Sheffield United v Leeds United 1st December 2018 at Bramall Lane


We caught the coach at Elland Road on another miserable and wet day to head to the lunchtime kick off that had been put back 30 minutes for Sky. Having just read on Twitter that a Leeds fan had arrived at the ground saying it was very quiet, we couldn’t help laughing when it turned out they were at Hillsborough, oops! Our coach driver then forgot to pull off on one junction of the M1 to pick some of our fans up so we had a detour. On hearing some trains were also delayed I hoped that was the end of things going wrong. Luckily we were still in the first group of coaches who got escorted to the ground for the relatively short journey.

As we got off the coach and headed back to the shop for a Costa, loads and loads of riot police were arriving and it felt very intimidating but also way over the top. As we passed the turnstiles someone with a camera turned to point it at us as we went by but I’ve no idea who it was. If I thought the silly things had finished happening they hadn’t, but as usual I think I surpassed that. As we made our way to the front of the stand, I told the stewards I was going to put my flag at the front. Wrong! I stood there as the realisation dawned on me that the reason my bag felt lighter was, because, I’d taken it out for our home games as it only goes to away games! I couldn’t believe I’d been so stupid but never mind, I got photos of the rest that were displayed including the Remembrance one by one of the Thames Valley Whites. I have to say it is absolutely beautiful. I then heard someone had left their ticket at home too and had to ask for a duplicate to be picked up at the ground. With that I said we’d had our fair share of things not going our way so things can only get better, especially as we hadn’t won here since 1992. There were some Argentinian fans here due to the Bielsa effect so I took photos of them too. I took a photo of the Sheff Utd mascot who then indicated he wanted a photo with me. With that, I think it was our photographer who raced over to get a photo too.

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Jansson (back after injury), Cooper, Phillips, Douglas, Hernandez, Alioski, Roofe, Klich, Dallas and Forshaw. Subs: Halme for Cooper (went off with a serious injury) (21), Clarke for Alioski (46) and Shackleton for Hernandez (90). Leeds won the game 1-0 with Hernandez scoring our goal (82). Attendance was 25,794 with 2,243 Leeds fan.

Jansson returned to the defence for the game after his recent injury. At least we didn’t have a repeat of last season when we were a goal down within a couple of minutes. Things were fairly even to begin with although I couldn’t help noticing they had a couple of giant players who were able to bully us off the ball. A couple of times they managed to come straight through the middle to attack us and with one, I can’t remember who, but one of our players tussled with a Sheffield player to win the ball. Cooper behind them went down and I didn’t think he’d been involved in the tussle but I knew he was in trouble when he hit the ground in frustration. What surprised me was seeing him limping off between two of our trainers. With how bad he looked I thought they’d carry him off but they didn’t.  Young Halme came on and he straight away got involved. I felt that by having his debut recently, that had helped him because his maturity today showed immensely in my opinion. Apart from one header that put us under pressure and brought a great save out of Peacock-Farrell in the second half, I didn’t think he put a foot wrong which was great to see. Before half time Sheff Utd did put us under pressure and come close to scoring but we ended the half on the upper foot. Our passing was causing lots of frustrations for them with some bad fouls which resulted in deserved bookings for them.

Alioski had been replaced by Clarke again at the start of the second half. The one thing that I’d noticed about Alioski was him sticking close to one of their giants and although he was bullied a lot, it looked like he was frustrating their player. He was also standing at one or the other of the goal posts when we were defending corners, so I’m glad to see my rants about not having anyone on the line have been listened to lol! The second half seemed to start quietly for us and it was a shame we’d had to stop for the break when we were on the up. Sheff Utd also started to attack us again but my thoughts were that they’d start off well and then calm down again. At that time I thought Bielsa needed to change things but when he didn’t, my instincts were that he knew what he was doing and I had to trust his judgement. We started getting on top and when a great cross was put across the box it was a shame it didn’t result in a goal. The linesman to the left of us needed to borrow my glasses as he didn’t seem to be able to tell when a ball was in or out. With one that gave us an advantage when I’m sure it was out, it would have been a case of poetic justice for once if it had resulted in a goal.  We eventually did get that breakthrough when Clarke chased their goalie who took one step too far. Clarke won the ball, passed it to Hernandez in acres of space in the middle, who slammed the ball into the net to send everyone wild in the stand behind the goal. We came under pressure in the last few minutes but were able to see the game out and get the win to the delight of the Leeds fans. My daughter Dani said there were some Leeds fans to the left of the stand we were in who came down doing the Leeds salute. I love the fact that we will always know who our fans are!

As I waited for Dani to come out of the stand, Steph passed me and told me I wasn’t allowed to bring my flag anymore and Paul also said the same thing to me outside too. Some lads said “we need to get a photo, this is from the Leeds 1919 site”. As we got back on the coach someone shouted that we had to sit at the back of the coach again next time which we’d had to do, as someone had already been in our regular seats. I’m not sure if we’ve been relegated or promoted to the back, but all these superstitions were seen coming out again today. Old habits die hard I’m afraid as a Leeds fan. We were back in Leeds in no time and I had another detour to make to Guiseley to a family 18th party before getting home. I’m sure we will have another full house against QPR at Elland Road now, especially as we had a brief spot of being top of the league before Norwich snatched it back off us. It is very tight at the top but as I’ve said before, anyone can beat anyone in this division. We just need to keep up there with the others challenging and see where we are in the coming months. Just get as many points as we can and who knows at this point where we will be. See you next week, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Rotherham v Leeds United 26th January 2019 at The New York Stadium

Yesterday saw the sad day of little Toby Nye being laid to rest but not before Leeds fans lined up outside the East Stand to give him a fantastic send off. Sleep tight little man and my thoughts are with all your family and friends.

On a personal level this last week is one I hope my family never has to go through again. My stress levels were already through the roof at work when the news we dreaded happening was confirmed. This all ended badly yesterday when my youngest daughter sadly lost her dog. When my children hurt, I hurt, so a sh*t week got even sh**ter. I need my Leeds United family to get me through the bad times and reduce my stress!! I should remember this is Leeds United I am talking about, but seriously this is my get away from it all to keep me going.

We left the Peacock at 12.45 pm for the short trip to Rotherham with me sleeping all the way there. As we headed to the turnstiles it was nice to see Phil Thumbsup Cresswell back again after his recent illness and catch up with a chat. Thanks should also go to those people I spoke to before the game as their support is invaluable. I’d heard we weren’t allowed our flags up today for some reason but thought I would still check it out. Apparently because it was a full house there was nowhere to put them!!  I beg to differ with the full house, as there were plenty of empty red seats around the ground. Last season we had hung them in front of the top disabled area with no issues so why couldn’t they go there again? What a ridiculous decision from my point of view, because what harm do they do but show how far and wide our support is?

The team: Today saw the debut of our goalie from Real Madrid, Kiko Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Phillips, Alioski, Klich, Roofe, Hernandez, Clarke, Harrison and Forshaw. Subs: Roberts for Clarke (45), Shackleton for Harrison (88) and Davis for Hernandez (90 + 6). Leeds won the game 2-1 with Klich scoring both our goals (51) and (86) after we went a goal down in the 25th minute. Attendance was 11,259 with 2,317 Leeds fans.

As the game kicked off Leeds had a lot of possession but it seemed like we were trying to walk the ball into the net and not really getting any clear chances to score. Rotherham didn’t look too much of a threat for a long period then suddenly upped their game. As I was telling Leeds to step up a gear too, Rotherham let fly with a long range strike that beat Casilla into the top corner to put them into the lead. That dé ja vue moment once again as the first half died a death from our point of view as it looked like history could be repeating itself. Despite a couple of attacks our best moment came with a shot from Harrison bringing out a good save from  their goalie to leave us a goal down at half time. My stomach started to churn with that familiar feeling of things going wrong.

A few of us ladies had a chat at half time about the game and then I said, “Right, we need a positive mental attitude and Leeds are going to win.” Another one said yes we are going to win 3-1! Well the score may have been wrong but we did the trick so well done girls!

With the second half underway, it became clear that if we put pressure on Rotherham they would get nervy and wilt. Within six minutes we were level when Rotherham failed to clear the ball, handballed it in the process, but Klich was able to poke the ball home from close range. It seemed an age before it went over the line but Leeds got straight on with the game as the Leeds fans celebrated. Their goalie pulled off a couple of saves before Casilla made a great save to deny Rotherham a second goal. We started to put some pressure on Rotherham’s goal and you could see their players starting to panic. As they started time wasting I said I hoped we could make them pay for that and get the winner. After some great play from Harrison on the left in front of us, the ball came across to Klich in the middle who struck a great shot into the corner of the goal to send the Leeds fans wild. Klich is scoring goals, was sung again and again and as I love the singing and chanting, this is just what I needed plus the win and three points of course. To say only four minutes added time was on the board the game kept going for nearly three minutes more which sadly saw Phillips booked as he took one for the team and Hernandez go off with a possible injury.

As we headed out of the ground into the rain which had apparently been falling during the second half too, Leeds stayed top of the league. This was one of those games that we had to win and although still a long way to go Leeds, just keep getting the points please.

Next week sees the late kick off against Norwich who are one of 11 clubs who have written a letter to the EFL demanding an investigation into Leeds and spygate. All I can say is they need to grow up because Leeds did nothing wrong. If you train in public and anyone watching is on public property, then my answer to those 11 clubs is tough! I want to get to the game in good time as I am meeting one of the Nottingham Whites who managed to order my book Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18 from WH Smith. He wants me to sign it for him so will look forward to meeting him to do just that.  See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

Stoke City v Leeds United 19th January 2019 at the Bet365 Stadium

It was so sad to hear that Toby Nye our little Leeds fan had lost his battle with Neuroblastoma last weekend. As soon as I heard the news the tears were streaming down my face, as I felt the pain his family will be suffering having lost a child too. It was great to see the tribute before the game with Evie who goes on our coach and a Stoke fan holding up a City shirt with Toby’s surname on the back. He also got a rousing send off on six minutes from the whole stadium which was very moving. RIP Toby and my thoughts are with his family.

Well Leeds United and in particular Marcelo Bielsa have hit the headlines well and truly this week after #spygate watching Derby County train. What a mountain out of a molehill and sour grapes from Lampard, what a whinger. After seeing the FA and EFL were going to investigate this, Bielsa showed his integrity and honesty by giving the whole world a 90 minute PowerPoint Presentation on Derby. He knows more about Derby than Lampard ever would and you know something, he’d found all that out long before the training ground incident. The bloke found, was even on public land and didn’t do anything wrong. I love Bielsa more and more and he so reminds me of Don Revie. He loved his dossiers too and if Bielsa can emulate Revie in any way, which I do believe he can, we are in good hands going into the future. Don’t ever change Marcelo Bielsa because you are a breath of fresh air especially after all the corruption that has been going on in the game for years and the prima donnas should take a leaf out of your book. They may even learn something!!

I went on a First Aid Training course this week and as usual was wearing my Leeds things. I would like to thank Des for buying The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17 and Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18 (a big thank you to my friend Sue for getting the latter one too). I would also like to thank Andy for buying Follow Me and Leeds United for Harry. I look forward to receiving feedback from all of them. Des had already bought the first three books I’ve written and it was great to get the feedback that he enjoyed reading them all. The funny thing on the course was being asked if anyone wanted to be a trouble maker whilst someone else was performing CPR; well I had to volunteer didn’t I? I can be a pest, never stop talking and also can definitely relate to it despite never wanting any trouble near me. I have to say all the others on the course wanted me to be shut up lol!!  They’ve never had anyone quite like it I think and I couldn’t stop chuckling to myself afterwards.

As we headed to Stoke I couldn’t believe that there were still loads of media outlets and failed pundits sticking their oar in about spygate. With false accusations still being peddled left, right and centre plus references for us to be docked three points it is about time they all grew up! Leeds have done nothing wrong and if teams don’t want anyone to watch them play, don’t do it in public but behind closed doors!

