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

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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

Leeds United v Brentford 21st August 2019 at Elland Road

It’s been great seeing the feedback from the Leeds fans who have viewed the documentary Take Us Home : Leeds United. Thank you for all the positive comments for my cameo role in it which are gratefully received. I know some fans don’t want to watch it and I can quite understand that, but I found I really enjoyed it despite the painful and emotional scenes at the end. We’ll just have to go one better this year Leeds so automatic promotion is a must please. It was nice to meet Rik from the Netherlands in the Peacock before the game who came to introduce himself to me, having seen me in the documentary. Having seen both the Derby and West Brom wins at Elland Road last season, we agreed it would be third time lucky tonight also with a win against Brentford. It was nice to chat to some of our Welsh Whites before the game too. We made sure we went into the ground in plenty of time as I’d been asked to get photos of one of our mascots tonight. I’d met my sister Erica and friends before the game and I managed to find her in the East Stand with my camera. In the toilets in the ground I was just entering a cubicle when a voice shouted “Heidi, that’s my lucky toilet”. Well obviously, being the superstitious person I am, I understood perfectly and did the honourable thing and chose another one to go in and let Victoria keep the luck going.

The Team:- Casilla, Alioski (Douglas injured), Cooper, White, Dallas, Hernandez, Bamford, Forshaw, Klich, Phillips and Harrison. Subs: Costa for Harrison (65) and Eddie Nketiah (on loan from Arsenal making his home debut) for Hernandez (77). Leeds won the game 1-0 with a goal from Nketiah (81). Attendance was 35,004 with approximately 300 Brentford fans. Because the opposition had brought very few fans, this was the first game that the West Stand area at the front of the away fans became a Leeds United fans stand again. Getting more of our fans in the ground rather than having great empty spaces was a great initiative from the club.

Today would see the return of Pontus Jansson for his first game against us playing for the opposition. I was sad to see him leave Leeds because he was the one player who brought the fans and the team back together again and for that I am grateful. I can still see him in front of the Kop when he got us all going for the first time and that interaction with the team can now be seen all the time. As the teams came out it was good to see the interaction with Jansson and the current Leeds team which showed he was well thought of despite all the rumours that had been doing the rounds. The South Stand also sang “you’re Leeds and you know you are”. I for one didn’t accept the disruptive influence character assassination on him and at the end there were hugs all round with him and the Leeds players which were good to see. Good luck to him although not against us please.

As the teams kicked off, it was very much evens for a while with Leeds getting a few free kicks before Alioski found himself in the book for a foul. Although there weren’t many chances for either team, it took for Brentford to hit the post with Casilla beaten that brought the game to life in the 24th minute. Leeds went to the opposite end with Klich striking a shot that brought a good save out of their goalie. Bamford then put a header over the bar after a great cross from Alioski before a second chance of a header that went past the wrong side of the post. Brentford brought a save out of Casilla just before the break as we went in on level terms. The first half had passed very quickly though and it wasn’t surprising that we had not found it easy to get past Brentford.

The second half saw Leeds up the tempo getting a couple of corners in quick succession. Forshaw brought a save out of their goalie and with him coming close to scoring in the last couple of games, I feel sure a goal will come soon. We had a lot of the Kop shouting for a handball in the area and a penalty, which didn’t come. It will be interesting to see a replay as I didn’t see it. Dallas ended up with a booking after running up to the ref calling for the penalty as his pleas fell on deaf ears. Costa came on as a sub with half an hour to go to replace Harrison before Nketiah replaced Hernandez. It was interesting to see the new rules in force, that any player being subbed had to go off the pitch at the nearest point. That to me looks a good thing as there is nothing more annoying than players wasting time by taking ages to get off the pitch. As Costa started to make an impact, Nketiah was brought on in place of Hernandez. As I hadn’t been sure who was on the bench, I found I was impressed that we actually had some players on the bench who could make an impact. As it was within five minutes Leeds took the lead after some great work by Costa on the left hand side in front of us. As he passed the ball across to the middle of the goal, we were all cheering before Nketiah had even put it into the net. I can’t remember the last time we had players on the bench that could make an impact and also put some speed into the attack, which were great to see and get us the reward of a goal. Leeds were quite comfortable on the ball and limited Brentford to any attacks, although they were still a threat for the last minutes of the game but we were able to come out with the win to stay on top of the league with another three points.

Stoke City away on Saturday sees us visit the Bet365 stadium again which wasn’t a happy hunting ground for us last season. A friend of mine who supports them said we will get two wins in a week as we also play them at home next Tuesday in the second round of the Carabao Cup. As always, I never take anything for granted and will make my judgements by what I see on the pitch but am hopeful we will put on a better performance this time. As Bielsa tends not to make too many changes, I expect him to put the same team out but we will see on the day. If we get to the ground early enough I hope to head to the Power League pub next to the ground where away fans are welcome and also to see my friends.

As we headed to the steps of the Kop to go out, someone said is that Heidi Haigh, the Queen of the Kop? Thank you for the compliment and although I was grateful for the praise, I’m sure that view will only be from a few fans. On getting back to the car I put BBC Radio Leeds on but was dismayed to hear someone slagging Leeds fans off who had been having a go at Bamford. I thought they should focus on the whole ground continually singing his name rather than some individuals who made their feelings against him known. At the end of the day they are entitled to their opinion whether we agree with it or not. See you at Stoke, 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

Wigan v Leeds United 17th August 2019 at the DW Stadium

Well it’s been quite a week. Wednesday saw me attend the Premiere Event for the documentary Take Us Home : Leeds United at the Everyman Cinema in the Trinity Centre, Leeds. Getting a VIP invitation was because I featured in the documentary and it was a great opportunity to be involved. My grateful thanks go to all those who made this possible for me. Please note though, it should have been a blue carpet as we don’t do red! I watched the remaining five episodes last night and had to keep watching until the end no matter how painful it was at times. I found it really emotional but did enjoy it because this is Leeds United my football club and fellow supporters. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who took their time today to complement me on my performance in this or asked for their photo to be taken. As always, I appreciate all your comments.

For those of you who have been following my family challenges since the beginning of the year, finally we have some good news to focus on. My husband’s latest tests are fine and any residual changes are down to the treatment he has had for his cancer, with Huddersfield Royal Infirmary keeping an eye on him for the next five years. I know we aren’t the only people who have been going through this and good luck to any other Leeds fan/family who are going through similar challenges. My baby grandson is making good progress and should be transferred into special care shortly rather than being in intensive care. He is now over 3lbs and putting weight on which is good to see.

