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We headed into Leeds early today as I was meeting Marcelo Bielsa to have a photo taken with my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United. After dreaming half the night about trying to get to meet him but it not happening, I was happy to get to the ground in good time. After meeting Stix at the players’ entrance, my husband, granddaughter Hannah and I were taken into the players’ lounge to wait for the team and Bielsa to arrive. Nice and friendly staff in there contributed to a very welcoming atmosphere and thank you for that. When Stix came to get me, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I thought I’d just get my photo taken at the entrance. As it was, I was taken into the Manager’s office where I got a big hug from Bielsa before going to face the cameras. I wasn’t expecting to be filmed and in the rush I nearly forgot I wanted a photo with my book. The first photo saw Bielsa doing the Leeds salute with me too then I got the other one. After getting a final hug from Bielsa and also getting my book signed by him later as I’d forgotten to do that also, I’d like to say that he is a man in a million. Hannah said she wanted the signed book but unfortunately for her, this one is mine to keep. She then asked if she could have it when I die. I had to laugh at that and said she may need to fight my daughter Danielle for it! Getting this opportunity today though was absolutely brilliant and I am grateful to Stix for arranging this for me and thank you to him too.
After a visit to the Peacock we got in to the ground before the teams came out. As there had been a heavy frost this morning I was expecting it to be colder but had wrapped up well. The sun had been shining making it a nice day for a game of football. I said to a few people that Leeds would win 5-0 today. I know it was a tongue in cheek score line but one day, someone is going to get a hammering so why not start today? As it was I was very close to being right, although my daughter thought I’d had a knock on the head so to speak.
The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Dallas, Hernandez, Phillips, Costa, Bamford, Klich and Harrison. Subs: Costa for Alioski (76), Nketiah for Bamford (79) and Berardi for Phillips (83). Leeds won the game 4-0 with goals from Bamford (3), a brace from Klich 45+3 and 73) and Costa (67). Attendance was 35,626 with 1,806 Middlesbrough fans.
Leeds set off on the attack at a fast pace which ended with Ayling’s shot wide of the post. As Leeds continued to attack with Harrison running at the defence, their keeper pushed out the resulting header from Bamford. When the ball came back out to Hernandez on the right, his pass found Bamford again, only this time his header was put into the net to give Leeds an early lead after three minutes. Bamford was very unlucky not to get a second shortly afterwards but he was denied again by their keeper. The pace of the game quietened down after approximately 20 minutes and although Boro were seeing more of the ball, Leeds were able to deal with them. Some passing was short which gave Boro a bit of hope when they won the ball back. When Casilla whipped the ball off the toes of one of the Boro players leaving him on his backside, the Leeds fans cheered. It had been a close call, but he was very cool and all credit to him. As half time approached, Bamford got the ball at the left hand side of the penalty area. His cross came back to Klich who then with the luck of a deflection put the ball into the net to double our lead. That was great timing just on the stroke of half-time.
The fans were in good voice at the start of the second-half and the two goal lead had given us some breathing space. We were unlucky not to get a further goal but that was thanks to their keeper making a good save from Harrison. When the fans shouted at Dallas to shoot, well he did as they asked but unfortunately the resulting shot was well wide. We did indeed get another goal when Costa after some good play, got into the penalty area and scored our third of the day. This was also his first league goal for Leeds. Casilla was called into action before the Leeds attack was seen at the Kop end again. When Leeds took a short corner the ball came to Klich on the edge of the box to the right of us. He let fly with a great shot that ended up in the top left hand side of the goal to us. Four goals on the day and I came close to the right score when Phillip’s free-kick nearly made it five, only for their keeper once again making a great save to deny him a goal. Despite Boro seeing some of the ball they didn’t really pose a threat. I knew Woodgate our ex-player was managing them now, but I’d forgotten about Howson playing for them and only saw him clapping the fans at the end.
Thank you to both Gary and Roy for buying my new book so I hope you enjoy the read. Today was a good result for us making it five wins out of five and takes us into our early kick-off next Saturday at Huddersfield. Unfortunately for us Phillips will be banned for this one due to his booking today. I’ll be driving to this one so 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