Low Growls Not Barking Mad

Posted by on Dec 27, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

After multiple replays of Sean Dyche and his low growls after that game, it sounded like Boxing Day deja vu, following the over indulgence of turkey, pigs in blankets and roasties, oh and half a packet of after eight mints. In this years’ Christmas Battle of Man v Food, my stomach will testify that food definitely won. Although I have to say that my tummy rumblings were less biased than Sean Dyche’s interview today.

Is it just me, or does anyone else see Preston the bulldog from Aardman’s “A Close Shave” everytime Sean opens his mouth? Both the normal version and the terminator one, just to clarify.

Today’s game wasn’t pretty to watch, especially that second half, or rather the last 20 minutes of the second half. Mind you, the first half wasn’t that much to look at either, until someone finally told the cameraman on the West Stand touchline near the dug outs that his lens needed cleaning. It was nearly the end of the first half before it looked slightly better than “The Big Match” re runs on ITV4.

It’s amazing how now that we are forced to watch our games on the telly due to bloody bat flu, you realise just how crap the TV coverage actually is. Unbelievably, even though I have had 3 hours in the pub before the game normally, I manage to see more of the game than the 8 strategically placed  cameras can capture during a TV broadcast. Admittedly, I tend to watch what is actually going on the pitch according to where the ball is, rather than obsessively focusing my attention on the dugouts, 30 seconds of a man chewing gum is 29 seconds too much. You’d think with all this goal line technology and split second replays, that 89 minutes of a 90 minute game would actually be following the play (VAR decisions notwithstanding). Even if the ball goes out for a throw in or a corner, what is to stop the continuity man just showing the few seconds build up which resulted in said free kick etc. Plus, when there is a corner, why they don’t do the wide angle shot so you can watch the run ins from outside the box, is beyond me. Like I said in an earlier post, it makes you think that the people choosing the camera angles aren’t actually football fans. Maybe there is an a ulterior motive, like sponsorship deals for chewing gum or toothpaste brands? Who knows, but it is really annoying.

Not as annoying as Jamie “dey do do dat doh don’t dey doh” Carragher. Once again, the commentary team of Andy and Dan excelled themselves today. All they have to do is provide ball by ball commentary on what’s going on the pitch. Like the inimitable Roy Walker on Catchphrase – “say what you see”. It’s not really that difficult is it? I’m pretty sure that in front of them some number cruncher minion will have prepped all the stats needed for them for that game, so that when nothing is happening, they can spout some figures to make themselves look a bit clever. But no, short of the commentary team being made up of people without a grudge or at least being able to be impartial for 90 minutes, you’d be better off getting one of those guys who does the commentary on horse racing doing it. At least they can make it sound a bit exciting and you know they’ll only give you the actual facts. That Peter O Sullivan, now he knew a thing or two about sports commentary.

They can leave all the bias and the “in depth game analysis” to the three clowns sat around that tiny table in the studio. What is the point of that tiny coffee table anyway? It’s way too low to put your pint on (or tea mug if you’re feeling delicate). You can’t even rest your feet on it. They’d be better off with a Dickie Davis style of hip high desk, to hide those hideous hipster trousers and non shiny shoes. With all the money they make, you’d think they could afford to pay someone to clean their shoes at least and press their trousers.

I understand, the way that Leeds United play under Bielsa’s tutelage is, basically, the SAME every game. But it’s not boring is it? Even when we are losing, it’s still exciting to watch. We are the epitome of “hitting on the break” as much as we are the personification of being “caught on the break”. I am pretty sure that there are plenty of stats to reel off about how many miles (not kilometres now we are out – down with decimalisation!) Kalvin has covered on the pitch or how many Premier League teams Bamford can be classed as playing for ( does coming on for 39 minutes really count as a Burnley career?) to use as a filler when someone goes down in a tackle.

I know, it may be unfair for me to criticise them as I have never been in their shoes, but I am stuck having to watch and listen to them and not really doing this by choice. I’d MUCH rather be watching it live at the game, but I can’t. At least they are being paid to do it. Having said that, if SkyTVisf**kings**t want to pay me to sit and watch Leeds United and provide the commentary, as long as I can have a drinkie or two, I’m pretty sure that I would do as good as, if not a better job of it, than the current lot.