The team: Casilla, Douglas, Cooper, White, Dallas, Phillips, Hernandez, Klich, Forshaw, Harrison and Bamford. Subs: Costa for Klich (76) and Shackleton for Forshaw (90). Attendance was 14,819 with 5,200 Leeds fans. Leeds won 2-0 with a brace from Bamford (34, 65).

As I got in my car to head to Leeds, the heavens opened and I thought we’d be in for another soggy day. It was nice to see the sun begin to shine when I got to the ground and luckily for us, it kept out all day plus it was quite warm. After ending up with freezing fingers at Salford during the week, it was a very welcome change to the weather. It was nice to meet Dean from Leyland during our pub stop and hopefully he managed to get into the ground. After getting a coffee I found myself in bad books as I knocked it over, soaking my daughter Dani with hot liquid as well as me. She wasn’t impressed with me and said I can’t be taken anywhere! We got to the ground with plenty of time to kick-off and as we made our way to the front of the stand, it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to put my flag up. As Dani and I made our way to the front corner, we managed to hang it over the end of the stand. At that moment it was so blustery I was expecting the wind to take off with it so made extra sure that it was tied on tight.

There was a good atmosphere under the stand as I made my way back into the middle section to my seat. I was right behind the goal but had a great view. The atmosphere transferred itself onto the terraces which was great as I really enjoy the singing. It was good to see that Sean had made it too coming from Australia for the game. The first half started slowly and Wigan were at their most dangerous at this time. With Casilla chasing after the ball back towards the goal, I shouted at him to pick the damn ball up. Obviously I was nervous at that time as I swore at him too. Sorry about that. He made amends for me just after that when he made a good save to keep Wigan out. When Wigan hit the post we were able to clear the ball as we gradually began to take charge of the game. Wigan were doing their damndest to stop our players by fouling them with some challenges going unpunished but also getting quite a few free kicks. I said to the lad next to me that we don’t want them going down to 10 men this time as we know what happened at Elland Road last season. With Wigan’s next attack, the ref blew for a free-kick to them for a foul just before Bamford received a really bad one from their player already booked. The next minute after what seemed to be a message from his linesman to the left of us, he changed his mind and gave their player a second yellow then a red card. With Wigan down to 10 men once again, I thought we’d make sure we didn’t succumb to them in the same way as we did at Elland Road. Learn from your mistakes came to mind. Bamford hit a weak shot at goal when he should have put some power behind it. I said he needed some lessons from Allan Clarke on how to make any attempts into goals. Once he learns from him he’ll do better. A few minutes later he did indeed score as Forshaw’s shot rebounded off the post for Bamford to stick the ball into the net out of reach of their goalie. It was good to get the goal and put us in front on the day. Just after that fighting broke out in the main stand to our right as Leeds fans became under attack. I wasn’t sure if it was some of our corporate fans as I thought I saw some wearing lanyards who were then taken out through one of the boxes. Hopefully no one was badly hurt. Just before the break Hernandez had a shot saved meaning we went in a goal up at half-time.

It took ages to get underneath the stand to the far end where the ladies were situated. It wasn’t a surprise to see a few of the lads obviously can’t read when challenged as to why they were in there. As I made my way back to the middle of the stand I bumped into Ella before someone knocked some of her beer out of her hand. The next minute the same thing happened again before someone stood next to me found the same happen to him. The next minute we ended up with a beer bath as some was thrown into the air. Dani said it was Karma when I told her later, saying I couldn’t complain after spilling my coffee on her lol. By the time I got back in the stand the game had already kicked off.

The second half started with lots of free kicks given to both sides with many stop and starts. Wigan shouted for a penalty when challenged in the area but the ref waved play on. I didn’t think it warranted one though. When Leeds whipped the ball off the toes of a Wigan player, we were all mystified when they were awarded a free kick as it looked a perfectly legitimate challenge to us. Leeds were awarded a corner with many Leeds fans going mad that we should have had a penalty for handball. With the new rules changes, a penalty should be awarded for both a deliberate or accidental handball. As it was, from the corner, Bamford bundled the ball over the line for his second goal of the game to give us a little breathing space. Harrison was in constant space down the right hand side as Leeds kept attacking. Hernandez and Harrison both had shots saved to prevent us getting a third goal and Casilla made a further save to keep a clean sheet. It hadn’t been a pretty game, but I was happy to get the win and three points. It doesn’t matter how Leeds win as long as it goes in our favour.

Our next game is on Wednesday against Brentford which see Pontus return with the opposition team. Sorry Pontus but you need to go home empty handed with no points please. I’m not sure why we aren’t playing on the Tuesday evening though which is our normal day for mid-week games? We then go to Stoke next Saturday for the Championship game before meeting them again a few days later for the Carabao Cup second round at Elland Road. The away ticket sell-outs has reared its head again with loyal fans missing out on tickets. It can’t be right that someone who hasn’t missed a game since 2012, went on the pre-season tour to Australia, got a ticket for Salford then missed out on Stoke. The club must look after loyal fans and not take them for granted. I love our worldwide fan base and will always encourage our fans to come to games. Although it doesn’t affect me being both a home and away season ticket holder, I do care about other Leeds fans.  See you on Wednesday – 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

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

Take Us Home Leeds United Premiere Event 14.8.19

 

It’s not everyday you get invited to see yourself appear in the Leeds United Documentary, Take Us Home. Thank you for the invitation as it was good to see and I’m looking forward to the next five episodes.

I saw plenty of familiar faces on there too and just hearing the fans singing Marching on Together had tingles running down my spine.

Salford City v Leeds United 13th August 2019, Carabao Cup 1st Round at the Peninsula Stadium

With a new ground to visit on the horizon, I was looking forward to the game. Although there would be a lot of changes to the team from Saturday, it was a chance to see our fringe players in action including our latest signings in Costa and Nketiah. As someone who wants us to progress in the cups as winning breeds winning in my eyes, I didn’t want any banana skins tonight but a progression to the next round. With it only being a short journey over the Pennines, we got there before the gates had even opened but luckily we didn’t have long to wait before we were let in. Everyone was searched before being allowed in but I think some things were way over the top. When I saw one of our disabled fans being patted down I shook my head. The lady who searched me laughed at all my bags etc. but I even had to open my water bottle to prove it was water. Another lad was asked to open his wallet! Apparently they were looking for drugs.