I fell asleep on the way to Stoke and opened my eyes to see all the fields covered in snow and not much visibility so I was glad I was on a coach. Luckily our snow at home had melted by the time I left to go to Leeds. After a stop in Leek we arrived at the ground only for me to realise that it was a new ground for me after all. Having visited the Victoria ground numerous times I’d forgotten they’d moved. Their old ground hadn’t been a happy hunting ground for us many times football wise especially losing our 29 game unbeaten run there on 23.2.74. Our fans having a laugh despite losing 6-2 and 7-2 two seasons running. My own recollection of getting ambushed at the graveyard when going back to the station and our fans singing Daily Express to me, Sue, Carole and Linda on 13.9.75 when our photo appeared in the paper. This iconic photo taken outside the West Stand showing the facade is the front cover of my first book Follow Me and Leeds United. Is there any wonder I hate red!

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Clarke, Jansson, Cooper, Klich, Forshaw, Roofe, Hernandez, Harrison and Alioski. Subs: Roberts for Harrison (61) and Jordan Stevens making his debut for Klich (76). Leeds lost the game 2-1 with Alioski getting our consolation goal (90+5). Attendance was 28,586 with 2,919 Leeds fans.

As soon as the game kicked off we got covered in beer courtesy of a Stoke fan at the other side of the divide, was there really any need for that? It didn’t take long to realise we were up against it from both the officials and Stoke. In the first few minutes their player dived as if he had been shot right in front of the linesman who instead of being reprimanded was awarded a free kick. I could see that Stoke wouldn’t be a pushover though as they looked very strong. They had just replaced their manager so teams normally up their game for that reason but also when they play us. We were still able to move the ball around well as we tried to build an attack and sometimes we were very successful in tight spaces but not all the time. There weren’t many clear chances for us but we came close a couple of times. When Stoke were awarded a free kick outside the area Peacock-Farrell was lining his wall up. When he crouched down to get a good look, I wondered if he had received some pointers when warming up before the game from our goalie Kiko Casilla signed from Real Madrid this week. He made a great save tipping the ball over the crossbar and also made another good save to deny Stoke. I still had high hopes at half time as we went in level that we could get something out of the game.

As I took my glasses off at half time one of glass lens fell out so I couldn’t wear them for the second half but hoped all the play would be coming towards us with Leeds attacking. Unfortunately within five minutes of the second half starting Stoke took the lead. We had cleared the ball only for it to be headed back into the area by one of our players which resulted in Stoke getting the ball into the net. That was a shame because it meant we were up against it once more. We did have a chance to get back into the game when Hernandez was fouled just outside the box but the referee just ignored it. I couldn’t believe it especially as Stoke nearly got a goal from the breakaway. Even I saw the blatant handball from their player which got a deserved booking. As Stoke broke away they looked to be through on goal only for Jansson to make a great tackle at the last minute to deny them a scoring chance. The game took a bizarre and unwelcome turn as Jansson was chasing back and went down as the Stoke man shook him off and Peacock-Farrell made a great save to deny them a second goal. The referee once again showed his true colours with a terrible decision sending Jansson off not before giving Stoke a free kick outside the area! A disgraceful decision despite the referee trying to indicate that somehow as he fell Jansson handled the ball? As Pontus was being escorted off the pitch he took his shirt off and headed to the Leeds fans but had to shrug the stewards off in doing so. He gave his shirt away and looked to be having all sorts of issues with the stewards and I’m sure I saw someone manhandle him in the tunnel.

15 mins from the end just after Jansson received his marching orders I decided I’d make my way over to the left of the stand to get my flag. I managed to get across two sections and then had to force my way down the steps where there was no space to do it due to all the fans stood on them. After a battle I made it to the bottom and we were unlucky not to score when Ayling’s header was saved by their goalie. Stoke then got a second goal to put the game beyond our reach despite Alioski getting a goal back at the death. If it wasn’t for us being reduced to 10 men I think we would have got a draw at least. I took a photo of a very happy little boy with Pontus’s shirt and thank you for making the effort for him to get it. As we were starting to leave the stand some Leeds fans got very agitated with a Leeds steward accusing him of obstructing Pontus. I wasn’t sure what it was all about at that time when someone asked me what was happening. Despite the loss we remain at the top of the Championship. Let’s hope we get back to winning ways next week at Rotherham.  See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

Leeds United v Derby County 11th January 2019 at Elland Road


When you are feeling down, the best therapy you can get is head to watch your football team. What an evening at Elland Road with the best performance of the season and a team playing for each other. After spygate erupted on social media today with Derby accusing a person acting suspiciously outside their training ground of being a Leeds spy, I just laughed. I remember stood outside a fence watching the famous Leeds United team train on Fullerton Park before it became all prima donna like. I’d be happy to see that become the norm again and I can’t see what all the fuss is about. Leeds fans as usual took the mickey and Legsy in the Peacock had brought his binoculars to the game. Whilst in there it showed on the TV that Bielsa said he was the guilty party as it was a common thing in Argentina to spy on the opposition. All I will say is there is nothing to feel guilty about and Lampard needs to grow up! With a great sing song before we headed into the ground, our spirits were certainly high. In a conversation last week I’d said I wasn’t worried about tonight at all. I’d asked my granddaughter Hannah why she hadn’t brought her scarf with as she’d come with my daughter Danielle and we’d met near the ground. With that we found out that some girls on stilts were handing out free scarves to those kids without one which was really good to see, so Hannah must have known.

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Cooper (back from injury), Jansson, Alioski, Harrison, Clarke (making his first start), Hernandez (back from injury), Forshaw, Klich, Roofe and Ayling. Subs: Shackleton for Harrison (63) and Davis for Clarke (79). Leeds won the game 2-0 with goals from Roofe (20) and Harrison (47). Attendance was34,668 with 1,238 Derby fans.

There was a cracking atmosphere as the teams came out and it looked like spygate was not having the effect that Lampard wanted as the whole Leeds United club came together as one. We kicked off and went straight on the attack and the ref pointed to the spot as Alioski was brought down in the first minute only for the linesman to put his flag up for offside. As I’ve defended Alioski in the past, it isn’t always him that’s offside; the officials don’t seem to know what offside is, especially when someone said the TV replay had shown him onside! The ref then changed his mind and from then on it looked like someone had given him a flea in his ear for daring to give Leeds United anything. The amount of fouls, late and dirty that Derby made on our players only to either play on or not give us anything from them just has me shaking my head. As we’ve seen so many times, our players do not get the same treatment because instead of a yellow we get shown a straight red. Derby were very lucky to still have 11 players on at the end of the game that’s for sure. Leeds carried on with an electrifying pace and Forshaw was all over the place as was Alioski. They weren’t the only ones though because everyone was fighting for the ball in packs and helping each other out as we put Derby under constant pressure. With a fantastic WACCOE around the ground and scarves waving everywhere it looked and sounded an absolutely wondrous sight and it was certainly moving. The sound of the singing too was out of this world as Leeds fans became the twelfth man. Jack Clarke once again proved his worth as he provided the pass that Roofe got on the end to stick into the net to send Leeds fans into raptures. After having the penalty given then not given, this was justice for us! Leeds were playing some fantastic football and battling for everything and some of the footwork was mesmerising. Obviously Derby couldn’t get the better of us so resorted to bad fouls instead. They had their first shot well wide just after the half hour mark and managed to put us under pressure in the last minutes of the first half. The first half though had belonged to Leeds and I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen such a one sided game for a long time. It was so good to see though and we still looked to have plenty in us as our fitness levels show how far we have come since Bielsa joined us.

As I was talking to my friends downstairs at half time I said we’ll have to go up as Leeds are going to score straight away. As we were behind the betting stand I asked this man to let me through as Leeds were going to score straight away and I needed to get back up into the stand. He said if we did he’d come and find me and asked me where I stood so I said on the Kop!! He said I’d had a senior moment as we laughed at what I’d said. I told the ones at the end of our row what I’d said as the game kicked off. What more can I say but I was dead right wasn’t I? Within two minutes Clarke did some great attacking to the left of us as he got past their player and Alioski passed it back for Harrison to put the ball into the net to give us a two goal lead! I put my arms in the air shouting I knew it as Leeds fans celebrated everywhere. What a start to the second half! We carried on where we had left off as we continued to put Derby under pressure. I wasn’t worried for most of the game as we just swarmed around Derby every time they got the ball. We came close a few times but weren’t able to add to the goal tally but we’d still played really well. I only got nervous at the end as Derby had a couple of attacks and I didn’t want them to get anything out of the game. The game ended as Jansson rang rings around Derby who did the only thing they could do by bringing him down with a bad foul. That should have been a sending off in my eyes but of course it was a yellow only. As Pontus limped off the pitch at the end he looked in a lot of pain. As Clarke was getting interviewed at the end of the game for man of the match, Klich was taking the mickey by pretending he’d got some binoculars! Gallows humour is the Leeds United way.

I’m actually glad we’ve played tonight now as a relaxing weekend is ahead of us and we can watch the other results at leisure. Our performance tonight will have made others sit up and take notice. We head to Stoke next week and I don’t think we should be scared of anyone. Just keep doing what we are doing Leeds and take each game as it comes. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

QPR V Leeds United 6th January 2019 at Loftus Road FA Cup 3rd round

With a 5.00am wake up call, I for one was looking forward to this FA Cup tie. Winning breeds winning as far as I’m concerned and I certainly don’t want the capitulation that occurred after our third round defeats in the last two years. Time will tell now what happens next but at this moment in time I am going to watch Leeds United play and want them to win.

Secondly, the furore surrounding the Stoke away tickets and many regular fans not getting them. My stance is that after away season tickets have been handed out, they need a small allocation of tickets for those fans who have only missed one or two games who do not have an away season ticket. As the club knows who these fans are who do not miss any games and stay with them through thick and thin, good times and bad, loyalty should be rewarded in my opinion. All this talk of these loyal fans being super fans, thinking they are entitled to tickets and having a closed shop is wrong. These fans have built up their long term loyalty over the years and should be looked after before the free for all. As for the talk of entitlement, I have no problem with anyone wanting to apply for tickets given the chance, but with the accusations towards those who have earned their loyalty over the years, the same can be said of those fans saying they are entitled to one too as they don’t get a chance to build their loyalty up. When things weren’t going so well on the pitch last season, there were unsold tickets, so there was a chance. That is no different to what these loyal fans are being accused of. All I am saying is there are a small amount of fans who should be looked after too. This created a topic of conversation at our pub stop in Uxbridge prior to the game.  

Bielsa had already named his squad for today’s game and said he was taking the game seriously which was a breath of fresh air. I never ever want to go to a game where the towel has been thrown in prior to it as that is a disgrace to the travelling support. If we go out fair and square that’s a different matter. I thought we’d arrived very early for the game but it only dawned on me when it was announced over the tannoy that it was 15 minutes to kick off, that it was a 2pm start for overseas broadcasting. As usual I’d forgotten as well as thinking we’d be home at 2am by forgetting it was an afternoon kick off and not an evening one. I blame it on the early start lol. 

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Harrison, Shackleton, Halme, Davis, Forshaw, Baker, Roberts, Clarke and Alioski. Subs: Pearce for Halme (46), Kun Temenuzhkov (making his debut aged 18) for Pearce (79) and Clarke Oduor (making his debut aged 19) for Davis (87). Leeds lost the game 2-1 with Halme scoring the Leeds goal (25).  Attendance was 11,637 with 3,148 Leeds fans.

The game kicked off with our team having an average age of 22 and those on the bench an average age of 19. The kids put up a good fight today and the future looks bright. We were unlucky not to take the lead within a minute of the start with Roberts shot hitting the inside of both posts then bouncing out.  With loads of Leeds fans still coming into the ground at that point what a start that would have been, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Unfortunately QPR took the lead when they were awarded a penalty. I wasn’t surprised to see it awarded but I’m sure if it had been at the other end it wouldn’t have been given. Within three minutes we were level, with a hard free kick from Baker initially saved by their goalie and the rebound put in from young Halme.  Although QPR looked dangerous on the break, Peacock-Farrell kept them out with some good saves. I thought we got on top towards the end of the first half and Alioski came close a couple of times. His never say die attitude caught QPR in possession as he came away with the ball to set up another attack. After one QPR attack when BPF made the save, it was good to see Ayling on the line behind him but in this instance he wasn’t needed. I thought Leeds had been listening to me by having players on the posts.

