Daily Express 13th September 1975
I have used my photos taken by the Daily Express in 1975 as they are a reminder of my love for Scotland due to the Leeds United players in the national team and of the Bay City Rollers. With lead singer Les McKeown dying suddenly this week, that is another part of my childhood favourites gone. My friend Linda who is in the photos with me said after a visit to old Trafford in the 70s, that man u fans had put our photo on a dartboard and thrown darts at us! The joys!
Last Tuesday I made an early morning appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live about my opposition to the European Super League. The whole thing collapsed very quickly after all the opposition from fans around the country, but I would not trust those six clubs as far as I could throw them not to try something like that again. These clubs need repercussions especially as Leeds United with our “spying” at Derby resulted in a £200,000 fine for not acting in good faith. Even though we were in the EFL when that happened and not in the EPL I would ban them from Europe for a period for starters. Those people excusing them points deductions because that punishes fans, it has not stopped the powers that be from doing that to other clubs before this. They cannot be treated any differently because they were supposed to be a “big six” club.
I am glad the game was today rather than yesterday as I had an argument with my grandson Freddie’s slide on Friday and came off the worst. After losing my balance, went flying over it landing on my hand and bending my fingers back, it meant a trip to a and e. Luckily, although badly swollen and not being able to bend my fingers, I only sprained them. Although not back to normal yet at least I can use them to type again. As a neighbour observed it was very spectacular sight albeit in my eyes, not like a dying swan but instead like a beached whale.
Team: Meslier, Alioski, Struijk, Llorente, Ayling, Phillips, Bamford, Dallas, Harrison, Roberts and Costa – Bielsa naming an unchanged side. Subs: Poveda for Harrison (68), Klich for Costa (72) and Koch for Roberts (76). Subs not used: Casilla, Hernandez, Berardi, Shackleton, Crysencio Summerville and Sam Greenwood. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: Craig Pawson. Booked: Ayling, Roberts, Alioski and Bamford.
I know many fans were looking forward to playing man u but to me it was just another game as I only concentrate on Leeds United. There again as soon as I saw the kit, badge, and that awful colour on the pitch, I realised the dislike I felt for them was still underneath the surface with a passion. Some things never change. All I wanted was for Leeds to get something out of the game with a draw, but three points would be a bonus.
They got a free kick on the left-hand side in the first minute which brought an easy save from Meslier. This side proved to be very popular for the free kicks awarded their way as they put their next one over the top. I’m not sure what had happened between Phillips and Fernandes, but something had them laughing together, maybe because Phillips was man marking him. Leeds then saw a shout for hand ball only to see VAR make a quick judgement on it and no penalty given surprise, surprise. Some of our passing lacked conviction but I thought we would get that once we settled down and would be fine. We were having to defend well as we were under constant attack apart from our little spell. When Harrison ran onto the ball on the wing, I assumed he’d been judged offside when the referee stopped the game and gave the free kick to man u. He was well behind the defender though but when a similar thing happened shortly afterwards, I still had no idea why either of those decisions were given and wished they’d have shown some replays of the incidents.
They were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box, but the shot went over the top. Leeds won our first corner just after the half hour mark, but we could not beat the first man and they got the ball away. A good shot from Dallas straight at the keeper was saved by him. Ayling was closing Rashford down who was through on the wing and ‘slipped’ to bring him down which earned him a booking. Roberts then found himself in the book, but I thought he was unlucky to have been penalised. The referee was already getting me worked up with all the free kicks heading man u’s way athough when Struijk was pulled up replays showed he did stand on James’s foot. A fantastic save from Meslier kept it scoreless going into the break in what had been a very fast first half.
Harrison and Costa had swapped sides at the start of the second half. Leeds had to be on their toes when man u nearly got through, but we defended well and put the ball out for a corner. When their player went down easily in the penalty area and complained, replays showed some jostling with Alioski which never warranted anything further anyway. Leeds were letting them know they were there when our passing became crisper and we battled to come away with the ball. With our short passing between us that had them chasing shadows I knew the lads were doing well. A great through pass from Llorente started a move that ended with a great cross from Costa across the box but no one was near enough to hit it into the net. With Phillips doing some great man marking and then some excellent tackling from Ayling at the edge of the box, man u knew they were in a battle and some of their players did not like it.
Suddenly they were through on the attack again which brought a save from Meslier then Alioski whipped the ball off their toes just as they were ready to shoot. Leeds then went on the attack and a great shot from Costa won us a corner. Alioski then found himself in the book as they won the ball from Costa and started on the attack. As they were dropping like flies when being man marked the referee obliged by giving them, all the free kicks. When one lashed out at Alioski, I knew we were getting under their skins. Poveda replaced Harrison then Roberts was brought down which earned a Maguire booking. When Bamford kicked the ball away in frustration when he couldn’t keep it in play, the referee booked him. Well, the same should have happened to their player in the first half then as he kicked the ball away after a free kick was given to us. The referee missed Costa being fouled and he had to go off injured just after that. That was not a surprise as us winning free kicks was definitely the rarer in the two teams.
Bamford sent a great through ball for Klich to make a shot, but it was quite tame and easily saved by the keeper who then saved a long range shot from Ayling. Struijk was playing well and doing some great defending but the ball was running better for man u as well as the referee giving them absolutely everything. The game was end to end with again good work from Struijk and Poveda. Their player was already trying to go down but Poveda kept snapping at his heels and continued battling to keep the ball. My exasperation with the referee showed with my chosen words as he consistently gave every advantage, he could to man u. In the final minutes we were battling to get the ball away but kept giving it back to them but eventually we were awarded a free kick on the edge of our box. As the final whistle blew and the score remained at 0-0, I was happy with that score. Well done lads it was a good point and a battling performance and as always, I am proud to be Leeds.
With news coming out that Leeds fans can now pick up their crowdies I am looking forward to picking ours up once more dates are released. By the time I tried booking a slot they were all sold out very quickly and it will be so nice getting back to Elland Road. As the last few games are upon us Leeds were in 9th place with a respectable 47 points and have an away game at Brighton next week before Spurs at home the following week. LUFC – Marching on Together!