Preston v Leeds United 9th April 2019 at Deepdale

I was travelling by car to this game as the person who was taking me was in a meeting so we set off later than we normally would. Because of this we had a pre-booked parking spot and a big thank you to David Hill for sorting this out for us which is greatly appreciated. As it was we arrived in plenty of time for kick off despite some queuing before joining the M61 and the parking spot was a 15 minute walk from the ground. There were plenty of Leeds fans walking up to the ground at the same time as us which was unsurprising as we had another away ticket sell out. The good thing that after the game I was home in Halifax by 11.15 pm which was brilliant!

I went to put my flag up behind the goal and was surprised to see that Preston had made some changes to the layout of the stand since we’d last been there. The first rows of seats were all fenced off so no fans could get to the pitch side. At least I had a prime spot for my flag.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Alioski, Hernandez, Bamford, Roberts, Harrison, Klich and Phillips. Subs:  Berardi for Harrison (77), Forshaw for Roberts (83) and Roofe for Bamford (90). Leeds won the game 2-0 with a brace for Bamford (62 and 76). Attendance was 18,109 with 5,516 Leeds fans (plus however many were in their ends and the corporate areas!

It was no surprise to see that Bielsa had kept the same team who started at Birmingham. Despite the defeat there, unless there are any injuries he likes to make few changes. Plus I think he also likes to give the players a chance to make amends especially after a defeat.

Leeds were up to it from the start and looked a different side to Saturday despite the same team. Our first attack brought a save out of their goalie. We continued to attack and although came close we didn’t get anything on target. Alioski was down for a while and when I saw him continue with a bandaged head I couldn’t remember if he’d had one on when he came out or if that is what had happened to him. The officials were all guilty of ignoring what should have been free kicks to us but giving Preston plenty. When they were pulling Jansson’s shirt with the linesman to the left a few feet away and in full view of him, well he might as well have been on a different planet! More shirt pulling had one fan shouting, “if you want a Leeds shirt then go and buy your own!” The linesman on the right called an offside which had everyone around me baffled and screaming that he didn’t know what he was doing. Every time Bamford was fouled the ref gave it the other way saying he was backing in, with one incident late in the game where he was thrown to the ground given to Preston, unbelievable! We didn’t have everything our own way which I always say is down to the free kicks given to the opposition and Preston always looked like they could score. We had lots of possession again but not many clear cut chances. The one thing I would like to see again is us peppering the opposition’s goalie with shots. My memories of the great Don Revie side are of us hitting the woodwork but also making goalies work by making saves or more importantly letting us score goals. Having shots on target and taking more shots from outside the area would catch goalies unaware in my opinion.

At half time I went downstairs where things were getting a little lively. A few women came into the toilets for a smoke as they’d been instructed to do so by the stewards despite there being no smoking signs everywhere. No one was allowed out of the ground to smoke so some even did that in the concourse.  It didn’t make sense to me as the gates are opened at half time at many grounds. Now if it was Ipswich away on the last day of the season I could understand them not wanting to open the doors at half time as there’d be an invasion of fans without tickets!

As the second half got ready to kick off their number four was having a word with the ref. I said he’ll be asking him to be nice to Preston. As it was, the same player brought Bamford down when he was clean through and given his marching orders within five minutes of the restart. Phillips came close with the free kick. From then on we kept the pressure on with having an extra man and at this time I felt we could get something from the game. The goalie looked jittery at times and so he should with thousands of Leeds fans breathing down his neck. With one shot he spilled the ball but recovered enough to catch it at the second attempt. When Bamford’s shot was saved by the goalie he looked like he’d a point to prove. Well he certainly did not long after that when he struck a fantastic goal from the edge of the area to send the Leeds fans behind the goal wild. I got hit on the head as the people behind me fell after being pushed from further up the stand. It didn’t matter though because Leeds were in front which was all that mattered. The next thing I saw Leeds fans being escorted out of the stand to our left with drinks being thrown at them plus there were loads of Leeds fans in the stand to our right too. We couldn’t settle for a one goal lead and had to go for another. Ayling came close to scoring and hit the post before Bamford got his second of the game with a header as Klich pinpointed the cross in the right place for him to score. I’d written in my blog on Saturday after the Birmingham game that on a different day Bamford could have had a hat trick. I was happy for him to get one today on that basis but although he came close we had to settle for two instead.

The win sees us go back into second place as Sheffield Utd play tomorrow at Birmingham. Having seen someone post that we are definitely in the play offs now, that’s fine but I want automatic promotion please. As I kept saying what will be, will be, I was told we don’t want to go to Wembley and I quite agree. We have a late kick off of 5.30 pm this coming Saturday with the Sheffield Wednesday game at Elland Road. Having seen some of the Welsh lads after the game who’d said “can we do it?” My answer was that I daren’t make any predictions as I don’t want to jeopardise anything. What we do have is a chance and I would love for us to make things mathematically certain sooner rather than later for that automatic spot. We will know soon enough so 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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC, Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United

Birmingham City v Leeds United 6th April 2019 at St Andrews

This week has been a very challenging and emotional week. Tuesday saw a great gathering including lots of Leeds fans pay their respects at Trev Horsley’s funeral. Thursday was the anniversary of my daughter Charlotte’s death and the end of radiotherapy/chemotherapy treatment for my husband Phillip and yesterday saw the anniversary of the murders of Chris and Kev in Istanbul. I also heard today that Andy Ramshaw one of my Selby Whites died this week too and thoughts are with his family and friends. The last couple of days I found a lot of anger in me that sent my stress levels soaring which culminated in me having a massive meltdown. The one good thing about following Leeds United is the support network from our fans. For those who took time to ask how I was, my husband was, spoke about football, look forward to my blog, follow me on Twitter/Facebook or have bought my books, my heartfelt thanks go to you all.  You know who you are and as always your support is greatly appreciated.

We had a lot of nervous fans heading to St Andrews today. As it is still too early to build my hopes up, I was just going to wait and make my judgement at the ground. From my point of view and many others, the only way we can guarantee promotion is to go up automatically. Having been disappointed three times in the play offs, I don’t know many fans who would fancy our chances doing it that way.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Harrison, Phillips, Klich, Bamford, Alioski, Roberts and Hernandez. Subs: Dallas for Harrison (45), Roofe for Bamford (70) and Clarke for Klich (70). Leeds lost the game 1-0. Attendance was 24,197 with 2,781 Leeds fans. On the 19th minute, Leeds fans en masse turned their backs to the pitch for a minute in memory of Chris and Kev, as those who were at the game did all those years ago, as it should never have gone ahead after what had happened. It was a game that I’d been too scared to attend so my friend Karen went without me.

I just want to mention the Leeds United mascot who was brilliant. He came to the Leeds fans doing the salute and was a credit to the club. Leeds came close early on and had plenty of possession but the one thing we couldn’t do, was get the ball in the net. The referee showed his credentials early on by missing an elbow on Robert’s head plus other pushes but was quick enough to give free kicks the other way for less than he let go with us. The linesman to the left was useless too because despite some things happening right in front of him, he ignored them. All this does is giving the opposition the impetus. We limited Birmingham to one attack and should have taken the lead when Bamford got to Ayling’s cross and the ball looked as if it was going straight into the net. Sadly for us it hit the post and bounced back into their keeper’s arms. To make matters worse, Birmingham raced to the other end of the pitch in front of the Leeds fans and put the ball into our net to take the lead within a minute of our attack. The case of taking your chances when they are there came back to bite us quickly as we went into the break a goal down.

The second half saw Dallas come on for Harrison and we really should have equalised when he put a cross over to the middle for Bamford to fire over instead of into the net. That was a chance we should have taken. Bamford was really unlucky with his next chance when the keeper made a fantastic save from his header. On another day he could have had a hat trick! As time went on it looked more and more likely that we weren’t going to score despite the possession we were having and had Casilla to thank for making a couple of good saves to keep Birmingham from increasing their lead. Whilst there was only a goal in it we stood a chance of getting back into the game. As it was Norwich had a convincing win to stay top of the table and Sheff Utd won to leap frog back above us into second place as we slipped down to third. Today had that déjà vu feeling about it; we’ve been here that many times before and promotion is not going to happen. Although a lot can happen between now and the end of the season, until it is mathematically certain one way or another I won’t raise my hopes. The one thing we do still have though is a chance so only time will tell what happens.

