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I handed a copy of my new book Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United to Stix, Leeds United’s Player Liasion Officer at the recent VIP event of the Leeds United Trust Centenary Exhibition. Last Monday Stix had been asked to ring me up to thank me for the book from Bielsa himself which was a really nice gesture. Imagine my surprise and amazement that had me buzzing, when on Tuesday morning I received a telephone call from the great man himself. Wow, Marcelo Bielsa on the phone to me!!! For him to take the time to ring a Leeds United fan himself just shows to me what a treasure he is for the club. Although he needed his interpreter for some of the conversation and would need him to help read the book, he did say he would like to get a photo of me with the book. Hopefully this can be arranged in the near future which would be an honour for me. Fingers crossed this can be arranged. I’d also like to thank my neighbour Keith for buying 10 of the books at once.
Although it was another miserable day as the rain started again on our way to Leeds, my granddaughter Hannah and I headed to the players’ entrance to see the team arriving. With the team arriving later than usual, we were there longer than I’d intended which didn’t work out well for some of my new books that were in a new bag. Oh well, it means that my daughter has ended up with one of the damaged books now. I met up with Bev and Steve our Bournemouth Whites who did the foreword for the book as loyal Leeds fans, just as they were leaving the Peacock. Thanks for the support in buying a book and I appreciate their help. We stayed in the Peacock for a while and there was a great atmosphere in there and with the weather being bad, it was rammed with fans. A young girl was attending her first game from Newcastle and I caught up with Mick from Nottingham. Butch from The White Rose branch was celebrating his 60th birthday and also Chris who stands behind us in the ground was also enjoying birthday celebrations so happy birthday to them both. I wondered why the Peacock had started emptying and assumed it was because the rain had stopped, only to have it pointed out to me by Hannah that there were only 20 minutes left until kick-off.
The team: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, Dallas, Bamford, Harrison, Klich, Costa, Roberts, Phillips and White. Subs: Hernandez for Costa (77) and Davis for Harrison (84). Leeds won the game 2-0 with goals from Roberts (39) and Harrison (82). Attendance was 35,284 with 1,093 QPR fans.
The opening minutes saw some passes going astray as the wet conditions contributed to some scrappy play. QPR were seeing a lot of the ball courtesy of the ref, who kept blowing up for every challenge on them which after numerous times started to rile the Leeds fans up. With some of them unjustified, it was good to see him letting things go more after approx. 20 minutes. They were also looking to waste as much time as possible. In the meantime, QPR had come close to opening the scoring but the shot went wide. Klich got into a glorious position in lots of space in the middle of the goal but hit the ball over the bar. He looked to have the goal at his mercy but it was only then that I realised how small their keeper was. Ayling headed over the bar from a free kick before it looked like Bamford had rounded their keeper and was going to slot the ball into the net, only for the ball to be whipped off his toes by a defender. With the ball ending up back with their keeper, he’d been so close to scoring. Leeds continued to attack and were stringing together some play down the left hand side towards the South Stand but ended with Bamford’s header going wide. Shortly after this, Leeds took a deserved lead when Harrison passed the ball across to Tyler Roberts who struck his first time shot into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. It was no more than Leeds deserved and it was good to get the goal just before the break. Although QPR came close to scoring when the ball was crossed across the box in front of us and their player missed it by inches, I wasn’t unduly worried. Bamford had a header saved on the stroke of half-time before the whistle blew.
Although I’d been chatting below the stands with my friend Carole for what seemed ages, I couldn’t believe it when I got back to my seat and found the Leeds team had come back out onto the pitch but not QPR. Leeds set off in the second half attacking the goal in front of us with first Costa, then Roberts involved, before the latter’s pass just missed the foot of the outstretched Bamford. To me, Costa had been playing so much better today and in my opinion, having Roberts there to help him made such a difference to his game. Roberts and Klich had shots at the goal before we got a second goal, or so we thought. Bamford’s diving header after a great cross from Roberts had everyone cheering before realising the linesman had put his flag up for offside. After coming so close to scoring it would have been great to see Bamford on the scoresheet but it wasn’t to be. Cooper had the ball and as he ran towards the goal, some around us shouted shoot. Well he did as they asked but it went wide, so they started saying you should have passed it instead! It was quite funny though. QPR had a couple of rare attacks before Leeds did indeed score a second goal. Harrison passed the ball across to Klich in the penalty area but it rebounded back to him so he slotted the ball into the net. Almost immediately Harrison came off as Davis came on and the young lad immediately ran at goal but his shot was saved by the keeper. After another good run down the wing from Davis the keeper saved a shot from Roberts before the whistle blew for full-time.
It was good to get a win and also to score two goals to set us up for our second home game next weekend against Blackburn. Hopefully I will catch up with a couple of fans from Australia and Mexico before the game. 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