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I’m still in love with Leeds United Ross

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…?
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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.

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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.

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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.

MOT
DarcyB

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From 15th to Bottom without McCormacks Goals

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.

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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.

League Position?
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.

The Stats?

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?

MOT
DarcyB
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Victorious at Huish Park

Despite the early Saturday alarm call, I really enjoy traveling away to watch Leeds United play. Today the journey to Yeovil was 170 miles from my home in Towcester. The rain forecast the night before was hiding and the trip down was one of hope as every grey cloud I passed had the potential to cause trouble to todays game. During my road trip I saw Stone Henge for the first time, it was a pretty impressive site even if it was from the roadside.

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The kick off was at 12.15pm and despite the accident where a lorry lost it’s load of magazines I managed to make good timing on my first visit to Huish Park. Trying to navigate around the roads leading to the ground were tricky as everybody else had decided to park on the roads. I managed to get into Car Park B which was supposedly for Home Fans. For only £2 I couldn’t complain and I made my way to the ground.

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This would be my first time standing on terracing for a game and the fact it was open to the elements meant I came prepared with my Waterproofs. The warm ups went well despite many balls flying over the stand, the mood in the Leeds team seemed buoyant. Noel Hunt even jumped over into the Away stand to retrieve a stray ball, it was a good atmosphere despite the stewards best efforts to cram the terracing. I was fortunate to be stood on the front row and had a prime position for the game.

The wind played havoc and the first half was not pretty viewing. The ball was a magnet to Paddy Kenny as every time he kicked it, the wind would swing it straight back. It really was a case of how much damage limitation we could manage and conceding only one goal was a relief. It could’ve been worse but for a terrible penalty conceded by Sam Byram. As the whistle went for half time we were grateful only for a small hail storm that pelted our faces. It was cold and some amusing chants regarding the floods couldn’t dampen out spirits.

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As predicted Matt Smith was brought on at Half Time as the wind picked up again. Within 60 seconds we found ourselves level. A goal kick from Stich got caught up in the wind and dropped back on the edge of the keepers penalty area. Ross McCormack trapped the ball, turned his marker before duly curling the ball into the top corner. Ross ran along to where I was standing and I was caught on the Sky Cameras which was pretty cool.

The reply was immediate and it became obvious that we would benefit from the wind. Leeds continued to create chances and blocks from Stewart and McCormack denied us the second goal. The winner was an absolute beauty, wind assisted of course. Steven Warnock swung in a free kick from just inside the half way line and beat everybody including the keeper. I loved Warnocks celebration, he stuck his hand in the air as to say, it’s alright lads, I’ve got this under control.

Ross McCormack put in another man of the match performance and never gave up the cause. A lovely through ball to Kebe should have seen the clincher but despite a great first touch, Kebe couldn’t finish off a lovely move. As the whistle went after a painful 4 minutes of injury time the crowd rejoiced a fantastic 3 points. Brian McDermott came up to the away end and clapped our support, it was a lovely gesture.

The trip back home afterwards took just under 3 hours as the elements started to worsen. There were even signs of snow which capped off the four seasons in one day. It was a fantastic day out and it was so important to get back to back wins.

MOT
DarcyB

McDermott Madness as Leeds implode

Just as I was sat at home relaxing after hearing Leeds United captain Ross McCormack confirm he was staying at Elland Road, within 20 minutes all hell broke loose on Twitter. The soap opera has exploded into life as rumours quickly turned into confirmation that Brian McDermott had been sacked over the phone by the club. It’s still unclear who made this call, but the finger points at either GFH or Cellino.

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Ross McCormack made it clear in his interview that he enjoyed playing under Brian and that was one of the key reasons behind his decision to stay. Cardiff City had made a £4m bid earlier this afternoon which was rejected. Within 20 minutes of Ross saying he was staying, Brian was sacked and now it’s clear that our captain is unhappy, as are 99.9% of Leeds supporters.

