Top Of The World

Posted by on Jul 22, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

In the outstanding harmonies of Miss Karen Carpenter – incidentally Smuff’s (Paul Smith’s) favourite song – we are truly on top of the world.

We’ve waited a long , long time to see the cup that Strachan raised aloft 28 years ago, thrust skyward again by another Leeds United captain at Elland Road. And tonight, the pleasure, excitement and exhilaration of that momentous occasion has been stolen from us by bloody bat flu

After getting so close last season, hampered by injuries, suspensions and all the off the pitch shenanigans, it felt like the ground had collapsed underneath us. Even that picture of Bielsa, alone, in his customary crouched position but head low, bereft and crest fallen rather than his norm alert and on point pitchside pose, was enough to rattle even the most optimistic optimist known to us – me. It was taken after we lost to QPR, but that image followed us like Churchill’s black dog, till the final whistle of the play off against Derby.

The photo earned the photographer, Bruce Rollinson, a submission in the Society of Editor’s Daily Photographer of The Year Awards, the prestigious national industry ceremony. The prize was won by Simon Hulme from the Yorkshire Post (see link below)

https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/sport/football/leeds-united/unusual-photo-leeds-united-head-coach-marcelo-bielsa-earns-award-nomination-2876903

I have spent some of this week reviewing my blogs from last season. I can’t help but repost some of them and I have to admit sometimes the urge to be childish and go “ner, ner – ner – ner, ner” has to be held back by going to the fridge for a cold beverage …. or two.

Some of you may say my unnerving and sometimes annoying optimism until it is mathematically impossible for us to get promoted, has been like a broken record, over the last few years. As if you didn’t know already, I couldn’t care less. I am proud to say that despite everything that has happened, despite every obstacle that has been chucked in our path to glory since we got relegated in 2004, I never gave up. It definitely wavered when I heard that Warnock had been appointed. What I feel about that guy is unrepeatable in polite company, and yes, most of you have heard it several times. When the Redfearn, Mcdermott, Redfearn, Hockaday, Redfearn, Milanic, Redfearn, Rosler, Redfearn (put that in for comedy value) Evans and Monk combo was finally exhausted by a winning run from Thomas Christiansen, no one was happier than me …. at the least just not to see Redfearn’s name repeated on that roster!

The attendances according to the Leeds United programme from 2015/16 season do not make happy reading. Although they had increased considerably from when bates was in charge, they still reflect badly on us. The highest attendance at home was against the Huddersfield tesco bags at 29, 311 and that included 2,082 dog botherers. The next home game against QPR a massive 17, 388 albeit on a Tuesday night. The number of home games with above 25,000 Leeds United fans was 2 – seriously TWO. Burnley and Huddersfield. The other attendances over 25,000 were helped by the larger numbers of away fans like Brentford who brought 621 bees with them to boost numbers to 25, 126. The only other game was against Rotherham United who brought 905 fans to bolster the 25, 802 numbers. So including the opening game against Burnley, the number of attendances over 25, 000 that season was 4 – seriously FOUR.

But right now, I am just going to enjoy the moment…

To finish with, here’s a young Kalvin Phillips from when the original LUSC sponsorship picture was taken. My how he has changed

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Missing You

Posted by on Jul 9, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

Yes, John Waite was a Lancastrian, but his 1984 classic sums up what the last 15 weeks has been like. I am missing Leeds United, like most people, but there are bits of being a Leeds United fan,that I “ain’t missing at all”. I’ll stick the link in from youtube of the song at the end for those of you too young to know what I am on about.

It’s been strange times these last few months.

I have had a season ticket for far too long to remember, but I haven’t been watching Leeds United as long as some of the people in the branch and LUSC, who were going to football long before you even had to buy a ticket. Long gone are those heady days of just paying at the turnstile to get in…… hang on, you could do that at Villa two seasons ago on that Friday night that no one wanted to go to….

Anyway, 22,000 season ticket holders and 15,000 gold members haven’t been able to go to ER  since watching us beat the Dog Botherers in March (2-0 by the way, Bamford scored). The 2400 or so of us who had booked our coach seats to go to Cardiff and the 7,000 or so who were looking forward to Blackburn have had a big fat empty hole in their lives where their pubstop, tickets and travel (and victory celebrations) should have been. But no one is missing the gigantic hole that would have been in the wallet after those two expensive trips. Expensive because of the coach hire to Cardiff, and extortionately expensive after the all day-er for Blackburn, starting with brekkie in ‘Spoons.