I hung my flag up at the front of the barriers because I knew they wouldn’t be allowed along the perimeter due to advertising hoardings. We had plenty of flags on show as usual and with so many familiar faces there I had loads saying hello or asking for photos. It’s always nice to have a chat with many of our fans who I saw today, but I’m biased when I say we have the best fans in the world. There had been a lot of hype for this game by Sky as they were doing a documentary on Salford City due to the involvement of ex man u player Gary Neville and others. There is only one class of 92 and that was Howard Wilkinson’s Leeds United who won the First Division, making us the Last Champions before the invention of the Premier League!

The team: Casilla, Berardi (Captain), Phillips, Leif Davis, Helda Costa (first start), Eddie Nketiah (making his debut), Clarke, Shackleton, White, Klich and Alioski. Subs: Alfie McCalmont (making his debut) for Clarke (70), Harrison for Alioski (78) and Bamford for Nketiah (78). Attendance was a sell-out 5,108 with 1,400 Leeds fans. Leeds won the game 3-0 with goals from Nketiah (43), Berardi (50) and Klich (58).

The first half saw Casilla tested early on before Phillips found his shot sailing way off target. It was worth a try especially as we were building up very slowly in our attacks. We had Davis to thank for keeping Salford out from a corner with a goal line clearance with Casilla beaten. We looked very shaky at that moment as defending corners once again nearly came to haunt us. It was only when Salford attacked us that I realised how tall their players were. With one corner Alioski looked like he was going to try and mark one of them which would have been another David and Golath show. Luckily the other players made sure White got to mark him instead. I’ve no idea why other teams always seem to have giants in them! Phillips’s next effort brought a great save out of their goalie and shortly afterwards he (Neal) prevented him scoring again. Salford always looked dangerous on the break when they were running towards us but Casilla did well to make the save to prevent them taking the lead. Clarke was the next one unlucky not to score when Neal saved a long range shot from him. Although we had a few chances we had kept the tempo low and I said it was like watching paint dry and we needed to up it. Just before half-time we did just that, when Shackleton sent a great pass out to Costa who beat his man at the by-line sending a great cross for Nketiah to get a goal on his debut. Klich was very unlucky not to get us a second before the break as his shot went past the wrong side of the post. The goal was just what we needed going into the second half.

Having got the vital break of a goal, we only had to wait five minutes in the second half to get another. This time Berardi scored his second goal for Leeds when he got on the end of a corner to beat Neal to put us two up on the night. He ran straight back to the other end to celebrate probably because when he got his first goal at Newport he got booked for celebrating with the Leeds fans. Klich came close to giving Leeds a third when he should have kept the ball down but volleyed it over. Casilla then made two great saves to deny Salford the chance to get back into the game. Leeds then broke free from the corner and came charging towards the Leeds fans with Klich in the driving seat. He kept going and sent a fantastic shot into the top corner of the net to send the Leeds fans into overdrive especially in the no man’s land in front of the barriers! We had Casilla to thank for another save before Berardi made our second goal line clearance to keep Salford out. Luckily they were unable to score from a rebound with the goal at their mercy after another Casilla save. Keeping a clean sheet and getting a 3-0 win was good to see and now we meet Stoke at Elland Road the week after we play them away in the league.

When one of their fans ran onto the pitch and went to score he slipped and missed which had the Leeds fans jeering at him. As he slipped back into the crowd, his jacket was thrown back onto the pitch as he mingled with their fans. Surprise, surprise though he wasn’t challenged at all by their stewards. There again those at our end did try to move our fans out of the no man’s land after our second goal but gave up rather quickly. He was the second fan to end up on his arse as one going out at half-time to the left of us was trying to be clever and fell over too. Must be something in the water over there! One thing I didn’t hear until after the game was Salford fans mocking the deaths of our two lads in Turkey. I’ve no time for imbeciles like that and although not a violent person would love them to get their comeuppance!

Saturday sees us back in league action with the away game at Wigan where we have a big following of over 5,000 fans. Keep scoring goals Leeds and get us another win. 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

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

Leeds United v Nottingham Forest 10th August 2019 at Elland Road

My granddaughter and I headed to Leeds for our first home game of the season as for once this didn’t include any pre-season games at Elland Road. It was good to be back having got in the mood for football by playing Paul Wilson’s King of Elland Road all the way from Halifax. We bumped into the 100 years of Leeds United documentary crew as we headed to Billy’s statue to meet my daughter Dani but had to arrange to meet both my sisters there after the game. Due to car parking issues now prevalent at Elland Road, they were told they couldn’t park in Car Park A due to it being for VIPs only, even though there were plenty of spaces. Luckily they got onto the park and ride site but I know these parking issues have been felt very much by many of our disabled supporters.

I went to the Peacock as the Dani and Hannah headed into the ground and stood talking to a Leeds fan I knew outside. As we were stood talking, a photographer arrived to take our photo. It was nice to bump into Monica from the Philippines who was over for the game and also to hear that she enjoys reading my blog. I was also asked to take a photo of some fans over from America, with another one an avid reader of my blog. I managed to catch up for a chat with a few others including Paul one of my Selby Whites and want to thank my “counsellor” for his support which was greatly appreciated. After taking photos of fans I decided I wanted to get into the ground early to ensure my season ticket worked although by the time I chatted to a few people I only got in just before the team came out. After hearing Bielsa’s lookalike young Freddie from Ireland was going to be mascot, I also wanted to capture photos from him coming out with the team. When I’d seen there was a chance for other kids to be a mascot for the game with proceeds to charity, I was all for giving my granddaughters the opportunity until I saw the price. £750 per mascot is a heck of a lot of money and out of my league sadly and many others too from what I read online. Elland Road was buzzing in anticipation of what this season would bring. With the transfer window now closed, our final signings for the season are French goalie Illan Meslier aged 19 from Lorient and Striker Eddie Nketiah aged 20 from Arsenal both on season-long loans. We also lost Roofe who was transferred to Anderlecht but the good news is that Phillips is here to stay which is really important as he is the mainstay of our team.

Team: Casilla, Dallas, Cooper, Douglas, Phillips, Klich, Forshaw, Bamford, Harrison, White and Hernandez. Subs: Alioski for Harrison (73) and Costa (his home debut) for Klich (80). The score was 1-1 with Hernandez scoring the Leeds goal (59). Attendance was 35,453 with 2,001 Forest fans.

