God Only Knows

Posted by on Jul 26, 2021 in Blog | 0 comments

It’s summer, the season starts very soon. What’s going on with away tickets? As the great Brian Wilson says – “God Only Knows”. This is the latest news on away tickets – make of it what you will.


The lyrics of God Only Knows are a very fitting description of what Leeds United means to us. Leeds United is a massive chunk of our lives and has been for some time. I’ll put the snippet in for those heretics amongst you who don’t know who The Beach Boys are: (thanks to google for the lyrics)

I have a love / hate relationship with Leeds United, like so many of us. Whilst it has been the source of much despair, frustration and downright anger over the last 30+ years (longer for others), it has also been instrumental in some of the happiest and most cherished moments of my life. Leeds United has driven me to drink to drown my sorrows, but also been the catalyst to some of the most drunken celebrations known to man. You only have to look at the joyousness in Millenium Square after we got promoted to see the wondrous nature of the good times at our beloved football club. And we are at the good times right now. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

These blogs are just the written views of one, ok maybe two, loyal fans. I’m not the loyalest by any stretch of the imagination, and I don’t pretend to be. I never made it to Myanmar and pre season friendlies are not my biggest priority in life. Leeds United already takes 10 and a half months of my life, I need 6 weeks off for a rest! Running a branch is difficult. You don’t choose it, it chooses you. Bit like a cat really.

The biggest, most stressful part of running a branch?

Away tickets.

In a way, it is good that away tickets is such a problem. Why? Well, in the greater scheme of things, it means that Leeds are doing well. No one wants an away ticket when we are crap, look at Villa not so long since, when they were letting you pay on the gate on the night. So, when it comes to the “greater good” – woo hoo the good times are here!

The flipside? How long have we got? I’m going to spare you the argument for loyal v free for alls – everything that can be said, has been said, mostly on this website! Just go back in the annals and you can just enjoy it all again.

So, let’s just get on with it. Let’s digest the away ticketing policy.

Firstly, it wasn’t a surprise that Leeds United decided to change the policy after last season, actually not last season as we never got to see any of the games, so in truth season 2019/20. If I was to be honest, the away ticket issues started after we picked up when Christiansen was still here. Granted, there were always the odd games when we struggled with tickets when we were a bit rubbish. Going down to Division 3 meant a few new grounds, so the ones who just wanted to tick off a new ground, as opposed to the ones who actually wanted to watch us play, were giving us problems then. It happens every time we get a team who we haven’t played before. You turn up and people you haven’t seen for years all of a sudden are there. Salford was a recent one. Paucity of the usual crowd, quite a few long lost faces – who knew?

I digress, what does the new away ticketing policy mean?

Basically, if you have an away season ticket – get in! They’ve not got rid of them and they will be cheaper this year because there is a cap on PL tickets – £30 tops. Bargain! You still have to pay your little bit extra for your Premium product, but for this year at least – NO WORRIES! Slap yourself on the back for having the money and the foresight for getting your away season ticket when you did. For the original 350 of you, well done for holding out as long as you have done. All those years of paying more per game  than we,  mere mortals did, has got you the bonanza of a guaranteed hassle free match ticket. All you have to do now is worry how long Leeds United let you keep them. If we stay up and get into Europe, no doubt MORE new fans will want to get in on the action and the CEO will get even more emails demanding that all fans should have the right to watch Leeds United away.

The lucky 9.5% of 3,000. O level Maths at A grade tells me that there are 285 very, very lucky people who have been to 100 or more league and cup games since the 2015/16 season. Why they chose 2015/16 season as their cut off point is anyone’s guess. We’ve had worse seasons than that surely? Was that the season we had our worse attendance records? Radrizzani bought Leeds in 2017, so nothing to do with new owners taking over, or was it? Was Andrea already waiting in the wings in that 2015/16 season? Uwe Rosler and Steve Evans shared the managerial hat / sombrero, so can’t be anything to do with that surely? God Only Knows again, Brian. However they decided it, 285 people  were in it to win it. 285 people have a guaranteed ticket to an away game this season. Hurrah! Before people start on the “they are all old gippers” etc. I know for a fact that there are a few who are, for all intents and purposes, YOUNG people in that number. Much has been made of the myth that only old people could ever get on the loyalty ladder. Simply put – not true. How do I know this? Because I know one if not more of these YOUNG people – personally. The lad probably didn’t appreciate being dragged up and down the country by his old man to watch us get beat all the time. These young ones may have stood there in the beginning, wondering what the hell they were doing when their mates were sat at home, warm and dry on their playstations and game boys. They may have been there, looking around at the crowd of old drunks, still singing even though we hadn’t had one shot on goal the whole game, thinking “what the heckingbottom is going on?” But look how well it has worked out. Brucie bonus.