Sadly that proved to not be the case in the second half as we were beaten by another set piece from QPR but if someone had been on the back post helping, this could have been prevented in my opinion. That is one thing I am very surprised not to see being implemented by Leeds as it is an obvious flaw from my point of view, especially as I was brought up seeing the best in Bremner and Reaney putting that into practice. The amount of goals they saved being scored by kicking the ball off the line was invaluable. We also missed Halme’s height in the second half as he was subbed at half time apparently because he’d already been booked. I’m not sure if it was his booking when it looked like someone had a word in the ref’s ear who then proceeded to book Halme for a foul. Tom Pearce was brought on in his first game since injury but found he also was subbed later in the game. Peacock-Farrell continued to make saves to keep QPR out and we ourselves had a couple of good chances to score and I thought we still had a good chance up to that point. Once they scored from the set piece and we changed our formation, although we kept trying I thought we were off the boil by then. Baker put a couple of hard passes to our wing which were good but on the whole I was disappointed in his whole performance especially in the first half. He still has to up his game a lot more for me but I think it was important that both he and Harrison played a full 90 minutes. One lad going out behind me at the end of the game  shouted it was a long way to come to see shit. I wouldn’t go that far as I thought we played some good football and I thought our youngsters did really well when called upon. As we walked back to the coaches my daughter Dani and I were keeping a watchful eye on the police horses up ahead as the sounds of things starting to kick off appeared around us. As the police were speaking to some QPR fans a couple of Leeds fans had another one square up to them, as a police horse came to break it up. I’ve no idea what happened in the first place as I don’t even think the Leeds fans were singing at that time.

Those fans who wanted us to go out of the FA Cup so we can concentrate on the league have now got their wish. I’d be very happy to admit that was a good thing in the long run but only time will tell. The one good thing is we didn’t roll over and die and put up some fight today which can only be a positive. As we play Derby at home this coming Friday, this is a must win game for us. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

Nottingham Forest v Leeds United 1st January 2018 at the City Ground

I hope everyone had a Happy New Year and my wish is for Leeds United to keep fighting and see where we are in a couple of months in our quest for promotion. The saying that you never know what is around the corner is certainly true. As my family faces a challenging year ahead of us, what I will say is make the most of everything in front of you when you can. I won’t go into too much detail on here, but I thank both Phillip Thumbsup Cresswell and Gary Edwards for their kind words which are greatly appreciated.

After a stop in Mansfield before the game we arrived in plenty of time for kick off. After putting my flag up at the front of the stand it was nice to see Nikki and Rita her guide dog who is our honorary Leeds United fan. My daughter Danielle and I went downstairs then and a big thank you to Gary for buying my book Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18. As always I am grateful for the support of fans who buy my books. After taking photos of fans, we made our way to our seats in different parts of the stand. I saw some people getting escorted across the front of our stand and I thought they must be some of the players coming to join us. It turned out that I was right and Danielle was sat near them. Berardi, Cooper, Dallas and a couple more were sat at the front.

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Douglas, Phillips, Jansson, Hernandez, Roofe, Alioski, Klich, Forshaw and Harrison. Subs: Clarke for Harrison (46) and Roberts for Douglas (78). Leeds lost the game 4-2 with Clarke (52) and Alioski (64) scoring our goals. Attendance was 29,530 with approximately 2,000 Leeds fans.

After an early chance for Forest, we found ourselves a goal down within five minutes. Once again our passing let us down; we passed back with not enough pace on the ball giving them the chance to nip in and score. It meant we had to come back from behind again after giving the opposition a goal lead. On 15 minutes though, Forest should have been a man down. Harrison beat their man and was bearing down on goal with only the goalie to beat, when he was brought down. As the last man their player should have walked but instead the ref gave him a yellow card only. Once again the interpretation of rules by the officials, shows a complete difference of opinion when they deal with our players and the opposition. Make no mistake about it, but if that had been the other way around our player would have walked. We hadn’t given up and came close from a corner when Alioski’s header was kicked off the line. Just before the break we went down to 10 men when the referee showed Phillips a straight red after a late tackle. I’d be biased by saying he could have been shown a yellow for it, but their player rolled and rolled around which I think swayed the referee. I agree he was late with the tackle, but when I see decisions never go our way in similar situations and with the earlier last man tackle only given a yellow, the officials seem to make rules to suit themselves. Just after that we could have been two goals down when another bad pass was intercepted but luckily for us, Peacock-Farrell made a great save to deny them.

At half time there were lots of discussions going on and as we queued for the ladies, this young girl said we were s**t! It gave us a laugh in the sense that she didn’t beat about the bush when saying what she thought. At the time though, we were still in with a chance as we were only a goal down. I went down to the front and my flag had been knocked down. Apparently once all the kids saw the players they were trying to get to them so I could hardly blame them.

Clarke came on again at the start of the second half in place of Harrison (he had looked to be playing better and maybe that is something he needs, a run in the team). Although we were down to 10 men, it was Leeds who took the game to Forest as we showed the best form of defence is attack. Hernandez brought a save out of their goalie before Clarke pulled a goal back when he hit his shot from the edge of the area to equalise. I was chuffed to bits for the lad but again, he didn’t really get a chance to celebrate as we got on with the game. We took the lead after Jansson headed the ball back across the goal for Alioski to smash the ball into the net. Apparently it was Berardi who led the way with a mini pitch invasion to celebrate with the team! After coming from behind it would have been good to see the game out, but with at least 25 minutes remaining it wasn’t to be. As the Leeds fans started singing we are top of the league and asking Karanka to stay I though noooo…. don’t sing that as it’s the kiss of death! With Forest getting the run of the ball once again they equalised within five minutes as the songs came to bite us on the bum. Clarke came close once again before we let the game slip from our grasp when we failed to clear a corner and they scored their third. If we thought we were home and dry after our second goal, we were mistaken as we’d stopped attacking and let them get back into the game. They scored a fourth on the break although someone mentioned it was offside, but it wouldn’t have made any difference to the final score though. We did try to get back into the game but sadly being down to 10 men showed in the end which was a shame. We stay top of the league despite the defeat. It was nice seeing a couple of our young fans getting Jansson and Ayling’s shirts.

Next week sees the start of the FA Cup with our visit on Sunday to QPR for a 2pm kick off to link in with overseas fans viewing. I have no problem it being viewed that way but why on earth it couldn’t have stayed for a Saturday kick off is beyond me. My friend Carole wants us to go out straight away as we have a small squad and can’t afford to have a cup run. My stance is that the FA Cup should be taken seriously and I don’t want the towel thrown in like the last two years at Sutton and Newport. We’ll know soon enough which way it will go so see you there. LUFC – Marching on Together!

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

Leeds United v Hull City 29th December 2018 at Elland Road

I’d lost track of the days over the Christmas period and once again had to check the kick off time. I couldn’t believe there’d been three 3pm kick offs in a week for us which is unheard of, well it seems that way! My granddaughter Alexis and I went to the Pavilion first as we were meeting Marc Bracha, his son Frankie and friend Shaun from Norwich for a photo. Marc is the author of Bairdy’s Gonna Get Ya! and it was good to catch up. We met when I was writing my third book with Andrew Dalton, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United, Leeds United in the 1980s. Marc’s dad lives in Cyprus and is an avid reader of my blog so he will enjoy seeing their photo in it. After a quick visit to the Peacock where I took a photo of a group of lads including one who had come from Thailand for the game, we headed into the ground. There was another sellout crowd for Leeds fans for our last game of 2018. As the game kicked off, my superstitious nature took over when Leeds fans started singing we were top of the league. I just wanted to shush everyone and tell them not to sing it so as not to jinx the result!

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Douglas, Phillips, Jansson, Klich, Forshaw, Hernandez, Roofe, Alioski and Harrison. Subs: Clarke for Harrison (45), Roberts for Douglas (64) and Shackleton for Ayling (77). Leeds lost the game 2-0. Attendance was 35,754 with 2,145 Hull fans.

It didn’t take long to realise that we were up against a team that were going to cause us problems today. They were strong and fast but in the opening minutes kept getting free kicks given, which in my opinion, always makes teams go from strength to strength. One of their players was heading for the floor even before our player got near him and the ball! They were running at us on the break and caught us out a few times as they weaved in and out of our players. One of our downfalls was the fact we had numerous bad passes from different players across the pitch. We had a couple of chances but didn’t put their goalie under any pressure before Hull took the lead 25 minutes into the game. We failed to clear the ball by trying to play our way out from the goalmouth when for once we should have got rid of it. Their goalie made a good save before the break to deny us an equaliser from Hernandez.   

The second half saw Harrison taken off and Clarke replacing him again. Unfortunately Harrison has failed to impress so far this season when given the chance to play. The second half saw Leeds trying to take the game to Hull but once again we were caught out with their speed as they took advantage of our attack. Their counter attack saw them coast past Douglas and although Peacock-Farrell was able to save their first shot unfortunately he’d no chance with the rebound. I felt we were lacking in midfield today as the Hull players seemed to bypass us with ease. Once Clarke came on though, Hernandez seemed to up his game although was guilty of bad passing at times. Although Hull had got two goals, we hadn’t given up as we attacked towards the Kop. Their goalie led a charmed life making some great saves to deny us and we also had the ball kicked off the line at least twice with him beaten. Roberts was unlucky not to score when the ball was cleared off the line. Hull were time wasting when making their subs and should have been brought to task by the referee. Unfortunately, he waited until Jansson intervened and then decided to book their player once he was off the pitch for his reaction, before booking Jansson too. He could have nipped that in the bud but decided not to! In injury time they resorted to more time wasting tactics when their player went down in the penalty area and the game was stopped.  It felt like we were never going to score today in our first defeat in eight games. A defeat was always going to happen sometime and despite the bad passing, we did have chances to score as we did end the game on the attack.

Despite the defeat we were still going to be top of the table going into the New Year. Norwich were winning or so we thought, and it wasn’t until we were back at the car that we realised they’d lost, so the result went in our favour. Forest away on New Year’s Day is our next game so we will just have to pick ourselves up and get on with it. Happy New Year to Leeds fans everywhere and I look forward to seeing what 2019 brings for Leeds United as we head towards our Centenary Year. LUFC – Marching on Together!

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

Leeds United v Blackburn Rovers 26th December 2018 at Elland Road

It’s great to see that Santa brought some of my books to fans as presents. Kevin and his wife were attending the game today from Australia and I’d arranged to meet them in the Peacock pre-game. All five of my books were personally autographed so a big thank you to them for supporting me in purchasing them all at once. I also met up with Susan after the game for her Boxing Day present to herself and also the lovely Bremner. Hopefully Bremner wearing his special reindeer LUFC ears can be seen on the photo. I look forward to receiving feedback from both Kevin and Susan in due course and hope they enjoy the read.

I woke up absolutely exhausted today but as I’m tee-total I can’t blame it on a hangover. A word of warning to myself for next year, don’t try to take a plastic bung out of a bottle with scissors that slipped then stabbed me in the hand. Secondly, don’t put Cadbury’s chocolates on the tree as half of them were devoured by my chocolate Labrador Maisie within 20 minutes of my back being turned. Luckily for us she’s had no ill effects. Hopefully you’ve all had a great Christmas and things were calmer in your household than mine or at least you didn’t do silly things like I did!

After the fantastic last minute win at Villa last Sunday, it certainly gave me a feel good factor and put that extra spring in my step. The belief is there, but as we’ve been in this position before, I will not count my chickens just yet. Keep on doing what we are at the moment and see where we are in the New Year sometime. With another sell out home crowd, Elland Road was still buzzing with anticipation though.

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Jansson, Phillips, Ayling, Roofe, Alioski, Klich, Forshaw, Harrison, Douglas and Hernandez. Subs: Clarke for Harrison (60) and Shackleton for Ayling (69). Baker was due to come on as a sub again but despite being stood on the side of the pitch, didn’t actually make it on. Leeds won 3-2 in an enthralling finish once again after being behind 2-1 at the 90 minute mark. With four minutes of injury time on the clock a brace from Roofe (90+1 and 90+4) won the game for us. An own goal by Williams gave Leeds the lead in the first half. Attendance was 34,863 with 1,378 Blackburn fans.

