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Boro 21st February 2015 – Leeds won 1-0

Today was going to be a hard fought game, but I was hopeful of taking something from it. As it was I had it spot on!  We got there just before kick-off and although there was a large police presence which I don’t think was needed, I didn’t see any problems.  One of these days though, I am going to get stuck in a turnstile!  Luckily by putting my bag above my head it didn’t happen today!  After a quick chat with Beano from SS5 I went up into the stand to find my seat.  I was six rows from the front and had a good view.  With Leeds kicking towards the far end, I realised I couldn’t see quite so easily when after three minutes their goalie threw the ball out only to be picked up by a Leeds player.  The ball was passed to Mowatt who hit it hard and low from the edge of the penalty area with one of their players going for it too.  I didn’t see the ball hit the back of the net, only everyone going mad saying it had gone in!  Wow that was a perfect start!

We were certainly under the cosh after that though, with Silvestri showing the best of his shot stopping with some brilliant saves.  The more Boro attacked, the more we defended and I just felt that this was going to be our day. Going in at half time a goal up was good to see, especially as Boro were at the top of the table.

The second half was more of the same with Boro continually attacking and Leeds standing up to the task in hand with a fantastic team performance.  Bamba was solid in defence once again and Silvestri who ended up with the man of the match award pulling off more saves.  We had little chances throughout the game but what we did have on the break; we were unlucky not to get a couple more, Wootoon hitting the crossbar for one.  I only started getting nervous about 15 minutes from the end.  The woman next to me said we should bring a sub on for fresh legs, but I honestly couldn’t tn_P1070482 tn_P1070483 tn_P1070485 tn_P1070486 tn_P1070487 tn_P1070488 tn_P1070489 tn_P1070490 tn_P1070491 tn_P1070492 tn_P1070493 tn_P1070494 tn_P1070495 tn_P1070496 tn_P1070497 tn_P1070498 tn_P1070499 tn_P1070500 tn_P1070501 tn_P1070502 tn_P1070503 tn_P1070504 tn_P1070505 tn_P1070506 tn_P1070507 tn_P1070509 tn_P1070510 tn_P1070511 tn_P1070512 tn_P1070513 tn_P1070514 tn_P1070515 tn_P1070517 tn_P1070518 tn_P1070519 tn_P1070520 tn_P1070522 tn_P1070523 tn_P1070524 tn_P1070525 tn_P1070526 tn_P1070527 tn_P1070528 tn_P1070529 tn_P1070530 tn_P1070531 tn_P1070532 tn_P1070533 tn_P1070534 tn_P1070535 tn_P1070536 tn_P1070537 tn_P1070538 tn_P1070539 tn_P1070540 tn_P1070541 tn_P1070542 tn_P1070543 tn_P1070544 tn_P1070545 tn_P1070547 tn_P1070548 tn_P1070550 tn_P1070551 tn_P1070552 tn_P1070553 tn_P1070554 tn_P1070555 tn_P1070556 tn_P1070557 tn_P1070558 tn_P1070559 tn_P1070560 tn_P1070562 tn_P1070563 tn_P1070564 tn_P1070565 tn_P1070566 tn_P1070567 tn_P1070568 tn_P1070569 tn_P1070570 tn_P1070571 tn_P1070572 tn_P1070573 tn_P1070574 tn_P1070575 tn_P1070576 tn_P1070577 tn_P1070578 tn_P1070579 tn_P1070580 tn_P1070582 tn_P1070583 tn_P1070584 tn_P1070585 tn_P1070586 tn_P1070587 tn_P1070588 tn_P1070589 tn_P1070590 tn_P1070591 tn_P1070592 tn_P1070593 tn_P1070594 tn_P1070595 tn_P1070596 tn_P1070597 tn_P1070598 tn_P1070599 tn_P1070600 tn_P1070601 tn_P1070602 tn_P1070603 tn_P1070604 tn_P1070605 tn_P1070606 tn_P1070607 tn_P1070608 tn_P1070609 tn_P1070610 tn_P1070611see who should go off.  It was a day when all the lads on the field stood up to be counted.  I can’t remember the last time I have seen such a performance where everyone was battling with their backs to the wall, but somehow with standing anything that was put their way.

When Boro used their last sub I said all we need now is them to lose a player through injury and go down to 10 men.  I got my wish, but as it was a player who ended up being stretchered off after giving the foul our way, I hope he is okay. When play was restarted there were nine minutes of injury time but somehow we played for a further 12 minutes.  Bellusci had gone down injured to be replaced by Cooper for the last few minutes.

