Newcastle v Leeds United 26th January 2021 at St James’ Park

Photo from 2016-17 St James’ Park

With the Southampton game postponed, the pitch at Elland Road will have been replaced by the time we play our next home game against Everton in February. I’ve seen the sum of £300,000 mentioned with the HT Pro hybrid pitch the same as at Tottenham and Swansea. This is a temporary replacement as the pitch is due for reconstruction at the end of the season along with a new drainage system. Also, Leeds announced further investment into the club by an affiliated entity of the 49ers with the increase of their share holding to 37%. Paraag Marathe now becomes the Vice Chairman of Leeds United.

Team: Meslier, Cooper, Llorente, Dallas, Harrison, Ayling, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Bamford, Phillips and Alioski. Subs: Struijk for Llorente (10) Klich for Alioski (55) and Roberts for Bamford (59). Subs not used: Casilla, Poveda, Hernandez, Costa, Davis and Shackleton. Leeds won the game 2-1 with goals scored by Raphinha (17) and Harrison (61). Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: Anthony Taylor.

My stomach had been churning for hours before the game today so I was a little nervous knowing how important a win would be.  In the opening minutes of the game numerous players were injured and then Llorente went down and had to be replaced after 10 minutes. Once again with a comeback game, Llorente has found himself injured. This was a big blow for us especially as he has spent more time on the treatment table than on the pitch since he arrived at Leeds. It would have been nice to see him get a full game under his belt but sadly it wasn’t to be. Hopefully, he was just taken off as a precaution. A fantastic cross from Dallas to Harrison at the far post looked like it would be slammed into the net, but he didn’t connect with the ball right and the chance went wide. Leeds won a few corners in quick succession before taking the lead after some great build up play, when Rodrigo pulled a great pass back across the penalty area for Raphinha on the edge of the box to score on 17 minutes. It was Meslier’s turn to be treated by the trainer after he got a knee in the face and was down on the deck.

Leeds had the most possession and great moves in the first half but just before half time, Newcastle went on a run and won a corner. Meslier dropped the cross but in front of Struijk who shielded the ball to him. Leeds had a couple of good chances prior to that with some great moves and Rodrigo was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. Raphinha found himself knocked over by Ayling in their penalty area whilst we were on the attack. I was quite surprised to see the referee keep his yellow cards in his pocket as I felt there were a few tackles that warranted a booking, especially the one who caught the back of Raphinha’s ankle. We nearly got complacent when Cooper glanced a short ball back to Meslier that put us under pressure, but Meslier was quickly out to smother the ball. Due to all the stoppages, it was no surprise to see five minutes of injury time added on. Leeds ended the half on the attack and some of the passes cut through the Newcastle defence were sublime, but they battled to keep us out as the whistle blew just when we’d won another corner.

At the start of the second half, Leeds were unlucky not to go further into the lead after a great ball from Raphinha saw the ball rebound off Dallas and into the net, but the goal was disallowed for handball. It was still a stop start game due to injuries, but with Leeds a man down, the referee played on and Newcastle won a corner. The resulting shot from them was straight at Meslier. Just after that Meslier took another knee to his face and needed treatment. The poor lad was certainly in the wars today. Bielsa brought Klich on to replace Alioski on 55 mins and I thought we needed to change things to get back on top. With Newcastle coming out for the second half rejuvenated, sadly for us they scored more or less straight away after the substitution. The goal came from a Leeds mistake when we had won the ball back but then gave it away too easily. Although Meslier got his hands to it, the pace of the ball and with our defence beaten, it meant he didn’t stand a chance of stopping the ball going into the net. Roberts came on to replace Bamford, but Leeds managed to get in front again a few minutes later. A glorious ball once again from Raphinha reached Harrison on the left-hand side and this time he made no mistake and slammed the ball into the net.

Leeds were having to battle as Newcastle upped their game when Struijk took the ball off their toes in our penalty area. Rodrigo sent a fantastic ball to Raphinha and the final ball was just out of reach of Roberts. That had been a good chance. Newcastle won a couple of corners as the final header went over the top of the bar. One challenge by Leeds which I thought was a 50/50 tussle saw their player fall over and awarded a free kick in a good position. Newcastle had certainly woken up this half especially when a fantastic save from Meslier denied them an equaliser. They then ran all the way through us with Roberts having no chance of catching their player, which brought another fantastic save from Meslier. There was no pressure on their player from us but also, we couldn’t bring their player down either in a crucial position. Newcastle won another free kick outside the area and were looking strong down the left-hand side of the pitch towards our goal. Rodrigo was booked for diving; he’d been tackled him from behind and then their player retaliated putting his head in Rodrigo’s face, so he got out of the way! Their player was bleeding in the mouth, but any contact was accidental. I thought Newcastle were the ones being antagonistic anyway. Ayling’s cross was put out over the bar for a corner to Leeds then a deflection from Klich was put out for another one. Raphinha had a header come off their player and caught by their keeper as the whistle went for full time. Raphinha played well today and won a deserved man of the match

That was a hard fought 2-1 win especially during the second half, so getting three points was vital. With the forthcoming Leicester game being on Sunday at least we have a few days for Llorente to recover. LUFC – Marching on Together!

Leeds United v Brighton 16th January 2021 at Elland Road

If anyone hasn’t seen the thread I posted yesterday on social media, make sure you head over to the link on my website to be taken back to the terraces on the Kop in 1974.

http://www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk/a-blast-from-the-past-leeds-united-kop-v-derby-6th-april-1974-authentic-recording-done-by-heidi-haigh-contains-swearing

A blast from the past! Leeds United Kop v Derby 6th April 1974 – authentic recording done by Heidi Haigh. Contains swearing.

This is a blast from the past! An authentic cassette recording from Leeds United v Derby County on 6th April 1974. This was recorded by me, Heidi Haigh, a loyal Leeds United fan of over 50 years when I took my cassette recorder onto the Kop to record the singing of the fans. Enjoy listening to it and taking you back to a time when Leeds United were crowned First Division Champions a few weeks later! To say the cassette has survived for nearly 47 years to keep those memories alive is brilliant plus it includes Ronnie Hilton’s records at the end and thank you to him for giving us a chance to sing those songs on the terraces.

The rumours about Meslier not playing turned out to be true and with Phillips suspended for the game today it meant a reshuffle of the team.

Team: Casilla, Dallas, Ayling, Cooper, Alioski, Struijk, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Bamford, Harrison and Klich. Subs: Roberts for Rodrigo (62), Hernandez for Alioski (67) and Poveda for Raphinha (75). Subs not used: Caprile, Davis, Llorente, Jenkins, Roberts, Costa and Shackleton. Leeds lost the game 1-0. Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee. Kevin Friend.

With all the recent snow and rain, the pitch looked heavy and was cutting up in places very quickly. The good news is the pitch is going to be replaced at the end of the season according to Kinnear’s programme notes today.

Leeds has a good chance early on after a great cross from Harrison saw Rodrigo put off by their defender in front of goal and he couldn’t stick the ball into the net. Brighton ran through us from a throw in and their player went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Ayling, but the referee waved play on. Klich had a shot over the bar on 15 minutes. From the goal kick somehow, Brighton suddenly ran through us and when I expected their player to pass to the wing, they passed into the penalty area. The final cross to the far side of the goal saw their man in the middle all on his own to put the ball into the net on 17 minutes. Leeds had been ball watching rather than the man who snuck in behind Ayling.

Bamford was flagged offside which I disputed as he was behind their man and shouted to the linesman to get a grip. Brighton still looked dangerous and were running rings around us when the ball deflected off Ayling and hit the underside of the crossbar and away. It felt like a practice match from our perspective with extremely poor passing and at one time I felt like I could go to sleep.

To me it was the aftermath of our FA Cup loss to Crawley where instead of winning breeding winning, we looked down and out at times. Raphinha was robbed of the ball as White now playing for Brighton ran forward into our box but Ayling and Struijk between them, in the penalty area, got the ball away. Leeds tried to attack but the ball rebounded off the referee in a good position, but the new rules meant the game was stopped. I was expecting a dropped ball but the next thing I saw the Brighton keeper had the ball so I’m not sure what happened next? We continued to attack but our final balls were rubbish. I felt really frustrated by the way Leeds were playing when first from a corner Raphinha’s cross was easily picked up by their keeper in the middle, then instead of going forwards, we passed back for the move to start again. Harrison playing his 100th game for us had played really well on the left-hand side but then switched sides with Raphinha very early in the game which didn’t make sense to me. As it turned out Harrison is the only player today who did something. Any time we did manage to get forward the keeper easily gathered the crosses. It feels like our pitch is impeding our players for some reason at this moment, more than it does the opposition. Brighton still managed to do one touch passing whilst ours seemed to have disappeared. I was feeling at a loss on how to change things as Raphinha kept trying long passes, but none were reaching our players. Ayling was booked when he caught the toes of their player, but I didn’t think it was too bad a foul. As it was coming up to half time and their player stayed down, time wasting came to mind. It was a relief when the whistle blew on what had been a rubbish half for Leeds United.

We certainly needed to up our game in the second half as we have been extremely poor. My thoughts were that we should make changes but at the time did not know who, apart from changing our formation and try Rodrigo and Bamford up front.

There were no changes at the restart and after a few minutes into the second half, I felt totally demoralised. As Brighton attacked, we were standing watching them before letting them shoot wide. Leeds started attacking more as we changed formation with two up front and a good move ended with a final shot from Harrison that went wide across the goal. Some good work from Ayling saw him cross the ball to the left which was picked up by Raphinha. He did well to get past their defenders, but the final ball was too long and nowhere near any of our men. As we gave a silly ball away again it gave them a chance, but luckily for us the shot went over the bar. Our passing was way too short as we kept giving the ball away and if that’s not a wakeup call for Leeds, I don’t know what is.

Roberts came on followed by Hernandez as we tried to get back into the game as to me getting back on level terms would make a difference, but I could not see us scoring. Roberts had our first shot on target on 65 minutes that was saved by their keeper after a great pass from Bamford. At least we were looking more balanced now as we had a good 10-minute spell of attacking although we never got any clear chances on goal. Roberts won a free kick after having his shirt pulled but it came to nothing. Despite the game being so frustrating, getting a goal would be a relief. Our passing never improved though, and we always tried to keep making a final pass instead of trying to shoot.

We won a couple of corners in quick succession but with the latter one could not beat the first man. The Brighton team were dictating the play and suddenly had a shot with Casilla out of goal but luckily, he saved it even though he spilled the ball and caught it at the second attempt. Although we had a lot of possession it felt like we were trying to walk the ball into the net but with one attack, Brighton were awarded a free kick from a Bamford shot. Why I had no idea?

