Leeds United AFC: Livermore…

There have been some strange goings on at Leeds United AFC over the years & the David Livermore saga was just one of them. At the beginning of the 2006/2007 season, Kevin Blackwell was forced to try pick up the pieces of the Play Off final “No Show” at Cardiff & money was at a premium. After pursuing many options to strengthen his squad, Blackwell finally managed to persuade today’s opponents Millwall to part with their captain. After a long medical, David Livermore moved North for a fee rumoured to be around £400,000 & the transfer left the player delighted, with Livermore telling the clubs website: “This is a huge club, this is where you want to be playing – at the right end of the division”

Sadly for everyone concerned, those words were anything but prophetic. After the sale of Hulse, Blackwell purchased Kevin Nicholls from Luton Town. Amazingly, this move prompted the club to accept an offer from Hull City for David Livermore, just 2 weeks after he had signed. The fee was “undisclosed”, but in a confusing situation, the Whites were rumoured to have made a loss on the transfers. The reason given for the sale was simply that with Nicholls & other new faces on board, Livermore’s chances of playing would now be limited. It was a bizarre start to the season & matters quickly began to go downhill. Nicholls was injured in his first training session & would seldom feature, before his spat with Dennis Wise…

In contrast, Livermore would go on to flourish at Hull, scoring 4 goals, with the ultimate twist to the tale seeing Hull City survive the drop to Division Three at our expense. It was there where we forged a “Huddersfieldesq” type rivalry with Millwall. As expected, in the week of the 11th Anniversary of Chris & Kevin’s murders, the home support was swelled to capacity with the inclusion of the South Bermondsey Galatasaray supporters club. Vocal & out in force, their provocation ensured they got a reaction, prompting a hate filled & hostile atmosphere well before kick off. Grayson was forced to shuffle his pack due to injury  & Connelly was reinstated , with Lichaj switched to left back. Loanee Jake Livermore – no relation to David – got a full debut…

After 3 defeats in 3 visits to the New Den, we hoped the tide would change, but as it turned out, too many of the Whites players once again left their heart for a battle in the dressing room. The first 20 minutes saw little on field action & though the home side forced a couple of early corners, neither side were on top & the expected home onslaught hadn’t materialised. We found it difficult to retain possession & other than a speculative Snoddy effort, we didn’t create anything of note until Gradel tried a spectacular overhead, which Forde tipped over for the cameras, knowing the flag was up. By this time, the players began to look rattled & every time they went to retrieve the ball from the home crowd, abuse hurled appeared to be unsettling them…

The home fans, who at that point were also doing a great job of refereeing the game, underlined their “Danny Dyer hardness” by throwing missiles onto the pitch. The atmosphere was becoming frenzied & a slip from O’Brien, sent Morrison clear. Only great covering play from Bromby spared his team mates blushes. The deadlock was to be broken on 23 minutes after the crowd awarded an innocuous looking freekick on the edge of the area. Up stepped Henry, who curled a beauty round the wall & past Kasper for 0-1. The Danes reaction suggested he was at fault. The South Bermondsey Galatasaray supporters club celebrated like they had won the cup & they had more to shout about 8 minutes later…

Our defensive Achilles Heel struck again, as Townsend’s corner found the totally unmarked Trotter, who poked home from two yards. As the New Den went into meltdown, we simply shook our collective heads at the now heartless showing in front of us. With the party going on around us, the Whites players began to lose their heads. Snoddy in particular was getting involved in everything other than football, picking up a booking in the process. Depression was setting in when Gradel fashioned a great chance out of nothing. After a brilliant run he pulled the ball back to Becchio, who seemed certain to score. Somehow, the covering defender got just enough on the ball to deflect it around for a corner…

With that chance missed, the Whites went back into our shell & chased the shadows of a side that simply showed more desire to win the ball. At half time, no-one could see a way back for the Whites, but Grayson made an instant change; throwing on Somma for the out of sorts Snoddy & his bit of pace gave us an outlet. We started much brighter & on 50 minutes, managed to nick a goal. Lichaj’s ball into the box was flicked on by Somma & Becchio was on hand to tap home for 1-2. The goal gave us renewed hope & it sparked a 10 minute period that saw the Whites finally start to look threatening. Our best chance fell to Gradel, who struck a superb shot from the edge of the area which Forde did well to keep out…