A fantastic win and another three points!  It was so nice to see the euphoria throughout our fan base together with the happy, smiling faces.  A very proud Leeds United fan here today and it really felt that United are back!

 

Millwall 14th February 2015 – Leeds won 1-0!

I went into this game knowing that it was a six pointer fixture today.  With Millwall below us in the table, it was vital we got the points to put a bit of a gap between us and the bottom few teams.  After a visit to the Peacock first, I met Martin who I hadn’t seen since the 80s.  He had travelled over to the game from Belgium where he now lives and it was good to catch up with him. As well as meeting my friends, I also met Fitz and his son Joe who I had bumped into at the White Rose Centre earlier.

I was late getting in to the ground but couldn’t believe the queues of fans waiting to get into the Kop.  I’m not used to queues at the turnstiles here!  Then I heard a steward say that ladies could go into the next queue as we would get through quicker.  I suddenly realised why we were queuing!  Stewards were searching people at one side of the queue and I had my bag searched yet again!  I actually complained as I said there was no need for this at Elland Road!  The answer was that someone had taken a flare into the ground at a previous game and was now suing the club!

 Well I am sorry, but why on earth should all the rest of the law abiding fans be treated as guilty by association?  It is one person out of 24,000 for example (today’s attendance), so the rest of the fans should not have to be responsible for their actions.  It is about time that the paying customers of Leeds United are treated in a better manner!

The first half was one of the best performances from Leeds for a long time.  Although we lost the toss and were turned around for the first half to face the Kop, they were constantly making good attacks towards our goal.  Sam Byram was doing well along the flanks and to be honest, I think they were all playing well as a team, which was good to see.  After a foul on the edge of the penalty area, Alex Mowatt was set to take the free kick.  This soared into the top corner of the goal to put us into the lead!  I honestly thought it took a deflection but on seeing it later, it was a brilliantly taken free kick! 1-0, get in you mighty whites! The referee hadn’t been too bad at this stage but spoilt it when he ended up booking Austin as he went down to a challenge in the penalty area.  In the second half he did the same, booking Mowatt for diving when it should have been a penalty!  I thought we were on top for the majority of the first half which had been good to see with some good passing football played.

The second half was more evens in my opinion and at times Millwall put us under pressure.  A couple of shots skimmed very close to the post and when Bellusci suddenly looked vulnerable, they looked dangerous.  He managed to overcome this though and Bamba again looked solid. We should have sown the game up when Antenucci missed a great chance blasting the ball over the top of the goal.  Also Morrison although working hard, should have shot instead of trying to walk the ball in.

On the whole though, we deserved the win and have climbed the table into 12th position with 38 points.  This was a well needed win to give us a little space between the bottom teams.  Well done to Redders, Thompson and the team, it was a good performance and the teamwork is reaping the rewards.  The fans were great all over the ground and in the last few moments hopefully scared Millwall off.  They had a paltry 200 fans there, with their manager Ian Holloway blaming it on them having to pick up their tickets up at the services.  That wouldn’t stop our fans though, as we will always travel in numbers despite the obstacles put in our way.  In the 80s when we were banned from Carlisle, Wimbledon and Hull, did it stop us going!  Not on your life!  I travelled up to Carlisle on the train with my daughter in a pushchair to get tickets.  Chelsea fans got tickets for Wimbledon for some of our fans and there were loads at both games.  The decision to ban us got rescinded for the Hull game as we’d got loads of tickets for that one too!  Where there is a will there is a way.  I’m not saying it is ideal having to go through hoops just to support your team, but there is nothing to stop you going if you really want to! LUFC – Marching on Together!

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Brentford 7th February 2015 – lost 1-0

What started off as a game with high hopes, ended up with a lot of frustration around Elland Road.  Accepting losing is one thing, but inept referees contributing to it is another.  We had started off brightly enough and weren’t playing too badly, but didn’t have that killer edge to us today.  We also left ourselves open at the back and were very lucky that Brentford didn’t make us pay for it, when early doors there seemed to be two of their players against our one.  Silvestri made an excellent stop from one shot. Footballing wise, the play was end to end at times but I don’t think we tested the keeper again.

The second half was so frustrating especially when the referee decided to give a free kick for absolutely every challenge to Brentford.  Unbelievable, plus his linesman must have had their eyes shut.  In a matter of minutes when Billy Sharpe should have had a penalty when his legs were taken from under him, ignored: another challenge on him when their defender had his arms around him and blatantly pushed him, ignored; Rudi with a penalty call, that was a close call because I feel he should have shot at goal first before the challenge; every touch of a Brentford player ended with them going down and getting a free kick, whereas with us it was play on.  This reminded me very much of playing Liverpool in the past, where they are given every decision going and go from strength to strength know they can do no wrong.