The other 27%. In the 2019/20 season, these people got a ticket to an away game. Seeing as quite a few of the games were done on the old “tracker” system, many of them are and have been for years in the legions of the loyal support. Some may have missed out on the lucky 285 by one, maybe two games. What solace could you seek if you had missed out by one game? And if it had been that Stoke free for all game, or in fact any of the other free for all sale games like Preston or Bolton. Some poor souls might have missed out on the lucky 285 by that one free for all game that loads of the half season ticket holders who bought their season ticket at Christmas got to, but they didn’t. Some in this category may not be though. Some might have just been lucky enough to have a decent T’internet service and been lucky to get on the system. Some have been lucky to get to the checkout phase without the basket emptying or getting turfed out by the website. Some might have been lucky to get time off work to sit in the queue and order their tickets in the first place. Some might have been lucky to have a friend who could order their ticket for them and were lucky as above. Well their luck ended there, didn’t it? Now they will have to see if their luck plays out when they all get dumped in a pot again for a 50/50 chance at getting their hands on just short of 1,000 tickets. Better odds than a free for all sale, but with less tickets to have a go at, so probably worse. It makes no difference if you had done 98 games in five seasons or just got to 5 last season. All in the same boat. Complete loss of your loyalty for the ones on 99 /98 games – perhaps because someone who got a half season ticket at Christmas managed to get in before you that day. Bollocks.

Season ticket holders. The last 27% of the 3,000 max allocation. Another reason to pay the extra tenner to go on the season ticket waiting list. Free for all sale for just under 1,000 tickets. No one knows yet whether you can go for this sale if you have already tried but failed to get one in the last category. Actually, God Only Knows. You’d also be hoping that people in this sale are actually wanting to go to the game, rather than wanting to make a quick buck and flogging their ticket to Scum away for £500 or whatever the highest bidder is willing to give them. At least though, some who have never managed to get to a Leeds away game can go and experience the smoking in the bogs, beer fights, crap view from the aisle seats, overpriced beer and then get crushed when we score.

Gold members. Sorry “MyLeeds” members. “Gold member” always brings up images of the rather unfortunately shaped spaceship in that Austin Powers film of the same name. Never did like that term. But having said that, MyLeeds now sounds far too similar to that terrible “book” by Peter Fibsdale, which he wrote when he did, to capitalise on that really troubled period we were going through. Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore has more morals than Peter Fibsdale. Gold members get the final 9.5% in the final free for all sale. It’s not brilliant , but at least there is a small chance that they might get lucky, get a ticket and not go to hospital after some sweaty fat bloke falls on them on the way up to his seat, because he’s not used to drinking 6 pints before the 12.30 kick off on Sunday lunchtime.

And that’s your lot. It goes without saying that you would hope that anyone who gets a ticket to an away game this season actually does genuinely want to go. You can only hope that the Club are going to stamp down on anyone who is happy to skank a fellow Leeds fan for a profit, or anyone else for that matter.

The fact is now that we are popular again, they’ll be many tickets that don’t actually go to Leeds fans. Jon Bon Jovi is only the first of many. You’re not seriously telling me that if Tom Cruise decides he wants 20 tickets for him and his entourage to the Livarpool game, the Club is going to turn around and go, “No Tom, we are only going to let our proper fans go” , are you? If Coca Cola decide they want to sponsor us and need 100 tickets to the Citeh game, it’s not going to go down too well Leeds United say no, is it? If the 49ers turn up and decide they want to slum it with the fans instead of sitting in the posh seats where everyone falls asleep in the Emirates Library, what’s going to stop them?

It’s a completely different kettle of fish to blagging a ticket for one of the Kaiser Chiefs.

And as for next season, who knows? It may all change again. It depends if Radrizzani is still here. It depends if we stay up. It depends on how many more people decide they want to go. Most of the other clubs in the PL are closed shops. You can’t get an away ticket unless you have been going forever. The same ones go to every game. Loyalty in it’s purest sense. Loyalty is still a dirty word though for some at Leeds United. You know my views on it. 

For now, well done to the lucky 285

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We’ve Come A Long Long Way Together

Posted by on Jul 25, 2021 in Blog | 0 comments

It was a toss up between “Praise You” or “We’ve come a long long way together” for the title today. I decided on the latter, as it is a bittersweet time right now for the longest suffering Leeds United fans. It’s scarcely a month to go before the new season kicks off, and yet we still don’t know what’s going on with our away tickets. If anyone at the club ever read this blog, it would be a gentle nudge towards recognising how far we have come together, since those Division 3 days.

