Eric Carlile’s funeral 2nd February 2018

What a fantastic send off Eric Carlile got today. He was secretary of the Leeds United Supporters Club for 50 years and on the Board of Leeds United for 10 years. Fans came from all over today to pay their respects to a great servant of our club with some from Norway, East Anglia and Wellingborough to name a few.

Some fans I haven’t seen for many a year and it was good to catch up. The frightening thing is that many of us have all grown up together as a group of friends since the early seventies, but you will never get such a fantastic camaraderie as we all have anywhere else.

Rest in Peace Eric, your family are lovely and from your Leeds United family, we will keep Marching on Together!

PS Don’t forget to join us and clap on the 50th minute tomorrow in Eric’s memory!!

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Hull City 30th January 2018 at the KCOM Stadium

Well what a week it’s been as a Leeds United fan. Seeing the club launch a new crest that was underwhelming due to it being a Leeds salute, this went down with the fans like a lead balloon. Now don’t get me wrong I love the Leeds salute and it’s something I do all the time, but it is definitely not what I want to see on the club badge. By the time I’d finished work and been on Radio 5 live, a petition was doing the rounds that had nearly 70,000 signatures so I certainly wasn’t the only one who didn’t like it. In the time of my interview it had gone up by 1,000 names. Wow just wow, but when our support works together; we are a force to be reckoned with. I’m also glad to say that the club had a rethink due to the amount of fans against the badge and now it is in our hands, the fans to design the new one. I have seen some fantastic designs on the web and I have to give a mention to Jacko on WACCOE for the ones he has done as they are superb. I look forward to seeing what happens next.

With the funeral of Eric Carlile this week who was a great ambassador for the Leeds United Supporters Club and on the Board of the Club for a while, fans have asked for a 50th minute round of applause to take place at the Cardiff game in memory of him. I hope all Leeds United Supporters club members past and present plus everyone else, will give him the sendoff he deserves.

Another death took place last week too with Jimmy Armfield, our manager who took Leeds to the European Cup Final in Paris in 1975. Jimmy was a lovely person and he said if all fans were like us there would be no problems. We had played man u at Elland Road and their fans had left graffiti all around the ground, well there was no way that was staying! A group of us then borrowed cleaning materials from the grounds man and got rid of it all, so we were well thought of because of that gesture. We also helped Jimmy by getting a petition signed by fans and players of the club; he took this with him to appeal our four year ban from European football which was then reduced to two years. I spoke to Jimmy on the telephone when we last played Blackpool as I’d been asked to deliver a photo of him with his World Cup Winner’s medal. Dave Cocker the son of our old trainer Les Cocker had asked me to deliver this to him and I was happy to oblige. You were a gentleman Jimmy and we will always be Champions of Europe. I feel like part of my youth has gone this last couple of weeks with these deaths, but sadly that is a reality we cannot change.

Tonight saw us head to Hull for the rearranged game due to them still having an F A Cup game last Saturday. I actually had a chilled out weekend for a change as I knew I’d a busy week ahead. Having got up at 5.25 am this morning due to organising a big event at work and despite the early start, it made me feel good when everything went like clockwork. I also got a pat on the back for a new resource I created which received great feedback which was great. I was already falling asleep waiting for the coach to arrive and hoped I’d be wide awake for the game. I thought I’d get some sleep on the way across but we seemed to be there before you knew it. We arrived at 6.20 pm and found the turnstiles weren’t even open so as it was cold, we decided to stay on the coach for a while so I had 40 winks then. 

We went into the ground around 7pm so I headed straight to the front of the stand to hang my flag up. It’s the first time for yonks that I was asked for my fire cert which was in my bag but said that’s the first time in ages I’ve been asked to show it. I had a chat to little Jack from the Worcestershire Whites (I hope I’ve got that right?) and whilst we were stood chatting Jansson took off his kick out racism t-shirt and threw it to Jack. He was chuffed to bits especially when he found out later that Jansson had signed it too; he then went back to find his dad further up the stand.  I’d stayed at the front and one of the Leeds trainers (or the ball collector) came over and shouted to me. He asked me to go and find the lad with the t-shirt, as Pontus had left the orange bib inside it and wanted it back. I went and got it for him and as he came back to collect it, I tried throwing it to him but my throw was very poor and it landed on the floor in between the stand and the advertising hoardings. Luckily he got it back with some of the stewards helping him out. I was very disappointed at the end of the game though when Jansson came to throw his shirt into the crowd but went to the fans behind the goal instead. He could have let me have it for getting him his bib back lol!!

The team today was Wiedwald, De Bock, Berardi, Jansson, Shaughnessy, Alioski, Roofe, Lasogga, Hernandez, Vieira and our new signing Forshaw from Boro making his debut. Sadly we lost Shaughnessy to a serious injury very early on just as I was looking forward to seeing him play in his proper position at centre back. This gave Dallas his chance to get back into the side (5). Our other subs were Sacko for Alioski (86) and Cibicki replacing Roofe just before the end of the game (90). The game finished as a 0-0 Draw. Attendance was 17,237 with 2,097 Leeds fans. 

Hull put us straight under attack and within a few minutes got the better of Shaughnessy who went down injured after he landed awkwardly and ended with him being stretchered off.  Wiedwald was called into action making saves to keep us in the game. From my point of view this was his best game for us as he was also coming off his line and catching the ball a few times. One he did misjudge though when he ended up outside the area, but managed to redeem himself luckily for us. We were actually making Hull look good at times as our passing today was absolutely atrocious. I know we had to make a sub early on, but to say the team had just spent a week in Spain team bonding in the warmth; they looked as if they had never seen each other before! Hernandez and Vieira constantly gave the ball away which constantly put us under pressure. Hernandez did a terrible back pass that we were lucky to get away without conceding a goal. He put Wiedwald into an awkward situation but he managed to get the ball away with their player nearly on his toes. That was a dicey move that could have been prevented by remembering the best form of defence is attack. Roofe looked so lightweight tonight too and to be honest, it’s a good job Hull couldn’t put any of their chances away.

The second half started off more of the same but Leeds did start to get into the game more with some good attacks, but to be fair we didn’t put their goalie under too much pressure. The closest we came to scoring was a powerful shot from Lasogga that went past the post. Alioski had the best chance of the game for us when he got into a fantastic position, only to not connect with the ball and missed it. I thought he had played very well in this second half with some delightful footwork to get past the Hull players along the wing in front of us. A couple of blatant fouls on our players in the second half that the ref let go, made the lad next to me say that you can tell him what you like, but there was an agenda against Leeds United. When our player was literally rugby tackled and thrown to the ground and this was ignored, I can’t blame anyone for coming up with those thoughts. At least Hull were very bad at shooting too as they missed an absolute sitter in the second half but their attempt was probably the miss of the season.

It was a disappointing game and result but I took the positives from it. We didn’t lose, we got a point away from home, Wiewald had his best game for us, De Bock played well and I thought Forshaw had a good start to his Leeds United playing days. Wearing the same number 4 that my hero Billy Bremner wore, I’m hoping that Billy’s never say die attitude will rub off onto him.

Cardiff at home on Saturday is a must win game for us now so nothing but three points will do. 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

OUT NOW! The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

Heidi’s video comments at the end of the game

 

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Why are Leeds and Millwall so hated? – COPA90 – including interview with Heidi Haigh

Including interview with Heidi Haigh – author of Follow Me and Leeds United

Millwall 20th January 2018

Today I was heading in early to Leeds with my daughter and granddaughter following later. My first stop was at the Peacock to meet Rob who was joining me at BBC Radio Leeds for an interview regarding a community project. Big congratulations to Katherine Hannah and her husband on the birth of their baby girl and I look forward to seeing her back at Elland Road with a new Leeds fan! Following this I headed back to the Peacock to meet a couple of guys from a media company in London to do an interview about why both clubs are hated. I’ve no idea how I will come across as you have to think on your feet but I didn’t agree with the comments from a couple of Millwall fans who they interviewed last night. They said that we were the Millwall fans of the north!!  I don’t think so! The one thing I did forget to say was about us getting ambushed at the services by Millwall fans on our way back from Fulham in the 80s. They had come over to our side of the motorway at Leicester Forest to wait for us when all the Leeds fans turned up. As I went and hid in the ladies loos, they were returned to the other side of the motorway pronto with some even risking their lives by running over all six lanes of the motorway! After completing my third interview for All Leeds TV I can honestly say that I’ve been in demand today! I’d been asked what I thought the score would be today but I said I wouldn’t predict anything as I always get it wrong but hoped for a win. When I was told that Millwall hadn’t won away all season I immediately said, that’s the worst thing to hear because it always works out the other way once it’s mentioned! I’m positive that they’ll raise their game to play us too. When Dani and Laura arrived later I headed up to the White Rose to pick them up, having a quick chat with my friends Sue and Paul on the way before going straight into the ground on our return.

There was great news for little Toby Nye this week. To hear that through the pleas of the club, everyone including fans and players had done a fantastic job and raised the £200,000 for his next treatment for his Neuroblastoma. Saiz donated the last £25,000 after his recent misdemeanour at Newport for spitting to enable the total to be reached. Well done to everyone involved and I’m proud to see this has been achieved. Toby was also going to make his last appearance at Elland Road today before starting the treatment next week.  It was lovely to see him being carried out by Liam Cooper before getting the chance to run about on the pitch. Good luck little man and I look forward to seeing you back at Elland Road in the near future.

The team today was Wiedwald, Berardi, Cooper (sent off straight red), Jansson, Laurens De Bock (making his debut at left back), Roofe, Lassoga, Hernandez, Phillips, Vieira and Alioski. Subs were Pennington for Vieira (43), Dallas for Roofe (74) and Shaughnessy for Lasogga (83). Attendance was 33,564 with 1,285 Millwall fans (bubble trip removed for this game). Millwall won 4-3 with Leeds scorers Lasogga 46 and 62 and Roofe 55.

The first pass from De Bock was fantastic right across to the far right of the pitch to the feet of our player. That was an impressive start in my eyes. Wiedwald was called into an early save before we had two great chances to take the lead in the opening minutes. Lasogga had two clear chances to score, the first one a header straight to the goalie and the second one saved by the advancing goalie where a chip over him may have resulted in a goal. I can’t even pinpoint where things changed because all of a sudden Millwall took charge. They scored a goal and as they celebrated, the Leeds fans started cheering as it was disallowed. My fear then was because of all the jeering they would come back even stronger. Sadly that turned out to be as they scored another goal more of less straight away, well it felt that way! How Morison our ex player got away with antagonising the Leeds fans in the Kop and North East lower I will never know. When Berardi got booked for celebrating his first goal at Newport the other week with his own fans, how could someone who was deliberately goading the opposition fans to get a reaction be ignored? Morison was never good enough for us and swapping Becchio for him was the worst deal ever at the time.

They then got a second wind where they were stronger, bullying and intimidating us. A push in the back by Phillips was silly and gave them a free kick but I expect consistency from referees. As usual two that happened to us were ignored. I didn’t realise until they had a corner how tall some of their players were with one being 6’ 7” or so I heard after the game.  We were struggling to contain Millwall by the end of the half and then a third red card in three games happened when Cooper made a late challenge on their player. I don’t think he’d been having a good game but Millwall players immediately surrounded the referee which then resulted with him being shown the card. The Millwall bench also took off to our bench although I didn’t see what or how this happened but both teams had an assistant manager sent to the stands. It baffles me how we have had straight reds for fouls when others just get a yellow card for doing the same thing? Down to 10 men once again and to make matters worse just as we were looking to make a sub they scored a second goal. Morison once again goaded the fans with the referee completely ignoring his behaviour. This is another time where we were going to bring a sub on and the opposition scored. At this point we looked down and out as the half time whistle blew after three minutes of injury time. To be honest I expected about six!

At half time I think my friends and I were a little shell shocked as there was no answer to the way we had collapsed. As I was going back into the stand Susan said a 2-2 draw will do and the lad next to me agreed that a 3-2 win would be better.

Well our 10 men stood up to be counted in the second half as within 30 seconds Lasogga had scored to pull a goal back. That got the fans revved up and between our players and the fans on the terraces; we joined forces to rack up the pressure. I suddenly realised that Berardi had gone back over the left hand side of the pitch. He had been playing in his normal position at right back  now we had cover at left back and Ayling was out injured. We started playing with vigour and putting some great attacking football in. Whatever Christiansen had said to the team at half time, it worked. Although Millwall hadn’t given up at this point with Wiedwald called into action, we got an equaliser after a massive scramble on the goal line after their goalie spilled a shot. The noise ramped up to a crescendo all around the ground as Leeds fans celebrated. We had the upper hand at this stage and the Leeds fans were sent delirious when Lasogga got his second goal of the game to put us into the lead. With 10 men we had played better than with 11 and to score three goals in this way was unbelievable. I just hoped we could keep going. Roofe was subbed first and then Lasogga who had been fouled earlier went off too. For me it was too early to defend a lead with seven minutes of normal time left and four minutes of injury time. As our best form of defence had been attack this depleted our attack and personally I wouldn’t have had a defender on. Someone fast up front to run at them would have taken the pressure off us. Unfortunately this proved to be our downfall as Millwall got their equaliser and then deep into stoppage time won the game with a deflected goal.

Although the first half had been horrendous for us, this was another game where we didn’t deserve to get nothing out of it. Having 10 men in the end probably cost us. Despite the result, we have shown what we can do and have to learn to do this for 90 minutes and not 45. Also keeping 11 men on the pitch would be good too although you can’t help but think referees have an agenda against us! For those who think the Kop doesn’t sing, well I can assure you every Leeds fan did their job in the second half creating the fantastic atmosphere which is something I love. Eddie Gray got his rendition of oh, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie Gray by me on the 70th minute and others a few minutes later. We may have been beaten in the end but I saw hope today, that we aren’t dead and buried even though the score line says we lost. I’m proud to be a Leeds fan as always. With no game next week due to the FA Cup 5th round the Leeds team are having a break in Murcia I think Christiansen said. Hopefully the warm climate will do some healing as despite the players being out through suspensions (with Phillips joining them as well today), we seem to be thin on the ground.

As an aside and I know I mention the ladies loos in the Kop don’t have seats, I think we can add leaking toilets and locks missing to them too. I look forward to the day I don’t have to moan about this!

Time will tell what happens next with the rearranged game at Hull coming the day before the end of the transfer window. 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

OUT NOW! The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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Video comments by Heidi Haigh at the end of the game

Ipswich away 13th January 2018

After last week’s disappointing effort and result at Newport which ended with me having swollen legs after a 15 hour round trip, the dread of having to go to Ipswich with half of the team injured made me want to forget it and not bother. Of course, it turned out to be a fleeting feeling. All thoughts of not wanting to go went out of my head on hearing the sad news that Eric Carlile had died. Eric was at the forefront of the Leeds United Supporters Club for 50 years and my first memories of him was enrolling me as a postal branch member in the early 70s. Eric did a lot for us fans over the years with the all ticket games and will not be forgotten. Having kept in touch with him by sending Christmas cards he will be sadly missed. Leeds United fans led by Mick Hewitt and the LUSC South Kirkby Branch, raised a glass to Eric in the Corn Exchange in Bury St Edmunds at 12.00pm. RIP Eric.

Having done my good deed of the day by picking Gaz and Ella up (thanks for the breakfast), I answered a plea on WACCOE to bring some tickets down to Ipswich and declined the offer of a bottle of booze. As the lad could no longer make it he didn’t want to let his mate down who he was meeting at the ground to give him his tickets. I met him at Elland Road at 7.30 am with his baby boy to get the tickets off him and can confirm they were promptly delivered to the right person on arrival at Ipswich. This is what Leeds United fans are about, always helping each other out when they can and I will always do that willingly if I am able.

