man u H 20th February 2022
After appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday evening on what turned out to be a false pretences interview, luckily my sister Erica recorded it for me when I was caught unawares with their act of kindness. It was their way of saying thank you, for me always agreeing to be interviewed despite things going on in the background, which saw them arrange for a signed Leeds United shirt to be sent to me. I was so overwhelmed I burst into tears, and it is so nice to be appreciated and I thank them very much for doing this for me. If you want to listen to this the link is https://www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk/bbc-radio-5-live-act-of-kindness-17th-february-2022
As today we faced playing that team from over the Pennines, I found that despite them being just another team as far as I’m concerned, I still can’t stand them after all these years. Jimmy Armfield always had times for my friends and I after we cleaned lots of man u graffiti off around Elland Road after one of their visits. There was no way we were letting that stay there so saw the groundsman and got some stuff to clean it off voluntarily. Jimmy said that if all fans were like us there would be no problem and those special words still ring in my ears after all this time. After doing a reel last week that I posted on social media, I wanted us to give Everton 90 minutes of hell. Well, we all know how that turned out don’t we? To be honest our defeat last week knocked the stuffing out of me for a couple of days but after some sleep, I’ve put it to the back of my mind with my coping mechanism and moved on to the game today. Irrespective of what happened on the pitch, I wanted the Leeds fans to sing loud and proud and to remember, “There’s only one United, LEEDS!”
Team: Meslier, Ayling, Forshaw, Rodrigo, Klich, Struijk, Koch, Llorente, Dallas, James and Harrison.
Subs: Firpo for Koch (injured 31), Gelhardt for Harrison (45), Raphinha for Llorente (45).
Subs not used: Klaesson, Roberts, Cresswell, Shackleton, Bate, Kenneh.
Leeds lost the game 4-2 with Rodrigo (53) and Raphinha (54) scoring the Leeds goals.
Attendance: 36,715 with approx. 2,900 man u fans
Referee: Paul Tierney.
Booked: Raphinha, Klich, Struijk, Ayling and Forshaw.
With horrendous weather conditions, the pitch resembled a paddling pool in places which was going to impact on the running of the ball. With a highly charged atmosphere, it was hard to believe that the last time we played them here in the Premier League was in 2003. The one thing I would prefer is to not even mention anything to do with man u or their players in songs and just sing about Leeds. To me it would make them irrelevant.
Harrison went close for Leeds in the opening minutes with his shot going narrowly wide then Meslier made a good save. There were lots of tackles flying in and how they managed to get away without any bookings early on was unbelievable. James was a definite target for them with the second foul being a tackle from behind bringing him down. Forshaw saw his shot pushed out by their keeper and then when it looked like man u were going to open the scoring, Meslier made a great save to keep them out. Leeds were dealt a further injury blow when Koch was injured in a clash of heads. After lengthy treatment resulting in his head bandaged, he changed both his shirt and shorts at the side of the pitch before coming back on. After a further foul he had to go off the pitch and Firpo was brought on in his place. What I didn’t realise at the time was that Ayling ended up as centre back, Struijk pushed up into Koch’s place plus another that I couldn’t remember, as we changed our formation. Sadly, it didn’t take long for man u to take the lead after our regrouping when they headed home from a corner 10 minutes before the break. With six minutes of injury time added, just when it looked like we would only be a goal down, they scored a second goal from another header with a minute of injury time left. That was deflating.
At half time, there was plenty of talk about the referee not booking their players early on which could have made a difference to things. As I had a chat with a couple of lads, I said we’ll have to win 4-3 and they said 3-2. It was a case of s**t or bust basically as we had nothing to lose. Leeds did come out with all guns blazing at the start of the second half with Raphinha and Gelhardt both on the pitch. To me in the first half, you could tell Firpo had been out injured for a while, but he was starting to settle down when he played a great pass through to Rodrigo. As he ran forward Rodrigo hit a fantastic cross/shot that curled into the top of the net to send the Elland Road fans wild. Without getting our breaths back, Elland Road erupted again within a minute as Raphinha put the ball into the net to equalise. Forshaw had battled to win the ball back and James sent a great ball across for Raphinha to score. Whatever happens, those moments were magical as we were given the chance to celebrate scoring against man u. The next thing it said VAR was checking on a possible foul as one of their players remained on the floor. They had done this a few times already and when play carried on, it was surprising how quickly they got off the floor. It was great to get our just reward when the goal stood. Sadly, once they made their first substitution, it worked in their favour when they scored a third goal then Meslier made a great save to stop them getting a fourth. Leeds hadn’t given up hope and were fighting for the ball and Klich found one shot didn’t have enough power on it but another one was tipped over the bar by their keeper. Sadly. it was man u scoring a fourth goal to put the game out of reach that sealed the game.
What showed today in my opinion was the amount of money spent by man u which has created a massive gap between the teams. With us being out of the Premier League for such a long time, that has made a massive impact on the game. That said there were plenty of times when man u were trying to con the referee with non-existent injuries, although funnily enough once play carried on, they miraculously recovered. Who would have thought that? Cheating comes to mind but also the referee should have pulled them up for more of their fouls too. It may have made no difference to the score line, but I do feel it would have impacted on the game itself.
Hopefully everyone got home safely from the game as I know from dropping my daughter Dani off and having to negotiate flooded roads taking my granddaughters home, how atrocious the weather was. Midweek we see our re-arranged game at Liverpool before being back at Elland Road next week for the Spurs game. We still have to believe. If you go into a game thinking you are going to lose, then you probably will. Go with the best attitude you have and never give up trying. I still believe we will be okay however hard things get along the way. See you at Liverpool – LUFC – Marching on Together!