I would certainly tell old Sean that he needs to be a far gracious loser, and that on the day, despite us having no proper centre halves and a keeper who looks like he is 12, the team pulled together, did the job and kept them at bay. Which is no mean feat for a newly promoted Championship team.

Sean – just sum up the game (thanks to googleimages for the picture)

Sean – did you deserve a point? (thanks to googleimages for picture)

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Christmas 2020 – sums up the year really

Posted by on Dec 20, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

So, just switched off SkyTVisf**kings**t for Christmas 2020, and that game just about sums up this year, doesn’t it?

Full of promise at the start, quickly descended into a complete farce, a bit of hope halfway through and then utter carnage, and despite continuing to battle to the end, beaten into submission. That was the summary of 2020 – now back to the game ….. oh no need. Ditto.

The fortunate thing about the football is that there is hope, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Once we get our defenders back, and hopefully Coops isn’t hurt too badly, we will throw everything (again – like we always do) at Burnley, and come away with three points. 2020 is also coming to an end and good riddance I say.

There’s no doubt at all that this has been the most calamitous year in a long, long time.

Two weeks ago, we played Chelski. Or should I say, Chelski decided to turn up to a game and actually properly participate in it, unlike their previous game against Spurs which was as dull as ditchwater. Yes, we lost but we had been forced to start with Llorente, as our stand in centre back (as Koch had got injured, and is now out til the Spring), and we were no match in the box against the giants in Fat Frank’s team. We then played the ‘Appy ‘Ammers and again, gave away pointless free kicks and corners, and again lost. Both games were on the telly and both drew a massive audience and subsequent newspaper column inches.

There is no doubt at all that Leeds United have cemented themselves as THE team that the TV companies want to have in their schedule. The football we play under Bielsa is attractive, and played in the spirit of the game that it should be. Having put myself through the commentary of Martin Tyler and Gary Neville today on SkyTVis f**kings**t, which is heaps better than the Amazon rubbish against the Geordies the other night by the way despite Jermaine’s moonlighting, it was almost embarrassing to hear them gushing over us. It was like listening in to a discussion between Dave Rowson and Paul Beaumont over Nigella Lawson. In fact Leeds United are probably the football equivalent of Nigella Lawson at this moment in time.

When Leeds are on the telly, you can almost see these commentators drooling down their microphones on the gantry over our passing play. Even the BBC are forced into it. And even though we lost today, the flattery from Tyler and Neville was evident and rightly so. Our football is THE most entertaining football currently available. Every game pre match there is talk about how they think Bielsa is going to play, but there doesn’t need to be. Regardless of who we are playing, Bielsa is just going to play exactly the same. One of the funniest moments was before the West Ham game, when in the press conference, the gaggle of reporters were trying to make a big deal of who might or might not be playing, so Bielsa just came out with the team line-up. Excellent. Giving them all the respect that they deserve – none whatsoever.

Lately though, there does seem to me that there is a worrying pattern forming. Chelski, Spurs, Citeh and Scum today just don’t seem to be bothering to turn up properly in certain games. Only then to turn up the heat when they are playing us. I know that for years and years, it has always been the pretence that we are the opposition’s Cup Final, but this season, it genuinely feels that way. As a seasoned conspiracy theorist, it does seem that when teams play against us, they are up-ing their game and playing much better football.

Is this because of the open style we play which makes other teams seem better? Before today, Scum had only scored three times at home, today they were 2-0 up within two minutes. Yes, I am sure that because our play is attack, attack, attack, we do leave ourselves open and have been of late (because of injuries and no Ben White!) been punished on the break. The fluidity of our play against the likes of Newcastle the other night, was breathtaking but then, like it was today, when the opposition are just as fast as we are, begrudgingly, the Scum goals were taken well.