After one minute’s applause for those fans no longer with us at the start of the game, we attacked the South Stand in the first half. Leeds set off on the attack putting some good moves together and also spraying excellent passes across the field. With an early appeal of a penalty after Forshaw was brought down in the area ignored, first Phillips with a save by their goalie then Douglas found his attempt blocked as Leeds piled the pressure on. With numerous corners we couldn’t manage that breakthrough early goal but we did limit Forest to any chances. Their goalie denied Bamford a goal when he made another crucial save. Forest had deliberately kicked the ball away three times without the ref even speaking to their players which annoyed me.  When Phillips brought their player down with a mistimed tackle he was straight in the book as their player made a meal of it rolling on the floor. Stop being a namby pamby and be a professional with no play acting. When a similar tackle on one of our players didn’t get their player a booking, I’m positive that was only because he got up on his feet straight away instead of rolling about on the floor. Dallas was body checked by their player on the edge of the box but didn’t even get a free kick. Although we’d seen a lot of the ball and had loads of possession we weren’t able to make it count as we went in level at half-time.

It was nice to catch up with friends at half-time as Carole and I wished each other happy birthday. I’d also seen Tony from West Midlands who’d said the same. I said he never looked a day older than when I first met him all those years ago in the seventies.

I hoped we’d be able to get on top of things in the second half as we attacked the Kop. Bamford came close twice with one shot off the crossbar and another effort needing a bit more power on it as his chip went wide. Once he starts scoring at home I’m sure the goals will come. He is putting more effort into his game now and just needs to up his confidence. There may be large expectations when playing at Elland Road but he couldn’t fault the crowd for getting behind him. Forest had a rare attack but the ball went over the crossbar. All of a sudden Klich put a fantastic ball over the top of their defence for Hernandez to run on and I knew he would score. As the ball hit the back of the net Elland Road erupted as a blue flare was let off in the Kop. In the pandemonium I saw stewards at the front of the Kop motioning for assistance so I thought someone must be hurt. Eventually they were stretchered out of the ground so hopefully they weren’t too badly hurt.

As Forest brought on their three subs early on in the second half (although at different times) I couldn’t but help notice the size of them. It was like David and Goliath when I saw their player against ours. This also came to haunt us when they won a corner in front of the South Stand. In the melee the ball was eventually put into our net for them to equalise. Although I haven’t seen it, others said Cooper had been fouled in the build up to the goal but it was allowed to stand. My husband confirmed this when I got home too as well as confirming we should have had two penalties. One where Costa had three of them on him in the penalty area probably wasn’t one from my point of view, but another where he was brought down was a cast iron one conveniently ignored by the ref. Cooper had a push in the back which was ignored too. He went for the ball then ended up a few feet away from where he jumped so that was blatant to me. The bad foul on Dallas was even worse but ignored by the ref too. There were many bad fouls from Forest and it looks like our team are going to face a battering again this season. When teams can’t beat us they will not hesitate to foul us instead. Some of them should have been bookings but luckily for them the ref let them off.

Once again the referee was very poor in many aspects and the officials should be accountable for their inactions. He went off at the end of the game with the Kop booing and giving him stick for his inept display on the pitch. Although it was disappointing not to get all three points, at least we won’t have other clubs baying to claim the end of our unbeaten run.

We met up with my sisters Karin and Erica at Billy’s statue before heading home. Luckily we managed to get away easily although we didn’t go straight home. Hannah sent a tweet to Susan Smith after the game as she’d broken down and didn’t manage to get to the game. She’d been looking forward to getting a photo with her but that will have to be at the next game instead.

Tuesday sees our Carabao Cup tie at Salford which will be a new ground for me before the away game at Wigan next Saturday. Our away following will be contrasting at both games as we have only a small allocation of tickets for the former with approximately 5,000 for Wigan. 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

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

Bristol City v Leeds United 4th August 2019 at Ashton Gate

Welcome back everyone to my Follow Me and Leeds United blog that will take you through the Centenary season for Leeds United. As a home and away season ticket holder this will be done game by game where you get an insight into an away day and lots of photos of the fan experience. Please feel free to share any posts or photos but if you can give me acknowledgement for anything shared that would be appreciated.

For those of you who are already avid followers of my accounts, we will know shortly how the treatment of my husband’s cancer has gone but he is making good progress. Also my baby grandson made a very early appearance yesterday as he didn’t want to miss all the action. His mum had a season ticket before she was born so I made sure he had his Leeds United kit ready for him to grow into before he was born.

With everything going on in the background with my family I haven’t had time to think too much about the new season but am saddened by both the Jansson and Peacock-Farrell sales. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I stand by my point of view that we should have built our team around Peacock-Farrell. Bringing others in on high wages to the detriment of players already here was always going to upset the applecart. 

As always I will make my judgements by what I see on the pitch. With Bielsa staying that had to be the best news I wanted to hear as it brings the continuity I crave. Getting off to a good start will be key to how our season progresses but being amongst our fans once again during our season’s journey will be priceless. Make sure you ask for a photo when you see me if you want to be part of the blog. After a stop in Gloucester with lots of Leeds United discussions and good company we arrived at the ground in good time for kick-off. It was great to walk down to the ground saying hello to lots of Leeds fans and seeing lots of familiar faces. The bottom tier of the stand was cordoned off which is a shame as we could have sold extra tickets today no problem. As it was most fans put their flags on show in this area which was good to see.

The team: Casilla, Cooper, Bamford, Douglas, Dallas, Klich, Phillips, Ben White (making his league debut), Hernandez, Harrison and Forshaw. Subs: Costa (making his league debut) for Klich (76), Alioski for Douglas (79) and Davis for Harrison (85). Leeds won the game 3-1 with Hernandez (26), Bamford (57) and Harrison (72) scoring for Leeds. Attendance was 23,553 with 2,126 Leeds fans.

After a few free kicks going Bristol’s way we settled into the game and there was some great pin point passes across the pitch. Casilla managed to have my heart in my mouth a few times again today with his charging out of the area runs. With one clearance in the first half it went straight to their player on the edge of the box but Casilla made amends with a great save to keep Bristol out. Leeds started to look comfortable on the ball and I was impressed with young Ben White who was quick to show some nippy footwork giving a good account of himself. We were able to keep a lot of possession and didn’t look too troubled by Bristol when they tested us on a few occasions. The game turned on its head when Hernandez scored a fantastic goal at the opposite end to us on the half hour mark to put us into the lead. I knew as soon as the ball left his foot it was going into the net. The Leeds fans had been in good voice even before the goal and upped the noise with great celebrations. We nearly got a second on the stroke of half-time when Forshaw’s shot just went past the wrong side of the post. Very close but not close enough to score. I didn’t feel unduly worried about Bristol in the first half as we played some good attacking football as we went into half time with a one goal lead.