As it was, I didn’t see the handball that led to their goal, but we should have played to the whistle and not waited for a free kick.  Brentford were on top but I still felt there was time to get back into the game.  They were unlucky not to go two up, but I would have taken a draw at the end, Sharp being unlucky with a shot that went inches wide and then our new striker Cani not getting on the end of a chance in the penalty area.

I was surprised to see the actual attendance of over 23,000 as it wasn’t as packed in the Peacock before the game or at half time downstairs in the kop.  This normally indicates a lower crowd! It actually shows how much I don’t taken any note of the opposition players anymore; I found out when I got home that Jonathan Douglas an ex Leeds player was playing for Brentford!  20th in the table once again and we have Reading away on Tuesday and MIllwall at home next week.  It is important we get some points out of these games too especially as Millwall are below us in the table.  Unfortunately, as much as I prefer being at the games in person so I can see for myself how we play, work commitments mean I cannot go to Reading.  No doubt I will be stomping about in a strop wishing I was there, but it also means I cannot post any photos.  Hope those that go can share any with us but also bring three points back for us too! LUFC – Marching on Together!

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Huddersfield 31st January 2015 – Leeds won 2-1

Before I start today’s report, as much as I would rather be there, I won’t be at the Reading or Fulham games as I can’t have any time off mid-week unless it is in school holidays.  If anyone wants to share their pictures and/or view of the games, please send them to me and I will share them on social media.  Make sure you give your name so that you can be credited with them.

It was a late set off today as I was driving to it along with my daughter who has laryngitis, so it was to be a quiet journey by the look of it. As we got near the ground, it took us longer to go the last couple of miles than it had taken to drive from Halifax.  With the Shropshire Whites mini bus just in front of us and a Leeds coach at the side of us, we weren’t the only Leeds fans stuck in traffic.  Eventually we realised it was because the police were escorting the Leeds fans from the station in what looked like an overkill of bodies!

With 20 minutes to kick off we parked up in the gas works and set off to walk the last bit to the ground.  As we neared the road coming out of the car park we could hear the chant of “We all hate Leeds scum” and headed out into the middle of about 40 Huddersfield fans wearing my Leeds gear.  With the pleasure of their company down to the ground (not!), what I would say is Billy Bremner was a true blue Scot and Leeds United player, so they need to get their facts right for starters!  The thing is if that would have been our fans going down to the ground like that, the police would have been round them like flies.  As it was the town fans didn’t cause us any bother but I was sure we wouldn’t see them like that at the end of the game.

We met our stewards including Phil Thumbsup Cresswell at the top of the steps and after a quick search of my bag by the turnstiles, got straight into the ground.  I did try interesting the Town steward with my books as usual though!  Had a chat with a few of our fans then found our seats half way up, just to the right of the goal.  We had a decent view too.

Sol Bamba was making his debut for Leeds in defence with Bellusci suspended. We started the game pretty well and were on top with Murphy testing their keeper into making a good save with a long range shot.  Suddenly we were in the lead when Byram cut in front of their defender to somehow chip the keeper and the ball was in the net. 1-0!  Wow a great start and hoping we could keep it up.  At that moment I hadn’t been too particularly concerned about Huddersfield, but us scoring gave them the boost to turn up a notch.  There had been a few tackles going in but I didn’t think Charlie Taylor should have been booked, when he stretched for the ball a second time. Many a time it looked like 50/50 decisions were always being given to Huddersfield.  After Rudi had a spat with one of their players he got booked along with their player.  I think it was a complete over reaction from their player though.

They started putting pressure on us and there was always going to be a danger that they would score.  This did happen when they had a corner.  One of their players on the line was putting Silvestri and Morrison under pressure.  Instead of watching the ball and catching it, Silvestri somehow missed the cross by trying to punch it, only for the smallest man on the pitch to head home the equaliser.  Silvestri has got to start commanding his area. Although he did make amends with some good saves, his goal kicking today was shocking with most of them going straight into touch!  Once Town had got their goal, they kept coming at us and I only hoped we could keep them out.  We weren’t playing well since we had scored our goal, but it was important we didn’t concede a second so it was good to go in at half time 1-1.