The game set off at a blistering pace as Leeds took the game to Blackburn. Attacking the South Stand in the first half, we had loads of possession but that didn’t stop Blackburn from trying to attack us. I’ve stopped panicking when we are passing the ball across the back even when it gets too close for comfort. I said Leeds knew what they were doing as the lads in front of me were having the jitters. I know there will be times when we come unstuck but I’m sure we’ll be fine in the long run. Alioski brought a fine save out of their goalie as we continued to attack their goal. Harrison was playing noticeably better than he did at Villa and it was his pass from the byline that was put into the net for an own goal to give us the lead around the half hour mark. Alioski was unlucky to see his effort bounce back off the crossbar which could have given us a comfortable two goal lead at half time but had to settle for one instead. One thing that looked better today was our crossing from both wings into the penalty area.

By the time I got back up into the stand for the start of the second half I realised it had already kicked off. As I heard the Blackburn fans singing, I did begin to wonder if they’d scored. As I reached my seat the man at the end of our row said, “What was that about?” as he explained Blackburn had been given a penalty and they’d equalised. That actually knocked the stuffing out of us for a while and the Leeds fans and team were really infuriated when shouts for hand ball were ignored by the ref. Now one of them was a definite hand ball because even I saw it!! We did try to get the ball into the net but their goalie was able to make saves from both Alioski and Klich and later denied Roofe. Jansson made a pin point tackle at the last minute in the penalty area to deny Blackburn as they bore down on our goal. Luckily for us his long legs got there first to put the ball out for a corner just as it looked like they would score. When Blackburn were given a free kick outside the area it proved costly, as their player put the ball into the net for them to take the lead despite Peacock-Farrell’s attempts to save it. As their players celebrated like mad and had been time wasting prior to this, I know it was deflating to see them take the lead. Some fans left straight away after this but as usual I always stay until the bitter end. Wasn’t I glad that I take that stance because for the second game running, we ended up with fantastic scenes on the terraces after Roofe scored his first goal a minute into injury time to equalise for Leeds. Despite the heroics of their goalie he scored at the third attempt when the ball was deemed to have crossed the line. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, I said to the man next to me that this was going in, repeatedly and that’s exactly what happened as delirious scenes overtook everyone on the terraces in celebration. Hernandez put the ball across for Roofe to head his second goal into the net for a Fairytale ending to the game. Everyone was bouncing as I descended into tears of joy when the emotions overtook me big style. Believing we can do it is there, but it actually happening is another thing especially for those of us who have witnessed the doldrums of the last 15 years prior to this. Will this be our season when we finally return to the Premier League? We can only hope, but we can definitely enjoy the ride.

We return to Elland Road on Saturday for our last game of 2018 and our second home game in a week, for another 3pm kick-off against Hull. I’ll admit, I had to check a few times that we were indeed kicking off at that time today as games are changed that much, it felt totally unexpected. Keep going Leeds and it was lovely seeing my granddaughter Hannah experience the special moments at the end of the game today. There will be plenty of other fans who have never experienced anything like it before, but I can assure you the feelings are out of this world. As we walked back to the car a Blackburn fan walked in front of us into car park A. We were chatting excitedly about the game with some fans as he shouted “f**k you Leeds”. I shouted at him to stop being a bad loser as there was no need at all! See you on Saturday, LUFC – Marching on Together!

Aston Villa v Leeds United 23rd December 2018 at Villa Park

First of all I want to wish the fantastic worldwide Leeds United supporters, a very Merry Christmas and it’s great to see us at the top of the league! Getting a last minute winner today saw limbs everywhere and fantastic scenes in the away end and long may it continue.

Last Wednesday I appeared on BBC Radio Leeds with Adam Pope on a Christmas wish special alongside a Bradford and Huddersfield fan. My wish was for Leeds to have some inner strength so we don’t capitulate as we have in the past. I want us to continue doing what we are doing, getting as many points as we can and get a good FA Cup run to keep the momentum going. Our good runs in the past came when we took games seriously in the cup.

On our way to the game today we stopped at a different pub in Sutton Coldfield where we received a good welcome from the landlady. Thanks to Brook and Neil and also Evie for buying my book Back to Reality, 2017-18. Thanks too to Will for buying Once a Leeds fan, always a Leeds fan and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United, Leeds United in the 1980s. One fella in passing said he’d give me a pound if we beat the Villa today and when I said “only a pound?” he replied he was a pensioner. Just before we were getting ready to leave I got talking to some Villa fans. As I took their photo we were chatting and I mentioned my first visit to Villa to see Leeds play a 0-0 League Cup game in the seventies which ended with our coach coming under attack when stuck in traffic after the game. The barrage of bricks put all the windows bar one through and I had to get down in the aisle to protect myself. As they mentioned something about books I told them I’d already written five. With that they moved over to one of the tables as I brought my books to show them. One of the lads said that he thought what I was doing writing the books and blogs were fantastic and says no one at Villa does that. Of all the years he’d been following Villa he has never taken any photos. I said he should get together with others and write down those memories as it’s important for fans to see how it really was following their team. As I was asked about the score today I said I wouldn’t predict one as I always get it wrong. I want us to carry on as we are, keep getting points, and then see where we are. I also hoped it would be a good game and I wasn’t worried about playing them. One of the Villa fans said that they could score goals but their defence and goalie were rubbish. It was nice to have some good natured banter with their fans and the time passed so quickly that I didn’t realise we were already due to leave.

We arrived at the ground in next to no time and my daughter Dani and I decided to go straight in rather than go down to the Witton pub. As we were stood talking to Brian from Wales, I suddenly saw the cameras pointing at us. Dani went “not again mother, it’s every time I’m with you!!” As I looked up they still had the camera pointed at us, then came nearer and the man was laughing. He said they were looking for Christmas jumpers and so got a close up of the Leeds badge on mine and then went. It was quite funny really.

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Jansson, Phillips, Ayling (back after injury), Roofe, Alioski, Klich, Forshaw, Harrison, Leif Davis (making his first team debut at left back after Douglas had to pull out of the game after the warm up due to illness) and Hernandez. Subs: Clarke for Harrison (45) and Shackleton for Davis (78). Leeds won 3-2 after Villa took an early two goal lead before goals from Clarke (56), Jansson (61) and Roofe (90+5) won the game for us. Attendance was 41,411 with approx. 2,500 Leeds fans.

We got off to the worst start possible when Villa took the lead within the first five minutes of the game. We had a chance to equalise when the ball was passed across the goal but we were unable to capitalize on it. To make matters worse they got a second 12 minutes later to take a two goal lead. Both goals had come from mistakes and at that time I thought we were in for a tough afternoon although there was a pull on young Davis’s shirt which was ignored for one of them. Villa looked strong as we tried to get some fluidity going to our football and we did get a couple more chances on target but there wasn’t enough power in our shots. We were unlucky not to have Villa score an own goal for us but their goalie tipped the ball over the bar. I thought young Davis was playing really well and although he was up against a skillful player, he more or less matched him. It was good to see another of our youngsters coming into the team and not looking out of place. Just before half time we won a free kick and I along with many other Leeds fans, thought the ball had sailed into the net from Hernandez but unfortunately for us it had gone wide.

As I was talking to Craig at half time, he asked me if we were down and out. I said no because we’d had some chances although not been powerful enough with our shots. His daughter Olivia had said it would be 4-3 to Leeds before the game.

The second half saw Clarke come on as sub and it didn’t take us long to start having some impact on the game. It was high intensity and end to end play, before Clarke attacking down the far side to our end got the ball into the penalty area. I was trying to zoom back out to get a photo of the shot but missed it as the ball hit the back of the net. As the Leeds fans celebrated, Alioski got the ball back out of the net and everyone ran back to the centreline to get on with the game. Bielsa was just going to make a substitute but changed his mind then. We started to have so much of the play as we kept attacking and as we won a corner, a young kid ran onto the pitch doing the Leeds salute and put a stop to the momentum. Why would you risk getting banned but also stop play when we were losing?  A few minutes later though, Hernandez’s corner was headed into the back of the net by Jansson to equalise as the Leeds support went wild again. Leeds were on a different level to the first half as they came forward to attack, again and again and Klich had a shot saved to prevent us taking the lead. After another attack there was a shout for handball and a penalty although we didn’t get that. I will need to see it myself but others around me were adamant we should have had a penalty. With Alioski leading many of the attacks from the right, he was having a good game and his shot was parried by the goalie. Villa started to have a few attacks before Leeds kept the momentum going with counter attacks. With the final minutes of injury time, many fans had resigned themselves to a draw which in itself would have been a good result. When Alioski crossed the ball, it was cleared only as far as Roofe who slammed the ball into the net for the winner!

There were fantastic scenes of celebrations from the Leeds fans with limbs everywhere. What a turnaround from two goals down; to get the win was absolutely fantastic especially as it meant we went back to the top of the table. This is what is special about following Leeds and long may it continue. I bumped into Craig and Olivia at the end of the game and he couldn’t believe it, saying he was going to post Heidi was right! I said Olivia was too as she said we would win. It was a happy set of Leeds fans leaving the ground and the buzz amongst everyone is great. For once I’m going to enjoy Leeds being top of the league and we couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present. Today was a great advert for football with an end to end game and other teams will, I’m sure, start taking notice of us. Having been live on Sky again today, they will have sat up and taken notice that the Sleeping Giant that was stirring a couple of years ago is now going up a notch under Bielsa. I also thought that maybe Saiz going was a blessing in disguise for Alioski, as he enjoyed so much of the play down the right hand side today.

I’ll spare a thought for friends who are going through a hard time health wise at this moment in time and any other Leeds fan too. Have a great Christmas everyone and see you at Elland Road on Boxing Day for another sellout crowd. LUFC – Marching on Together!

LUFC Junior Members Christmas party 16th December 2018

Well done to Laura Mitchell and Leeds United for organising a fantastic party for the kids today.

 

Bolton v Leeds United on 15th December 2018 at the Macron Stadium / University of Bolton Stadium

After telling someone on Thursday that I don’t expect anyone to leave us in the January transfer window and also I wasn’t going to count my chickens just yet as to where Leeds will finish at the end of the season, I came home to hear the news that Saiz was on his way. Things had been mooted a while ago that he wasn’t happy but I was very disappointed to hear this. Later Moscow White on Twitter put more insight into the decision and it looks like the club has been very supportive of them. It turns out his wife is due to give birth having already lost the twin of this due baby. Having had problems with the birth of their first daughter including a cancer scare for mum around the same time, I can totally understand that being here instead of near their family in Spain, would make them want to return to be near them. As Saiz has a loan with a view to buy, who knows how this will pan out in the future. As someone who lost a baby tragically at 17 days old and having subsequent pregnancies, I can say that the fear of something going wrong never leaves you. Even now, the sheer panic that a child isn’t just going to be ill but will die envelops me. Good luck to them all.

As we headed to Bolton who were at the bottom of the league and once again having money problems with their players and staff being unpaid (not sure if that’s been sorted as yet), for the life of me I couldn’t understand why they hadn’t given us more tickets? We’d sold out in minutes once again and last time they had been in trouble they gave us at least 7,000 tickets. Surely selling us more tickets could have immediately helped with their cash flow? Obviously not!

I went to Elland Road early as the weather forecast of snow and freezing rain, although not due till at least 10am in Halifax, meant I wanted to get there in time for the coach. Getting home after would sort itself out. I decided to look for a specific Bremner stone in the Lucas Radebe area. As I saw quite a few names I recognised I took some photos then found my freezing fingers nearly dropped off!

We stopped off in Bury before the game and had a decent time there today. With the White Rose branch in too, I’d like to say a big thank you to Gary Noble for buying my latest book Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18. As always I am grateful for the support. After hearing one of the barmaids saying she’d been in Valencia to see that red team over the Pennines, it reminded me of a tweet I’d seen this week.  Outside the ground in Valencia had been painted – Scum free zone, a Leeds badge and a painted Hernandez portrait. On the day of the game, the red fans had complained so someone painted over the scum free zone but left the rest. It was quite bizarre really.