Happy times though. Today, 21st July is Marcelo Bielsa’s birthday. He’s 66 today, if he was British he’d be able to retire on his state pension now. Proper pensioner!

There’s been a few pictures of him put up today. The one from when we got promoted for instance – a rare picture of any emotion from the great man, let alone smiling, is probably the nicest one, with all the team celebrating with him. Pictures from the sidelines of him squatting down, or on his blue bucket (that everyone laughed at – not mocking now are you?) are the next most popular. All instantly recognisable, and I am guessing if you typed in “picture of Bielsa” into Google – they’d be the ones that would come up.

The one I have selected, this one, is one of the most, if not the most iconic.

What does this say to you?

What does this say about the man?

What did it say to Leeds fans after that defeat against QPR in February 2019?

Looking at it now, 2 and a bit years on in time, but eons and galaxies far far away from the where our club is now, what does it say to you about the guy that we have in charge?


Now if I had that question in GCE O Level English Literature – I would have got more than a C grade.

Can you imagine if you were studying sociology at A level and that question came up in an exam? Mint! That’d be me on a Astar+++, or whatever it is graded at now.

Not much needs to be said that hasn’t already been said about Marcelo Bielsa. Man, myth, legend. Coach of all coaches. Teacher of all teachers. But to me his humility, his humbleness and his self effacing demeanour is the thing that stands out. He just gets on with the job that he is paid to do.

This picture of a man despondent and alone in his thoughts, was taken after we suffered a 1-0 defeat against QPR. He looks crestfallen. He looks like a man who has personally taken all the responsibility of that loss. In these progressive times when there are so many people who take so little responsibility and accept so little accountability for their own actions, here is a guy who bore the whole lot on own his shoulders.  And in reality, it wasn’t really all his fault.

QPR had been on a rough long losing streak of 7 games – it had to end – and it ended with a lucky win against us that stopped us going top. We had the majority of the possession that game, we had two good shots saved by their keeper. QPR scored a decent goal and we didn’t. Immediately after the game, before we even saw this picture, captured so well by Bruce Rollinson from the Yorkshire Post, the doom and gloom had already set in. The talk was about how we were going to fail again, doubting Bielsa, slating Victor Orta (again), condemning the players for not being good enough  (again). It’s a good job Bielsa didn’t hear any of this that night.

Yes, we won the next three but ultimately failed at the very end. So some of the naysayers were technically correct. We didn’t get promoted that season – but look at us now.

We have come a long long way together.

The ones who were saying after the game that day, that our players weren’t fit to wear the shirt that day – they were wrong. Apart from Pontus and Kiko, they are the same players who won us promotion the next year. The ones who said that Orta didn’t know his arse from his elbow that day – they were wrong. Look at the inspired signings of Raphinha and Rodrigo. The ones who said that Bielsa would never get us anywhere because he only had a Plan A and wasn’t capable of a Plan B / C / D – they were wrong. Look at us now – Plan A works, a few tweaks, but essentially we got to within touching distance of Europe with Plan A .

Our first season back in the PL, and we have really made the rest of the PL stop and take note.

We’ve played fast flowing, one touch football, but we’ve also defended well, even though Koch, Llorente and Cooper were all out most of the season. Young Struijk has really stepped up to the mark. Patrick bagged 17 goals, beaten into 4th place by Kane, Salah, Fernandes, but still failed to get a spot in the England team, behind Calvert-Lewin and Ollie Watkins. But the biggest impact is that of Leeds United Supporters Club sponsored player Kalvin Phillips. By far England’s Player Of The Tournament. A storming Euros for the lad.

All down to this man though. He looked beaten in this photo, but maybe he was just thinking. Hatching a plan, and what a plan it was.

Thanks to Googleimages for the picture – but thanks to Bruce Rollinson for being at the right place at the right time, for the most iconic picture of the great man.

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It is now

Posted by on Jul 12, 2021 in Blog | 0 comments

In the inimitable words of the great Ken Wolstenholme – they think it’s all over – it is now.

That’s it til Qatar 2022 and what an end to the Euros it was!

