Reading 16th April 2016

Our worldwide fan base is shown once again today as I had made arrangements to meet with one coming over from New Zealand to buy my first book. There were others in attendance as always from Norway, plus Australia, Ireland and America.  The loyalty they have is second to none.

It was very chilly setting off from home although the sun was shining. I got to the Peacock at 1.00 pm and decided to go and sit on the benches in the marquee. After 15 minutes I was so cold and shivering so I decided to go back into the warmth of the bar. I wasn’t looking forward to being so cold today!

Around 2 pm I went to Billy’s statue to meet Steve from New Zealand. I had arranged to meet him in the Peacock but when he rang me I said I’d meet him at Billy’s statue instead as he was coming along Lowfields Road.  As I was leaving the Peacock I said to someone I was off to meet someone from New Zealand. With that a lad in front of me turned round, shook my hand and said hi I’m from New Zealand which made me laugh! I spoke to some others as I was waiting at Billy’s statue and it was good to see that the grass roots teams were out in force today.  After chatting to Steve for a while I looked round when I heard a round of applause to see that fans on a march from City Square had arrived so I began to take photos. They went to the main entrance to the East Stand and stopped there. The march was peaceful and they were raising money for St Gemma’s Hospice so I made sure I put a donation in with everyone dispersing at 2.30 pm.

I waited for my daughter to arrive and then we went into the ground. The sun was still shining which had warmed things up a bit. The team today was Silvestri, Berardi, Taylor, Cooper, Bellusci, Diagouraga, Dallas, Murphy, Cook, Antenucci and Wood. Subs used were Phillips for Diagouraga, Erwin for Antenucci and Coyle for Dallas.  Today also saw the return of Brian McDermott who was sacked as soon as Cellino arrived and then reinstated before getting the sack again.  Illness seems to be hitting our squad once again which isn’t for the first time this season and affected our line-up today.  Hopefully they get over things quickly.

Reading won the toss and turned us around so that we played towards the Kop in the first half. The first 10 minutes seemed to start off okay with a couple of chances. The lad next to me had said I hope they don’t treat this one as a practice game again. Both teams seemed to play in the same way though and as it got nearer to half time we were willing it to get there quick and for the whistle to blow. It had ended up being a very boring and long drawn out first half.  Unfortunately for us Reading took the lead about five minutes from the break.  They got a set piece and the ball ended up with one of their players in space on the right hand side of the goal who smashed it into the net.

I managed to meet up with my friends Carole, Ashley and Margaret under the stand. They were queuing for a drink but it was so slow to get served that they were still there when I went to see them before going back to my seat. They were talking to a couple of lads who were there from America but who were playing for Bradford City. They were there for a year to see if they could make it and good luck to them.

I headed back up into the stand just as the second half kicked off. With only a couple of minutes on the clock we equalised with Diagouraga heading the ball into the net. Things stepped up when Phillips came on as a sub. We managed to go into the lead when Wood headed the ball into the net which only just crept over the line. Even though we had taken the lead we couldn’t be complacent as there was always the chance Reading would get back into the game. They nearly did when they shot and Silvestri somehow saved with his feet.

All of a sudden an announcement came over the tannoy, “Alert, Sony rep, please contact the nearest steward, Code Red”. Everyone just looked at each other and laughed.  After 5 minutes or so came another message, “Sony rep, disregard the previous message!” That had everyone in stitches singing “You don’t know what you’re doing”.

Just after that and controversy, as Reading equalised. The ball went out for a throw. Although I didn’t see it myself apparently the linesman had flagged for a throw in to us but the ref gave it to Reading who duly scored. At the end of the day we have to play to the ref’s whistle although he did make another cock up when we were going forward and were fouled. The ref gave the free kick to Reading but luckily listened to his linesman this time and changed his mind and gave it to us. A stroke of luck when we were attacking and the defender slipped giving Wood the chance to get the ball and stick it into the net to give us a third goal and a winner. That was a relief then as I thought there would be no come back from this one now. It was good to see the score at 3-2 to us at the end of the game and it was also a result that now sees us safe from the threat of relegation however minute it had been.

Tuesday see us play another home game with the visit of Wolves before we travel to Hull at the weekend. Hopefully we can end the season on a positive note now.

The court case won this week by Lucy Ward regarding unfair dismissal and sex discrimination, highlighted more controversy off the field once again. The backlash saw many more Season Ticket holders saying they wouldn’t renew next season with one man saying his wife definitely won’t, due to comments that had been said in court! Personally I can’t see myself not renewing with it being part of my blood but fully respect anyone making the decision that is right for them.  The fans from the march have had their say today with their protest, there are some fans still sat on the fence seeing what happens over the summer and some are very pro MC despite everything that has been publically viewed over the last two years. This division that was started under the Bates regime of divide and conquer has escalated to scales I have never seen before in all my years of supporting Leeds. The vitriol is not what being Leeds is all about having been there in the 70s and 80s especially the latter when Leeds stood together as one! Everyone has their own opinions and they are entitled to them. I realised a long time ago that you will never ever have everyone agreeing, so you have to do what is right for yourself whichever side of the fence you are on.

Where we go from here is now down to MC and he needs to show us what he really wants for Leeds United.  Sadly I don’t think he has the same vision as me as I cannot see anything but more of the same, with the club in the same position at this time next year. I want stability, ambition and a well-run club which are paramount and there is nothing wrong with those views. Only time will tell where we go from here – see you Tuesday LUFC – Marching on Together!

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