It was a disappointing game for us today as we weren’t really in it collectively as a team. We may have had a lot of possession but unless we are peppering the opposition’s goal with shots and putting them under pressure it counts for nothing. With Preston away on Tuesday evening, only a win will do for us. As we are driving to this one, we won’t get there until nearer kick off so hopefully the traffic will be fine and we get there on time.

One thing that really disappointed me this week was the club’s decision to stop season ticket holders from being able to buy any tickets for the last game of the season against Aston Villa. Only Gold members were given the opportunity to buy one ticket each. I was going to purchase some in the family stand for my daughters and granddaughters to come to the last game of the season as usual. I stand by my argument on WACCOE that this decision should not have been made for this season but for next as they changed the goalposts at short notice. As part of the agreement for buying a season ticket at the start of the season, there was priority booking for home games. The club have not looked at the wider picture or the impact that decision has had on fans who have made plans to attend this game. It has really hit our overseas fans hard as Norwegians, Hungarian, Dutch, Irish and even a lady from Argentina have found that very few of them can now get a ticket for the game. As they make plans well in advance to attend any game at Elland Road, they book flights and accommodation to get the best prices. The decision has also impacted on families where a parent has brought their child all season on their membership, but now cannot bring them as they don’t have that all important Gold membership. That to me is wrong. I can try and get my granddaughter a ticket but there is no way she is going into the family stand on her own! There again knowing my luck I’d be unsuccessful anyway as I have been unable to buy any extra tickets when they have gone on sale all season. The only way I’ve managed to get any was when some tickets have come back up for sale.

Part of my personal issues has seen trapped nerves in my back and degeneration of my back and hip. At least I know why I’ve been getting the pain but they are just more things I could do without in the never ending story with my family. The saying things can only get better couldn’t be more apt for us and Leeds United. Don’t let us down please – see you at Preston, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18

www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC, Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United

Leeds United v Millwall – 30th March 2019 at Elland Road

It’s not often that a television crew turns up at your house to interview you! I would like to say a big thank you to Mark and the crew for filming me for the 100 years of Leeds United documentary. I look forward to seeing the finished version of this in due course which will coincide with the Centenary year of Leeds United being formed. Mark also purchased my book Follow Me and Leeds United and later in the day so did Noel from Ireland so I look forward to receiving feedback in due course.

Next Tuesday I am hoping to attend the funeral of a stalwart Leeds United fan who I met in the 1970s, Trev Horsley, who has sadly died. He was instantly recognisable for wearing a sheepskin coat and was always one of the first people I saw in Leeds station when I travelled in to games by train. Next week is a poignant one in many ways for me when the 4th sees the anniversary of my daughter Charlotte’s death and also sees the end of cancer treatment for my husband. We’ve still a long way to go on the latter especially as he has had a bad week and ended up in hospital. The following day brings the anniversary of the deaths of Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight who were murdered in Turkey. My heartfelt thoughts go to all their families on these sad occasions.

We return to Elland Road after the international break to resume our league and promotion challenge. Having slipped back into third after the defeat to Sheffield United, today is a must win game for us. I’ve no pre concepts of what will happen but am looking forward to seeing us carry on in the best way we can. Today is a family occasion for us with my daughter Danielle and I being joined by my three granddaughters Hannah, Laura and Alexis. Two of the girls will be going in the family stand with my sister Erica and one with us in the Kop. It was also nice to catch up with Mark one of my Selby Whites when I ran the Supporters Club there. After the game apart from Alexis, we will be going to the Pavilion for the LUDO dinner and dance and will have two excited girls looking forward to meeting the players.

On our way to Leeds I’d to pick my granddaughters up in Rastrick then go via Wakefield to pick up Danielle. As I was going a different way I put the postcode into my satnav, only for me to end up more or less back where I started! I was more bothered about the wasted time in getting to Leeds. We made good timing despite that and managed to avoid the long queues by driving via Beeston. At least we managed to meet up with my sister in good time and also David who’d helped me regarding parking for Preston. We bumped into some of our Norwegian fans and it was the first trip to Elland Road for one of them who had supported Super Leeds since 1972. I also bumped into some of our fans from Scotland and again it was the first trip in many years for one of them. Thanks for the feedback regarding my blog too which is appreciated. I’d also been asked to get some photos of the lads with the flags today so needed to be in the ground in good time. I had a quick trip to the Peacock to catch up with friends and it was nice to see some familiar faces.

As I made my way into the ground, there was a happy buzz around with lots of fans enjoying being at the ground with not a Millwall fan in sight. This is what I like about the away fans being in the West Stand and escorted in from the Fullerton Park car park as it means instead of chaos reigning down Elland Road, it is now a calm oasis of our fans. This makes it good for bringing the kids to the game without any antagonising and I much prefer it that way.

The team: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Klich, Phillips, Hernandez, Roberts, Bamford, Harrison and Alioski. Subs: Douglas for Alioski (45), Clarke for Jansson (67) and Forshaw for Klich (75). Leeds won the game 3-2 with Hernandez getting two (34 and 83) and Ayling (71). Bamford missed a penalty before Hernandez equalised for us making us do it the hard way. Attendance was 34,910 with 975 Millwall fans.

I’d been asked to move by one of our stewards as I’d moved to the right hand side of the Kop to get the photos of the kids with flags as they still had the nets up behind the goal. I managed to stay there till just before kickoff but apparently some fans were complaining as well as it being a legality of not standing on the steps. I made my way to my normal spot which is something I do every game for a few more minutes before heading to my seat which I always do once the game kicks off.

I always base my judgement of the opposition on the pitch as I don’t worry about them beforehand. I always say we need to play to our strengths and let the opposition worry about us. It became very clear straight away that Millwall had come to run at us and were a very physical team. Within 10 minutes they were ahead when a long ball across field caught us out before the ball was crossed to the middle for their player to head it into the net. Prior to that Peacock-Farrell made a good save to keep them out. At times we were at sixes and sevens with their attacks. Coming from behind again was a pain but we didn’t let that deter us as we started to see more of the ball and started to attack. When Alioski was brought down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot I breathed a sigh of relief that we had a chance to get back into the game. Sadly it was not to be when Bamford’s very weak and casual penalty was saved by their goalie. It was a case that we were going to have to do things the hard way. Harrison came close to scoring before we equalised when Ayling passed for Hernandez to put the ball into the net in front of the South Stand sending the Leeds fans into raptures. Roberts then brought a save out of their goalie with a shot from the edge of the box just before the break.

Leeds started the second half on the attack having brought Douglas on to replace Alioski. He’d had a couple of hard tackles on him so I wasn’t sure if it was a tactical decision or due to an injury. As Leeds continued to attack we were caught out with a counter attack which saw their player free on the left hand side of the pitch heading towards the South Stand goal. When it looked like there was only Peacock-Farrell to beat, Cooper came across the box from the right hand side and fouled the Millwall player who were then awarded a penalty. Sadly they took the lead from theirs as they sent Peacock-Farrell the wrong way. Although we were behind, the crowd was still getting behind the team as we continued to seek an equaliser. Harrison showed some great footwork in the penalty area as he kept the ball then from Douglas’s perfect cross; Ayling with a brilliant header put the ball into the net to send everyone wild. Coming back twice from behind to keep the win within our grasp got everyone’s hopes up. Leeds weren’t stopping there and settling for the draw as everyone raced back to the middle instead of celebrating with the fans; we were going out to win this game there was no doubt about it. We had now got our tail between the legs and Ayling’s goal saw him play like a man possessed as we continued our charge towards the Kop end. We were now attacking with gusto and came close to scoring when their goalie nearly fumbled the ball into the net.  Forshaw’s great strike from the edge of the box nearly caught him unawares as we won a corner instead. We got the winner after some fantastic work by Tyler Roberts who stopped the ball from going over the goal line and passed the ball hard across the box where Hernandez was on hand to stick the ball into the net. Cue, wild celebrations around the ground with limbs everywhere and it was hard to keep my feet in the melee. I wouldn’t have changed it for the world as the team celebrated with the fans.  We’d fought back, never given up and it had paid off. Scenes like this are out of this world and what makes being a Leeds United fan special. When the final whistle blew fans stayed glued to the stands to continue singing and celebrating as Sheffield United’s home fixture against Bristol City had seen them beaten to put us back up into second place. Getting the three points is all that matters to me and I don’t care how we do it but experiencing the winner means I want more of that. We have only seven games left and it is in our hands once again to get that automatic promotion place.