As well as doing a voice message for BBC Radio Leeds I have a message for Eddie Gray. Eddie is 70 on Wednesday so happy birthday. It doesn’t seem two minutes since he was tearing Chelsea apart at Wembley in 1970 and it’s such a shame we never got our just desserts in that game. If we’d have avoided the replay they wouldn’t have had chance to put Eddie out of the game with a brutal tackle. “Happy 70th birthday Eddie. It doesn’t seem two minutes since I saw you terrorising the Chelsea players on the wing at Wembley in 1970 on that terrible pitch after the horse of the year show. That display was fantastic and always stands out in my mind. You are a fantastic ambassador for Leeds United, not only for the club but for us fans too. Always willing to take part in events or in my case did the foreword for my first book Follow Me and Leeds United which I am very grateful for. I used to love the supporters club events at Menwith Hill which all the team came to. I’ve a confession to make, I never did drink that crème de menthe you bought my friend Carole and I and said we had to drink it, I gave it to Carole! So sorry!”

I would like to say something to the fans in the pub who caused them to cease serving beer just before we were leaving. By all means have a good time, have a drink but take responsibility for your actions. You had been asked to stop swearing when singing and it quietened down for a while but then you did it again. I know that I asked some lads to think about it earlier. Although I don’t use the men’s loos I believe these weren’t left in too good a state either. Just remember that this reflects on every Leeds fan and as this pub is one we have been going to for years without any issues, it is possible we won’t be allowed back. There were plenty families in there and some had walked out; maybe without the swearing they wouldn’t have felt so intimidated.

We were still 10 miles out of Ipswich when we received the start of our police escort before pulling into the services. There were at least 15 coaches in the escort which took my memories back to the 80s. It was great in those times seeing the long line of coaches sometimes 30 strong full of Leeds fans. We were then escorted to the ground getting there at 2.30 pm just at the same time as the couple I was meeting. I was stood chatting to a couple of lads and what a coincidence, they had all met up last week at Newport! It’s a small world! The next thing we heard a commotion and saw a load of scarecrows coming down the street. I’d heard that some of the SLI had dressed up today so got some photos. They did look good though! The only disadvantage of everyone arriving at the same time was going up the stairs into the stand which was jam packed with fans. After putting my flag up I headed to my seat just after the team had come out. Thanks for the Selby Whites flag photo Andy Welford!

The team today was Wiedwald, Berardi, Cooper, Jansson, Anita, Roofe, Hernandez, Alioski, O’Kane, Phillips and Cibicki. Subs were Sacko for Cibicki (injured 29), Shaughnessy for Alioski (46) and Lassoga for Anita (78). Leeds lost the game 1-0 with a wonder goal from their player in the 67th minute of the game. Attendance was 18,638 with 3,537 Leeds fans.

Portman Road is never a good place to come to and Ipswich have often been a bogey team for us over the years. I remember our FA Cup run of replays that ended up being played at Filbert Street, Leicester on both the Tuesday and Thursday with Ipswich eventually winning the tie. I also remember coming here in the seventies and getting ambushed in the Sporting Farmer pub. Having arrived at 12.00 pm on a freezing cold coach 15 of us went to the pub and were spotted by approx. 40 Ipswich fans who ran down the road and followed us in. Our lads let me sit between them near the bar which was a good job as I’d have fallen down with fear through the intimidation. I then spent 2½ hours shaking like a leaf. They’d gone out after a couple of hours only to return 100 strong and start singing IRA songs to us. I thought our time was up and it was only by the landlord standing up to them that prevented the pool table full of bottles to descend on us. After they went a load of Leeds fans turned up so I felt safe but not something I wanted to happen in the first place.

As the game kicked off today it was fairly even. Some of our passing wasn’t very good but we’d had a chance and it’s a case you have to take chances when they are there. We were passing the ball across the back four a lot at one point which frustrated me and so we slowed everything down as there was no one taking ownership of the ball. After Cibicki went off injured Sacko was brought on as sub. Many fans would have preferred Dallas to have come on as he was back from injury. For the rest of the first half I could see why fans were worried as it looks like he needed someone to tell him what to do with the ball once he had it. We started playing out from the back and Sacko was through with the ball and Alioski was screaming for the ball at the far side of the pitch in a great position level with the defence with them on the back foot. When Sacko slowed down and waited for everyone to catch up with him and we eventually lost the ball, it looked like he had no idea what to do with the ball and no awareness of other teammates on the pitch. That should have been a great chance for us but we didn’t even get near their goalie to put him under pressure. The ref had already shown his true colours; when Pontus was fouled he’d ignored him and then Cibicki went down. Pontus then started getting very angry. Whilst the trainer was on the pitch Jansson went across to the bench as Christiansen was shouting to him but it looked like he was ignoring him. He did go back to him then but Christiansen kept his hand in front of his mouth when talking to him which had me wondering why he didn’t want anyone lip reading his comments? We had another attack and as O’Kane was following their player to the bye line fighting for the ball, the lad next to me shouted don’t foul him. When their player went down I thought damn he did. The next thing he was shown a red card and sent from the pitch. I was astounded as I never saw anything untoward only someone trying to challenge for the ball. Is this not allowed anymore? Others around me said he had nutted their player and he had to go. On video evidence later on it looked like a case of their player conning the ref, yes he got pushed but I don’t think it was a sending off offence just their player going down like a sack of spuds. If indeed it is found that he cheated then the red card should be rescinded for O’Kane and given to their player! That’s only fair in my eyes. When their player had a tantrum he was only spoken to by the ref although when Jansson had a tantrum he was booked. I was worried that Jansson was losing it though and he is no use to us back in the dressing room. As usual double standards by the ref though and if we had a player all over us it was our player backing in, whereas Ipswich players falling like flies got a free kick! The red card came on 37 minutes and I felt like we were losing by the time half time came especially as Ipswich had a couple of late chances. One direct from a corner hit the post, then another hit the crossbar.

At the start of the second half it took me a few minutes to realise Shaughnessy had come on and had to work out that it was Alioski that had been taken off. We actually played better with 10 men than we did with 11 although it took us a while to get on top. Anita who had been quiet in the first half looked a lot better and was getting in some good tackles and played well in front of us. It seemed to go against the run of play when Ipswich scored an absolute screamer of a goal which proved to be the winner. There was nothing we could do to save this but we gave their player too much space. I bet if he tried that again he wouldn’t score in a month of Sundays so that was a pain. We brought Lasogga on as we tried to get an equaliser which we nearly did when their goalie made a great save from him to prevent us getting something out of the game. I think a draw would have been a true reflection of the game but as always the score says otherwise and we came away empty handed. The fans let the ref know their feelings at the end of the game but the team were clapped off the pitch. Our fans had been singing for most of the game but “you only sing when you’re winning” came to mind for the Ipswich fans as they’d been quiet for most of the game.

We’re at home next week against Millwall and their fans have had their ticket restrictions lifted so we will see if they bring more fans to Elland Road. I’ve also been asked if we can get the atmosphere in the Kop going that day with flags and scarves trying to recreate days gone by. I feel sure once our cd comes out and apologies for the delay but it’s got to be right, there will be a fair few fans relishing singing some of the songs again. In the meantime if we get it right on the pitch, the stands follow suit with the atmosphere. We can be the twelfth man and help the team by doing this. I do realise how disheartened some fans get as I was very disappointed last week. Despite the loss today I felt more heartened that we didn’t lie down and die and did show some great attacks, unfortunately the final balls didn’t put their goalie under pressure. Once again though we have another injury and that is something that concerns me greatly. Can we go back to traditional football boots please and see if that makes a difference? I do wonder why it is happening though so if anyone has any other ideas please let me know as I’d appreciate their input. As usual time will tell how we recover from these defeats over the last two weeks. Just think though for the second year running if we’d have got through to the 4th round of the FA Cup we’d have had a big pay day with home ties against Arsenal and Spurs respectively. Why we would turn down the chance of a good cup run I’ve no idea? I don’t agree with those fans who say we are never going to win it anyway and promotion is the be all and end all; you never will if you don’t try! Winning breeds winning and if we don’t get in the top six by any chance it would have been nice to have something to shout about by progressing in the cup. At this moment in time we feel a long way away from a promotion side but as things can change very quickly in this division with any team capable of beating anyone on their day, then you never know.  We aren’t out of things yet and we just have to “Keep Fighting”. See you next week 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

OUT NOW! The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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After game comments for BBC Radio Leeds – West Yorkshire Sport

 

 

Newport County A 7th January 2018 – FA Cup 3rd Round

Up at 4.00 am to travel to Leeds for the coach to Newport shows the lengths us Leeds fans have to go to when following our team. For once some of the Thames Valley Whites will be setting off around 10.00 am as this game is relatively close for once, so really I have nothing to moan about as early set offs are a regular occurrence for them and others. As usual I didn’t sleep well knowing I had to be up early so thank goodness I am able to sleep on the coach. Having to defrost my car before setting off meant it’s going to be a cold one today too. At least the early morning set off meant not much traffic on the roads so even taking it steady I got to Elland Road by 5.20 am.

Going back 12 months I will never forgive Monk for throwing in the towel at Sutton who deserved their win on the day. Our visit to Newport is on similar lines and will be a big test for Leeds especially as some of the fringe players will be involved. The FA Cup is still important to me as I am a traditionalist and I am privileged to have been at Wembley in 1972 to see my hero Billy Bremner lift the cup. A good cup run will do us the world of good and yes my hopes of winning the cup may be obscure, but I live in hope that we treat this game with respect. Also the fans who are travelling there today want to be treated with respect too and seeing the team give everything to come away with a win is all that is asked. That said I decided to tweet the club yesterday with my comments about respecting the FA Cup and the fans and just hoped it didn’t fall on deaf ears. Newport is also a new ground to go to with Leeds so I am looking forward to adding this ground to my list of grounds visited. I had a conversation in McDonalds about all the new grounds there are now in comparison to grounds we have visited in the past. With Maine Road and Ayresome Park having bitten the dust they are two grounds I was glad to see the back of, as they were the two worst grounds to visit as a Leeds fan in the seventies.

After a good sleep, I woke up just before we arrived in Monmouth for a short pub stop along with the Harrogate Whites. It was a nice break despite it being short and as I left I took some requested photos of the Harrogate Whites outside the pub. We arrived in Newport in plenty of time for kick off, getting dropped off right outside the turnstiles. After hanging my flag up behind the goal I made my way to the side stand where my seat was as I was in the auto cup scheme. It was nice to see decent facilities for a small ground which puts some others like QPR to shame. The sun was shining and warmer than I’d dared hope for in the side stand. The ones behind the goal weren’t as lucky as they weren’t in the sun and Sue said the biting wind didn’t help either.

The team today had nine changes which I wasn’t happy about overall as that was too many in my eyes. Lonergan, Berardi (captain), Shaunghnessy, Anita, Borthwick-Jackson, Klich, Lasogga, Grot, Sacko, Cibicki and Phillips. Subs were Cooper for Borthwick-Jackson (60), Saiz for Grot (74). I had no problems with our four youngsters being part of the team on the bench today to give them the experience of being involved (Liam Kitching, Tom Pearce, Oriol Ray and Jack Clarke). If we had been a few goals up then that would have been the time to introduce one of them but not otherwise. The attendance was 6,887 with 1,040 Leeds fans although there were many more in the home ends. Leeds lost 2-1 with Berardi scoring his first goal for Leeds (10). (Sue and I shared the golden goal prize of £20 having been put down with the initials TT which we correctly worked out as the Terrible Twins – something my mum always calls us too!)

What I wanted more than anything was for Leeds to take this game seriously and not under estimate Newport. The game was fairly even before we had an attack and Berardi playing in an unfamiliar place in the middle of the back four alongside Shaunghnessy, let fly with a shot from outside the area (apparently hitting Lasogga on the way in) to score his first goal for Leeds. I was so pleased for him as he ran to the fans behind the goal to celebrate only to get a booking for it, which was a harsh decision in my opinion. What’s wrong with celebrating your first goal for crying out loud?  That was an unexpected bonus though and I hoped we could build on that goal. Today’s game was also a big test for me to see if the club had the same ambitions as I did. Although we didn’t shine for the rest of the first half we more or less matched Newport who didn’t give up but they also came close to an equaliser.

The second half saw the Leeds fans behind the goal and those of us in the side Bisley Stand creating an atmosphere between ourselves which caused a lot of laughs.  Meanwhile on the pitch we were very lucky to keep Newport out as they kept on attacking us. Although we had a couple of shots on target, I was frustrated when we went backwards instead of attacking as we only invited Newport to put pressure on us. They came very near two or three times when I was convinced they had scored but luckily they hadn’t. When we went forward we couldn’t get any decent crosses in to give us a clear shot at goal. I wanted us to add to the goal as the longer the game went on there was always a chance Newport would pull one back. The equaliser came when Sacko messed about in front of us and allowed Newport to win the ball back and it ended up in the back of the net to give them hope when it deflected from Shaughnessy. Instead of us going for the winner we allowed Newport time and space to keep on attacking us. Saiz came on for Grot but hardly touched the ball and I felt the sub hadn’t worked and I’d have given Grot the full 90 minutes although Sue thought he may have had a knock. As Newport came close again there was only one team who was going to win it and it wasn’t us. Lo and behold that is exactly what happened in the closing minutes of the game to leave the Leeds fans reeling, gutted and as one lad said to me afterwards, embarrassed by the showing we had put on the pitch. Many others were downright angry as once again the fans and the FA Cup had been shown disrespect.

Never mind saying we were never going to win it; why not? It won’t unless we try that’s for sure and I’d rather give it a good go and get the feel good factor going together with hope, than to not give a damn. Winning breeds winning and if we don’t get the chance to go up automatically or get in the play offs this season then once again it is an opportunity lost to keep the fans onside. Also the chance of getting back into Europe is also a factor. I for one along with others, long to see the day we win the FA Cup again and for fans to say the FA Cup doesn’t matter, then sorry but it should. It’s a shame the club chose to ignore my video I sent through yesterday because after Berardi scored, there is no way we should have lost that game. We should have battled for everything and built on his goal. Saiz also got sent off after their winner with those around me in the Bisley stand saying it was for spitting. Sorry but if that is the case; it isn’t acceptable under any circumstances as it is disgusting. As I got to my flag some fans were mystified as to why he’d been sent off so I told them what the reason was according to those around me in the side stand.

At the final whistle I did both a video for Sportsline (Made in Leeds) so will be ringing them tomorrow evening and also a voice message for BBC Radio Leeds – West Yorkshire Sport which should have been read out after the game. To say I was disappointed is an understatement with many others very angry at the don’t care attitude of many of the players. It’s a real low again knowing we have been beaten rather than getting something out of the game.

There are no excuses now Leeds as to not turning up for any games for the remaining season. Putting weakened teams out is flawed in my opinion and shouldn’t be allowed. Fine teams if they do, but I think the greed of premiership money has changed football beyond recognition. Arriving home at 7.00 pm meant a round journey time trip of 15 hours. Thanks for the no show Leeds! Once again our support is tested to the limit with our loyalty taken for granted but then once we’ve slept on it our eyes turn to the next game. Next week sees us travel to Ipswich for another far away game but at least it is on a Saturday. 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

OUT NOW! The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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Newport game preview by Heidi Haigh 6/1/18

Newport end of game comments by Heidi Haigh 7/1/18

Newport Voicemail for BBC Radio Leeds – West Yorkshire Sport by Heidi Haigh 7/1/18

Nottingham Forest 1st January 2018

I hope everyone has had a Happy New Year, a great night seeing in 2018 and are not feeling too rough today. Luckily for me as I stopped drinking alcohol over 30 years ago, I don’t have that problem but had a lovely evening with my eldest daughter and family: I laughed that much my throat hurt!  I also wish my sister Erica a very happy birthday for today too.

