Overlap Fan Debate 11th August 2021
man utd A 14th August 2021
United Are Back! With a spring in my step because away days are back, I was parked up at Elland Road very early for the coach. Being back with our fans today, in the ground, watching Leeds United play live was very emotional but it was a great feeling know I would be travelling to the game. Although a minute’s silence was on the cards where both clubs were remembering players, friends and fans who have died, it ended up being an applause instead. I was waiting for the applause to stop and the whistle to be blown for the silence, but they must have decided it was so noisy that it didn’t happen. I’d already shed a tear when I saw the list which included Leeds players’ names. As it was, I’d have been an emotional wreck if the silence would have happened.
It has been a very busy week for me on the media front. Wednesday saw me spend my birthday at the hotel football at today’s venue representing Leeds United fans due to my blog Follow Me and Leeds United along with Paul Keat. The Overlap Fan Debate was led by Gary Neville and both Paul and I got a chance to speak about Leeds United. Yesterday saw an early morning appearance by audio on BBC Radio Leeds, then filmed for ITV at home before a zoom call with Look North. I’ve an early 7.00am call tomorrow for Radio 5 Live to talk about the game today. I was asked if I had a message for a “united” fan. I said, “there’s only one United, LEEDS!”
Team: Meslier, Cooper (C), Ayling, Struijk, Koch, Dallas, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Bamford, Harrison and Klich.
Subs: Junior Firpo for Rodrigo (45), Costa for Harrison (69), Roberts for Bamford (77).
Subs not used: Kristoffer Klaesson (20-year-old goalkeeper signed from Norwegian side Vålerenga), Phillips. Forshaw, Summerville, Shackleton, Greenwood.
Leeds lost the game 5-1 with Ayling scoring the Leeds goal (48).
Attendance: 72,732 with 3,000 Leeds fans.
Referee: Paul Tierney.
Booked: Cooper, Raphinha.
The teams came out to a noisy reception with the Leeds fans in full voice. It was great to be able to sing Marching on Together amongst our fans. As expected, Leeds came under attack from the start as they won a corner from which Meslier was able to punch the ball away. They got the luck again when Meslier made the save as the clearance rebound looked to be heading into the goal. After sustaining the early pressure Leeds won a corner at the other end after a Raphinha shot and then both Harrison and Klich had a shot saved by the keeper. Another attack saw Bamford’s header go wide on the wrong side of the post. man u took the lead after half an hour when they ran onto a ball that went over our defence and even though Meslier got a foot to it, the ball went into the net. The Leeds fans were straight behind their team, but Leeds went into the break a goal down.
The second half saw Firpo brought on for his Premier League debut. Within three minutes Leeds were on the attack and an unstoppable cracking shot from Ayling into the top corner of the goal sent the Leeds fans on the terraces wild. Trying to take photos and stop myself falling was almost impossible but what a feeling to see that goal go in. Sadly, we weren’t able to keep that lead as they went back in front a few minutes later. Whether we had switched off with our goal or not I’m not sure, but when they got another a couple of minutes later even though Ayling kicked it off the line, I knew we had to change our formation. Suddenly from having hope, it seemed to knock the stuffing out of the lads. To me, Bielsa should have made changes then, but he didn’t make any further changes until we were 5-1 down. By then it was too late to change anything and although Raphinha had a shot that should have been on target and we should have had a penalty in the last minute of the game, it was game over. Our lack of midfield proved to make a huge difference in the end. We had been beaten by the better team on the day, and although I didn’t think there was too much between the teams in the first half, we were comprehensively beaten in the second.
I take each game as it comes, so will put this one behind us and move on to our first home game with Everton next week. Now that one will be very emotional as we see the first full house of Leeds fans at Elland Road. Remembering our legends and fans who are no longer here, will certainly tug at the heart strings. See you then, LUFC – Marching on Together!