With Harrison being the only stand out player for me today, I have not got anything positive to say about the game. The game once again had that déjà vu feeling about it and you could just tell that nothing was going to work for us today. A bad day at the office all round as well as a frustrating one. It is a good job we have a break now due to the Southampton game being postponed for an FA Cup game to take place. At least by sleeping on things, I can forget about this bad week for football as a Leeds fan. LUFC – Marching on Together!

A blast from the past! Leeds United Kop v Derby 6th April 1974 -authentic recording done by Heidi Haigh. Contains swearing.

This is a blast from the past! An authentic cassette recording from Leeds United v Derby County on 6th April 1974. This was recorded by me, Heidi Haigh, a loyal Leeds United fan of over 50 years when I took my cassette recorder onto the Kop to record the singing of the fans. Enjoy listening to it and taking you back to a time when Leeds United were crowned First Division Champions a few weeks later! To say the cassette has survived for nearly 47 years to keep those memories alive is brilliant plus it includes Ronnie Hilton’s records at the end and thank you to him for giving us a chance to sing those songs on the terraces. LUFC – Marching on Together!

25% discount on all books through my publisher JMD Media – use code HAIGH25 to get your discount

There is a 25% discount available on all books bought through my publisher JMD Media with many different genres.

Leeds United books – including my latest one Leeds Are Going to the Premier League!

Heidi Haigh author of:
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
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United, Leeds United 2018-19
Leeds are going to the Premier League! Leeds United 2019-20

 

Crawley v Leeds United 10th January 2021 at The People’s Pension Stadium – FA Cup 3rd round

After the recent further lockdown measures were announced which sent me once again into a downward spiral with plenty of tears, I know I am not the only one. To all of you out there who are struggling, I know I rely on family, friends, and my Leeds United family to talk about things and help me through. Please do the same as we are all in this and can pull through together.

Team: Casilla, Cooper (back from injury), Davis, Struijk, Phillips, Costa, Poveda, Hernandez, Shackleton, Alioski and Rodrigo. Subs: Casey for Cooper (45), Jenkins for Struijk (45), Harrison for Rodrigo (45), Raphinha for Davis (58) and Greenwood for Poveda (58). Subs not used: Elia Caprile, and Niall Huggins. Leeds lost the game 3-0. Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: Peter Bankes.

From the start Crawley were looking to attack us as much as possible and forced two early corners. A great ball from Poveda to Rodrigo saw him stretch for the ball in their penalty area. Maybe it would still have been in front of him and out of reach, but a flying header may have been a better option, but it was a good move though. We saw some nifty footwork from Costa and I’m hoping the run out today will start to give him confidence again, as he hasn’t done so well for me when coming on as sub recently. Crawley saw a deflected shot easily saved by Casilla. Leeds then had a couple of good chances and with one, a Poveda shot was saved by their keeper’s feet. There were a few good moves from both sides that didn’t come to anything. There were two great balls sent through at different times that were really close to Shackleton, but he couldn’t get on the end of them. We saw some great work from Poveda that ended with the ball across the box. Rodrigo waiting in the centre had his arm pulled back and went down so we should have been awarded a penalty. The referee played on as Leeds continued to put pressure on their defence. Poveda and Costa had made some great runs down the wings, but we couldn’t capitalise on them. We were up against some giants again so needed to keep the ball on the floor.  Crawley had a good run but were flagged offside.

My thoughts today were that we had to make sure we did not gift any goals to Crawley because a lot of the goals conceded this season have come from mistakes. This was highlighted when Poveda won the ball back from them, then a bad pass from Davis gave it back to them which I found frustrating. A great move involving Hernandez; he passed the ball to Rodrigo who turned and shot. Although the final shot wasn’t on target it was worth a go. A mistake from Phillips with a sloppy pass was pounced on by Crawley to ran at Leeds and win a corner. Crawley sent a great corner over everyone to their man at the far post which brought a great save from Casilla from the header. That should have been a wake-up call for Leeds. Hernandez tried once again to get his pass to Shackleton in the penalty area and it was a shame it didn’t come off. Costa and Poveda switched wings as we tried to change our attack with half time looming but with no injury time played the whistle blew more or less on time. The commentators were saying they were surprised Leeds had not taken the game by the scruff of the neck. For me, it was a different team playing for us again so I felt we would grow into the game in the second half and did not anticipate any changes.

Well, what do I know? Bielsa obviously disagreed with me and brought on three subs at the start of the second half. With Harrison, Casey and Jenkins brought on for Rodrigo, Struijk and Cooper we changed our formation to a back four. I could see that due to Cooper coming back from injury that may have been an issue but would not have made the subs so early as it changed the game and weakened us as a team. That is not having a go at the players who came on, but Crawley had been strong in midfield in the first half anyway. Within six minutes of the restart, they had scored two goals in two minutes to go into the lead with the second one beating Casilla at the near post. I felt we had gifted them the game on a plate, it looked like we were not bothered about going forwards in the cup and have thrown the towel in. I know my mood hasn’t been great recently anyway and this contributed to me getting very angry about the whole game.

We did get behind the defence in a good move but with Costa being offside in the build-up I don’t think it would have counted if it had gone in anyway. Sam Greenwood and Raphinha were then brought on for Davies and Poveda which provided a bit more to the team formation, but overall, we looked very ordinary and had no sense of urgency. To me Harrison playing in the middle had no effect and maybe we had too many playing out of position. Crawley were still the team looking more likely to score as Casilla put a shot around the post for a corner. There was a little and large situation with Shackleton man marking but we managed to clear the ball. The game was over and done when Crawley scored a third goal from a free kick which saw Casilla save the first shot and they smacked the ball in from the rebound. They nearly got a fourth goal when they got through, but with Casilla right out of goal he did enough to put their player off and we got the ball away.

Crawley deserve their win, but I am cross with the decision to bring three subs on at the start of the second half which killed the game for me. We looked so unbalanced then and it gave Crawley the impetus. To me the FA Cup is still sacrilege and we should fight for it, but it seems we don’t give a damn anymore which is unacceptable. For those fans who weren’t brought up with it like I was which I find very sad, they only want to concentrate on the league. Having a good cup run as well as doing well in the league would be my ambition and give us fans something to savour in these challenging times. Sadly, it was not to be, again! LUFC – Marching on Together!

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) v Leeds United 2nd January 2021 at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Here is to 2021 showing some light at the end of that awfully long dark tunnel. Today, I was looking forward to visiting a new ground but sadly we were still seeing games behind closed doors. Although I’ve been to White Hart Lane many times before, this would have been the first visit for me as well as other Leeds fans. As it was, sat at home with the log fire burning and the snow falling, at least we will not be battling the weather today.

Team: Meslier, Alioski, Ayling (captain), Harrison, Rodrigo, Raphinha, Klich, Phillips, Dallas, Bamford and Struijk. Subs: Poveda for Harrison (61), Shackleton for Alioski (64) and Hernandez for Rodrigo (65). Subs not used: Casilla, Costa, Cresswell. Huggins, Casey, and Jenkins. Leeds lost the game 3-0, a penalty awarded to Spurs on 29 minutes changed the game. Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: David Coote.

With the cameras being so far from the pitch I should have put my glasses on to watch them. Leeds made a good move which saw Alioski shoot into the side netting which was a good chance. For the first seven minutes of the game, Leeds had a lot of possession and were going forward. Another good move out of defence saw Bamford unlucky with a chance. Meslier had to come out quick to claim the ball at the edge of the area as Spurs looked to be biding their time and come at us down the centre of the pitch. At the other end Bamford was being crowded out with four Spurs players around him at one time. I kept thinking it was a shame the early chance for Alioski did not come off. Spurs shot over the bar when we could not clear the ball and it kept lingering benefitting Spurs and just after that Meslier made a save to keep them out. The referee played advantage after a foul and the final header from Bamford went over the bar, but it had been a good chance. A ball out from Meslier down the centre of the pitch to our man, was picked up by Spurs instead who ran forward and got a penalty when Alioski brought their man down on the line. The ball should have gone to the right rather than the centre in my opinion, but they may have still won the ball. As that decision went against the run of play, to me it changed the game for us. They scored from the penalty which then gave them hope as Leeds relied on good defending to stop them getting a further goal.

Leeds were trying to get back into the game taking a free kick quickly and Bamford did well to get it through as Spurs kicked the ball away just in front of their keeper for a throw in for Leeds. Another good move saw Klich put a great pass through to Raphinha who found his shot saved by the keeper. The game was being played at a fast pace as Spurs counterattacked and got in a dangerous position but luckily for us their shot went over the bar. There was some good defending from Ayling but with Leeds battling and still attacking, we got forwards. Bamford clipped the ball in their penalty area, but there was no one was close enough behind him to hit the ball into the net from a great position. Another great move from Leeds ended with a great shot from Harrison that was just over the bar but deserved a goal. Nice play from Bamford on the edge of the box saw him wait ready to pass to two or three of our players but a path opened for him and the keeper saved his shot. Sadly, for us we took our eyes off the ball as Spurs counterattacked with a long kick from their keeper. We managed to win the ball, but Spurs persistence saw them win it back and put a cross over that saw their player steal in between Dallas and Ayling to score a second goal just before half time. That London hoodoo strikes again. As we were losing 2-0 at half time, I would be happy to get a draw out of the game at least.

I was expecting changes for the start of the second half as I thought Phillips had been quiet in the first half but Bielsa didn’t make any. As we started well with a good cross that was headed away, my initial thoughts were maybe Bielsa was right not making any changes as I shouted, “Come on Leeds”. With that, a Spurs counterattack saw the ball running for them after a quick free kick which saw a brilliant save from Meslier which rebounded around the post. Sadly, they got a third goal from the corner. Their player managed to head the ball when surrounded by our players and Meslier was very unlucky stopping the ball just over the line when he tried keeping it out. Bielsa lost his balance at the side of the pitch as he was shouting out orders to the team. The penalty changed the game, but we needed to change our formation now. We were losing the ball in midfield which was the main issue for me, and we needed to change things. If Bielsa turned out to be right and we got back to 3-3 then I would eat my words.

As it was Bielsa did make changes with Poveda coming on for Harrison. Leeds were still attacking but Spurs were crowding us out in the penalty area before counterattacking us again which saw some good defending from Ayling and then another great save by Meslier. With Shackleton replacing Alioski and then a minute later Hernandez on for Rodrigo, Leeds would continue to attack. When some Leeds attacking broke down, we had to be thankful for Meslier in goal making the save. Spurs were not giving us any space and the thing I found frustrating was no real clear chances for us. As Spurs broke out from defence, they shot from the halfway line but Meslier raced back in his goal as the ball went over. I was desperate for a goal to go in to give us hope as Leeds won two corners in quick succession after good play from Hernandez. A Raphinha shot was saved by their keeper in the 80th minute as Leeds tried getting closer to scoring. A great cross from Klich was just too far in front for Raphinha to get on the end of.