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As we enter the final chapter of Transfer Deadline Day we are all unclear as to what is going on behind the scenes at Leeds. I’d just like to put on record my thanks to Brian McDermott. I really liked him and could see what he was trying to do at the club. Unfortunately he wasn’t backed and now it’s clear the club is out of control. Brian has been made the scapegoat and I can see certain people hiding behind this decision as to justify what has been done. I am totally stunned and am feeling the shock right through my body, I can’t get my head around this.

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Our club sponsors Enterprise have reportedly said that they may withdraw their sponsorship of the club in protest of the decision to sack McDermott. This makes me think that the decision has come from the new owners camp as they bring their own man in. Neil Redfearn finds himself in that familiar position of taking charge of team affairs until all the dust finally settles after this bomb shell.

As things stand we haven’t sold anybody, but there are stories from Italy suggesting that two players from Cagliari are joining Leeds United on loan until the end of the season. It will certainly be an interesting atmosphere tomorrow at Elland Road. Let’s see what the next couple of hours bring.

MOT
DarcyB

McCormack Bid Rejected as Cellino advises

Since yesterday’s confusion regarding the takeover at Leeds United, I was hoping for a conclusion today. What we got was completely the opposite as we are left still wondering what exactly is going on. What we have learnt today is that Cellino is nothing more than a negotiator with Sport Capital as they look to conclude talks with GFH. Cellino said that he was flattered to be asked and that he regards Leeds as a close friend. He remains in the UK for the next 48 hours at the very least.

From nowhere West Ham United made a reported £3.5m bid for our newly appointed captain Ross McCormack. Ross has scored 18 goals and is the Championships top scorer this season so far. For those of you unaware of the situation, Ross signed a new contract in the Summer of 2013 following Middlesboroughs failed attempts to sign him towards the end of last season.

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The bid was promptly rejected despite West Hams confidence that they can prize our talented forward away from the club. Obviously the prize of Premiership Football is tempting, but Ross made it perfectly clear that he loves it at Leeds and was opposed to moving last year. His new contract showed the belief that Leeds had in their man and Ross quickly signed it whilst making his satisfaction well known. He has shown his incredible talent and value since he has been settled at Elland Road.

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I personally can’t see Ross leaving Leeds in January. I think West Ham will come back with an offer of around £4/£4.5m and wouldn’t be totally surprised if a player such as Carlton Cole was offered in the deal. Leeds MD David Haigh rejected the offer and reiterated the club and players determination to keep Ross at Leeds. Money is a strange animal and the longer this unrest regarding the takeover floats around Elland Road, I can see someone from GFH potentially making a decision to cash in. Lest we forget they are an investment bank, this would show a nice return.

Let’s hope these next 7 days pass and Ross publicly repeats his love for Leeds and the great honor it is to captain such an amazing team. West Ham is not a career progression, they look disjointed and I can see them getting relegated this season. We need to keep Ross so let’s not disappoint, a bad decision now could rip everything achieved so far apart like a cracker at Christmas.

Finally I got my ticket for Yeovil Away on the 8th Feb, I’m looking forward to standing on a terrace for the first time in my adult life. Then again at all games we rarely sit down!

MOT
DarcyB

Outfoxed but not disgraced

Leeds United welcomed leaders Leicester City to Elland Road on Saturday following last weekends horror show at Hillsborough. It was a strange build up to a game where part of me was bizarrely confident, I mean last weekends deserved thrashing was surely a one off.

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Earlier in the week Brian McDermott announced that Ross McCormack would be taking over the captaincy from Rudolph Austin. The decision centered around Rudy not being able to play his commanding powerful game due to the added responsibility of the role. Ross was originally asked about the captaincy before the season started, so it made sense for our stand out performer of the season so far to have the chance to demonstrate his leadership skills on the pitch.