As we got to the ground the weather had deteriorated as the rain came down. I had taken my flag with me today and put it up at the top of the stairwell but as a part of it came down, I retied it. After taking photos I headed to my seat for the start of the game.

The Team: Peacock-Farrell, Phillips, Jansson, Hernandez (Captain), Shackleton, Roofe, Klich, Forshaw, Baker, Douglas and Alioski. Subs: Clarke for Baker (46), Bamford for Roofe (61) and Halme for Hernandez (90). Leeds won the game 1-0 with Bamford scoring five minutes after coming on. Attendance was 17,484 with 4,550 Leeds fans. Looking at the spaces on the Bolton terraces I find that attendance hard to believe to be honest.

As the game kicked off, Leeds immediately went on the attack and their goalie prevented Leeds taking an early lead by tipping Hernandez’s effort over the bar. We won plenty of corners in the opening part of the game and had plenty of the ball. The ref kept the flow of the game going by playing on and not blowing his whistle for every challenge which was good. We had quite a few misplaced passes but did look the better of the teams. Even though we had the majority of the game, with the rare attacks that Bolton had, I was always wary that they would get a goal against the run of play. Shackleton was playing well which was good to see. When I looked at my watch 36 minutes had already passed before the game petered out in the last minutes of the half as things quietened on the terraces. With the terrible conditions of driving rain on the pitch, it wasn’t a surprise really.

I went downstairs and as I was making my way back across the stand all of a sudden I smelt Sulphur as we were nearly gassed out by a yellow flare or whatever they want to call it. It was awful as I struggled to breathe as I was full of cold. I’m sorry but I won’t ever agree that it is right to let these things off in the middle of a crowd! There is no thought for any other fan caught up in it and should be knocked on the head although I doubt it will be.

With Clarke brought on in place of Baker at the start of the second half I was looking forward to a turn around. The atmosphere on the terraces picked up as Leeds went on the attack. It was good to see Clarke with some great footwork beating their players to put them under pressure. When Bamford was brought on as sub, I said that I hadn’t been sure if he’d play with the atrocious conditions but Bielsa will know what he’d doing. Within five minutes the ball was in the back of the net in front of us as Clarke had been involved first, the ball came across to Hernandez who did a nutmeg on their player and a first time strike from Bamford was put into the net. I thought it was nice seeing Bamford race over to the bench and celebrate with I thought the trainers who’d helped him get over his recent injury.

Towards the end of the game Bolton got into it more as they went in search of an equaliser. As their player went down in the penalty area my heart was in my mouth but the ref said play on. I didn’t realise they’d had one kicked off the line by Douglas as I’d gone to retrieve my flag before the end of the game. I’d tied it that many times to stop it falling down that it took me ages to untie it, although thanks to the lads who helped me on that score. In the last few minutes we seemed to be staying back and letting Bolton attack us which I didn’t like. It ended with Halme coming on to help us defend and keep the lead. Another three points and five out of five wins saw us go top of the league as Norwich were kicking off at 5.30 pm. They ended up drawing by scoring another late goal giving them a point which meant we stayed top.

The journey back to Leeds saw really bad conditions on the roads so I was glad I wasn’t driving at that point. We still had issues driving back home with plenty of water standing including ice in Halifax, but at least got home safe and sound. Next Sunday is our last game before Christmas at Aston Villa. Just keep doing what we are doing and grinding out wins and see if we can end the year on a high. See you then, LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

Leeds United v Bristol City 24th November 2018 at Elland Road

After a week of feeling up and down and lacking in get up and go, I was woken by my youngest granddaughter Alexis age four, Facetiming me and asking if she could come to the football instead of Laura. Well that melted my heart and jolted me into action. It’s surprising what a little bit of love can do! I was unable to attend the funeral of our oldest Leeds United fan Edna Newton yesterday, but heard she got a great send off with lots of Leeds fans turning up as well as her family. There was also a lovely touch from the club with their wreath which was placed at Billy’s statue after her funeral. With Bremner Square around Billy’s statue now even larger with more stones in place, we headed there straight away and it looks fantastic, with lots of memories for so many fans now.  It was nice to meet up with some fans from the Isle of Man there who regularly read my blogs and they will now have their photo in this one.

On our way to the Peacock, I remembered that someone from work wanted a programme as her dad should be in it. On stopping at Phil Beeton’s cabin, we bumped into some of our Norwegian fans who had come over for the game. When I took a photo, I hadn’t realised at that time it was Phil’s birthday. I hope he enjoys reading my new book Back to Reality, Leeds United season 2017-18 that his wife Chris brought for him as a surprise. I’d had a great surprise during the week when my neighbour Keith had brought 10 of the same book at once. When Tony came up to me as I passed him on Lowfields Road later, he’d said “guess what I got for my birthday?” His son had bought two of my books for him. As usual my grateful thanks go to them for their support. I also caught up with Simon plus some more of our Norwegian fans and Jørn from Denmark in the Peacock.

Leeds had sold out all the tickets for the home support once again for this game. After the international break last weekend, it felt ages since we’d played. With more serious injuries for members of our squad with the broken leg for Blackman plus Jansson and Peacock-Farrell being out, this meant a couple of our youngsters coming into the team today. This was: Will Huffer in goal for his debut, Cooper, Phillips, Dallas, Alioski, Roofe, Forshaw, Klich, Douglas, Aapo Halme making his first appearance at centre back and Hernandez. Subs were: Harrison for Alioski (61), Saiz for Halme (64) and Baker for Klich (82). Leeds won 2-0 with goals from Roofe (69) and Hernandez (86). Attendance was 34,333 with 889 Bristol City fans.

Someone had asked me how I thought we’d play and I said I’d no idea but needed a win. The good thing about Huffer being in goal was that the whole squad including the under 23s are all trying to play the same game, so he should be fine. The first half saw Leeds have a lot of possession but the one thing that wasn’t happening were shots on goal. Their keeper to begin with looked very shaky and I felt that we needed to put him under pressure. Although the game was at a steady pace, I didn’t think Bristol offered too much although they had a good chance when the ball came to one of their players on the edge of the area but his shot was wayward.  We’d had a shot on target and should have done better with at least a couple more. The two young debutants were playing well, doing what they had to do and playing it safe despite a couple of hairy moments. Bristol had a couple of patches putting us under pressure but I thought we coped with them very well. My only fear was that déja vue moment of us having lots of the ball and them breaking away to score, but the score was even as we went in to the break.

The second half started off as it had been left at the end of the first half. I felt that we needed to freshen things up at that time but then the Leeds fans came into their own once more and became the 12th man. The South Stand started with the Klich song “It could be 20 yards or 30 yards, everywhere we go, 40 yards or 50 yards, Klich will score a goal, Klich will score a goal!” With the Kop joining in, this upped the atmosphere and had an immediate effect on the players. Not long after, their player fouled Roofe in the middle of the park and got a deserved booking. The next thing I saw the red card out as he was sent off. I hadn’t realised he’d already been booked and despite his manager saying at the end of the game that the ref had been swayed by the crowd, he deserved to go. The ref had been almost invisible for a lot of the game because for once he let the game flow a lot, well most times! The team upped the tempo and then Bielsa made two subs within a few minutes of each other with Harrison and then Saiz coming on. As someone shouted “we can’t keep trying to walk the ball into the net”, it wasn’t long before we got the goal to put us into a well-deserved lead when Roofe scored from close range. At that time I didn’t expect us to do anything else but win the game. We had a lot of pressure but then Bristol had a spell where they won a couple of corners and attacked us. I didn’t feel worried though because we dealt with the threats before taking the impetus again. After Saiz put a great cross in for Hernandez to head the ball into the net for our second goal, that was it game over. A win and three points were gratefully received thank you.

When the subs were being made earlier, I’ve no idea what was happening with the person putting the numbers up. On one of my photos Bielsa looks to be angry about something so no doubt we’ll find out in due course. Onto our second home game in a few days when we play Reading on Tuesday. Whether any of our injured players come back by then I don’t know, but I’m sure our youngsters will fit in just fine.  See you then – LUFC – Marching on Together!

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

West Bromwich Albion v Leeds United 10th November 2018 at The Hawthorns

It was a 5.30 pm kick off that beckoned today but things got off to a bad start when the coaches didn’t turn up on times due to a mix up. I was on coach two today but as coach one got ready to go with our driver from last week, there were reminisces from then when it wouldn’t go! Eventually it did so instead of leaving at 12.00pm we were at least 40 minutes late. Our pub stop in Sutton Coldfield was reduced to 90 minutes where Worksop and Harrogate Whites stopped too. 

It was a long time since I’d visited the Hawthorns and can’t really remember when I was last there.  Games I can remember were Johnny Giles’s testimonial game and also Telford in the FA Cup. I wasn’t there when we were relegated as for two years I only went to home games due to having my first two children. What I can remember though from our early visits, were scores of Leeds fans getting arrested for nothing. Even when we scored and were cheering when we scored a goal, that was the excuse to wade into our fans on the terraces and drag anyone out.

One thing that happened this week corroborated one of my stories in my first book Follow Me and Leeds United. A newspaper cutting shared on my timeline from John Murgatroyd in Harrogate confirmed what I’d written in the book. As I’ve said many a time, everything I’ve written about is true, there is nothing made up and even though it has taken 47 years for it to be confirmed, I wasn’t far off!

“Abbey Coachways ran a coach to the matches at Coventry and Nottingham in 1971. At Nottingham I wore a six-foot scarf that I had made. I was quite naïve to the fact that there may be trouble at matches at this stage. We were followed into Nottingham by a couple of Wallace Arnold coaches. These coaches had a middle door as well as one at the front and Leeds fans kept opening this door and hanging out of the coach. Going back to the coach after the match I hid my scarf under my coat, with a bit of difficulty I might add and probably looked six months pregnant! As I was going across the bridge over the River Trent I was in the middle of all the Forest boot boys who were looking for Leeds fans. It was the first time I had really seen anything like this but I was laughing to myself as I was a Leeds fan in the middle of them and they didn’t know it. Once back on the coach, I began to hear stories from the other fans on my coach about the escapes they’d had. We heard that a Leeds fan had been forced to swim the Trent and another had been stabbed in the back and collapsed onto the steps of a Wallace Arnold coach. How true these stories were can only be confirmed by people who were involved.”

We got to the ground in plenty of time for kick off, but as there was no space for my flag as they wouldn’t let Leeds fans put them at the front due to advertising rights, I left mine in my bag. Before the game started and with the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War tomorrow, saw the Last Post played and an immaculately observed minute’s silence take place. 

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Dallas, Alioski, Cooper, Jansson, Douglas, Phillips, Klich, Roofe, Forshaw and Hernandez. Subs were: Roberts for Roofe (66), Harrison for Douglas (73), and Saiz for Klich (78). Attendance was 25,661 with 2,737 Leeds fans. Leeds lost the game 4-1 with Hernandez scoring a late consolation goal (90+2).

I didn’t know what to expect from the game as I didn’t know anything about them apart from them getting relegated last season, including forgetting that Bartley now played for them. As they mentioned he was out injured the realisation hit me. We were under the cosh from the word go so I knew we weren’t in for an easy game and expected them to raise their game as they were playing us. We had a few narrow escapes and Peacock-Farrell was forced into making a good save to stop them from scoring. We had plenty of possession but we didn’t actually do anything with it. No one seemed to want to take charge in midfield and I know we try patient build ups but we kept giving silly passes away and that gave WBA the impetus to attack us. I was happy to get to half time with the score 0-0 and it ended up with the Leeds fans still singing and it being very quiet from the home fans.

I went downstairs at half time as I was hoping to see the Thames Valley Whites with their new flag which was a tribute to the fallen and Armistice Day but sadly I never found them. Speaking to a friend of mine at half time, she said beware of the pavements around West Brom as they jump up and hit you in the face! Things got quite scary as we were trying to get back to our seats at the end of half time. Stewards were blocking the tops of the stairs and wouldn’t let anyone back up in to the stand. As more and more fans came up behind us and we started to get crushed things could so easily have got out of hand with things kicking off when there was no need at all. Luckily they soon saw sense and let us up but that was stupid and irresponsible.