Most of the attacking was by Leeds now as they defended well from Spurs counterattacks. A Bamford header was easily saved by their keeper, then Dallas was down getting treatment at one time but carried on playing afterwards. Phillips found himself in the book which means he is suspended for Crawley now after getting five bookings. To be honest it is good timing although I do not think he played well today, maybe he was shackled too much. Doherty was sent off for a foul on Hernandez in injury time when the late tackle caught him on his instep. It is a shame this happened so late in the game that we could have used to our advantage although I wouldn’t have wished the tackle on Hernandez. As the whistle blew for full time with Leeds losing 3-0, my mantra was, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again”.  We will get there Leeds, but it will take time. I would much rather see our attacking play than spend 90 minutes passing the ball across the back four and never getting out of our half as we have done in the past. We win some and we lose some comes to mind.

Onto Crawley in the FA Cup which would have been another new ground for me had we been allowed to be there. As someone posted on social media this week, we need to put a strong team out for the game, without those nearing suspension or battling injuries and go for it with some youngsters involved. I totally agree; the FA Cup is still near to my heart with my favourite ever game seeing Billy Bremner lift the cup at Wembley from Her Majesty the Queen in 1972. LUFC – Marching on Together!

West Bromwich Albion (WBA) v Leeds United 29th December 2020 at The Hawthorns

After being out for most of the afternoon I thought I had better check the kick-off time for the game as I’d assumed it was 8pm. Mm, it’s a good job I did otherwise I’d have missed a one-sided game with Leeds hammering WBA 5-0.

Team: Meslier, Ayling, Alioski, Dallas, Bamford, Klich, Rodrigo, Raphinha, Harrison, Struijk and Phillips. Subs: Shackleton for Klich (58), Hernandez for Rodrigo (70) and Costa for Raphinha (81). Subs not used: Casilla, Roberts, Davis, Jenkins, Casey and Poveda. Leeds won the game 5-0 with an own goal by Sawyers (9), Alioski (31), Harrison (36), Rodrigo (40) and Raphinha (72) being the scorers of our goals. Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: Lee Mason.

After the tense game against Burnley, one of my comments to others was that grinding out results shows we are a good team. Having had the privilege of watching the great Don Revie side, many times we had to do the same to get the points.

A fantastic cross from Rodrigo across the box saw no one far enough up the pitch to knock it into the net. The game turned on its head with a spectacular own goal nine minutes into the game when a long back pass was put straight into the goal with the keeper out of the goalmouth. That was just the start we needed. Leeds continued to attack and a through ball from Klich didn’t get to our man but maybe he’d have been better having a go himself as a gap had opened up in front of him. WBA had a rare attack, but it was great back up from Dallas to nip the ball off their toes in the penalty area to put the ball out for a corner to them. A good shot from long range by Phillips was saved by their keeper. Dallas with a good bit of play down the wing saw the final cross blocked. Bamford passed the ball to Harrison who beat their man but sent a shot wide with two men coming down the middle. It is always worth trying a shot but also a chip to one of the two players steaming in may have resulted in a goal.

As it was, we did not have long to wait for a second goal with a great cross from Raphinha over to Alioski who went on to smack a fantastic strike into the net to double our lead on 31 minutes. Leeds were now on a roll and a fantastic goal from Harrison made it three five minutes later. I thought Alioski looked like he had blood around his mouth before realising he was bleeding from his nose and had to go off to get a clean shirt and get seen to. I hadn’t seen anything happen so hopefully someone will enlighten me in due course. Things were happening thick and fast as Leeds got a fourth with a deflected Rodrigo goal on 40 minutes. Wow fantastic Leeds as the game was very one sided, we were playing so well, and it was well deserved. Just after that Alioski was booked when diving in on their player. I wondered if that was a bit of retaliation and maybe he was the one who did something to him? Just before the break a Raphinha shot was pushed out by the keeper just missing Harrison as they cleared the ball. A 4-0 score line at half time showed how dominant Leeds had been. It was too much for Sam Allardyce who had only just taken over as manager, as he went down the tunnel before the whistle blew.

At the start of the second half there should have been a booking for a foul on the back of Raphinha’s calf, but WBA got away with it. They came out with a bit more fight in them and won a corner but from that, Leeds won a free kick with a blatant push on Harrison. As the commentators were wondering if Leeds would still push for further goals, I knew the answer would be yes and the best form of defence is attack. A good run forwards saw Bamford’s shot deflected for a corner, but this was cleared by WBA. It was quite funny seeing their player fall and sit on the ball when trying to attack as Leeds came away with the ball. As I shouted keep the comedy act up it didn’t quite work out that way. As we played out from the box the back pass to Meslier put him under pressure and he passed a short ball out to our player that WBA got to first. As their player took the ball forward Meslier made a first save, then a second one, as we cleared the ball. Klich was down getting treatment and then went off with Shackleton brought on as a substitute.

There was some good defending from Rodrigo before WBA got another corner. This time Leeds broke away putting pressure on WBA before Hernandez replaced Rodrigo. I was a little mystified when WBA had a throw in as I thought Meslier with plenty of time and space around him was going to pick the ball up. Suddenly he kicked it out for another throw in. That got me thinking, was he not allowed to pick the ball up for a throw in or did he get confused? As far as I was concerned the keeper could pick the ball up unless there has been a rule change, I wasn’t aware of? It didn’t really matter though because shortly afterwards, Raphinha made it five with a fantastic run down the wing and then across the box with a sweetly struck strike into the top left-hand corner of the goal. Leeds were still looking to attack and a great ball from Hernandez through to Dallas saw Leeds win a corner. Ayling was unlucky as he shot over the bar from the corner. Another good run this time from Alioski saw him pass to Harrison and his cross saw a great shot from Bamford hit their player and go out for a corner. Bamford despite not one of the scorers today lost the ball but then fought and won it back but there was a WBA player down so Leeds put the ball out so he could receive treatment. Raphinha was replaced by Costa but the former was extremely disappointed not to be staying on the pitch. A great cross from Harrison evaded everyone and was just out of reach of Struijk coming in at the far post trying to get to the ball. A bad pass from Hernandez gave WBA a chance but offered no threat as their shot went way over the top of the goal. A couple more Leeds attacks saw firstly a good run from Ayling, but the final ball was cleared and then some good play between Dallas and Hernandez. There were only two minutes of injury time on the clock which surprised me but then I thought the referee wouldn’t want to prolong the agony for WBA. As Leeds started going backwards towards our goal, I was shouting don’t go back we want six, as the whistle went for full time. What a result Leeds, thoroughly deserved and giving us another three points.

When this year started, I was glad to see the back of 2019 when my husband had a battle with cancer. As the year draws to a close and I reflect on 2020, little did I know this year was going to see Leeds United promoted back to the Premier League and we as fans were not allowed to be there in person to witness it. The Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic has meant an incredibly challenging time for everyone and I really hope that we can get back to some normality sooner rather than later. Leeds United lost three of our legends in Norman Hunter, Trevor Cherry and Big Jack Charlton as well as many Leeds United fans throughout the year with some not even knowing we had achieved our dream of promotion. My thoughts go out to family and friends of all those who died.

Going forwards into 2021, I really thought our 2nd January trip to Spurs would see away fans back at games as I was looking forward to going to a new ground. Obviously, that won’t happen, and neither will the visit to Crawley too in the FA Cup the week after. I can’t wait to be amongst our fans again and want to wish you all a Happy New Year and a better year in 2021. LUFC – Marching on Together!

Leeds United v Burnley 27th December at Elland Road

 


 
I hope everyone managed to have a good Christmas despite the challenging circumstances we all find ourselves under. My grandson Freddie now fits properly into this season’s Leeds kit after he was born nine weeks prematurely. He is pictured with his Leeds football that he got for Christmas with a set of little goals. Simply perfect for someone born to be Leeds. Thank you to Andy Epp for sharing his photo with my new book Leeds Are Going to the Premier League and Martin and Jack Brown who were delighted to receive their book showing the Foreword that they did for it. For all those who found the book amongst their Christmas presents this year, enjoy the read and thank you once again to everyone for your continued support which is greatly appreciated.

I finally managed to share on my website, part of the Marcelo Bielsa documentary recorded by France TV in July which stars me, Heidi Haigh, Adam Pope and Phil Hay. Sadly, due to copyright issues I was not able to share the whole documentary but a big thank you goes to Adam Pope for giving me something to share with everyone. Most of the documentary is in French apart from our pieces. I also recently found another of my cassettes of the Kop/Gelderd End singing from the Derby game on 6th April 1974 when I took my cassette recorder onto the Kop. I thought I must have mistakenly given that to Mick Hewitt when I sold a lot of my things to him after I moved to a new house 15+ years ago so was thrilled to find it. I will post that as soon as I can but listening to it all last night, brought back so many memories as Leeds went on to win the First Division as Champions a few weeks later. I had been so scared to play it in case it snapped but hopefully I have found a way to get a copy of it to share.

Thank you to the Leeds United Supporters Club Johannesburg branch for letting me share their photo of them watching the Burnley game today.

Team: Meslier, Ayling (Captain), Struijk (in for the injured Cooper, abdominal injury), Alioski, Bamford, Rodrigo, Raphinha, Klich, Harrison, Phillips and Dallas. Subs: Hernandez for Rodrigo (59), Shackleton for Klich (66) and Poveda for Raphinha (70). Subs not used: Casilla, Davis, Costa, Roberts, Casey and Jack Jenkins. Referee: Robert Jones. Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors.

Bielsa had only made one change to the team due to Cooper’s injury but looked to have changed our formation as we set off with three centre halves with Phillips in the middle. We started off playing deep and messing about with our passing which ended with a Burnley corner. It was good to see we had a player on each post with reminisces of the Revie years for me. Leeds had a great attack which saw Ayling send a long forward pass that beat the defence. Bamford kept on running and was then brought down by the keeper to give Leeds a penalty. Bamford himself took a great penalty that sent him into double figures for goals scored, that put Leeds into the lead after five minutes.

A brilliant ball from Raphinha to Alioski in the penalty area should have ended better but the shot was poor. Meslier punched the ball out after a free kick was given for a Dallas push. Leeds had another good move with a shot from Rodrigo, but it lacked power and the keeper saved although he seemed to fumble the save. Another attack saw a Raphinha header going over the top, but the flag was up for offside. Burnley were given a free kick and scored from it. Meslier went for the ball and collided with their player and they scored from there despite the efforts of Ayling on the line, but it was then disallowed for a foul on our keeper. The commentators were ranting that it was a good goal but for once the decision went our way, so we were still leading after 19 minutes. Burnley were making it difficult for us to come forwards as we kept passing the ball across the back four when all I wanted was for us to pass forwards to stop putting pressure on ourselves. Bamford won a corner and from a second corner their keeper tipped the ball over the top from Klich’s shot. There was some nice play from Dallas as he shielded the ball to win it back. Klich had a shot that was way over the top of the goal, but it was worth a try as being unpredictable can work in our favour. I found myself kicking every ball desperate for us to not give Burnley anything at all. The referee gave Leeds a free kick after Rodrigo was fouled which earned their man a booking.

