My affinity with 'gridiron' started back in the eighties. Channel 4 was new and one of it's early success was American Football. My team back then and still is are the Raiders. Back then they were the Los Angeles Raiders and in the eighties they were, somewhat like Leeds United in the sixties and seventies, hated by most of the other teams and their fans in the United States.
Move forward thirty years and even though my eyes are heavy through sleep deprivation, I still enjoyed the 'big event' that started in the later hours of Sunday English time and lasted well into Monday morning; four o'clock to be correct.
Although my team was not playing, the game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers was a spectacle with Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars in the half time break, imagine that in LS11 on a cold February morning!
The Americans know how to put on a show and over seventy five thousand packed the brand new Lev's Stadium in San Francisco for the game. The majority seemed to be wearing orange, the colours of the AFC Champions Denver Broncos but scattered amongst them were fans of their feline opponents and NFC Champions, represented in black and blue.
Both teams had quarterbacks in differing times of their careers, 'The 'Sheriff' Payton Manning is at the end of his career. He's thirty nine and has previously won one Super bowl ring at his previous club Indianapolis Colts. The other is Cam Newton, twenty six, young, brash and some say cocky who joined the Panthers in 2011. Both are exceptional players in their position.
The game was dominated by defenders and although the favourites, the Panthers tried valiantly they could not pass the Broncos star men of Ware and Von Miller, who were so impressive in previously getting their team to the final. The final score was Broncos 24 Panthers 10.
I've seen five games at Wembley in the last few years and enjoy the company of the fans, we: 'the Flowerpot men' as we are known have made many friends in watching this sport. Yes it's different but special as where in the world could you put thirty two teams' fans in a beer garden in Wembley and not see an argument or signs of any kind of trouble and very little, if any police presence. It's so different and I really enjoy it.
Leeds will always be my first team, but this sport, although not everybody's 'cup of tea' could learn the football authorities a few things about how to treat it's fans and organise the events we see.
They call it 'The Greatest show on turf' and you can see why.
By Keith Ingham
With no new deadline day signings at Elland Road (shocker) it's about time that Steve Evans took a look at who could step up to the plate for Leeds before the end of the season.
There's plenty of talent waiting in the wings at Thorp Arch and with a shortage of players currently at Elland Road this could be the perfect chance to give some of the other players a chance to show up, while fixating on the possibility of a better season come 16/17.
Below is a list of players who (if given the chance) could act like new signings for the club.
1) Lewie Coyle
The talented 20-year old has started to feature more since the departure of Sam Byram and looks like he could go on and be a starting player for Lufc.
Blessed with plenty of pace and quite strong for his size, Coyle has the potential to be a mainstay in the Leeds back line if given the chance to get used to the Championship over the coming months.
Coyle represents a far better option that current flippant right back Scott Wootton, who can be just as untrustworthy as Giusepoe Bellusci on his day and does not give any support when going forward.
2) Kalvin Phillips
After being an inclusion at the back end of last season and the start of this season, Phillips has been demoted to the odd substitute appearance of late and has bags of potential to show if handed the chance.
Phillips is clever on the ball and possesses the confidence to take the ball at his feet and push forward. His range of passing has certainly improved and his ability to find space outside the box would be perfect for Leeds, who can be very indecisive when threatening the goal.
It's not too late for the 20-year old to stake a claim for next season and with the likes of Mowatt, Cook and Taylor making positions their own in the squad. Phillips could be the next young star to be a mainstay in the first XI if given the chance.
3) Jordan Botaka
The talented Congolese midfielder is a forgotten man at Elland Road, for unknown reasons.
Not liked by Evans for his lack of defensive capabilities, the Scottish manager is too dumb to realise that Botaka is more of an attacking winger and not a wide midfielder. If Evans can keep to his new 4-2-3-1 formation, then Botaka could be perfect for one of the wings.
Blessed with tremendous skill and pace, Botaka can usually be found on the pitch with two players marking him, one thing that Leeds could really utilise when making space for the likes of Cook and Wood etc.
With no winger signing on transfer deadline day and a somewhat lack of players to be available in the loan market, it's about time Botaka got the chance to prove what he can do at Elland Road, establishing himself before next season.
If he's not able to pick up some game time and get the needed experience in English football, then Evans is the only man to blame if he's not ready come next season.
4) Lee Erwin
The towering Scottish forward is now more known for his Twitter exploits rather than improving performances.
It's true that there needs to be more improvement if Erwin is to stake a claim for the striking role next season. The talent is certainly there, along with the goals, but it's the application that seems to be missing right now, along with the serious lack of first team chances.
