Saturday 13th September saw the first live football match of the season for me. Leeds United have had what some would call an eventful season both on and off the pitch. The die hard supporters like myself would argue that this is quite simply the norm. The away trip to St Andrews is always a pleasure if not solely for the fact that Birmingham City seem to be treading on similar grounds to us.
The sun was out for what turned into a pleasant trip to the ground as me and my friends who are all blue noses greeted the lunch time kick off with similar uneasy expectations. The Sky cameras had their typically unwelcome effect by keeping some fans on their sofas at home. This however is not the problem for Leeds United as we managed to easily sell out our allocation of 2,600.
I was once again undercover sitting in the Home end with my friends and an uninspiring first half saw Birmingham take a deserved lead as the game headed into the last 10 minutes of the first half. The most entertaining moment to come from this dire situation was the fact the shot broke the post holding the net up. After almost 9 minutes the net was repaired and we were put through the torture of 9 minutes of fruitless injury time.
The traditional half time Bovril couldn’t lift my mood as Birmingham City’s fans around me were talking positively of their first half exploits. I wasn’t exactly sure if it was because they were playing amazingly or more likely it was the fact that we were piss awful.
As the second half started our caretaker manager Neil Redfearn who is more commonly known on Twitter as #doitforredders threw an extra man in midfield which immediately put Birmingham on the back foot. A couple of changes at around the hour mark saw Doukara and Austin introduced to add muscle to the side.
It worked immediately and the slim line fuel efficient Austin seized control in the middle of the park. Doukara oozed power and purpose and the hard working Antenucci never gave up. Ironically it was a mistake my Birmingham that presented my man of the match Alex Mowatt with the opportunity to burst into the box and slot the ball past their keeper. This was a neat finish and a deserved equalizer.
As the game headed into the final ten minutes it became an end to end battle with Birmingham going the closest to snatch the win. A penalty call that bizarrely went our way prevented the opportunity to lose a hard fought point. It wasn’t a penalty but you just don’t expect those decisions to go your way when you are the away side. Another late chance saw a header flash wide and a superb goal line clearance by Warnock.
The whistle brought the game to a well deserved share of the spoils. Birmingham have certainly improved on last season whilst Leeds United displayed some fantastic quick passing moves which resulted in some positive attacking moves. Overall I was very happy with the point and am now very excited about the prospect of visiting Elland Road for the first time this season on Saturday against Huddersfield.
Leeds managed to follow this draw up with a splendid 3-1 at Bournemouth which saw caretaker boss Redfearn earn his 7th point from 9. Leeds United find themselves in the lofty position of 13th heading into this fierce Yorkshire Derby, it will be one titanic battle for sure!
Wow, that was an amazing performance and one that’s left me buzzing so much I still feel tingles through my fingers as I write this. How many times have we Leeds United fans had to sit through so called experts talk about the disarray at our club? Leeds United didn’t have a chance today, well that’s what everyone outside of our club thought.
I rarely write straight after a games finished but today it’s different. There was something fundamentally different during this game, everyone was playing for Leeds United and our new coach David Hockaday. The performance from players who have looked past it were a joy to watch.
I found myself getting annoyed listening to Pete Beagrie on Sky Sports but then again he was there to do that very thing, he hasn’t got one good thing to say about Leeds, why would he? The one things for sure, today showed the footballing world that we are not going to be relegated and secondly we have a coach who deserves the right to be allowed to coach away from the constant spotlight.
The players were fantastic and I’ve not jumped off my sofa in such a dramatic and emotion pumped way since Becchio netted our first against Derby in our first season back in the Championship. Football is back and despite last weekends disappointment my opinions in the set up at Leeds have not changed.
David Hockaday spoke sense and all three of his tactical changes worked. Warnock was rightly man of the match and Tonge controlled the middle of midfield with a degree of authority at his introduction to the game. All the players put in a shift and it was perfect to see Billy Sharp net the winner at the death, a perfect way to close out your debut.
We certainly have some decent match winners amongst our ranks and the determination to work the ball along the ground wherever possible was equally encouraging. The season is only two games in, but I’m certainly going to savior this feeling for as long as possible.
Well done today Leeds! Super Leeds United.
So it has finally happened, Ross McCormack today engineered his well publicized move away from Leeds United. Ever since the curtains drew down on last seasons debacle and Cellino started to make his changes to the money leaking ship LUFC, poor old Ross has fallen out of love with the club he declared himself in love with.