Another chance for Leeds was kicked off the line after some excellent play from Raphinha from a Harrison cross. At this moment of the game on 32 minutes, Leeds had 70 percent of the play. It looked like Wood ex-Leeds would score, but Ayling did enough to put him off with Meslier beaten. Some sloppy passing from Leeds was letting Burnley into the game. A Burnley corner saw Harrison and Raphinha on the line again, as Burnley were going mad shouting for another corner, the referee gave a goal kick. For all their shouting the referee got it spot on as the ball had indeed deflected but had come off their own player. Ayling won a free kick after being pushed off the ball by Wood which was another correct decision. Another great move resulted in a shot from Raphinha that was saved by the keeper. The nerves were certainly kicking in for me today as it was so important that we got three points after seeing that Arsenal had moved above us, putting us into 15th place which put me into a really anxious mood. I told myself that we were playing well and would be fine.

Their player Barnes was moaning that he had been fouled but replays showed him pulling Struijk’s shirt and keeping hold of his leg, silly man. Another great move saw Rodrigo recover to put the ball out wide to Harrison and then got on the end of the cross himself but sadly headed the ball wide. A shame really, as that would have been a great goal, but Leeds went into the break 1-0 in the lead thanks to the Bamford penalty.

As we kicked off towards the Kop at the start of the second half, I was willing Leeds on. We straight away started playing about at the back again which caused mistakes and put us under pressure. A good break out from Phillips saw a bad pass forwards that Burnley capitalised on to set up another attack.  Some good defending from Phillips with a vital header saw him put the ball out. More good defending from Ayling saw Burnley get penalised for offside thankfully. I thought it was a tight decision but my husband disagreed with me so I reckoned it must be down to the angle of the ball as I sat to the side of the tv screen. Raphinha was unlucky when his shot was blocked as Burnley came away with the ball, but Harrison chased it down. This game looked rife for Hernandez to come on at some point.

Meslier saved a couple of shots in near succession as Burnley had most of the attacking play at the start of the second half. We seemed to be bypassing midfield at this point as I thought we needed to change things as I did not want Burnley to score and get back into the game before we changed it. As it was Hernandez was already on his feet ready to come on in place of Rodrigo. Leeds were still having to do a lot of defending as Phillips got in front of Wood and put the ball out for a corner. We were putting ourselves under pressure with bad passing but the ball was running for Burnley. Playing out from the back is hard now but we need to back each other up. Every time we kick it out long, Burnley win it anyway so there is no happy medium at the moment.  Leeds had a great move which really should have ended in a goal with Dallas in so much space, but his final shot was too high. Shackleton then came on for Klich.

Struijk was unlucky when the ball went out for a corner as he was shielding it when the ball rebounded off his leg. Luckily from the corner, Meslier caught the ball at the second attempt but a free kick was given anyway. Raphinha made way for Poveda with 20 minutes left although I thought it would be Harrison going off, as Raphinha was making it hard for Taylor down that side. Suddenly Leeds came forward with a counterattack and a great run from Hernandez saw the keeper put the ball round the post to prevent a second goal. Burnley were not giving up as their shot brought an excellent save from Meslier. Phillips was in the thick of it again putting a header out from another corner as Burnley decided to make a double substitution. It felt like every minute to the final whistle was dragging in what seemed an awfully long game with just over 15 minutes left to play.

A Leeds attack broke down after Dallas should have hit a first time cross but took a second touch of the ball. Struijk was on the floor but if was funny seeing him get up and come away with the ball. Burnley had more possession and chances so far without scoring, but I was hoping that we would come into the game in the last few minutes to get a second goal to seal the victory. Westwood was then booked for Burnley after a foul was given against him. Leeds got forwards once more and were unlucky that the ball was whipped off Leeds toes in the penalty area before Bamford reached Hernandez’s pass. Burnley had another chance that went over the crossbar with Ayling putting him off. Another Leeds attack broke down after an excellent ball from Hernandez to Harrison saw the final ball not reach Bamford.

Burnley were looking dangerous as they won another corner as I was shouting for Leeds to clear it. Meslier punched the ball away then Burnley came back at us when Taylor got past Poveda, but Leeds managed to clear it. Meslier made another good save when he palmed the ball away from a corner. There was some great defending from Struijk, Phillips and Meslier but then the flag went up for offside giving us some respite. Barnes pushed over Hernandez and was then booked for mouthing off about it. Good, as I hate mouthy players and he deserved to go in the book so well-done referee.

With three minutes of injury time put up we faced a final onslaught as Ayling put the ball out for another corner to Burnley. As I was just wondering who the player in blue was, I suddenly realised it was their keeper. I would have loved a counterattack at that time but sadly we didn’t get the opportunity. Phillips tried to stop the ball going out for a corner, but they ended up with a free kick instead with Meslier tipping the resulting free kick over the top. As Alioski came away with the ball the whistle blew for full time. Thank goodness for that and what a relief, as I did not want Burnley to score at all. However tight and desperate it was at times; three points are all that matters.  This was one of those very nervous games where I was desperate for the win today which we got, but we also saw some great defending today so well-done lads. Grinding out results are the signs of a good team. The win got us up the table to 11th and ready for our next battle on Tuesday at West Bromwich Albion. LUFC – Marching on Together!

Marcelo Bielsa documentary filmed by France TV July 2020 starring Heidi Haigh, Adam Pope and Phil Hay

The full documentary was edited for me by Adam Pope due to copyright issues and is in two parts – Heidi Haigh

Part 1

Part 2

man utd v Leeds United 20th December 2020 at Old Trafford

It was nice to see that my new book Leeds Are Going to the Premier League made its appearance at Elland Road before I did. Thank you to Phil Thumbsup Cresswell who took his into the ground and was a good luck charm against Newcastle. Thank you also to Matt Wainwright and Robbie, Oliver and Eli who showcased the book outside the ground. I do miss going there. Photos provided by Phil and Matt.

I attended my first live football game yesterday since the Huddersfield home game in March, watching my granddaughter Laura. It shows old habits die hard as I got carried away at one time and automatically shouted come on Leeds.

Team: Meslier, Cooper, Alioski, Ayling, Harrison, Bamford, Klich, Phillips, Rodrigo, Raphinha and Dallas. Subs: Struijk for Phillips (45), Shackleton for Klich (45) and Davis for Cooper (injured 72). Subs not used: Casilla, Poveda, Roberts, Hernandez and Costa. Leeds lost the game 6-2 after going down to a quick succession of goals but scored two goals with Cooper (42) and Dallas with a cracker (73) being the Leeds scorers. Attendance: Zero, behind closed doors. Referee: A. Taylor.

Leeds got off to the worst start ever being three goals down within the first 20 minutes. Obviously, man u had raised their game. With one they ran through the middle and looked to catch us unawares. Bamford had a great chance, but it went wide. It was good to get a chance to give us hope we weren’t out of the game as I was still looking for a draw at this point. Never give up fighting and still believe Leeds. A draw would be a good result and we can get back in this game although it wouldn’t be easy. There was some good defending by Cooper as they attacked us again.

It seemed to me that the crowd noise had been upped as we don’t normally hear it so loud. Commentators saying that our rivalry only started when Cantona was transferred to them made me laugh out loud. They also said that there may have been some before that showing how silly and pathetic the discussion was showing they haven’t got a clue. My experiences as a fan started in the early seventies but fans who went to away games earlier than I did, had plenty of stories to tell of troubles they endured from their fans before ours started fighting back. They also said that it was horrible that Leeds fans used to congregate outside their hotel when we played them. Poor souls, I do feel sorry for them, not! Surely that can’t be any worse than having sleep disturbed by your children as young babies, six years’ worth in my case.

Cooper made another important interception. They were making sure we did not have the time to settle as Alioski gave a free kick away when he was nearly on Rashford’s back marking him close. With an unchanged team maybe, we needed different tactics to get on top of them especially as we were up against a 10-man defence. Bamford scored but had strayed offside which would have got us back into this game. Instead, they got their third from their goal kick. Bamford was unlucky with a header after a great Klich cross. Believe lads was my cry as we continued to attack and got another corner. This wasn’t a good one from Raphinha although it ended when the keeper saved with his feet, but it turned out Harrison was offside so it wouldn’t have counted. man u won a corner and scored a fourth which Phillips should have defended better than he did. If we had been at the ground some fans would have been clamouring to go to the pub but as a glutton for punishment, I’d have stayed until the bitter end regardless. Leeds fans would have made our own entertainment; we’re going to win 5-4! As it was, I was resigned to an even bigger defeat as Meslier saved when it looked like they were going to score a fifth goal, but the flag was also up for offside. Leeds still hadn’t given up and Cooper pulled a goal back when he headed one home from a better corner from Raphinha in the 42nd minute. Meslier was forced to make another save before the break.

Leeds made a double substitution with both Struijk and Shackleton coming on for the second half with Klich and Phillips off. I’m not sure if it was to do with them both being on four yellow cards or not but at times Phillips did look ineffective as the game passed him by. man u had another good chance just after the restart but put it wide. My hopes were raised when I thought we’d scored a second goal after Raphinha and Bamford combined but it went out for a corner. Just after that the referee booked James for diving when I thought he had given a penalty. Leeds were still attacking and won another corner, but they broke out from our corner which ended with Shackleton blocking the ball. Back to Leeds on the attack and a shot from Raphinha was put around the post from the keeper. Once again man u broke away from our corner and with the ball running for them, they got a fifth goal that went through Meslier’s legs. He had been left wide open so many times today that I couldn’t apportion any blame to him. Cooper was injured but came back onto the pitch before man u were awarded a penalty after Struijk’s tackle. At this point I knew we weren’t going to win 5-4 lol. Again, an idiotic commentator was saying Leeds fans would be glad not to be there. We support the team win, lose or draw and I would much rather be at the game watching it live in the ground than on TV, however welcome my log burner was.

Davis came on to replace Cooper who went off injured with his knee again by the look of it. Meslier saved another chance with his legs before a fantastic goal from Dallas made it 6-2. Leeds were winning plenty of corners today which will do us good as practice makes perfect. From one we had two players Struijk and Bamford down. Again, we had to thank Meslier for a double save to deny them a seventh. He was called into action again with another save off his knee and saving a header on his line. They won the ball from his throw out as we were not watching it and were too slow to react and they could have had a seventh but won a corner instead. After a good attacking move Harrison put the ball wide when in a good position.

