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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well done Leeds, another three points and onto our midweek game at home to Hull on Tuesday. Keep going and lets enjoy what we are seeing, see you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Leeds United v Middlesbrough 30th November 2019 at Elland Road

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you to both Gary and Roy for buying my new book so I hope you enjoy the read. Today was a good result for us making it five wins out of five and takes us into our early kick-off next Saturday at Huddersfield. Unfortunately for us Phillips will be banned for this one due to his booking today. I’ll be driving to this one so see you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Reading v Leeds United 26th November at the Madejski Stadium

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Luton v Leeds United 23rd November 2019 at Kenilworth Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Leeds United v Blackburn Rovers 9th November 2019 at Elland Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

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

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

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

Leeds United v QPR 2nd November 2019 at Elland Road

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

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

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

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

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

It was good to get a win and also to score two goals to set us up for our second home game next weekend against Blackburn. Hopefully I will catch up with a couple of fans from Australia and Mexico before the game. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United 26th October 2019 at Hillsborough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m glad we have a week off now before our next game at home to QPR so I’ll look forward to seeing you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Leeds United Supporters Trust Centenary Exhibition 24th October 2019

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

#100yearsofLeedsUnited

Preston v Leeds United 22nd October 2019 at Deepdale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Millwall v Leeds United 5th October 2019 at The Den

Firstly my latest book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United has gone to print and should be out in the next few weeks, just in time for Christmas presents for the Leeds fan in your life or you! If anyone wants one, please let me know so I can make sure I have enough copies on me. It will be priced at £12.99 for those interested. It was also nice to receive a copy of the football magazine StaanTribune. Seeing my name in there after an interview I’d done last season was good to see although because it wasn’t in English I couldn’t read it, oops!

When my alarm went off at the unearthly hour of 4.43am I thought you stupid sod you’ve set it too early. It then dawned on me that it was right after all as we were leaving Leeds at 6.30am 30 minutes earlier than last week. As I’d still to travel in to Leeds for the coach I’d allowed plenty of time to get there. As it was with very limited traffic on the roads I arrived in plenty of time so headed to McDonalds. A workman asked me what the score would be and if I got it right he’d buy me a breakfast next time. I told him that I didn’t predict scores as I always get them wrong but in response to his 2-1 to Leeds I went with a 2-0 win. There again as long as Leeds get the win and three points I will be happy as I don’t care how we do it. It was nice chatting to Phil and others from the Griffin branch before I left for the coach. As I left, the workman repeated he’d buy me a breakfast if the score was right. As usual I got the score wrong hence why I don’t normally predict them and although the workman got it right it wasn’t in our favour sadly.

After a stop in Bexley Heath in good company with plenty of recuperation talking, we headed to the ground. It was quite a surprise to hear that we weren’t having a rendezvous with the police on the common this year but would be making our own way in. As long as they have police outside the pub where we turn right to the ground there shouldn’t be any concerns. As it was once we hit the common my stomach churning began even though we had no issues, even arriving at the ground before the turnstiles opened.

After putting my flag up at the back of the stand it was nice chatting to fans and thank you for the comments about my blog. Also thank you to Martin for buying my first book Follow Me and Leeds United as your support is greatly appreciated. I left my daughter Danielle chatting to fans downstairs whilst I went to get some photos of the team on the pitch. When I eventually re-joined her she thought I’d got lost! Before going back up in to the stand there were plenty of fans asking for their photos taken which was good.

The team: Casilla, Berardi, White, Ayling, Dallas, Bamford, Harrison, Phillips, Alioski, Costa and Klich. Subs: Douglas for Costa (45), Nketiah for Bamford (62) and Roberts for Phillips (76). Leeds lost the game 2-1 with Alioski scoring the Leeds goal (46). Attendance was 16,311 with 2,221 Leeds fans.

With a baying crowd behind them, Millwall started on the attack seemingly spurred on by their manager leaving. I’d tried to banish negative thoughts about their performance so far this season because there was no doubt in my mind that they would raise their game as they were playing Leeds as per usual. Although Dallas had two shots neither were on target. The game turned on its head 15 minutes into the game when their player went down in the penalty area in front of us. After awarding a penalty with Berardi given his marching orders, we were up against it when their player hit the ball into the net with Casilla going the wrong way. The referee was being really harsh with Casilla saying he had to go back and stay with his feet on the line, in the end he stepped back over the line to see if he’d be happy with that! Later, social media was in uproar when it showed their player appear to dive with Berardi not touching him. As it all happened so quick I thought I’d missed the actual challenge but it was right in front of the referee so he’d no excuses. He should have evened things up for us when Harrison had his leg taken from under him in the penalty area at the far end, only this time the referee ignored the plea! For the rest of the first half Leeds were up against it having to regroup but this half belonged to Millwall. We weren’t really in it during the first half as Millwall kept attacking and Casilla was forced to make a save to keep them out. Just before half-time though catastrophe struck when Leeds were unable to clear the cross and they got their second goal. We looked down and out at that time and had an uphill battle on our hands.

As I went downstairs I met Danielle and she said it had all been kicking off on the stairs. Apparently the stewards and police were trying to target Leeds fans who had made gestures back at the Millwall fans and were trying to kick them out. With the Millwall fans being their normal vile selves by making stabbing gestures, singing Galatasary, where were you in Istanbul?, always look out for Turks carrying knives, it was no wonder the Leeds fans had reacted to them. On the way to the ground I’d read about Millwall being abroad recently which ended with one fan seriously stabbed, a few more stabbed and others beaten up and put in hospital. Why they think revelling in the deaths of our two lads when they were close to it happening with their own fans is beyond me? We had been stood outside the doors to the stand which had been opened for smokers when all of a sudden beer went flying as things started kicking off again. One man had just bought two full pints which were knocked out of his hands and straight over him so was dripping wet. Obviously he wasn’t happy especially as he’d just spent the money to get them in the first place.  