In the second half of the game, I have never wanted to beat someone as much as I did when I found my dislike of Millwall reached fever pitch. With their deliberate goading of the fans in both the Kop and South Stand after scoring their goals, if that isn’t inciting trouble I don’t know what is? It took until the 81st minute for their goalie to be booked for deliberate time wasting; with every goal kick he went and got a drink before taking the kick. How satisfying it was after our third goal went in as the ground exploded with noise and celebrations. It’s funny how he didn’t waste any more time after that!

There are some fantastic photos on the official site and also a fantastic vlog from Lewis Deighton when the goal went in. Make sure you have a look as they are well worth seeing. My photos are from a fan for the fans and are a different perspective. I know lots of fans love to have their photos taken but am aware not everyone does. I was made aware in no uncertain terms not to take any photos of one person and share them around which is their choice and I am happy to adhere to that. I can’t remember if I have actually posted a photo or they refused one taken which isn’t a problem. I am always happy to take any photos down that people don’t want showing, all that has to be done is ask nicely.

Next week sees us head to Birmingham for the next stage of our battle for promotion where we come up against Monk once again. With their club having just received a nine point deduction due to issues with EFL spending rules, they are still outside the relegation places. We want three points regardless Leeds so let’s get them please! See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United

Leeds United v Sheffield United 16th March 2019 at Elland Road

The weather was foul as my granddaughter Hannah and I headed to Elland Road showing that this storm showed no signs of abating. With flooded roads to contend with on the way home, I’ll be glad when the weather improves. At least we didn’t have snow like Northumberland and Scotland though. For once it wasn’t just the home crowd that was sold out as Sheff Utd had sold all their tickets too so we were looking at a full house. I’d seen on Facebook that a couple had arrived from Malaysia for their honeymoon on what would be their first visit to Elland Road. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to catch up with them for a photo but hope they had a good day. I was also meeting Mark in the Peacock which I’d assumed was to take his photo. It turned out that I was to take part in an interview for the documentary 100 years of Leeds United which was a surprise, but of course I did that. I heard someone shout something about two magpies when they passed me outside the South Stand. Prior to Mark arriving I was talking to some lads one who had read my books and said he had enjoyed them.  Thanks for the feedback which is appreciated.

Hannah wanted to go into the ground early so I made sure she got through the turnstiles before going and renewing our season tickets. Now the paper copies had come through I was able to renew them as the auto cup scheme can be chosen, whereas online you don’t get that option. I have sent the suggestion to the club for the auto cup scheme to be added to the online renewal because it would make it easier and I know I’m not the only one who waits for the paper copy for that reason.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Harrison, Phillips, Klich, Bamford, Roberts, Alioski and Hernandez. Subs: Douglas for Harrison (57), Clarke for Klich (77) and Dallas for Ayling (77). Leeds lost the game 1-0 and had Casilla sent off in the second half. Attendance was 37,004 with 2,641 Sheffield United fans.

As the game kicked off there was a minute’s applause for Bill Fotherby who died this week. He was Chairman of Leeds during our promotion from the Second Division and winning the title in the First Division which saw Leeds as the Last True Champions.

Leeds started off on the attack before getting a further opportunity a few minutes later when Bamford’s shot was blocked. It looked like he tried to place the ball rather than hit it hard which may have resulted in a better chance. We had another great chance with Harrison but unlucky for us he volleyed the ball over. We kept the pressure up and it was a case of hoping we didn’t rue the missed chances as we were unable to put the ball into the net. We had limited Sheff Utd to a few attacks but then just before the break we were passing the ball across the back but we didn’t seem to know how to take it forward. With that Sheff Utd got the impetus and nearly made us pay as they were unlucky not to score in the final minutes as they upped their attack. They should have been pulled up with a hand ball for one of them and offside for another but got away with both of those decisions. I was glad for the half time whistle to blow but felt by messing about at the back we had given Sheff Utd some hope. At times we had not taken the swirling wind into consideration although Alioski managed one great pass across the pitch.

At the start of the second half as we were attacking towards the Kop, I couldn’t help but notice their players were built like brick “s**thouses” or so the saying goes. It felt a bit like men against the boys (us) when I compared the players as they were hard to fight off at times. We did have a great chance to take the lead when a great attack saw Klich get to the byline to cross to Roberts only for his shot to come back off the post. That was probably our best chance of the game but that started my stomach churning as that familiar feeling that we weren’t going to score came over me. Unfortunately it did come back to bite us as Sheff Utd took the lead when Sharp got the better of Cooper before he passed it to his player to score.  That said we did keep on trying and were attacking when Sharp elbowed Jansson who went down like a ton of bricks. Sadly for us that slowed the game right down and lost our momentum. Sheff Utd were closing us down quickly though which didn’t help. Clarke came on in a double substitution with Dallas. He got to the byline and passed the ball across the goal only for Jansson, who at this time was playing up front, hit the ball past the post. Leeds were still going in search of an equaliser which I’d have happily accepted at this late stage only to be caught out on the counter attack. This time Phillips was overcome and as Sharp ran past him, Casilla who was way out of his area came out and brought him down and was given a straight red card! Down to 10 men but with still a few minutes left plus injury time, saw Jansson go in goal. We survived the free kick and in the last minute when we were awarded a corner, Jansson came out of goal to join the attack but to no avail as Sheff Utd got the win.

Unfortunately this defeat means we drop out of the automatic places with Sheff Utd jumping into the space. As I’ve said many times anyone can beat anyone in this division but both Sheff Utd and Norwich seem to be living charmed lives at the moment. It isn’t over by any means and we still have to go out and get as many points as we can. From shooting on sight at Reading we reverted to type by trying to walk the ball into the net or taking that one step too many instead of catching their goalie unawares. We could also have taken advantage of the wind behind us but sadly wasn’t to be. We now have a week off before Millwall at home with the LUDO dinner, dance on the same evening. I tried getting extra tickets for the Millwall game but was unsuccessful once again. Every time I chose tickets and tried to buy them it wouldn’t let me. Also even though sections were showing limited tickets they were all greyed out! You never know there may be the odd ones that come available before the game! See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United

Reading v Leeds United 12th March 2019 at The Madejski Stadium

After a bad night and an early morning call to Jimmy’s Leeds, I was looking forward to catching up with my sleep on the journey to Reading. Again thank you to fans who spoke to me in support of my husband and me as they are greatly appreciated. I’d seen Andy Loftus post that the plaque for Chris and Kev have been cleaned and restored by Richard Illingworth. As the anniversary of their murders in Turkey nears, I want to say well done as he has done a brilliant job. I was glad I wasn’t driving with the rain and wind causing problems, but things had calmed down by the time we got to the ground just before kick-off.

Reports from those who attended the U23s game at Elland Road on Monday gave some fantastic feedback. They were playing the same way as the first team and there are some more great prospects coming through with the youngsters which are good to hear. Seeing it all falling into place behind the scenes is certainly good news for our club and long may it continue. The other good news was hearing Jack Clarke had returned to the U23s after his recent illness so that is a relief knowing he is okay.