When we set off from home the sun was shining and it felt like good football weather but that soon changed once we got to Leeds. My daughter Dani, granddaughter Hannah and I didn’t arrive at Elland Road until 2.10 pm but then sat in the car a while listening to BBC Radio Leeds. Having done a preview of the game for them we wanted to listen to it, but once again it wasn’t played whilst listening to the programme. At 2.45 pm we gave up and went into the ground as the rain started so I’ve no idea if it did get played at all. My mum, sister Karin and friends Carole and Ashley had heard the one I did before the Birmingham game but I’d missed that one too. I do have the recordings myself anyway so I can listen to it again so never mind.

I was stood taking photos before the kick off and a steward came up to me asking me to move. I said I was taking photos for my blog and would move at the start of the game. Just as I was getting ready to move to my seat one of the stewards I knew came and spoke to me. He’d been told there was a woman taking photos and he said its okay it’s Heidi!  Thanks for the support.

The team today was Wiedwald, Ayling, Berardi, Jansson, Cooper, Roofe, Hernandez, Phillips, Saiz, Alioski and O’Kane. Subs were Anita for Ayling (26), Lasogga for Alioski (46) and Sacko for Roofe (80). Attendance was 32,426 with 917 Forest fans. The game was a no score draw (0-0). Forest had sacked their manager the day before so I hoped it was not another game where the opposition raised their game.

As the game kicked off I felt that Forest were there for the taking as we had our first attack. If we thought Forest were going to lie down and die for us, then unfortunately we were sadly mistaken. We were nearly a goal down when their man was through on goal only for Cooper to make a fantastic tackle at the last minute to deny them a shooting chance. We had a goal scoring chance at the other end when Jansson’s header was cleared off the line and as the ball rebounded to Roofe he hit it over the bar. Forest were getting to grips with the game as we tried to break them down. Ayling went down after a tackle from Bridcutt caused him an injury. We’d seen Bridcutt go and say something to Ayling but didn’t realise he was the one who had fouled him in the first place and cut him by the sounds of it. He was treated and got up to carry on but was still limping. It wasn’t a surprise to see him go down again on 26 minutes and he was then subbed with Anita coming on. Straight away Berardi swapped to right back his correct position as Anita went to left back. It took a while for Berardi to settle down in that position in my opinion as he is so used to playing at left back. We didn’t play particularly well in the first half but it wasn’t as bad as the Birmingham game going in 0-0 at the break. I thought Saiz was a lot quieter but thought that was because he had come back from injury at the Birmingham game.

My friend Carole said we would be okay and the second half would be better. Lasogga came on at the start of the second half in place of Alioski. The second half was indeed better with Saiz back to his normal self but it ended up being a half of frustrations. We were unlucky not to take the lead after some great play from Saiz on the right hand side of the goal, when he passed the ball to Roofe. As we waited for the ball to hit the net, it hit the crossbar instead and rebounded to be cleared away. A short while after, Roofe should have repaid the favour and passed the ball to Saiz or Lasogga as they ran through the Forest defence alongside him. As there was a gap in front of him he shot instead and the ball went over the crossbar. That was probably a chance missed unfortunately. It could also have proved costly as Wiedwald had to make a fantastic save to tip the ball over the crossbar to prevent Forest scoring against the run of play at the other end. This gave Forest impetus to attack us and Wiedwald made another save to keep them out. We had a couple of chances with headers from both Jansson and Lasogga (didn’t have enough pace on his) but their goalie was leading a charmed life and saving whatever came his way. The referee at this time was making some atrocious decisions when our players were being rugby tackled and let Forest get away with it and pulling us up for innocuous challenges. The home crowd were up in arms at this stage and the linesmen were no better as one foul on the left of the pitch was right in front of one of them. It looks like they should have borrowed my glasses as they were terrible decisions. My fear at this late stage was that Forest would steal a winner but they didn’t and it looked like the game was going to end in a 0-0 draw. I was right in my thinking when another six minutes of injury time was put up and although we attacked some more we had to settle for the draw and one point. The positive is that it is better than losing by getting the point but it was an extremely frustrating game for us Leeds fans. The ref got some stick at the end of the game too which he deserved for an inept performance.

It was disappointing to only get a point overall from the last two games but we are still in the top six although it is very tight from 2nd place to 9th; Wolverhampton Wanderers being an impressive nine points ahead of 2nd at this stage of the season. Obviously things can change very easily in this division but we are still in the mix.

Next week sees us visit Newport County in the FA Cup 3rd round. I have a message for Leeds United especially after hearing Thomas Christiansen saying he would change the team for the visit. Please do not treat the FA Cup with disdain and disrespect the Leeds United support who will be getting up at silly hours to travel the miles to get there. I hold the FA Cup dear to me and am a traditionalist along with many other fans. Winning breeds winning and after the debacle at Sutton last year, something I would never forgive Monk for, I don’t want the same to happen next week. I’ve no problem with a few changes but we do not need to change the whole team. Having had the privilege of seeing Leeds United win the FA Cup at Wembley in 1972 and seeing my hero Billy Bremner get handed the cup from her Majesty the Queen, I can honestly say the feelings of winning were out of this world. It is also a chance to get in to Europe. If by any chance we do not manage to get into the playoffs or go up automatically (which we should aspire to do), we can still build on things by having the European games ahead of us next season if we actually win the FA Cup. It may be a pie in the sky moment but you never know and I’ll be optimistic providing we take the challenge seriously. As the club hierarchy seems to be looking at challenging for promotion next season and not this, I do believe we should still try to get there. Other fans are looking at us strengthening the team in the January transfer window but obviously time will tell if we do or not. As it is I am looking forward to visiting a new ground next week and look forward to progressing in the FA Cup.  See those of you going next week – 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

OUT NOW! The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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Comments at the end of the game by Heidi Haigh

Video comments at the end of the game by Heidi Haigh

 

 

Birmingham away 30 December 2017

Could I just put out a plea for as many fans as possible to send a birthday card before 5th January to little Toby Nye the Leeds United fan suffering from cancer. Toby will be five and as he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma on his 4th birthday his family and friends want to make this birthday a special one for him. Cards can be sent to Toby Nye, The Hope Inn, 74 York Road, Leeds LS9 8ES. I’ve got mine ready to send so let’s get as many cards to him that we can!

After all the snow we had yesterday it was good to see that it had melted in readiness for our trip to Birmingham for our last game in 2017. Although I’d glimpsed a magpie out of the corner of my eye I thought I’d ignore it only to see a little bugger sat on top of the traffic lights as I got off the M621 at Elland Road. If I hadn’t have seen people saying Birmingham were bottom the league I wouldn’t have had a clue and I just hoped we wouldn’t see a banana skin today. I’d done a small voice message preview for Adam Pope and BBC Radio Leeds yesterday and I’d said that as long as we didn’t lose, that was the main thing but I wouldn’t make a score prediction as I always get them wrong!

We had a good journey to the Bottle of Sack in Sutton Coldfield where we’ve stopped many times. As usual I’d slept most of the way there but maybe the antibiotics I’m taking had knocked me out. We have a good two hours there and as I went upstairs to find the loos this man asked me where we were playing. I had to think again before saying Birmingham. He was a Notts Forest fan but followed the blues when he moved over here. We had a really long chat as he said he always had a soft spot for Leeds and he’d met Billy Bremner and had got his autograph. He also agreed that Clough should never have come to Leeds. As usual the reason he spoke to me in my opinion is because I was wearing my Leeds colours with pride. 

When we got to the ground, I woke up with a jump as, yes you’ve guessed it I’d fallen asleep! As we got off the coach and through the bag / body search which didn’t take long I heard someone say they couldn’t take their bottles in the ground unless they removed the lids. I volunteered to put a couple of bottles back on the coach till after the game for them as they had travelled by car. I hate clubs doing this because I think it is very unhygienic and you don’t want to drink everything at once. As I waited outside the turnstiles the team coach arrived but sadly without the players having dropped them off already; on my way in a couple of riot police wished us luck  I’m sure that one day I’ll get stuck in the turnstiles as trying to get my bag through with me was a challenge! A couple in the ground complained about having to take their bottle tops off. They were able to get their bottle into the ground as the lady was ill but they had to get permission from their top steward. They could have brought it in the ground in a paper cup though so what actually is the difference? As it was when I was stood in my seat later all of a sudden a pool of water appeared in front of the seat next to me. Obviously someone’s drink had been knocked over. I was just glad that it hadn’t gone into my bag and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to stand in a pool of water all game. That’s another reason why the taking of bottle tops off is flawed.

As I went into the stand to hang my flag up I was going to put it up right behind the goal but was told I couldn’t put it there as I’d be covering the advertising. As I went to get my flag at the end of the game, lo and behold there were a few flags over the advertising so I could have put mine there! I put it up nearer the tunnel where the away dressing room was in the opposite corner from where they come out for the actual game. It was nice to get some feedback about my latest book The Sleeping Giant Awakens from a lad looking for the Keighley Whites. He said he was going to look at it for 10 minutes and looked at the photos first. Two hours later he was still reading it as he couldn’t put it down. He said it was great and what I’d written was exactly as it had happened. That was great to hear and I thanked him for the feedback which was appreciated. As I went under the stand onto the concourse I met the Bournemouth Whites. They knew they were in the book and I found out one of my near neighbours is their friend and they couldn’t believe it when they heard they were in the book loads of times. Hearing some more fans have either got the book for Christmas or getting it soon for their birthday, it’s good to hear that it is very popular and a big thank you to everyone for their support. Lots of fans were also queuing up to have their photos taken so as usual I was happy to oblige.

The team today was Wiedwald, Ayling, Berardi (playing his 100th game and also Captain for the day), Jansson, Cooper, Shaughnessy, Alioski, Phillips, Hernandez, Roofe and Cibicki. Subs were Saiz for Cibicki (55), Klich for Phillips (69) and Lassoga for Alioski (85). Attendance was 21,673 with 2,484 Leeds fans. Leeds lost the game 1-0 with Birmingham scoring in the 83rd minute.

Leeds were very slow out of the starting block today as Birmingham, despite their position at the foot of the table, raised their game as they were playing us. They wanted the ball more than us and were constantly on the attack. We struggled to get going as Birmingham kept attacking and winning corners but luckily for us their finishing was poor. The ref was terrible, giving free kick after free kick the other way and in the meantime letting fouls go against us. I always think that this gives the other team the impetus and the ball just kept running for them. We had one shot on target in the first half and were hoping for more from the free kick from Hernandez just outside the penalty area but unfortunately we weren’t able to emulate the goal we scored at Burton with the ball being hit too high. The only good thing was us going into half time on an equal footing. Apart from “keep right on to the end of the road” being sung by the Birmingham fans, they were pretty quiet despite their team being on top for most of the half. I realised pretty early on that Shaughnessy was playing in midfield due to Vieira and O’Kane being injured which surprised me. His strengths are at centre back which is where we should be playing him and not putting square pegs in round holes. That said, he defended really well and won plenty of headers for us, the only bad thing in my opinion was that Birmingham were winning the midfield battle which wasn’t his fault.

At half time I saw Charlie from Harrogate who said our centenary match in 2019 should be against Club Atlético Independient of Buenos Aires. When we were robbed by Bayern Munich in 1975 in the European Cup final, the World Club Championship in 1975 never took place. Bayern Munich turned down the chance to play the game so the title has never been won. Leeds should get the chance of this rightful title by playing this game at Elland Road. Watch this space as I will put the suggestion forward!

One of the Birmingham stewards had told one of our fans that Birmingham usually played well in the first half but faded in the second half. For some reason they decided to play for the full game today! I actually feel sorry for their fans that they have failed to do this for most of the season so far as they showed what they can do.  I missed the half time announcements of the Birmingham fans who have died (not sure if it was during the whole year or this season). My friend Sue said it was very poignant especially as there were quite a lot who were younger than us.

When Saiz came on as sub on 55 minutes I was hoping we could start getting into the game more. He did have some impact and we had a great shot that was saved and hit the crossbar and was our best chance in the game and gave us a bit of hope. Just as I decided I would make my way to the front to get my flag, Birmingham scored after a Wiedwald save was put into the net from the rebound. I had been hoping to at least get a point out of the game despite not playing well, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be and we ended up on the losing side for the first time in a few games. Not a good ending to the year but not totally unexpected when we failed to get a grip on the game and resigned us to the defeat. The consensus from some of our fans on the way out was that Birmingham wanted it more than us and that our team selection was all wrong. To be honest, we are getting so many injuries, I wonder why and whether it is happening on the training pitch? Is it modern football boots causing issues?  Obviously I don’t know what the answers to these questions are, but I still maintain we should play to our strengths. It will bring some of our fans down to earth as they were predicting that with a win we could have been two points away from second place but as usual we fall down at the last minute. We can still aspire to the top two but it won’t be easy and we’ll have to play a lot better than we did today. What I can’t understand either is getting rid of the reserve league as players on the fringe of the first team would get match practice.  Hearing that once they’ve played in the first team they can’t play in the under 23s just doesn’t seem right. Apart from going out on loan, that’s the only way they’ll get that match fitness.

With the transfer window opening next week, I’m not sure what we will do as a club. If there are players who aren’t getting a look in who are on loan, I’d be inclined to send them back and look for different ones. I don’t expect us to go all out and pay silly money for anyone but we do need to strengthen. Whether it is a loan who we can buy at the end of the season or a gem who can be the final cog in the team, we will have to wait and see. With another game on New Year’s Day at Elland Road against Nottingham Forest, we need to get back to winning ways and at least turn up on the pitch. There’s still a long way to go until the end of the season and you never know what will happen between now and then. I prefer to wait and see where we are nearer the end of the season but getting a many points as possible will go a long way to securing our future. I’d started writing my blog on the coach and fell asleep in the middle of it only waking up at Meadowhall.  I always say that going to football is my chilling out time apart from the football or lack of it in the middle!

In the meantime, I would like to wish everyone who reads my blog and Leeds fans all over the world a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. See you next 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

OUT NOW! The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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Video comments by Heidi Haigh at the end of the Birmingham game

Burton Albion A 26th December 2017

I hope everyone has had a great Christmas. Following the visit of Santa to Elland Road on Saturday, our kids got the surprise of their lives when he turned up on Sunday at our Christmas Eve celebrations on the way to deliver all his presents. Knowing Santa is a Leeds fan and the fact that he was at Elland Road the day before meant he got a fantastic reception! When I got my present of a stone in Bremner Square titled Heidi Haigh, Follow Me and Leeds United from my family, all I could do was cry as that was exactly what I would have put. I’d come home from an away game and said I was going to get one only to be told an emphatic NO! I guessed I was getting one but the emotion I felt when I opened my present was captured on video when I burst into tears. There will always be a part of me at Elland Road once I’ve long gone.

After the weather being so mild yesterday I was surprised to find ice on my windscreen from sleet when I set off which was a complete contrast. It did try to snow on the way to Elland though but luckily it was too wet for anything bad on the roads. Seeing a sign saying the A58 was closed at Wyke and I needed to do a detour was all I needed. I knew there had been a burst water main last week but the road had still been in use on Saturday. I thought I’d keep going until the road was totally blocked as did other cars and lo behold, it was open all the way to the motorway!