We went back up in to the stand just before the second half kicked off. Wasn’t I glad we’d made that decision because within 16 seconds Leeds had pulled a goal back through Alioski. Harrison had beaten his man on the left of us to cross the ball into the middle where Alioski had loads of space to bang the ball into the net. The lads didn’t celebrate though as they got straight on with the game. Douglas had come on in place of Costa at the start of the second half to give us a bit more steel as he had been very lightweight and not up to battling in my opinion. Although Leeds kept attacking, Millwall also hadn’t given up and came close with Casilla called into action once again. As Millwall backed off we continued to attack and I thought Leeds would get something out of the game then. I though Phillips looked impressive at the back and it was a shame we’d been reduced to 10 men. It was funny seeing Phillips and Ayling’s arm signals to the Bench who were all doing the same. Sadly our finishing wasn’t good enough to come close to scoring though. As Millwall continued with their time wasting tactics their keeper surpassed himself. He should have taken the goal kick in front of us but instead walked around the whole goal and then got back to the same place he started from. It took until the 80th minute approx. for him to be booked. The worst thing was the linesman was watching the keeper do all this but just ignored it and the referee was walking back to the middle not even watching. There was even no added time for timewasting which was a surprise. It may have made no difference to the score line but definitely should have been added. I was surprised to see Nketiah coming on as I wasn’t sure a battling game was for him. He did a few good moves then didn’t really get into the game for me. Once again though, I feel that Bielsa’s last substitution with 14 minutes to go was a big mistake. To take Phillips off when he’d been involved in so much of the play didn’t make sense. Whether there were any injury worries or if it was tactical to bring Roberts on, it didn’t work for me. All that did was give Millwall the impetus to put us back under constant pressure which woke their crowd up again. We had the odd break away but not enough to really trouble Millwall as we never got to grips with the game after that especially as Phillips had been the king pin at the back of the defence for me. For the majority of the second half we had had the upper hand and made Millwall defend. I’d have liked to have seen us keep that shape and attack till nearer the end of the game because we had more chance of a goal at that time but didn’t look like scoring once the subs were made.

As I went to get my flag the final whistle blew and Leeds had suffered their third defeat of the season with London not being a happy hunting ground for us once again. I still don’t like coming to this ground which still lives in a third world. The Ladies toilets were a disgrace they wouldn’t flush, the sinks had only cold water and as for the hand driers…. what a waste of space they were as they wouldn’t dry if I’d have stayed there for a month of Sundays!

The longer the trip home took, the more down and demoralised I felt. Our 10 men had battled in the second half but I felt the later substitutions impacted on our game and stopped our attacking. With people falling out left, right and centre I couldn’t wait to get back home after a long day of 18 hours and put this game behind us. I am glad we have got a break next week before our Centenary home game against Birmingham. It is still early days so let’s see what happens next. See you then – LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

For all the latest news on Leeds

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

Leeds United v West Bromwich Albion (WBA) 1st October 2019 at Elland Road

I couldn’t believe a couple of the stories coming out of Charlton last Saturday. On hearing the stewards saying they didn’t know they had to deal with a guide dog (Rita) on the terraces and asking if she would wee there, was a good one. As Rita is a well-known Leeds fan along with her owner Nikki who have gone all over the country, it makes me wonder where on earth they get these people from and where is any common sense? The same stewards at the end refused to let Rita and Nikki who is visually impaired, go out of the stand at the front to avoid the crowds. After a lot of arguments they eventually relented but meant they got caught up in the crowds going back to the station. The good thing was they were looked after by both Leeds and Charlton fans so well done to them. Another thing was hearing Leeds fans behind my daughter started scrapping in the 80th minute. For what reason I have no idea and although everything calmed down they were taken out of the stand. I know we were losing and never looked like scoring but we shouldn’t be fighting amongst ourselves. Although it was sad one of our fans who had a car crash on the way to the game didn’t make it and another one missed his flight, maybe us losing helped to ease the blow a little.

It was still raining as we set off for Elland Road and it looked like another miserable night was ahead of us. Luckily by the time we got to the ground after getting stuck in traffic it had eased off. Because we were late it meant no trip to the Peacock tonight as I had to meet David who had kindly sorted our Preston parking out for us. After a quick visit to Billy’s statue to meet up with my sister Erica and friends for a chat and to take some photos (I was on the receiving end of some tonight too), I headed into the ground. I decided not to go and stand at the steps straight away especially as I got in early so went to the front of the Kop. After chatting to Zoe (one of my co-fans from Take Us Home) and her family I stood with some more fans I knew until the team came out.

The team: Casilla, Cooper, Dallas, White, Alioski, Klich, Bamford, Costa, Harrison, Shackleton and Phillips. Subs: Berardi for Cooper (went off injured 34), Roberts for Shackleton (45) and Ayling for Roberts (74). Leeds won the game 1-0 with Alioski scoring the Leeds goal (38). Attendance was 34,648 with 981 WBA fans.