It turned out to be a tale of two halves because within six minutes we were a goal down. From having a penalty appeal turned down, the ball ended up with their player taking on two of ours who hesitated, looking for an offside flag. This was when I realised how strong and big some of their players were. Unfortunately they went on to score. What we had been doing was trying to walk the ball into the net instead of shooting which meant we had very few on target. We did get into a couple of good positions but our shots were wide. For those fans involved, keeping the ball is counterproductive especially as we were losing. Within a few minutes from this, with misplaced passes from us and WBA getting the rub of the green with the ball running in their favour more often than not, they scored again. It did look like Peacock-Farrell was going to save it but unfortunately it looked to go through his hands for their second. I still thought we could get something from the game at that point even though we didn’t really look like scoring. When the ball ricocheted off one of our players straight to theirs to run on and score it was game over. It wasn’t the end though as WBA got a 4th and we were down and out! With that, the Leeds fans came into their own once again and showed what makes me love our support. Those left behind did a great rendition of “We all love Leeds”, over and over again which made Hernandez chip the ball over their goalie to pull one back although too little, too late. As the Leeds fans carried on with the song even after the final whistle, it meant some of our players come straight over to clap us all. As always I’m proud to be a Leeds fan. As I came down the steps and met my daughter Dani she said when Hernandez scored, she was the only one where her seat was just behind the goal, as gaps had appeared all around her when their fourth went in.

There was something kicking off downstairs with the police surrounding some Leeds fans and one lad in particular. Eventually it looked like things had calmed down as he walked past us but then no end of coppers followed him as we carried on past. As we got to the bottom of the walkway and ready to cross the road, some police were getting high and mighty with some Leeds fans although I’d not seen or heard anything out of order. I tried to diffuse the situation for some lads and one said it was his brother with them but the police were being heavy handed when there was no need. I got the lad away and I know he was angry about being pushed around and wanted the number of the one who had pushed him. Unfortunately knowing how bad they could be down there I said it wasn’t worth him getting done for it no matter how angry he was. He did thank us though.  Someone said they knew what was wrong with Leeds; too much breast feeding although I think sleepless nights would be true! I had to laugh at that because with four or five new born babies within the last few weeks, our players’ wives did all the work to begin with! I had some fans blaming Peacock-Farrell for letting the goals in though, but I didn’t agree. Maybe he should have got the second but it was individual errors and bad passing further up the field that caused them to counter attack us. Our failings of not shooting further out and trying to walk the ball into the net proved costly to me today. Hearing Mick Hewitt had taken one of his branch members to hospital today, I hope they are okay and get well soon. 

Back to the drawing board for us today and back to reality as we were shown a lesson in that second half. Men against the boys, but ex premiership money showing.  Whilst I don’t want to go back to silly money for players, there was nobody on the bench who was going to come on and be a match for them in those stakes. With another international break upon us there is no game next week before we return to Elland Road for the Bristol City game. With the rugby game at Elland Road tomorrow, I only hope they don’t damage the pitch and that is one reason why I don’t like having their games at our ground.

Thank you to Jan, Carl, Daniel, Daz and The Masons for buying my new book Back to Reality. Your support is appreciated plus a thank you to those of you who took the time to say you enjoy reading my books and my blog. Speaking of my blog, to hear it has gone as far as China courtesy of Charley from Harrogate, is good to hear and again thanks to him and anyone else who shares my blogs with others. See you against Bristol – LUFC – Marching on Together!

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

Wigan v Leeds United 4th November 2018 at the DW Stadium

It seemed such a long time since we’d had a game with this Sunday lunchtime kick off with a large support from Leeds once again heading to Wigan. I surpassed myself this morning by forgetting we were leaving Leeds at 9am; the realisation hit as we were getting ready to leave the house at 7am! As my daughter Dani had stayed the night, we both could have done with an extra hour’s sleep.

I felt there had been a lot in the news this week about Leeds; firstly about Berardi being out for 16 weeks with a hamstring tendon rupture that will heal without surgery.  He must be gutted to be out with another bad long term injury. We also had little Freddie Callaghan from Ireland making his appearance on Soccer AM dressed at Marcelo Bielsa and well done to him. When I first saw his photo appear on Twitter showing him dressed like that for Halloween, I couldn’t get over the likeness to Bielsa! A further thing has been the “Sky TV are f***ing s**t chant which has found itself in the news this week. As many of us have long suspected, our chants are muted when televised which wouldn’t be so bad if it was just these chants not that I sing it personally. When our fans are on song, the atmosphere is out of this world and should not be muted so our worldwide fans can join in with us. There had been a “debate” amongst Leeds fans if you can call it that, on one of the Facebook groups I frequent. The owner of the first comment posted that Leeds fans were hypocritical for singing that when they will have Sky at home. Along with others who said that it affects the travelling support, especially our long distance fans, who have to change their travel arrangements and costs them money, his answer was they still have three weeks before the game to make a booking. As pointed out to him, fans book for the cheapest prices they can and also once they have got a ticket they need to have their travel arrangements sorted. Unfortunately there was no getting through to him, so I left it that the fans who sing it are entitled to their opinion whether they have Sky or not!

I would like to say a big thank you to John for buying all five of my books today so happy reading and I look forward to getting feedback in due course. Evie was made up after buying my first book Follow Me and Leeds United then having her photo taken, so thank you once again. Just a reminder, that autographed copies of all my books are available through me at any game. Follow Me and Leeds United, Once a Leeds fan, always a Leeds fan, The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17 and Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18 are all priced at £12.99. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United, Leeds United in the 1980s is £14.99. As Christmas is coming don’t forget these will make great presents for the Leeds United fan in your life. With lots of recollections from my early days of following Leeds to the latter two books depicting the last two seasons travelling home and away with Leeds, there are plenty of stories that will resonate with our great support. With lots of photos in them, you may even find yourself in one! Our stop today was in Leyland again which was packed with Leeds fans plus a few Man City ones before we made our way to the ground. I was to meet Phil Thumbsup Cresswell there who was buying my new book Back to Reality so thank you to him for the support.

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Douglas (back from injury), Dallas at right back, Cooper, Jansson, Philips, Roofe, Forshaw, Alioski, Hernandez and Klich. Subs were Shackleton for Klich (90+1). Attendance was 14,799 with 4,856 Leeds fans. Leeds won the game 2-1 with goals from Hernandez (9) and Roofe (46). 

By the time we reached the ground it was 1pm and luckily although there was plenty of traffic, we didn’t get caught on the gridlocked roads after an earlier car crash next to the ground which the team got caught up in. By the time we’d walked to the ground, put my flag up and walked to where Dani’s seat was, I didn’t realise the teams were already out on the pitch and ready for the minute’s silence. This was for both Armistice Day and the Leicester City owner and staff who were killed in a helicopter crash leaving their stadium last week. The silence was immaculately observed in the stands but underneath on the concourse, no one was aware it was taking place.

With Wigan unbeaten at home so far this season I was hoping that for once we could turn that stat around. We’d had a conversation in the pub about Dallas playing at right back. I didn’t like him playing in that position but I said I would be happy for him to prove me wrong. As my friend Sue said, she thought it was more about him moving forward than the defensive part and I hadn’t thought about that. As it was I thought he had a good game today.

Within six minutes of the start, we found ourselves a goal down after Wigan were awarded a free kick just outside the area. Despite it taking ages before the kick was taken, the ball was kicked into the right hand side of the net, opposite us. I thought if we’d have had someone on both posts for set pieces and corners, it would make it harder for the opposition to score. Once again we’d given ourselves an uphill battle at the start of the game. For once though, within three minutes we had equalised with a fantastic move that saw Klich asking for the ball in open space, pass the ball across the goal where Hernandez was there to stick it into the net right in front of us. Sending the Leeds support into raptures was certainly true as the lads behind kept falling into me. I was trying to keep on my feet to get some photos which proved difficult, but celebrations have to be done! With that, loads of Leeds fans started coming out of the stand to our right and were brought into ours. This upset some Wigan fans who didn’t like the fact we’d had loads of fans in their stand too. We had a couple of great chances but their goalie was on hand to palm the ball away. We had lots of possession from then on and Wigan weren’t in the game very much. They had small pockets of attack, but I thought we coped with the game very well as we went in at half time 1-1.

I took a few photos of fans beneath the stands and had a chat with Tina and Kev before going back to my seat. As I got to the top of the stairs I said “when did the teams come back out?” as that seemed to have been a quick half time. With that the ball was passed across the goal by Hernandez and with Roofe bearing down on their goalie whose defender got in the way, contrived to Roofe getting the loose ball and sticking it into an empty net. That was a welcome goal with many fans missing it as they were still down below the stands. I headed back to my seat and in the middle of taking one photo, nearly jumped out of my skin as someone let one of those “bomb fireworks” go off in the seats to my left close to where Dani was. I’m sorry but I won’t agree these should be at a game and I wish those who bring them into the stands wouldn’t do it. I know this will fall on deaf ears though sadly. We came close to scoring again and the Leeds fans were in good voice, as they had been for most of the game. With Wigan fans resorting to a drum to whip up any atmosphere, they were pretty poor to be honest. When all their fans stood up and started clapping, I had no idea what it was for as I hadn’t seen anything on social media beforehand. As I tried to clap too, no Leeds fans joined in so gave up. I saw something mentioned later about Dave Whelan their owner, so need to read up on that as I assumed that is who it was for. The lads in front of me were going mad as a woman in front of them had not taken any interest in the game and spent the whole 90 minutes playing games on her phone. I found it very strange to be honest unless she’s attended under duress, but with tickets being sold out in minutes if you don’t want to watch the game, there are plenty of fans who do.

After having some strange decisions made by the officials plus heavy tackles flying in left, right and centre from Wigan, it was good to see one of them booked. The longer teams get away with fouls, the more they do. A couple of times Wigan attacked and it looked like they had got the better of our defence, but one thing that shone out, is the fact our players play as a team. With about six of our players bearing down on their attacker, we got the better of him and then started another attack once more. With Shackleton being the only sub today at the start of five minutes of injury time, he was unlucky not to score. As I headed to get my flag, one lad shouted “Heidi where are you going?” My response was to go and get my flag, so that was alright lol! The Leeds fans were singing, “we’re Leeds United, we’re top of the league”. I couldn’t sing it until the final whistle blew so as not to jeopardise anything and it was a relief to hear the whistle blow for full time. We broke another stat by this being the first game since Boxing Day where the opposition had scored first and we ended up winning, so well done lads.

As a very happy support came out of the ground, we got to the coach and were soon on our way. Stuck in traffic our coach kept stalling so our driver turned right up a road and it was only as we got to the top of it, we realised we weren’t going any further. With no power at all we couldn’t get the coach onto the main road. I said would it help if we pushed the coach to which the driver said yes that would be a good idea. With that a dozen of us got out and started to push the coach from behind. Although I managed to get a couple of photos, I did push it too though despite getting accused of just taking photos lol! It certainly did the trick as we got the coach over the incline and set off. I thought it was going to mean no Sunday tea at my elder daughters for us but luckily we made it back to Leeds in one piece. I’d been asleep when we’d passed a crash on the motorway so hopefully no one was hurt in it.

It felt good to get a win today and next week sees us head to West Bromwich Albion for the first time in a long while, for another evening kick off. There are plenty of tales from our times at their ground, with one in my first book being Jonny Giles’s testimonial which a group of us attended in the seventies. When lads with Brummie accents pretended to be Leeds fans then showed their true credentials, it turned out to be a bad night for my friends and I! I don’t think that’ll happen when we visit them next week!  See you then, LUFC – Marching on Together!

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

Leeds United v Nottingham Forest 27th October 2018 at Elland Road

Before I start my blog today, I wish to pay my respects to our oldest and longest Leeds United fan Edna Newton, who died this week aged 94 years. Having a season ticket for 64 years was a fantastic achievement and the game needs more fans like her. It was a proud moment seeing my photo on the scoreboard on the 64th minute signalling the whole ground to start giving their applause to celebrate her lifelong support of Leeds United. RIP Edna. The WACCOE message board I frequent had organised some flowers for Edna to be placed at Billy’s statue which was a lovely gesture. Also Leeds United put flowers on her seat with a Leeds scarf around them which is another heartwarming gesture.