I had already accepted this fate well before the news came out confirming his £11m move to Fulham this morning. Initially I was full of praise for how Ross conducted himself over these last four seasons. I couldn’t have said a bad word against our Captain who single handedly kept us up last year (see my post – without Ross McCormacks goals, from 15th to Bottom) http://wp.me/p3Nw2L-8K
The memories of his performances from last season filled my head, he was surely pushed out of the club by Cellino, surely…?
This was until Ross came out with a typically Ill timed and misjudged statement. In a report published online Ross explained that he had to leave the club, he cited it because Leeds United were no longer the club he fell in love with. Sadly when the Capital city comes a calling and they offer the money it’s easy to fall out of love with anyone or anything.
Ross I would like to put on record my disappointment in this statement. If anything It also confirms the one big difference between players and fans other than the ridiculous salaries. A player will never truly love a football club, unless you are Steven Gerrard who knows only of Liverpool. A player should never say this, the fans love a club, hearing a player say that will always sound out their critics, it’s safe to say you now have plenty of your own.
Obviously there are two sides to every story, however I’m not really concerned about what you will say now the truth has come out about your feelings. Fans will never leave their club, if we all adopted the same approach we wouldn’t have a club. Going back to my previous point, no player can or will ever love LUFC, that’s the fans job. The ones who do will either stay for their entire career aka Gary Kelly or leave to save the club they love aka Alan Smith. Sadly Ross you have done neither, it’s at this point I’d like to say goodbye to you.
Fulham FC you are welcome to Ross, he will probably score you some goals and you will probably go back up to the Premiership. One things for sure, the mighty Leeds United will carry on doing what we always do. We will plug on endlessly selling out every away game and singing the boys who play for us week in week out. Cellino is the man who wants what we all want, passion, values, belief and a hard days work for an honest days pay.
The world will never stop turning around, but the love for a club is a fickle word used by many, sadly Ross that includes you.
Saturday saw me and my friend Chris visit St Andrews for the “2nd leg” between our teams. After the totally unexpected 4-0 win for Leeds back in October the season has seen both of our sides struggle for any type of consistency. If anything Leeds record of 2 wins in our last 3 suggested we would go into the fixture as the form side. Either way Birmingham who currently have a European record of having the worst home form this season needed to win. Precariously positioned just above the relegation zone before kick off, it was a time for Birmingham to show some belief and fight for a result that their season depended on. In a strange twist to previous Away days, I found myself sat in the Home End, so saw the games events from a different viewpoint to normal.
Birmingham find themselves in a position that Leeds fans are all too familiar with. They are in an ownership quandary with Carson Yeung currently in jail for money laundering and are trying their best to keep the club running until the seasons end. The squad is unbalanced and there are a handful of players who are either young and inexperienced within the ranks or those who have been injured with very little playing time behind them. The fans that turned up today were very vocal in their support and managed to keep the 3,000 traveling support from Leeds quiet during a disjointed first half.
A half that was full of probing intent from Birmingham should of seen them score within the first 5 minutes, when put through on goal the young Adeyemi could only lift his shot over the frame of Butlands goal. That was a warning shot in the arm for Leeds and despite lengths of possession the home side couldn’t test former star Jack Butland in the visitors goal. Towards the end of the first half Leeds produced the first shot on target, when Michael Tonge tested Randalph with a low shot. As half time came around there was a positive feel amongst the Birmingham City support who had earlier displayed a flag showing their support for the club whilst venting frustration with the current regime.
Whilst drinking Bovril at half time the conversations between surrounding home fans suggested that this was the best they had seen Birmingham play in a while. From a Leeds point of view, I could see how by hounding the players, they were preventing us from having any real possession which in turn created rushed and hurried plays resulting in lost causes. The second half couldn’t be any worse and the feeling was if we could make some chances that a goal wouldn’t be beyond us. Quite how the second half would turn out following my brave +3.5 goal prediction before the game was a surprise to all.
The sun was out following a period of gloomy rain and the same confident, assured Birmingham side had suddenly appeared to have lost their game plan. The chasing down the ball and clean tidy passing had stopped and Leeds soon realised that there was an opportunity to take advantage of this. The home support could see what was happening and with Leeds first real attacking move of the game, Michael Tonge crossed to Matt Smith who duly headed past the stranded Randalph in the home goal.