It was hard to believe the score line when we kept attacking but it made it easier to forget we were losing. As it was, we were well beaten on the day in a game with end-to-end football that was a good advert for football itself and I will always be proud to be a Leeds United supporter.

As I finish my blog today, yesterday’s government news re Christmas had me sobbing for hours I’m not ashamed to say, as this is my favourite time of the year. Whatever anyone does, stay safe and healthy, but be happy. LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

Leeds United v Newcastle 16th December 2020 at Elland Road

My message to Leeds before the game was keep fighting and never give up. We got our just rewards by doing that. 

Team: Meslier, Cooper, Ayling, Alioski, Harrison, Klich, Phillips, Bamford, Rodrigo, Raphinha and Dallas an unchanged team. Subs: Hernandez for Rodrigo (82), Roberts for Bamford (84) and Shackleton for Klich (89). Subs not used: Casilla, Davis coming in for Costa, Poveda, and Struijk. Leeds won the game 5-2 after going a goal down. Scorers: Bamford (35), Rodrigo (61), Dallas (82), Alioski (85) and Harrison (88). Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: Simon Hooper

Leeds were led out with another virtual mascot on an iPad, this time young Jude Hawkridge who is battling leukaemia. Hopefully, that and the win has given the young lad a boost, keep fighting.

The game kicked off with Leeds attacking the south stand. Newcastle had a cross that went just over the crossbar. We won a corner, but it didn’t go well and ended with Newcastle getting a free kick. When the ball hit a Newcastle hand in the penalty area, I wasn’t surprised to hear that it was a sensible ruling from the commentators. It always is when it is a handball in our favour and not against us! A shot from Rodrigo was hit wrong and went over the top. The pitch was cutting up very quickly especially after having lots of rain again. It didn’t get re-laid in the summer due to lack of time with COVID, but the groundsman does a great job under the circumstances.

I was starting to get frustrated very early on by the sloppy passing and then told myself to stop it as Leeds will grow into the game. Thought we were very unlucky with a great pass across the box which Klich just missed but the flag was up so it wouldn’t have counted. We’d had 74% possession at this point but need to make sure goals come from it. Good work from Alioski and Harrison saw Leeds win a corner. Leeds were very unlucky not to take the lead with a great header from Cooper which was saved by their keeper. When the linesman put his flag up for offside again, I realised we were going to have to watch our line as I told him to stick the flag where the sun don’t shine. A back pass to Meslier was too close for comfort as it was very close to their player too. We had another great move, but Harrison’s ball was put across the front of goal but not near enough our players as Leeds were starting to take charge of the game. Raphinha did some great work in the penalty area but then hit a wild shot wide. As a shot from Klich went over the bar but not by much, my shout was keep it down Leeds and let’s get a hatful please. Newcastle then intercepted the ball and looked dangerous with the resulting shot pushed out by Meslier and eventually to safety. As I was saying out loud that it was Important that they don’t get anything, they damn well scored with 26 minutes on the clock. Their cross saw a header across to the back post where their player got behind Alioski and slammed the ball into the net.

Harrison got smacked in the nose and mouth in the run up to their goal although I never saw what happened, but he had to change his shirt as he was bleeding. I said we were going to win now as the pressure was off us again, so we had no need to be scared of them. Raphinha was playing really well as the keeper saved a shot from him. He then sent a great cross to Rodrigo which came off the bar with the rebound headed into the net by Bamford to equalise. That was a vital goal to get us back on equal terms before half time. Klich was booked for a challenge as I was asking why it was a booking? Half time saw us going into the break on equal terms.

At the start of the second half Phillips was the next one to be booked for an innocuous challenge. A bad kick out from Meslier put our player into trouble as Newcastle attacked but Klich stopped it going out for a corner. A Leeds attack ended with a shot from Raphinha as replays were shown that our breakaway began after a strong challenge by Cooper in our area. The referee was happy with his decision not to give a penalty to Newcastle. Alioski’s cross was straight to their keeper after he went on a good run from Harrison’s cross. A good pass from Rodrigo saw some good work from Bamford in the area who turned and shot, but the ball lacked power and was easily saved by the keeper. I noticed Leeds were now hitting the ball with more conviction and power. A fantastic ball from Rodrigo was sent to Harrison on the left who did brilliantly to get the ball and he sent a great ball over for Rodrigo to head into the net on 61 minutes to put Leeds back into the lead.

Leeds continued to attack with a great header to Bamford and the keeper saved a low shot. From the resulting corner, which was terrible, Newcastle counter attacked which brought a brilliant tip over the crossbar by Meslier. Sadly, the corner saw their player rise above everyone to head the ball into the net with Meslier unsighted but still did his best to keep it out, having kept our lead for three minutes. As Newcastle threatened with another breakaway from a Leeds corner, Raphinha found himself in the book having stopped the attack.

Some good work from Bamford in the penalty area saw the ball just in front of our players as Newcastle cleared it. Another great attack from Leeds saw an excellent cross from Klich across the box to the far side where Dallas headed in for a third goal. Newcastle had just made their third sub and I hoped they were getting tired. With some of their players not training due to COVID reasons I had no idea if that had impacted on any who were playing today or not.

With Newcastle attacking once again, we saw some good back tracking from Bamford to win the ball back. As Hernandez was getting ready to come on, Bamford was fouled but play carried on. Rodrigo went off for Hernandez before Roberts came on for Bamford. A fantastic counterattack from Leeds after a great run from Raphinha, saw Alioski score to make it 4-2 to Leeds. Leeds players were queuing up to score which was great to see. Shortly afterwards we had another break away and as I was telling Harrison to pass, he sent a fantastic long range shot over the keeper for a fifth goal to make it 5-2 on the day. That’s it, game over!  Shackleton replaced Klich for the final few minutes as Leeds saw the game out. Raphinha was man of the match for me but as it was, any number of players could have got that today.

That win will breed confidence and I’m glad they listened to my team talk before the game lol! Just what was needed before going across the Pennines to that team that play in that horrid colour red at the weekend. Just go out there and do us proud Leeds and keep fighting! LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

 

 

Leeds United v West Ham United 11th December 2020 at Elland Road

Sadly, with Leeds still being in tier 3 for COVID-19, it meant no fans were allowed back into Elland Road. At the end of the game tonight I felt so frustrated and would have coped so much better by being back at Elland Road. With the new floodlights now in the West Stand car park, hopefully it means my camera will cope better with photos at night games once we are allowed back. I was glad to hear that my new book Leeds Are Going to the Premier League had arrived safely in Norway. I’m looking forward to seeing photos from those fans who have already bought the book and those receiving it as a Christmas present.

This morning saw a Leeds United coffin being offered for sale on Instagram although I wasn’t aware of it until tonight. Should I be worried that my granddaughter Hannah and daughter Emily thought it would be ideal for me…… although I did have a good laugh with them. Now I do like the idea of a Leeds United coffin, but I am not ready to meet my maker for a long while yet thank you.

Team: Meslier, Alioski, Cooper, Dallas, Phillips, Klich, Harrison, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Bamford and Ayling. Subs: Shackleton for Alioski (45), Costa for Harrison (45) and Roberts for Bamford (74). Subs not used: Casilla, Hernandez, Poveda and Struijk. Leeds lost the game 2-1 with Klich scoring our goal, a penalty (6). Attendance: Zero, behind closed doors. Referee: Michael Oliver. Today was Bielsa’s 113th match in charge for Leeds.

When Bielsa told the media on Wednesday what team, he was going to use today, I thought it was a little bit too early to give the opposition that information. Did it come back to bite us on the backside tonight? Who knows? With injuries to both Koch (had surgery on his knee) and Llorente after the Chelsea game last week, this meant a change of formation for us. Dallas went to left back and Ayling came in alongside Cooper in centre of defence with Alioski further up the pitch.

Leeds had a great start to the game with Cooper winning the ball and passing a great ball through for Bamford to run onto, who was brought down by the keeper and awarded a penalty. When Klich took the penalty, it was very tame and sent to the left of the goal we were looking at where the keeper saved it. It wasn’t the fact that the keeper saved it that I was berating Klich for, but there was no power in the shot. With that I was eating my words as VAR said the penalty had to be re-taken due to their keeper moving his feet off the line. To be honest, I didn’t notice anything at all, so it was a relief to get a second chance at it. This time Klich made no mistake as he sent a great shot into the bottom right of the goal to give us a sixth minute lead.

Maybe the re-take wound West Ham up as they won the ball back as they attacked us with two on two and luckily Cooper recovered and put it out for a corner. West Ham had a great chance, but the header was straight at Meslier. Replays showed Phillips got in the way of it and took the sting out of the ball.  They had another chance but this time it was Ayling who took the sting out of it. We were letting them into the game as West Ham had a good 10-minute spell.  Leeds had a couple of attempts with Rodrigo’s shot going wide after Alioski cross then a good run from Raphinha, but there was not enough power on the shot which the keeper picked up easily. West Ham equalised from a corner in the 24th minute with a header that Meslier was unlucky not to get to as Dallas was kept down by their player. Leeds tried to get back into the game with a good attempt from Rodrigo although the ball was hit straight at their keeper. Another shot from West Ham went wide before Leeds won a corner. As I was saying what a waste of a corner as the ball went back nearly to the halfway line, the forward ball nearly came to Harrison in the box, but the ball just ran away in front of him. Alioski was booked before a couple more attempts from Leeds with a header from Bamford straight at the keeper and a nice shot from Ayling although it was an easy save for their keeper.

Bielsa made two subs at the start of the second half bringing on Shackleton for Alioski and Costa for Harrison. I was happy to see Shackleton back as we needed a bit more in midfield and he could support Klich. A good move from Shackleton saw Bamford turn and shoot but it went wide. A good block by Ayling although he didn’t know much about it, saw the ball go out for a corner. With their next one Meslier tipped the header over the crossbar. I found it frustrating as it felt that we were going back in defence a lot even though I knew we were trying to break West Ham down. West Ham were still playing well and attacking us and came close again, but the ball went past the post.  Phillips had a good shot put wide by West Ham. From a corner there was a great shot from Klich saved by their keeper. It was a shame the ball didn’t deflect off Bamford and go in. Roberts was brought on to replace Bamford on 74 mins who had gone down a few minutes earlier after a challenge.  I was disappointed that we hadn’t brought Hernandez on earlier as I felt the game was crying out for a bit of flair from him. Benrahma to me was running their midfield. West Ham luckily put a shot wide when it looked like Cooper had decided to pull out of the tackle so as not to give away a penalty.