The second half started with Town coming at us and after Rudi had another warning we were worried that he would be sent off and many thought he should go off to prevent this.  As it was we settled down into the game which was mostly end to end, although not too much pressure on both goalies.  Maybe more through luck than anything else though, as one shot from Town seemed to go all across the front of the goal but luckily no one near it to stick it into the net.  We should have had a penalty when Sam Byram was brought down in the area only for the ref to wave play on.  The sound of the Football League’s corrupt soon rang through the air.  Well it does make you wonder what we have to do to get given the right decisions! When Redfearn did make a sub it was Antenucci for Mowatt. Although hardworking, I think this was the right decision.

We did start playing better but again Town were always a threat by not giving up.  I don’t think I’ve looked at the time so much during the game for ages. With a few minutes left on the clock, Antenucci missed a sitter when the ball landed in front of him with a clear view of the goal, only to blast the ball over the top!  Everyone was up in arms as it should have been buried, giving us the three points.  As it was we weren’t to be disappointed.  Lewis Cooke went off and Billy Sharpe came on to replace him.  The next thing we were attacking again and Antenucci made amends, by sending over a cross for Billy Sharpe to head in the winner right on full time!  He immediately ran and jumped into the middle of the Leeds fans and I’ve seen some great pictures and videos of the moment! Everyone was going mental, jumping around and celebrating.  I had seen their player go down after colliding with his own goalie, but then realised he was still down and didn’t seem to be moving.  It turns out their sub Tommy Smith had somehow been kicked unconscious and was out on and off for at least 10 minutes.  Eventually he was carried off on a stretcher to a round of applause from everyone.  He was later transferred to Leeds General Infirmary by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance for checks, but he had come round in the changing room.  Hopefully he will be okay.

The last few minutes were played out and it was brilliant when the final whistle went and we had won.  It was great to see so many happy smiling faces and have a great buzz in the air.  After too many off the field incidents causing problems, it was so nice to be able to concentrate on the football and I can’t wait for the day that this becomes the case.  That’s the double over them this season and a welcome three points today to move up to 17th place.  The Town banner on show saying we wouldn’t win three in a row, can be ripped up now I think!  It’s also the first time we have done the double over Town for a long while.  Long may it continue, LUFC – Marching on Together!

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Fan Ownership of Leeds United – 24th January 2015

I attended the Together Leeds meeting 2 today with an open mind.  I wanted to find out more about the Fan Ownership of Leeds United and had agreed to send a video in of me supporting this.  There were many familiar faces from the different fans groups such as The Supporters Club branches, LUST, SS5 from the South Stand together with many unfamiliar faces. Dylan Thwaites was the person leading the meeting, having agreed to do this after the first meeting took place. He put forward a very strong argument for any Leeds fan, from any group; to come together to purchase GFH’s combined 25% holding of Leeds United.

I wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest, as my initial thoughts were if fans had to put in £1,000 each, then that would be pie in the sky for many Leeds fans including myself.  When the plan was put forward for 100,000 shares of £100, I felt that this was achievable.  You could have any number of fans joining together to put £100 in if they wanted making it accessible to anyone, but they would have one share only.  If you look at the photos hopefully you can get a better idea of how it would work.

I understand that there are still many undecided and unsure whether it would work, especially if someone wanted to put in a larger amount for instance from £1,000 up to £100,000.  I am sure they would want many assurances and different answers which is their right and their choice.

What I will say, is that we have a chance as Leeds fans to try and buy GFH out, to try and move our club forward that means so much to us all.  Having a special guest in Sniffer (Allan Clarke), was a great privilege.  It is because of him, Don Revie and the rest of the team including my hero Billy Bremner, which has made me be the Leeds fan I still am today. I am one of the lucky ones who got to see them play and they instilled in me the loyalty and love of my club.  His emotional talk brought a lump to many throats and he was a total gentleman and held in great esteem.

Where do we go from here?  Well that is up to each and every Leeds United fan to do what they think is right for themselves.  They can get involved and show their support for Fan Ownership of Leeds United; they can support other initiatives or they can do nothing.  The choice is yours.  Me personally, I will support the initiative as every little bit of money raised can help it happen.  If you feel you can put yourself forward for any of the roles that have been mentioned and shown in the photos, then please contact @TogetherLeeds on Twitter or email togetherleeds@mail.com.  Whichever way you decide, I still think our fans are the best and we have the most fantastic worldwide support.  Marching on Together!

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Leeds United 1 Bournemouth league leaders 0 – 20th January 2015!

For the first time in a long while I predicted we would win! It would be a small crowd and expectations would be low so it meant all the indications would work in our favour! I am over the moon to say that we did indeed win the league leaders with a fantastic goal from Luke Murphy!