Bloody bat flu.

I have been forced to sit there trying to get the login to work for LUTV like the rest of you. Having watched the first game on the fledgling “new normal” / “temporary abnormal” behind closed doors televised game, and having not watched any of the German / Premier League matches, I was dreading watching the rest of the season like this.

Fake crowd noise being pumped in like a badly dubbed out of sync film from the 70s was incredibly distracting. Think 70s Japanese classics like Monkey or The Water Margin but 5 seconds slower. It probably would have been better with commentary from Bert Kwouk, David Collings and Miriam Margoyles to be honest as some of it has left a lot to be desired. Even more disappointing to find out from your betting app that Luton have actually scored several minutes before it actually happened on LUTV!

But beggars can’t be choosers and it has improved. It’s good to see some of the crowdies being taken out by wayward shooting. At least those ones who are still standing after being soaked by the rain in the magnificent new East Stand. It would have been a nice more realistic touch if the stewards could all run up the stairs with them when it pours down….

I am forced to admit that SkyTVisf**kings**t does actually provide a reasonable, less shaky, wide angle camera AV service, alas if only Bert Kwouk and David Collings (look them up younger readers) weren’t actually dead… I have managed to hook up my telly and now get a damn good letterbox widescreen picture on LUTV, I don’t know how people cope watching it on their phones. But I suppose my eyes are getting old and you younger ones are used to it. And just for clarity, I don’t do BT sport, won’t have Virgin media (on principle) and a firestick is what you put on your newspaper before you pile the wood on.

Now that I have to rely on what the TV companies want you to see, it makes me realise how lucky I have been to be able to watch what I want to watch live. My opinion of Beckford has improved considerably, after listening to his commentary the other day. He was commenting on how much Bamford actually does off the ball, drawing players away and doing runs and little touches like his build up for the Blackburn goal before Klich took the guy out to win the ball (yes, it could easily have been a foul and I would have been cross if that had happened to Cooper). I have always believed that two people can go to the same game and see an entirely different match despite standing next to each other depending on who they are focusing on. Of course, much of that is down to selective viewing, i.e. seeing what you want to see. Where your judgement and therefore enjoyment of the game, depending on who you hate most and which player you think has the sun temporarily hiding up his arse, therefore can do no wrong, can be blinded. Think Beckford in the build up towards the end of the season we got back into Division 2.

The things I “ain’t missing at all”?

Away ticket ordering day

Going through the list of names the night before making sure you have got everyones name on the ticket ordering list. Switching on the computer at 10.15am on ticket ordering day, praying the broadband doesn’t go down right at the moment you see the “you are in the queue” screen. Praying you don’t see the “less than an hour” message in the queue come up. Getting to the log in stage and seeing the “password is incorrect” message. Praying you don’t see the “number exceeds the number of available tickets” message. Filling in the names of everyone on the list, praying that the basket doesn’t empty straight away and you have to fill in the names again with the concessions in the right place. Getting to the “checkout” phase and praying the basket doesn’t empty in front of your eyes. That 15 seconds where you wait for the “checkout confirmation” message and write down that confirmation number.. just in case something happens and you lose the tickets.

Travel Day

Printing off the email of the coach confirmation and the number of your driver, just in case there’s a no show. Meticulously, double checking and triple checking that you have everyone’s tickets. Going through the list to make sure everyone knows what time to be at their stop. Making sure you haven’t forgotten the football card. Getting to the first pick up and seeing that coach sat there. Waiting at the next and every single consecutive stop, wondering where the eff everybody is whilst the rest of the passengers are getting itchy feet. Counting everyone on, counting everyone off and then repeat for the pubstop.

The credit card bill at the end of the month….

I could go on, but having spoken to other branch secretaries, we all do it for the love of the game and for Leeds United.

I hope that this period of “temporary abnormal” demonstrates to the Clubs, the EFL (worse case scenario), the Premier League (best case scenario) that football is NOTHING without the fans in the grounds.