I was getting more and more frustrated as the game went on.  There was a fantastic save made from Meslier after Leeds could not defend the set piece once again. A good pass from Rodrigo looked promising but Roberts couldn’t get on the end of it. I was just feeling that the only winner of the game was going to be West Ham and with that they did indeed score a second goal with a header from the free kick. West Ham had a couple more chances with a fantastic save from Meslier from an overhead kick and they nearly got a third goal which bounced back off a post. After lots of West Ham pressure there was a corner for Leeds but we were unlucky as the header from Rodrigo was straight at their keeper. At that moment I would have taken a draw, but it wasn’t to be as Leeds lost the game 2-1. The second game in a row where Leeds had taken an early lead but ended up on the losing side.

It is certainly going to be a long tough season but I found this defeat harder to take as it had been so frustrating to watch for me. We need that Elland Road crowd back there as the lads need us behind them. With another home game midweek against Newcastle and what would have been a return trip for us Leeds fans to old Trafford next week, we really need some points in the bag very quickly. You know what to do Leeds! LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

Chelsea v Leeds United 5th December 2020 at Stamford Bridge

Thank you, Kate and Rob, for buying my new book Leeds Are Going to the Premier League. There is still time to buy a last-minute Christmas present for the Leeds fan in your life using the following link either direct from my publisher or from Amazon http://www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk/my-new-book-is-out-leeds-are-going-to-the-premier-league-buy-it-now.

With a busy week behind me, it has kept me away from things going on behind the scenes although I had heard there were doubts about Koch’s fitness for the game. As it was, he was named on the team sheet.

Team: Meslier, Koch, Cooper, Ayling, Dallas, Phillips, Alioski, Bamford, Klich, Harrison and Raphinha. Subs: Diego Llorente for Koch (9) Poveda for Harrison (57) and Rodrigo for Alioski (69). Subs not used: Casilla, Roberts, Costa and Struijk. Leeds lost the game 3-1 with Bamford scoring an early goal for Leeds (4). Attendance: 2,000 Chelsea fans allowed back in the ground for the first time since the last Covid lockdown, but no away fans. Referee: Kevin Friend

Our return to Stamford Bridge saw Bielsa up against Lampard. I admit I haven’t got fond thoughts of him but despite everything that happened in the play-offs against Derby in the second leg, I loved the “stop crying Frank Lampard” song at the away leg.

The game kicked off at a cracking pace with Chelsea on the attack which saw Meslier save with his feet with the very first shot they had. Chelsea then came near with a header with only two minutes on the clock. The game turned on its head as Leeds counterattacked which saw a great pass from Phillips on the wing to Bamford in the middle of the pitch. He ran through the defence, rounded the keeper, and struck a first time shot into the net in the fourth minute! Get in Leeds, a great start!

Koch had already been fouled but then went down injured and had to go off in the ninth minute with Llorente coming on for his league debut. Immediately it looked like Chelsea had equalised from a corner but somehow the ball came out when it looked as if it had gone into the net. Replays showed their player stopped it going in, then Meslier saved it and the ball hit the crossbar and was then cleared but we survived. It didn’t take long to realise that this was going to be a tough game but then Leeds nearly scored a second goal. Leeds played some great attacking football but Alioski’s shot hit the post and came back out but the flag went up for offside so it wouldn’t have counted anyway. We then started to mess about at the back and although there was a bad pass out from Meslier, the defence were putting him under pressure. Don’t do it Leeds. Luckily for us the shot was wide. Some good work from Raphinha saw Bamford’s shot saved by the keeper who looked unsighted, but there wasn’t enough power in the shot to get past him. With that Chelsea went to the other end and scored to equalise just before the half hour mark. One of their players was injured in the build-up and then subbed.

A bad ball by Llorente across the box was won by Chelsea but somehow, we managed to clear the ball. They were a very fast team in attack, but we were giving them too much room on the wing as Cooper put the ball out for a corner. Meslier caught the ball well from the header. Harrison then switched sides with Raphinha before a great tackle from Alioski set up an attack but Raphinha’s cross was cleared. Phillips’s ball to Alioski was picked up by them to run at us again but we managed to get the ball back as three minutes injury time was put up on the board. Harrison was struggling at times today with two men on him every time he got the ball. Llorente made an important tackle but then our attack broke down. Chelsea counterattacked and had an open run down the wing but luckily for us the shot went wide.

As we came out for the second half, we hadn’t made any changes to the team but to me we didn’t start very well. We started to mess about at the back and looked hesitant and once again we were nearly punished for it.  Raphinha stayed down when caught in the face although it didn’t look too bad contact. Meslier nearly had the ball taken off his toes as Leeds cleared the ball. Chelsea were continuing to be very quick on the attack and although I hate to say it, Lampard has got them playing football. Maybe it helped him by Chelsea having a transfer ban last season. There was some good defending from Cooper as he shielded the ball out for a goal kick. Another time as we headed the ball back to Meslier, he was going in the other direction and had to change direction and get back for the ball. Leeds saw Raphinha hit a great ball which was blocked and as the rebound came to him, he hit it over the crossbar, but it was a good attempt. Poveda then came on for Harrison after 57 mins which was what I thought would happen. Meslier then made a fantastic double save from Chelsea before some great defending from Alioski who put the ball out for a corner. Unfortunately for us they scored from that, although it looked like Cooper was fouled just before it went into the net but only the goal for Chelsea was given.

As Chelsea came close after another attack, I knew we needed to make a change. I’d already said that Alioski should come off for Rodrigo prior to Bielsa making the decision, showing we were on the same wavelength. Chelsea were closing us down well and continued to attack us with Meslier saving a long range shot from them. Rodrigo started making a difference and was involved in a couple of good attacks before Bamford made a great tackle to win the ball back but got hurt in the process. Llorente kept sending long balls forward which gave Chelsea the impetus to attack as they won the ball every time. As I was critical of us messing about at the back, I suppose I can’t have it both ways. He was also booked for a foul on his debut. Chelsea were a strong side and after winning the ball from Poveda made another attack but Meslier saved with his legs. Leeds managed to find a bit of space and after some great work by Poveda his shot was low and straight at the keeper but it was a good move. He was fouled in the box in the build-up and the pundits were saying if he had gone down, we’d have got a penalty. As Dallas slipped which meant he lost the ball, I couldn’t help but think of the amount of times we slip in comparison to other teams? Is it down to the boots our players wear as I can’t remember other teams slipping as much as we do on a regular basis? Deep into injury time, Chelsea counterattacked and beat Dallas for pace down the wing and put the ball across for them to get a third goal. Raphinha too then found himself in the book for a foul.

Another game in London that went against us, but we never stopped trying and, on the day, Chelsea deserved their win. I’ll admit I’d no idea that their win would take them to the top of the table tonight so I can’t say they played well because they had their fans back! These things will happen and it’s another learning curve for us as I resigned myself to the defeat. On to the next game which sees us play West Ham next Friday evening at Elland Road.  LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

Everton v Leeds United 28th November 2020 at Goodison Park

It was good hearing the news about the East Stand being renamed the Jack Charlton stand this week. Big Jack played a total of 762 competitive appearances for Leeds United and were the only club he played for which was a fantastic achievement and this is a well-deserved honour in his memory. The Calls in Leeds has now got a fantastic painting of Kalvin Phillips, Lucas Radebe and Albert Johanneson on a wall which is very impressive.  Sad news was hearing one of our Whitby Whites fans who had travelled home and away for 50 years had died in tragic circumstances and young Louie had lost his battle with Leukaemia. Recently when it was said that Louie didn’t have very long to live, he was Facetimed at his bedside by members of the first team. My thoughts go out to all families and friends of both fans.  

Team: Meslier, Ayling, Cooper, Alioski, Koch, Phillips, Harrison, Bamford, Raphinha, Klich and Dallas. Subs: Costa for Harrison (limping 81), Poveda for Raphinha (84), and Rodrigo for Bamford (90). Subs not used: Casilla, Struijk, Davis and Roberts. Leeds won the game 1-0 with Raphinha scoring for Leeds (79). Attendance: Zero, behind closed doors. Referee: C. Kavanagh

As Leeds kicked off, we were straight on the attack and I thought we had won a corner in the first minute when Ayling got forward only for a goal kick to be given. There was a lively 20 minutes of football from both teams. A fantastic move from Leeds after excellent play by Raphinha saw him put a great pass across the box only for Harrison’s shot to go narrowly wide. Everton attacked and with their man bearing down on him, Cooper let the ball go and their man on the wing passed the ball across to the same player in the middle. Meslier made a fantastic save from him and again quickly got to the rebound as Ayling ensured we cleared the ball. The play was end to end but Leeds were putting some good moves together. Suddenly, it looked like the game had turned on its head as Everton scored, but their player had strayed offside before smacking a great shot into the net from the byline. I couldn’t believe VAR had to check it to be honest? That disallowed goal seemed to give Everton a bit of hope and Ayling was booked for shirt pulling before their resulting free kick went over the crossbar. Leeds were then unlucky not to score after their keeper made a fantastic save from a Raphinha header and then they kicked the ball off the line from Harrison’s shot from the rebound. Bamford won Leeds a free kick, but we didn’t see their player get booked for shirt pulling.

As Leeds continued to attack, three times Ayling passed the ball into the penalty area but Everton stood firm blocking every attempt. Meslier saved another shot from Everton and then as Leeds counterattacked, Everton were lucky not to concede a penalty for handball after Harrison’s persistence in the penalty area saw the ball hit the hand of an Everton player. Meslier was in impressive form as he pushed the ball out for a corner after another attack from Everton. Again, it looked like Everton had taken the lead, but the linesman had put his flag up for offside. There was an Everton player in front of Meslier but well offside, so it was a correct decision. Meslier continued to keep us in the game by saving another shot. The pace had been relentless in the first half and just before the break we saw Harrison’s header come back off the post with the keeper beaten and Bamford’s shot from the rebound went wide. It did look like Ayling was coming up behind him and was in a better position to score, but you must take a chance when it is there. Klich had a great shot that just passed the wrong side of the post in injury time. It had been a good first half despite not making any chances count, having played some fantastic Bielsa ball football. Just what I want to see.

The second half saw Everton have a good move but luckily Meslier put it round the post for a corner. As a Leeds move broke down with Bamford’s shot blocked, Everton raced to the other end although they looked offside but put the chance wide. Leeds continued to attack with another great move but the final shot from Klich was well over the crossbar when he should have kept it down. Another chance saw us beat the defence, but Bamford’s snapshot lifted too high and went over the top. A bad Meslier kick out from defence nearly saw us punished, but Meslier got back to keep the ball at the right side of the line despite his body going over it. Another great cross from Raphinha who had switched sides with Harrison saw no one there to put it into the net. The football was end to end and some nice play ended after Bamford’s pass to Harrison brought a save out of their keeper. A good move from Everton saw some good defending from Klich as he put a deflected shot out for a corner.