We started off slowly for approx 10 – 15 minutes in the first half and the beginning of the second. In those first few minutes Bournemouth ran rings round us and we were lucky to keep them out at times.   Then we settled into the game and took it by the scruff of the neck and it was so nice to see us have control for most of it.  Murphy was unlucky not to score with a screamer that their goalie made a fantastic save from.  The second time he did the same, wow what a strike and what a goal!  It’s been a long time coming to see a goal like that sending us into raptures.  Within two minutes I held my head in my hands as Bournemouth put the ball into our net, only to cheer when I saw the linesman’s flag up for offside!!  Was this going to be the day when our luck changed?

Not quite, as Silvestri managed to scoop the ball out of the net along the goal line and it was a heart / mouth moment thinking it had crossed the line.  It was great to go in at half time winning 1-0 though!  I’ve been impressed with this score showing on the scoreboard for some reason too!  Could we manage to keep them out in the second half?   It was end to end at times and some good football played, with 17,634 souls braving the wintry elements as it started snowing 15 minutes from time.  The action wasn’t over as Bellusci was given a straight red card for a foul and Bournemouth awarded a penalty, damn! Looking at it later on playback, I couldn’t work out where the foul had been committed as others were saying it was outside the penalty area.  It was only in slow motion that it looked a yard out!  Justice was served, especially with me shouting miss, miss, miss to their player, when he hit the crossbar and it went for a goal kick!  Yes, it’s about time our luck changed!!

When the final whistle blew everyone was euphoric, this was our day. After all the things going on off the pitch it was nice to enjoy the moment and move one place up the table to 19th.

Setting off home in the snow, at least it wasn’t settling on the main roads.    If the snow that is forecast overnight does happen, then I may be going nowhere tomorrow as my street is really covered!!  Marching on Together!

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Birmingham 17th January 2015

It took a bit of motivation to get going this morning, but I would still be going to Elland Road no matter what!  There was snow on the ground in Halifax before we set off, but it sounded like there wasn’t much in Leeds so there were no issues with the game being called off.  Walking down Wesley Street after parking was a bit daunting on the paths, as there was plenty of ice around but otherwise not too much to worry about.

After a pre-match meet up in the Peacock I headed off into the ground to see what today would bring.  Although we were still struggling to get a win and score a goal from open play, I was quite optimistic.  After the second half at Sunderland and the draw at Bolton last week, it looks like we have ditched the dreaded diamond that I have hated for so long.  It sounded like a 4,4,2 was on the cards which is a traditional way of playing as far as I’m concerned.

We started the game quite lively but it wasn’t long underway, approximately 6 minutes I think, when Birmingham broke towards the penalty area just in front of the kop.  Cooper did a very clumsy challenge which looked quite rash and I knew straight away the ref was going to award a penalty.  Everyone around me was up in arms as they said he got the ball before the man. Although Silvestri went the right way, the ball was dispatched into the net meaning we were a goal down and up against it once again.

During the game Silvestri was to make at least 3 great saves to keep Birmingham out and my only fear was that they would get a second and put the game beyond us.  I did feel that we more or less matched them on the pitch in that we weren’t having rings run round us, which had happened most weeks with the diamond.  We did look more solid, although it took Austin and Murphy in the middle of the field a while to get going.  As Warnock had now been sold to Derby, Charlie Taylor kept his place at left back and he rarely put a foot wrong and often managed to attack and cross the ball.  With Beradi being injured after his best game for us last week at Bolton, it meant that Wootton came in at right back.  Morrison was in at centre forward and I felt he had a good game and was winning headers although not many shooting chances.

There had been a few bad tackles from Birmingham and some things that went unpunished.  The officials got a chorus of the football league’s corrupt after the ref and linesman completely ignored a cast iron penalty appeal. Sam Byram’s trailing leg was taken from under him in the penalty area and even though the linesman gave the penalty against us, he ignored this. Again when there were calls for a penalty for us too with a handball.  Time was going against us and when Cooke was taken off a ring of boos went around the ground.  As it was Doukara came on and bolstered the midfield and then Billy Sharpe came on to support Morrison in attack.

Our first goal from open play came in the 86th minute when Murphy ran into the penalty area and hit the ball into the net sending us into raptures.  We had had a couple of chances during the game when the ball seemed to be heading for the net only to miss at the last minute. Although it was a 1-1 draw, the second time in two weeks, it meant a point and we moved one place up the table.  There has been an improvement in the play and commitment of the team and the will is there. The win will come I’m sure and what better time for that, would be on Tuesday for the re-arranged game against Bournemouth.  It looks like it will be a small crowd but I’m looking forward to it!  After Derby away when I felt the cause looked lost, there is hope that we can turn this round.  Fingers crossed – Marching on Together!