As I got to Leeds I felt as weak as a kitten once again but have decided it’s down to dehydration. We had a relatively short journey as we were stopping in Chesterfield today but that didn’t stop me falling asleep three times only waking up to do the football card, golden goal and pay for my coach fare. Whilst stood at the bar I did nothing but yawn despite the sleeping but after a pint of coke, a pint of water and three lattes (free after the first one so why not?) I should be able to keep awake during the game lol! When we got back on to the coach I found out I’d won £20 on the football card. Having said I never win but did it anyway, I’ve had to eat my words so thank you Preston.

We got to the ground in good time and got dropped off right outside it. I went past the standing part for the away fans and heard my name shouted. Even though I’d seen Kev at the last two games, I’d forgotten to pick my membership cards up from him so today it was third time lucky. As I got in the stand I went and hung my flag up in the corner of the seating area in readiness for the start of the game. I spent time taking photos and was able to go near to the dugouts and the tunnel.  A couple of women next to me were waiting to take a video of the match ball sponsors and I said if there were any photos I’d taken that they wanted to save they could do. To remember my name I was added to the end of their video too. The game had kicked off as I headed to my seat and the ball was kicked into touch just above me but I still ducked.  I also had to sign my book that Phil Thumbs Up Cresswell had bought and thank you for the support.  He had some good natured banter thrown at him from some of our fans which was funny.

The team today was Wiedwald, Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Jansson, Alioski, O’Kane, Hernandez, Roofe, Cibicki and Vieira. Subs were Lassoga for Cibicki (75), Phillips for Vieira (77) and Pennington for Alioski (90). Attendance was 5,612 With 1,730 Leeds fans. Leeds won the game 2-1 with goals from Hernandez (free kick 61) and Roofe (64).

Leeds started on the attack towards the Leeds fans (opposite to last season) and were playing some good stuff down the wings with both Cibicki and Alioski involved in a lot of the play. We had some chances too but they weren’t on target although we had a lot of possession. Roofe was guilty of missing a couple of good chances but was getting closer when his shot went past the outside of the post. It just shows how you need to take your chances because all of a sudden we were a goal down against the run of play. The ball was hit from the right side of the goal and there was one of the Burton players on the left on hand to poke the ball over the line. That was gutting and there was a de ja vue feeling amongst the fans. Burton hadn’t won at home in seven games and with it being a small ground that has a non-league feel about it, was it going to be a banana skin? It nearly was after we’d had a free kick and immediately Burton went on the attack as they won the ball near our penalty area for what looked like a breakaway goal. Lucky for us the final shot was wide as it looked odds on that they would score. The whistle went for half time with a bit of a free for all going on at the far left hand side of the pitch. Although Jansson was going berserk it looked like it was something to do with Berardi but as I’d taken my glasses off I couldn’t make out what had happened. The linesman down our side was constantly getting offside wrong with the men in front of me saying he wasn’t fit enough to keep up with play. 

The second half still saw us with a lot of possession. Vieira had a really bad tackle made on him and he was down for a while so it was good to see him get back up and carry on. We started getting into the game and won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. As the fans chanted for Hernandez to take it, I was interested to see what would happen as the recent addition of our free kick or corner specialist (I can’t remember which) could make a difference. It was funny seeing the reaction of the Burton goalkeeper who was going nuts behind our players who stood in front of him. He couldn’t get a clear look at the wall in front of him and the next thing the ref went over and booked him. As soon as we went to take the kick our two players ran back on side as Hernandez sent a fantastic shot just inside the post to equalise. What a cracker of a goal that was! Three minutes later Roofe ran onto a through ball and this time finished it properly by putting it into the net to put us into the lead, sending the Leeds following wild! What a turn round that was but also a relief to be in front. I don’t think anything untoward happened, but all of a sudden I saw the stewards taking someone out to the left of me and realised it was Aaron Cawley. For the rest of the game we were fine when on the attack but then decided to play about with the ball across the back line thus inviting Burton to attack and put pressure on us. Our best form of defence is attack Leeds and don’t forget that! Although we had some more chances it was Burton who ended up on the attack when six minutes of injury time was put up. With one attack it was battle stations in our penalty area and it was good to see us overcome this attack to keep the ball out and get the win plus another three points! It has been a good Christmas period so far and keeps us up near the top of the table in the top six. There were plenty of happy smiling faces at the end of the game because of the win which was good to see. Also although I hadn’t realised it, this was the first time in over a year that we had come from behind to win a game. Our coach driver also broke his hoodoo as it is the first time we’ve won with him driving as far as I’m aware.

Saturday sees our second away game in a week with our visit to Birmingham before starting the New Year with a home game against Nottingham Forest. The latter is also on Sky with a 3pm kick off. I would love that to become the norm; being on Sky but with a 3pm kick off even on a Saturday! LUTV also were streaming the game live to 33 different countries such is the pull of our fantastic worldwide fan base!  See you on Saturday – 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

OUT NOW! The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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My video at the end of the game

 

Hull City H 23rd December 2017

Before I start my blog today, with the Christmas period upon us and my favourite time of the year I want to wish everyone who follows my blog, all friends, family, acquaintances and Leeds United fans all over the world a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. For those of you going through difficult times or not with their families through no fault of their own, my heart goes out to you all.  Please remember though, Leeds United has a big family with lots of fans who are prepared to listen and who have big shoulders if you need to talk! Our celebrations start tomorrow with our German tradition of Christmas Eve celebrations and despite the few utterings around us today, I am proud of my heritage so Frohe Weihnachten und herzliche Neujahrsgrüβe!

After a very busy week at work I can look forward to a good two week break which sees Leeds play five games before heading back in. I also attended the LUFC v Leeds United Trust Quiz on Tuesday with my daughter Danielle.  It really was a great night, enjoyable with plenty of laughs although we were home later than we thought due to Eunan O’Kane turning up approximately 45 minutes late! I did speak to Andy Lonergan and said about me being one of the few who thought Wiedwald should not have been dropped as I could see what was trying to be done. I also said that was no disrespect to him though! I look forward to more of these in the future as well as the West Yorkshire Sports Quiz.

A very high crowd was expected for the pre-Christmas fixture which was good to see. In the past the gates just before Christmas used to be very low across all clubs as people went Christmas shopping instead. As Leeds fans buck the trend this year it was also good to see the SS5 (South Stand) initiative taking hold on social media over the last few days where fans were encouraged to wear scarves for the game. As someone who loves the memories of being part of the Kop in the seventies when we used to sing and raise our scarves above our heads, it was something I was looking forward to. This was also backed by the club today and as I arrived at Elland Road with my daughter Danielle and granddaughter Laura, it was so good to see fans wearing their colours and being proud to show who they support.

The Peacock was our first stop and as the other two had gone up into the garden I decided I would go and take a few photos. As it was a few fans I knew shouted me for photos and after I took a photo of the Barrow Whites flag, I was asked to take photos of the group of fans from Barrow who it belonged to.  It was lovely also to catch up with Andy Ramshaw one of my lads from the Selby branch of the Leeds United Supporters Club. Although I stopped running the branch in 1992 and it’s that long since I saw him, it seemed like yesterday. Memories will always be there and we had some great times from 1985 travelling everywhere with Voyager International and Ben our driver (unfortunately now deceased, RIP). Taking three coaches to the semi-final at Hillsborough and then to the play off final at Birmingham will always stick out in my mind of being there despite the results.

On the way into the ground I stopped to wait by Billy’s statue for Kev who had bought my book the Sleeping Giant Awakens last week. He had come back for a couple more as friends who had their photos in the book wanted one too. Thank you once again for the great support and promotion of my books for me.  Also earlier one lad said he wants to buy all four of my books and I look forward to sorting those out for him shortly!!

The team today was Wiedwald, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Berardi, Phillips, Vieira, Alioski, Roofe, Hernandez and Cibicki. Subs were O’Kane for Phillips (46), Lasogga for Roofe (76) and Pennington for Hernandez (90). Attendance was 35,156 with 1,794 Hull fans. Leeds won the game 1-0 with a goal by Hernandez (29).

As the teams came out of the tunnel they were met with a wonderful sight from all four corners of the stadium of scarves being waved and held aloft. It was spectacular and brought back lots of lovely memories and it was great to see. This is one thing that I am happy to see resurrected. It also lent itself to the atmosphere and kept that twelfth man in place for the majority of the game. It was Laura who spotted Father Christmas sat in the Director’s box and she said did I know that Santa was a Leeds fan? Of course I said to her! He had come to watch the game and also to check that all the children were on their best behaviour before he set off tomorrow to deliver presents!!

As the game kicked off though, we struggled to get a grip on the game as Hull took the initiative and saw plenty of the ball to attack us. Some of our passing was woefully short again which does impact on our game. As we were under the cosh I was still very calm and said we would be okay, we had to let them have their first ten minutes and tire themselves out. Okay it was maybe more than that before we got a bit of a grip on the game but we just had to keep going. We had an attack at the other end of the field in front of the South Stand and I couldn’t believe it when the ball was sent to their goalie that we just sat back and let the ball reach him. We need to put pressure on any back passes.  As it was not long after I’d said that, the ball was passed back again and I shouted to Roofe to keep going, put him under pressure. Then Roofe did run at him (obviously he’d heard me from the Kop) causing their goalie to make a mistake and pass the ball straight to Hernandez. He ran straight at him, chipped the ball over his head and into the net to put us into the lead.  It was a super taken goal although at first from the Kop, it looked like it had gone straight over the top rather than an up and under!

The scarf waving went into a frenzy once again all around the Leeds stands as the fans celebrated the goal. Although we didn’t add to this goal in the first half we nearly let Hull back into it with a shot that hit the upright and went out for a goal kick. I had thought that was in so it was good to know it hadn’t and we went in at half time in the lead.  Talking to my friends Carole and Margaret at halftime, it was good that we were all on the same wavelength about Roofe closing the keeper down. It just shows that great minds think alike but as we have all supported Leeds for over 50 years, it isn’t a surprise really when you think of the amount of live football games we have seen between us.

The second half saw a change when O’Kane came on for Phillips which I’m assuming was for an injury. This wasn’t a very good half from a football perspective on our part, but we were frustrating Hull in their attempts to attack us. Hernandez should have hit a long range shot instead of trying to control the ball which enabled the Hull players to clear it. A lad next to me said that he didn’t like the fact that we sat on a one goal lead again. I know we cannot do what the good old Leeds team did in the late sixties and early seventies as they could defend for their lives. In fact we expected that team not to drop many points in those days so I know I was privileged to be there and see it for myself; we were spoilt in many ways. Now we are getting better at doing this and Christiansen is learning to change things by bringing on a defender near the end, although we were beginning to think he had left it very late today. Maybe it’s because the game wasn’t passing by as quick for some reason. We didn’t agree on subs though as he thought Alioski should have been taken off and Roofe put on the wing. Alioski had made some great tackles and although all didn’t come off he was doing well plus Roofe is no good on the wing in my opinion. We did have a great chance when Pontus dribbled round the Hull players with ease and started an attack which had three Leeds players bearing down on the Kop goal. Unfortunately Cibicki’s shot went over the top when maybe he should have passed the ball instead. Lasogga brought a save out of their goalie in the last minutes of injury time but we were able to see the game out to claim another three points and the win. At the end of the day, that’s what counts. I don’t agree with the fan who sent a text in to BBC Radio Leeds saying that was the worst game he had ever seen!  I can assure you it wasn’t anywhere near the worst! The fans ended the game the same way as at the start with the scarves being waved and held aloft. Some things are worth preserving from the earlier eras and that is certainly one of them and I look forward to seeing this more and more this season.

Tuesday sees us travel to Burton for the live Sky game which I am happy to say remains as a 3 o’clock kick off!!  Not before time, but at least the travelling fans are thought of as well as the rest of our worldwide fan base who are able to see the game too. Last season the away game at Burton saw our hopes of the play offs die off completely as we dropped out of the top six. Today our win sees us climb into the top six again. My mantra is that we should still aspire for the top two as anyone can beat anyone in this division and just like our last few games with a winning run behind us, it shows how quickly things can turn around in this division.

It was nice to have fans saying they love my blog and my books plus my appearance on the recent LUST Podcast. The new feature on my website www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk of a slideshow for the photos instead of having to scroll through every one has made it easier to see all the photos and thank you for the feedback. Stay healthy and happy and enjoy the next couple of days and I’ll see you at Burton on Tuesday. 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

OUT NOW! The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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My comments at the final whistle

Norwich City H 16th December 2017

After an extremely busy week and with only one more week to go until Christmas, it was nice to be heading back to Elland Road for the first of two home games in a week.  I was going in early with my daughter Danielle and granddaughter Hannah, as I’d arranged to meet up with some fans who were buying my new book. Although the temperature was below freezing, the sun was shining so I’d made sure I’d plenty layers of clothes on again.

The first stop was Billy’s bar but I was surprised to see that no under 18s were allowed in, but as I don’t normally go in there for home games I suppose it was understandable. They let me in with Hannah as I said I wasn’t stopping only handing my books out. As usual my thanks go to fans Kev from Ripon and Susan and also to Lynsey and Katie who did the same after the game, for their support in buying my book. The Chiltern Whites were in there too and I took a photo as well as some lads from Halifax. As I was going out of Billy’s Bar a fella shouted me and said he’d stood next to me at Hillsborough when we played man u in the FA Cup Semi-Final. He said there’d been with a lad with a beard with us and I had to cast my mind back to the game itself. I thought at first it was Collar but then remembered we’d waited for Mac from Shrewsbury to arrive so assume he was the one with us. Hannah asked me why I know so many people as I always stop and talk. I said it’s because I’ve been going for a long, long time to see Leeds United and I’ve met so many fans along the way.

As we headed to the Peacock I found I’d missed Terje On Tour Hansen. Today is Terje’s 200th consecutive home game which is a fantastic achievement considering he travels from just outside Stavanger in Norway for every game. We have many fans who have also got fantastic achievements following Leeds and I salute each and every one of you and am proud to have you as friends. It was nice to meet up with Aidan Montague who was over from America who was there with his brother and a friend (a Southampton supporter!)  Of course I had to mention our 7-0 win didn’t I lol!! I met Aidan in Ireland with his sons a few years ago at our pre-season friendly where I took the usual obligatory photo as we walked to the ground.

We got into the ground in good time ready for kick off. I felt that we would be okay today and wasn’t too worried, just because I got the feeling some of the Norwich fans aren’t happy with the way things are going. I’ve seen something mentioned on one of the message boards but as usual can’t remember what! After falling asleep once more whilst writing my blog I realised I’d better get a move on.  Some fans are waiting patiently for me to post it but also fell asleep waiting for the blog to appear on the internet last week!

The team today was Wiedwald, Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Jansson, Roofe, Phillips, Vieira, Alioski, Saiz and Cibicki. Subs were Hernandez for Roofe (78), Grot for Saiz (81) and Pennington for Cibicki (85). Leeds won 1-0 with a goal from Jansson on 41 minutes. Attendance was 30,590 with 997 Norwich fans. Today was the first time we had the virtual advertising boards on all four sides of the ground and along the middle of the East Stand.