Before the crowd could take breath and assess what had just happened, Leeds went straight back up and a cross wasn’t dealt with properly and Danny Pugh who I had earlier lambasted for being inconsistent drove the ball home from just inside the area to make it 2-0. These two goals in two minutes suddenly transformed the once positive St Andrews crowd into a frenzied vocally discontent bunch. Fans got up and left as a familiar ringing of Leeds fans started chanting “We’ve only come, to send you down” echoed around the ground. It was at this point Blackpool scored at Wigan to confirm Birminghams slip into the bottom 3.
As I sat there trying to show my concerns and frustrations, Leeds put together a passing move that felt like an eternity to the Home fans. Each pass was greeted with an Olay and it was at this point it was over as a contest. Leeds made it 3-0 when a McCormack cross was turned into his own net by Caddis and a farce of substitutions by a desperate Lee Clark caused a further wave of disgruntled home fans to leave.
It was at this point Macheda the most recognized striker who was brought on, scored a consolation with his first real touch. The frustrations were clear to see as Birmingham suddenly looked like a team who could play. A second goal nearly came, but as the game fizzled out after a nasty injury to Alex Mowatt (who required stretchering off) the game ended.
Being a Leeds United fan isn’t easy and this season has had far more downs than ups, but the world hasn’t stopped turning around. This was a great win and it’s when things like this happen, you truly appreciate the frustrations of other teams who are in similar situations. We are very very fortunate to have an amazing fan base and it is because of this that we finally appear to have attracted an owner with the financial clout to manage our demanding expectations.
I really hope Birmingham City avoid relegation and our 7-1 aggregate win can be challenged again next season in a rematch. Birmingham fans deserve better and their summer will be an important one, Wigan at home this Tuesday is also their cup final.
For us it’s been a solid end to a season of unfulfilled promise. A final day win at home to Derby next week would be an unlikely strong end leading into a Summer of excitement and change. I’ve seen 6 away games this season and was fortunate to see 3 wins at Charlton, Yeovil and this game at Birmingham. The defeats at Reading and Burnley were frustrating but the one beating we took at Watford was deserved.
Onto next season!!
In a week that started with more Tuesday night humiliation who could have predicted the way it would play out by Friday evening. Following his successful purchase of Leeds United, Massimo Cellino celebrated in the way most Yorkshire folk do, by hitting the local for a pint or two.
In an alternative look at this weeks events we start at The Old Peacock. Massimo Cellino has just secured his purchase of Leeds United and in the process posed for a photo or two with some fans. Massimo quipped in a somewhat believable Yorkshire/Italian accent that “he was-a extremely excited, hey hey, a, bellisimo pleased to be-a in charge of ze greatest team in a England” he followed this by saying “hey up love, I’ll av another pint of 1919”
David “Devil” Haigh hits the local news by stating his intent to join Massimo as his Chief of stationery ordering, it’s at this point nobody questions his purchase of security equipment via his Staples online account. This turns out to come back and haunt him as the week draws to an end. David is politely told by Massimo to “join the devil and burn in hell” it’s still not clear who he means as last week Haigh was referred to as the devil by Massimo.
The Square Ball threw their opinions out into the open and the most creative cover seen in a long time confirmed what we’d all feared. Poor old Brian has been controlled by Haigh, Patel and Narooooodin. Sadly for us it’s become apparent that despite the harmony we were led to believe, Brian has been pulled in all directions. It’s still a mystery as to who controlled his hand that threw his little notepad in the dug out. The said notepad was last seen in the Vicarage Road turf as Wootton and Lees gave Watford a 3rd goal.
Friday saw the most bizarre twist yet as Cellino opened up an Order Confirmation addressed to the Chief of Stationery ordering. Nobody knows the exact date of this document but it confirmed the purchase of some not so discreet security cameras. Some think it could date back to the purchase of Gold Fish in the Quidsdale days, however if this is the case then he negotiated some pretty damn good repayment terms which makes it highly unlikely, ruling him out.
Once Massimo called in the CSI Leeds crime lab to carry out a thorough sweep of Elland Road, Haigh quickly departed grasping his belongings including the shiny Leeds scarf he wore for his photos at the club. Now whilst the timing of his resignation is purely coincidental the further discovery of cameras in the toilets has done little to help his defense.
As I sat in the pub convincing myself that the tip I had for the Grand National would come good, something better happened. Rewind back a couple of hours and Leeds United were extremely unlucky going down to another defeat at Wigan. A Jack Butland mistake was the difference between a side firmly in the play offs and a Leeds side playing for the Summer.