The team: Casilla, Jansson, Cooper, Ayling, Alioski, Roberts, Bamford, Harrison, Hernandez, Phillips and Klich. Subs: Dallas for Ayling (57), Shackleton for Roberts (69) and Douglas for Klich (74). Leeds won the game 3-0 with Klich (14) and Hernandez scoring two (22 and 43). Attendance was 17,701 with 2,071 Leeds fans.

We started off with a lot of possession but seemed nervy with misplaced passes which Reading took advantage of but Casilla made the save to keep them out. Once our nerves settled though, we took the game by the scruff of the neck. Ayling ran down the right, passed the ball into the middle for Klich to score after Bamford had dummied the ball to put us into an early lead. Klich is scoring goals rang out from the Leeds fans who were in good voice. We’d sold out again although we were only given just over 2,000 tickets due to Reading having a “singing area” in the same stand as us. I’d commented that I hoped we could score plenty of goals to shut that drum up! We took the game to Reading then and took a further lead when Ayling once again passed the ball in and Hernandez hit his shot off the foot of the post that went into the goal. The Leeds fans celebrated in style as that would hopefully take the pressure off us. We hadn’t stopped there as we continued on the attack coming close from Klich before Bamford brought a save out of their goalie. Just before half time we scored a third when Hernandez scored a fantastic strike after Bamford released the ball to him. We had taken to scoring from distance today instead of walking the ball into the net which had taken Reading by surprise! 3-0 at half time saw some really happy Leeds fans going into the break.

Again at half time we saw lads who couldn’t be bothered to find their own loos using the Ladies! Although we did manage to shoo some lads out of there and told them to find their own! The Leeds fans below the stand were having a great sing song although two decided to climb up onto the overhead pipes which had my heart in my mouth. I can’t understand those who throw their beer around though especially when it costs so much plus I had to walk gingerly to make sure I didn’t fall on the wet floor!

The second half saw Leeds take their feet off the pedal as we started playing further back. Unfortunately that saw the nerves kick in a bit for me as that’s what normally catches us out. We did still attack, but this format saw Reading get into the game more. When Ayling tried getting out of the way of a Reading player their fans were screaming at him to be sent off. There was no way he could get out of the way and the ref spoke to him. As he’d already been booked Leeds did the right thing and subbed him as he was in danger of being sent to the dressing room. He’d played well though. As the game continued my nerves eased a bit as I saw Leeds were coping well with everything thrown at them. We came so close to a fourth goal when Bamford should have done better and then Hernandez saw his shot go inches wide. Bamford came close again which saw the Reading fans start to give him some stick so the Leeds fans upped their support of him! Hernandez was very unlucky not to get his hat trick though when the goalie made a save initially and he was unable to get to the rebound.  Leeds managed to keep another clean sheet as we took the three points to go back to the top of the league and sent a great Leeds support home happy. As Reading hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for us it was great to get the win too.

For once we didn’t have to negotiate closed motorways on the way home and had a relatively good journey home although the wind closer to Yorkshire and on the M62 was still causing issues.

Saturday sees a crunch game with Sheffield United coming to Elland Road for the early kick off. With another sell-out home crowd both teams have a good run behind them. We know what we have to do Leeds, three points please.  See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United

Bristol City v Leeds United 9th March 2019 at Ashton Gate

Hearing loads of Leeds fans and neutrals had found their tickets for today’s game had been cancelled by Bristol I felt for them. What makes that decision a mockery was seeing half of the away stand seats had been covered over and out of bounds when they could have accommodated these fans. Never mind the money that Bristol threw away, it felt that after the recent spygate incident when the Bristol Chairman was crying out for us to lose points, that this decision was carrying on a vendetta against our club. Well instead of us losing points, can I say thank you Bristol for another three points today making six in total from you!

Once again, I want to say a big thank you to all those fans for showing their kindness and support after a particularly gruelling week for my family. With my husband three weeks into his treatment fighting cancer, there are so many others going through similar challenges. I’d encourage anyone to talk about these things as it does help. Today is my therapy and the recharging of my batteries to help me get through this, so was able to catch up on my sleep both going and coming back from the game. Also I appreciate the comments from those who love reading my blog and for those wanting their photos taking.

We arrived at the ground in plenty time for kick off so my daughter Danielle and I headed to the front of the stand to put my flag up in a prime position near the corner flag. Finding my seat in the stand was very difficult as each section had the same numbered seats which caused confusion. As one fan said someone was in his seat, I intervened and said to check which section he was in. The steward thanked me for my explanation with this. When I eventually found what I thought was my seat, there was no one there who normally stands near me so who knows if it was the right one? I stayed there for the first half though.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Alioski, Harrison, Bamford, Hernandez, Phillips, Roberts and Klich. Subs: Dallas for Bamford (57), Douglas for Harrison (75) and Berardi for Klich (83). Attendance was 24,832 with 2,680 Leeds fans at the game with another 2,000 at the beam back at Elland Road. Leeds won 1-0 with Bamford scoring for Leeds (9) which pleased my friend Sue as she won the golden goal on the coach!

The atmosphere was brilliant and the Leeds fans were in full voice which is something I love. Singing is another thing that is very therapeutic! As the game kicked off there were a few slips on the field so I began to wonder if the rumours about the pitch getting an extra watering were true. It didn’t take us long to get to grips with it though so I assumed it was just a rumour. Bristol had the first chance before Leeds took the lead early on in the 9th minute. Alioski put a fantastic ball over to the right hand side which Ayling headed into the path of Bamford who put the ball into the net. Cue, there was beer thrown everywhere amongst the celebrating Leeds fans. One lad had already fallen over the back of our seats and ended up on the floor next to me. As I looked for the players celebrating too, I realised when I couldn’t see them that someone was down in the penalty area and saw on the replay that Bamford had collided with the post on scoring.  Luckily he was able to carry on after treatment. I thought he’d hit his head but later reports on a knee injury may mean I was wrong. He did go down again later on at the same time as Phillips who had to put the ball out as he needed treatment too.

As Bristol tried to get an attack going, they started making mistakes with the ball going out of play on numerous occasions. We came close again when Roberts brought a save out of their goalie. Leeds looked very comfortable on the ball and to me Bristol only threatened from set pieces. Luckily we dealt with most of them comfortably although a couple of times Casilla raced off his line and we were lucky to not be punished for it. The only time Bristol looked like scoring was when we messed about with the ball on the right hand side just before the break. Alioski was in acres of space on the left hand side but we insisted on playing the ball on the right. This put us into trouble as Bristol won the ball, but luck was on our side for once and we kept them out. Ten minutes before the break though the Bristol fans in the stand to our left were streaming downstairs so obviously they weren’t impressed with the way their team were playing.

At half time I went downstairs and when trying to find the ladies was pointed in one direction. I saw all the lads going through that door so thought it can’t be that way. Well I was wrong, but whoever designed the ladies and gents next door to each other wants a kick up the bum! All that does is make the lads use our loos instead of sticking to their own! It would help if they shut the door whilst in a cubicle too not that they cared! After taking loads of photos I tried finding Tina who I was meeting as she wanted to buy my first book Follow Me and Leeds United. Thank you for the support which is appreciated. We were both at the opposite ends of the stand but then made things worse by both trying to find each other so it was vice versa. I headed to the middle of the stand behind the goal and at least Tina found me there! Someone else is wanting some of my books having bought one last week, but neither of us could remember which one he had so I will have to look at my photos to find out.