Sadly, that chance proved to be one of our last, as a few minutes later, it was pretty much game over. With a Millwall player down, play was waved on & Bromby was in the right place to block a goal bound shot from Henry. It appeared to hit his hand & whilst half the players stopped for a whistle that never came, Morrison latched onto the ball & lifted it over the onrushing Kasper for 1-3 to reawaken the crowd. From then on, it was all Millwall & they should have added to their lead. Grayson shuffled it around by throwing on Bannan for Connelly, but we were powerless to stop Henry & Harris missing 4 chances between them as the Whites simply surrendered…

McCormack was thrown on for Livermore with 8 minutes to go, but there was no way back. Whilst the home players played keep ball at every opportunity, so did the home support every time a ball went into the crowd. Amazingly, we did nick one back Lichaj’s long throw found the head of O’Brien & the ball looped into the net for 2-3. However, it was too little, too late & The South Bermondsey Galatasaray supporters club  “Cup Final” party was soon in full swing. Other results around us saw the Whites cling to 6th spot, with a 4 point cushion to our nearest challengers. However, given our current form, it’s anyone’s guess what that gap will be this time next week …

Whilst the off field antics of the home support proved to be a major talking point, it would be foolish to use it as an excuse for a 2nd consecutive away performance lacking the required desire & hunger to compete. Most would agree that this side has over achieved this season & should the side fail to make Play Off’s or even fail within them, the vast majority of the White Army would accept our fate – provided we go down battling. So, we are down to 6 games as we head into the dreaded Easter period, which has traditionally seen the Whites wobble. We need a shot of renewed hope & wiping the grin off Mr Savage’s face at Derby would be a step in the right direction…

Leeds United AFC…”Fly or Fall, it’s our call…” Keep Fighting…

YOUTUBE clip with thanks to PHILLUFCDENNISON…

Posted April 11, 2011 by keepfighting in leeds united, Uncategorized

Leeds United AFC: Shutt…

The 1988/1989 season was a period of transition at Elland Road. Having taken charge in October, Sgt Wilko was imposing his brand of football on the club & slowly putting plans in place for a crack at promotion a season later. In March, he dipped into the transfer market to secure the services of both Chris Fairclough & Gordon Strachan. Around the same time, Wilko raided Bristol City for Carl Shutt & this weekend marks the 23rd anniversary of the striker’s debut. AFC Bournemouth were the April Fools day visitors in 1989 & Shutt more than made his mark by notching a sensational hatrick. In doing so, Shutt joined a very exclusive club, becoming only the 3rd Leeds United AFC player in history to manage a debut day treble…

In 1920, Eugene O’Doherty’s debut day hatrick against Boothtown in the FA Cup, meant he was not only the first player to score 3 on his debut, but also the first ever Leeds United AFC player to score a hatrick in any game! It took 42 years before the debut day hatrick feat was repeated, this time, Don Weston netted 3 against Stoke City in 1962. Shutt’s amazing start to his Leeds career was followed up with a goal against Palace in the very next game, but sadly, he was not to become the prolific marksman his early performances had promised. Shutt won many hearts with his tireless workrate & commitment to the White cause, but he would only go on to grab a handful of goals, including one away at today’s visitors Nottingham Forest in 1991…

However, Shutt will be forever remembered for his winner against Stuttgart in the infamous European Cup game in 1992 which was replayed at the Nou Camp:

Over the last 23 years, a handful of players have come close to joining the 3 players, but only scoring debut day doubles. Of course, Michael Bridges did hit a hatrick at Southampton, but that was his 2nd appearance. Given the turn over of players at the club nowadays, the law of averages suggests that it might not be too much longer before we add a 4th name to the list. Grayson opted against giving Livermore a full debut, as the manager surprisingly stuck with the side that lost to the Blades. It was a decision that surprised many & one that needed a helping hand to be vindicated…

The Whites were forced to shoot towards the Revie end in the 1st half, which is always a bad omen & in a nervously subdue atmosphere, there was little to get excited about in the opening exchanges. Both sides spurned early free kick chances as Gradel fired over, before the visitors attempt hit the wall. That prompted a swift counter attack from the Whites, but Gradel set the tone of most of his day by finding Camp’s arms with the cross. After Bannan struck a shot from long range shortly after, we slipped into our shell. Forest were allowed to grow into the game & had 2 chances to take the lead. Majewski’s shot was goalbound before Johnson deflected out for a corner…