The game started off at a fast pace and Leeds came close to scoring in the first few minutes with Klich’s shot ending up at the wrong side of the post. WBA kept getting stuck in to Leeds and a few tackles had the Leeds crowd howling at the referee when he played on. WBA then started to go down at every challenge and for a while the ref was giving them everything but Leeds kept on battling. I’d said earlier that as we were playing a top of the table side, that we’d be okay and normally after a loss like at Charlton, Bielsa doesn’t make many changes and gives the players a chance to put things right. The Leeds team were definitely playing better and as a team even though they were up against a physical team. After Alioski got booked for a late challenge it was the turn for WBA to start getting bookings as the only way they were going to stop us was by fouls. There was a shout for handball in front of the South Stand and everyone was going mad when the ref said play on. With that WBA counter attacked us and I was shouting at Leeds to get back as it reminded me of a goal WBA scored at The Hawthorns last season. This time though they didn’t gain an advantage as Casilla made the save. Cooper had taken an earlier heavy challenge from behind but eventually was forced to go off after half an hour when he started limping. With that Berardi came on to replace him meaning we’d lost some of the little height we had at the back. Berardi soon showed he was up for the game though as he battled to keep WBA out and this also eased any fears. Within a few minutes Leeds took the lead as the chance looked to have been missed with ball crossing the penalty area. The ball eventually came back to Harrison who passed the ball for Alioski to hit into the bottom corner to send the Leeds fans wild.  WBA immediately came back on the attack and as they broke into the penalty area were denied once again by Casilla. Leeds were unlucky not to double their lead just before the break as their keeper made a double save from Bamford then Costa. It had been a good half apart from all the physical challenges including the one which had caused Cooper to go off.

When the teams came back out again, Casilla had change from the blue kit to the orange kit. Twice the Leeds United bench were spoken to by the referee and it ended with firsly Corboran getting booked then Bielsa due to too many coaches in the technical area. What a farce especially when WBA’s manager kept encroaching on to the pitch but although he was spoken to he wasn’t booked.

The second half saw firstly Leeds come close after some great work by Costa before WBA had two shots off target. Costa again did some great footwork, brought a good save out of their keeper and Klich’s shot from the rebound was blocked. He also saved another shot from Harrison. Roberts coming on for his first start after injury made some impressive runs and looked on fire. Leeds weren’t having it all their own way though but WBA were kept out by good defending and another save from Casilla. With 15 minutes to go when Leeds had just been attacking Bielsa brought Ayling on to replace Roberts. We were all mystified to say the least and couldn’t understand why? We thought in the end it must have been because he was just coming back from injury but that took the sting out of the game for the next five minutes. Luckily this time we weren’t going to sit back and invite them to defend as we got going again after WBA had got the better of us after the last substitution. With the crowd urging Leeds on, they battled until the final whistle blew to win the game 1-0. Bamford got the man of the match and I must say in the second half he really was putting himself about and showing some aggression and not being pushed off the ball all the time. The whole team had put up a battling performance to return us to the top of the table. Things could change before we head to Millwall on Saturday for another London game and early set off. It was great to get the win tonight – See you on Saturday, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

For all the latest news on Leeds

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

Charlton v Leeds United 28th September 2019 at The Valley

 

Well it was nice to see Leeds United rattle other fans this week when Bielsa won FIFA’s Fair Play award for letting Aston Villa score last season. Whilst that is one time I disagreed with Bielsa as we had scored a legitimate goal, it was funny seeing the outrage on social media. It’s a shame there wasn’t the same sense of outrage on hearing that Derby County had wrecked the away dressing room last season at Elland Road as well as leaving a brown substance on the floor. After the whole outrage from Derby over #spygate last season that they whipped up in the media, they certainly haven’t had the same outrage that happens when there is anything to do with Leeds. After the drunken antics and car crashes a couple of days ago involving their players, they seem to have got a lot less coverage than they should. Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

As I left home this morning I put my big coat on as it was raining and cold. As someone tweeted me back saying it was warm in London, I was glad to find out later on that was indeed the case. We had a good trip down to London but hit road closures in the capital that meant we only had just over an hour at our stop near Tower Bridge. The traffic issues didn’t end there though because it took us 1 hour 40 minutes to get to the ground. Our coach was to park outside the ground itself but the amount of time it took the police to decide we could go through after all was ludicrous. Whilst we were waiting for the decision to be made, a reversing police van twice nearly ran some fans over as he clearly wasn’t watching behind him.

With 20 minutes to kick-off we managed to tie my flag up before my daughter Danielle went to the front of the stand, whilst I had to go around the stand to get to the top part. As the team came out I found I wasn’t feeling well and got really hot and felt ready to pass out. As my new glasses made me feel very dizzy I decided to do without today and try them again another day.

The team: Casilla, Cooper, Alioski, Dallas, Phillips, Costa (his first league start as Hernandez was out injured), Bamford, Shackleton, Klich, Harrison and White. Subs: Nketiah for Alioski (45), Forshaw for Shackleton (45) and Roberts for Bamford (68). Attendance was 21,808 with3,179 Leeds fans. Leeds lost the game 1-0 with Charlton’s manager, ex-Leeds player Lee Bowyer, gaining the advantage over Bielsa. Once again Leeds were without a mascot and I can’t understand why?

Leeds started on the attack but the resulting corners didn’t end up in the net although their keeper made a save from White. We were seeing plenty of the ball but Charlton, looking a strong side having gained promotion at the end of last season, blocked most of the chances. We got another couple of shots on target but their keeper saved the shots. Although we had been having most of the chances, Charlton won a few free kicks and on the half hour mark they got the ball into the net in front of the Leeds fans to put them into the lead. That was the cue for me to stop feeling sorry for myself as I gradually started to feel better. Casilla looked to be at fault for their goal as I watched the replay on the screen, as he looked to have stopped the ball and then let it trickle over the line. I’d said before the game that I thought he had been doing better recently especially as last season it ended with me shouting expletives at him. I should have kept my big mouth shut again! Before I knew it the half time whistle had gone in what had been a fast first half.