Bristol came out fighting more in the second half but we still managed to get to grips with them as we continued to look for a second goal. Some fantastic work by Harrison just in front of us saw him beat three men before passing the ball to Roberts, whose shot was saved easily by their keeper. It’s a shame it didn’t have any power in it. With another set piece Casilla looked way off his line but despite that, we were able to keep Bristol out. When Casilla made a save, all of a sudden there was an outcry with their fans screaming off, off.  It was only afterwards I saw a replay of what happened and it looked like their player caught Casilla. They put heads together but then as the ref approached, the Bristol player stepped back before throwing his head back as if he had been shot. Anyway for once the ref saw someone trying to cheat and get someone sent off or booked but it could have been worse. Suddenly the Bristol fans woke up but they’d been very poor whereas the Leeds fans were getting behind the team and it really was great. As a player was down injured Tina and I went down underneath the stand to get to where my flag was as there was no way we were going to be able to get through the crowd stood in the gangway. As I’ve no grips on my boots we had to tread gingerly as the floors were wet through and it looked like the beer throwers had been having a field day!

I hadn’t seen the blue flare that was set off when we scored as it was right at the other end of the stand. It was only when I was talking to one of our stewards at the end of the game that he said someone suffered greatly from breathing in the smoke and came down to the front where he was promptly sick. A couple of the Bristol stewards were very impressed with my flag too and when asked who my hero was, well there is only one and that is Billy Bremner!

As 90 minutes appeared on the clock, six minutes of injury time was put up. I got nervous a couple of times but on the whole, Leeds continued to battle and keep them out so I wasn’t too bad although I was counting down the minutes. When the ref blew for time the Leeds fans celebrated and sang their hearts out as the team came round for a deserved round of applause. Jansson was roaring to the fans and no one went to leave immediately as the Leeds fans savoured the moment. Another three points put us back into second spot after both Norwich and Sheffield United had won respectively last night and this dinner time.

As we came out of the ground a lad from Russia who had come with some friends I know to the game came to say hello so I got some photos. Our coach was on the same street so we didn’t have far to walk. We didn’t gain much time on the other coaches and by the time we got around the roundabout the rest were just being escorted away from the ground so we joined them. We stopped at the services to change drivers and a coach with fans in red and white were getting off theirs at the same time. As we were coming out of the loos this woman looked at my scarf as I asked who they were: Sunderland was the answer who had been to Wycombe Wanderers. It was only at this point I realised they weren’t in our division because as usual I’d forgotten they’d been relegated. The smallest person in their team had some fighting and as Danielle checked on the scores, there had been sending offs very late in the game which had finished very late. At least the meeting with opposition fans at the services was more civilised, although that was definitely not the case during the seventies!

Another win Leeds gets us closer to our dream, so keep going and onto Reading next. Don’t worry about anyone else, only us and keep getting the points please. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

Leeds United v West Bromwich Albion 1st March 2019 at Elland Road

Before the game I couldn’t have told you what day we were one never mind who we were playing, plus I’d forgotten the game had been moved for Sky. Suffering from extreme lethargy I needed a pick me up that’s for sure. The Navan Whites were bringing their new flag with them and I’d arranged to meet them for a photo. We also had a “spy” in the camp today as Jeff Astle’s daughter had travelled with some Leeds fans to the game. For anyone who doesn’t know, Astle scored a goal in 1971 at Elland Road when referee Ray Tinkler let them play on with a player in an offside position. Tinkler has never been forgiven for that decision by Leeds fans which cost us the league. It also resulted in us having to play our first four games of the next season away from home, two at Huddersfield, one at Hull and one at Hillsborough due to a few fans running on the pitch in protest.

There was a fantastic atmosphere in the Peacock before the game and lots of singing which was great. I’m not sure if Dave Aalbers had got in there prior to kick off. I’d spoken to him the day before about Leeds United for a story that will be published on the Dutch site VICE Sports. He couldn’t have chosen a better game to come to either.

The team: Casilla, Jansson, Cooper, Phillips, Hernandez, Harrison, Roberts, Bamford, Alioski and Ayling. Subs: Dallas for Harrison (77) and Shackleton for Roberts (90+2). Leeds won the game 4-0 with goals from Hernandez (20 seconds), Bamford 28 & 63 and Alioski (90 + 2). Attendance was 35,808 with approx. 2,500 WBA fans (they’d had official transport put on for them to attend the game today which forced them to stay until the end of the game!) It was also another sold out game.

I’d just made my way to my row and was on my way to my seat when I stopped in my tracks. Our first attack of the game had seen us go straight to the opposite end and I thought we’re going to score! As the ball hit the back of the net from Hernandez, Elland Road erupted as I tried to keep my beret on my head and take photos amongst the celebrating fans. What a start that was. In my last blog I’d said that Leeds have to remember that the best form of defence is attack so I’m pleased that Bielsa had taken my advice lol! As the crescendo of noise erupted around Elland Road with an electrifying atmosphere, we couldn’t have asked for a better start. Leeds were fighting for every ball and it was great to see. That raised the tempo of the game even more as Leeds drove forward in search of more goals. As is the norm at Elland Road, the ref was giving free kicks galore to West Brom as every little tap saw them go down whereas we didn’t get the same benefit. Admittedly some were free kicks but others were questionable especially when he let things go against us. That did not deter Leeds though as Bamford was put through by Roberts to score a second goal for us ramping up the atmosphere even more. The celebrating Leeds fans couldn’t believe what they were seeing after the recent defeat at QPR, what a contrast as each player was fighting for each other and playing as a team. It was a fantastic sight to see and the only game that came close in my point of view was the Derby home game. West Brom did come close to scoring as their long range shot tested Casilla who was off his line. Luckily for us he tipped the ball over the crossbar making a great save. To be honest though, we limited West Brom to rare chances such was our domination of the game. We had further chances before half time but it was great to go into the break in a two goal lead.

The one thing I did notice though which Peacock-Farrell got loads of stick for, was Casilla’s positioning in goal from free kicks outside the area. For example when the free kick was taken in front of the Kop, the wall was lined up to the right and he stood to the left of that leaving a massive gap at the other side of the goal. West Brom only had to lift the ball over the wall for a clear chance, as there was no way Casilla would have got to the ball and would have needed a man on the line. The only thing I will say on that score is that to me, it obviously isn’t down to the player but the way they are trained that makes them leave the big gap.

It was great having a half time chat after the first half we’d just seen as everyone was in good spirits. I said I needed to get back to my seat just in case we did a repeat of the first half by scoring immediately.  I did have to wait a little bit for that to happen though. Admittedly I did get a little nervous at the start of the second half as that was when West Brom were at their most dangerous. You can always tell when I get nervous as the lad in front of me said I had started swearing, oops! It didn’t take Leeds long to get back into the game though, closing them down and fighting for everything. Roberts was having his best game of the season for me although I’d forgotten he’d come from West Brom as it was so long ago, plus Bamford then scored his second goal of the game to put us three goals up. Fantastic scenes all around the ground as the crowd never stopped with their support and singing. I loved every minute of that and it is the best therapy I could ask for. We had even more chances but their goalie made the saves to keep us out. When Shackleton came on during injury time, one of the first things he did was run down the wing to the left of us and cross the ball. When this happened a second time the crowd erupted as the ball hit the back of the net. I thought he’d scored, but it turned out Alioski was in the middle to put it in the back of the net to give us a convincing win at 4-0 to put us back to the top of the table. Happy, happy Leeds fans, players and staff, in fact everyone connected with us were ecstatic that the game had turned out that way. Prior to the game someone said we would get beaten 2-1. My response was I didn’t predict scores and would make my judgement on what I saw on the pitch but it was a must win game for us. Thank you Leeds United for making my night as I loved it. This is what makes supporting Leeds United special, our fans and the team playing like this. It was lovely to see a photo of Bielsa after this game smiling away but he still wouldn’t take any credit, it was always everyone one else who should be given the praise. What a humble man and a fantastic ambassador for the game and it’s a shame there are not more people like him. The bonding he has done with the team is fantastic to see, all for one and one for all, I love it!