That was quickly followed up by Tudgay failing to convert Lynch’s ball after sliding in at the far post. Only Snoddy’s jinxing run & weak shot came in reply, as frustration began to surface on the terraces. Forest again hit back & Majewski was at the heart of it. After a great run into the box, his pull back found Tudgay unmarked & with Kasper in no man’s land it seemed a certain goal. However the strikers tame shot was cleared off the line & the miss proved the turning point of the game as all hell broke loose just seconds later. From the clearance, Cohan steamrollered into a needless challenge with McCartney. In real time it looked a terrible challenge, with the defender flying into the air…

It left Elland Road furious & after consulting with his Assistant, Mark Halsey showed Cohan a Red card. However text messages immediately after suggested it was harsh when seen on the TV replays. It was to be a game changing decision, but despite the man advantage, the incident failed to spark the Whites into any meaningful action & it was once again thanks to Kasper that we entered halftime level. The discussions during the break centred on our woeful record of playing 10 men, but the worries soon became academic. 6 minutes into the half, the Whites scored a goal out of nothing. A throw in on the right found Snoddy & his ball over the top set Lichaj free, behind the Forest defence…

The defender raced away before cutting the ball back to the onrushing Howson & the skipper took the ball down with his left, before swiftly firing past Camp with his right, to send the faithful mental. As the old saying goes, goals change games & it led to the Whites finally moving up the gears. Nervous first half hoofball was replaced by a period of pass & move as we looked to add to the lead. We didn’t have to wait long as, after saving well from Johnson, Camp was caught in no mans land for the resultant corner. Bromby’s header came back off the post, before Becchio nodded in the rebound for the 2nd. Becchio’s goal celebration once again raised a few eyebrows, but it was just reward for the strikers battling efforts…

With the confidence flooding back into the Whites, Snoddy curled a stunner onto the bar, before Gradel lashed a great chance well wide. It had summed up the wingers afternoon up to press, but as suggestions were being made that Max should be withdrawn, disaster struck. McCleary was given space on the right to curl a stunner past Kasper for 2-1. Once again our left back Bannan had been left so exposed. Oh, hang on, isn’t McCartney our left back? Forest cranked up the pressure & only a stunning stop from Kasper kept the lead intact as the defensive Achilles Heel threatened to strike again. That was until the frustrating Gradel finally found a flash of brilliance…

After a spot of head tennis on the edge of the visitors area, Johnson cushioned a superb header to Gradel & in one flowing movement, he turned & volleyed a superb strike past Camp for 3-1. It was all but game over & Grayson celebrated by swiftly handing Livermore his debut in place of Bannan. Forest’s last chance saw Tyson shoot just wide, but as it was, we could finally relax with just 3 minutes left. Bromby found Livermore in the area & the midfielders shot was parried by Camp. The keeper then reacted brilliantly to Becchio’s follow up, before Gradel nipped in to fire in the 4th for “Job Done”. It capped off a much better 45 minutes for the Whites & the win keeps the Play Off hopes in our own hands…

That said, the win should not lull anyone into a false sense of security, as at 11 v 11, Forest should really have pressed home their advantage. The Whites seldom profit from a game changing decision such as today & we need to build on this result if we are to get anything from our next 2 games, especially in the bear pit of the New Den. So, the rollercoster is now in full flight & we have 7 games left to hold on tight. Next up we head to Millwall in what will be an emotional trip, as this week we mark the 11th anniversary of the loss of Chris & Kevin. No doubt the home support will be quick to remind us of it in their usual c**tish fashion, but lets hope it inspires the Whites to take 3 points in their honour…

Leeds United AFC… “Christopher Loftus & Kevin Speight – Never Forgotten”… Keep Fighting…

Youtube clip with thanks to STEAKANDSID

Posted April 3, 2011 by keepfighting in leeds united, Uncategorized

Leeds United AFC: Once(ish!) Part 1…

In the first of an occasional series, this is a quick look back at opponents whom Leeds United AFC  have only ever crossed swords with “Once (ish)” in our history. “Once (ish)” is the title of this series, because there is a slight cheat & even the not so keen eyed will notice that not only are One off cup games included, but also 2 legged cup ties & replays! First up are current Bundesliga high flyers Hannover 96…

Who Are they:

“Hannoverscher Sportverein von 1896″ play at the AWD-Arena, which was built in 1954. It has a current capacity of 49,000 & hosted to a few games in the 2006 World Cup. The club also held matches during the 1974 World Cup as well as the 1988 European Championships. Hannover’s most notable achivement in recent history was to win the German Cup in 1992 & they are currently on course for a crack at the Champions League for the first time…

When Did We Meet:

Season 1968/1969 Inter City Fairs Cup Round 3

1st Leg:

18th December 1968 -Elland Road:  Leeds United AFC 5 ~ 1 Hannover 96

2nd Leg:

4th February 1969- AWD – Arena: Hannover 96 1 ~ 2  Leeds United AFC

Don Revie set out in 1968/1969 with the main aim of winning the League Title. The Whites rose to the challenge & became Champions of England in real style, losing only 2 league games all season. However, along the way to glory, the Whites cup form was to suffer. We went out of the League Cup in the 4th round, before exiting the FA Cup in round 3. The Whites faired little better in Europe as we looked to retain the Inter City Fairs Cup. By beating Ferencvaros in the 2 legged 1968 final, Revie’s Leeds had become the first British club to win the Fairs cup. However, attempting to retain the trophy was no easy task…

After edging past Standard Liege over 2 legs, next up was a tough tie with Napoli. The game was level at 2-2 over the 2 legs & extra time didn’t decide the tie. In times where there was no replay’s or penatly shoot out’s, the Whites eventually progressed to round 3 by the simple toss of a coin. It was at that point that Leeds United AFC would take on Hannover 96 for the first & only time in our history up to press. The Whites were at home in the 1st leg & Elland Road proved to be a fortress. The German side were simply ripped apart as the Whites romped to a 5-1 victory. Goals from Hunter, Lorimer (2), O’Grady & Charlton set the Whites on course for the next round…

Hans-Josef Hellingrath scored a late consolation goal for Hannover, however, it only served to flatter the visitors & the one sided scoreline could have been much worse. The huge win made the 2nd leg academic, but even so, it proved to be a much closer game. The Whites went into the match without the injured pair of Giles & Madley, but it didn’t unduly affect matters & we raced into a  2-0 lead thanks to goals from Belfitt & Jones. At 7 (SEVEN)-1 (ONE) on aggregate, the hosts were playing for pride & after Cooper saw Red for a tackle on Wottka, Heynckes pulled a goal back for the Germans to make the scoreline on the night a tad more respectable…

After the game, Revie would brand Hannover as “Brutal”, quite ironic given our tag of “Dirty Leeds”. The final aggregate scoreline of Leeds United AFC 7 (SIEBEN) Hannover 96 2 (ZWEI) was as comprehensive as could have been hoped for. Sadly, the European goal feast would dry up & the Whites would go out in the fourth round to Ujpest Dozsa, in what would prove to be our last defeat of the season in any competition as we romped to the title by 6 points. However, whilst it would prove to be the last time our paths would cross with Hannover 96, it would not be the last time Leeds United AFC would be involved in the battle for the Inter City Fairs Cup…

Leeds United AFC…“For Ralf & Stefanie”… Keep Fighting…

Over at Mighty Leeds, you can read more about the Whites 1968/1969 title winning season, whilst more on the above games can be found over at OZ WhiteLUFC

Posted March 30, 2011 by keepfighting in leeds united, Uncategorized

Leeds United AFC: Reflection…

You may find yourself promoted to Division Two…
And you may find yourself fearing a relegation battle…
And you may find yourself exceeding all expectations…
And you may find yourself in 5th place, with just 8 games to go…
And you may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”…

The International break would appear to have come at just the right time for the players of Leeds United AFC. It also gives the support chance to catch our breath & reflect on the season thus far. It has been a weirdly unpredictable season in parts & we left Sheffield with heavy hearts, discussing the theory that the side had perhaps peaked. We despaired at just 5 wins in 16 league games since the demolition of QPR & we shook our heads at the ongoing defensive Achilles Heel. We questioned the erratic transfer policy & of course, cursed what felt like missed opportunities at every turn in the battle for a Play Off place. Frankly, there were no excuses for the sides performance & the manner of the defeat, but were we in danger of losing sight of how far the boys have come?

After all, lets not forget that this time last year we were in the midst of deep depression, with 4 defeats on the trot compounding a woeful second half of the season that threatened to keep the Whites marooned in Division Three for another year. All things being taken into account, a sense of perspective was perhaps required after the sorriest performance of the season. Looking back, many began the season with just one mission, that of “Survival in Division Two”. 5 games in & the Whites appeared comfortable in our new surroundings, recording 3 wins, 1 draw & 1 defeat. At that point, only 5 goals had been conceded, however it was clear that the defence had issues. The fingers of blame swung first at Bessone, before Naylor was written off by many of the faithful…