The second half saw Bielsa make two changes with both Nketiah and Forshaw coming on in place of Alioski and Shackleton. Unfortunately things didn’t get any better as the terraces full of Leeds fans became quieter although the home fans who were in good voice, were helped by a drum! When Bamford lashed out and fouled one of their players, I immediately thought he was in trouble especially when one of the Charlton players came across and pushed him violently. They both received a booking and shortly after that Bamford was subbed which wasn’t a surprise. A few players were letting their frustrations show today, including Phillips, which surprised me. Roberts coming on as sub upped the tempo with the Leeds players but we weren’t clinical enough in front of goal. Even though we had five minutes of injury time we couldn’t get an equaliser and ended up with our first away defeat of the season.

Lee Bowyer came over to clap the Leeds fans at the end of the game and did the Leeds salute. I’d seen someone mention the court case he’d been involved in and said that he’d not forgiven him for leaving Leeds. If Ridsdale had fined him in the first place I think that would have been accepted. To have Bowyer play out of his skin in those games during the trial, get found not guilty and then decided to fine him was wrong in my eyes. It knocked the stuffing out of Bowyer and the relationship with the chairman ended there and then. Things shouldn’t have happened in the first place and started our downfall, but they could have been rescued if it hadn’t have been for Ridsdale in my opinion.

Today was a bad day at the office as we never looked like scoring. It was a bad view for the goal in front of the Leeds fans so I’m not sure how close we came to scoring? With a home game against West Brom on Tuesday and back to London for the Millwall game next week, it feels like normality has resumed. It was good to eventually get home at 11pm after heavy rain most of the way back. A miserable day on the pitch had a miserable ending despite the weather staying fine whilst we were in London. Anyway as we are gluttons for punishment, we’ll be back again on Tuesday so see you there. LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

Leeds v Derby 21st September 2019 at Elland Road

With my husband attending his first game since his cancer treatment ended, we picked up an excited granddaughter Alexis to head to Elland Road. It was a beautiful day but was to be a challenging day for my husband to keep out of the sun! We headed to Billy’s statue on arrival as I was meeting friends there and also looking out for the wreaths that were being left for WACCOE who died suddenly last week. He was a well-known Leeds fan on Twitter and he travelled with the South Wales Whites. I managed to meet up with a group of his friends as they laid their wreath next to a couple of others including one from my friend Susan and Bremner her dog. He was also given a good WACCOE chant on the terraces from the 54th minute. It was nice to chat to loads of our fans there and take photos before heading to the Peacock.

It was one of those days where loads of fans wanted to talk and it took me 20 minutes to get out of the Peacock car park as I was talking that much. It was a good job my daughter Danielle had already gone into the ground with Alexis. It was nice to see some of our Norwegian fans who follow my blog and others including someone I used to work with. Earlier, Shona had said that I knew everybody. I said I do know a lot of people and with that the next person who walked past us said hello Heidi so we all burst out laughing as she said I told you so!

I got into the ground and went straight to stand at the steps ready for the team to come out. Straight away I was targeted by a steward so I said I always take my photos and go to my seat once we are ready for the start. With that he obviously went and spoke to another one who knew me as he came to see me. I know it’s all down to health and safety but it does get overpowering at times. I know they had a word with a woman I know who had to stand on her seat as she couldn’t see. She refused to get down unless they made everyone else in front of her sit down so she could see. In the end they said if she fell she couldn’t blame Leeds United which is fair enough and she accepted that.

The team: Casilla, Cooper, White, Alioski, Phillips, Klich, Hernandez, Harrison, Bamford, Shackleton and Dallas. Subs: Costa for Harrison (58), Douglas for Hernandez (73) and Nketiah for Bamford (79). Attendance was 34,714 with 1,024 Derby fans. The game ended in a 1-1 draw with an own goal by Lowe giving Leeds a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute and Derby getting an equaliser in 90+2.

A packed Elland Road saw Leeds taking the game to Derby in the opening minutes and although we came close, Derby were defending in numbers. There were a few blatant pushes into the back of our players that the ref let go although with one we were in possession and attacking so he played on. A couple should not have been let go though and with one, Bamford won a great header under pressure, only for the linesman in front of the Derby fans to put his flag up as their player went down like a sack of spuds. It was won fair and square and should not have warranted the decision especially as they were given the free-kick. It was obvious there was nothing wrong with him and we’d been denied a great chance to score as Bamford was in plenty of space. I can’t say I knew much about the Derby players on the pitch to be honest as it’s a case of out of sight out of mind for me. I only knew Keogh due to him being called ugly by the Leeds fans.

Leeds took the lead following a free-kick from Phillips, Bamford hit the ball back across the goal only for Dallas’s shot to be saved by their keeper. Luckily for us his save rebounded off their player to bounce back into the net for an own goal to put Leeds into the lead on the half hour mark. Dallas was unlucky not to get onto the score sheet, with a great save from Roos the Derby keeper preventing one and another kicked off the line. Harrison brought another great save out of the keeper as Leeds kept the Derby attack to a minimum. The linesman had already put his flag up before Shackleton hit the ball into the net just before the break. Leeds had shown a lot of attacking football in the first half as we went into the break 1-0 up.