We have a nice weekend to look forward to now but as I’ve said, we should just concentrate on Leeds United and forget about everyone else. We stood up to be counted today and will have sent shivers down the spine of others around us. Keep going Leeds and onto Bristol next week so see you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

QPR v Leeds United 26th February 2019 at Loftus Road

As Leeds headed to QPR for the re-arranged game, I tried to ignore all the stats coming out about their recent bad run of defeats. Having followed Leeds for so long, I know the form books go out of the window when they play us but for once I was hoping we would have the impetus. I would much rather play games on the said day and get the points rather than have a game in hand. Time would tell how that would pan out. I want to say a big thank you to my friend Sue for being a shoulder to cry on.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Bamford, Hernandez, Phillips, Alioski, Roberts, Klich and Harrison. Subs: Douglas for Phillips (65), Dallas for Ayling (73) and Brown for Alioski (81). Leeds lost the game 1-0. Attendance was 14,763 with 3,105 Leeds fans.

Leeds came out on the attack but the final ball was wide. Their goalie made a great save to deny us a goal from Phillip’s header from another attack. The closest we came to scoring was when the ball went across the penalty area and when it looked like Bamford was going to score; unfortunately he missed connecting with it. I wasn’t sure if he’d taken his eyes off the ball or whether it was just too far in front of him, as it was hard to say at the time. The saying that you have to take your chances when they are there comes to mind. QPR had been time wasting from the off but were continuing to frustrate Leeds by always trying to get the ball back off us. Roberts kept winning the ball but then lost it or gave it away and there were a lot of show boating flicks from a few players, that didn’t come to anything as QPR won it back. Despite us not scoring, the Leeds fans in the stand had been fantastic with constant singing and putting on a great atmosphere. This always lifts the mood for me as I love the singing. Leeds continued to have a lot of possession but were constantly passing the ball back to Casilla. He made one great save to keep out QPR and another one when he put his head on the line so to speak. We do seem to be passing the ball back a lot at the moment though and should remember the best form of defence is attack. Liam Cooper went off with a head injury that needed stitching just before half time. You could see Leeds just wanted to contain QPR to ensure they didn’t score until he came back on the pitch just before the whistle blew.

At half time I was talking to some fans who said it had been rubbish so far. I didn’t think it had been too bad as we’d been attacking, but got that familiar sinking feeling in my stomach. QPR took the lead in the first few minutes of the second half which came from us not keeping possession. Our passing hadn’t been crisp, were short, and QPR took advantage to fight for the ball putting our players under pressure. As we lost the ball in the far right hand corner from us, the ball flew across the penalty area and their man was behind our players to put the ball into the net from close range. I’d no idea where Casilla was at this stage and will need to see what happened. The mistake of losing the ball at the back had cost us dearly. QPR went on the attack and Casilla was forced into making a couple of good saves to keep them out. Alioski brought out a great save from their keeper as he crossed the ball from the left when it looked ready to dip under the bar. When Phillips was subbed I was mystified because there were plenty of other players I would have brought off before him. I had to hope that Bielsa knew what he was doing. Douglas had a fantastic chance to score only to blast the ball high into the stand. It should have been on target at least. Frustrations were creeping in amongst the support with the miss although the fans were still getting behind the team. We had another great chance to equalise but the ball wouldn’t go in after first Dallas, then Bamford had their goalie making the saves and living a charmed life. I felt if we could get one goal then we’d get another but the longer the game went on, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Izzy Brown came on for his debut; many Leeds fans think he is going to make a difference to us. My first impressions of him weren’t great, because his first tackle could have had him seeing red as soon as he got on the pitch. I would have taken a draw but the loss saw Leeds stay in third place on goal difference. Scoring is an issue at the moment that’s for sure despite all the possession we are having.

Knowing how demoralised I felt at the end of the game, I could empathise with Bielsa after seeing the photo of him on social media, slumped on his haunches. We have to “Keep Fighting” every game and still get as many points as possible as it is not over yet. Please don’t put us through the horrors of the play offs Leeds, we need to aspire to automatic promotion and it isn’t over until the fat lady sings so they say! Keep the faith Leeds fans, as always we will have our ups and downs as we keep Marching on Together! For those fans who had to endure the normalities of motorway closures on an away day which meant some of our northern contingent didn’t get home until 4am, I hope the players appreciate what our supporters do to follow their team. West Bromwich Albion at home is going to be another key game this week so see you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

Leeds United v Bolton Wanderers 23rd February 2019 at Elland Road

Firstly, it was good to hear that Jack Clarke’s recent illness has been diagnosed as a virus and that he is back in light training. Get better soon Jack and I look forward to seeing you back on the pitch.

The soap opera of Leeds United reflects my own family, with always something going on. This time it was the news that we had been found guilty of spygate by the EFL and had been fined £200,000. What a load of rubbish, as this ended up out of hand due to lies that were spread. What I want to know, is why Frank Lampard has not been brought up for bringing the game into disrepute for spreading those lies? That isn’t showing goodwill towards us so what is different? The answer is nothing, it’s just that we are called Leeds United and there is one rule for us and one for everyone else. No one will change my mind about that as I’ve seen too much of it sadly and although the club accepted the fine to move on quickly, I would have liked to have seen us fight back for once. 

Today was a glorious spring day as we headed to Elland Road for an actual Saturday 3pm kick off and another sellout crowd from the home fans. It certainly makes you feel better and blows the clouds away when the weather is nice like this. As we’d gone down to third on goal difference due to the postponement of our game, against QPR, my stance is that we should ignore everyone else and concentrate on Leeds United only. Just keep getting the points and see where the land lies later on.

It was nice to meet up with some Dublin Whites by Billy’s statue and also in the Peacock and I appreciate the comments made to me. Some Ajax fans were in the Peacock too who had come to watch Leeds and I met a group from Malaysia who had come to Elland Road for the first time as well. Such is the pull of Leeds United; this shows our worldwide support including our Scandinavian contingent who had travelled to the game as well. I’d agreed to meet up with the Nottingham Whites for a photo by Don Revie’s statue before heading into the ground. My granddaughter Laura went in the family stand today with my sister Erica and niece Siobhan and she was looking forward to sitting down! It’s standing room only in the Kop so my granddaughter Alexis who is smaller took on that role today, with some help from my daughter Danielle.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Klich, Phillips, Bamford, Harrison, Alioski, Roberts and Hernandez. Subs: Dallas for Roberts (81) and Shackleton for Ayling (90+4). Attendance was 34,144 with approx. 500 Bolton fans. Leeds won the game 2-1 with a penalty by Bamford (16) and Alioski (68) with the winner.

There was a good atmosphere around the ground as the game kicked off. It was Bolton who came close to scoring in the first few minutes with Casilla making the save before Alioski came close with a shot that was tipped over the bar. As is usual, Bolton were showing that they were going to raise their game as they were playing us. Also with some of the tackles flying in, they were going to play by foul means if they had to. They got away with a yellow card for a couple even though the ref pulled them up for it. As we attacked the South Stand Roberts was brought down for a blatant penalty which was given straight away by the ref. That is only our second one of the season and after a few arguments as to who would be our penalty taker, Bamford stepped up to send the goalie the wrong way to put us into the lead on 16 minutes. As soon as he’d given that decision for us, it seemed that the ref had realised he couldn’t do anything in our favour as every little touch for a while was given as a free kick for Bolton. Casilla had my heart in my mouth a few times as he raced off his line to clear the ball with one coming very close to one of the Bolton players.

As it was, Bolton got an equaliser 10 minutes later when we couldn’t clear the ball. Harrison did well to head the ball off the line with Casilla beaten but then we didn’t clear it and after another 3 attempts with the ball running kindly for Bolton, they put the ball into the net. They weren’t going to give up easily that’s for sure. They could have taken the lead not long after this, but luckily the ball went wide of the post. We had a couple of great chances and Bamford’s header didn’t have enough pace on it and was saved by their goalie which was a shame as it was a good move. Their goalie denied us with a great save too so with the scores evens, we went into the break.