Like Tyler said today, Leeds play the style of football that was played in the 1950s, when it was common place to score 6 to 8 goals a game. It was end to end stuff and there was no place for “clever game management” aka feigning injury and diving, because the game was played how it should be. However, playing the game how it should be played, may not win us the league. It will give the PL the breath of fresh air that the staleness of the last decade has needed. It will boost the TV figures, not that they need much, seeing as we will be in lockdown til the end of the season now, but it might spur on a generation of young footballers to do the right thing and stop the future Grealishes and Livarpool employees from getting anymore silly ideas.

For our first season back in top flight football, we haven’t done too badly really. We are midtable but it’s not even Christmas yet. The injuries are a concern, but we will have to wait and see. It was interesting how he took Kalvin and Klich off today, apparently because they are on 4 yellows already, and he didn’t want the team to suffer from any suspensions until the reset button in the New Year. Tactics? Hmmm.

The one thing that annoyed me today was that they kept harking on about Bielsa’s philosophy. It’s not really a philosophy is it? It’s just playing the game how it’s meant to be played. The game has changed so much since we were last in the Premier League. Not just with VAR and the rule changes, even the  pitches don’t seem like a proper grass surface anymore, they look like someone has gone over them in green felt tip pen. The players may be super fit, nutritionally balanced dietically fed, non smoking, non alcoholic, computer controlled hermetically insulated playing machines, but this makes them prone to hissy fits. Including headbutting, pushing and shoving, handbag throwing merchants, added to that all the hair pulling, eye gouging, biting and name calling spectacles that were not uncommon at 1am in the taxi queues outside Flares in the old days. They maybe be human, but not as we know it, Jim.

Anyway, Merry Christmas folks, enjoy it as much as you can in these uncertain times. We might get lucky and be able to watch a live game at ER before the end of the season. Whatever happens, it has certainly been an interesting and enjoyable start to our first season back in top flight football. The results might not have gone our way, but the football we are watching is fantastic and long may it continue to be as entertaining as it has been. Roll on the next 20 points, 7 more wins will see me happy before the end of the season.

For the benefit of those who don’t know what this is. This is port – how it should be served

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Halloween Hee Bee Gee Bees

Posted by on Oct 20, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

Ladies and gentleman – I give you the fabulous Mike Myers. Plus, if that wasn’t enough to give you the Halloween hee bee gee bees, I am even going to add that amazing intro to John Carpenters’ classic 1978 movie Halloween

but that Silver Shamrock clip from Halloween III Season of The Witch? That’s a step way too far for any child born in the 70s.

In previous seasons, Halloween is about the time where the jitters start. Owners start to get itchy feet and those managers who haven’t had a particularly good start to the season begin to get that horrible creeping sensation on their necks, that maybe something just isn’t right. Of course the tell tale sign is normally when the Chairman does an interview on the telly and claims that the manager has the full backing of the Board. In that, they want to see the back of him! But because of the delay to the start of the season because of bat flu, some might be spared their blushes, at least til Christmas. However, it’s hardly much Saving Grace is it?

This was our own club BB (Before Bielsa), happily not any more. Since the collective stroke of genius that was Radrizzani + Orta + Kinnear +/- ? Christiansen for bringing in some players in which led to Bielsa watching us? (who knows??). Whatever combination of events led to Marcelo Bielsa taking an interest in us, we were lucky. Lucky that he was tempted by what he saw. He must have seen something in us. There must have been something that made him see that we had potential. At 65, he’s hardly a spring chicken is he? But he’s no old warhorse like Warnock either.  In all this time he has been at ER, why hasn’t anyone asked him why he chose us? Or have they and he just hasn’t said or he’s sworn people to secrecy? There’s no doubt at all that he chose to come to us. Yeah, Victor Orta might have put the feelers out, but as the old saying goes, you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink it.