Norwich had a lot of possession in the first half. Although I wasn’t particularly worried, some of this was our own making due to passes being short and not having enough power to reach our players. The first half wasn’t the best and it seemed to drag but our hopes were raised when Berardi had a shot that went wide. Chants of “if Berardi scores we’re on the pitch” rang out. We had a couple more chances before Phillips made a crucial tackle to deny Norwich a scoring chance. He was also unlucky not to score at the other end when his shot hit the post. To be honest things were quite even on the pitch until just before half time when we won a free kick out on the right. Having recently got a free kick specialist helping to train the team, it looked like this was paying off when Jansson rose to head the ball into the net off the post. As he celebrated first in front of the West Stand, he came down to the Kop end and immediately tried to raise the bar with the atmosphere. This worked and we ended the half on a high despite Norwich ending up on the attack. Prior to the goal it had been pretty quiet on the terraces too in comparison to recent games, even Hannah said so and I said we needed to be the twelfth man and we also needed a goal which obviously worked. My friend Carole said exactly the same thing at half time; great minds think alike.

In the second half it was noticeable that we were guilty of trying to walk the ball in when we should have had a go instead. This half passed a lot quicker though and the atmosphere was so much better and that’s how I love it to be. We did have a couple of chances as did Norwich, with them having a shot that clipped the top of the crossbar. Wiedwald was called on to make a few saves before it looked like we were going to put the game to bed when Saiz won the ball to bear down on to the Norwich goal at the Kop end. As the Leeds fans cheered, this turned to groans as the ball came back off the post to be cleared. That was such a shame as he deserved to score. When Norwich came close as we waited to bring Hernandez on, I was just glad they didn’t score in the meantime. As Pennington was brought on I knew we were going to see the game out which the team did.  There were a few doubts at times but I think we are learning all the time and making sure we didn’t concede in the last few minutes after taking the lead. Although the six minutes of injury time meant loads around me were agreeing that the South Stand keeping the ball had contributed to this. If we are only leading by a small margin it feels counterproductive. We got the three points with the win at the end of the day even though it was tough at times. Having been asked to take a video at the end of the game again for both BBC Radio Leeds and Sportsline, I decided to film before the final whistle so I could capture the reaction from the fans.

Before I finish my blog tonight I would like to pay my respects to David Zaman who was one of the fans who took part in our recent CD recording with his mum Gwen.  She sadly died a couple of days after this took place but she will always be remembered as being part of the group of fans making history by doing this.  Unfortunately for those fans asking, we will not be able to get the CD out for Christmas. Getting everyone together to finalise this has been difficult but also I feel we need to get this right so won’t rush it.   As soon as there is any news, you can be certain I will share this with everyone.

Next week sees Hull City at Elland Road who have just got a new manager. As usual I’ve no idea who it is but let’s hope we can go into the Christmas period with another win. See you next week – 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

OUT NOW! The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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QPR v Leeds United 9th December 2017

Up at the unearthly hour of 5.00 am can only mean one thing, a football away day with Leeds United. I daren’t have that extra 25 minutes sleep before my alarm was due to go off just to make sure I didn’t miss it. It was going to be a cold one today before all of the snow heading our way tomorrow according to the weather forecast. After defrosting the car, I saw it was minus two so I was glad I had many layers of clothes on.

7th December saw the sad 20th anniversary of the death of my hero Billy Bremner and today would have been his 75th birthday. He epitomised what being Leeds was all about always giving 110% and showed me the love and loyalty of following my team. He was a legend for Leeds United and my thoughts go out to his family. It was nice to see his youngest daughter and family went to visit his statue which will always see his name live long in the hearts of Leeds United fans. Also it’s great to see that the club are going to have Bremner Square around the statue so I’m hoping Father Christmas will be kind to me! A shout out too for WACCOE the message board I frequent, for putting flowers with King Billy down at the statue. They looked great and bring a lump to the throat.

The anniversary of his death also saw me appear on Radio Yorkshire with Darren Harper on fan Thursday alongside Kevin Markey and Andrew Wrigglesworth. Andrew who sang a solo of the Ballad of Billy Bremner when we were recording our cd recently gave a fantastic rendition of it for the show too. He had grown men nearly crying and well done to him.

We also had the draw for the 3rd round of the FA Cup during the week too and this means it’s a new ground for me with the away trip to Newport. Personally I’m glad we get the chance to go there seeing as the league cup game earlier in the season which should have been at Newport was changed to Elland Road due to their pitch being re-laid. I was gutted to think I’d miss that one as for once I was missing having had a lifetime opportunity to go with my family to Disney World having never been able to do that before. We also were refused permission to play Newport in a friendly game when they had financial problems, which was silly as we’d have taken loads of fans. As it is we will have just over 1,000 fans there on the day with the tie being beamed back to Elland Road hopefully. 

With our visit to QPR today, great memories return of us being crowned First Division Champions in 1974. The tickets for this game were going on sale at the end of the last home game but due to absolute chaos in the West Stand car park plus the crushes that occurred, the tickets were going on sale the next day at 9.00 am. That meant we were back queuing outside the ticket office at midnight making sure we were at the front of the queue. We had a “nice tarmac bed” outside the West Stand Ticket office that used to be outside the main entrance. We got our tickets enabling us to celebrate with the team. My friends Carole and Margaret were drinking champagne on the pitch at the end of the game!

We had a nice stop in Uxbridge before getting to the game where we had a good laugh reminiscing about being banned from games, but remembering Leeds fans overcoming the obstacles and still getting to them.

We got to the ground just after 2.00 pm and then had the long walk around the ground to get into the upper tier. After a quick search I got through okay although it was a squeeze through the turnstiles with my bag or maybe the amount of clothes I was wearing contributed to this too! It was only after that some female fans complained that the female steward who searched them had inappropriately touched them and they were not happy. An official complaint will be going in about this.  Also I can’t believe the women’s toilets were already not working before the game even kicked off. There aren’t many of them anyway and we even found a man caught in the women’s loos, you know who you are! I won’t name you to ease your embarrassment.

I went to hang my banner up first and I wanted it near to where my seat would be so put it up next to the Sky camera that was cordoned off at the top of the stand. There were a couple of our Norwegian fans who helped me hang it up. I was ready to thread the ties through a beam when I realised that one of the lads had tied it to a hook in front of it, so it was very easy to hang up. I had a chat with them and a big thank you to Rolf for buying my first book Follow Me and Leeds United and as usual, thanks for the support which is appreciated.

I went and stood at the front of the stand to take photos and once the team were ready to kick off, was going to find my seat but it was chock a block behind me by this time. I stayed where I was until the fans arrived to claim their seats then stood at the top of the steps with others for the first half.

The team today was Wiedwald, Ayling, Cooper, Berardi, Jansson, Roofe, Saiz, Alioski, Phillips, Vieira and Ekuban. Subs were Cibicki for Ekuban (38) who went off injured (he was on crutches at the end of the game and it could be a repeat of the broken foot that he had only just recovered from), O’Kane for Alioski (70) although at first they did say Cibicki was going off and  Pennington for Vieira (80). Attendance was  15,506 with 3,149 Leeds fans. Leeds won 3-1 with Roofe getting a hat trick with goals scored on 63, 68 and 90 + 4 minutes.  

QPR set off on the attack but for some strange reason I felt quite calm. They were a lot stronger than us in midfield for a while but we more or less held our own and limited them of scoring chances. The nearest one I think went wide of the post. The flag went up for offside as the ref blew his whistle but the QPR player carried on to put the ball into the net. The lad behind me hadn’t seen the flag up and thought they’d scored and was glad to hear all was okay. When someone thought we weren’t doing so well I said remember last season, we were already a goal down within five minutes so I’m happy scores were even at halftime. Unfortunately Ekuban got injured but the ref played on for ages. He tried to get up before going down again and Ekuban was then allowed treatment. At the time I wasn’t sure if it was a precaution or not but Leeds subbed him immediately. With Cibicki coming on to replace him it meant that Roofe went to centre forward. As this is his strongest position I wasn’t too fazed that we were forced to make the change although I was sad for Ekuban as he looks like he has a lot to offer in that position too. As we changed shape slightly we seemed to overcome the midfield issue and ended the half strongly. We were very unlucky not to go in with a goal lead when Roofe had a great chance but the QPR defender recovered to make a crucial tackle to get the ball away.

At half time I went downstairs but as there wasn’t much room down there I didn’t stay long. Having not had to show my ticket to get into this part of the stand before the game, the stewards had gone into overdrive. I’d to show my ticket, and then told I couldn’t stand where I had for the first half and should get to my seat. As a third smoke bomb had gone off, it looked like we were getting the brunt of their displeasure despite us having nothing to do with it. I raised my eyebrows and said I would move and find my seat but I said I couldn’t get to it from there anyway. I stood at the top of the stand talking to the same fans I had earlier and one said his seat was underneath the cordoned off area for the TV camera! The row I was on wasn’t accessible from here either. The next thing the steward came rushing up to tell me I could still get to my seat from there and shouted at another Leeds fan asking him if he was asleep? I asked the fans in the seats to let me past although this was further down the stand on the wrong row. I realised then that I would have to climb over the seats to get to my row which was two rows behind this one! I was initially going to try and get my leg up and climb over but decided to stand on the seat instead. Luckily a young girl stopped me falling off as the seats were very flimsy and I hoped they wouldn’t break underneath me. I then also had to climb over another row, not very good organisation QPR and a health and safety issue really. Luckily I’m agile enough but it would have been no good for some of our supporters to do that.

I was then stood with the usual fans around me who are also a good bunch. My mate Andrew who sang the Ballad of Billy Bremner so brilliantly on our Yorkshire Radio interview this week was stood behind me. In the second half Leeds got a strong grip on the game and started putting some great attacks together. We were still a bit frustrating at times as when we got near the goal we were trying to walk the ball in when a shot would have been a better chance. We put ourselves under pressure when we passed back to Wiedwald a couple of times when we should have turned and passed the ball out instead. There was a fantastic cross between Saiz and Alioski and it was fantastic to see this bond growing between them as it was a pinpoint pass. Leeds had taken the game by the scruff of the neck although the ref started ignoring some fouls on us. When one time he ignored the foul on our player I hoped it wouldn’t mean them getting a goal as that has happened so many times. When he booked Alioski I thought he shouldn’t have done that as it wasn’t a booking in my eyes and it was no wonder Alioski got upset. Leeds took the lead with a great goal taken by Roofe after a fantastic cross from Alioski. Roofe got a second goal with another great cross this time from Cibicki to send the Leeds fans into raptures. Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to see United win away, rang out from the stands but I didn’t want to sing it too early so as not to jinx the score line. Christiansen brought on Pennington to shore up the defence and took Vieira off to try and maintain our lead but also I thought it was to prevent him getting a second booking then sent off. 

We made a couple of defensive mishaps, one passing the ball back and also kicking it out for a corner. With five minutes left I had to climb over the seats as I was going to get my banner down. Unfortunately I kneed someone I knew in the back and as I apologised he said that I should stay in my seat until the end of the game. Sorry but no, I make sure I get my banner before the end of the games to ensure I don’t get delayed getting it down. I found some of the SLI lads there in front of it so I took a photo of them. We were all discussing how many minutes of injury time would be put up; I said four or five and someone else said seven! Just then out of the blue the ball was put forward in a QPR attack and the ball bounced in front of Wiedwald as he came out for it, misjudged it, only for it to bounce high over his head. Even though he scooped the ball out and away, unfortunately it had gone over the line to give QPR a lifeline. The next minute he redeemed himself with a great save with a one on one that denied QPR an equaliser. As I looked at my watch only a minute had passed. Leeds then put the game to bed when Saiz ran down the middle towards us with another Leeds player on each side of him.  He passed the ball to Roofe for him to claim his hat trick. Game over and three points to Leeds and an excellent win!

On our way out of the ground it was nice to get some great feedback about my blog and the fact fans were looking forward to reading it later tonight. I also did a video for BBC Radio Leeds but just as I got my phone out to do it, the battery died! Luckily I had a battery charger with me although when I plugged it in, it said it was 32% charged. Damn thing! As we were walking back to the coaches I told one of the Keighley Whites that I’d got a photo of him earlier. It’s nice to hear that he is receiving my latest book as a Christmas present and he will bring it for me to sign at a game. As always I am happy to autograph any that are bought for fans, you’ve only to ask!

We had a very good journey home and didn’t stop so were back in Leeds by 9.30 pm. Luckily by the time I got home at 10.00 pm although we still had snow, it had kept off falling some more. According to all the weather forecasts (we’ll see how right they are), tomorrow is going to be bad so I’m glad I can stay at home and watch it from the warmth of my house.

Next week sees the first of two home games before Christmas with first Norwich and then Hull City. Keep going Leeds I’m glad you listened to my tweet this morning saying believe, you can do it lol!  Just keep playing to our strengths and let the other teams worry about us. Getting as many points as possible into the New Year will set us up nicely for the run in until the end of the season and you never know, we may sneak that automatic place!!

Don’t forget to pick up my books; they’ll make a great Christmas present for the football fan in your life!  See you at Elland Road against Norwich, 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

OUT NOW! The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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Video done for BBC Radio Leeds

Aston Villa Home 1st December 2017

With another game moved for Sky I decided that an early start after work would be best. After picking my granddaughter Laura up who was very giddy and excited about going to the game, we headed onto the M62 at Brighouse. There were immediate signs saying an obstruction in the road but still saying 50mph. We had only gone a short while when the car in front of me stopped as a lorry was bearing down behind us, which had my heart in my mouth for a few seconds.  The broken down car was on the inside lane trying to manoeuvre off the motorway whilst one behind him tried to come into our lane. I felt really sorry for them as it was a scary thing to happen but glad we got past safely. I’m surprised the signs didn’t have that lane blocked off though unless it had only just happened.

After a trip to the White Rose we arrived at the ground in good time and we headed to the Peacock. As we passed MacDonalds a lad shouted my name and asked if I had my camera with me so as usual I obliged by taking a photo. As Laura said though, if anyone talks to you, you always take a photo!!  Out of the mouths of babes, oh dear I think she knows me too well lol! We’d only just got into the Peacock when I saw Gary Edwards and he asked me to go outside to talk to a film crew from America who had been following him around as the girl had the same name as me! They’d been filming his wife today, getting her reaction to Gary’s near on 50 year consecutive game commitment of following Leeds. Laura screamed so she could see the sound monitor moving then went all shy when they said to sing a song so I had to sing with her. Pontus’s magic hat and last Christmas got an airing although may not make any real filming lol.

We got into the ground just before kick-off as the ground was filling up nicely once again for this Friday night game just before Christmas. The team today was Wiedwald, Ayling, Berardi, Jansson, Cooper, Vieira, Phillips, Saiz, Alioski, Hernandez and Ekuban. Subs were Roofe for Hernandez who went off injured (42), Sacko for Ekuban (83) and Grot for Alioski (90) Attendance was 30,547 with approximately 2,700 Villa fans who had possibly sold out their allocation. Score was a 1-1 draw with Jansson scoring the Leeds goal on 19 minutes.

Although we were at home today, I will never ever forget my first visit to Villa Park on 11th October 1972 for the League Cup 3rd round game. Getting there right on kick off for the 1-1 draw we didn’t see any trouble. We had to walk through a group of Villa fans on a street corner after the game to get to our coach but as we’d hidden our colours there were no issues. I think our Wallace Arnold coach was the only one there that game and all of a sudden we came under attack when we were stuck in traffic. Out of the blue, bricks were thrown at the coach until after the eighth one hit the window next to me it eventually went through. With two large windows put through and a further one cracked, it meant a very cold journey home as well as a terrifying episode for us fans on the coach.  As trouble always happened there it wasn’t a nice ground to visit as a Leeds fan.