It is also the nearest home game to Armistice Day and the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. So many died in the wars and seeing the horrendous conditions in the trenches in the First World War brings a lump to my throat. The poignant Last Post played by the bugler always gets to me. To all those soldiers who gave their tomorrows so we could have our today, I salute you.

With a slightly later set off time than normal, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the White Rose en route to Elland Road with Danielle my daughter and granddaughter Laura. With queues of traffic everywhere, we were lucky to get a parking spot despite there only being a few vacant. I never expected it to be like that so I’ll avoid daytime shopping if I can in the future as I hate it being crowded.  Give me a football crowd any day!

I actually prefer 5.30 pm kick offs to the lunchtime ones and on arrival at the packed Peacock, everyone was in good spirits. With fans having longer before the game it contributed to the atmosphere and I tried capturing a new song that some lads were trying to get going by video. It was good to catch up with friends although only for a short while before we headed in to the ground. Having looked for the Leeds United Supporters Trust collecting food for Leeds south and east foodbank, I found them on the way in so well done to them.

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Dallas, Cooper, Jansson, Hernandez, Alioski, Klich, Phillips, Roofe and Forshaw. Subs were: Pearce for Ayling (went off injured) (25), with Clarke replacing Pearce (65) and Saiz for Phillips (65). The game ended in a 1-1 draw with Roofe equalising in the 84th minute. Attendance was 34,308 with 1,766 Forest fans.

After taking photos at the bottom of the steps I made my way to my seat to find out that I nearly didn’t have one! A man and woman had been sat in our season ticket seats when the other two got there. When Danielle had said they were in our seats they weren’t for moving but one eventually did. They’d been overheard saying that if anyone asked them to move they’d be told to f**k off. I’m pleased to say that my seat had been vacated by the time I got there!

It took me 10 minutes to realise that Dallas was playing at left back again which I wasn’t exactly enamoured about. It made me think back to the Guiseley pre-season game when Dallas scored two goals from the left hand side.  Maybe that’s behind Bielsa’s thinking but whilst I’ve no problem him going forward I don’t like seeing him in defence. It was just after this realisation that Forest took the lead from a corner which meant we faced an upward battle again to get back on level terms. The Leeds crowd didn’t let being a goal down deter them from keeping a good atmosphere going though. Ayling went down after being fouled and although he got up again he only lasted a few minutes before being subbed. Looks like another big injury sadly but as long as it isn’t a repeat of last year’s game against Forest which ended his season. Once they’d taken the lead Forest started the time wasting tactics and when their man went down in the penalty area I thought he was feigning an injury. As he headed to the dugout rather than straight out to the touchline, I was just going to berate him but realised he was being subbed! Although we had a couple of chances, we didn’t really test the Forest goalie which was a contrast to the Ipswich game, with the amount of saves their goalie had to make.

The second half saw Forest still leading as Leeds ramped up the pressure. With the fans becoming the twelfth man and getting behind the team with WACCOE reverberating around the ground, we waited for a double substitution to be made when my photo of Edna came on the scoreboard. The applause for her was unanimous and I’m sure she’d have loved hearing the applause she received. I was surprised to see Pearce himself a sub taken off but realised he’d pushed Alioski back and brought Jack Clarke on. He had an immediate impact when he put a low hard cross across the box which was crying out for someone to knock it in at the far post. We had an immense amount of pressure as Leeds tried their hardest to get an equaliser. The ball many times wasn’t falling kindly for us and I always felt like Forest would be a threat. I felt that as long as we kept them out and didn’t give them a second we could get a goal and go on to win the game. The equaliser came in the 84th minute with Saiz, Dallas and Klich involved before Roofe put the ball into the net to send the volume of eruption from the Leeds fans into overdrive. As we were heading back to the centre circle I saw their goalie remonstrating with the linesman and claiming handball. As the referee headed over to the linesman we waited with bated breath until he signalled to the centre spot. That was a relief but I just thought it would have been carnage if they’d have disallowed it! Replays have apparently shown it was a ball to hand but it’s about time we’ve had the rub of the green and the decision going our way for once. We had to settle for a point in the end but am happy to take that as it is better than a defeat.  The one thing that we must do better is from our corners; we have to start beating the first man which for some reason we cannot do more often than not. I don’t like short corners but I could see why we resorted to them at times!

Thank you to Debbie and James for buying my new book Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18. With many fans saying they hadn’t appeared in my photos as yet including the original Donny Whites that was remedied today! The latter may shout at me though as I wobbled so they’ll have to ask me again next time they see me. As usual, many of our Scandinavian friends were in attendance, our Irish fans plus we had some Utrecht fans visiting too. With plenty of others in attendance including our long distance south coast regulars, it was nice to meet up with others after the game. Having just read that Rita our Leeds United guide dog and Nikki had an altercation with a Forest fan taking his anger out on them all I can say is shame on you. How dare you attack them because that is nothing more than disgusting! On hearing there has been a helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium Leicester after their game, things aren’t looking good after it burst into flames on impact. Sad times for their club.

We have a good break now with our next game being against Wigan for the Sunday lunchtime kick off. With another large following heading there with tickets once again sold out in minutes, I hope we can do better than we did at Blackburn.  See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!

 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

 

Leeds United v Ipswich 24th October 2018 at Elland Road

We were later than usual getting to Elland Road for this night game as there seemed to be loads of traffic everywhere. On hearing the M621 was closed in both directions we came off at Tingley instead and got there 40 minutes before kick-off. By the time we’d walked to the ground it was too late to go to the Peacock, although it meant I missed Paul one of my Selby Whites and Simon too who will be heading back to Canada shortly. I missed my sister Erica but managed to see her in the North East lower when I got into the Kop, so was able to have a chat as well as at Billy’s statue after the game. She made me laugh as the last few games she has attended she has gone in the North West, The East upper, North East lower and on Saturday she will be in the West Stand. As she said though, it depended where the available tickets were! With the majority of our mid-week games being on a Tuesday I had to be reminded that today was Wednesday too. Also with having had a very stressful day at work, I was looking forward to the football taking my mind off things. Thank you to the gentleman who said he had enjoyed reading my book; Once a Leeds fan, always a Leeds fan, and I am grateful for the feedback.

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Cooper, Ayling (back from his one game suspension), Phillips, Berardi, Alioski, Saiz, Klich, Roofe, Hernandez and Harrison. Subs were: Dallas for Berardi (27) went off injured, Forshaw for Saiz (57) and Pearce for Harrison (57). Leeds won 2-0 with goals from Roofe (22) and Cooper (66). Attendance was 29,082 with approx. 500 Ipswich fans.

Having done an interview for Amy Downes and her blog Diary of a Tractor Girl, I said I’d no idea where any team was in the league as I only concentrate on Leeds United. Lo and behold what did I keep hearing afterwards? Only that Ipswich were bottom of the table which usually meant teams would play out of their skins against us. It better not be a banana skin tonight! 

After hearing that Jansson got a one game ban after his recent comments at the end of the Brentford game, I was fizzing. If I had my way the ref from that game would never have got the chance again due to his absolute incompetence. When Jansson said the word s**t in his post-match interview, which in my view is quite tame in comparison to many swear words these days, then said we were robbed, he was only speaking the truth. As usual there is one rule for Leeds United and one rule for everyone else! It’s getting to feel like it is us against everyone else again as per the -15 season, so if it has to be a siege mentality, then so be it.

As Leeds attacked the South Stand we came close a couple of times. With their goalie out of position, Hernandez’s shot from a long way out was off target. Alioski playing left back put some hard crosses in, with one being saved by their goalie and the rebound just missing Hernandez. Alioski put in quite a few crosses although they were too long, but had plenty of power in them. He made some great runs down the left and I thought he played really well. Berardi got booked for a foul and was lucky to escape a talking to for another foul. I said I wanted to see 90 minutes of blood on their boots and then realised we had already played 20 minutes of the game. I didn’t want to see Berardi get his marching orders though which was always going to be a worry once he got an early booking. I couldn’t tell that Ipswich were bottom of the table though, as I thought they at least tried to play football and there was none of the cheating that had gone on previously with other teams.  Just after Ipswich had a header saved by Peacock-Farrell, Leeds took the lead. Saiz battled to win the ball in the centre of the park, passed it out to Hernandez on the right wing whose pass gave Roofe a delightful header that flew into the net. What a relief! That seemed to be the first time we had taken a lead for a while but I could be wrong of course. A few minutes later Berardi went off injured and we had to reshuffle our formation. After the initial euphoria things quietened down on the terraces as the half time whistle blew.

I came back up into the stand to hear the second half had already kicked off (you used to be able to see on the TVs when the team came back out but not anymore). As I got to the top of the steps the Kop shouted hand ball in unison. As I got back to my seat Danielle my daughter said that it was definitely hand ball and right in front of the ref. It wouldn’t have been a penalty though as it was outside the area. As Ipswich attacked the far end, I heard someone say they better not score now! As we started attacking more and more, their goalie ended up being their man of the match for me as he made some fantastic saves to deny us a further goal. Hernandez was playing really well and the team gained confidence as we continued to get behind their defence. We scored a second goal from a corner when the ball was passed across the box and Cooper hit it into the net. We nearly got a third which looked destined for the top corner when Alioski unleashed a fantastic shot, only to see it bounce back out after hitting the top corner of the goalpost. We continued to put Ipswich under pressure and played some really good passing football but on their rare attacks, I was always wary they could pull a goal back. At least it was nice to see they didn’t time waste their way through the game which was a breath of fresh air after recent games. Leeds made a double substitution, with both Forshaw then Pearce coming on. I said that Harrison would go off and Alioski would move forward with Pearce dropping back. Well of course that is what happened so Bielsa and I are on the same wavelength lol.

The win put us back on top of the league and it was good to hear that West Brom had been battered by Derby.  Saturday sees us back at Elland Road for the second home game in a few days but a later kick off of 5.30 pm due to being televised live on Sky once again. Hopefully the win will have taken some of the pressure off the team and we can go out and enjoy ourselves, getting another three points.  See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

The Diary of a Tractor Girl

My interview with Amy Downes prior to Leeds United v Ipswich 24th October 2018

The Diary of a Tractor Girl

 

Blackburn v Leeds United 20th October 2018 at Ewood Park

It was still dark as we left home this morning for the noon kick off and another live game for Sky. I was meeting my daughter Danielle in Leeds and was taking my granddaughter Hannah to her first away game with me. She was really excited and looking forward to her day out with over 7,600 Leeds fans. With there being no trains, Fullerton Park had got two coaches going today and many other supporters were travelling by coach too. With our stop at our regular haunt of Leyland, they certainly had plenty of trade today with fans standing at least four deep at the bar. Because of that I used the app for our food which took the stress out of queuing.

We arrived at the services to be escorted to the ground just as there was a convoy of coaches being taken down to the ground. I was pleased to see that the police weren’t messing about as we headed after them approx. five minutes later going past all the queuing traffic on the opposite side of the road. There were loads of Leeds fans doing the salute to the coaches as we passed by with hardly any Blackburn fans in sight. As we were escorted past the ground we began to wonder where we were being taken but were turning round at the end of the road, coming back and parking on the street. It was too late to go into the fan zone but it was good to see that being put in place for our fans once again. As Danielle and Hannah headed to the upper stand I went into the bottom stand, straight to the front to put my flag up.

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Berardi and Roofe (both back from injury), Jansson, Cooper, Phillips, Klich, Alioski, Saiz, Roberts and Dallas. Subs were: Hernandez for Roofe (70), Clarke for Dallas (76) and Shackleton for Berardi (86) Leeds lost the game 2-1 with Klich getting our goal right at the end of injury time in the first half (90+1). Attendance was 20,029 with 7,717 Leeds fans. Well done to Ella from our branch; she normally travels on our coach and was our mascot for the game.