Bielsa is like one of those clever neighbourhood cats. The ones that just turn up because they know they’re gonna get fed and fussed after. The ones that everyone from the post office to the pub knows. Children, adults and the older ones, all see it and give it a pet, and people will feed it but no one actually knows who owns it. It will come and do what it wants to do in your garden, because he knows it pisses you off and he loves it. But he’ll come and wind his way round your legs til you feed him, because he knows you will and if he doesn’t like the food, he’ll go elsewhere. He’ll even have a kip on your chair or ride the bus until his stop, and then he’ll wander off. Like Rudyard Kipling’s Cat That Walked By himself, as those people who stop and ask if he wants a lift to Thorp Arch know, Bielsa Walks By Himself and all places are alike to him (if you didn’t do it in English at school –  read it)

Back to the Horrors of Halloween, it wasn’t so long ago when we were going through managers like it was going out of fashion. Bat flu has extended the lease of life to some of the more fortunate, but there’s no doubt at all, with current standings, courtesy of bookmakers.co.uk, Agent OGS is in the running.

But which Charmed One would take his place? Pochettino? Or would they try to resurrect Fergie? Now that would be a proper horror show. Let’s hope that the Scum Board are so eager not to lose face that they keep Ole Ole for a bit longer.

There’s no doubt at all that not having fans in the ground has made a massive difference, and perhaps that is the key to PL and EFL managerial survival. Maybe that’s why they are keeping us away. If there had been a full crowd at Villa park with 3,000 away fans would 7 had gone in without a car radio being chucked at Martinez? Would Spurs have slotted 6 in Salford before a load of prawn sandwiches had been hurled at Son? Mind you, not having a crowd didn’t help Sir Ferme LaBouche the Forest manager, considering that celebration when they beat us last season, you’d have thought that they got promoted, won the PL, the European Cup and secured InterGalactic Peace in that 90 minutes. I won’t even mention Derby…. Please note, I know his name is Sabri LaMouchi but those of you who know a bit of French, will understand the comparison that I have drawn.

However, even though we haven’t played 6 games yet, the excuse generator has  already been hard at work. I rarely watch any pre match build up on SkyTVisf**kings**t, basically because I cannot stand Jamie CareerScouser’s drawl. It’s like that Cerys from Catatonia, whose accent became even more annoyingly Welsh (sorry Taff!) after she got famous from 1997’s Mulder and Scully. I’ve met a lot of people from Livarpool in my lifetime, and none of them sounded like that. It’s how people who aren’t from Liverpool wind Liverpudlians up by putting on a Scouse accent. Dreadful!

Unfortunately, I had already had my tea on Monday, so I was a captive audience with my cuppa and packet of “perfect for dunking” Foxes Viennese biscuits. I didn’t want to get the remote covered in tea, so I was subjected to Jamie’s whining about how Dick Van Dyke getting injured and Scum and ‘Pool dropping points last week, meant that “all that would be needed was 90+ points this year for the title” and “the bar is being set really low this season”. It’s as if winning the league is a done deal. It’s as if winning the title for the first time in 30 years, with a lot of help from VAR, automatically entitles you to a winning run.  Maybe Jamie and Jimmy know something we don’t?

What I do know is that until we get back into the stadia, the results are going to be skewed. Like all Leeds fans who have the luxury of attending games home and away (I say away hopefully!), the atmosphere that we generate has a massive impact on our players and the opposition team. We ARE the 12th man. We are part of the backline in defence and the extra 5 yards at the front. We are the extra man in the wall and the extra height at the corner. We are the extra last ditch block in the box and the extra man hitting on the break. In the battle between Leeds Fans v Halloween Hee Bee Gee Bees. Leeds fans would win.

Football is nothing without the fans. Roll on November 9th.

Halloween (1978) - Photo Gallery - IMDb

Thanks to IMDb for the image

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Mick Punt RIP

Posted by on Oct 17, 2020 in News and Events | 0 comments

Today is the day Leeds United as we know it came into being 101 years ago. So it is poignant that on the day we celebrate the birthday of our Club, that it is the day I pay tribute to our mate, Mick Punt, as Leeds United is thing that brought us together.

Mick was Leeds through and through. His first game was in 1964 and he watched his beloved Leeds from behind the goal in the Scratching Shed until the Kop opened in 1968 and he moved there and has been there since. Even as he got older, he still preferred to watch his games from behind the goal.