For too long, the match going fans have been ignored. Yes, the lip service is there when they want it, but season tickets have been rising over the last 20 years. Certainly the ones in the Premier League are astronomically high. It’s still only 90 minutes on the pitch. Leeds United? A bit different since our fall from grace in 2003/4 and 2006/7. We fell and fell again after Bates and the poorest Arabs on the planet, so the prices we pay haven’t suffered as severely as they could have done had we not bottled our return to the top flight by not bothering to turn up to that Watford game. And don’t get me even started on the paltry away fan allocation at some (half empty) grounds and treatment by the authorities since 1980s.

That Sporting Grounds Act of 1985 is an effing travesty and it’s about time that it is repealed. It’s been 35 years, time has moved on, policing has changed, jeez, football has changed, especially the “prawn sandwich brigade”…. and it still only actively applies to football. Rugby, cricket, horse racing can carry on without recourse, but football fans still remain Public Enemy Number 1. If there’s any institutional discrimination that should be tackled in this new woke liberal era of “freedom and liberty”, it’s the constitutional hatred of football fans on match days that needs to be abolished and that happens to fans regardless of colour or race.

Here’s famous lancastrian John Waite and someone irrepressibly born off an egg on a mountain top (thanks to vevo for the song and google images for Monkey)

 

Monkey Magic cast: Where are they now?

 

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Lockdown Blog

Posted by on Mar 29, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

Like many folk at the moment, I am missing football and desperately hoping that this lockdown works. The sooner this virus does one, the better.

There’s been lots of suppostion about what’s going to happen when we get through this. When will the domestic leagues restart, if they will restart at all. What’s going to happen to the Chumpions League and the Europa (Nohopers) League? What about Euro 2020? As Yul Brynner said in the King and I, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Let’s start at the very beginning (another musical nod – Julie Andrews). It seems like a lifetime ago now, when those Champions League games in Europe were being threatened with playing behind closed doors and they started going on about the impact on the English clubs. Then I think it was Arteta who got it first and Calvert Lewin of Everton. Then a week later, they got better and everyone was saying that it was a storm in a teacup (probably didn’t help that the WHO (World Health Organisation) said there was no evidence of human to human transmission).

How VERY wrong we were.

Then the Premier League said they were thinking of cancelling games, then the EFL said they might do too, and then all other sporting events started to get worried. Even I thought it was because all these professional sportsmen were getting a bit precious and that the Primadonna League were worried that Liverpool might NOT win the title….

How VERY wrong I was.

Soon, it became very clear how severe this was and how small and insignificant our fears about not getting promoted were. Dwarfed by the possibility that there may not even be a next season. By the way, my thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones to this terrible epidemic, and to those who are risking their lives every day, not just those in the NHS and the emergency services, but those truckers, farmers, fishermen, shop workers, bin men and volunteer workers who are putting other people’s lives in front of their own, and keeping the country running.

This blog is about football though. But even then, there are some parallels to be drawn.

These are uncertain times, but there should be no doubt at all that the season needs to be completed.

Why? Simply put? There is no reason why we can’t.

Our domestic leagues can always be completed regardless of how long it is postponed. Plus, how great it will be to be playing in June – just like being at the Euros then!

Euro 2020 has been cancelled. We can just play when we should have been in that competition. To be honest, we might be playing longer than the England team would have been anyway! Euro 2020 would have finished 1st week of July, so plenty of time before the new season starts. Leeds have 9 more league games to play. That can easily be squeezed into 4 weeks playing Saturday and Wednesday. The FA Cup can be sorted in a week. You can play the quarters at the weekend, the semi finals during the week (one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday) and the final at Wemberley on the Sunday. The players should be desperate to play, given that they haven’t done anything for the best part of three months.

Yes, sorting the tickets will be a logistical nightmare, but given how much sport will be crammed into such a short length of time, it might well be that the corporate lot will have so much to choose from (Wimbledon, Grand Prix, rugby, golf, cricket, athletics) that there may actually be more tickets for normal fans to go round! Woo hoo!

As for the Chumpions League and Eurhopeless League, well we’ve known for ages that these tournaments have been drawn out for advertising and revenue purposes for years. When it was just a proper knock out competition, it was a decent Champions League, but with all these group stages it just got tiresome. Especially when they took it off terrestrial TV. Bad enough when they moved it to SkyTVisf**kings**t (and Setanta!!!), but when BT took it over it went completely downhill. Is there anyone who actually watched the group stages? Can anyone, hand on their heart, honestly tell me that they know if they are in the last 16 yet or whether they are still in the group stages? I have just been told they are definitely in the knockout stages! But instead of it taking just two weeks to sort, they had been drawing it out over 4 and that is the reason why the FA Cup replays have disapppeared.

