did not get it. Just before half time Roberts with our first real shot on target, saw it lack power and go straight to the keeper. As we went in at half time losing 1-0 there was still a chance for us to get something from the game.

As the game kicked off for the second half Meslier made an early save. Struijk was pulled out onto the wing challenging their player, then Llorente put us into trouble again as the ball ran perfectly for Liverpool. At that moment I felt we needed changes but was not sure who or how but if Bielsa felt the team could do it, I’d have to go with his judgement. It was nice then to see some good play from Llorente before a great cross from Alioski was put out for a corner. When VAR was brought in checking for hand ball, Mike Dean said it was not deliberate, so we didn’t get given a penalty, but I’d have taken it. My shout of put some pressure on them Leeds and they will wilt, were because there looked to be a bit of panic on their faces when defending. We were getting in some good positions, but the final ball was lacking. As Llorente got the ball away he was fouled winning Leeds a free kick; from that a dangerous cross was put in, but we would have been offside anyway. Poveda was brought on and he brought a bit of a spark into the team. After some great play from Roberts at the edge of the box, he passed the ball to Harrison only for their keeper to deny him a goal, as he saved with his legs.

Leeds and especially Roberts, were getting into the game more winning two corners before a poor pass from Ayling, saw Liverpool go on the attack. I lost patience with the commentators who were getting on my nerves as they were so far up Liverpool’s backsides. Bamford was so unlucky not to score when his shot came back off the crossbar before Roberts got in a good position to shoot but the keeper saved. Liverpool counterattacked with three against two and it was a relief to see Meslier get to the ball first at the other end. We could not get the ball to our players as Liverpool started to get back into the game. Klich was on in place of Alioski then Meslier found himself under pressure. Firstly, he sent a bad pass out that was picked up by Liverpool to win a corner. Meslier came for the ball then got back to his line tipping the ball over the crossbar for them to get another corner. Some good shielding from Phillips saw Leeds get the goal kick. It was lovely seeing Hernandez come onto the pitch to replace Roberts with five minutes remaining as Leeds went on to win a corner. Harrison put in an excellent corner just out of reach of Bamford and Struijk only to see Llorente in between three defenders, score from a header to equalise with three minutes of the game remaining. What a relief to see the ball go into the net, as it had been very tense because I was desperate for us to get something out of the game. The commentators were all over Leeds then, so two faced! Suddenly with four minutes of injury time on the clock, it looked like Liverpool were going to get a winner and we had Meslier to thank for the vital save. When Llorente went down after a challenge, replays showed their player stand on him with his studs, but it was deemed not deliberate. As the whistle blew for a 1-1 draw, I was happy to see us put up a hard fight and not lose. Well played lads and let’s upset the apple cart a bit more when we play that other red team from over the Pennines on Sunday. LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

Manchester City v Leeds United 10th April 2021 at the Etihad

Follow Me and Leeds United blog by Heidi Haigh – Manchester City v Leeds United 10th April 2021 at the Etihad 

The photo was taken by me in the Leeds United Supporters Club on Fullerton Park during the seventies when we played Man City at Elland Road.

Once the game kicked off, I was fine, but before that I wanted to cry. I just can’t get the same enthusiasm pre-game when I know I can’t go to the game in person.

Team: Meslier, Cooper, Ayling, Phillips, Alioski, Bamford, Raphinha, Dallas, Roberts, Costa (replaces Harrison as he is not allowed to play as he is on loan from city) and Llorente. Subs: Struijk for Bamford (45), Koch for Roberts (63) and Shackleton for Raphinha (90+5). Subs not used: Casilla, Poveda, Hernandez, Berardi, Gelhardt and Klich. Leeds won the game 2-1 with Dallas scoring a brace (42 & 90+1). Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: Andre Marriner. Booked: Cooper (red) and Alioski.

There was a two-minute silence as a mark of respect after the death of Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh yesterday with black armbands worn by the players. I was looking forward to a good game but suddenly got extremely nervous, knowing we were up against a good team but feeling that we had to do well today. After having two magpies for good luck in my garden this morning, I was waiting to see if that worked in our favour.

A good run by Raphinha but his cross into the box was behind our player but could have been in a good position to score. Players from both sides were slipping all over the pitch in the opening minutes taking me back to how ours had been earlier this season. There were flashes from both sides in winning corners, but nothing came of them. Another great run from Raphinha saw him cross the ball in the box. Bamford was coming in behind the defender and thought he was was getting the ball so was unprepared when it came through just behind him. What a shame as that would have been a good goal scoring opportunity. With city closing us down well there wasn’t a lot of space to work with, but Costa kept going to win the ball. City attacked us again and two good blocks from their corner, first from Cooper and the second from Bamford kept them out. Costa again came away with the ball after some good work but seemed to slow up with a city player breathing down his neck.