Apart from one match in the Dark Days of the 3 day week during the power strikes back in the 70s. It was the Cup game against Liverpool and Mick’s boss had kindly said that anyone who had a ticket to the game could have time off to go and watch it. Mick climbed the tree at the side of the Peacock to watch the game which was all fine and dandy until the next day. As many people are aware, the Daily Mirror had a back page photo spread of fans who had tried to see the game, and Mick was there in the picture sat in a tree. His Boss wasn’t very happy about that at all, and when he quizzed Mick about it, Mick just said, ” I just told you I was going to watch the game”. Not much got past him.

Mick’s favourite player was Billy Bremner and his favourite game? The 7 – 0 against Southampton.

Mick started travelling with our branch in 2009. Curly Chris introduced us, saying that he knew “3 good lads who just wanted to go watch Leeds”, and that was that. Another reason that he started coming on our coach may have been that trip they had to the play off final against Watford in Cardiff. Steve remembers how on the way back their coach driver got lost and they ended up sat at Cardiff docks. The driver managed to turn the bus round but somehow managed to lose a bit of the back of the coach, and the passengers helpfully got off to retrieve the pieces for him. He also managed to hit the curb going over a roundabout in a journey home reminiscent of the film Speed. When they stopped at the services, they found out that the drivers’ manager had been on the phone and had sacked him halfway back. no wonder they started travelling with us, nothing like that ever happens on our bus!

Mick’s regular travelling partners were Steve Orchard and Paul Scott, and they were nicknamed the “Shaw Survivors” after the branch inadvertently stumbled into “Defend Shaw Day” prior to our FA Cup tie at Oldham Athletic in November 2009. This was one of The Chairman’s poorer pub stop suggestions.  However, considering their first game with the branch was our infamous trip to Crewe (yet again another of The Chairman’s brilliant ideas!) via Sandbach on 21st March 2009, where we found ourselves sharing the town with 250 Boro fans en route to Stoke, it could have been worse. The Rozzers ordered us to stay in one pub, which was duly noted with all due respect as everyone just went for a wander anyway.

Whatever life threw at Mick, and there have been a fair few obstacles, if Mick could physically get to a game, he did. Despite all his health problems, he made the trip to Arsenal in January – and back! He was never any trouble on the bus, and always happy to have a sit and a chat with anyone who wanted to have a beer and set the world and Leeds United to rights.

Mick will be missed by all of us in his extended Leeds United family, but he will be missed the most as a best friend, partner, father and grand father to Sue, Matt, Jo and Ella, Daniel, Isla, Caitlin and Brandon.

RIP mate.

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6 out of 3

Posted by on Oct 2, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

Who would have thought that at the start of the season? 6 points out of 3 games?

I’ll tell you who, NOBODY apart from maybe the bloke who won that £122 million on the Euromilions the other week.

When the fixtures came out, we got dealt Livarpool away as our opening fixture in another continuation of the summer’s Universe of Alternate Roald Dahl, typified by “Tales of the Completely Expected aka Stories of The Blatantly Obvious”.  It was hardly surprising at all that we would find ourselves at the end of 90 minutes plus the necessary injury time required to achieve the “correct” result, 12 inches or at least a misplaced foot (or arm), away from a deserved draw from that game. Enough has been said already about those penalty decisions. In reality, it doesn’t matter what we think, once that final whistle is blown, that’s it, game over …….. unless of course you are Scum, it’s the 100th minute of the game and you were promised 3 points. Harsh? Never.

Our next game against the might of that dedicated follower of fashion, Scott Parker (and his jardigan) and the Capital’s second favourite club, Fulham was another 7 goal thriller in the end. But them, T’Blades and Livarpool for our first 3 games, for me spelled potentially the worse start to the season we could have. It could only have been made even worse if we had got Everton away as well. Our top flight bogey team. Some wise person will dig out the stats but it’s something daft like 11 wins in 52 visits to Goodison in the last century. It’s never been a good hunting ground for us. We last won in 1990, I think.

