Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United 26th October 2019 at Hillsborough

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Get yourself to the Merrion Centre this week if you can, to see the Leeds United Trust Centenary Exhibition with lots of fantastic Leeds United memorabilia on show lent by fans. It is well worth it and brings back so many memories. #LUFCTrust100  #100yearsofLeedsUnited. Tickets for this are available on priced at £10 Adults, £5 Concessions and £20 for a family (based on two adults, two children.

I’d like to thank Adele and Harry from the Bradford Whites for their continuous support of buying my books. Today Follow Me and Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United are the next ones they will read. David also purchased my new book so I am looking forward to hearing feedback in due course. It was nice to meet up with Paul Wilson the creator of The King of Elland Road song that has been making its way onto the terraces. His music, along with photos from Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United have been put to video by Philip Daniel and my grateful thanks go to both of them for helping me get this out onto social media. Hopefully this link works

As I left home on a miserable wet day for Elland Road and encountered flooded roads on the way, I wondered if the game would get called off. With Hillsborough being known to flood before it was always a possibility, but luckily although raining when we arrived and the river next to the ground being fast flowing, it was still quite low down. We’d had a short pub stop at Junction 39 and got dropped off right outside the ground so got in relatively early. It was strange not having my flag to put up today but as it’s a replica of one I had in the 70s, it was important it was part of the memorabilia on show in the Centenary Exhibition along with my metal badge collection. I had a few fans asking if we’d win today but I hesitated as I said I wouldn’t predict a score and just wanted three points. I’d seen Garry Monk mentioned in a few media posts but it was only this morning that I realised he was now manager at Wednesday. That saying, I knew he would make it awkward for us and it wouldn’t be an easy game, although I’d have loved a replica of our 6-1 game here.

I went to the front of the stand to find David who was in the lower seats and caught up with one of our recent away mascots and his dad who were also in that section. Last year there had been no issues with me going to the lower section to hang my flag up but the Wednesday steward in charge today was having none of it. We were only having a quick chat and although she relented for two seconds for us to finish our conversation, the lad who’d let them up the stairs got into trouble. At least she was happy for another of the stewards to act as a go between though so at least David got his book. I caught a poignant photo of Nikki, her husband and Rita her guide dog and I’m so glad I saw them. Last week saw Rita’s last home game, but today was her last game with the Leeds fans as she retires as a guide dog. As soon as Rita heard me she started barking which melted my heart and she will be sorely missed at games. Nikki will still be at games with her new guide dog, but I will look fondly at all the photos I have taken of Nikki and Rita over the years as she’s been a fantastic Leeds fan.

The team: Casilla, Ayling, Berardi, White, Dallas, Alioski, Klich, Harrison, Costa, Phillips and Bamford. Subs: Nketiah for Bamford (45 went off injured) and Cooper for Costa (76). Attendance was 27,516 with 4,700 Leeds fans. The game ended in a goalless draw.

Within a couple of minutes with Wednesday on the attack, Casilla raced out of his area but his clearance was a little haphazard but luckily for us we got it away. We’d White to thank for a great tackle as Wednesday were looking dangerous plus Casilla made a great save to keep them out. With a couple of giants in their team who were proving difficult, Leeds were struggling to get some momentum going. Again Leeds had plenty of possession but were unable to get that finishing ball into the net, many times by passing out to the wings instead of having a shot. Catching the opposition unawares by hitting a first time ball instead of that one touch too many could have made an impact and changed the game for us. The ref started surpassing himself (those fans before the game who had waved to him, please tell him he wasn’t very good), giving Wednesday plenty of free kicks before Bamford had to have treatment for a kick on the back of his ankle. Casilla was called into action again just before the break, before Leeds could have taken the lead at the death only for Bamford’s header to be denied a goal with a great save from their keeper. Despite the last minute chance, it hadn’t been a good half from a Leeds fan’s perspective and we were hoping for better things in the second half.

With Nketiah coming on in place of Bamford who had been injured earlier, Leeds upped their game and we came close with a long range shot from Phillips. With other attacks we were still guilty of taking that one pass too many though. When Wednesday ran straight at us attacking the far end and hit a fantastic shot straight over Casilla’s head, I was convinced the ball was going straight into the net. Luckily for us the ball rebounded off the crossbar, hit Casilla, but then went wide. Nketiah brought a great save out of their keeper as he rounded their player in the penalty area. Leeds could have won the game in the last quarter of the game when first Harrison saw his shot kicked off the line and then Alioski’s header hit the post. In the final minutes Casilla made a save to give Leeds a point from the goalless game. One thing I noticed today was how bad Alioski had been when taking a thrown in during the second half. I was adamant they had all been foul throws but it was only when he took the fourth one that he was pulled up for it. It was good to see Ben White get the man of the match from Sky though so well done.

I’m glad we have a week off now before our next game at home to QPR so I’ll look forward to seeing 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: Twitter: @FollowMeAndLUFC Facebook: Follow Me and Leeds United: Instagram: Heidi Haigh – lufcheidi @followmeandleedsunited

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