Despite Villa being above us in the table I wasn’t too worried about playing them. Having turned the corner after the run of defeats, we set out with great determination. Our players were fighting for the ball and putting Villa under pressure. When we won a corner, it looked like our new coach from set pieces has been working with them as a bullet header from Jansson put us into an early lead. We continued to play some good football and I don’t think Villa were really in the game in the first half? They had a couple of attacks but luckily we managed to clear the ball as we kept them at bay. Hernandez had been injured a couple of times and then was subbed just before half time when Roofe came on to replace him.

In the second half there were some challenges especially from their number 21 that went unpunished. From the amount of fouls he did he should have been booked long before he was. When I think of some of the things we’ve had players booked for as of late and Vieira’s recent sending off at Wolves, their player should have been long gone! Although Villa had a couple of chances we came very near to doubling our lead when we had three players lining up to put the ball into the net but somehow it missed them all. When the ball was headed into the net in front of the Kop, I suddenly saw the ball being kicked out of the goal and play carrying on. It was only then that I realised the goal had been disallowed, apparently for offside. That was such a shame as I feel it would have put the game out of reach for Villa. Just after this, the referee seemed to have had a whisper in his ear because all of a sudden he was letting fouls go on us then giving free kicks to Villa. With an attack just in front of the Kop, Ayling was fighting for the ball and he kept it in-between his feet only for the ref to give a free kick to Villa. What was that all about?  Ayling hadn’t fouled anyone so why it was given against us I’ve no idea. It wasn’t the only thing that went against us then in a spell of at least 10 minutes. It was no surprise when Villa pulled one back to equalise but they were very lucky getting the rub of the green when the ball fell for them every time. A long range shot hit the post and went in beating Wiedwald sadly. I’d forgotten the Villa fans were there to be honest as they’d been very quiet up until then.  It was disappointing that they’d equalised, although as it would have been good to see the game out without them scoring. There were a few times when it looked like Villa may get the winner but the game ended in a 1-1 draw which overall was probably a fair result. The positive was not getting beaten after being in the lead and one point is better than none!

Laura had gone down to the toilets just before the end of the game and as fans were starting to leave I thought I’d better get down the steps to ensure she didn’t get lost. Unfortunately as I got to the bottom there was no sign of her. Luckily one of the men who stands near me pointed out that said she had got back up into the stand so I went back up and found her straight away.

We bumped into my daughter Dani and her boyfriend as we were leaving and just as we got to Billy’s statue Laura saw the police horses and wanted to stroke them. I immediately had to grab her as we realised something was kicking off. There were loads of police stood outside the car park entrance opposite and I couldn’t work out if they were Leeds fans being moved on or Villa fans. Laura had heard someone shout “he hasn’t done anything”. I could hear a group of Villa coming down the road behind us and suddenly thought we were right in the middle of their fans. There was a young Irish lad stood next to me so we had a conversation about me saying “as long as Laura was alright that is all that matters!”

It didn’t feel like a Friday night though and with no football tomorrow now, I’m sure I’ll get my days mixed up once again! The good thing is I don’t have to get up for work in the morning so can do my blog, even though I keep falling asleep whilst writing it!

Next week sees us travel to Loftus Road for our game at QPR.  Our 7.00 am start gives us a good run down with a pub stop on the way and should be another good day out. Keep the faith lads and lasses; we will get there in time.

Don’t forget to pick up my books; they’ll make a great Christmas present for the football fan in your life!  See you at QPR, 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

OUT NOW! The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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Barnsley Away 25th November 2017

Yesterday evening as usual I’d changed into my Leeds shirt to go to an event, any excuse to wear my colours. As soon as I walked in I heard my name shouted and then the Leeds salute done which I reciprocated. Later when we had a chat, although he wasn’t going to Barnsley (he’s a home season ticket holder) his son was. After the event I decided to go to Asda at Bradley on my way home. I’d only been there five minutes when I heard someone shouting my name out loud only to see another Leeds fan who works where I do! Leeds fans everywhere.

Waking up to a cold morning I was glad that there was only a spattering of snow in Halifax. I put two jumpers on underneath my Leeds shirt and it was only when I got to Elland Road I realised although I’d brought my big jacket, I hadn’t brought my tracky top. Oh dear, my memory gets worse! I went into the club shop and I want to say how great it is in there now with all the different memorabilia. The stock levels are also on the up by the look of it as more and more things are put on show. I am really grateful having the support of the club now who are selling all my books in there.  For those who have recently bought them or are buying them shortly from there or anywhere else, if they do not have an autograph in and you want this, then please ask. I will always sign them whenever you want as I am grateful for the support. It was nice to get feedback from Dawn later on at the game who had just bought The Sleeping Giant Awakens. She bought it last Saturday and had read it by Monday as she couldn’t put it down which is good to hear. There were some incidents that I had mentioned in this and she was glad that I’d put them in; also having their photos in there was great to see.

Before the coach came I nipped across to McDonalds for a hot drink and whilst in the queue these lads started talking to me asking who we were playing.  I ended up talking to this lad who was a Sheff Wednesday fan and he said don’t tell my mates but I’ve a soft spot for Leeds, as I’m living in the city and working in passionate fan’s houses! As I say, I talk to anyone and everyone about Leeds!

It was good to see that the police had got the coach escorts sorted better today. We came off at an earlier junction instead of having to go past Barnsley to the next exit and turn around and come back to it on the other side of the motorway. I thought it sounded like they were doing something similar with any coaches coming from the south.  It was a lot better though that’s for sure. We arrived at the ground a good hour before kick-off which although I thought was 12.15 pm due to the televising of the game by Sky, it turned out to be 12.30 pm. Loads of fans were going up to the Centre at the top of the hill where there was a drinking area for the Leeds fans, Sue and I decided to go straight in to the ground instead as there was no chance of getting served there. As it was cold we thought it would be easier getting a cup of tea inside which it was. I had a quick word with Phil Cresswell first as I’ve to autograph my book at some point. He’s already read a good bit of it and said he likes the way it is set out including all the collages.  I wanted to include as many photos as possible seeing that I take that so many and I’m really pleased how the collages have turned out and added to the individual photos. He also asked if I was going to do a book every year now. As it is based on my blog it is very likely that will happen.

There were already queues inside but I didn’t have long to wait to get a pie and a cup of tea. After chatting with Dawn I took a couple of photos of the Bournemouth Whites and Dublin Whites. I’d already gone and put my banner up behind the goal where the first couple of rows were netted off.  It was freezing in the stand where there was no sun but it was hopefully going to warm up a bit. After a chat with a few fans I ended up in my seat towards the left hand side of the stand. At least I was just to the right of the tunnel going downstairs as last season I was right above it and didn’t feel safe at all. What is really nice is to get good things said about you and I really appreciate it. Being told that to converse with people from all walks of life from people at the top to your normal match going fans is a skill and this is one skill that I have got, it really brings a lump to my throat. Thanks Karl!

The team today saw Wiedwald back in goal, Berardi, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, O’Kane, Phillips, Hernandez, Saiz, Alioski and Ekuban. Subs were Shaughnessy for O’Kane (58), Roofe for Ekuban (80) and Grot for Alioski (88). Leeds won 2-0 with goals by Saiz (23) and Alioski (45+ in injury time). Attendance was 16,399 with 4,513 Leeds fans

This morning before I set off I sent a couple of tweets.

Come on Leeds believe in yourselves. We can do this! Marching on Together! Positivity makes a difference.

The key is don’t go there expecting to be beaten. We can do this!

Going back to times gone by; we were already beaten many times when we went to Old Trafford until we had the belief we could go and win such as when Beckford scored! I stand by this and it was great to see the belief today.

With Wiedwald back in goal today I knew we would play a different way and although no disrespect to Lonergan, I was looking forward to seeing how the game would play out. Oakwell is always a tough place to come to and they always raise their game when they play us so I wasn’t underestimating them. We were attacking the opposite end of the ground but the sun was so strong and bright it was hard to see.  I put my glasses on but that meant I couldn’t see well enough to take photos so in the end I took them off.  I can see the players but not make out the names on the backs of their shirts. We started off very well and won some corners although nothing came of them. Barnsley were quick with a counter attack and Jansson fouled one of their players only to get booked more or less with his first touch of the ball! Although some balls went astray and didn’t reach our players, we did start to play as a team, keeping the ball on the floor.  Alioski repaid Saiz with a great pass through and Saiz ran at the defence and let fly with a shot that beat their goalie to put us into the lead. That meant great celebrations in the Leeds end and despite the recent news about bans for anyone with the flares, a couple went off. I wasn’t expecting the “bomb” though and can well do without those. I feel this took the pressure off us somewhat as we carried on playing some good football. At one point Phillips was rugby tackled and even though we played on, their player did not receive a booking for it when play stopped.  I didn’t feel too worried in the first half about Barnsley because our players were backing each other up and on the whole managed to deal with them quite easily. Although we hoped for a second goal, it came really unexpectedly in injury time at the end of the first half. With our attack, Ayling passed the ball for Alioski to put a cracking shot into the net to double our lead. That was brilliant timing and would give us a little breathing space for the second half.

When I got below the stands there were plenty of young Leeds fans going ”mental” as I headed to the ladies. The first thing I noticed was that the floor was wet through so I assumed they’d been visited by the lads again. I couldn’t see any damage or why the floor was wet but as long as no one damages them deliberately, that is all I ask. After I was asked why I hadn’t put any photos of damage to toilets at Wolves, I replied because I never saw any damage!

The second half saw a really fast half with end to end football but surprisingly I wasn’t too worried. We had a couple of attacks before Ekuban was through and unfortunately took too long with his shot which then hit the side netting. He had played very well though and was very fast and getting stuck in. We came close a couple of times and had another shot on target as the closing minutes came. I’d gone down to get my banner and took a photo of some young kids. When I went to take a second one I had to wait whilst one took his coat off so he could have his photo wearing his Leeds shirt. I love these young fans who take pride in wearing their Leeds colours and it’s good to see them being brought up right! Just after Alioski was subbed it went quiet on the terraces for a couple of minutes and I didn’t want a nervy finish so was glad when the Leeds fans carried on singing. Barnsley hadn’t given up but we were able to see the game out and get the three points! I had to do a video with a report which will be sent to Sportsline for Monday evening, but as the Leeds fans were singing Marching on Together I had to join in. In fact after the win I kept breaking into song as I was so happy (I repeated that a few times in my video). My last interview with BBC Radio Leeds was repeating “you know” many times oops! When you’ve to think on your feet though it’s not a surprise!

As the team came off the pitch Wiedwald came over to give someone his shirt. It was only after the game that I found out that one of the Shropshire Whites had given Wiedwald his cap to wear as the sun was so bright. That’s one thing I can always remember Gary Sprake wearing on a regular occurrence and I’m surprised it wasn’t thought of beforehand.  I don’t think it will be a forgotten item in future.

On the coach after the game and for the second day running, I knocked my cup of coffee over! There’s no hope for me I reckon! I’d like to say a big thank you to my best friend Sue for buying my latest book The Sleeping Giant Awakens. As always, my grateful thanks are given. It was great to have a very short journey back to Leeds so I was looking forward to going Christmas shopping and ended up going back into the club shop and taking advantage of some bargains! Just as I got to the club shop I was talking to someone off our coach and saying we play a different way with Wiedwald in goal and no disrespect to Lonergan, when someone shouted out as we passed them on the corner saying that’s exactly what they were saying! Later on it was good to be able to see my banner on the seats behind the goal when watching the highlights!

Our next game sees the visit of Aston Villa next Friday with another live Sky game and another large crowd. Just carry on the same way Leeds and fingers crossed we can build once again by 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

OUT NOW!: The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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Wolves away 22nd November 2017

First of all I would like to give a big apology for forgetting to mention Wayne Ogden in my blog on Sunday who escorted me to Elland Road in his little yellow car. He recognised my beret as he passed my car and I recognised his registration plate so thank you lol!!

Today was going to be a late set off to get there after work. As we were going straight to the ground too it didn’t feel like I was going to a football match and later on Sue and I said we maybe should have gone to see the Christmas lights switch on instead. It’s funny how memories from the past can come flooding back.  As we passed a big roundabout outside Derby it brought back immediate memories of the mini bus I was driving getting attacked by Newcastle fans. Luckily I saw them crossing the road ahead of us and as there was a gap in the traffic I put my foot down on the pedal to get past them. They saw the scarves hanging out of the windows and banged on the side of the van and nicked a scarf if I remember right. A bit further along the way to Wolverhampton I recognised another roundabout where my mini broke down on the way to Birmingham. After a push we got it going again and managed to get to the ground before my friend Sue who had carried on in her car but got lost. As traffic was heavy we arrived just before kickoff and luckily the rain kept off whilst we walked down to the ground although I had to keep hold of my beret so the wind didn’t take off with it. I kept to the path at the top of the hill though as I had visions of ending up on my backside in the mud.

Luckily although loads of our fans arrived at the ground together we got in relatively quickly. After a couple of photos and putting my banner up I found my seat which was right on the half way line and near the front with loads of fans around me that I knew.

The team today was the same as on Sunday with Lonergan, Ayling, Cooper, Berardi, Jansson, Vieira, Phillips, Saiz, Alioski, Roofe and Hernandez. Subs were Ekuban for Roofe (68), O’Kane for Hernandez (68) and Dallas for Saiz (77). Leeds lost 4-1 with Alioski scoring the Leeds goal (48) and Wolves being awarded a penalty for their fourth goal. Vieira was sent off for a second bookable offence although I will have to see it again to see what happened.  Attendance was 28,914 with approx. 2,300 Leeds fans.

The game started off pretty even but we were guilty of some very bad passing from many of our players which meant the ball was intercepted too often. We’d had an attack before Wolves started coming at us and were breaking us down very easily and had a lot of pace. When it looked like a long pass would go out for a throw in, a Wolves player ran so fast he kept it in and the resulting cross meant Lonergan had to make a great save.  Wolves had shown what they could do though. Jansson passed the ball back to Lonergan which had me screaming at him to not do that as it put us under pressure, especially as he booted the ball up front and Wolves won it straight back. They attacked us once more but won a free kick outside the penalty area after a foul from Cooper. As soon as the ball left their player’s foot it sailed above our “wall” which had also left a big gap, into the left hand side of Lonergan with him having no chance of getting near the ball. It was very poor defending from my point of view with the wall. Wolves then took the game by the scruff of the neck with constant attacking. Although we had the same team as Sunday we needed to change the formation to close them down in the middle as we were constantly caught out with their speed. I said we needed to do this before they got a second goal which of course we didn’t. With Hernandez out of position over the opposite side of the pitch Berardi was left wide open with no support as they ran through to score a second goal. It was a good goal but something that we shouldn’t have let them get despite all the mistakes in passing, as we had a chance to change the formation and stop this happening. For the rest of the first half they ran rings around us. The ref as usual started booking our players as Wolves were let off. I don’t know when I saw their number 15 for the first time, but he was a giant of a player so it was no use hoofing balls up for Roofe to get as he didn’t stand a chance against him. It reminded me of games in the past where when we had a tall centre forward we would put balls along the ground and when we had a small centre forward as in Aidan Butterworth and David McNiven we would always cross the ball high into the box!

A couple of fans took off to the pub as they’d seen enough. If there’d been beer served in the ground I reckon many others would have joined others downstairs creating great gaps on the terraces and they’d have made a killing. As it was no one booed the team off at half time, I suppose because they knew we were playing the league leaders at this moment in time. Sue thought we would get beaten today though as she’d had a feeling whilst I thought a draw would be good and anything more than that a bonus. At times we had looked scared stiff of Wolves and that caused us to make constant mistakes.