UEFA won’t let any televised top flight football (our domestic cups) be up against the Chumpions and the Nohopeless League, so our domestic tournaments have been playing second fiddle to UEFA because we are kowtowing to the corrupt wasters. FIFA and UEFA are so desperate to have their own competitions made up of the “top” sides in the world, not for the good of football, but for the money that they can generate in advertising and corporate revenue. There is so much money to be made in which to line their pockets.

Although this pandemic is an unprecedented event, it just goes to show the fraility of their “big” plans to accommodate and allocate tournaments to the will of the highest bidder. Football is the sport of the common man, always has been, and until FIFA and UEFA finally put an end to it, always will be. By allocating the World Cup to Qatar, hardly a country with any developmental needs (like in South Africa) or a country who will benefit from it (Brazil), they broke with tradition. It used to be that they alternated it between Europe and South America. Then they wanted to expand and do an Asian one and an African one, hence Japan and South Africa. They did Russia and no doubt they’ll be an Australasian one as well. All great footballing nations, Qatar???

I can see the problem with the Nohopers League, seeing as they start the group stages in June, but then they just need to reduce it just for one season. This season was the first that the Primadonna League had a “winter break” to “rest” their players, but it mucked up the FA Cup and some teams belittled the tournament by fielding their under 15s. But all of these things can be worked out, and if the leagues start a week late, who cares? Euro 2021 will still be on.

Let’s hope they can all see reason once this is over and done with.

thanks to the one who took the mick out of Mrs May on twitter for the picture

 

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Siege Mentality

Posted by on Feb 29, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

In Round 9 (or is it 10 now?) of the Battle of Football Hierachy v Leeds United, Leeds United have once again – lost. In the most unsurprising turn of events since that Philip Schofield saga, it was decided to rule that Kiko wasn’t quite guilty but not innocent enough. So because he wasn’t innocent enough, he was probably guilty.

8 match ban? Very harsh, I was expecting 6, but then not totally unexpected, given our history of completely disproportionate punishments to the various crimes that Leeds United are deemed to have committed. Regular Readers will be tired of my outbursts regarding the condemnation of Cellino and his yacht / car irregularities, compared to the lack of disbelief when the Football League accepted as truth when Harry Redknapp declared that he didn’t realise his dog had accidentally opened a bank account and he actually couldn’t read properly even after all these years of football management.

The trouble is we may have lost this battle but we are still winning the war. The more they do to us, the more will we stand our ground. There is a saying, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Well, they’re not exactly trying to kill us, but you know what I mean. All this is doing is reinforcing our walls, we will stand fast in our battleground and we will go again. The siege mentality is only going to get worse.

Of course, this will be playing right into the hands of the Media. All these “top” football pundits will finally have something else to talk about, seeing as Liverpool are actually going to win the League this year, thanks to VAR (only way they were going to win it, mind). Citeh are finally taking the hit of winding that bloke up from the UEFA all those years ago (now there’s a man who can hold a grudge!). Guardiola isn’t rising to it, so they’ve got bored with that tack. Thank God the EFL after 5 months of dragging it out, have finally made the decision. Because frankly that game between Norwich and Leicester was so poor, I switched to watching NCIS on Fox instead. I didn’t see the second half but there was nothing to write home about, so they would have been desperately fishing for something to discuss, and the EFL haven’t disappointed. They’ve served the story up on a silver platter for them.

They’ll be bringing every left of centre has been and self righteous ex player into every discussion tomorrow. Thankfully it’s an early kick off so we’ll be doing something more interesting instead. Even though they technically haven’t proven that he is guilty and he only is “probably” guilty, it won’t matter. Anyone who might deign to be standing up for Kiko will be condemned by association for being racist as well. But at least they won’t have to talk about Norwich v Leicester.