Some nice defending from Dallas before some silly passing around the back four put us under pressure and in trouble but luckily, we got the ball away. We cannot afford to give the impetus to a team like city. A fantastic ball from Raphinha to Roberts ended with a corner to Leeds. Raphinha’s corner did not beat the first man so Phillips took our second corner, but nothing came of it. A back pass to Meslier saw the ball go under his foot but as he was far enough out, he got to the ball in time to get it back again. A city attack saw Meslier save with his feet to keep the score at 0-0 then they won a free kick as their player went down easily with Roberts chasing him.

A foul on Bamford earned their player a booking but the free kick from Raphinha went straight to their man who cleared it. Meslier made the save from a low shot before city had another chance but the final shot was wide. Phillips was battling to keep the ball when he received a kick, but the referee played on. He then spoke to Phillips who must have said something to him. The commentators said that Leeds hadn’t had a shot on goal in the first 35 minutes. No, we had not, but on 42 minutes we were in the lead!! Costa’s persistence paid off as he got the ball to Bamford; he laid it off for Dallas to hit the ball off the inside of the post and into the net for Leeds to take the lead. That was good timing to score just before half time but things turned on their head shortly after that. As city came back on the attack Cooper got booked but he had played the ball first. I thought that was an unjust booking even though their player stayed down. The referee then consulted with VAR and took back the yellow card only to give him a straight red card instead, as Cooper had caught their player’s back leg with his studs. That was hardlines for Cooper as I thought the referee had rescinded the yellow card altogether, as momentum carried him forward after winning the ball. Bielsa made a tactical substitution then and brought on Struijk for Bamford. With three minutes injury time to play, the referee played nearly six minutes and why, I have no idea.

The second half saw their player fall down with hardly any contact and when we got a push in the back our player carried on. We were going to have 45 minutes of city attacks and would have to rely on break away attacks from Leeds. Good defending from first Alioski then Phillips putting the ball out for a corner kept up that siege mentality with our backs against the wall. A great save from Meslier saw him react quickly to get the ball at the second attempt. Their player stood on Meslier’s hand when he had got both hands on the ball and didn’t even get pulled up by the referee for it! The difference to some of their players being wet blankets and going down at the slightest contact showed a lot. Meslier was catching the ball and commanding his area well as he made another save.  Koch was brought on to replace Roberts before Alioski found himself in the book for a foul.

Meslier tipped the ball over the top from a long range shot then made another save shortly after. When City brought Foden on as sub, it did make me feel slightly anxious and my fears were true to form when they equalised. Their man was left on his own in the penalty area but Meslier slipped just before their final shot to score. We had been mainly camped in our penalty area but had been man marking up until then. As there had been constant attacks from man city, it was not surprising they had scored really. Leeds managed to win a free kick that Costa won and had Struijk and Llorente in their box, but city got the ball and raced forward to attack us. As our players raced back in defence their player was brought down to give us a reprieve as they were awarded a free kick. Alioski blocked a shot for a corner and then some good play from Phillips saw Leeds defending well.

Raphinha started to get forwards and was brought down which got them a booking. Shortly after this after a great ball from Phillips, Raphinha was through again with just the keeper to beat. As he tried to swap feet the keeper won the ball with his feet to prevent Leeds taking the lead again. The last five minutes had seen the game opening up a bit as Leeds started looking for a winner. Phillips was awarded man of the match. Meslier made a save and then threw the ball straight out to the wing for Alioski to send a great ball through for Dallas. He ran forward and whilst battling with the defender, nutmegged the keeper to put Leeds back into the lead in injury time. I was screaming like a banshee as well as thousands of Leeds United fans around the world, as the team including Meslier celebrated in the right-hand corner of the pitch. What a goal Leeds and it looked as if it was going to be the winner. When play resumed, Raphinha was through again but brought down with a bad foul that only got them a booking. I could not believe it when the referee once again had to play three minutes injury time but had already played five minutes. Apart from us scoring and celebrating, there was nothing that held the game up. With Raphinha injured in that tackle he was replaced by Shackleton for the final minute. With 96 minutes on the clock the referee blew for time and Leeds had won 2-1 and beaten the league leaders to go into 9th place in the table. After each minute of the second half dragging for so long whilst under attack from city, it was a great team performance and a ground out win..

What a morale booster that second goal from Dallas was as old habits die hard and every goal we score, gives cause for celebrations. I would have loved it even better in that away end today though! The win today was dedicated by some fans to Chris and Kev and also, Pete Jenkinson from South Kirkby LUSC and Pudsey Macca who both died this week. LUFC – Marching on Together in heaven lads.

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