When Delph an ex-Leeds player came on for Everton, I had thought he looked familiar but couldn’t say who he was. For me it is out of sight out of mind. I was expecting a great pass from Phillips to go wide but it went forwards to Harrison and we were unlucky that the final shot didn’t come off, but it was another good move. Keep fighting Leeds a goal will come. Raphinha after some good play in the penalty area was unlucky to see his shot blocked. Bamford then put the ball into the net which was disallowed, but I thought the ball may have gone out before Alioski’s cross. Replays showed Alioski had strayed offside. Everton won another corner as they made their second sub. Meslier then made another save and had to be quick to get the rebound first. We were starting to be put under pressure as I started to feel a little anxious that we needed to change things with 14 mins left. As it was when no one was being brought on, I knew I had to trust Bielsa’s judgement. Once again that proved right with a fantastic goal from Raphinha shortly after. He received the ball just outside the penalty area and when it looked like he was going to pass the ball, he changed his mind and sent a great shot through the defenders legs and past the keeper into the net. What a fantastic goal to put Leeds into the lead on the day. We didn’t have long to see the game out now to get the three points. Harrison was seen limping down the touchline as he was replaced by Costa. Poveda was brought on for Raphinha and later with three minutes of injury time left to play, I was hopeful the result would go our way. Rodrigo was brought on for Bamford who wasn’t happy to go off with a minute or so left. Phillips was fouled which saw their player booked at the death. Costa should have scored after great work from Poveda, but he took a second touch of the ball which saw their keeper block his shot when a first time shot would have hit the back of the net.

Nevertheless, a great win and three points today as well as a fantastic team performance from Leeds United. Overall, the game itself was a good advert for football, especially for any neutrals. For me, when Raphinha’s shot hit the back of the net I was dancing around the room as well of thousands of Leeds fans around the world no doubt. The only thing missing was seeing Leeds fans behind the goal celebrating the win. Next week sees another away game at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Just go out there and play football the way I want to see it and who knows what happens. The best form of defence is attack and this takes me back to the Revie days. As I’ve said before, if Bielsa can emulate Don Revie’s team then we are in for a great future. We aren’t doing a bad job so far, are we?

For those interested, my publisher JMD Media have a Black Friday offer on books – 40% discount until the end of Monday 30/11/2020 using code fri40 available on their website – www.jmdmedia.co.uk. After this, the deal will be 30% using the Xmas30 code. This has my new book Leeds Are Going to the Premier League. Leeds United Season 2019-20 Promotion in their Centenary Year available using these codes as well as my other six books: http://www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk/jmd-media-black-friday-offer-on-books-40-discount-until-the-end-of-monday-30-11-2020-using-code-fri40. This book is also available on Amazon now too. LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

JMD Media – Black Friday offer on books – 40% discount until the end of Monday 30/11/2020 using code fri40

My publisher JMD Media has a great offer on books available on their website – www.jmdmedia.co.uk

Their Black Friday offer is 40% discount until the end of Monday 30/11/2020 using code fri40. After this, the deal will be 30% using the Xmas30 code.

My latest book Leeds Are Going to the Premier League. Leeds United Season 2019-20 Promotion in their Centenary Year is available using these codes as well as my other six 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
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United, Leeds United 2018-19

Please see my Meet the Author page for more information.

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Leeds United v Arsenal 22nd November 2020 at Elland Road

With less than five weeks to go to Christmas, my Leeds United themed Christmas tree is up. Don’t forget to buy my latest book Leeds Are Going to the Premier League, Leeds United Season 2019-20.  Promoted in their Centenary Year!  for the Leeds fan in your life.  Apart from spending time with my family, the greatest present would be to see Leeds fans back at Elland Road on Boxing Day. A nice touch from Leeds showed Leeds ball boy Elliott Metcalfe who is suffering from cancer, being mascot for the day and leading the team out via an iPad. This may have been a contribution, but as the game kicked off, I suddenly felt really down as the tears started to flow.

The team: Meslier, Cooper, Ayling, Dallas (making his 200th appearance), Phillips (back from his shoulder injury injury), Raphinha (making his first home start), Bamford, Klich, Harrison, Koch and Alioski. Subs: Rodrigo for Ayling (70) and Poveda for Harrison who was limping (80). Subs not used: Casilla, Costa, Roberts, Davis and Struijk. Leeds drew the game 0-0 despite hitting the post and crossbar. Attendance: Zero, behind closed doors. Referee: Anthony Taylor.

Raphinha got in a good position to shoot after Leeds had to be on their toes to stop a couple of Arsenal attacks. After a lot of possession from Arsenal, it felt like it would be a tough game especially after they had a long range shot which I thought had gone in, but it went wide. After a great run by Harrison and a perfect pass into the penalty area for Alioski to pass back to Bamford, his first time shot went straight to the keeper but there wasn’t a lot of power in it. Dallas got booked when he rushed into a challenge with their player but replays from the opposite side of the pitch, showed he got the ball first. Arsenal got a corner from the resulting free kick but didn’t do anything with it. Leeds had a couple of good moves but didn’t get the rub of the green with the final shots blocked. It looked heavy going on the pitch too which wasn’t helped by recent rainfalls, but I couldn’t tell if it was still raining or not. Arsenal hit the top of the crossbar from a cross from the left of the Kop which looked as if it was going over, but the rebound was cleared away. Phillips slipped as he ran toward their player and brought him down for a free kick, but he didn’t get booked for it and luckily their shot went wide from it.

Another good move saw their player in a great position in our penalty area, but he mishit and shot wide. We started misplacing passes and putting pressure on ourselves which stood out for a while but then we overcame that. A great counterattack saw Leeds race forward and Raphinha’s shot went narrowly wide. It was good to see him not be scared to have a shot from a distance. Another move saw Leeds win a corner but sadly Bamford’s volley, having done well to get in a position to have a go, was saved by their keeper. Another chance came to Dallas which went wide after some real persistence from Harrison down the wing towards the south stand. Another great move saw Klich’s shot go over the crossbar when it should have at least been on target. Ayling was the next one to have a shot go over from a free kick on the left when Alioski was brought down, before Arsenal had another attack with their final shot wide. After a lot of Leeds attacking it looked like Arsenal had breached our defence before a counterattack saw Leeds nearly through. Sadly, Bamford slipped as the pass came to him, but the whistle blew as Leeds went into the break on equal terms.

Arsenal brought a sub on at the start of the second half. An off the ball incident saw Alioski on the floor holding his face. Alioski had got the better of their player holding him off and he obviously didn’t like it. The referee had to look at the tv screen for VAR which showed Pepe headbutt Alioski who went down. There was no doubt in my mind that he had to be shown a red card and the referee agreed and sent him for an early bath.  It was a stupid thing to do after approximately five minutes of play in the second half. With 10 minutes gone Phillips pulled up holding his knee again. Arsenal made a change whilst Phillips was off the pitch as doubts about him continuing grew in my mind, but he did come back on. Our final crosses into the box were not getting to our players as Arsenal defended well. Arsenal counterattacked with only Meslier to beat.  Meslier came off his line and stood up to be counted and saved the shot putting the ball out for a corner.

I felt that maybe we should start to change things as we were getting caught out in defence by pushing up to the halfway line. As nobody was playing badly, I didn’t think Bielsa would change things as yet. I wanted us to pressure them and we needed that final ball to get to our players in the penalty area. From another Leeds attack, a great shot from Dallas was saved by their keeper. The resulting corner saw Arsenal defend well but by lumping balls in there, we needed to find a way of getting better crosses into the penalty area. As I shouted foul throw by the Arsenal player, it was good to see the referee agreed with me as he gave the throw to Leeds. I found I was watching Phillips like a hawk to check he wasn’t limping as a couple of times I wasn’t too sure whether he was or not. Luckily my fears looked to be ungrounded as he carried on playing. When it was said on the TV that their player was sent off for retaliation, I couldn’t believe my ears. Alioski stood his ground as there was some pushing and shoving from both players and Pepe obviously couldn’t take being stood up too.

As another attack saw Arsenal clearing the ball every time we got through, I was shouting for us to keep the ball on the floor as they were defending in numbers making  it hard for us to get through. A bad pass from Raphinha saw Arsenal counterattack us again and as Meslier went for the ball, Cooper took it from in front of him and made sure we cleared it. Another chance for Leeds saw a great pass back to Ayling who was unable to get the last touch of the ball. As it was, that became Ayling’s last part of the game as he was then substituted. Dallas went to right back and Rodrigo took over the number 10 spot. After so much Leeds possession, a rare Arsenal attack saw Cooper push their player in the back to give a free kick away in a bad position. The resulting free kick went over the crossbar to my relief.

With 15 minutes of play left my cry was to keep fighting and never give up. Rodrigo hit a great shot from outside the area which was inches wide. Their player got the better of Phillips on the wing as they won a corner which meant I was starting to get nervous although I had not been too bad until then. As Poveda was waiting to come onto the pitch as substitute, Rodrigo hit a great shot which came back off the crossbar. As Poveda replaced him, Harrison was seen to be limping as he went off. Suddenly Arsenal were through as Koch was beaten by a fantastic cross, but Cooper blocked the ball in the penalty area. As he fell the ball hit his elbow, but I was glad that the hand ball rules have been changed as it meant we played on. Arsenal were still defending in numbers, but Leeds then had a shot from Poveda saved by their keeper. It was starting to become a very frustrating game with the feeling that we weren’t going to break through their defence.

We had Meslier to thank after Arsenal were through again. We have got to be careful with the pushing up and getting caught out on the counterattack. Cooper was booked for bringing their player down on the right. Poveda persisted in battling for the ball but was unlucky as final ball to our player was short. The woodwork again saw Bamford very unlucky as his header hit the post after an excellent cross from Poveda. We need more of those crosses to put the opposition under pressure in my opinion. Klich then shot over after Poveda’s shot was cleared as far as him. I thought Arsenal were time wasting in the final minutes after their player was fouled as their trainer came onto the pitch. On his way off the pitch their player was limping with the opposite foot that Alioski had stood on accidentally when he won a tackle. Phillips was booked for a foul too. Raphinha hit the post with a minute left and I was positive that we would have sucked that ball into the net from the Kop today had we been in attendance. The stats showed Leeds had 24 attempts on goal, wow but sadly none of them ended up with a goal recorded. Leeds won a corner in the final minute of the game and as we went to take a short corner the whistle blew for full time.