It’s funny, if these people were around in the 70s and 80s, probably early 90s as well, and actually opened their ears – THEN they would have heard racism. What is going on now is nothing compared to what it used to be like. And while “Let’s kick it out” and “Level Playing Field” claim to be doing everything to stop racism, they are in complete denial that most of the reduction in racism over the last few decades has actually been down to the supporters and supporters associations themselves, not these “action groups”. Most things that have changed in football have been down to supporters doing it themselves, not the Football League, or these virtue seeking groups, us – we have done it ourselves. But that’s not what they want to hear and it’s not what they want us to think, because they get government funding etc. and probably Charity status as well ( tax perks) , so they want us to believe that they are doing all the hard work. Yes, they have all the media machines behind them and have all these engagement workshops etc. and probably (!) do put a bit of work in,  but the reality is that they don’t acknowledge what we, the decent minded supporters, have been doing all along anyway.

So that EFL Quest show (I genuinely do not get any thanks for plugging it) will be a right barrel of laughs tomorrow. And because we’ll be home by 6pm, there’s no excuse that we’re on the coach back home, not to see it live. If we lose, we’ll be on first for 5 minutes, with a reference to Kiko every 15 seconds. If we win, we’ll be half way through or just before they start going on about Division 3 and be lucky to see more than 30 seconds of Bamford’s hat trick.

What happens now then? Nothing. The best we can do is just take the hit and as the saying goes, we go again. Give yourself a rest Kiko. You’ve done your best. Get yourself a nice seat in the West Stand and watch the game with your family and enjoy the food in Hospitality. You might even get to eat a decent steak and chips meal for 6 weeks before you go back to your “proper” diet. You never know, Kiko might get a ticket in the away end and he can join us getting soaked in the beer fights and queueing for the bogs at half time.

The ones who will be most happy (apart for the EFL of course) will be these keyboard warriors who will be ecstatic having been handed the opportunity to put post after post, tweet after tweet and insta after insta of fake indignation and those “angry” emojis out, just so they can get a like and get themselves a bit more attention by posting a little cartoon symbol.

As for us, our barriers will be strengthened, our walls will be higher, our siege mentality will continue to be fed.

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Here We Go Again

Posted by on Feb 23, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

David Coverdale never looks any older does he?Apologies for the deliberate typo, I know,  Whitesnake did Here I Go Again – I’m just keeping you on your toes, dear Readers.

I’m just waiting for our 15 minute highlights on 403 SkyTVisf**kings**t Football HD against Reading yesterday. It’s not actually on until 9pm, so I’ve an hour and a half to get this blog done. I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t so tight and paid for the SkyQ upgrade with a proper box, I probably wouldn’t have to wait so long and could probably just record it, but I’m from Yorkshire… Plus, even if you have Sky Q and have one of these Ultra HD 4G LED tellys, when you watch the game on the Red Button, is it still the same crappy blurry picture that I get on my ancient Panasonic? How does that work then? The highlights are still in HD. It makes you think that SkyTVisf**kings**t are doing it deliberately just to piss people off as surely it doesn’t matter if they show it in HD or not? I bet if you are used to watching something in Ultra HD, watching the Red Button must be like watching it under water? Just asking for info. I don’t intend getting Sky Q until I have to.

Back to the blog. It’s the end of February. We are in that familiar territory of possible promotion – again. We had a fantastic start to the season – again. We had a blip after Christmas – again. We lost against Wigan – again. The pundits are saying the wheels have fallen off the bus – again. But unlike the last time, we are not plagued by a massive injury list, we have pulled points back against the form team Brentford at Griffin Park (where we have never won or haven’t for 50+ years at any rate) and we have had two consecutive clean sheets against two polar opposite opponents, in two completely different games in the last two weeks.

Bristol and Reading. I haven’t seen the highlights of Reading yet, but despite similar swirling weather conditions pitch level, these two games couldn’t have been any more different. Ok, maybe more missed chances against Bristol.

Last season by Christmas, the dreaded “teams have learnt how to play against Bielsa’s Leeds” phrase crept into the matchday commentary like the flesh eating zombie plagues in the 70s horror movies. About as welcome as a dose of the runs. The cliches about “falling apart again” , “not being able to keep the pace up” and “running out of ideas” became tiresome, especially from that curly haired Keith Andrews and Goodman.