The ref caused some controversy when Klich was fouled and stayed on the ground, he played on. When the same thing happened with one of the Bristol players, he blew up and stopped the game. Just remember officials, I want a level playing field this season and not one rule for Leeds and one rule for everyone else. Also when we are getting our shirts pulled right in front of the linesman, he needs to open his eyes because if I can see it in the stand then there is something wrong with his eyesight!

The second half saw Bristol come out with more fight in them and it took a while for us to settle. It wasn’t long though before Hernandez did some fantastic weaving in the penalty area on the left hand side of the pitch and crossed for Bamford to head the ball into the net in front of us for our second goal of the game. I’d said before the game that if Bamford gets one hopefully that will give him confidence to score more. We were on top at this point and looking good for a win. This was made even better when Leeds scored a third after a great counter attack involving Dallas then Klich before Harrison put the ball into the net. With some fans singing we are top of the league, I thought back to last season when I wouldn’t sing it in case I jinxed anything. I thought maybe it would be better if I was optimistic and just sang it anyway. With approximately 15 minutes left on the clock Costa was brought on in place of Klich which left us seemingly disjointed as we lost our prowess in midfield. This immediately gave Bristol the impetus putting Leeds on the back foot and under pressure, so it was no surprise when they pulled one back beating Casilla at the near post. With them then piling further pressure on us and coming close to a second, I thought we better not capitulate and let them get another otherwise we’d be in trouble. It took a while for us to calm down and get control again but luckily we stopped them scoring another goal so we had a winning start to our Centenary season with a 3-1 away win. Hernandez got a deserved Sky man of the match with his magical jinx and fantastic goal which was well deserved.

It was lovely to see Phillips coming over to the Leeds fans and handing his shirt over to young Jack at the front of the stand who was really happy. This was also caught by the Sky cameras too which was lovely to see. Apparently in the warm up the ball had hit Jack and this was his way of saying sorry. Well done to both.

When we got back to the coach I went onto the roadside as a lad I know was being helped along the road but was in a very bad way. His injury looked really bad and the police were going to get a car to take him back to his coach but in the meantime was leaning on ours. Sadly I had to get back on the coach as we were leaving but I really hope he is okay.

We had a relatively good run back to Leeds and I was home in Halifax before midnight. After having really warm and dry weather on our way down to the game it was a surprise to hit rain again on our way home. Our first home game of the season is the early 12.30pm kick-off against Nottingham Forest next week. It will be good to get back onto home soil, as this is the first time in many years we haven’t had a home game in any of our pre-season friendlies. 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

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

York 10th July and Guiseley 11th July pre-season games

York City v Leeds United 10th July 2019 at Bootham Crescent

Welcome back to all my followers and I hope this season brings us the rewards we are all craving. Last season’s ending hit many of us very hard and it has taken a while to get over not getting automatic promotion. We have brought Costa from Wolves who will have to hit the ground running for me purely because I am not in favour of expensive loans, but as long as he plays for the shirt and stays injury free they will be plus points. I’d been rather down due to Pontus Jansson being sold to Brentford this week which had been preceded by Jack Clarke’s sale then loan back from Tottenham. Instead of building we seemed to be dismantling what we had so I will wait and see what transpires on the pitch. At least it looks like we are getting rid of a lot of the fringe players who shouldn’t be here.

Going to York straight away rekindled the passion of following Leeds for 50+ years in what will be our Centenary Year. As always I make my judgements by what I see on the pitch but it was good to be back amongst our support with many familiar faces. It was also good to see that Nikki still had Rita her guide dog with as we thought she’d been retired at the end of last season. Rita is a Leeds fan through and through who barks every time Leeds scores a goal.

The team for the first hour: Kiko Casilla, Stuart Dallas, Gaetano Berardi, Liam Cooper, Barry Douglas, Alfie McCalmont, Adam Forshaw, Pablo Hernandez, Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford and Kemar Roofe.

Substitutes en masse: Robbie Gotts, Oliver Casey, Ryan Edmundson, Bryce Hosannah, Jack Jenkins, Clarke Odour, Pascal Struijk, Kun Temenuzhkov, Rafa Mujica and Liam McCarron.

Leeds won the game 5-0 with goals from Harrison (3, 44), Roofe (22), Hernandez (34) and Forshaw (53). Attendance was 5,108 with 2,162 Leeds fans.

Leeds got off to a great start when Harrison put the ball in the net to give us the lead in the third minute after York failed to clear Hernandez’s cross. Bamford had a shot over the bar but shortly afterwards was unlucky not to score when his shot hit the post. Harrison was playing well and his cross from the byline was met by Roofe in the box to put us further into the lead. Leeds were in fine form not giving York much of the ball and it was no surprise when we scored again after a great build up from Harrison and Bamford which enabled Hernandez to get on the score sheet. After a rare shot from York just before half time that went over the bar, Leeds increased their lead with a second great goal from Harrison from outside the box. Leeds being 4-0 up at half time had made it an enjoyable start to this pre-season friendly game.

The second half saw us carry on with the same team and Harrison was unlucky not to get a hat-trick when he was denied by their goalie making the save. Leeds did get a fifth goal when Forshaw chipped the ball over the keeper after being put through by Hernandez.

There was a mass substitution after an hour with only Casilla staying on the pitch who became captain. Youngsters McCarron and Mujica were making their debuts for Leeds. There was no let-up in play as the youngsters carried on where the first team had left off and I was impressed with the way they slotted in to the way Bielsa wanted. The one player that stood out for me was young Alfie McCalmont as he played the holding role that Phillips normally plays in for the first hour. He didn’t look out of place and has a bright future I’m sure.

It was nice to set off with a win despite York not really putting up any opposition. See you at Guiseley.

Guiseley v Leeds United 11th July 2019 at Nethermoor Park

Leeds won the game 2-1 with goals from Costa (69) and Bogusz (80). Attendance was approx. 5,800.

The Team: Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Kamil Miazek 45), Helder Costa making his debut, Mateuz Bogusz, Kalvin Phillips, Gjanni Allioski (Niall Huggins 86), Ben White making his debut (Nohan Kenneh aged 16, 74), Jamie Shackleton, Jack Clarke, Leif Davies, Mateusz Klich and Jordan Stevens.