The second half saw Leeds unlucky not to get a second goal in the first few minutes as Bamford’s shot rebounded off the post. As Leeds were still continuing the attacks I was surprised to see Costa come on so early to replace Harrison who I thought had played well. Although Costa was quick to win a corner it took a little while for him to get into the game for me before swapping sides. Bamford brought a save out of their goalie again before winning Leeds a penalty with some determined attacking before being brought down. Klich went to take the penalty for the second game in a row only this time put it wide of the post in a costly miss. That was the difference with being two goals up and putting some distance between the teams. I wasn’t too worried that Douglas was brought on to replace Hernandez but it became apparent very quickly that we had started defending deep, inviting Derby to attack us. When Casilla lost the ball, Phillips was able to clear the ball off the line but in injury time Derby upped the tempo and ran at us, which ended with them equalising in stoppage time. That was a blow but not unexpected and as someone said afterwards it felt like a defeat. I do feel that the subs didn’t work today and bringing on a defender when taking Hernandez off changed how we were playing as we resorted to playing deeper.

It has been said that Leeds find playing at home hard with the expectations of the fans. What I will say is once we started defending you could feel the atmosphere change and go quiet. It’s times like this where we should become the twelfth man but the players are the ones who can make that happen. Battle and fight for every ball and it won’t go quiet. We had so much possession again today and have to start taking our chances although we were unlucky with the ball coming back off the post and being kicked off the line. The penalty miss proved costly in the end too. At the end of the game, I wasn’t sure what happened as Phillips was clapping the fans left in the Kop; he went to the front and had words with someone but didn’t look very pleased either. As Alexis and I got near to Billy’s statue we could hear a commotion up ahead so we went and stood near the statue out of the way. With that loads of police came around the corner with what I can only describe were a small group of Derby fans. Why they were bringing them that way I’ve no idea but it caused a lot of unrest amongst our fans in the vicinity.

Next week sees us head to Charlton with ex-Leeds player Lee Bowyer in charge. If we can’t win them all, then go out and make sure we don’t lose another game. See you then, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

For all the latest news on Leeds

 

Barnsley v Leeds United 15th September 2019 at Oakwell

After yesterday’s glorious weather I was surprised to see rain on a miserable day. Although chilly the weather had improved by the time I got to Leeds at 8.10am for the coach that I thought went at 9.00am. It turned out to be a longer wait than I thought as we weren’t leaving until 30 minutes after that. I’d like to say a big thank you to Barry for sorting me out with a Swansea programme as I’d forgotten that I was in it with my Take Us Home photo. After a pub stop at Junction 39 (I’d recommend the bacon sarnies), we arrived at the ground about 40 minutes to kick-off. Because last season I had taken the cautious route as to where we would end in the league as I didn’t want to jeopardise things, this season I’m not. I’m going to have a positive, mental attitude and forget my superstitions. Leeds United will go up as champions in our Centenary Year!

It was slow getting into the ground due to loads of fans arriving at the same time but also because everyone had to file in one by one so the sniffer dogs were able to check everyone. The lad in front of me patted the Labrador one on the head and was told in no uncertain terms to leave the dog alone as it was working, oops. I then had to produce my fire certificate for my flag before going in to the ground. I headed to the front behind the goal to put my flag there as usual only to be told I had to move it. All the flags were to be put at the front of the left hand corner of the away end. I realised after that it was to ensure there were no Leeds fans able to get within feet of the Barnsley fans as they have in the past. I also donated my last book Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18 to Garforth Whites charity events. As it was nearly kick-off I headed to my seat which was higher up behind the goal but a decent view. With this being the first game after the international break it was good to be back at the football.

Just before the game kicked off, the lad next to me showed me a selfie he had got with Radrizzani. I then saw him stood next to the tunnel waiting for the players to come onto the field. Although I knew it was late and I might not see him I headed back down to the front and right to the tunnel. I saw one of the documentary crew with him and caught his attention asking Radrizzani to come over. He did and said “I will have to talk to you at another game, you are famous!” I didn’t manage to get my photo with him this time but caught someone else on camera. I decided to wait there as we were allowed to stay until the teams came out then went back to my seat for the start.

The team: Casilla, Cooper, White, Phillips, Hernandez, Klich, Dallas, Shackleton, Bamford, Harrison and Alioski. Subs: Costa for Harrison (45), Nketiah for Bamford (70) and Berardi for Klich (90).  Leeds won the game 2-0 with goals by Nketiah (84) and Klich (penalty 89). Attendance was 17,598 with 4,400 Leeds fans.

Leeds set off on the attack and a lovely move from Shackleton saw Bamford bearing down on goal on the right hand side towards the home fans but his shot was saved by their keeper. Barnsley looked a very strong side which had ex-Leeds players Mowatt plus Wilks, Halme and Oduor who were transferred from Leeds during the summer. Some of their players were giants and playing to our strengths today along the floor was going to be vital. There was a lot of end-to-end play and we had to thank Casilla for making an excellent save from Wilks to prevent Barnsley taking an early lead. He was also called into action a couple more times with good saves. Leeds carried on attacking and if we lost the ball the players would fight to get it back. Although Barnsley were strong and threatening, I thought we shouldn’t worry as they could be beaten. Dallas and Bamford were playing really well and I can’t believe the octopus that was all over Bamford was never penalised once despite it all being so blatant! We had a great chance to score just before half-time, but Harrison’s shot bounced back off the post so we had to go in with no score at the break.

It was good chatting to fans at half-time and also taking photos and as always I appreciate the comments and support for my family. Ian had come from the Isle of Man for the game too and for once I remembered a name to mention!