An injury to Kasper then saw Higgs step into the Dane’s impressive shoes. However, in a somewhat humbling period, the number 2 keeper was to pick the ball out of the net 13 times in 5 games, with 5 going past him in the shocking defeat at Barnsley. Yet 2 clean sheets later, the Whites appeared back on track & the 1-0 win over the Blades even raised expectations. However, 4 defeats in 5 soon put paid to any lofty aspirations. The poor run began with the 4-6 mauling at home to Preston & by the time the 4th Cardiff goal went in, you would have been hard pushed to find anyone backing the Whites for anything other than a 4th bottom finish. In the face of growing depression, Grayson rallied his troops & with the aid of a formation change, oversaw an unbeaten run of 12 league games…

Yes it was fortunate at times & Yes, the defence remained an issue. However, the players confidence began to rise with each passing game & in turn, we began to realise that we had little to fear in this league. The run included the stunning win at Burnley & that convincing win over league leaders QPR. The unbeaten streak came to an end at Cardiff in the week leading up to that mighty display in Arsenals back yard. That FA Cup draw prompted fears of a hangover, but the boys went on to beat Scunthorpe 4-0 without breaking sweat. It boosted the Whites Play Off  hopes, whilst also pointing towards this being the season that the boys could avoid the recent good / bad “half season” pattern. The club then began the attacking the Transfer Window with intent…

Becchio was convinced to sign a new deal, before we secured loanee O’Brien permanently. However, other than to re:loan McCartney, the transfer charge stopped there, despite all clubs around us adding to their armoury. It was feared that the club would eventually pay for what appeared scant investment by January 31st. Still, with 2 Premier league defenders now in the back 4, it was hoped that the defensive Achilles Heel would finally be addressed. Sadly, that didn’t happen, but after Arsenal eased to victory in the Elland Road replay, the Whites set about another unbeaten league run with a “We can outscore anyone” mentality. It almost worked, but didn’t & 2 point dropping draws would leave the faithful tearing their hair out. The club then recorded its first back to back clean sheet wins since September…

The win at Bristol ensured the Whites were safe in Division Two, thus completing our first mission. In truth, there had been little danger of relegation since Christmas. However, with our defence, no one was counting any chickens. Sadly, any hope that the defence was now magically cured was short lived as 8 goals in 3 games later, we left Swansea after being out thought, out scored & out played. Many feared the season was in danger of peaking too soon, with fans not sure if to feel relief or to begin to brand the season a damp squib. Yet a week is a long time in football & 2 wins, combined with the capture of loan star Barry Bannan, left us again in spitting distance of the top of the table. At the same time, the points gained were cementing the club in the Play Offs…

The goalless draw with Ipswich that followed was by no means fatal & we headed to Bramall Lane in good heart. It was there we witnessed the Whites beaten by a side who can’t have had many easier games all season. Grayson acted swiftly in the aftermath, though he clearly believes that kamikaze defending is the only way of entertaining the masses & thought against bringing in a new centre half. Instead, after farming out Nunez & Clayton (again), he brought in another loan midfielder in Jake Livermore. Perhaps not the defensive midfielder we had hoped & it will be interesting to see where Livermore fits into the side. Many expect Johnson to be the player who makes way, however, Howson’s injury may just give the transfer listed midfielder a stay of execution…

So, that’s where we are at, the question is, what now? Are the side running out of steam or was the Blades defeat just an off day? How would we feel if the Play Off’s slip out of our legendary “Careless Hands”? On paper, the 8 game run in is as hard as it could be & after spurning chance after chance to address the defence, we can assume that the school boy defending is not going to change. With that in mind, that 4 point gap may not provide enough protection if we continue to fire blanks at the other end. However, before we write ourselves off, we can at least take heart in the way that the boys have previously responded to defeat this season & we have to go back to October to see back to back defeats (Kiss of Death!). Many feel Grayson also needs to utilise his squad more…

Popular opinion points towards Watt & Somma getting more time on the pitch. At the same time, the manager must figure out how to bring Snoddy back into the kind of form that earned his Scotland call up. As for the Play Off’s, well lets be honest, even after achieving the main aim of the season, to miss out now would be gutting. You can not afford to stand still in football & there is no telling when the chance may come round again. After all, who would have predicted a Play Off Final appearance in 2006 would result in relegation a season later? Of course, there is the small matter of 8 games before we can really give them much thought, but many are already filled with dread just at the prospect of making the Play Off’s & of course, history points the way on this one…