Substitutes not used: Bobby Kamwa, Stuart McKinstry and Theo Hudson.

We missed the build up to the game as I’d to wait for my granddaughter Hannah to get back from a school trip. We also had to pick our tickets up for the game from my nephew’s house who lives near the Guiseley ground so at least we had somewhere to park. We got into the ground just as the teams were coming out so stayed at the corner where we arrived with Hannah and Vinnie getting a place at the front of the stand.

It was a different team to York yesterday with more of the youngsters playing but it was good to see Kalvin Phillips there. With all the rumours flying around that he was going to be sold, I’m hoping that’s all they are as he needs to be in our team going forwards.

It didn’t take long to see that Guiseley were going to be a different side to York as they were up for it from the start and were very quick on the attack. Phillips found this out when he was bundled off the ball and Peacock-Farrell was then beaten on a one to one to put Guiseley into the lead on nine minutes. Guiseley continued to put us under pressure and there was no free flowing football from us that had been on show at York which was a complete contrast to that game. It was taking time to get a grip of the game as we went in at half time a goal down.

As we started the second half better, we thought Alioski had equalised only for the linesman to put his flag up for offside. We should have had a penalty when our player had his foot taken from under him and although the referee was poised with his whistle looking to blow, he decided not to give one. It took us until the 69th minute to get level on the night when Costa scored on his debut after some good individual work. Miazek who had come on for the second half in place of Peacock-Farrell was called on to make a save to prevent Guiseley from taking the lead for a second time.

Leeds took the lead for the first time after Shackleton and Costa combined to give Bogusz the chance to score. It took a few minutes for the scoreboard to update and we thought that Guiseley wanted to pretend we hadn’t scored. Guiseley didn’t give up but Leeds were able to hold on for the second win in two days.

As the final whistled sounded on 89 minutes, kids all over the ground ran onto the pitch as that was the sign for a pitch invasion. It was quite funny listening to the tannoy announcer pleading with everyone to get off the pitch, even saying he’d put a notice up on the scoreboard.

Even though this hadn’t been a good game it was good for the players to start their build up to the season. Unfortunately Alioski went off injured and White was taken off with a knock. Let’s hope long term injuries are banished this year as that was our downfall last season.

I just want to wish all the fans going to Australia and Sardinia a wonderful and safe trip to either or both. To say I’m not jealous at all would be an understatement as sadly I am not in a position to go to any of the ones abroad this year. I’m looking forward to seeing all the photos from those fans who are there though and see our fantastic support on show once again.

I’m now looking forward to the season starting in earnest on 4th August with our trip to Bristol City. Come on Leeds, we can do this! See you there – LUFC – Marching on Together!

Heidi Haigh – 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
  • Working on my latest book which will hopefully be out soon

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

 

Fan Girls Dissertation by Hatty Jones

I was asked to take part in this Dissertation by Hatty and thank you for the opportunity.

Leeds United v Derby County 15th May at Elland Road play-off semi-final second leg

With one thing after another happening kicking you when you are down together with grid locked roads all around us, it was a relief to get to Elland Road in time for kick off. The one thing it did though was give me no chance to worry about the game ahead of us. I knew once the game kicked off that I would be able to forget about things for a while but I felt we’d missed out on the build up to the atmosphere. With only a one goal lead, there was still hope at this point that we’d do this and although slightly nervous, the tie was in our hands. I’d be happy when it was 10pm though then at least we’d know for certain what happened next. The stat I’d found incredulous on Saturday, was hearing that out of the 46 games we had been in the automatic promotion spots in 42 of them.

It didn’t take long to start taking photos and it was nice to be thanked for sharing my blog by one fan who had been caught on camera a few times this season. Getting into the Kop there was a great atmosphere below the stand that started to get the juices flowing. Leeds fans all over the ground had been given a scarf on our seats today which was a nice gesture by Leeds and Victor Orta had been putting them out personally. They reminded me of the silk scarves we used to wear in the 70s so thank you for that. As the teams came out to a crescendo of noise, it felt like something we had never witnessed before. Despite having attended games for over 50 years, this will take some beating and would be up there with the best. Scarves twirling or held up, it was a fantastic sight and something I will always be proud of being part of.

The team: Casilla, Cooper, Ayling, Berardi, Phillips, Hernandez, Harrison, Bamford, Shackleton, Dallas and Klich. Subs: Clarke for Klich (86) and Brown for Bamford (88). Leeds lost the game 4-2 with Dallas getting a brace for us (24 and 62). Attendance was 36,326 with 2,653 Derby fans. Leeds lost on aggregate 4-3 meaning Derby meet Villa in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

With the Leeds crowd in full voice it took a while for us to settle into the game and I certainly didn’t want Derby to get an early goal. It was vital we gave them nothing and when Dallas put the ball into the net in front of the South Stand after Cooper’s header had hit the post that gave us a two goal cushion on aggregate. We were unlucky not to get a second goal when Klich’s shot hit the cross bar but bounced down on the wrong side of the goal-line. I didn’t realise that Bamford was booked for diving as I’d decided not to bother wearing my glasses, superstitions and all that!! Whilst we’d kept attacking (the best form of defence) I’d not been worried about Derby at all. The last five minutes or so saw us slack off for some reason. We then hit the self-destruct button once again when Casilla made an error coming out when Cooper was trying to shield the ball and let Derby in to score right on half time. That was the difference between going in with a two goal lead but instead we had given Derby a lifeline. Casilla did exactly the same thing a short while afterwards nearly presenting Derby with another goal. Why he has to continuously hare out of his goal when he has no chance of getting near the ball is beyond me. The teams went off at half time with expletives ringing in Casilla’s ears from me!