The team set off on the attack as soon as the whistle blew but Bamford’s shot was easily saved by their keeper. Casilla made another great save to keep out a long range Barnsley shot as the game kept at a fast pace from end-to-end. We thought when Bamford scored after great work from Costa on the right that we’d gone into the lead only for the linesman to flag offside. Some thought Costa was offside but on getting home my husband said there had been nothing wrong with the goal. As Leeds continued to attack we had another great move but the ball from the left was hit hard across the goalmouth and Alioski’s header went wide. Barnsley still weren’t giving up as Wilks hit the side netting and Casilla made a couple more great saves to deny them a goal. Another attack for Barnsley saw the linesman put his flag up for offside. Before Bamford was subbed I was disappointed to see the reaction of Halme when he rugby tackled him. Although I still thought Barnsley looked a strong side I was adamant they could be beaten. When Klich’s shot was deflected just wide I’m not sure if it was this corner or another. I said “Come on Leeds get the ball in the net now so I can go and get my flag”. A few minutes later Phillips sent in a great free kick which saw Nketiah in a great position to volley the ball into the net in front of the Leeds fans. There were great scenes on the terraces then with the celebrating Leeds hordes. That was my cue then to go down to the front of the stand to retrieve my flag before the end of the game.

As I got to the front of the stand there was a Barnsley steward at the front going along the stand making gestures to the Leeds fans. As everyone started to get mad our steward Phil Thumbsup Cresswell went over to him to stop him. With that he lashed out at Phil and that did it, mayhem ensued on the terraces with Leeds fans going mad. My camera was clicking away with all the action but I’d no idea what I’d captured until I got home but the steward was removed from the stadium. Damn right he was and he should never be in a position to do that ever again as he was unprofessional and let his own personal judgements affect what he did. What I hadn’t seen was that he’d just taken a Leeds fan out for celebrating our goal. Why I ask is it a crime to celebrate especially when he didn’t even go onto the pitch? The steward then came back really cocky and goading our fans.

As I stood to the left hand side Leeds won a penalty and Klich obliged to put the ball into the net to give us a two goal lead at the death. With delirious scenes of the celebrating Leeds fans, I suddenly heard a commotion to the left of us in the side stand. Some Leeds fans had been sat in the seats all game at the front but must have celebrated our second goal when they got attacked. One lad with no shirt on was one of the culprits but some of the attacking was vicious. Together with a woman, they were both attacking a lad sat down for ages before anyone intervened. I’d like to know why they weren’t both arrested instead of being let back in the stand? The rest of the stewards stood around that area and did nothing. It was only when loads of our stewards ran over that it all stopped. One lad gave the Leeds salute as he was taken out. With it all kicking off and fans standing in front of me I hardly saw the closing minutes of the game. At the end, I saw one lad with a badly grazed forehead and I thought he was kicked it was that bad. I’d seen someone post before the game that they were vicious in Barnsley especially if you are found in their ends and that had been seen today. Just think, my little grandson could have been born there recently as they had to transfer my daughter to Barnsley as there were no special cots in Halifax. I’m glad to say that he waited to get back to Halifax before making an appearance. As I went to get my flag I managed to say hello to Aravind from India who had come to see Leeds again and he said that he’d seen me in the documentary.

The win saw Leeds go back to the top of the Championship and Swansea drop to second place as Forest beat them at home in the last minute. Our next game is the early kick-off at home to Derby next Saturday so see you then, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

Leeds United v Swansea City 31st August 2019 at Elland Road

After another stressful morning I could have well done without, it meant we didn’t get to Elland Road until late. As soon as my granddaughter Laura was dropped off, along with my daughter Danielle we headed straight into the ground as it was too late to go to the Peacock. As we were walking along Lowfields Road this man passed us, pointed to me and said you see that lady, she was in Take Us Home. As we went to go in the turnstiles we bumped into another of the documentary fans so had a quick chat with Zoe and her friend Bethany who I met at the Premiere Event in the Trinity Centre. After a quick visit to the Kop bar Laura and I went to the front of the Kop to see the team training. It was nice to see Martin Hywood (who has done a lot of fund raising for Muscular Dystrophy) together with his family so managed a quick chat before Trampas shouted me. As usual I had taken photos of some of the fans I’d chatted with before the game. I also took some of the team coming out before heading to my seat.

The team: Casilla, Cooper (back from injury), Dallas, Alioski, Hernandez, Phillips, Klich, Forshaw, White, Bamford and Harrison. Subs: Nketiah for Bamford (61), Costa for Klich (71) and Douglas for Alioski (83). Leeds lost the game 1-0 with a goal scored by Swansea in the 90th minute. Attendance was 34,935 with 1,418 Swansea fans.

Leeds could have taken an early lead when a Swansea player nearly scored an own goal intercepting a cross. Luckily for them their keeper managed to get back in time to stop the ball crossing the line. Alioski’s shot went over the bar and with his next one the keeper made a good save. I said, third time lucky? Unfortunately that chance didn’t happen. The referee was winding the Leeds crowd up as Swansea went down after every challenge gaining a free kick. Admittedly some should have been given but others were just soft decisions. After some great play from Harrison the ball came to Bamford in the middle of the area but he was unable to get any power on the ball as their keeper gathered it up easily. That was a good chance as he was in a good position and it was a shame he couldn’t just hammer it into the net. Dallas impressed me in the early stages and although Bamford had been unlucky with a couple of chances, he was putting a lot of effort in on the pitch.

Despite Swansea getting lots of free kicks, we limited them to actual chances but from a free-kick around the half hour mark they hit the side netting. They had another good chance just before half-time before Leeds were unlucky not to take the lead when Cooper’s header bounced back off the crossbar. The first-half had gone past quite quickly as the teams went in level at the break.