Now going back to the better thing that happened, the news broke that Massimo Cellino had won his appeal against the football league. I had to pinch myself at first, not because of the news but because of the timing of it. For once it couldn’t have happened at a better time, as the players were left to think through another defeat, a lift of positive proportions was presented to the club.
I am still a little bit uncertain as to what this will bring but I do now know that anything can be expected. One of the first thoughts in my head was about our manager, how long will he last? The interview that hit social media last week was pretty damning but frankly honest. It is safe to say that those fans who hounded Cellino away from Elland Road on the night of the January transfer window ending are the same ones phoning McDermott and giving him abuse.
I have always sat on the side of the team and where sometimes I’ve expressed my disappointment, I’ve always understood the reasons as to why we are in this situation. The manager is the right person to lead Leeds United forward, it just seems that we need to see what Cellino wants. He was quoted as saying he wants a coach, not a manager, let’s see if this is still the case once he settles in at Elland Road.
One of the other questions on people’s lips is will Cellino still team up with Farnam and his Together Leeds consortium? I’m not too sure about this one, part of me thinks that now he is in control, he doesn’t need to go off course to his own plans. This guy is a self made multi millionaire who likes to make his own decisions. The one fact that remains is that we suddenly have the financial clout to compete.
So as we head into the new week we will see the way that things go. One thing for certain is David Haigh will still be at Elland Road. Personally I think he has been very true and loyal to the club, through these hard times he has still been there to face it front on. I think his role is important as we look to move onwards into the new dawn.
Let’s enjoy this news for what it is and hope we finally get to see some positive changes that we all crave. I’m excited to be at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night to see the first game under our new owners. Oh going back to the Grand National, my horse didn’t even finish, let alone win.
It’s safe to say that frustration reached boiling point after our home defeat to Charlton. It was so much that even our loyal Captain received his fair share of criticism following his 94th minute penalty miss that denied Leeds a much needed point. The debate amongst fans of the club and supporters across the country is where would Leeds United be without Roscos goals? The findings make pretty disturbing reading, even though 2014 has been a terrible year for Leeds.
It’s at this point that I understand we simply wouldn’t have played minus Ross McCormack. This is based on taking his goals away from our tally. Assume for the point of this post that we have Noel Hunt playing in his place. In fairness this would be pretty accurate! 😉 It is also worth reiterating that when I say with or without Ross I mean with or without his goals scored.
Leeds first league win?
With Ross in the side, Leeds United secured a last minute 2-1 victory against Brighton on the opening day at Elland Road. Without Ross we would have to wait until the first game of September where a 1-0 win away at Bolton was achieved courtesy of a Luke Varney 6th minute strike.
Longest Unbeaten Run?
With Ross in the team, an unbeaten run of 5 matches in December propelled Leeds towards the play off places. Without Ross in this Leeds team would see the side manage a season best 3 match unbeaten run (1 win & 2 draws) during the same month.
Longest winless run?
With Ross in the side the longest we have had to wait for a victory is 7 matches stretching over the Christmas period and the whole of January. Without Ross it is the last 11 matches we haven’t won in.
Victories that were lost?
That memorable 4-2 victory at The Valley that included a delayed kick off and a 4 goal masterpiece from Ross would have turned into a miserable 2-0 defeat. The impressive 2-0 home victory against promotion chasing Wigan (our best performance all season) would’ve been a 0-0 affair. Beating Yeovil 2-0 at Elland Road once again would’ve been a 0-0 draw without Ross and our last victory against Millwall would have ended in a 1-1 draw.
With Ross McCormack and his league goals we find ourselves sat in 15th position comfortably ahead of the Relegation Zone with 7 games remaining. Without Ross not only would we be rock bottom in 24th position but we would be 10 points behind 23rd place Yeovil with the worst goal difference in the league on 24 points and minus 35.
The scary fact is that without Ross McCormack we would have only won 4 matches this season whilst scoring 23 goals. The even more disturbing fact is the slump we find ourselves in with him in the side. Since the turn of the year we have only won 12 points from 16 matches, without Ross we would only have 6 points in 2014.