The second half had barely kick off when Derby scored again more or less straight away to equalise on aggregate.  All because of that goal before half time in my eyes which was a crucial one not to give away. We should have taken the lead again when Harrison had a great chance only to see the ball kicked off the line before Dallas brought a save out of their goalie. There were shouts from everyone around me that we should have had a penalty for hand ball. Although I didn’t see it myself fans around me said it was blatant but no officials made the decision. A penalty was awarded to Derby though a short while later when their player went down in the area and they sent Casilla the wrong way to put them 3-1 up on the night. What a turnaround for Derby but so predictable from Leeds sadly. The game wasn’t over though, as Dallas got his second goal of the night to equalise on aggregate. With the tie looking to go into extra time and penalties, neither of which I wanted, we were reduced to 10 men when Berardi was sent off. We’d been fouled twice and the ref played on before Berardi got his revenge and a red card. As we regrouped Derby started to attack us and Bamford was robbed of the ball by being too lightweight. They then put the nail in the coffin by scoring their fourth on the night putting an end to our promotion hopes. Once again with the game in our hands, we threw away that opportunity. I only had slight stomach churning probably because I’d seen it so many times before. We were so close yet so far away. I found that I wasn’t as upset as I thought I’d be probably because I was resigned to the failure once again. As I pointed out to Hannah my granddaughter, this is part of being a Leeds United fan and how it prepares you for being a good loser. Character building it is called. It was a bit of a tongue in cheek saying this time though because I was adamant we had to gain promotion this year; our best chance for years and we’d thrown it away. My ambition for this season had always been aspire for the top two and go up automatically as we had to get promoted this year otherwise we would never do it.

Only time will tell how we pick ourselves up for next season in the Championship. For me there will be no excuses but it has to be automatic champions. Matching this season’s performances will be hard though with all the injuries we have suffered to the squad. Replicating most of the games will depend on who is part of our squad going forwards. A must is we have to keep Phillips and not cash in on him. We have to build the team around him and our other youngsters and have some older heads amongst them. I’m not happy with Casilla tonight and as I said all those months ago I would have kept Peacock-Farrell in goal as we had to build our team about the youngsters and I would have made Casilla fight for his place. Whether he has got too complacent I don’t know but seeing his suicidal charges out of goal have made me scream at him for his incompetence.

As someone who won’t be going on the Australia pre-season tour, I hope everyone has a great time. I would love to have been part of it but cannot be. We must have a flying start to next season and recruitment will be a vital part of that. I will be taking a break for a few weeks from my blog but will turn it into a book and season review in due course for those who are interested. I will post details up when available.

To all those fans who have supported me, had photos taken, chatted, or just been part of following Leeds United, I thank you all and appreciate all you have done to help me through some tough times. Although these are not over yet and won’t be for a long time, I salute you all. Just keep the memory of the sight of our fans in the stands at the start of this game and realise that it is special being a Leeds fan.  Our support is unique and don’t ever lose that feeling. See you all next season – LUFC – Marching on Together. 

Heidi Haigh – A fanatical Leeds United supporter of over 50 years

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

Derby County v Leeds United 11th May 2019 at Pride Park – play-off semifinal first leg

On Wednesday I was having my nails done and it was really funny when I was introduced to the lady next to me, as she was a Leeds fan too. The two of us were chatting away about Leeds United with Hannah and Debbie looking at us both saying that they hadn’t a clue what we were on about lol. Thank you Paula who it turned out had worked at Elland Road for 17 years, for buying my book Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18. After another hard week for my family, this culminated with the death of my father-in-law yesterday. The good thing was we all managed to get there and spend some time together and I was there holding his hand when he took his last breath. There are many others going through traumas of their own today, not only friends but those families who suffered in the Bradford Fire disaster and the death of young Leeds fan Ian Hambridge at Birmingham in 1985. My heart goes out to all of them on what was a dark day for football all those years ago. It was also my friend Karen’s birthday which sends a poignant reminder every year.

 

As I pulled my car onto the street I couldn’t believe my eyes seeing that little ba****d magpie walking across the road in front of me. At first I thought damn, then I decided that I needed to kick that superstition into touch today. After a tearful conversation with my youngest daughter, then another with my eldest daughter I was glad to get that out of my system. Whilst stood at the bar when we stopped at Chesterfield on our way to the game, someone asked me how we would do and I just shrugged my shoulders. At that time it felt like it was an effort to go to the game and getting into the play offs is something I could have done without.  As my daughter Dani and I struggled to get a table in the packed pub, we were lucky to join Nikki, Stephen and Rita the dog at their table. By the time we left after food, drink and plenty of conversations in good company, my spirits had lifted and I was looking forward to getting there.

 

We arrived in plenty of time for kick off and I headed to the front to put my flag up. There were lots more put up before the game and they are great to see. As I stood there Katherine Hannah from BBC Radio Leeds came to see me for an interview plus another one at the end of the game. My mum and sister Karin heard the first one and my sister Erica the second one. I also did an interview for the Leeds United documentary crew. Although slightly nervous at this time I said I wanted to win 4-0 today, 4-0 on Wednesday and 4-0 at Wembley. That is just because I want the other team to be out of sight and out of mind to ease the nerves. I just wanted Leeds to give 110% percent like my hero Billy Bremner always used to and my new mantra is saying “it’s not over till it’s over, so we still have a chance”. Seriously I just wanted to win the game and as I won the football card on the coach I said it was a good omen!

 

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Dallas, Forshaw, Roofe, Klich, Phillips, Hernandez and Harrison. Subs: Shackleton for Forshaw (went off injured 24) and Clarke for Roofe (81). Leeds won the game 1-0 with a goal from Roofe (55). Attendance was 31,723 with 2,780 Leeds fans. With Jansson out injured Berardi stepped in to take his place. It was good to see all our injured players had travelled to the game to support the team too.

 

We played towards the goal nearest the Leeds fans in the first half and to me, it was noticeable, that Derby were looking to gain an advantage by keeping the team at the far end of the pitch when warming up too. I just thought we’d have to shut them up instead! I thought we played well in the first half and although we had lots of possession again, we weren’t able to put the ball into the net. What was good though was seeing Leeds do exactly what I wanted in fighting for every ball and although Derby got the chance to attack a few times, they didn’t come close to scoring as we battled to keep them out. I hadn’t put my glasses on so although I could see the players at the far end of the ground I did miss things. The most important thing was not seeing Forshaw go off injured and Shackleton coming on as a substitute. I thought he’d been playing from the start and I’d missed it, oops! Derby were also battling to keep Leeds out and the first half was a good one to see as we went in at half time on equal terms.