My obvious fear is the captains curse, one that Leeds are no strangers to. A player who has been finding the net for fun could easily lose this confidence that being captain brings with it. Just look at Alistair Cook in the cricket during this winters tour of Australia. A player who was easily in form after the Summer Tests, saw the teams results suffer which in turn saw his confidence falter. A whitewash saw him question his ability as a captain and now he is keen to rebuild his one day form without the extra pressures that captaincy brings.

In a nutshell I’m frantically hoping that this extra responsibility doesn’t throw Ross off track on what has been quite simply his best season so far at Elland Road. Anyway enough of my worries let’s get back to the Leicester game.

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Back in front of the Sky Cameras for the second game in a row, Brian McDermott made a sweeping change to the starting eleven in a bid to shake things up. In came Brown, Lees and Varney in place of Zaliukas, Pugh and the suspended Smith. Both the new signings were in place for their first game at Elland Road, hoping to make an impact after last weeks slow start.

The game started at a frantic pace and Ross was unfortunate to see his glancing header strike the post. Leicester replied and hit our post in the next attack but Leeds were denied by ex player Kasper Schmeichal as Ross found himself one on one with the Danish stopper. Ross tried to chip the out rushing keeper only to see it clawed away. The rebound was cleared away off the line as Lees looked to try and bury the header that looped up to him.

It was clear to see from the first half that Leeds were putting in a performance and that the team were keen to repay Brian McDermott’s faith in them. It was a slightly disappointed feeling not to be ahead at half time, one feeling that was a million miles away last weekend. Brown was buzzing and a couple of hefty late challenges on him could easily have seen a red card. Good old Brown picked himself up each time and carried on.

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As the game headed into the later stages it was apparent that one chance was going to seal this battle. Leicester up until now hadn’t tested Paddy Kenny and it was slightly ironic that their first chance would see David Nugent roll the ball in from close range past Kenny. It was extremely harsh on Leeds who had tried their best to win the game against the leaders of the Championship.

Leicester certainly stole the win, passed go and collected £200. I was certainly feeling different emotions from last week and it was great to see a cameo appearance from El Hadj Diouf. Leeds certainly asked a lot of questions of Leicester and they showed why they are the leaders by clinically finishing off their one clear chance.

Leeds stopped the rot and can be extremely proud of their efforts. As I write this the takeover is close to being finalized and Leeds are supposed to be close to signing a third unnamed player. Rumors seem to be naming Leroy Lita from Premiership Swansea. At 29 he is a proven scorer at Championship Level so he would be a good addition.

Let’s hope the visit of Ipswich next will see us get the points as well as another positive performance.

MOT

DarcyB

Leeds United Takeover Saga

So a New Year is finally here and by the speed of the Recent Christmas Break it’s hardly a surprise. 2013 has flown by and I’m going to use my first blog of 2014 to talk about my guilty pleasure which is Leeds United.

The Whites have had a mixed bag in 2013 and as we start this year there is certainly a more optimistic feel around the club. I was one of the minority of fans who supported Neil Warnock right up to the end, however as it became really messy with players blatantly underperforming it was best for both parties that he parted ways.

I still hold tightly to my chest the fond memories of beating a Gareth Bale inspired Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup in what was easily our best team performance under Warnock in 2013. The way we passed the ball around and caused problems to an experienced Premiership team on the day showed the tactical ability that Warnock had. Sadly for him the wheels fell off after this and as March dragged on it was a messy situation that threatened Relegation.

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Without a manager heading into April it was always going to be a real marker of intent from our new owners by their appointment. It was also vitally critical it was the correct one as the team were caught up in a relegation battle. David Haigh openly inherited Neil Warnock and now it was the first opportunity to really rubber stamp their team. The usual suspects were banded around and it had me worried, the last thing I wanted was for us to reappoint David O’Leary.

It was time for Leeds United to move forward, a new start and more importantly to appoint a new manager with no prior association to our club. Brian McDermott (not of Leeds Rhinos) was the name that failed to quieten down and I think it was to everyone’s relief that a manager who’d managed in the Premier League with Reading wanted to join Leeds.