This season however, (fingers crossed) we have had our blip and these two good results against Bristol and Reading have got our hopes up again. We are 5 points clear of 3rd and I don’t care about West Brom. Whether 1st or 2nd, it means promotion without the dreaded play offs. I am content with that. Automatic promotion means an enjoyable start to summer, a well deserved rest before Euro 2020 and looking forward to happy pre season. We have Boro on Weds night and then away to Hull at the weekend.

12 games to go and as Groupon Geoff cheerily said post match yesterday in the Golden Lion, if we win all our next 12 games, we’ll probably get promoted. He was quickly corrected, if we win all our next 12  games, we will get promoted.

In complete contrast to the game against Bristol, despite Bristol being a “better” side on paper, yesterday the air of nervousness was palpable. The first 15 minutes wasn’t so bad, but it did feel like panic was setting in. I don’t know which part of the ground it started, but by the time Kalvin limped off after that initial hefty challenge, it was like the scene from The Fog, where the mist rolled in and engulfed the 35k crowd at Elland Road. After Pablo’s second try from that rebound went in, the mist lifted briefly, but by the time 70 minutes came up, it was well and truly choking the life out of us. The last 10 minutes genuinely felt like an eternity, and I didn’t even have enough spare energy to have a pop at the ones that started leaving before the 85 minute mark came up. The game was on a knife edge, and you still want to leave before the final whistle?

The Bristol game was nail biting but exhilarating. This game was a nail biter, but not for the same reason. That save by Kiko was a defining moment. It showed that we could hold our concentration and nerve right to the end.

I’m really hoping that it is a sign of things to come and we (the team and us supporters) can maintain our concentration, hold our nerve and get that effing promotion.

Come On Leeds

thanks to googleimages for the picture

 

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The Curious Case of Leeds United’s Number 9

Posted by on Jan 4, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

If the current Leeds United’s Number 9, Patrick Bamford had the looks and charisma of Brad Pitt, together with the magic and mastery of Messi and a sleeve on one arm depicting St George defeating a dragon and the other arm saying “I heart my mum”, he would STILL be facing mass chastisement by a certain element of Leeds United fans.

And it’s not just Patrick either. I’ll take the time, Pop Pickers, to give you a countdown of a few names who make up our last top ten lambasted Number 9s of the decade;

Pierre Michel Lasogga – hero to zero in one game (Millwall) as he ran and scored and ran and scored… but ran out to tired legs before the 90 minutes was up. Chris Wood – couldn’t hit a barn door allegedly but still did 30 goals in his last season with us. Matt Smith – still a “Leeds and you know you are”  favourite – pity then so few sang his name when he was with us though and most told him he wasn’t fit to wear the shirt. Brazilian hopeful Adryan- whose playing career didn’t even last as long legendary Roque Jnr. Then, the famous Warnock’s Warchest Quartet of Dexter Blackstock, Connor Wickham, Jerome Thomas, Steve Morison, and…….. Billy Painter, of course. That’s a list and a half to forget, isn’t it?

In fact, it’s really only Jer – maine (remember the date) Beckford who is our last memorable Number 9 of the first decade of the 21st century. Even then, and this is controversial and I know it, even then, poor Beckford used to get a right slating from most, if not all, four stands for being a temperamental, lazy git who couldn’t jump to win a ball and then wouldn’t hit a ball unless it was passed straight to his feet. Jer – maine is now selling his wares as a dapper football pundit and holds the title of full on Leeds legend.

But, he did put the ball in the Man U net …… but then so did David Wetherall…

So, what is it about that Number 9 shirt?

500 mile walk David Healy aside and Brett Ormerod (!) , we did have a reasonable run of favourites in that shirt for a while. The Duke, Jimmy Floyd Piggybank, Ian Rush (??), Yeboah, Deano and my personal favourite, Chappie. They all got the plaudits and accolades they deserved, and remain in a happy place in most fans’ minds. I am sorry to say, it has been a uphill slog for the last lot to try win any praise of late.

Is it because the bar was set so high because of these illustrious legends? Are the Golden Age goal scoring elite boots of Lorimer, Clarke, Gray, Terry Connor and Tony Currie too big to fill?

Given that the median age of the Leeds United fan, certainly in the Cheese wedge and the South Stand is lower than that of the average stalwart in the Revie Stand (and definitely the Captains Corner),  it cannot be down to the fact that Bamford and Wood are being harkened to those players of yesteryear. Seeing as most of these younger ones weren’t around when Chappie was at his poaching best, surely none of them can even think about using them as a comparison.

