After seeing a lone magpie on our street as we set off on the drive to Hillsborough, our immediate thoughts were that it was a bad omen for us once again. Having seen one on the way to Ipswich too, well we all know how that result went! Still you never know, we have been known to go against the magpies!
I was driving to this along with my daughter Danielle and a lad Matthew, who we picked up along the way. After a good run over the tops we arrived in good time and parked at the garage near the ground. The good thing is they have a Costa Express there so was able to warm up before going to the ground. Although it was a cold day it was dry and the sun was shining. As we got to the turnstiles we found our steward Phil Thumbsup Cresswell, as I had forgotten to take a photo of him with my books that he got for Christmas. We stood outside the ground for a while chatting to other Leeds fans. One of the Fullerton Park branch members came up spitting feathers as he was not allowed to take his banner into the ground, even though he had emailed the club beforehand. They had told him he could take it in. To give the Wednesday stewards their due, one of them asked if he had the safety certificate for it and when he said yes asked where the banner was. I’m not sure of the outcome but hopefully sense prevailed. Not surprisingly, Wednesday fans had at least half a dozen banners hung up around the ground though!
We then decided to go into the ground about 12.00 pm. Danielle had gone through the turnstiles and I was having my bag checked by a steward. I told him I only had my books and a flask in my bag. I was then told that I couldn’t take my flask into the ground as they were banned!! What? That is an absolutely ludicrous decision and regardless of all the terrorist incidents that have happened recently which were horrendous, why are ordinary people being subject to decisions like this? I know they are being extra careful at games, but having hot water in a flask – what’s that all about? It was a tin can that had been mentioned in one incident not a flask! The steward to be honest was okay and was only doing his job. I decided then to go back to the car and dump my flask but someone else had binned theirs as they had parked too far away!
It was nice to see Skye Thompson’s family (the 17 year old Leeds fan who died recently and donated her organs). I had a quick chat with them and got a photo, as this was their first away game as a family for Skye. I am glad they got the answers they needed too. As it is the anniversary of my dad’s death today, I know exactly what they are going through and my heart goes out to them.
On my way back to the ground, I can’t have looked that threatening as a Policeman smiled at me and said “Good Afternoon”. Just as I arrived a the away end again some Wednesday fans who were at the left of me went to their turnstile, as a Leeds fan to the right of me was going ballistic at them. He said that one of them had threatened a 78 year old Leeds fan and was having a right go at them. A copper who came over to the Leeds fan was actually very good saying that he didn’t know what had happened but asking him to calm down. At least that was a good way to deal with it.
Inside the ground it didn’t feel too cold as I went to the front of the stand to take some photos. As it was taped off at that point, the head steward came over to me but I said I was only taking some photos before going to my seat which I did. Although just before I took the last ones he came back to say that was enough!
The team today was Silvestri, Cooper, Bellusci, Taylor, Wootton, Carayol, Bridcutt, Murphy, Cook, Dallas and Doukara. Subs were Mowatt for Carayol and Antenucci fo Murphy.
After the news broke on Thursday evening to say that the club had accepted a bid from Everton for Byram, to say I was gutted is an understatement! The hopes that I had for our team to be built around our youngsters are diminishing rapidly. With the news that more could be on their way whether now or in the summer does not bode well. All the talk of Sam not playing well and playing just to get a transfer are way off the mark. The spin that has come out of the club has had that effect in my eyes as many fans agree with that. Well I don’t! The amount of times he was frozen out of the squad, subbed every game at the start of the season or kept on the bench would have had an effect on anyone. When he has been allowed to play he has done well. With no stability here, I despair that the club would rather get rid of someone who should be part of our future than get rid of ones not involved regularly as in Sloth or Bianchi. As MC wasn’t attending any more Leeds games, he must have had a look alike that came in his place then!