Brian had been harshly sacked by Reading and the football world couldn’t believe how he had been treated. It was a brilliant bold statement of intent to get Brian McDermott in charge. The response was immediate and a fantastic come back from behind win against Sheffield Wednesday in his first game had the feel good factor back and more importantly ended the relegation fear.

Leeds finished with 2 further wins and even flirted with the most unlikely of Top 6 finishes. What was evident in these 4 matches under Brian, was his desire and positive man management. The same team that were dismally ripped apart by Watford, Forest and the rest were now putting together determined positive performances.

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The summer saw some changes and our first million pound signing since the Quidsdale days filled the fans including myself with fresh optimism. We finally had an owner with both a business head and a desire to do the best for the club and it’s fans. Unfortunately Brian couldn’t perform miracles and we were still stuck with the likes of Pugh (an amazing underdog story) Brown, Tonge and Norris as the new season approached.

It’s clear to everyone involved with Leeds United that the first 5 months of this exciting season are going in the right direction. The club lie 1 point outside of the Playoffs and despite a recent wobble I feel with some squad rotation and new signings we can get back on track in the second half of this season.

2013 has certainly seen most emotions experienced by us all. We have had some awesome Cup highs against Premiership sides Southampton, Everton and Spurs. We have also seen some extremely low points and I still pin point the home defeat to Derby as the worst. A new manager with the desire to take us forward in place and as we start 2014 a new takeover close to completion.

As I refer to the title of my blog it leads nicely to our Take Over Saga. As things stand David Haigh is close to completing a minimum 75% takeover with Andrew Flower of Enterprise Insurance. The funds have been made available to Brian McDermott and there are strong rumors that both Stewart and Kebe will be joining us before the weekend. The rubber stamp is so very very close, so close that the ink is creeping away from the stamp and is touching the paperwork. The football league are the ones that are preventing it from being officially completed.

I for one am full of optimism, it’s certainly not dull being a Leeds United fan. Most were right to voice their dissatisfaction after the Rochdale match, but aside from the Barnsley & Blackburn matches I think we have done as well as we could possibly have hoped for in the last few weeks.

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So as I conclude this blog I will highlight my three key points of the last 12 months.

1. Ross McCormack signing his new long term contract and Mowatt signing his improved professional contract tying him to Leeds until 2016.

2. David Haigh understanding how to galvanize the club which has included good offers to attract fans to the club and to encourage our supporters to attend matches.

3. Our amazing traveling supporters, selling out Away games each week has made it very hard to get tickets. This has made my two away trips to Reading & Charlton this season so memorable (for different reasons!)

Oh and 4. Danny Pugh, what a story, from being left out in the reserves, unwanted and on the transfer list he has remained a true professional and grabbed his chance. He has now been a permanent fixture in our team and has added a new dimension to our play. Well done Danny, long may it continue! MOT!!

DarcyB

Victorious at the Valley

My second away trip of the season took me into London to The Valley. Leeds United have not really had such a good record on the road so far this season and the weather looked set to make things even more difficult. On top of this, injuries to key players meant Brian McDermott was forced into giving some of the forgotten men a chance to stake their claims. Danny Pugh came in to replace the injured Stephen Warnock and an injury just before kick off saw the impressive youngster Mowatt pulled out in place of war veteran Michael Brown.

I travelled down from Bedford and got the train into St Pancras International. A short tube trip to London Bridge and I was soon to meet the familiar sighting of our traveling support. We have an awesome away support and it’s because of this that I forget I’m on my own. The train to Charlton was eventful and one that would bring mixed emotions.

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Word got out on the train that there was a Pitch Inspection at 1.30pm and there was a real possibility that the game could be postponed. Despite the grey skies it had been relatively dry, so this news was greeted with stunned concern. By the time we arrived at Charlton station, there was news of a second pitch inspection at 2.15pm.