Why Worry? And I don’t mean the opening track of the Dire Straits album Brothers In Arms. Why? Because barring injuries, Fulham and T’Blades had that lethal combination of players who always score against us. Mitrovic, that McBurnie bloke and Billy ‘Blades 4eva’ Sharp. Whilst Bielsa knows his craft, this isn’t something that Marcelo could beat with just good football. This is jinx, bad hoodoo, bad vibes, witchy craft stuff. You may laugh at my superstition, but how many of you had a panic when you saw Wilder bring on McBurnie and Sharp? Admit it, ALL of you. I saw that subs board go up, saw them lining up on the touchline, and it was squeaky bum time. As for the Fulham game, admittedly we scored some damn fine goals against Livarpool the week before, but when Koch took the hit for another dodgy penalty, the only thing going through my mind was Groundhog Day.

But it’s all behind us now. 6 points out of 3 games. Brilliant. An average of two points per game will see us in Europe. Dare to dream? Yeah, we dare. It’s like standing up and flicking the V’s at the Premier League. Something you see in the movies, triumph over adversity, but we have to be careful. Bielsa needs to tread carefully.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the old cliche (as opposed to Klich), EVERY game will be a Cup Final in this league. Especially this season, the first season back in 16 years. There’s the usual “Dirty Leeds” nods to battles of old at ER and the odd away (Stamford Bridge – Ken, and I don’t mean the one near York in 1066), but this season there is the Bielsa factor. Since we got promoted, every pundit has said that Bielsa is THE coach of all coaches. The “One”. Mourhino was the “Special” One, Guardiola the “Focused” One, Klopp the “Chosen” One who finally got Liverpool the title after 30 years, Frank the “Fat Cry Baby” One and finally Ole, the 100th minute winner One. For you older readers, I know that at Newcastle at some point, Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Alan Shearer were called The One or at least The Messiah, but I can’t seriously think about Steve Bruce without seeing Robin Williams as Mrs Doubtfire, so I’m not going to digress further.

As I said, every pundit has talked up Bielsa as the man that everyone has learnt from. But frankly, up until he joined us in 2018BB (Before Bielsa), I can’t remember them ever saying anything of the like. Can you? When they were talking about Guardiola, they just went on about how well he did at Barca. Pochettino, rarely was he ever mentioned in dispatches saying that Marcelo had taught him everything he knew. I know I am a sceptic and I always see the worse in people, they don’t call me The Anti Altruist for nothing.

SkyTVisf**kings**t / BT / BBC pundits are deliberately placing Bielsa on a massive pedestal, in the hope that if he falls, the crash will be calamitous. They are setting him up to the scale of Christ The Redeemer proportions, desperate for a Pompeii like catastrophe. They want a Leaning Tower of Pisa style toppling, but given that the Leaning Tower has been leaning for the last 840 years and has STILL not fallen over, Lineker is in for a long long wait. I would say that his hair will turn white, but it has already.

The rest of it?

Well, the transfer window is still open as I type. I said after the Liverpool game that Koch just needs time to bed in. There was never any way that he could do a Ben White and just slot straight into the team. Ben White was the Player Of The Season for me last year. Absolutely outstanding. We need to get him back when Brighton give into us after Christmas, and just hope to God that he hasn’t lost any of his fitness in between times. The fact that the season ended and then there was such a short period in between to get everyone training together after all that booze eventually got out of their systems after we got promoted, doesn’t help. They haven’t played properly as a team sufficiently. Then again, 6 points out of 3.

Goals? Patrick is on fire. 3 in 3 games. I can’t help thinking that the good start to this season and pretty good end to last, has been helped by the lack of whingeing from the stands. Like Chris Wood proved in his last full season with us, he can score goals. He just needed the crowd to get off his back. I’ll repeat what I said in a previous blog. If he was tattoed within an inch of his skin, had a ponytail and was knocking off Scarlett Johansen, Margot Robbie and that one off Game Of Thrones all at the same time, you still wouldn’t like him, because he’s a bit posh. Numpties.

Domino's Pizza Boxes | Fast | Standardized Work | Overproduction |Lean  Blitz Consulting

thanks to below for the picture of what I will be eating tomorrow before the Citeh game


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