There's no doubt that Erwin is a fantastic option and should be given a chance to prove himself before the end of the season and due to Leeds missing out on signing a striker, he just needs to be ready when called upon.
5) Casper Sloth
One of the Cellino signings that has been forgotten at Elland Road this season, Sloth is anything but lazy when featuring for the development squad; picking up goals from midfield nearly every week.
The talented Dane has all the potential to be a fantastic player for Leeds and with Evans deciding on a new 4-2-3-1 formation, Sloth could star in his predominant attacking midfield role. Sloth previously starred last season in the FA Cup defeat to Sunderland and has not been since, why?
Fantastic passing range, vision and goals, Sloth has all the attributes to be able to make an impact at Leeds and truly deserves a chance to come on as a sub and make a name for himself over the coming months. If not, Leeds could be allowing another talent to leave without even giving him the opportunity.
6) Ronaldo Vieira Nan
The talented Portuguese midfielder has made waves since joining Leeds on a two year deal and not just for his name sake.
The 17-year old is a fantastic talent and can play an array of different positions should Leeds request him too.
Although still young and new to the English game, Ronaldo has been claiming the plaudits of fans and media alike for his star performances for the Under 18's and Development Squad.
Known for his quick feet and even quicker mind, Ronaldo is able to dictate play and control a football pitch with the flick of his heel, something that should not be scoffed at, especially with the lack of signings.
With Leeds not fighting for promotion and not in the relegation fight either, blooding in a player like Ronaldo could really benefit both player and club for the future.
7) Frank Mulhern
A tenacious hard working striker, with the perfect eye for goal - at only 18 years of age Frank's best years are well ahead of him.
With Lee Erwin taking time to force his way into consideration, Mulhern could well step ahead of the Scot for consideration after some impressive performances for the development squad.
With Leeds struggling for goals and the fitness woes of Chris Wood, could Mulhern be the next one to emerge as a major talent for Leeds United?
8) Alex Purver
Included in a one of trip with the squad last season to apparently 'show him the ropes', Alex Purver is still yet to make a first team appearance for the club.
The 20-year old midfielder has however proved his amazing versatility this season for the development squad and this could mean a brief stint at centre back could be an option should Leeds call upon him.
Leeds currently have 3 centre backs in the first team squad, which is far from enough for such a busy season. If Leeds get an injury to just one of these centre backs we have no cover.
Purver, who is predominately a defensive midfielder can also fill in at centre back and could be a fantastic option to utilise a ball playing defender in the mould of English stat John Stones.
Composed on the ball and good in the air, this could a real chance for Purver to make a name for himself while cover is so short.
So there you have it, who needs signings when you have this talented bunch waiting for opportunities? Well, still us, but it's good to know that while Cellino is being right with the purse strings there's still players to come in and make a difference.
I'd like to thank Alex Mulvey from Future Whites for the information on Frank Mulhern and Alex Purver. Check out his fantastic work on Twitter: @futurewhites
By Ryan Ingham
In a new feature Head of Content Keith Ingham logs the past week for Leeds United
Thursday / Friday 28/29/1/16
After Massimo Cellino's conversation with Sky where he stated that incomings were 'unlikely', the club then made two bids for players. The first offer was for Barsnley top goal scorer Sam Winnall, the 300k bid was dismissed by the South Yorkshire club as they weren't prepared to sell their prize asset for such a low offer,
The second bid was for Frazier Campbell from Crystal Palace which was rejected due to the club being reluctant to lose this player on loan in this transfer window. Interesting that the Italian says one thing then does completely the reverse.
Bolton Wanderers v Leeds 4th Round
Match day: Steve Evans was forced into changes at the Macron Stadium, 'Dave' starting his first full game instead of Murphy, with Antenucci and Bamba coming in for the injured Wood and Cooper.
The game ...
Leeds were ahead early when man of the moment Doukara scored on nine minutes, Antenucci nearly doubled their lead but Amos saved his effort. Just before the break 'Dave' scored his first goal in Leeds colours when Antenucci found him unmarked in the area.
The second half, although Leeds had chances it was Bolton who so nearly forced a replay. Pratley scored with less than ten minutes to play and Madine's effort took a coat of paint off a post with time nearly up. A good win and progression into round five.
A word about the incredible, near seven thousand fans that went over the Pennine's to support, I bow my head to you all.
FA Cup Round Five
Leeds will play ... Watford at Vicarage Road. Very disappointing and a hard ask to be honest, but I'm sure Stevie's boys will give it their best. Because of the continued involvement in the FA Cup Leeds' visit to Birmingham City will have to be rearranged.