However, amongst the gloom surrounding the words “Play Offs”, there is another thought process knocking around. It’s one that suggests that, should we make it this time, we enter the games with a different mindset & try to enjoy them, after all, we didn’t expect to be there in the first place. In theory, this should take the kind of pressure we saw placed on the last 3 attempts, lifted off the shoulders of the players & allow them the chance to express themselves with no fear. Of course, that would depend on the players turning up on the day & even then, theory is one thing, putting it into practice is another. However, it could just be a cunning plan & one that might just work Baldrick, with little to lose if it doesn’t…

So, as the Leeds United AFC rollercoaster kicks back into life, only time will tell if this Easter will be a time of resurrection or crucifixion. However, buckle up & keep your fingers crossed that the boys can begin the run in on a positive note, one way or another, it could be one hell of a ride…

Leeds United AFC…”Here comes the twister”… Keep Fighting…

Youtube clips with thanks to GIBBO024 & EALDRETT

Posted March 29, 2011 by keepfighting in leeds united, Uncategorized

Leeds United AFC: Legacy…

50 years ago this week, Don Revie became manager of the Leeds United AFC & his achievements are the stuff of legend. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing & things had to get worse, before they would get better. With just 9 games left, Revie inherited a side that were beginning to flirt with relegation to Division Three for the first time in it’s history & his first task was to ensure the club stayed up. Revie’s first game in charge was a trip to Portsmouth on the 18th March 1961 & in a shock move, he handed defender Jack Charlton the number 9 shirt in the hope that the defender could emulate the striking feats of the great John Charles. The switch paid off, with Charlton scoring, but the game ended in a 1-3 defeat…

The result left Revie’s boys in 11th spot, but just 5 points clear of the drop zone. Things didn’t improve immediately & today’s opponents Sheffield United took the points from Elland Road a week later. Revie’s side went on to win just 1 game during the end of season run in, a 7-0 win over Lincoln City & the side gained just 6 points from 9 games. It was still enough to enable a 14th place finish that ensured the club stayed up. Revie then began to build for the next season, including making plans to change from Blue & Gold to the famous all White strip. However, it would still prove to be another couple of painful seasons before Revie would go on to build the legacy we know today…

Legacy building is something that those who followed in Revie’s footsteps have found difficult to achieve. Only Sgt Wilko managed anything that came close to Don’s achievements & his Title winning 3-2 victory at Bramall lane in 1992 remains our last win on this god forsaken ground:

Our last visit to the Blades saw a Healy goal nick a point for Wise’s relegation bound Whites & with the Blades now struggling, today looked like a chance to end the winless run. As it transpired, on Comic Relief weekend, the players turned in a charitable “Unfunny for money” performance which sadly only benefited the hosts. Grayson’s only change from the Ipswich draw was to give Bannan a full debut in place of Kilkenny…

The on loan Villa player would provide the only real sparks of encouragement in a dreadful opening 45 minutes which began in a woefully flat atmosphere. The Whites simply didn’t turn up & struggled to get to grips with a pitch that seemed more suited for growing potatoes.  However, to use the pitch as an excuse for the lack of “Passion, Pride, Commitment & Desire” would be a crime in itself. From the start, simple passes went astray & miscontrol blighted the lack lustre Whites. The Blades couldn’t believe their luck as their physical approach quickly began to pay dividends. Kasper plucked a Quinn effort out of the air in the first minute, before Vokes headed well wide…

Only Bannan looked capable of creating something for the Whites & his raking passes out to the wings gave hope. However, the ball simply bounced off Gradel, Becchio & Snoddy, meaning most early attacks other than a Becchio header, petered out. It was a surprise to us all when the Whites fashioned the best chance of the game on 20 mins. Snoddy twisted & turned before laying the ball back to Lichaj. The defender swung a ball to the back stick, but Gradel’s far post header bounced wide. The let off boosted the hosts & they should have been ahead soon after. Montgomery had Kasper back peddling to tip over a long range punt, before shocking defending left Bogdanovic unmarked in the area…

Fortunately, Kasper was alert to the danger & was out quickly to smother the shot. Lesson’s hadn’t been learned & Kasper had to come to the rescue again, this time by pushing Quinn’s shot around the post. Grayson had seen enough & switched to 4-4-2  in the hope of shaking the Whites to life. Howson had barely touched the ball & the skippers punishment was to be lumped onto the right wing.  Snoddy went to the left & Gradel joined Becchio up front, but all the move appeared to do was confuse the players. Kasper pulled off another great save to keep the scores level by tipping Evans 20 yarder over & we simply prayed we could hold on till the break…