The walk from the station to the Valley was relatively short and the location of the Away stand meant that we had a street to ourselves as we approached the ground. We were stood outside the stand waiting patiently for the news. The turnstiles were kept shut until just before 2.30pm when we were advised the game would proceed, but with a delayed kick off at 3.30pm.

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I headed straight to my seat through very dated man operated turnstiles. The computer operated turnstiles no where to be seen. I got to my seat and was presented with the ever familiar sighting of minimal leg room. It was a good job I was on the back row, I was never going to stay sat on this seat. I started talking to a father and son from Anglesey in Wales and before we knew it kick off was upon us.

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The pitch was showing some obvious signs of surface water and it quickly became apparent that the field was going to cause some trouble. The opening exchanges were disjointed and the ball was in the air and out of play more than it was in. It was a surprise that we managed to carve out a decent opening within 20 minutes where Dexter Blackstock knocked the ball down to Ross McCormack to steer past from close range to give us the lead. The remainder of the first half petered out into a scrappy affair and in typical Leeds fashion we conceded through sloppy defending. The goal itself was a fantastic finish, but our inability to clear the ball properly led to it. We were fortunate to go into the break level as another Charlton effort was cleared off the line. What was to follow in the second half couldn’t have been predicted as the teams left the field, the home team buoyed by their late surge.

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The second half started with a disheartening pump into the air and out from the kick off. We were either trying to use the wind or were being plain lazy. What then happened was a master stroke as from their throw in, Danny Pugh won the ball and was brought down as he strode into the area, a penalty was awarded. Step up Ross McCormack who calmly slammed the ball centrally into the roof of the net to make it 2-1.

Leeds had chances and as the next twenty minutes passed we were starting to hit them on the break as they pushed forwards. Once again as we were looking the most likely to strike again, slack defending saw Pearce and Lees beaten twice by the same player. A simple knock back saw Kenny beaten and we were back to 2-2.

Once again just as Charlton appeared to have the ascendency, Leeds broke clear and a delightful volley from close range saw Ross McCormack claim his hat trick. He ran down to the opposite end where me and the other 3,300 Leeds fans were and celebrated his first professional hat trick. As the game entered injury time a foul on Rudy Austin presented us with a free kick to the right of the goal and Ross McCormack picked out the top corner to claim 3 points and his fourth goal of the game. As the whistle was blown we were on fine voice celebrating the 4-2 win and 3 vitally important points.

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This win keeps us in eighth position but only one point outside of the Play Offs heading into the international break. Well played Leeds.

DarcyB

Blues Banished

Today was my belated first trip to Elland Road this season for the visit of Birmingham City. A Sunday lunch time televised match had the added spice, as one of my best friends whom supports the Blues joined me for the match. The two and a half hour drive was swift and the sunshine was out for our teams battle. I have been friends with Chris since the 3rd year of High School and football has been the primary interest that made us gel. We have been to Leeds and Birmingham games in the past, with the most notable back in 1996 when my Dad infamously threw a pork pie at Michael Johnson who was blocking his view whilst warming up. This story is still talked about in what’s referred to as Pork Pie Gate Scandal. It still makes me smile when I think back about it, it makes us all smile!

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As we walked down to the ground from my car, we were so engrossed in conversation that we missed the turning to the ground. Today had a good feeling about it, the usual superstitious rituals that I’ve carried out since I was a kid repeated, with the added spice of a return to Elland Road of Lucas Radebe. The chief was a big part of my child hood memories watching Leeds and to have him present gave the crowd a lift as kick off drew upon us.

As we walked to the new refurbished Peacock pub opposite the ground for a pre match ale and burger, I managed to get a photo with another Leeds legend…. Don Revie.

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The recently refurbished Peacock Pub which closed down during the Ken Bates era has certainly changed. Inside is smart, clean and modern with a nice open spacious feel despite many fans being present. We had a beer, mine was the much hyped Yorkshire Blonde and we made our way into the large rear Beer Garden with a burger in our hands.