Other news, not a lot really with the deadline approaching it remains to be seen if Leeds will add to their squad tomorrow.
Deadline day... or Monday as they say at Leeds. No news here people, get on with your day to day lives!
The transfer window shuts with two loanees, Bridcutt, Carayol and 'Dave' joining permanently, with Sam Byram, Chris Dawson and Tommaso Bianchi leaving the club.
My lack of comment should speak volumes.
Very little apart from the obvious disappointment of the majority of fans that no player was brought in. This was balanced by relief at keeping Cook, Taylor and Mowatt. A bit of verbal 'handbags' by Evans and the Barnsley manager Lee Johnson about the size of fee Leeds offered for their fifteen goal striker Sam Winnall.
Sol Bamba should be fit for the Forest game as the injury he came off wasn't as bad as first thought.
When the loan window opens next week the same names that were mentioned pre transfer window are being linked to the club. Lafferty, Campbell and Grealish amongst a host of players that could be available. Away from Leeds came the sad news of the death of Mark Farren, Derry City's leading all time goalscorer. The 33-year old died of a brain tumour.
A great quote from Lewis Cook in a national newspaper which he said; "Some people make that choice to move and it doesn't always work out for them. At the moment I feel like I’m enjoying my football. Leeds are a big club as it is. I love playing for Leeds at the moment. Maybe for some people the speculation might be a bit disruptive but not really for me. I just focus on my game and playing for Leeds. That’s it.”
The midfielder is nineteen today, can you believe it?
Steve Evans admitted his disappointed in not adding to his squad on Monday, he said in the interview that he only made four inquiry's, all strikers and thought at 7:00pm he had got his man but a larger bid for the player came in. He didn't admit he was watching the Presidents collection of videos as they waited for news.
It may be interesting to look into the sky on Saturday as a 'fly past' may well happen. Somebody is rumoured to have acquired a plane to vent their feelings on a certain Italian, shame he probably won't be there to see it.
Chris Wood will probably be out of the side for two weeks minimum after the scan on his injury. In the same press conference, Evans commented that if weren't challenging for at least the top six next season, he would resign.
The match programme versus Nottingham Forest may well be a collectors item as it has been marked issue 16b due to the owner not liking the number 17. You really couldn't make it up.
By Keith Ingham
After another uneventful Deadline Day, Head of Content Keith Ingham vents his frustrations at the lack of business Lufc have made today.
Quite simply, Transfer deadline day is usually a massive spectacle for most clubs in football, with players going in and out, fans at the edge of their seats and poor sky sports presenters having blow up dolls thrown at them whilst apologising for the 'lively language'. For Leeds fans; it's a regular day in a bad season, with a bad owner and a squad with so much potential stagnating because we can't add the players we need.
This window I've basically given up, because nothing important was going to happen in Leeds 11 today and I can't help but shake my head when I read that Steve Evans feels he has been backed "100 per cent by the President", the team is severely lacking in many areas including the defence and attacking positions being blatantly obvious to fans.
Mr Cellino should have a nice amount of cash burning a hole in his pocket thanks to the sale of Sam Byram to West Ham United. On top of that, Evans stated prior to the sale of another of the 'jewels' there was money to spend, but Leeds have only captured only two loans in Carayol and Bridcutt and one that actually cost a fee. The undisclosed fee for 'Dave' is rumoured to be in the region of 600k with add ons, this leaves a fair amount of money hanging about in the petty cash tin.
My annoyance is doubled when the club's accounts are delayed once again because it seems that the Italian doesn't want them published for one reason or another and although he seems quite happy for fans to continue to pay through the nose for their football at Elland Road, the ambition shown by the club is minimal at best.
I'm not asking for Messi or Ronaldo but even an idiot like me can see that a few injuries would seriously hamper the team. Chris Wood has played little because of injury and although Sol Bamba should be ok to face Nottingham Forest, it still leaves only three recognised centre backs with a third of the season still to go. Wootton at a pinch could move from right back but it's not the best situation to be in. Without Doukara it is hard to see where the goals would come from on a regular basis and Antenucci is rumoured to want out of Elland Road.
I'm not asking for stupid money to be spent, but a degree of ambition must be shown at some stage to convince the long suffering fans to yet again to renew their season tickets. In view of the changes thus far to fixtures people may well wait or simply not bother at all.
One last thing Mr Cellino, we aren't fools. So please do stop treating us like we are. The money that fights your court cases comes from our pockets and we can stop whenever we like and many may just do so. Other teams have shown ambition and the league table won't lie in May.
By Keith Ingham