With a no score draw in the end, we got a point which was probably a good result for us after recent results went against us. After the whistle had blown, suddenly, their number 3, Tierney started being an arse and having a go at Alioski. As he did this more than once it’s a shame the referee didn’t send him off as really there was no need for it. After another international break has just ended with the potential for injuries to our players, I am glad we have a break from them too. We have a couple of tough away fixtures next with first Everton and then Chelsea. I feel we are playing well although not getting the goals we deserve but need to tighten up our defence, so we are not as exposed by a counterattack. Keep fighting Leeds! LUFC – Marching on Together!

Thank you for buying my new book – Leeds Are Going to the Premier League! Leeds United Season 2019-20. Promotion in their Centenary Year.

 

As well as being available direct from my publisher using the code XMAS30  to get a discount using link

LEEDS ARE GOING TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE – LEEDS UNITED SEASON 2019-20 – PROMOTION IN THEIR CENTENARY YEAR!

The book is now available on Amazon too

Leeds are Going to the Premier League! Leeds United Season 2019-20. Promotion in their Centenary Year: Leeds United 2019-2020. 

I will happily autograph copies bought from any outlet once we are allowed back in grounds and can meet in person.

There is still time for them to be delivered prior to Christmas and I know some fans have got them on their wish list! See the pictorial journey through Leeds fans’ eyes as well as a game by game account from me!

Thank you for those fans who are already sharing photos of them with my new book.

Thank you for the support Gary and Olly. 

Also thank you once again to my neighbour Keith for buying 10 books! As always your support is appreciated.

Leeds fans singing in Norway pre-season 2015 in the Kultur pub Lillestrom

I just had to reshare this video I took on our pre-season tour to Norway in 2015. How I miss our fans and the atmosphere.

A big thank you to the Norwegian Leeds fans for their hospitality in the Kultur pub in Lillestrom before our pre-season friendly against Hoffenheim on 25th July 2015. It was a fantastic atmosphere and I loved the singing!

 

 

Crystal Palace v Leeds United 7th November 2020 at Selhurst Park

Good news, my new book is out – Leeds Are Going to the Premier League! Just in time for Christmas presents or as a distraction to read through lockdown. Books can be bought direct from my publisher on the following link using XMAS30 code to get a discount and It will also be available on Amazon soon.

Leeds Are Going to the Premier League – Leeds United Season 2019-20 – Promotion in their Centenary Year!

Sadly, not being able to go to games in person now where I normally meet fans to sign books for them makes things harder. Please note that once we are allowed back, I am happy to meet up with fans and sign books that are bought from any outlet. Whilst I am still waiting to receive my own stock of books, I am happy to sign them, but postage and packing will be added to any costs. I also do have a small amount of my previous books if anyone is interested in purchasing them as well.

Sad news was received this week that Billy Bremner the son of our legend of the same name, died yesterday at the age of 55. He was the same age that both his dad and our trainer Les Cocker died at too. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.

With a London game on the horizon, I wouldn’t miss the early morning get up and long journey, but I do miss being amongst our fans travelling to the game and watching the team. As someone pointed out this morning that Leeds get a nosebleed going further than Watford Gap, I said we had to forget where we were and think we were playing in Yorkshire. Damn, it still didn’t work having a positive, mental attitude. Going to Selhurst Park brough back some memories for me, firstly going there when we played Wimbledon in an FA Cup replay. We couldn’t get over the pink tiles in the ladies’ toilets and the mirrors on the walls. For those fans who used to go to games in the 70s, they will know these were the height of luxury in those days. The other game was playing Charlton in the play-offs. We were stuck on the M1 for two hours that stopped all the traffic after a car crashed into the back of a coach killing some Leeds fans. We didn’t get there until half time and I had such a migraine by the time we arrived, that I couldn’t enjoy the game. I think it is a horrible ground to get to when travelling from the north.

The team: Meslier, Ayling Cooper, Koch, Alioski, Struijk, Costa, Klich, Dallas, Harrison, and Bamford. Subs: Raphinha for Costa (45) and Roberts for Struijk (71). Subs not used: Casilla, Davis, Casey, Jack Jenkins and Poveda. Leeds lost the game 1-4 with Bamford scoring our goal (27). Attendance: Zero, behind closed doors. Referee: C. Kavanagh.

With Hernandez not even on the bench, people were thinking it was down to his dissent last week when he was subbed. Palace were straight on the attack and Meslier saved a good shot in the opening minutes. As Leeds battled to get the ball away near the touchline, the ball hit their player’s hand, but no free kick was given. Palace got into another great position to shoot not long after, but Alioski nicked the ball off his toes to clear. Meslier was called into action again to make the save. Leeds got a corner in the seventh minute which was taken by Klich, but Cooper’s header went over the top of the goal. Cooper went in hard to win the ball and as I held my breath expecting a free kick, the referee played on. I feel that the game is more free flowing in The Premier League with more common sense applied which is good to see after the appalling standard of refereeing we have had to put up with in the Championship. That said, it now looks like VAR has taken over from that!

Palace took the lead from a corner with an unstoppable header that deflected slightly off Koch’s head into the top right-hand corner of the goal despite Meslier trying his hardest to keep it out. Leeds then went on the attack but didn’t put their keeper under pressure. We tried again and Harrison should have hit the ball first time, but Palace won the ball back, so we lost the opportunity. We equalised with a goal from Bamford after a great pass from Klich which saw him beat the defence to lift the ball over the keeper. I couldn’t believe what happened next, as VAR then disallowed the goal for offside due to his arm being in front of the defence, when he was pointing to where he wanted the ball to go. That is how ridiculous VAR is and what a ludicrous decision! Klich skidded on the surface and went down with a hurt knee that brought the trainer on as Palace won a free kick in a good position outside the penalty area after a foul by Koch. Sadly, for us the free kick went straight over the wall into the top left-hand corner under the crossbar to see us two goals down in the 23rd minute. Leeds then pulled a goal back within three minutes to give us a fighting chance when Bamford volleyed the ball past their keeper with three of their players around him in the penalty area. Leeds then had most of the play after scoring our goal. We won a corner, but Harrison’s cross was headed away. Costa then scored an unlucky own goal after Palace suddenly attacked but I thought he would be able to win the ball as they were running down the wing. With Meslier anticipating the cross he glanced to see who else was coming into the area, but the deflection went in at the near post and he was too late to get there. That meant Leeds were losing 3-1 at half time when it could have been so different had our first goal been allowed to stand.

Raphinha came on for Costa at the start of the second half as Leeds tried to get back into the game. Struijk’s header from a Harrison corner went wide then Palace had a shot from the edge of the area that went wide. Leeds then won another corner but sadly it didn’t amount to a good chance. A great break from Leeds saw Klich put a great ball out to Alioski on the left, who saw his shot tipped round the post by the keeper. Another attack saw Klich put a great cross from the byline across the box which Struijk headed down and Harrison shot straight at the keeper who saved it. Alioski then put a great ball across the area which was crying out for someone to smack it into the net, but it bypassed everyone. Palace then upped their tempo after a good Leeds spell and won a corner. Leeds broke out of defence but then lost the ball and as Palace counter attacked, they put the ball across the box  which found their player all on his own to slot the ball past Meslier for a fourth goal on the day. Although looking down and out, Leeds never gave up and suddenly Harrison put a great cross into the middle only for the ball to come off Bamford’s shoulder and the chance went. Roberts replaced Struijk who I thought had done well. Once we were losing 4-1 it was painful to watch the rest of the game. Palace nearly got a fifth but Meslier rose to the challenge and won the ball. Leeds won a free kick in a good position after Klich was brought down and Raphinha took it which wasn’t far away from a goal. After a great ball out to the wing, the ball came to Bamford who got into the penalty area and was brought down when their player stood on the back of his foot. Immediately we were told to play on but if there was a VAR decision, it was made in seconds and ignored. How could Leicester be given their penalty on Monday as their man was on the line with the ball outside the area and VAR decided it was a penalty minutes after the event? Personally, I can’t see the difference when Bamford’s was actually in the area and not given. Sadly, it wouldn’t have made any difference as Leeds lost 4-1 for the second time in a week. It was another disappointing trip to London after all.

It would have been a long journey home after the loss, that’s for sure.  With the international break upon us once more, I would gladly kick those into touch for the disruption they are causing to the game in general. The other side of the coin is, it gives us a chance to recuperate and hopefully have some of our injured and missing players ready for the next game after the break. There will be no easy games in this league and I still prefer to see our attacking play although we can have all the possession in the world and not put any pressure on the opposition. We should try to shoot on sight rather than always taking that extra step and catch teams unawares. The opposition know they can let us attack and then catch us on the break, so we need to be able to shore up our midfield so that the defence is not overloaded and give Meslier more protection. Keep the faith, LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

My new book is out – Leeds are going to the Premier League – buy it now!

Use XMAS30 code to get a discount

Just in time for Christmas presents or as a distraction through the lockdown.  Books can be bought direct from my publisher on the following link using XMAS30 code to get a discount:

Leeds Are Going to the Premier League – Leeds United Season 2019-20 – Promotion in their Centenary Year!

The book is now available on Amazon 

Marcelo Bielsa achieved the dream for thousands of fans as Leeds United were promoted to the Premier League in their centenary year, after a 16-year exile. For Leeds fans, fantastic football displays on show to sell-out crowds’ home and away became the norm.

The emotional journey as a fan is captured by Heidi who as a home and away season ticket holder, relates the moments of this season in person. The Coronavirus lockdown threatened to put a dent in fans’ hopes when the season came to an abrupt halt in March.

 When games resumed behind closed doors in June, Leeds United rose to the challenge, although it was a tense time with a three-horse race to victory. With two games left to play, Leeds were promoted and confirmed as Champions without playing, as results went their way.

Heidi Haigh’s photos show fans who follow their team through thick and thin. This book is based on her popular blog shared around the world; Follow Me and Leeds United.

About the Author

Heidi has been following Leeds United for nearly 50 years since the Revie years and is a current season ticket holder in the Kop along with her two youngest daughters Danielle and Emily. All the family have been brought up to support the Whites.

Heidi’s trademark beret made her well known amongst players and fans alike, and former players still stop her in the street to say hello. She has had many articles and pictures published, from the Yorkshire Evening Post to the Daily Express.

Following Leeds United has taken Heidi, a fanatic, all over the country and the world. As well as writing her books, her ambition is to get a group of fans to record all the old songs fans have sung over the years.

Heidi’s six other books are: Follow Me and Leeds UnitedOnce a Leeds fan, always a Leeds fanThe Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17; Back to RealityLeeds United 2017-18Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United; and co-author of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United – Leeds United in the 1980s.

For more information and the books written by Heidi see her ‘Meet Our Authors’ page

https://www.jmdmedia.co.uk/pages/heidi-haigh-leeds-united

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