With Ross McCormacks Goal
P W D L F A G/D PTS Position
39. 13. 8. 18. 52. 58 -6. 47. 15th
Without Ross McCormacks Goals
P W D L F A G/D PTS Position
39. 4. 12. 23.23. 58 -35. 24. 24th
I think we need to make sure his contribution is recognized in what has been a challenging season. The 2013/14 season needs to be quickly put to bed. Once the future of our club is decided one thing is for sure, their will be a big overhaul in the Summer. The biggest decision is will it be under the leadership of Brian McDermott or not?
In a week that has seen Leeds United players paid half their wages (50% more than the majority deserve) and Ken Bates broadcast his self wrote interview on Yorkshire Radio to air his concerns, it certainly has been another “typical” week in the Elland Road saga. Throw in a 4-1 away mauling and the talk of Administration it’s been a hell of a week.
Today (Friday) the head of the PFA explained that they had been in discussions with the club to help negotiate a way through the salary issues. I can’t help but feel that this situation has been caused by the Football League and the PFA are now trying to assist Leeds United. GFH are convinced that Cellino has an obligation to continue to fund the club despite his unsuccessful efforts in taking over the club. This really just reiterates the farcical events and the continued silence from GFH throughout this is unhelpful to say the very least.
If I dig up Thorp Arch, you say I’ll find Mrs Bates missing £1.5m?
Ken Bates reappeared in another strange twist almost like Moriati in Sherlock Holmes. In typical Bates style he tried his best to sling some more shit into the fan. According to Ken, his wife has lent the owners £1.5m and he was approached by Flowers and co to help fund their takeover. Ken is absolutely disgusted by the way Leeds United and the fans have been treated…… Put a sock in it Ken, you almost had me fooled.
This week also saw a flurry of Twitter revelations regarding the sexuality of our MD David Haigh. These were not nice and actually made me feel sad about the level some of our so called fans have stooped to. David Haigh has certainly not had it easy and I can’t help but feel that GFH have hung him out to dry. It was not that long ago that he left the investment bank to be replaced. This makes me feel that he was their sacrificial lamb. Let’s all leave the personal insults alone and try and find a solution to the situation we are in.
I can’t help but feel that the day Leeds United were sold to GFH, it was not going to be too long before this situation arose. I never felt comfortable about being owned by an investment bank who had one aim, to sell bits of the club to other people. I still don’t truly understand who owns what and this is probably why it’s taking so long to make a decision and communicate with the fans.
In conclusion this week really needs to see us bounce back from the 4-1 mauling at Bournemouth (that hurt to write) and get a win at all costs against Doncaster at Elland Road. It’s not about performances, it’s about grinding out as many points as possible. If we do enter Administration a deduction could very easily drag us into a Relegation scrap. Let’s remain positive mind you, the last official statement from David Haigh confirmed we wouldn’t go into Administration, if only I was that sure!
Jimmy Kebe has finalized his loan move to Leeds United until the end of the season today. The move was made in time for him to feature against Sheffield Wednesday in tomorrow’s televised match at Hillsborough.
I for one am extremely satisfied with this signing. This is the one that really stands out and shows our intent on getting back into contention for promotion. Kebe has worked previously with Brian McDermott at Reading and part of me has this feeling that it could spark Hunt into action. Hunt has just returned from a lengthy injury and it’s abundantly clear he hasn’t received the service required for him to thrive at Elland Road.
Either way it’s showing the ambition of our owners and Brian. Together they are showing the Elland Road faithful that if it’s possible, they can try and make it happen.
In other news from Elland Road today, a slight curve ball that nobody can honestly say they were expecting. Leeds United announced a partnership deal with the San Francisco 49ers. This move will see both businesses meet up and share ideas and successes as Leeds look to expand there already global brand. This can be nothing short of a smart move from Haigh and co, publicity of this level will do no harm at all.
If there is one thing resolved today, I have found an American Football team to look out for and follow their progress. Life at Leeds is certainly on a thrill a minute ride.
Finally Brian McDermott mentioned on Talk Sport today that he hasn’t ruled out further signings at Leeds. Given the fact that Barnes and Wells have joined Burnley and Huddersfield today, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Becchio stories start to appear again. I for one would welcome him back with open arms, I think he could be that final piece missing. Another player is like to see at ER is Adam La Fondre, with the BMcD links it’s one deal that could happen.
I am really confident that Leeds can get back on track tomorrow at Hillsborough and put in a performance. Let’s also use the width we can now exploit, Kebe and Stewart it’s time to shine boys!! A 3-1 Win is my Prediction!