At half time I met one of the lads who was at our song recording last weekend who sang a couple I didn’t know for me to record. I made a mess of this first time though as I don’t think the video worked argh! I also heard Kevin Sharp was on the pitch at half time but when I got back up into the stand I couldn’t get a good photo. Sue said she watched it on the screen, silly me never even saw that!

At the start of the second half there were no changes on the pitch so I said it was shit or bust basically and I hope Christiansen knew what he was doing. As we kicked off, straight away we were playing how we should with the ball on the floor and with more vigor; could it be a tale of two halves? When a lovely pass from Saiz set up Alioski when he beat their defender to volley the ball into the net and pull one back I hoped we could get a second and at least get a draw. Playing like this we started to get a grip on the game only for things to take a turn for the worse again with the Vieira sending off.  Another game with 10 men again and probably up against it once more.  Even though we kept at it we were on the back foot again as Wolves scored a third to really put the game out of reach. The score line then ended up even worse when Lonergan and their player tangled as he tried to stop them scoring just to the right of his goal. That was it then game over and a big defeat in the end.

It wasn’t unexpected for many fans but I was hoping we could have got at least a point out of it. The tactics in the first half really lost us the game because by not closing them down, they were running through us with ease. On Sunday we had Vieira and Phillips playing alongside each other making us stronger in midfield whereas today, one played more up front than the other. Back to the drawing board and although I shrug my shoulders and carry on to the next one, it is disappointing to see that for most of the game we weren’t even in it.

At least Jack went home happy having been giving Ayling’s shirt at the end of the game. As I went to leave the ground I realised I’d lost my little Toby Nye badge which gutted me so I went back in the stand to look for it. Hopefully I can get another and it is well worth the £1.50 I paid for it as it goes towards his cancer funding. Well I certainly found out I’m not fit; I suppose I shouldn’t have set off running, but as there were very few Leeds fans left in the ground at this point, I thought I’d better go quickly. All I ended up doing was puffing and panting all the way to the top of the hill; not good!

As I reached the road and glanced up to the right, I had visions of our earlier days of visiting Molineux especially of being in the South Bank when it was such an imposing stand. The game before we went to Paris for the European Cup Final in 1975 was terrible for us Leeds fans as not many of us went to that game. My friends and I had travelled by train going into a pub opposite the station first and then the one next to the subway by the ground  We saw Sally a Leeds fan from London get wrapped around a lamp post and her scarf pinched as well as kicked and punched.  All of this is written in my book Follow Me and Leeds United. Leeds fans were waiting for the gates to open when Wolves fans came up behind us and attacked us. Although the lads put up a fight, we were seriously outnumbered and in the end Sue and I ran with the others and I tripped over a wall in the process. There were continuous running battles after that and it was awful. Some things you never forget!

I thought we may get back on time with no detours this week as normally travelling back from away games most of the motorways end up shut at some point.  Well I was wrong; just as we wanted to pull onto the motorway a police car blocked our way due to an accident and we ended up on the toll road. At least we had a short service stop then as I could feel a headache coming on so a welcome Costa coffee beckoned.

Saturday sees another early kickoff and us going straight to the game. I do prefer the stop on the way to a game though or at least having a bacon sarnie in Billy’s bar before we leave. At least with getting back early (although no doubt we will travel all around South Yorkshire before ending back at the same place an hour later), I might go Christmas shopping.  I hope it is us singing that “you should have gone Christmas shopping” to the Barnsley fans and not the other way round. As it’s coming up to my favourite time of the year though I might as well make the most of it!

We’ll see what our visit to Barnsley brings this time. Last season we got an early goal then lost so it isn’t an easy ground to go to; in fact we’ve had some absolute shockers there. Hearing Nikki and her dog Rita haven’t got a ticket for QPR is sad as they go everywhere and are part of our loyal support. I realise fans want to see us play but loyal fans should always be looked after; these are the ones who stay with the team through thick and thin and are not fickle or supporters who only come when times are good. If Leeds can’t help get Nikki tickets, I wonder if QPR can. Let me know if anyone has any ideas.  See you on Saturday LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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BBC Radio Leeds Interview with Katherine Hannah 19th November 2017

Middlesbrough Home19th November 2017

It’s been such a busy week in the background. Monday evening saw me travel to Leeds to be in the Trust’s Podcast and it was nice to see someone tweeting about it from America. Also saw someone today who said they were the one who’d said it was a great listen so thank you. Yesterday saw the unique recording of the old Leeds United songs from the terraces from the Shed days until the present and I want to say a big thank you to everyone who turned up to take part. By the time I got to Elland Road to do that I was that emotional I thought I would cry; when I was on the motorway it mentioned an incident and the traffic slowed down and I thought I may be delayed, so it was such a relief to see that whatever had happened was on the other side of the motorway. After a quick meet up with some in the Peacock, Gary Edwards, Mick Hewitt and I headed to Radio Yorkshire for an interview to promote the recordings which went very well. A very big thank you to Leeds United, especially Angus Kinnear and Laura Mitchell for their help in letting us use the LUDO lounge for both the practice and the recording which is greatly appreciated.

Today I set off early from home with my granddaughter Laura and despite the frozen windscreen the sun was shining. Although it was quite cold I knew it would warm up but the conditions felt great for a football game. As we came around the roundabout at Elland Road, I saw two magpies out of the corner of my eye then spotted four in total. That’s it I said, we are definitely going to win now! The reason for the early start was because I had an interview to attend with Adam Pope and Katherine Hannah from BBC Radio Leeds regarding the songs recording. I’d tried to look yesterday to see where the Lucas Radebe lounge was as I couldn’t find it. I had thought it was in the West Stand where the Director’s entrance now stands which it turned out to be. We headed down the West Stand side which was blocked off for Leeds fans and got through to where we needed to be with some help from a steward. It was nice to meet up with Adam and Katherine and have the interview which went out at half time today. Hopefully I can get a copy for my website. Laura was chuffed to bits to get asked a question too and we got some photos after me initially forgetting! We also caught up with Noel Whelan too and some of our Danish fans before heading back around the ground via the Kop bumping into Becky and Chris from the West Midlands and some of the Galway Whites. As usual, stopping for a chat and taking photos which meant Laura wanted to know when we would get to McDonalds for her dinner. I wanted to call in the club shop first because after chatting to Cath our steward about wanting my new book outside the Director’s entrance, I said I’d check if the shop had any as I knew they’d sold out. We did call in there and I couldn’t see them so will have to email and check the situation. As we were sat in McDonalds, I was asked if I was Heidi and was told that he enjoyed reading my blog so I made sure I got a photo so he can see himself on it tonight. A family came looking for spaces and I said they could squeeze in next to us and they said thank you. There wasn’t enough room for the whole family to sit down so I ensured they got our places when we got up to go. As I took a photo and told them it would be on my blog tonight, the man asked my name as he recognised my Follow Me and Leeds United name. It turned out we both knew the same person and had been commenting on the same thread!  It’s a small world. As it is, hopefully Simon will soon be back with his family and that won’t be a moment too soon! 

I don’t know what is happening with the searching of bags before the game but they are well and truly going way over the top in my opinion. Why oh why have they started taking people’s drinks off them when the same things can be bought at the other side of the turnstiles. Today I also saw two or three bottles of perfume that had been confiscated. Knowing how pricey these things can be, I really think this is getting out of hand!

After a quick trip to the Peacock where I got chatting to a young Coventry White at the bar, we got into the ground early as I knew there was another large crowd expected.  As we walked around the ground two fellas has just been talking about them being in my fourth book. We found the page they were on and hopefully Father Christmas will be good to them!! All four books would make good Christmas presents for the Leeds fan in your life! Also there was going to be a mosaic held up in the East Stand and flags put in every seat in the Kop and South Stand.  The sad thing is the amount of bad feeling shown on social media.  I know many people thought this shouldn’t happen at Leeds but I felt this was different to drums and clappers which we definitely don’t need. We are a traditional and unique support but I thought the East Stand would do what they were asked to do but personally I wish it had said Marching on Together rather than just Together and also knew the kids plus some of the adults would enjoy waving the flags. 

Personally I’m all up for taking scarves and banners in, especially if we can recreate the days when everyone held their scarves up aloft in the Kop singing “You’ll never walk alone”.  The best one we ever did was against Manchester City in the FA Cup when Trevor Cherry popped up to score in the last few minutes when we were just resigning ourselves to a replay at Maine Road. The scenes that day were awesome and will always be remembered by me. It was also my one and only time of standing on the barrier after we’d scored although I kept falling off and got up four times in all.  Now I realise why Collar was always held on by someone when he was stood on a barrier leading the singing!! I decided to take a video today rather than just photos when the team came out to ensure I got the whole atmosphere.  Whatever anyone’s misgiving were, the East Stand looked impressive as well as the flag waving.  It wasn’t just the visual aspect that was good, I felt it contributed to the atmosphere as a whole especially as the team were up for the game from the word go.

The team today was Lonergan, Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Jansson, Phillips, Vieira, Hernandez, Roofe, Saiz and Alioski.  Subs were Ekuban (first game after his broken foot) for Roofe (79), O’Kane for Saiz (88) and Pennington for Alioski (90). Leeds won 2-1 with goals from Hernandez (24) and Alioski (54). Attendance was 33,771 with 2,535 Boro fans.

Just as I reached my seat, I realised that because I’d changed bags, that I’d forgotten something once again. In this case it was my football glasses so I was glad it was a good sunny day which hopefully meant I wouldn’t miss too much. I just can’t read numbers on the backs of players or see their faces from a distance. As this was going to be the first time we came up against Monk on his return to Elland Road since defecting to Boro over the summer, it meant he would come in for some stick from the Leeds fans. I just wanted us to become the twelfth man today because in the past this is something that has proved its worth time after time. It meant teams were intimidated from the start and that’s a bonus to start with.

As we kicked off Leeds straight away showed they were up for the game today and it was fairly even for the first 20 minutes. Although I wasn’t unduly worried today for some reason, Lonergan made a great save in front of us that seemed to happen in slow motion. Boro appealed for a penalty and showed some bad habits in diving all over the place. The referee was particularly bad, giving loads of free kicks to Boro and leaving challenges on us to go unpunished.  With one on Berardi when he “somersaulted” a few times and then got up, their player wasn’t even spoken to. I thought if he’d have stayed down the Boro player would have been sent off but Berardi showed professionalism by getting up straight away. It wasn’t long after this where we took the lead. We attacked and the ball came from Alioski on the right and ended up with Hernandez in space who cracked the ball into the net. Brilliant, it was so good to get a goal and go into the lead. The team were in high spirits and fighting well and playing together which was good to see.  Although Boro had a few attacks we dealt with them well and went into the break still in the lead.  There was a great deal of litter from the Mosaics all across the front of the East Stand due to the big children effect coming into play with paper aeroplanes flying all over. These turned into paper balls at the start of the second half which one of the stewards didn’t find amusing.

The second half started with Leeds on the attack and before long we scored a second beauty of a goal which came from sheer determination. Roofe battled to win the ball, eventually overcoming their player and passed it to Hernandez on the West Stand side. He put a peach of a cross in for Alioski to finish it to put us two goals up, cue fantastic celebrations on the terraces. Saiz had a wonderful effort denied by a post as we started to play some really attractive football especially coming out of defence and running at Boro putting them under pressure. We could have even put the game to bed when Cooper ended up beating the offside trap as the linesman kept his flag down and had an open goal, but his header went wide. That was such a shame but wasn’t meant to be. Whilst Boro had a couple of chances I thought we coped very well defensively although I wasn’t aware Ayling had kicked one off the line!! The worst decision of the game was when Boro were awarded a penalty on the say so of the linesman; as someone said it was an off the ball incident. After seeing the replay of this after, both the referee and linesman should suffer repercussions for the disgraceful decision that was made.  Their player flung Ayling to the ground and he then grabbed the Boro player’s leg and pulled him down.  Seeing the replay and that the boot of their player was heading straight to Ayling’s face, there is no wonder he grabbed hold of his leg to prevent a kicking! There were loads of angry fans in the South Stand who were going berserk and plenty of plastic flag poles found their way to the pitch side. Pontus tried calming some fans but I don’t think it worked although I wasn’t sure if they’d reacted badly to him. This gave Boro a chance to get back into the game as they scored the penalty sending Lonergan the wrong way. The lad behind me told him to go to his left which is where the ball ended up.  He got it right this time!! The timing of the goal meant there was still plenty of time until the end of the game.

A couple of times the South Stand kept the ball and although they came close a couple of times, we started counter attacking and putting in some fantastic crosses.  Ekuban came on for Roofe who had been leading the forward line today and had played better in his position of strength. Ekuban himself also showed some great pace and Alioski ended up on fire with so many attacks coming down the left of the pitch so it was a great shame to see Alioski substituted by Pennington on full time. He didn’t want to come off the pitch though and looked gutted and when my daughter Dani commented he came off after Howson spoke to him, it didn’t register with me. With seven minutes injury time facing us though and we were showing our best form of defence is attack, I thought maybe Pablo going off would have been better even though he played well too. As it was, despite the length of the injury time we managed to keep Boro out and claim the three points to see Leeds very happy all around. It was only as the players were thanking each other that I realised Jonny Howson was playing for Boro as I’d forgotten that he’d gone there.

As the players were going off the pitch, two men came onto the pitch, one in a feathered coat who I’d seen in the director’s box at one of our recent games. They were running all over the pitch having a great time and it turned out to be a couple of Italian comedians similar to Ant and Dec who were having a whale of a time. At least there were plenty of flags at the end for the kids and plenty of fans going around collecting spares.  My youngest granddaughter Alexis thought it was great when we got back to their house to be given a flag. It was also lovely to have a great Sunday tea cooked by my daughter instead of me doing it so a big thank you to her.

We have a mid-week game at Wolves facing us although I didn’t realise they were top of the table, before having the early kick off game at Barnsley facing us next weekend. I take each game as they come and don’t expect any easy games but the win today will have done a great deal to raise the confidence and self-esteem of the team. The atmosphere had been great today with only a short spell after they scored that deflated the Leeds crowd.  Keep going Leeds, as I’ve said many times there will be swings and roundabouts, ups and downs, but we will get there in the end. Stability is the key; see you at Wolves and Barnsley – LUFC – Marching on Together!

Heidi Haigh – author of:
Follow Me and Leeds United
Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds Fan
The Sleeping Giant Awakens 2016-2017 out now!
Co-author of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Leeds United. Leeds United in the 1980s

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Brentford away 4th November 2017

Good news with the fund raising for Toby Nye as £150,000 has been raised so only £50,000 to go; this should be achievable by Christmas with auctions and other events being done. I’ve also had an appearance on Radio Yorkshire Thursday morning where as usual I talked a lot. As I was told afterwards that is what they want!!

With a late kick off today of 5.30pm for the live Sky game we still set off from Leeds at 8.00am. This gave us a decent run down to London where we stayed in Staines until 4.00 pm. Our original plans to go to Twickenham changed due to a big rugby game being played there today. We had a laugh whilst in the pub when one of our party got his phone out of his pocket as it was ringing but when he got the phone out it was silent. I said I could still hear something and all of a sudden he got his own phone out of his pocket that was ringing. He had us in stitches then as he’d no idea whose the other phone was? He’d only been in one other pub nearby so he went back there to see if anyone had lost their phone. It only turned out to be the landlords although he’d no idea how it had turned up in his pocket. He’d probably picked it up on leaving thinking it was his but at least all turned out well.