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Bolton 10th January 2015

As this wasn’t too far away from Halifax, it made sense to drive there.  This meant a leisurely morning and my daughter and I got to Bolton in plenty time and parked near the Beehive pub. We went into the Beehive pre-match and it was nice to meet someone who had got my book Follow Me and Leeds United for Christmas from his son! Also, I met someone who knew my friend Karen who used to go to games with me.  It wasn’t a long walk to the ground and we arrived just before kick-off only to find a long queue to go in the bottom tier.  I took a photo of a friend as she was being searched and when I reached the same steward, at least we had a laugh and bit of banter.  Thought I’d got stuck in the turnstile when trying to hold my bag at the same time.  It was a relief to know that it didn’t jam!!  I didn’t fancy having to be cut out of it lol!

The game was only a couple of minutes old when Leeds won a penalty.  Lonergan their keeper and ex Leeds, had given the penalty away.  As I hadn’t put my glasses on by then, I didn’t see who was brought down.  Austin stepped up to take it and put us into the lead!  In one sense it was quite a tight game with not many chances, but at least Redfearn had made changes to both the team and formation.  I think the diamond had been given the heave ho too thank goodness! Although there were plenty of times when passes went amiss, there was plenty of fighting spirit being shown and some good touches.  Murphy in midfield and Morrison up front haven’t really done anything for me in the past, but I felt today they were trying with Murphy involved quite a bit.  Morrison got some headers in and one in the first half was a free one and the goalie pulled off a great save.  There had been plenty of tackles flying in from Bolton from the start.  I couldn’t help but think that if they would have come from us, we would have already had players in the book in the first few minutes.

It was nice to go into half time in the lead but that didn’t last long, as in the first few minutes of the second half Bolton were awarded a penalty.  I know we were in the opposite end, but I thought it was a fifty fifty ball and it looked like we’d got it away.  Unfortunately the ref saw it differently and they equalised.  A few times I felt we were under pressure, but mostly we managed to contain it although there were a few times when we didn’t.  Towards the end I realised we hadn’t made a sub, although I had thought maybe we needed to bolster the midfield.  As it was Sloth went off to be replaced by Mowatt.  Sam Byram took a nasty knock to his head which he still seemed to be suffering from at the end of the game.  I hoped we could get a late winner especially when we were attacking towards us and were being urged on by our fans.  There was another fantastic turnout today of nearly 4,000, despite the freezing cold and hail.  At the end I was glad we got a point and at least it feels like there is hope despite being 21st in the table.  When we were soundly beaten at Derby, it felt like there wasn’t any.  Keep the faith Leeds fans, it will come! Marching on Together!

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Sunderland 4th January 2015

An early morning start at 5.30 am after a sleepless night wasn’t a good start, only to find it was -4 and it took me 20 minutes to de-ice the car.  On the way to Leeds, BBC Radio Leeds were asking about superstitions so I tweeted a message once I had parked up.  I told them in the seventies when we had our 29 game unbeaten run, my scarf remained unwashed so that we didn’t lose!  I then had a radio appearance prior to getting the coach! After a stop at Green Hammerton for bacon sarnies, we had to meet a police escort at Washington Services.  We were greeted by loads of coaches and Leeds fans, with two groups having already been escorted to the ground.  On arrival we eventually found out which stand to go in as it was very confusing.  Luckily I found my niece in the crowd, but we realised that we would miss kick off as we had loads of steps to climb.  Luckily not as many as Newcastle as those who went to both will testify!

Onto the game.  The first half wasn’t spectacular but we seemed to be holding our own.  We had more or less a new team with Charlie Taylor, Del Fabro, Beradi, Murphy, Austin, Montenegro and Sloth coming into the team with many getting rested who had played recently.  I hope I haven’t missed anyone out! Unfortunately Sunderland took the lead through another freak goal as the cross seemed to hit their player and go in with him knowing little about it.  Here we go again was the thought.