This was not a repeat of how Swansea’s free flowing football ripped us apart. This was just simply one team having more desire than the other & too many of the Whites players appeared not bothered about getting stuck in. It made for a sombre White Army atmosphere at halftime. Grayson made no changes at the break, but there was a spark of life in the early stages of the second half. Bannan shot wide & Johnson headed over, before defensive disaster struck. Quinn found space down the left of the box & drove forward before slipping the ball back to the unmarked Montgomery. The Blades skipper slid a routine ball across the 6 yard box, which Lichaj expertly diverted past Kasper for 0-1…

The goal appeared to be a wake up call & Bannan curled wide from distance. Back up the other end, Quinn shot wide, before Bromby blocked from Vokes. After the animated Snodin came down from his seat in the stand a couple of times to wake him up, Grayson took off the under par Becchio for Paynter. Sadly, the Whites were in need of much more drastic surgery than that. Minutes later, the game was all but over when McCartney lost substitute Riise inside the box & he fired across the helpless Kasper for 0-2. Somma was thrown on to bolster the attack, but the changes made had failed to address the main problem areas of Defence & Midfield…

As time ticked down, the closest we came to scoring was a goal line scramble, with Gradel, then Bromby unable to force the ball home from 2 yards. With that chance gone, so had any hope of getting back  into the game. Watt replaced Snoddy, but there was little the winger could do to lift the side. To cap the day off, in the last minute of normal time, Paynter tangled with Lowry in an off the ball incident. The referee looked like booking both players, until the intervention of the assistant. After a word in his ear, Jones booked Lowry, but Paynter was to see Red. Billy’s reaction was not that of a hard done to player & he sprinted off quicker than any of our players had moved all afternoon…

The final whistle brought an angry reaction from the White Army, more so for the manner of the defeat than the loss itself. In the aftermath of the result, all eyes were on the chasing pack, but fortunately, we were not alone in dropping points & managed to retain 5th place. So, we head into the International break with much to think about. It is to be hoped this was a “One off” as our remaining away games see us visit “Graveyard” grounds, whilst each home game pits the Whites against potential rivals for that Play Off spot. However, the fear that the boys maybe running out of steam at the wrong time is growing. Performances like today will certainly not help matters, but we have bounced back before. Lets hope we can do so again when Forest visit in a couple of weeks time…

Leeds United AFC… “Don Revie OBE ~ 10 July 1927 – 26 May 1989″…  Keep Fighting…

Youtube clips with thanks to SMUDGELU & WAFLL

Posted March 21, 2011 by keepfighting in leeds united, Uncategorized

Leeds United AFC: Don Revie…

“First of all there’s the boss who’s right behind us; He’s the one who fills our hearts with pride”…

Leeds United AFC…“We’ve a team we can be proud of and Don Revie is the King…” Keep Fighting…

Youtube clips with thanks to STEAKANDSID…

Posted March 16, 2011 by keepfighting in leeds united, Uncategorized

Leeds United AFC: Yeboah…

There can be few – if any – loan signing over the last 20 years who could claim to have had a bigger impact on Leeds United AFC than a certain Anthony Yeboah. The Whites paid Eintracht Frankfurt an initial “loan” fee of £800,000 to take Yeboah till the end of the 1994/1995 season. The nature of the deal caused a stir within the Department of Employment, but a bigger stir was being created within the White Army thanks to the strikers exotic sounding name & his remarkable goal scoring exploits. Yeboah failed to score on his debut during the 4-0 home win over QPR, but the striker with a love of Yorkshire Pudding, soon netted his first goal for the club 4 games later, during the 1-3 FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford…

Yeboah had already begun to amass something of a cult following on the terraces & by the time the Whites hosted Ipswich Town in April 1995, he had ignited the clubs push for Europe by scoring 7 goals in 9 games. The Tractor boys were struggling at the foot of the division & Yeboah duly put them to the sword with a devastating hatrick on a wonderful night. Yeboah chipped in with 3 more goals that season, ensuring that the Whites qualified for the UEFA cup with a top 5 finish. At the end of the season, Sgt Wilko moved swiftly to tie up the Ghanaian on a permanent deal & in 1995/1996,Yeboah started the season on fire. He lit up English football by scoring some astonishing goals…

Nobody will ever forget his strikes against West Ham, Liverpool & Wimbledon, as well as the amazing hatrick in Monaco. Despite missing a few weeks of the season due to African Cup duty & injury, Yeboah’s magical touch ensured he went on to pick up the “Player of the season” award. Sadly, when new manager George Graham entered the equation, things did not go to plan for the striker & after the infamous shirt throwing episode at Spurs, the player headed out of the club in 1997. Despite that incident, the memories the player left still burn brightly…