At the start of the game Wednesday looked very fast and their passing seemed to be so much better than ours. We gave the ball away a lot which put us under pressure but after about 20 minutes the game seemed to calm down. There wasn’t a lot to shout about though although the Leeds fans got behind the team, the Wednesday fans were very quiet. Apart from when they needed a drum to get them singing they were very poor in my opinion. Both teams had a shot on target but after one of their attacks, to see the blatant dive from Forestieri was a disgrace. Why professional footballers need to do that is beyond me. I think he should find a diving pool somewhere as he is more suited to that!
Going in on level terms at half time, was a good sign that we hadn’t been out battered or out played in the first half. The talk in the ladies was that they wouldn’t relax until 90 minutes was up, but I said no the final whistle as we know what happened in the 92nd minute at Ipswich!!
It didn’t take long in the second half for things to take a turn for the worse. After having a quick chat with Gary Edwards I headed to my seat as Wednesday were attacking our goal at the far end. I hadn’t even put my glasses on, but could see the ball wasn’t cleared and seemed to be in the danger zone a long time before ending up in our net! Damn!! Within a few minutes the ball was put into our net for the second time as Silvestri didn’t catch the ball cleanly and it spilled out of his hands into the path of the Wednesday player who scored! Double damn!!!
Although we tried to play some football at times, we are very predictably slow in our build up. We put a lot of passes together from side to side but also gave the ball away so many times. Mowatt came on to replace Carayol who hasn’t done anything much in the games since he’s been here. Apart from the wonder goal, he is another loanee who hasn’t set the world alight. He isn’t the only one by any means but when Botaka has been sidelined without a chance, to be honest I can’t see anything different between them! We did start playing slightly better when Mowatt came on. We had the most bizarre equaliser chalked off although at the time I couldn’t believe the ref had allowed it. Wednesday were making a sub as Forestieri dawdled across the pitch to be replaced. He hadn’t got near the byline as we got to take our free kick. I was surprised the ref blew the whistle to start as the sub hadn’t been made but the next minute the ball was in the net. I didn’t know whether to cheer or not as everyone else started going mad and the team ran back to the half way line as the ref signaled a goal. As soon as he went to speak to the linesman though, I knew the goal would be disallowed which it was. All talk afterwards was that no one had ever seen a decision like that in all their years of football and to be honest neither could I.
Leeds tried stepping up a gear and we did put some pressure on Wednesday but to be honest we never really looked like scoring and again it was too little, too late. Wednesday fans had only started singing when they were two goals up as up till then we didn’t know they were there. After this though our fans were very quiet as we have a support that is resigned to the fact that we are very poor. To be honest I think as a club we are rotten from top till bottom and until that changes, which may not be for a very long time, then I think we are going nowhere fast. Although we are a few points ahead of the bottom few clubs, we need to start picking up points fast so that we don’t get dragged down into a relegation battle. At the moment I feel we are okay but in football, things can change in an instance.
Listening to Evans on BBC Radio Leeds after the game, I think he was watching a different game to the fans. Maybe he is trying to make out things aren’t that bad, but after listening to all the fans around me he is in a minority in my opinion! Maybe he is just trying to keep his job, who knows?
At least we had a good run home over the tops and it was nice to get in home and settle down before the snow started. I’m glad it was an early kick off now!
Next Saturday sees Bristol City come to Elland Road. A word of advice to MC. If you think profits are down at Elland Road and you want to encourage fans to come then get rid of Category A for starters. Don’t ask fans to pay extra on a match day but encourage fans to come. Don’t add pie taxes on to the South Stand and segregate your own supporters. Fans want to be made feel welcome at their football club and not be made to pay their money, sit down and shut up! Leeds fans have been loyal to the core and have backed their team more than any others would have done with what has happened at Elland Road in recent times. I get the feeling there may be money issues at Elland Road but fans will come if they are treated right. Also it is just after Christmas and before the next pay day for many, which can also impact on the attendance.
That is my rant over and sorry for going on, but hopefully now that’s got off my chest I can forget about the bad bits. With Brentford now mid-week just after the Bristol game, I’ll probably drive to it rather than missing it, so fingers crossed I make that one for kick off! See you next week – LUFC – Marching on Together!