In the second half I feel we gave them a run for their money and got three shots on target! For fans that have been starved of any goals and action in the opposition’s penalty area, this felt like progress.  We also should have had a penalty when Taylor was brought down, but the ref pointed to a free kick at the edge of the penalty area instead! The team were trying and although there were quite a few slip ups and crosses astray, I actually felt upbeat at the end of the game.  Once again the Leeds fans did us proud completely out singing the Sunderland fans.  In fact I never heard them once apart from them cheering their goal.  If this is what new grounds are all about, then they can keep them!  Souless and selling out the fans.  Roker Park was always a tricky and not nice place to go to as a Leeds fan, but you certainly had an atmosphere.  We now have only the league to concentrate on and we HAVE to start picking some points up very quickly.  Redfearn can change the team around for next week at Bolton so fingers crossed that things will start to work for us.  Otherwise that drag down into the relegation area will become very clear!  MOT!

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Derby 30th December 2014

Met up with the publisher of my books Follow Me and Leeds United and Once a Leeds fan, always a Leeds fan before the game.  He is a Derby season ticket holder and we met at their statue.  I wouldn’t include that in the pictures because old habits die hard!  We went into this game not expecting much to be honest, but it was a case of you never know!  I thought we matched Derby for most of the first half but disaster struck once again with another gift when Mowatt put the ball into the net for them.  I can’t remember the last time we have scored so much for the opposing team as we have done recently.  At half time as I went to take some photos of the Leeds banners, I met up with some Leeds fans who had flown in from Hong Kong especially for the game.  Kato from Norway was also here along with others from far away.  A wonderful worldwide support from the Leeds fans. In the second half we went two down within a couple of minutes of the start.  Derby won a free kick near the corner flag and from the resulting free kick ended up with a free header as we showed we cannot defend set pieces!  That was it game over, as we never looked like doing anything and coming back from this.  The Leeds fans singing and support was immense and I got a text from my sister saying how they could only hear the Leeds fans.  In fact to say Derby were 2-0 up I never heard them in the second half until the 90th minute.  It’s a shame we can only talk in good terms about the fans once again, but we are definitely in a relegation battle.  I honestly can’t see where the points or goals are going to come from at the moment, as the defeatist attitude is there from most of the team. They certainly don’t deserve the support they get from the fans and we certainly don’t deserve what is currently going on at the club! Where do we go from here?  The FA Cup first in the New Year at Sunderland then Bolton away.  I will still be there supporting my team but they don’t make it easy for us that’s for sure. MOT!

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Wigan 26th December 2014

Where do I start? An actionless packed first half where we were the bearer of a Christmas gift to Wigan with an own goal by Cooper. Although when the cross came to the right of us in the kop, there didn’t look to be any danger and I thought the ball should have been Silvestris. The next thing the ball is in the back of the net. To be honest up to that point I didn’t think Wigan looked a threat. That immediately put us on the back burner and having to get back into the game once again from a goal down! I personally couldn’t wait for the half time whistle to put me out of my misery! Redfearn made two subs at the start of the second half with Austin and Morrison coming on for Mowatt and Bianchi. We did take the game to Wigan for a while and did end up putting pressure on them, with the closest being a header from Morrison tipped over the bar by Carson (ex Leeds). The ball still tended to not run our way though which made it frustrating. To cap it all, Wigan had a break away and put the ball into the net near the end to kill it all off and take the points. I know I am not alone in wondering what is going to happen to us. Will we be involved in a relegation battle as we are only above the drop zone? It is too close for comfort and we have to get some points picked up quickly but, it is never easy being a Leeds fan!

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Forest 20th December 2014

Over the top stewarding, turnstiles so tight it’s a wonder anyone got through them, plus going back to the dark ages by having bars of soap in the loos!  Now I’ve got those bits out of the way I’ll concentrate on the game.  With the game being live I’m sure many have already seen the outcome.  It was only when they had their first goal disallowed that I started to worry though.  There wasn’t a lot to shout about in the first half but on 45 minutes I thought we need to hold out until half time.  Unfortunately the dreaded injury time minutes meant they scored to put us a goal down going in to the break.  A familiar feeling enveloped us and the half time talk was of despondency and here we go again.  The second half kicked off and I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, which took a turn for the better when the Leeds fans started upping the noise and got behind the team.  This seemed to pay off when we ended up with a penalty but then thought who do we have to take it?  I had forgotten about Billy Sharpe being on and he promptly dispatched the penalty to equalise.  What a relief that was!  Forest did get the ball into the net again to have that disallowed again but I wasn’t complaining.  The last 20 minutes of the match dragged by and with Thompson now assisting Redfearn, I felt that their decisions meant that we were able to grind out a draw.  Silvestri made amends for his previous errors by making 3 brilliant saves which kept us in the game.  It felt great to come away at the end knowing we had got a point.  We had some luck going our way for once but after everything that has been happening in the background and on the pitch lately, it was a boost that was needed. This could be the day when things start to turn around for us so fingers crossed and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Leeds United supporters everywhere.  Marching on Together!!