With the second half underway, some great play saw Ayling get the ball in the penalty area who was unlucky not to score as the ball went past the wrong side of the post. Casilla was called into action again saving a long range shot. As Leeds looked to bring Dallas on as sub, he suddenly was sent to run up and down the line again as Bielsa decided to leave things as they were for a while longer.  This paid off as Leeds scored again to retake the lead when Alioski’s cross dipped and their goalie was unable to save it. I haven’t seen it again but it’s been mentioned it was deflected but as long as it’s a goal that’s all that counts. A few minutes later after a bad foul on Alioski, it all kicked off on the touchline and ended up with two of the Bolton players booked and their manager Phil Parkinson sent off. Bielsa walked past the entire melee, went to see that Alioski was okay and was as calm as a cucumber! I think his opposite number should have taken a leaf out of his book! We came close a couple of times but were unable to put some breathing space between the teams and despite Bolton coming close in the last minutes of the game, we were able to see it out and claim the three points.

As we ended the first half on the attack, we were awarded a corner but the referee decided to blow the whistle and not let us take it. I’ve mentioned this; because in injury time in the second half we had already played the five minutes plus more and Bolton were awarded a corner. The ref carried on playing until their corner was taken but luckily we headed the ball clear and got the win. With everything the same at the top of the table, we take on QPR next and as usual it won’t be easy as they’ll raise their game no doubt. Just go out there Leeds United and get the three points as that’s all I want!! See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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


Leeds United v Swansea 13th February 2019 at Elland Road

It was good to hear that Jack Clarke was released from hospital and although he is still having more tests this week, I wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the pitch.

Personally, my days of multi-tasking and trying to be Superwoman came to an abrupt end yesterday as the soap opera my family seems to have, has taken its toll on me. Things will happen that we’ve to deal with and although has its challenges, it means I’ve had to take a step back. Thanks to the fans who helped me tonight and despite my tears, I am grateful for their time and support which is appreciated.

Elland Road had another sold out sign tonight showing tremendous support from Leeds fans, with the only empty seats being in the away end. As I waited for my sister Erica to meet me at Billy’s statue, it was nice to chat to a number of fans and take their photos. My granddaughter Hannah and daughter Danielle both went into the ground early whilst I had a quick visit to the Peacock before going into the ground. As the teams came out there was a great atmosphere around the stands.  Everyone stood as one to give a minute’s applause to Gordon Banks who was in goal when England won the World Cup in 1966, who has died.

The team: Casilla, Jansson (celebrating his 28th birthday today), Ayling (making his 100th appearance for the club), Cooper, Hernandez, Klich, Roofe, Bamford, Alioski, Harrison and Phillips. Subs: Roberts for Bamford (71), Shackleton for Klich (77) and Davis for Hernandez (90+1). Leeds won the game 2-1 with goals by Jansson (20) and Harrison (34). Attendance was 34,044 with approx. 400 Swansea fans.

The game started off with Leeds seeing plenty of the ball and having a couple of shots off target. As the game went on we looked to settle down more and we took the lead in the 20th minute after a corner. The ball came back in to the box and Jansson put the ball into the net in front of the South Stand which saw great celebrations all around the ground. Even though Swansea kept running at us and always looked dangerous, Leeds were always still looking to attack. Today it looked like all the players had upped their game which was good to see. There were always going to be some passes that went astray, but everyone was fighting to get the ball with players backing each other up. Swansea came close to scoring with a free kick before Leeds went further in front with a goal from Harrison to give us some breathing space. The lad next to me was giving an update regarding Preston taking a two goal lead against Norwich who themselves had missed a penalty. As I’d said to someone before the game we need to concentrate on us as anyone can beat anyone in this division. We came close to a third goal before the break but went in at half time in the lead.

Swansea came out for the second half looking to get back into the game and for me they never gave up and always looked dangerous. We were still seeing plenty of the ball, attacking and playing some really good football but couldn’t get that third goal despite coming close. We should have got a penalty when Bamford was wrestled to the ground but none was given, surprise, surprise. Casilla was called upon to make a couple of important saves but was sent the wrong way when Swansea were awarded a penalty in the final minutes of the half. I said that was not a good place to give away a free kick and the lad in front of me turned round and said it’s a penalty!  Despite Swansea being given a lifeline, Leeds battled and the crowd were still urging them on until the final whistle blew. What a relief to realise we’d got the points and gone back to the top of the league as Norwich lost their game at Preston.

Due to QPR being changed it means we have a free Saturday this week which is a shame. The one thing it will do before our next game against Bolton at Elland Road on 23rd February, is give our players time to get over any injuries. I would much rather play games on a Saturday than midweek though. I can’t say anyone played badly tonight and they all played as a team which was good to see. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

Middlesbrough v Leeds United 9th February 2019 at The Riverside Stadium

First of all I want to wish a speedy recovery to young Jack Clarke and hope that he is okay, after an incident in the dugout in the second half resulted in him being taken to hospital. This resulted in 12 minutes of injury time which also included time added for subs and time wasting by Boro.

The #spygate saga rose its head again yesterday with the EFL saying they needed more time to go over their observations. I hope this means that Lampard will be brought to task for exaggerating what happened and look into the cheating of other teams etc. I also realise that pigs may fly too!! It’s a disgrace and they aren’t fit for purpose as we didn’t do anything wrong. What isn’t even questionable either is they don’t even try to hide their biased treatment against Leeds United anymore which shows how blatant it is.

I have made sure I have passed on my opinions about home and away tickets, to Leeds United, The Leeds United Supporters Trust (LUST) and the Leeds United Supporters Club. I have also completed a survey for LUST and suggest if you are a member and feel strongly about this that you ensure you share those opinions. There is a forthcoming meeting with the club as far as I’m aware to discuss these findings.

With the LFU AGM coming up I am hoping to attend this on a personal level and as a representative of a group of fans. I know there has been a lot of differing opinions being floated around regarding some people wanting their money back which is their right. Personally mine will stay in for whatever project is coming next.

As we headed to Boro on a really windy and stormy day, it reminded me of last year when we had bad snow which prevented lots of our fans getting to it. By the time we got to Leeds and on our way to our stop in Green Hammerton, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. The wind was always going to have an impact on the game though. The time we had at the club passed really quickly as there was plenty of chatting, laughs and support given amongst us and before we knew it we were on our way to the police escort. By the time we got there it had left the services so with another three coaches we set off for the ground in convoy without an escort. Unfortunately due to traffic, taking a wrong turn and eventually getting into the car park late, we only got in the ground two minutes before kickoff. At least we made it as the teams were already on the pitch as I headed to the end to hang my flag up next to the Shropshire Whites flag.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Phillips, Alioski, Harrison, Bamford, Roofe, Clarke and Klich. Subs: Hernandez for Clarke (46), Roberts for Klich (58) and Shackleton for Ayling (80). Score was 1-1 with Phillips scoring for Leeds (90+11) to equalise at the death. Attendance was 30,881 with approx. 4,500 Leeds fans.

Today was always going to be an important game to try and get us back on track after last week’s defeat by Norwich. Bielsa doesn’t make many changes and although I would have liked to see Shackleton start in place of Ayling, he stuck with the latter. Ayling has been struggling for me and maybe a stint on the bench would fully benefit his recovery from his recent injury. One thing I will not condone though is people tweeting abuse at him, he is a member of our team and doesn’t deserve that regardless if he plays well or not. That goes for any of our players. We had a couple of early chances but didn’t get any on target. One thing that didn’t make sense was us putting high balls in which under the conditions and Boro having height in their defence didn’t work. We need to play to our strengths with the ball being on the floor. We had Casilla to thank for making a great save to deny Boro the lead. On 22 minutes Leeds fans joined in with clapping as a tribute to a Boro fan who was killed recently. I got really angry with Leeds a couple of times as we were on the attack but instead of going forwards, we passed it back to Casilla which put us under pressure and gave Boro the impetus to attack us. They were needless decisions especially when they nearly scored. Our best form of defence is attack which has been proven time after time. Boro came close with a corner as their player headed it over. Luckily for us, as it looked like Casilla took his eyes off the ball as their player got to the ball first.