The game had already kicked off as we came back to our seats with Swansea on the attack in front of the South Stand. Leeds continued to attack as Hernandez brought a save out of their keeper. Phillips was hurt after he landed heavily on his back after a foul. Although he kept going, he was limping for a while before eventually going down and needing treatment. He did carry on and played the rest of the game although not being 100%. We were getting into the penalty area and Harrison brought a save out of their keeper before Costa did some neat footwork around their player on the left and from his cross Hernandez’s shot went over the bar. Leeds were having lots of possession and I hadn’t felt worried about Swansea at that moment in time. With ten minutes to go Swansea had an attack but the header went over the bar. With another Leeds attack Dallas’s cross beat the keeper but Nketiah’s header at the far post went into the side netting. As it looked like the game was heading for a draw, Swansea were the ones who got the winner in the final minute of normal time when Leeds failed to clear the ball in the penalty area. With that Leeds fans in the East and West stands started streaming for the exits which surprised me. There was still time left to salvage something from the game but maybe they knew something that I didn’t? It was one of those games where we dominated possession again, but couldn’t get the ball into the net which meant we rued those chances we did have. This was our first defeat in the Championship this season and meant Swansea took our place at the top of the league as Leeds slipped to third place. Leeds didn’t deserve to lose but Swansea took their chance to get the points.

With the international break ahead of us once more our next game is away at Barnsley with a 12.30pm kick-off. See you then, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

Leeds United v Stoke City 27th August 2019, second round of the Carabao Cup at Elland Road

Buy official LUFC retro shirts and jackets here

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to ask me how my husband and grandson are doing. My husband is recovering from cancer but making good progress although still very tired and I’m hoping to get him back to a game at Elland Road very soon. My grandson Freddie was taken back into neonatal intensive care again but has made improvements today so we hope he is on the mend. He is showing some spirit by pulling his tubes out, which is a good sign. Also it was nice to say hello to those people who introduced themselves to me today, asked about my books, mentioned the documentary or follow my blogs. As always I appreciate your support. It was a poignant catch up with one of my Selby Whites’s family on their first visit to Elland Road since his death.

I’d brought all three granddaughters to this game with the special price of £1 each extra for their seats. Danielle my daughter was in our normal seats together with Hannah and Alexis whilst I went to the front of the stand with Laura. We had a good view though and luckily when it did rain it didn’t reach us.

The team: Casilla, Berardi (captain), Phillips, McCalmont (making his first start), Davis, Nketiah, Costa, Mateusz Bogusz (making his debut), Douglas, Clarke and Shackleton. Subs: White for Shackleton (45), Harrison for Clarke (45) and Forshaw for McCalmont (45). Leeds drew 2-2 after 90 minutes with Nketiah (67) and Costa (81) getting Leeds back into the game after being 2-0 down. Leeds lost 5-4 on penalties with Douglas, Phillips, Costa and Nketiah scoring. Attendance was 30,002 with 811 Stoke fans.

After our 3-0 win at Stoke last Saturday there were always going to be changes to the team with some of our youngsters coming in. This was also the chance for Nketiah and Costa to get some game time having been used as substitutes for the last couple of games. Stoke started the game on the attack and had a couple of chances before Leeds started to get into the game more. Shackleton sent over a great cross which ended with Douglass’s shot inches away from finding the top corner of the goal. Then Davis’s header towards goal was deflected into their goalie’s hands. We were so unlucky not to take the lead in the 25th minute when first Berardi won possession before Shackleton passed to Clarke. The resulting pass from Clarke saw Nketiah hit a stunning shot that hit the post and bounced out. That buildup in itself deserved a goal. Leeds carried on attacking and then against the run of play Stoke scored their first goal from a corner before getting a second a few minutes later. As the Stoke fans celebrated including Les a friend of mine, it was hard for Leeds as we’d seen plenty of the ball but obviously we need to take our chances.

The second half saw a tale of two halves as Bielsa made a triple substitution to change the game. He was definitely not just having us turning up but wanted to make a positive impact. This had the desired effect as the Leeds fans urged their team on. Nketiah’s cross was just too far for Harrison to get on the end of as we had a couple of good chances. Butland made a good save from Bogusz’s long range shot as Leeds limited Stoke’s attacks. Butland then was caught out as Nketiah ran at him as he prepared to kick the ball up field. His kick hit his own defender which gave Nketiah the chance to run at goal, round Butland before putting the ball into the net. I’d said if we got one goal we’d get another as Leeds continued to attack and with nine minutes left we got the equaliser. Davis’s cross was met by Costa at the back post to head the ball home. In the second half the Leeds crowd were in uproar as Stoke tried their time wasting tactics by going down and having the trainer come on a couple of times. When they tried to do it again, I wasn’t the only one screaming at the ref to leave their player on the floor and ignore him. Eventually he did just that which was good to see as that was one thing last season that drove me nuts. With both teams coming close in the final minutes with six minutes of injury time to play, the scores were level as the whistle blew meaning the tie went immediately to penalties. There is no longer any extra time first.

Stoke took the first penalty in front of the Kop and scored all five of theirs including one from Butland their keeper. I thought there was a new rule when he took one and expected Casilla to step up for our fifth which went to Harrison instead. After Douglas, Costa, Phillips and Nketiah had been successful in scoring theirs, Leeds lost the tie on penalties after Harrison’s effort hit the post. It was a shame but despite the loss the crowd chanted his name. I wasn’t too despondent as we’d put up a fight in the second half and made a game of it. That puts the Carabao Cup to bed for this season as Stoke progress to the next round.