I’d like to say that the game was the most entertaining, end to end pitch battle of the greatest football has to offer across the continent of Europe. Which, I would like to confirm – just for reference – the UK is still part of. We haven’t managed to extricate ourselves from the continent of Europe, we have merely left the economic shackles of the Federal state of Europe. Back to the subject at hand. I would love to have said that the display of the 22 men on the Wembley pitch was the pinnacle of footballing skill, a masterclass of managerial strategy and a feast of physical and mental endurance  ….. but it clearly wasn’t.

It was, in the end, 11 men holding onto a 1-0 lead for 88 minutes, with no game plan apart from get the ball to Kane, resulting in the dreaded dead ball situation which is England’s nemesis, and which Southgate should have avoided at all costs – but didn’t.

To be fair, they got to the final.

Pre tournament, the favourites were France, Belgium, Germany and Portugal going on the form of the likes of De Bruyne, Mbappe etc etc. So, realistically England although not rank outsiders, were not exactly going to be the ones that the bookies were panicking about. In fact, Wales had put on a far better show in the early round. Southgate had unsurprisingly picked 5 right backs and continued with his game plan of “get the ball to Kane”. The team selection was only ever going to revolve around getting as many behind the ball as he could in the hope that a lose ball would end up at Harry’s feet.

As usual I am biased, but if it hadn’t been for LUSC Sponsored player, Kalvin Phillips putting that sublime pass in to Sterling, there wasn’t going to be a goal in that game against Croatia. Apart from Pickford’s display last night in front of goal, there hasn’t been anyone else in the England team who has stepped up to the plate more than Kalvin.

This was Kalv’s first tournament, hopefully the first of many. He had his doubters in the press and social media as usual at the start, but he had a solid, resolute display in all of the games which any hardened international midfield veteran would have been proud of.

After their first game, I said that Italy would be a difficult team to beat. A team not unlike the old Championship teams, with a wall of giant immovable defenders and a Goliath between the sticks. That coupled with a bit of pace on the wings and a presence in front of goal was going to be difficult to wear down, but even worse, would be even harder to fend off once they were camped out in the oppositions half. As the second half wore on, it was like watching the Siege of Troy, with wave after wave of  destruction. Their goal was inevitable and the trio of Kane, Sterling and Mount could merely watch in horror as the onslaught on Pickford’s goal gathered pace.

As with all games, the keyboard managers out there and the armies of armchair know it alls – albeit with the benefit of hindsight, could see that Southgate needed to make changes early in the second half. If England had come out with guns blazing in the second half and scored a quick goal, I would have been happy with just defending the lead. But they didn’t and as the game wore on, Mancini used his subs to good effect, while Southgate kept Kane on, trying to add another £10 million onto his transfer fee in the coming weeks. Granted, taking the Captain off may have seemed a difficult decision, but you pick your players to win the game – at any cost. And that game needed to be won in 90 minutes – or at least in 120 minutes. There was no way – short of Pickford growing another two feet in height and width and another couple of limbs – that England were ever going to win a penalty shoot out.

Southgate didn’t change it soon enough though. Even though he had the likes of Calvert Lewin to give him an aerial advantage or Reece James to give him a bit of pace. He left it as it was, even though Mancini’s defence had already been booked.  By the time Grealish got on – it was too late.

So it came down to pens. In truth, had the ball had not gone out in the 119th minute, there might not have been the opportunity to bring on two of the youngest and most inexperienced England players. I wish he hadn’t.

In the after match commentary, it was said that Gareth had already picked the penalty takers going on what they had demonstrated during the practice sessions. As if the practice sessions could replicate the pressures of a  situation after 120 minutes in the final of the Euros – Gareth.

Regardless of who took the penalties, whoever missed was always going to get sorely abused. The idiots who have added racial slurs to their social media viciousness have no shame. They are probably the same ones who slated the Whattheheckingbottom Leeds side. The ones who said that the likes of Cooper, Dallas and Bamford weren’t good enough to wear the shirt and that there needed to be a wholesale change of the team if we were ever to get promotion.

These so called “fans” are the ones who want the instant success, the ones who expect and want the glory of winning but who have no concept of the hard graft that comes beforehand. The scenes of people storming the entrances on Sunday and at the semifinal game as well, without tickets, are a sad reminder that there exists a group of so called “fans” who think they deserve to watch a football game simply because they want to. The ones who have no idea of the hard work that goes into supporting your football team through thick and thin. These are probably the same ones who get a ticket somehow to a game and then spend the whole game on their phones taking selfies of themselves at a game that they are only ever going to watch if the team is winning.

Despite all of this, when it comes to a penalty shoot out, the rule is hard and low. Pick your spot and put your foot through it …. There is a time and place for hop, skip and jump – it’s called dinnertime and a playground, not Wembley .


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