When we arrived at the ground we got dropped off at the end of the street and decided to go straight in as it was approximately 40 minutes to kick off. After a quick search of the bags we got in and Sue and I hung our banners across the back of the stand. I only realised later that some fans had hung theirs over the front of the stand. I then went back downstairs onto the terraces to take some photos before the game began and chat to a few fans. Due to the recent defeats it was vital we got at least a point today although Griffin Park hadn’t been a good hunting ground for us previously. 

The team today was Lonergan, Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Jansson, O’Kane, Phillips, Vieira, Lasogga, Alioski and Saiz. Subs were Hernandez for O’Kane (45), Roofe for Lasogga (45) and Got for Alioski (80). Attendance was 11,068 with 1,647 Leeds fans. Leeds lost 3-1 with Alioski scoring for Leeds (67).

Leeds started off under the cosh from the start of the game and it was a very nervy few minutes. With Brentford’s first attack Lonergan flapped at the ball as they won a corner. Brentford were making the most of playing in the tight knit ground although the referee was falling for every little touch as their players kept hitting the deck. One time the linesman to our left had put his flag up to give us the throw in only for the ref to overrule him. We had a couple of shots on target which were easily saved by their goalie.

A comedy show happened next as the ball came over to Lonergan who wasn’t under pressure only for him to drop the ball giving their player an easy tap in of the ball to put Brentford into the lead. Damn, damn, damn up against it once more. The first half played out with Brentford on top and us struggling to do anything else of note. It was made worse when Brentford were awarded a penalty a Jansson took their player out in the penalty area. I shouted that Lonergan could make amends and save it but as it was he didn’t need to, as their player skied the ball over the net. I was hoping that would be our get out of jail card.

At half time my stomach was churning like mad with nerves as I stopped to have a word with Gary Edwards. As we were discussing the game so far a couple of men in front of him joined in. I didn’t agree with their version of things especially when discussing Lonergan flapping at the ball. Although he did make one great save in between I didn’t like the way we were passing back all the time getting put under pressure then hoofing the ball up front. I said he was still doing the same as what Wiedwald had been doing under pressure and they said Wiedwald was a coward and should never play for us again whilst I disagreed. When they said they would have Silvestri back in his place that did it for me and I left them to it saying never in a month of Sundays would I have him back! Opinions, opinions! Trying to get down the steps at half time was very difficult but eventually I got to the half way mark before going back into the stand for the second half.

Christiansen had made a double substitution at the start of the second half bringing on Roofe for Losagga, playing him in the middle and Hernandez for O’Kane. It didn’t take long for us to start playing better and put some pressure on to Brentford.. We had suddenly upped our game and looked in a better shape as we attacked towards the Leeds fans. It was the first time I had a good view of the goal in front of us from the seats as I was on row B just to the right of the goal. When the ball came over from the right their goalie did the same as Lonergan by missing the ball which Alioski gratefully headed into the net to equalise. As Alioski headed to the Leeds fans to celebrate most of the others were heading back to the centre circle to get on with the game. As the game carried on I thought we could go one better and clinch all three points at that stage as we took the game by the scruff of the neck.

Unfortunately as soon as Christiansen made his third sub by bringing Grot on for Alioski, this decision changed the game, as Roofe went back out to the wing instead of staying in the centre of the park. I have no idea why this sub was made as were on the attack and he should have kept things as they were.. He probably thought Grot could be a game changer but sadly for me I have seen nothing in his play that would make me think that. I feel he needs to play for the younger lads or go out on loan for game time as he hasn’t done anything for me. With that Brentford managed to get their.noses back in front again with a free kick that sailed into the net from the edge of the box. Admittedly they’d had a couple of long range shots that I was grateful had hit the woodwork but we had come close too with Vieira having his strike saved by their goalie. As I untied my banner in the last few moments I missed Brentford putting the game out of reach by scoring a third. We were well and truly beaten whereas as I felt totally pig sick and totally deflated. 

As I did a fan video for Sportsline on Monday evening, all I could think of was we have been beaten both times I have done this, the first one at Millwall and today’s effort. I may have to refuse to do anymore if this carries on! As I was doing this one lad said he was embarrassed to be Leeds so I said I never would be but agreed it was a deflating situation. Lots of fans are pretty upset at the moment with a few wanting to jack things in and many wanting Christiansen sacked. I don’t know where we are going to go at this moment in time as I wanted us to persevere by keeping Christiansen. With Orta having made the signings it is very much a different set up these days and I don’t know how changing manager would make a difference in this case. Although we are now in 10th place having been at the heady heights of top of the league in September, we have come down to earth with a bump. We did stand a chance with the half time changes but then our change of suicidal tactics with the last sub cost us the game.

As we walked out of the ground Del from the Thames Valley Whites was waiting for me to get my new book and a big thank you for the support as usual. We got away from the ground very quickly and I was just dropping asleep when our driver beeped the horn as a Hungarian lorry encroached our lane on the motorway waking me up with a jump. The same thing happened again later on the M1 with another lorry. We ended up going straight through to Leeds without stopping and managing to get through the roadworks before the lanes were shut and get diverted. The journey passed very quickly as I slept most of the way back and managed to be at home right on midnight!

We have another international break next week; the songs recording on 18th November before Middlesbrough come to Elland Road on 19th November with the return of Monk. As things stand, they have started to get a few wins under their belt just at the wrong time for us. Time will tell what happens in the meantime and whether Christiansen will, still be here. I would like to think we can work through this as a team but unfortunately I haven’t got a crystal ball to say that things will turn out okay for us by persisting with him.  See you at the Boro game LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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Derby County 31st October 2017

As we made our way to Elland Road I wasn’t looking forward to the cold, there again I think it was colder in our house than outside! After a quick trip to the ticket office and club shop we headed to the Peacock. I was meeting Garry to personalise the two books he was aiming to buy in the club shop but it turned out they had sold out of them. As it was he caught me before leaving home so I was able to bring some copies with. Thanks for the support Garry which is appreciated. After chatting with some fans about the game and others about our songs recording on 18th November, it was time to head into the ground in time for kick off. It seemed quieter outside than at recent games but as it was a different half term for many I still assumed we would have a decent crowd.

At the start of the game we had the Royal British Legion and the Yorkshire Regiment in and as it was our nearest game to Armistice Day, the last post was played on the bugle before two minutes silence. This was impeccably observed and as usual great respect shown to the fallen soldiers in the World Wars and recent times.

The team today was Lonergan, Ayling, Pennington, Jansson, Dallas, Roofe, Saiz, Alioski, Lasogga, Vieira and O’Kane. Subs were Sacko for Roofe (76), Grot for Pennington (84) and Hernandez for Alioski (84). Leeds lost 2-1 with Lasogga scoring our goal (7 minutes). Attendance was 28,565 with 852 Derby fans.

Leeds started off strongly attacking the South Stand and it didn’t take long before we took the lead. Saiz passed the ball across to Lasogga in a good position at the right of the goal who scored in the seventh minute. The one thing I noticed was that we had limited our passing back to the goalie which in itself stops the pressure on our defence. We had some fantastic moves especially from Saiz once again but couldn’t build on our goal lead.  We were playing well and kept Derby at bay for most of the half although with a couple of attacks their number 17 I think it was, threw himself to the ground twice in blatant dives. Luckily nothing was given but the first dive was so blatant he should have been booked for it. I didn’t realise until further into the game that Bradley Johnson and Scott Carson both ex-Leeds players were in the Derby team. We looked in control of the game and I wanted to ensure we went into half time still in the lead to give us a good chance in the second half. As it was Lonergan was redundant for a lot of the first half although once when he got the ball he slowed the game right down waiting for everyone to get back into position. He should have immediately thrown the ball out to Alioski on the wing to set up a quick counter attack. Now that’s one thing Wiedwald was good at, being able to turn our defence into attack by playing out from the back.

At the start of the second half Derby came out with renewed vigour and were already on the pitch waiting before Leeds came back out. We immediately started passing back at the start of the half and Jansson was nearly caught out a couple of times with short passes. For some reason we had reverted to type instead of carrying on playing to our strengths. We nearly got a second goal when Alioski had Carson tipping the ball out of the top corner and had a couple of good attacks before it looked like we had run out of steam. I wondered if we should change things after the hour mark and thought Roofe wasn’t really in the game at that time. How I wished that sub had been made because from our attack that broke down, all of a sudden their player was haring down the left hand side towards the South Stand on his own. Roofe was still stood on the half way line watching him when he realised he needed to chase him but it was too late and before we knew it the ball was in the net. This also gave Derby the impetus to start attacking us although we still looked as if we could contain them at that point. I can’t remember at which point the crowd were doing a great WACCOE but when everything went quiet, you could feel the tension in the air. I still thought we could get something out of the game until the ref pointed to the spot at the far end after their player was fouled near the edge of the box. Many have said the foul was outside but I cannot be sure as I haven’t seen it. As their player sent Lonergan the wrong way to put Derby into the lead that’s when you could see the game slipping away from us. We still did have a couple of chances but Grot and Lasogga went for the same ball denying one chance. Lasogga missed a great chance to equalise when his shot went above the crossbar rather than under it sadly. I would definitely have taken a draw at that stage once again. It was a very disappointing end to the game and it feels like our fitness levels aren’t good enough. As my hubby pointed out it reminded him of when Wilko started out and we could only play for 60 minutes, then 70 and eventually managed to play for 90 minutes.

As I listened to BBC Radio Leeds on the way home and the slating both the team and TC were getting from both the panels and fans texting in, I felt quite sad that expectations had gone from high to so low very quickly. I have a coping mechanism which is I can forget what happens on the pitch very quickly and just move on to the next game.  I know I’ve said there will be plenty of swings and roundabouts and ups and downs along the way, but we have to be patient. What many seem to have forgotten is that we have had to start again this season with a new team and manager and it is going to take time for things to go in the right direction. I realise with our great start to the season that it gave us all the hope that this time things were going to work out well for us until reality has set in once again.

We head for Brentford on Saturday with a teatime kick off for the live game on Sky.  I always hope we can turn things around and in one sense we were unlucky to lose today, but at the end of the day it is results that count and we really need the three points to give us some hope back. Fingers crossed we can put up a good performance and do another Bristol City please. See you there – LUFC – Marching on Together!

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Sheffield United Home 27th October 2017

I couldn’t believe how quickly my new book The Sleeping Giant Awakens 2016-17 has ended up being published as I’d only done the final proofreading the other week. Leeds United’s Club Shop got their quota yesterday and I’d agreed to go in and sign them all for them. My own quota arrived today and I managed to sell one to a neighbour as soon as I walked out of the door! I dropped my daughter Emily and granddaughter Laura at the White Rose Centre whilst I signed all of my books that were in the shop ready for sale. A would like to say a big thank you for the hospitality given to me in the shop and also for sorting out my tickets for me. In the middle of signing the books, realisation dawned on me that I had left my season tickets at home. As I was leaving the house my bum bag broke so I transferred everything to another bag, or so I thought.  I didn’t look in the pocket where the most important things were kept! It was nice to have plenty fans come and speak to me in the shop and even buying my new book so a big thank you to them. I also got called a legend by one fan which was nice to hear. Before I forget I’d better give a shout out for Hungry Duck and Stutcha who I met in the Peacock and took their photos.

Today was called the Team Toby day; Toby Nye aged four is fighting Neuroblastoma and his family is trying to raise the £200,000 for his treatment which isn’t funded by the NHS. With all the staff at Elland Road donating their wages from today and fans raising money too, hopefully the family will get the amount they need. I decided as my books had arrived that I should donate one of them towards their fundraising and a copy was handed to the family tonight by my daughter Michelle as every little helps. I was so glad to see that Toby along with his brother Ollie were able to lead the teams out for tonight’s game. Everyone also gave Toby a round of applause on four minutes which was good to see. Good luck with your fight little man.

The team today was Lonergan, Anita, Ayling, Pennington, Cooper, Saiz, Alioski, Phillips, Lasogga, O’Kane and Vieira. Subs were Jansson for Cooper (56), Hernandez for Alioski (70) and Grot for Anita (83). Attendance was 34,504 with 2,533 Sheffield Utd fans. Leeds lost 2-1 with Phillips scoring our goal (34).

The game kicked off and with more or less Sheffield’s first attack they found themselves a goal up. As the ball came to the middle of the goal right in front of us, it came to Billy Sharp (ex-Leeds) on his own and there was no way he was missing that one. That wasn’t a good start to the game for us and not a good start for my camera as it turned out the memory on the SD card was full! It looks like I’ll have to have some rearranging of files and backing things up on both my computer and camera before we play Derby. For the next 20 odd minutes we found ourselves at sixes and sevens as Sheffield swarmed all over us and we didn’t get much of a look in. With us passing back a lot, Lonergan was nearly caught out when he held on to the ball too long and nearly had it whipped off his toes.  With the ref not booking their players for the fouls they were committing left, right and centre it meant Sheff Utd continued doing this for a long time before they got their first booking. We eventually started to get an attack together when the ball came over to Phillips near the edge of the box he struck the ball into the net to equalise on 34 minutes. We were lucky not to go behind again before half time as Lonergan made a fantastic double save to deny Sheffield Utd another goal. I did think that Sharp handled the ball twice with one attack though.

At the start of the second half, Leeds upped their performance as the Leeds fans really got behind their team. Saiz started causing Sheff Utd all sorts of problems and was fouled so many times. With another attack it looked like a goal all the way from Saiz only for the ball to rebound off the upright. He set up Alioski with a great cross but his header was saved by their goalie. With one free kick we were trying something different in front of goal with four of our players grouped together in the middle of the penalty area behind everyone else. As soon as the ball was to be kicked they all went back into an onside position. Unfortunately the free kick from Phillips went wide and didn’t test their goalie. We had been putting pressure on the Sheff Utd defence for most of the second half although not really testing their goalie. When Hernandez came on as a sub I was disappointed that Alioski was brought off. I feel that by subbing him all the time (well it seems that way), as happened with some of our younger players in the past, that he needs to play for the whole game to get the best out of him in the long run. We started to lose our shape again and within three minutes of bringing on our final sub Grot, Sheff Utd took the lead once again. Whilst I thought we still had time to get something out of the game, it was disappointing to see the reaction of many fans. I was surprised to see that they just seemed to accept defeat and whilst many left, many were left in stunned silence. Whilst I appreciate it was a knockout blow, our fans normally get straight behind them and for some reason they didn’t. Okay they were right, because we didn’t do anything else that looked like we might sneak another equaliser. At this stage I would have taken a draw, especially when I heard their fans singing they were top of the league. That took me by surprise as I don’t really taken any notice of other teams exploits and wasn’t aware that they were doing well as newcomers having been promoted at the end of last season. One thing Leeds, can we please have the scores shown on the scoreboard for the whole game and not just when we score? It might make the players realise we are losing too!

Reading the message boards after I’d got home, there were lots of scathing messages from fans. Personally I accept that after our great start to the season things have taken a downward spiral. I realise that things are not going to happen overnight for us either though. Once Sheff Utd went into the lead for the first time, for some reason instead of playing to our strengths we resulted to passing back to Lonergan time and time again who ended up hoofing the ball out of defence. When we started playing to our strengths the game changed. Whilst disappointed I’m not down hearted as last season it took a while before things turned in the right direction and I still have hope that things can work out for us in the long run. With Tuesday’s home game against Derby coming up before our visit to Brentford next week, we really do need to win and get the three points. See you then – LUFC – Marching on Together!

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