Saturday sees us play Swansea at home before the international break is upon us once again. This will see a top of the table clash and I’m looking forward to the game. See you then, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

Stoke City v Leeds United 24 August 2019 at the 365Bet Stadium

It was a beautiful sunny day when I left Halifax at 7.40am to head to Leeds for the coach. Our stop was in Leek today and it was good to chat to friends and have a laugh. Just before we left we managed a Leeds United Supporters Club Fullerton Park branch photo and thank you to the ladies from Stoke who took it so I could be in the photo too. As we arrived at the ground 45 minutes before kick-off I headed straight to the Power League which was a few minutes’ walk from the away end. I was going to meet Ian (my daughter’s Godfather) together with his brother Les and his wife. It’s a long time since I’ve seen Les who is a Stoke fan, but both lads came to watch me play football for charity in the 70s and made a flag saying Big H rules. Les already thought they’d lose today and on Tuesday but I was more cautious. That saying, I felt more confident this year that we wouldn’t make the same mistakes as last year especially as Bielsa will have watched everything very closely.

I managed a few photos on my way in to the ground and had a couple of fans trying to recreate the Beatles on the zebra crossing. I had to get my flag out for the steward to check it and had some lads saying “Heidi what are you hiding in there, a couple of cans?” I took the banter in the good spirit it was meant to be. There was a great atmosphere under the stands as I made my way to the green aisle for my seat. I got to the front of the stand and then made my way over to the left hand side to hang my flag up in the little space that was left. I hadn’t realised that there were loads of flags at the opposite end in between both sets of supporters until the end of the game. Never mind, but sadly it meant I didn’t get any photos of them.

The team: Casilla, Dallas, Berardi, Hernandez (captain with Cooper out injured), Phillips, Forshaw, Klich, Bamford, White, Alioski and Harrison. Subs: Nketiah for Bamford (74), Costa for Hernandez (80) and Shackleton for Klich (85). Leeds won the game 3-0 with goals from Dallas (42), Alioski (50) and Bamford (66). Attendance was 24,090 with 2,913 Leeds fans.

The Leeds fans were in good voice as I took my place near the front of the stand behind the goal. At one point I realised the fella behind me was sat down so moved slightly into the aisle for a while. Even though I was quite confident, I wasn’t taking anything for granted and knew that Stoke would raise their game for us. Last year they had just got a new manager in but this year they were rooted to the bottom of the table and on shaky ground. Stoke took the game to us for a while but Leeds were able to quell any attacks with Casilla not being very busy, just involved with our players passing the ball to him. With some misplaced passes for a while from Dallas and Hernandez I just thought they’d grow into the game and wasn’t too worried. It was a case of, let Stoke have their 10 minutes and then we’d take charge of the game. Just after that Klich’s shot brought a save out of their keeper. Hernandez was very unlucky not to get on the scoresheet on 15 minutes when their keeper made a great save to keep him out and then caught the rebound with a deflected shot from Klich. We had a couple of near chances although the half so far hadn’t set the world alight. Ben White was playing really well in defence and was so cool, calm and collected when picking the ball up. A couple of times he waited for the Stoke player to come near him before dancing round them with ease. As some fans were heading downstairs for the break, Leeds attacking the far end showed some great movement, before Hernandez sent a great pass across to Dallas who was clean through to hit the ball first time into the net. As the Leeds fans celebrated, fans in the aisle next to me tumbled down the terraces and all ended up in a tangle at the front of the stand. Just as they started to try and get up, loads of fans coming back from downstairs came hurtling down the terraces with loads landing on top of one another. Some of them looked in a bad way as eventually they were helped up. What I couldn’t understand, was why no stewards did a thing to help plus they didn’t even ask any First Aiders to come to where we were? A girl was let out at the front as she’d hurt her fingers in the melee and eventually came back with an ice pack on them. Just before the whistle went Klich had another shot saved by their keeper as we went in one nil up at the break. I spoke to the lad who looked really badly injured to see if he needed to go to the First Aid but luckily he’d started coming round and was able to walk.

After catching up with a few fans downstairs including another one of our injured fans who I’d tried to help up, I went back to my seat. The lad behind me had scratches along his back and a big hole in his t-shirt. The lads seem to have been very lucky to have got away with being seriously injured thank goodness. Although Stoke started off with a rare attack it didn’t take long for Leeds to get a second goal. Bamford passed the ball across the goal for Alioski to fire home to put us further into the lead. Leeds were on top at this point as they continued to attack towards us with Harrison’s shot creeping past the wrong side of the post. We had some long range shots that didn’t come off before we got a third goal. Forshaw played a great ball into the area where Alioski found his shot saved by their keeper only for Bamford to follow up and put the rebound into the net. Leeds had been playing some lovely football with great footwork and although Stoke brought a save out of Casilla, we continued to dominate the game. With both Klich and Forshaw denied goals with saves by their keeper, we ended the game with a 3-0 win and another three points to keep us on top of the league.

It had been a great day out and I’m sure our performance will make other teams around us sit up and take notice. Bielsa ball is great to see despite whatever happens in the future and I for one am enjoying watching our team play.

Tuesday sees us play Stoke again but this time at Elland Road in the next round of the Carabao Cup. The team will be made up of our youngsters and give players who have not featured much in the Championship some game time. I am taking all three granddaughters to this one and as I couldn’t get all our seats together in the Kop, I will move from my seat to be with one of them. Thanks to everyone who wanted photos taken today and for all the positive comments about my blogs, books and my appearance in Take us Home: Leeds United the documentary. As always I appreciate your comments which are gratefully received. Also I’d like to say a big thank you to Harry and Martin both Bradford Whites, for buying my books Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18 and Once a Leeds fan, always a Leeds fan respectively. Talking about books, my latest one from is called Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United which is based on my blog and last season. Despite the way it ended, this was our best season in a long while with some fantastic football on show. As usual I have included lots of photos of our fans and this will be available soon. If anyone is interested in buying one please do not hesitate to contact me. See you on Tuesday, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Author of the following books:

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

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

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