As Leeds kicked off we went straight on the attack but the final ball was mishit straight to their player. With their first attack they came straight to the goal in front of us ending with two corners one after the other. We were left with an uphill battle once again when from the second one, their player bullied us to head the ball straight into the top left hand side of the goal right in front of us. My first thoughts were why did we not have anyone defending on both sides of the goal as Bremner and Reaney used to do? It may be that they couldn’t have done anything about the first goal but when they scored a similar goal for their second, it would have made a difference I’m sure, especially as that turned out to be the winner.

Saiz brought a save out of their goalie and we had to thank Peacock-Farrell a couple of times for stopping them taking a further lead. With the Leeds support getting behind the team, we were frustrated to see passes going astray and when we did win corners, Alioski’s first few crosses were below par. In fact it looked like the players were disjointed and Bielsa hadn’t got the line up right from the start for this game. I’d said before the game that I hadn’t seen us have square pegs in round holes this season as everyone gets to play all over the pitch so it hadn’t been apparent. I think I should have kept my mouth shut especially with Dallas at right back although he swapped sides with Berardi later on. We have a great young player in Pearce who can play at left back in his rightful position and I would much rather play him than put Dallas in either position where he hasn’t impressed me. There was a lot of frustration from the Leeds fans when we kept playing the ball out from the back but going from side to side until we could work our way forwards. As someone commented on the fact that we had been found out, I said we had to work out a different way to overcome them. We got one minute of injury time as we played out from the back, I said it would take us the full minute to get to the far end of the pitch. As we got to the far end after 13 passes in 45 seconds, the ball was in the net to equalise. What a relief that was to get the goal just before the whistle blew. We all agreed we had played to our strengths along the floor because any high balls were being mopped up by their set of giants in both attack and defence. I wondered what was in the water over here as well as what they were feeding them!

I went downstairs to hear some lads say we didn’t deserve it; I said the team was being patient in their build ups whereas the patience amongst many fans had worn thin, but we all agreed we would take the fact we had equalised. As the lad next to me in the seats said, how many times have we not deserved to have penalties, free kicks etc. given against us, so we need things to even themselves out and go our way instead.

The second half saw Leeds straight on the attack and it looked like we would take the game by the scruff of the neck. At times we did do that but we weren’t consistent enough.  A couple of times we waited for the ball to go out rather than get it, only for Blackburn to nip in and take the ball off our toes.  As we waited for Hernandez to come on as sub I wondered why he hadn’t come on before realising it was because Blackburn had got a free kick. Unfortunately they got a corner out of it which resulted in Blackburn scoring their second goal of the game. I was cross that we hadn’t learnt our lesson from the first half and put players on both posts as we could have avoided that one and kicked the ball off the line. When Roofe was battling in the left hand corner near us to keep the ball from going out for a goal kick, he was holding his own until there were two of them attacking him. No one could believe it when the linesman put his flag up to give the free kick against us. As the conspiracy theories against us grow, we all feel that the officials don’t even hide it now with their outrageous decisions that are so blatantly against us. Saiz brought out a great save from their goalie before we had two penalty shouts, one for a foul and one for hand ball. I would need to see them again but after my neighbour said on my return home, he’d heard them say on the TV that we had been robbed; there must have been something in the non-decisions.

Unfortunately we couldn’t manage an equaliser, despite the pressure put on by our players in the last minutes of the game. As the final whistle blew and we had our second defeat of the season, the dreaded curse of after the international break, a large away support from us, plus the early kick off have once again raised their head sadly. 

Thanks for my chocolates and Galway Whites badge Paul. After doing an away fan review for Dirk Copland of Blackburn Roverseas prior to the game I did a follow up one afterwards as requested too.

Thanks to Helen for buying my new book Back to Reality, Leeds United Season 2017-18. Talking about my books I just wanted to remind those fans who are thinking of Christmas presents that autographed copies are available from me. Just let me know where and when to meet and I’ll sort it out. There are some great stories of life as a Leeds United fan ranging from the seventies until now, which cemented our loyal support for our team and is why we have the support we have today.

We move on to Wednesday’s game against Ipswich at home when we have to pick ourselves up and get something out of the game. Having not picked up many points of late we do need to turn things round and soon. There were always going to be ups and downs and I feel that having the right team on the pitch at the start of the game is very important. See you Wednesday LUFC – Marching on Together!

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

 

Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United Match preview 2018/19 by Dirk Copland forBlackburn Roverseas

My interview takes place between 10 and 16 minuites

 

 

My interview for Blackburn Rovers preview (20th October 2018 – Blackburn Roverseas by Dirk Copland

My appearance is between 10.45 and 16.00 minutes!

Blackburn Roverseas by Dirk Copland

Leeds United v Brentford 6th October 2018 at Elland Road

As my granddaughter Hannah and I headed into Elland Road for the early kick off after leaving at 8.30 am, I realised that despite feeling tired, many of our long distance fans would have already been on the road a long time before. I was due to meet Christophe a French journalist for an interview in the Peacock at 10.00 am but I hadn’t expected it to still be shut when we got there. As Bev and Steve from Bournemouth were in Billy’s bar and wanting my new book Back to Reality, I had to leave Hannah outside the door for five minutes in order to meet them. After bumping into Steve who said that he remembered me from the seventies, we headed back across the road just in time to meet Christophe. We headed into the bottom part of the garden to do the interview as it would have been too noisy at the top with the band playing.  I’m looking forward to the finished article which he said would be sent to me and I am grateful for the opportunity. Thank you also to the ladies on the table behind us, who said that they had brought Frank with them who had come to the game from Australia and was celebrating his birthday tomorrow. I hope he enjoys his day and the game. A few fans stopped for a photo during the interview and my flag was got out at the end for more photos. Bev and Steve, Pete and Lily, Karl and Louie, Garry for Aiden and Dylan, Peter, Craig and Michelle are all the proud owners of my new book and my grateful thanks goes to them all for the support. Also, thanks to everyone who I spoke to who follow my blogs and asked for photos which are appreciated greatly. I was also given a LUSCOS badge from one of our Norwegian fans which was a lovely gesture too. Annette and her niece from Denmark were also here for a regular visit to Elland Road.

Once in the ground, having met up with my daughter Danielle, she found her season ticket ended up having a lucky escape as she dropped it and it nearly went down the loo!  I don’t think things are that bad anymore lol!! As we got to the top of the steps, a ball kicked from the pitch was heading straight above us until someone hit it and it bounced down just missing us and I nearly fell backwards trying to avoid it. Was someone trying to tell us something? I left most of my things in my seat as I headed to the front. I knew Dean was bringing his little girl to the game and I wanted to capture the occasion. Bless her she was so excited and had wanted to know why her picture wasn’t in my new book? This means that I have to keep on doing these blogs and books because they tell the stories of Leeds fans following their team home and away. There were another couple of fans with Dean who had travelled from Australia for the game too. I then went to find Raymond who was being filmed for the programme The Undateables again as I wanted to get a photo. He was always found banging a tambourine at games over the many years he has followed Leeds.

The Team: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Dallas, Saiz, Alioski, Klich, Roberts, Phillips and Harrison. Subs were: Forshaw for Klich (63), Jack Clarke (one of our youngsters making his debut) for Dallas (70) and Baker for Saiz (76). Attendance was 31,880 with 510 Brentford fans. The score was 1-1 with Jansson equalising for Leeds (88).

Once again for the umpteenth time this season, we had a “referee” trying to make a name for him when we were being shown live on Sky. How he can be called a professional with the way he conducted himself on the pitch is frankly unbelievable.  It is about time that referees who cannot even get the basics right, have to be accountable for their actions and get demoted. It isn’t a case of sour grapes or a referee not giving the home crowd many decisions. When Alioski slipped and lost the ball with their man about a yard away, the ref blew for a foul in our favour! That was when I knew for sure he had lost the plot as everyone burst out laughing that the incredulous decision was given in the first place. All I want is a fair playing field, being allowed to challenge for a ball, win it without their player ending up on the floor and a free kick given even though we have come away with the ball. Football is a contact sport, but not receiving a head-butt from behind as happened with Alioski later on in the game. He went to retrieve the ball from the Brentford dugout so as to get on with the game, only for their coaches to play silly beggars and try and keep it and their player was totally out of order. When I think of the amount of times we have had players hauled over the coals after the games had finished by the powers that be, I genuinely cannot understand why players are allowed to get away with it against us? There were still a fair few of their players going down “injured” and time wasting but not at the same level as a few teams have done recently.

With Douglas out injured after Hull City, it meant there would be a change to the team and Dallas came in to replace him at left back. I wasn’t particularly enamoured about him playing so far back but once again I put my trust in Bielsa to make the right decision. The fact that he wants players to be able to swap and change all over the pitch doesn’t give me the same feeling of dread that we had under previous managers, when it was square pegs in round holes situations. As Brentford set off on the attack and Peacock-Farrell had to make a great save from them, we were going to have to keep on our toes today. That said, until the referee started blowing the whistle over any challenge that saw their player end up on the floor, I knew we were going to be up against 12 men again. With every challenge being given Brentford’s way, when we did eventually get a free kick, the referee was met with loud cheering from the crowd. Brentford had most of the chances in the first half with Peacock-Farrell being called on to make numerous saves to deny them a goal. As our players had to run back and defend in numbers after being caught out of position when we attacked, it was good to see everyone working together in packs to win the ball back. We had a great chance to get a goal just before half time but Saiz’s shot went wide after some great play between Alioski and Harrison.

The second half saw us trying to get a goal and were unlucky not to score after their keeper fumbled the first shot but managed to stop Phillips get the rebound into the net. After a Brentford attack towards the South Stand, it looked like their chance had gone as the ball went past the post. With the fans going mad behind the goal I realised he had given them a penalty! I haven’t seen the action again but everyone said that their player was already falling before it got near Peacock-Farrell but the ref decided he’d fouled him. 10 minutes after this incident it came up on Danielle’s watch that Ayling had been booked for dissent! Unfortunately for us Brentford scored the penalty sending our keeper the wrong way which sadly meant we had to come from behind again. When young Jack Clarke was brought on to make his debut, I said that maybe Ayling should come off as his passing had been quite poor today. I was wishing later on in the game that he had come off as the ref sent him off for a second bookable offence after a foul in the last minutes of the game. It was definitely a free kick but when some of their players got away with fouls, why was Ayling not just given a talking to as it wasn’t malicious just bad timing? As it was Dallas came off so I said Ayling may play better now which he did until his sending off. Clarke had an immediate impact with a great cross into the box. We started to put the pressure on and I was particularly impressed today with both Alioski and Jansson. Alioski played at left back at times once Dallas had come off, but the chasing down of balls, challenges and putting some great crosses in, often bypass some of our fans. As the referee was getting lambasted by the Leeds crowd, this heightened the noise levels and upped the atmosphere. After winning a free kick two minutes from time, the Elland Road crowd went wild when from it, Jansson headed home to equalise. As the players celebrated with the fans a few went onto the pitch which resulted with one lad getting taken out. We were very unlucky not to win the game when it looked like Baker’s header after Alioski had crossed the ball, was going straight into the net. Unfortunately it crept wide at the wrong side of the post so the game ended in a draw. It’s a long time since I’ve heard chanting against the referee all around the ground. We’ve had plenty of poor ones over recent years but this one today, got up everybody’s backs for his inept performance!

It was good to meet up with our Johannesburg Whites from South Africa after the game, although two have moved back to Yorkshire now to enable them to attend Elland Road more. It was nice to meet up with our West Coast Whites too who are friends with one of our old Halifax lads, Daisy. When it was pointed out to me that they had three Bremner stones in the vicinity of mine I couldn’t believe it!

With the International Break upon us once again, the next game will be on 20th October with another early kick off for our visit to Blackburn. With a massive following of 7,650 Leeds supporters my granddaughter Hannah is also coming to experience the away game with us. The last time she was at an away game was when we played Huddersfield the other year but was sat in the opposite end to us Leeds fans. With two of my daughters Michelle, Danielle and granddaughter Laura, they had to keep their mouths shut when Leeds scored. At the end of the game though Hannah forgot where she was and cheered that Leeds had won, oops! Let’s hope we can get the win at Blackburn! See you there – LUFC – Marching on Together!

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

Co-author with Andrew Dalton of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

OUT NOW! Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

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