The same can’t be said of the memories left by too many other loan players, or indeed Ipswich Town’s last visit to Elland Road. The 1-1 draw saw the Whites slip into the abyss of Division Three in 2007 & the less said on that, the better…

The midweek win at Preston meant that, with just 10 games remaining, a Play Off place was still up from grabs & if things went our way today, we could cement that top 6 spot further. As it turned out, it was to prove to be a frustrating, albeit point gaining afternoon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Grayson stuck with the side that beat Preston, thus giving “Come on Billy” a chance to build on his goal. For their part, the tractor boys ensured the staff at Jimmy’s were on high alert by fielding the expensive injury prone pair of Bullard & Dyer. The visitors were quickest to settle into their stride, with Priskin shooting wide of the far post within 30 seconds. Shortly after, Paynter was booked for what appeared an elbow on McAuley…

It was the beginning of an early spell which saw the Whites struggle to put any constructive moves together. Indeed, it was the defence who stepped up to the plate & O’Brien was forced to clear from Dyer. Priskin then tested Kasper before our first real chance. Gradel burst through the middle & unleashed a 20 yarder that Fulop did well to tip round the post. Ipswich were well organised, managing to keep possession too easily at times & when Priskin forced Kasper into another save, it was clear this was going to be no easy ride. There was no easy first half ride for the man in the middle either as the aptly named Deadman became the latest official to feel our wrath with a period of bizarre refereeing…

After Deadman missed a blatant back pass, Kasper was forced into a double save, first from Martin, then from McAuley’s header. Deadman then nearly caused a riot as O’Brien chased Priskin for a loose ball. As the striker stumbled, Deadman not only gave a free kick, but a Yellow card too. Still, despite the official, we slowly grew into the game. Paynter glanced a header just wide, before Gradel’s long range effort dipped just over. However, Deadman was involved again & went toe to toe with an angry Grayson after he had missed another blatant foul. Grayson’s unusual rant was a measure of how the official was performing. Of course, the referee was not to blame for missed chances…

Paynter slipped at the vital moment when he looked certain to score. That said, referees do influence things & just on halftime, Deadman waved away claims for what looked a clear penalty. O’Brien’s shot looked to be handled in the box by McAuley, but a corner was the outcome. A clean sheet at halftime was the only positive that could be found amongst the angst ridden faithful, but we started the Second half much brighter. Howson volleyed Snoddy’s cross high over the bar, before Snoddy almost put the seal on a brilliant 3 man move, but his shot just drifted agonisingly wide. Ipswich now seemed content to “Park the Tractor” & invited the Whites to try break them down, though it was hard going…

At least with Deadman now trying to stay out of the limelight, the game began to find some rhythm. Paynter was next to fashion a chance, but Fullop kept his scuffed effort out. O’Brien then smashed one wide from the edge of the box before Luciano came on. No, not ours, some bloke from Ipswich & Becchio was most amused to hear “There’s only one Luciano” as he warmed up on the touchline. With the Whites hitting a brick wall, it wasn’t long before he entered the fray as Grayson made a double switch. Howson & Paynter made way for Becchio & Bannan as we looked for some added creativity. Sadly, the switch failed to ignite the Whites & as a spell of hoofball ensued, frustration began to grow…

Time ebbed away & it was clear that we needed to try something different. All eyes were on Somma, yet even when the striker was stripped & ready to come on, the change was not forthcoming. As the game entered the final minutes, from nowhere, Ipswich made a late charge. It would have been typical of the side to conceed, but McCartney blocked an effort from Wickham, before the impressive Bromby cleared Bullard’s corner & was also in the right place to block Scotland’s last minute shot. The final whistle was met with full appreciation for a side who battled hard, though just ran out of steam after a draining week. With results elsewhere going our way, perhaps this could be viewed as a missed opportunity…

However, 7 points from 9 & a clean sheet against a side who were no mugs, provided reasons to be satisfied. So, we head to the “Yorkshire Derby” at the Blades with the outcome of this amazing season still in our own hands. With 9 games left, what more could we ask for (OK – apart from 9 wins, 9 clean sheets & automatic promotion!!)…

Leeds United AFC… “Tony, Tony Yeboah”… Keep Fighting…

Youtube clips with thanks to LEEDS4EVER1992 / SUPERITFC & STEVIEDLUFC…

Posted March 13, 2011 by keepfighting in leeds united, Uncategorized

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