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Fulham and Leeds Christmas party 13th December 2014

A very disappointing defeat today. I know we had a few chances in the first half from Byram and the great header from Mowat, but I couldn’t shake off the fear that Fulham would score every time they came near our penalty area. Although neither side did well in the first half at least we hadn’t conceded a goal. Unfortunately it came not long into the second half but out of the blue. It was one of those games where you couldn’t see where a goal would come from us, unless it was unexpected. The defeat leaves us very close to the bottom of the table with the fact that we must start picking up some points very quickly. To get away from it all, the evening was spent at the Christmas party and it was nice to see the team mixing with the fans. Apologies as I don’t think the photos are as good today, I think I keep hitting the dial by mistake!

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Ipswich 6th December 2014

The early morning start at 6.15 am was treacherous ice and -3, eventually getting home to Halifax in good time at 9.30 pm to +6!  Another great day from a fan’s perspective minus 85 minutes of the “football” in between!  We had a great start to the match after 4 minutes going a goal in front when Warnock crossed to Antenucci to put us into the lead.  Hopefully we were going to carry on and build up from last week’s win against Derby.  Well I couldn’t have been more wrong as it turned into a disastrous day on the pitch. They equalised with a free header in the penalty area, got a penalty from a push by Warnock in the penalty area and to round it off just on half time scored with a player offside but the other Ipswich player kept the ball and ran past them to nutmeg Silvestri!  Down and out at half time or could we expect a comeback in the second half?  Unfortunately no because they scored more or less immediately putting them 4-1 up and we were down and out.  We were outplayed and out muscled and our youngsters were really up against it.  They didn’t have much support to be honest and I can’t think of any stand out players from today.  Antenucci was always running so I think he would be the one.  Coming home to news of the accounts and the financial losses incurred by the club makes torrid reading. More horrendous things for the fans to endure, when will it all end as we don’t deserve it! Also by the time I am posting this, it is the anniversary of my hero Billy Bremner’s death.  RIP Billy I wish you were still here and thoughts with all your family and friends – MOT!

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Derby 29th November 2014

After a very shaky start when we were under severe pressure and panicking, it was nice to see the lads grow in stature. We had a couple of misjudges between Silvestri and the defence but then they sorted themselves out. They managed to take the game by the scruff of the neck and it was great to see Antenucci put us in front. I also thought we’d be down to 10 men by half time due to the ref and his yellow cards! Some of the bookings today were unbelievable again. At half time we were discussing whether that would be our good or bad half. I said it would be the bad half as we had started off badly. It didn’t take long into the second half for Antenucci to get his second either. I was desperate for them not to let things slip today and Redfearn brought on Rudi to bolster the midfield. We managed to contain Derby for most of the match once we stepped up a gear but they didn’t give up. For once the day was ours, a clean sheet and 3 points against top of the table Derby. Hopefully this will give them belief and we can build on today. A poignant day all round with the minute’s applause for Blake Cairns and an 11 minute Gary Speed chant kept going by the South Stand. Very sad for Alex Cairns and his family.

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Blackburn 22nd November 2014

Very disappointed to come away with nothing today. In the second half when we were still a goal up Redfearn should have made changes. Bianchi had started losing a few tackles and we could see what was going to happen, although I think we see a different game higher up on the terraces to down on the bench. Along with a few others I was screaming for Redfearn to make some changes but obviously he couldn’t hear me! The game changer was the absolute clanger when Cooper was trying to defend and Silvestri came right to the edge of the area, messed up and the ball ended up in the back of the net. The lad in front of me said that it was Blackburn’s win now but I still hoped we could get back in front. Antenucci was unlucky to hit the post which was our only real chance on goal in the second half. Adryan being unlucky in the first half when the goalie made a fantastic save although Doukara scored from that resulting corner.

We should have made it count when Blackburn had a player sent off for a second bookable offence. Unfortunately instead of going for the jugular and finishing the game off when they were down to 10 men, we let them in at the death when they were given a penalty. Seeing Varney throw himself to the ground was not unexpected but shouldn’t have been a penalty. There again the ref didn’t really give us anything for most of the match it was always play on!

We should have come away from this game with at least a point. We have to learn to play for 90 minutes and kill games off so still a lot to learn. We played some good stuff at times which is heading in the right direction but it’s no good when silly errors gift the opposition the points. A fantastic turn out from the Leeds fans of just under 7,000 deserved much more!

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