 

The second half saw us attacking the far end and Derby started falling like flies looking for and getting the free kicks. When Derby fouled our player as we attacked, the ref said play on. With that Harrison put a great cross over to Roofe in the middle of the goal mouth to hit the ball into the net and send the Leeds fans into raptures. There were bodies flying all over the place as I dodged them to stay upright. There were fantastic scenes of joy amongst the Leeds fans and it was great to be part of it. Roofe was unlucky not to score a second goal minutes later but their goalie made the save to prevent him getting another one. I started getting a little nervous as the game went on and couldn’t believe it when their player went down in the area and a penalty was given. I was convinced we hadn’t fouled their player as the ref went over to speak to the linesman at the far side of the pitch. I said “Wouldn’t it be great if he changed his mind and said it wasn’t a penalty?” With that the decision was reversed as the Leeds fans cheered and the Derby fans jeered. It was great to see the replays on social media afterwards confirming that Harrison was fouled and hadn’t touched their player anyway. After Derby’s short spell which had me on tenterhooks, Leeds got the better of them again as the whole team battled and got to the end of injury time with a 1-0 win. What better tonic did I need than that? I also loved the chant today “All of the spies, are hidden away, just try not to worry, you’ll beat us some day, we beat you at home, we beat you away, stop crying Frank Lampard, stop crying Frank Lampard!” That was class and whoever made it up full credit to you as I can’t stop singing it. Thank you also to those fans who love what I do with my blog and as always your comments are appreciated and that is also a big boost for my self-esteem.

 

Getting a goal was great as it gives us a psychological advantage. Let’s make Elland Road a cauldron of hate in the second leg and scare the living daylights out of Derby. See you on Wednesday – LUFC – Marching on Together. 

 

Heidi Haigh – A fanatical Leeds United supporter of over 50 years

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

Ipswich v Leeds United 5th May 2019 at Portman Road

After hearing Bamford had got a two game suspension for simulation after the Villa game by the FA it came as no surprise that Hourihane from Villa had got away with the punch on Klich. Because he stayed on his feet it was deemed not a punch, surprise, surprise. Leeds put in a defence for Bamford asking for the ban to be lenient due to us letting Villa score. That should never have formed our defence as I still maintain that goal should not have been handed to them on a plate. Instead we should have asked for Villa to be brought up for bringing the game into disrepute by attacking our players and punching Klich for scoring a perfectly legitimate goal and playing to the referee’s whistle. As video evidence appeared on social media showing the punch on Klich, there was no excuse for not charging them. Also on view was Villa scoring a goal with a Stoke player down recently, where Villa happily took the goal.  When the boot was on the other foot they didn’t make a fuss at all and showed how two faced they are.

As for today’s game, it may have had no meaning, but it always had the typical Leeds United banana skin waiting as Ipswich were already relegated and we needed one point to confirm our final place as third in the Championship. As usual we lost against 10 men, missed a penalty and let Ipswich score three goals. After a 4.30am get up well, what’s another kick in the teeth? Thousands of Leeds fans still turned up to celebrate our season and had been in good spirits with plenty coming down for the weekend but many coming for the day only. As it turned out we ended up third as both Villa and West Brom lost, with Derby taking the last play-off spot to be our opposition in the semi-finals with the away leg first. My publisher is a Derby fan and as I want Leeds to go through and win these ties plus the final at Wembley, please let him be the disappointed one. Whatever happens, we have to do this even if it is the hard way.

The stewards were very friendly letting my go downstairs to the front of the stand to put my flag up with one proclaiming he was a Leeds fan too. I caught up with the documentary crew too and had a chat with them before realising I was being filmed again oops!

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Klich, Forshaw, Roofe, Phillips, Harrison, Dallas and Hernandez.  Subs: Clarke for Harrison (61). Leeds lost 3-2 with Klich (45) and Dallas (76) scoring for Leeds. Attendance was 20,895 with 3,963 Leeds fans.

Leeds took the game to Ipswich and played some good football, the only downfall being our final weak passes that allowed them to clear the ball and when we did have a shot, we didn’t get any on target. As the game went on we started being too casual at the back and Ipswich came close to scoring before Forshaw had a shot saved by their goalie. I could see that we were giving Ipswich hope and that was going to be dangerous for us. The next thing Casilla raced out of his area to the wing as Ipswich attacked but there was no way he was going to get anywhere near both their player and ours. As he brought their player down my heart sank as I thought this was another sending off for him but luckily for Casilla, he received a yellow card. Why he keeps doing the same thing though I have no idea but he really needs to think about what he is doing as this was costly for us once again. With Ipswich scoring from the resulting free kick, what could be worse? I’m sure I’d seen a stat about them not scoring or winning for a long time and these stats usually change when they come up against us. We did still try and came close when Roofe had a shot blocked before a further attack just before half time saw Klich hit a strike from the edge of the box into the net. That was a relief to know we’d scored just before the break.

Sadly we didn’t keep the impetus up because within a couple of minutes of the second half starting Ipswich scored a second goal. That was just what we didn’t need! When Clarke came on as sub we upped our game and started attacking more, coming close with the ball flying all over the box but without us putting it into the net. An Ayling cross once again brought a second goal for Leeds after Roofe had hit the bar before Dallas got onto the end of it to equalise. Someone said we’d settle for a draw and I said no we would go out to win. When we were awarded a penalty and their player was sent off, Roofe got hold of the ball to take it. My only thoughts were to make sure we scored from it. Well it certainly didn’t go to plan as Roofe slipped as he went to take it and the ball flew over the top. Another penalty miss and another one that wasn’t even on target or bringing a save out of their goalie. To say we were never awarded penalties in the early part of the season, now we have missed four out of our last six penalties. Once again this proved to be very costly for us as Ipswich scored three goals in a single game for the first time this season, scoring three goals from three shots on target (courtesy of @LUFCDATA). With another mix up in our defence between Ayling and Casilla, Ipswich were able to get the winner just before full time.

As playoff tickets go on sale tomorrow, I’m just glad that I have got the auto cup scheme for both home and away tickets. Although I would be guaranteed a ticket for both legs, I don’t have the hassle to worry about. Good luck to the Leeds United youngsters in their game at Elland Road tomorrow. I won’t be attending this time as I jinxed them at Guiseley recently making them lose and I want them to win. Who knows what the playoffs will bring against Derby but we must do it the hard way once again. Surely it will go right for us this time, please ……….? One thing is for sure, we’ll know soon enough.

The good thing about today was being with others, supporting each other and catching up with sleep. With friends going through similar issues to me at the moment with family members, I wish them all the luck in the world. Personally, we made some progress with my husband this week taking one step forward then two steps back. Keep fighting everyone and that includes Leeds United! See you at Derby – LUFC – Marching on Together. 

Heidi Haigh – A fanatical Leeds United supporter of over 50 years

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

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