Leeds United v Blackburn Rovers 9th November 2019 at Elland Road

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It’s been a busy week relating to Leeds United starting with the opening of the Leeds United shop in the White Rose Centre last Sunday. I queued for ages with my granddaughter Hannah to go and meet the players who were there Alioski and Meslier plus Josh Warrington too. We thought we were nearly at the front of the queue only to find out we had to queue further in the unit opposite the shop. There was talk that the players were going at 12.00pm and we still hadn’t got into the shop and there were still loads of fans behind us. Luckily they were still there by the time we got in and despite being told we couldn’t take any photos by a young girl, there were no issues when we got to the front of the queue with Stix helping to take the photos.

Thursday saw the LUFCTrust, Allan Clarke and Paul Trevillion evening at the Centenary Exhibition in the Merrion Centre. With my friend Linda who made my flag that is on show there and my daughter Danielle, we had a great evening and the entertainment and stories from both Allan and Paul were first class. I could stay listening to them both forever. A well done to the LUFCTrust too for organising this and also if you haven’t visited the exhibition please go, as it is well worth it. Allan said that to make sure Leeds fans have a voice, they should join the LUFCTrust.

Today I’d arranged to catch up with Daryll from Australia who had travelled over to the game last week. We’d been unable to meet up then due to the Peacock being so packed, so arranged to meet at Billy’s statue instead. At least he has managed to see two home wins in a row! Sadly I didn’t see the lad from Mexico but hope he made the game. Thanks to Keith for buying my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United and it was nice to talking to Tony about all of my books. It’s nice to hear he will want to buy them all in due course, the same as Craig and Michelle who bought the new one today also. As always, I appreciate all the support from fans together with comments made about my books and blog. I do these things because of the Leeds United fans who are second to none. It was nice having a chat with the wife and daughter of one of the lads who I used to travel in to games with in the seventies, who is sadly no longer with us. After going into the Peacock, my granddaughter Alexis and I headed into the ground early. As there was to be the customary minute’s silence and last post played because today is the nearest game to Armistice Day in memory of fallen soldiers, I had to be there in good time. As it was we got in early enough and I managed to get photos of the two Remembrance flags I saw on show, one up on Level 4 belonging to Phil Thumbsup Cresswell and the other from Harry one of our Bradford Whites. I’ve got a photo with Harry that is in the latest book, holding the same flag up at West Bromwich Albion last season. A poignant day, but I’ve so much respect for those who served our country and it is good to see they will never be forgotten.

The team: Casilla, Cooper, White, Ayling, Dallas, Klich, Costa, Roberts, Bamford, Harrison and Phillips. Subs: Berardi for Cooper (injured 72), Hernandez for Costa (81) and Davis for Harrison (90+2). Leeds won the game 2-1 with Bamford scoring a penalty (30) and Harrison (35). Attendance was 35,567 with 973 Blackburn fans.

The game kicked off similarly to last week with passes going astray or not enough power in them to get to our players. With plenty of free-kicks going Blackburn’s way too, the one that really riled the Leeds fans up was being pulled back to the half-way line where one of their players was down injured, when we were on the attack. Blackburn also started with some timewasting tactics but luckily after 20 minutes the ref curtailed some of the blowing up and played on. It was apparent to me that Harrison was up for the game today and on fire with his speed down the wing welcomed. Roberts being back in the squad was also good to see and that has made an impact in my opinion which has benefited a few others. As we started to get on top of our game,  it was Robert’s pass to Ayling in the box that resulted in a penalty given when the latter was brought down. The ref had no hesitation when pointing to the spot. Bamford got hold of the ball to take the penalty and I noticed he had a swagger about him that oozed confidence. Roberts went to try to get the ball to take the penalty but was told by others that Bamford was to take it. When Bamford put the ball into the net to put us into the lead, it took me back to listening to Sniffer on Thursday. He said he told someone the night before Wembley that he was going to score and Leeds were going to win the FA Cup which they did in the Centenary year. This game remains my favourite one of all time and seeing Billy Bremner presented with the FA Cup by Her Majesty the Queen was the highlight for me. The feelings were out of this world and that team is why I’m still the loyal Leeds fan I am today. Bamford enjoyed his celebrations and it will mean a lot to him getting on the scoresheet and should take the pressure off him. Within five minutes, he had received the ball at the left hand side of the box which he passed over to Harrison who scored via the righthand post to put us two up. I’d had no perceptions about the game or scoreline until then, but at that time I thought we could get more goals. As it was, Blackburn had a rare attack and won a  corner. Kiko went for the ball but went straight back on to his line only to see the ball headed past him into the net. I’d thought that was Kiko’s ball all the way and he should have punched it out instead of waiting for the header on the line. It took the sting out of the game just before half-time but we were still in the lead. With Leeds fans being in the bottom half of the West Stand because Blackburn didn’t sell enough tickets, I thought we’d gone back in time. Seeing a steward making everyone sit down time after time, I thought how ridiculous. When fans in the South Stand, Kop and Cheese Wedge were all stood up it made a mockery of the decision.

As Costa got the ball in the second half, I said to the man next to me that I’d forgotten he was on the pitch. Although he’d been involved in some moves in the first half, they had been sporadic. With that he started to get into the game more and looked impressive with a couple of attacks down the wing. Obviously it is something he has to work on for future games but it does show what he can do. With Harrison in good positions to receive the ball, one cross was inches away from Bamford’s outstretched feet. Cooper had a shot saved by their keeper before he had to go off due to injury. I didn’t see him go off the pitch only Berardi coming on, so I’d no idea what had happened. There again Roberts had been brought down by his back foot or so I thought. When I shouted at the ref for not giving us a free kick, the lad in front of me said he hadn’t been touched. Well I know I’m biaised but I was convinced that’s what I’d seen but when things happen so fast, it’s not surprising that I see what I want to lol. Harrison was my man of the match today especially with the chances he had to score. Roberts was also playing well as he was fighting for every ball and brought out a great save from their keeper. Blackburn had a rare attack but Leeds won the ball back and went straight on another attack towards us. When I thought the ball should have been passed to the left of us, it went straight down the centre but as the ball ran kindly for us the final shot was wide. Roberts was brought down at the right hand side of the box and the resulting free-kick saw Bamford wacked off the ball too. A couple of times when Leeds were attacking the linesman to the left of us made some baffling decisions. With the minutes running down, Leeds were able to keep the ball at the Kop end and win the game for another three points. I noticed that Roberts was limping after that last challenge so it’s a good job we’ve got the International break next week. That was until I heard him say he’d been called up for Wales so I just hope he manages to get over the injury quickly. I haven’t heard anything more about Cooper’s injury as yet but hopefully, that isn’t a recurrence of the one he has just come back from and more of a precautionary substitution.

Next week I’m going to take advantage of the break to do some Christmas shopping before we return for two away games in a row with first Luton and then Reading. Middlesbrough sees our next home game so hopefully I’ll catch up with some of you then. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!

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, Leeds United in the 1980s
  • The Sleeping Giant Awakens, Leeds United 2016-17
  • Back to Reality, Leeds United 2017-18
  • Out now: Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United

 Website: www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United: Instagram: Heidi Haigh – lufcheidi @followmeandleedsunited

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