One thing Leeds and Birmingham have in common, is the painful way in which we have been taken over and ran in a disheartening manner. The one thing that is very different, is that as Leeds seem to have seen the back of these uncertain times, Birmingham are in the middle of a control battle with current owner Carson Young on trial in Hong Kong. We talked about this in some detail which raised the subject again that football is a business. We finished our pint and made our way to the ground, blissfully unaware of what was to follow.

Leeds United and Birmingham City have had equally stuttering starts to this season. Leeds have slowly dropped down the table after an encouraging start, whilst Birmingham haven’t really got going and have been languishing near the bottom half dozen teams. There was nothing to suggest during the two week international break that we were going to be served a feast of football, what followed was simply breathtaking.

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The sun was out and for most of the game you would have thought it was an opening days fixture in August. Leeds United who were soundly beaten at Derby County on their last outing came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders. Within five minutes Leeds could have been a couple up with Ross McCormack having a one on one shot saved and another effort saved at the near post. Chris Burke had a break away effort which he fired wide as Birmingham warned Leeds of the danger they could pose. Another Ross McCormack effort went narrowly wide as the Elland Road faithful grew extremely frustrated at their inability to put away one of these early chances.

The frustration was short lived as Leeds capitalised on a defensive blunder which saw Birmingham City’s goalkeeper Randolph lose the ball on the edge of his area. Rudy Austin teed the ball up to McCormack who fired the ball into an empty net with two defenders desperately trying to stop the inevitable. This spurred Leeds on and the lead was doubled shortly after as Ross McCormack continued to terrorize their defense. McCormack took the ball wide before crossing the ball to Rudy Austin who headed the ball into the net past a hapless Randolph.

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As the game approached half time a dejected Birmingham team looked desperate for the half time whistle. Within a minute of me stating “that a third goal would kill off this game” Leeds promptly delivered it. More confusion in the Birmingham defense allowed a Ross McCormack shot to be parried out into the middle of the box for an unmarked Smith to tuck away what would be his first of the day. The whistle soon followed as a shell shocked crowd who hadn’t seen such a devastating display of dominance were left speechless. Chants of “what the f@&k is going on” were equally humorous.

Lee Clark made a couple of changes at half time and changed the formation around in a desperate attempt to stem the flow of one way traffic. This seemed to work and the second half was a far more even contest. Paddy Kenny was forced into making a couple of smart saves including a Murphy free kick which struck the post. Soon after withstanding this pressure Leeds broke clear and another McCormack cross was met by the impressive Smith who headed his second of the match past a hapless Randolph to make the score 4-0

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Another one on one this time by Rudy Austin was saved and a Sam Byram effort blocked as Leeds tried to add more to a dominant performance. The crowd of just over 21,000 were treated to a rousing performance as Leeds jumped up to 9th in the league. Brian McDermott was a relieved character as chants around the ground confirmed the support for their manager who has had a challenging month in the hot seat.

My player ratings as follows:-

Paddy Kenny – 9
Stephen Warnock – 9
Tom Lees – 9
Scott Wootton – 8
Jason Pearce – 8
Sam Byram – 8
Luke Murphy – 8
Rudy Austin – 9
Alex Mowatt – 8
ROSS McCORMACK – 10
Matt Smith – 9

Everybody played their parts well and when called upon Paddy Kenny was a rock. Matt Smith was used as a target man well and made many headers that set attacking plays up, his two goals on another day would’ve made him my man of the match. Warnock made three top sliding tackles and was dominant, whilst Tom Lees cleared two goal bound efforts off the line. Rudy ran the most and covered so much ground and deserved his goal. My man of the match went to Ross McCormack who was involved in everything. One goal, two assists and creating all the space. Some would say he was wasteful early on, I’d say he was conducting everything exactly how he wanted. An excellent team effort.

DarcyB