At the start of the second half Hernandez came on in place of Clarke. Within two minutes our change of tactics contributed to Boro taking the lead as their player ended up in loads of space at the edge of the box. As the ball hit the back of the net that sinking feeling in my stomach appeared again. Despite Boro taking the lead we tried taking the game to them and weren’t giving up. We didn’t always get a run of the ball sadly but we were still trying to get into the game. We came close a couple of times and we should have taken our chance when Bamford hit the ball wide from close range when it really should have hit the back of the net. Their goalie was leading a charmed life when he made a couple of point blank saves to keep us out. As Boro started play acting and time wasting this wound up the Leeds fans. As their player took ages to get off the pitch the referee wasn’t even watching him as he stopped, clapped the Boro fans and hugged his players before eventually getting off the pitch. A couple of minutes after Shackleton came on in place of Ayling Leeds won a corner. Instead of us taking it everything halted and I couldn’t understand why until someone said something had happened in the Leeds dug out. I saw the Paramedics there as I zoomed in with my camera but couldn’t see who it was. The game stopped for a long while so I went to get my flag; the game resumed as our player was put on a stretcher. It was only afterwards that I found out it was Clarke who needed treatment and was taken to hospital after being taken ill. Fingers crossed it isn’t anything too serious and he makes a full and quick recovery. I’d said to one of the Shropshire lads that we needed to play until the final whistle on 90 minutes then realised that it was already past that. I then said until 102 minutes instead and never give up.

As the game resumed, I decided to wait on the stairs in the corner of the stand. I did think that if Leeds scored it wouldn’t be a good place to be as the fans would come hurtling down the stairs. Well I must have had a premonition as we did indeed get that equaliser on 101 minutes. As the ball flew across the area it was headed in to the net by Phillips. I couldn’t work out who had the final touch of the ball until Leeds fans started singing “He’s magic you know, Phillips the Yorkshire Perlo”. I was right in the thick of it as fans came flying down the stairs to the front and going nuts. I moved to the side, grabbed my bag as my feet shot out from under me as I’d no grip on them. Luckily as I fell my bum landed on the seat so I was fine but it could have been so much worse. I then stood on my seat to see and take photos as Leeds fans celebrated. I did see a little lad being lifted over the front and taken by our stewards down the tunnel. I hope he was okay and not sure if he’d just been separated from whoever was with him by the celebrations. As we celebrated as if it was a winner, that goal meant we won a very hard point which could prove to be a turning point for us. The conditions were not brilliant today but we persevered which got us a just result. That goal was for Jack Clarke!

My camera suffered a fault as it wouldn’t let me see the screen at the back of it but worked okay on a selfie. I think I’ve sorted it but as we have Swansea at home next Wednesday it is needed! With QPR away being changed due to their progress in the FA Cup it means even more changes to our forthcoming fixtures on top of the live TV games. Let’s get Swansea over the line first so see you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

Leeds United v Norwich City 2nd February 2019 at Elland Road

As usual things are never straight forward for Leeds United. With lots of fans staying up for the transfer deadline on Thursday evening with the imminent signing of Dan James from Swansea, I went to bed. It was only the next day that I found the deal to be off due to Swansea in fighting, but I found the way they’d handled it as deplorable. What a terrible thing to do to a young player who was sat at his “new” club waiting for things to be finalised. Having just got home from the game tonight and hearing Swansea have parted ways with their chairman it looks like they have lots going on behind the scenes. I really liked Swansea at one time due to them playing in white and having the supporters having a say in the running of the club. How things change!

My granddaughter Laura and I bumped into some Irish lads from Enniskillen as we headed to The Peacock. The pub itself was absolutely heaving before the game and I didn’t even attempt to get to the bar which was about five deep everywhere. There was a good atmosphere though with plenty of singing. I met Mick from the Nottingham Whites who had bought one of my books to sign. He then bought Follow Me and Leeds United from me too so I hope he enjoys the read. He gave me some fantastic feedback from reading my book Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18 and I thank him for that. I’d already bumped into Matt prior to getting to the Peacock and thanks to him and also Linsey and Katie for buying this book also. As always I appreciate the support.

Fans had laid flowers at Billy’s statue in memory of Toby Nye and there was also a minute’s applause at the start of the game for both Toby and a little girl Sophie a Norwich City fan, who had also died from cancer as well as ex Leeds player Phil Masinga. Life can be very cruel sadly.

The team: Casilla, Cooper, Jansson, Ayling, Harrison, Alioski, Roofe, Hernandez, Roberts, Forshaw and Klich. Subs: Douglas for Harrison (46), Clarke for Hernandez, (46) and Bamford for Roberts (63). Leeds lost the game 3-1 with Bamford scoring for Leeds (90+1). Attendance was 36,524 with 2,465 Norwich fans.

The ground was rocking as the game kicked off with a sellout which included a full away end for once. The scarves held up all around the ground looked spectacular and I loved seeing that again. Leeds started off on the attack but within five minutes of the start were once again having to come from behind as Norwich took the lead. We gave away a free kick on the edge of the box and the ball found the top corner of the net in front of us via a deflection off the wall. We had a good chance to equalise as the ball fell to Alioski in the box but his shot skimmed across the front of the goal going wide. We had a couple of shots on target which were easily saved by their goalie. The referee should have twice booked two of the Norwich players for diving and cheating once the game stopped but he didn’t even speak to them. With Norwich being one of the teams to send a letter regarding our “spygate” to the EFL, had also painted the away dressing room pink to try and gain an advantage, it just shows what double standards they have. Before half time we had a great chance with Roberts through on goal only for him to be brought down by their goalie. I thought he was out of his area so it wouldn’t be a penalty, but as he was the last man he should have walked. A booking only sufficed but our resulting free kick was poor. Norwich were looking stronger than us as we looked weak when trying to get the ball from them. Even when we won the ball back we would give it away easily. Forshaw looked very calm as he took the ball then suddenly lost it and the ball just ran perfectly for Norwich as their player tapped it into the net after an initial strike deflected into his path to put them two goals up. Before the game I’d been asked if I was worried about playing Norwich and I said no. I only concentrate on Leeds United and take no notice of other teams. I will always make my judgements when watching the game myself. I realised we had a mountain to climb but thought we’d a few players not pulling their weight. We had got a different formation today with both Roberts and Roofe playing but I felt it wasn’t working well at all. Once again Harrison looked lightweight and he hasn’t proved to me that he deserves a place in the starting lineup only as an impact sub probably. Roofe was being well shackled and to be honest I think we missed Phillips in the team. Bielsa made his judgement to keep him on the bench today but I think it was a mistake not to have him on the pitch. Ayling also looks to be struggling and is definitely not playing well. That saying, we got the ball into the net just on the half time whistle and it took me a minute to realise the ref had disallowed it. Their goalie lost the ball and it should have stood. Sorry I forgot we are not allowed to challenge in the penalty area!

We were still positive going into the second half even though we were two goals down. Both Harrison and Hernandez were subbed for Douglas and Clarke but it didn’t make a difference to the way we played. I thought Douglas was very poor when he came on and would much rather have put Alioski at left back and brought Phillips on. It was ages before we got the ball to Clarke too but when he did get it, he always looked dangerous. Norwich were still the stronger of the teams overall but their play acting I can well do without, although we were still giving the ball away far too easily. Maybe when things are so difficult in getting near the penalty area we should try having more shots from outside the box. I know many will go skyward but catching the goalie unawares may work. To cap it all, Norwich got a third goal when the ball went through Casilla’s legs to put the score beyond doubt. Bamford hit the crossbar before getting a consolation goal for us in injury time. With the home terraces emptying at great speed, we stayed where we were until the bitter end. It was a very disappointing game for Leeds and I don’t think we played well at all, only in small patches.

As always we have to move on and that will be for the Boro game next week which is now another early kick off apparently due to police advice. I will take the game as it comes even though it will be tough. There is still a long way to go to see how the season ends, but anyone can beat anyone in this division as we found out today. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together. 

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the following books:

Follow Me and Leeds United

Once a Leeds fan, Always a Leeds fan

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

The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Load more