No, I can only conclude the level of criticism aimed at our Number 9 players over the last decade or so is a symptom of far too much expectation of instant glory.

Don’t get me wrong, Chapman used to get a ton of abuse for being a donkey. To be fair, Chappie was far from our most elegant player. What with his gangly legs (similar to a baby goat at times), occasional lack of depth perception and his inability to know where and what his arms and legs were doing at the same time, he would never have made a ballerina. But Chapman knew where the net was and he managed to get the ball in the back of the it by hook or by crook. Or rather by managing to hit the ball with his head, shoulder, knee, foot, eyes closed or eyes open … as long as it went in, I wasn’t bothered how it got in. It got us promoted as Champions!

When Patrick Bamford ended his goal drought at that Blackburn game, he ran to the crowd and gestured to the baying hounds. The fact that he felt he had to do that was bad enough. I felt terrible for him but the naysayers in the crowd deserved that. I preferred the Mark Aizlewood salute myself, but given how upset people are getting nowadays with everything, it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea. Bizarre how in the old days things were so censored, some of the old films that were in the 70s and were given an X certificate are now on TCM without a care in the world. But nowadays even though music videos and songs are streamed with really explicit content (lyrics and violent scenes) etc. people get offended by the odd F word so easily? Go figure that one out then.

I digress, back to Patrick. They are still going on at him, even now. Especially now. When he came on at West Brom his impact was immediate and although the Football League have now taken two goals off him, the one at West Brom and the other one at Luton, he is still up there as our top goal scorer. His work rate during the game is immense. The barren spell he had in front of goal bears no reflection on what he has been doing for the team when he hasn’t scored. Yes, he needs a more consistent service to score. I really wish Kiko would actually hoof the ball up to him when he is actually on the pitch, instead of waiting til Bamford gets subbed before he starts giving the long balls to someone who doesn’t stick a chance in the air. But, Bielsa rates him and that is enough for me. I couldn’t care less about the 25,000+ other football managers at Elland Road.

Maybe I’m being a little too harsh to our current fan base. I remember when Viduka came to us. It took quite a few games for him to find his goal scoring boots too. There was always that element who cursed him when he missed an open net and condemned him for not being able to get more than an inch off the ground for a cross. I suppose it has always been the same for our fickle fans. It perhaps seems worse now with the onset of the social media age, where in August everyone suddenly becomes the greatest football manager and tactician since Cruyff, and don’t we know about it!

The game has changed in the last 20-30 years. The old fashioned Number 9 out and out striker has long departed. The days of the Di Stefano and Cruyff, and in the more recent times, the Shearers and the Fowlers of this world don’t really exist any more. In a way, probably Ronaldo (the fat one rather than the cheating one) was the last of the proper Number 9s to grace the field. Players don’t seem to be bothered with their numbers anymore either. Whether that is just a reflection of the times, as in the demise of the standard 4-4-2 as opposed to the vanity of players wanting to put their own stamp (for however long they stay depending on money!) on the team, I’m not sure about.

The game has definitely changed, all you hear about now is the “high press” and “clever game management” aka cheating. The ball is “rounder” and designed to fly through the air quicker. The players are fitter yet less hardy and tend to fall over at the slightest touch. The pitches (apart from in Scotland and in Histon) tend to be grass as opposed to mud baths. The 4-4-2 traditionalists amongst us are now in the minority and the infamous Mike Bassett Christmas Tree is now actually taken seriously! Even though the changes are massive, the crowd’s expectation for a player to play as a Number 9 hasn’t really lessened at all. In fact, it has become more vociferous if anything. Not content with the fact that goals are coming from all over the pitch, you still hear the phrase “we need a proper striker up front”. Last season this phrase was followed by “like Vydra or Rhodes” – er hmmm. However, we should have learnt by our mistakes last season. We shouldn’t be putting all our eggs in one basket, in case we get injuries like last season, we should be happy that Harrison, Dallas and even Ayling etc. are getting on the scoresheet.

Patrick Bamford WILL score more goals and I hope he gets his 30 goals this season, because he deserves to. Just give the lad a chance and pipe down you miserable lot.

photo courtesy of pinterest, and yes, that is Brad Pitt not Patrick!

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