By Seán Ryan
Fellow Leeds United fans as I write this piece I am a downhearted fan wondering what the hell is going on with the club I have grown up with, the club that I have followed from Wembley to Exeter, the club where some of my most important football memories have been made, but most importantly the club I love.
We have been through so much together. I sat, as an eight-year-old boy, in my sitting room crying as the results were read out in 2004 confirming our relegation. I was back two years later with my dad as we sat in Cardiff surrounded by Watford fans as we were destroyed in the play-off final. I sat in the same sitting room a year later watching as we went into administration and were condemned to League One. I was there when James Hayter nodded Doncaster into the Championship at our expense. And now . . . Well people I just don’t know. We could go anywhere from here. It’s the same old story. Promises of money that don’t go through, the football league riding us like a dog and the team putting in the types of performances that make me so angry I can’t speak for days without eating the head off someone.
However, we are Leeds United and the one thing I will refuse to do and until the day I die will fight against is watch my beloved club be turned into the laughing stock of England. We will be back, but it will take time and I have a bad feeling that things are going to get a hell of a lot worse before they get better. At the moment the threat of the club dissolving is a very real possibility. Considering that it’s us makes it a hell of a lot more likely. But, we have to fight it and that won’t happen if the fans keep bickering like a bunch of children. For years we have said that it’s us against the world. Well if that’s the case then for the love of God use that to bind us tighter together. Make a stand; support the team even when we’re getting slaughtered. The worse the score line the louder we get. Elland Road used to be a scary place for teams to go. Not anymore. It’s time to go back to the ways of old, but not in a negative manner. That doesn’t work. We stand united in the face of our opponents and the football league.
A very wise man once told me “Never give up. Never give in.” Now, more than ever those words are important. Leeds United fans have always been famous as those who stick by their team through the bad days as well as the good. It’s what gave me pleasure when people would slag me about being a Leeds fan. I would always reply with, “Where would you be tomorrow if United or Liverpool were in the same position as Leeds?” Don’t take that away from me. We have always done it. In the 50’s and early 60’s, the 80’s and now we are needed once more. Don’t give those who want to see us fail the satisfaction. I never really got to see the good times of Leeds because I was too young. So if I can stick with them after 10 years of crap anyone can.
Don’t allow Leeds to go like this. The team is failing at the moment for two reasons. The takeover saga and the fans getting on the players backs. We need to calm down and support the team. This season is dead, but next isn’t yet. If we keep going the way we are it’ll be over before we’ve even begun.
United we stand, Divided we fall.
By Keith Ingham
On the morning of the appeal to the verdict of the Football League, news of another 'exclusive' from WACCOE. It seems that the strange sounding man from the site got Mr Cellino's Miami phone number and rang said Italian in the small hours of yesterday. At first Mr Cellino was a little hesitant and sounding rather tired but then he was into a full scale attack on the current regime. Below is what he is rumoured to have said.
The first person to get the 'treatment' was David Haigh, who the Italian called a 'devil' and went into details on how badly the club was being run by GFH. It does confirm what has been coming out of Elland Road in the past couple of weeks. He went on to call them 'crooks and thieves', surely not the best way to continue in a business, it stopped being a sport when Murdoch and Sky came in post the Championship season of 92.
Next in the firing line was Brian McDermott as Cellino berated the under fire manager for his moaning to the media instead of focusing on, in his words 'the worst team he's ever seen', it puts a different slant on what indeed the manager has said his relationship is with the Miami based businessman and further evidence was in his comment on the 5-1 victory over the small dogs when the manager was 'sacked'. The future doesn't look good for McDermott if indeed the Italian does actually get in control as he said 'He manages, coaches, coach the team'.
The one that surprised me more than the other claims was that that non prolific striker, Noel Hunt is on 25K a week and in another quote from Massimo that he was surprised that a player fresh out Division One (Luke Murphy) is another on plus 20K a week. If you multiply both wages that's around two million pounds per year for two players who have hardly warranted such a hefty part of the unbelievable Leeds United wage bill. It is clear now the rumour about the enormous amount of money flowing out of the club is going directly into the under performing players pockets. That itself is proof that the frugal days of Mr Bates have gone but to what cost.
If indeed the conversation is true and it seems many journalists connected to the club say it is, there seems so many 'skeletons' in the Elland Road cupboard I'm surprised there's not more than one. The club is generally in a total mess and whether or not the Football League agrees with him (Cellino) taking over or not, somebody somewhere needs to ask some harsh questions to the current owners GFH and for a change get some bloody answers! It seems all is not as it seemed in the Theatre of what is becoming a river of Tears.
It's a bloody poor joke at the moment is Leeds United FC
On On On without GFH
By Andrew Butterwick
In the dim and distant past match days used to be all about the football, the pre and post match refreshments and enjoying the company of most loyal and crazy band of brothers in the English game. As each week goes by match day for Leeds United fans now necessitates a good understanding of economics, corporate law and cash flow to have any chance of working out what the f*** is going on at our once mighty club. The cataclysmic financial meltdown our owners, the investment bank GFH capital, have overseen has left the club handing round the begging bowl just to pay the wages this month not to mention the army of creditors queueing up on Elland Road hoping to get paid for their services. With the club losing £1m a month the main focus of the media and fans has been who can fund the day to day running of Leeds United a task that up to this week Massimo Cellino has undertaken.
What a difference from the end of December when the grinning, PR frontman for GFH, David Haigh, assured fans that "Funds were in place for Brian McD to strengthen the team in the January window" That clearly was at best an optimistic untruth and at worst a deliberate lie to paper over the cracks of the most incompetent mismanagement of the club since...........well the last regime. Speaking of which the White Bearded One put his own interesting view on recent events in a "Lord Haw Haw" type broadcast from his new mouthpiece, Radio Yorkshire. In a speech rich in irony he berated GFH for the incompetent running of the club and blasted Cellino for trying to sell Ross Mac to Boro in January! Outrageous Ken.....fancy selling our best players to raise cash............hang on a minute haven't we been down this road before?
So with a background of Leeds waging war against an inevitable financial Armageddon the Happy Chocker, Quiet One and yours truly once again pointed the car towards LS11 and set off for the clash with the mighty Donny Rovers a team struggling in the relegation zone but worryingly hitting a bit of decent form of late. "So where has all the money going?" HC thought out a loud. "Very good question young man but there's only 2 hours to kick off so let's talk about the football. After all the pathetic run of spineless results from Brain McD's team can't continue can it?"
There was a strange smell around Elland Road as we parked the car and headed for the members bar. No it wasn't the excited droves of young scouts and junior football teams heading for the cheese wedge it was fear. The fear of defeat against Donny Rovers something that only a few short years ago would have been ludicrous but not today. Today fear had permeated the souls of the faithful Leeds fans after a string of shocking performances. Question was what changes would BM make after Tuesday's horror show? The answer was one as Stewart came in for Noel Hunt on the left wing. Mmmm not the boldest of moves I commented to HC.
The game started with the home crowd immediately raising the decibel level but it was the visitors who took the early initiative as their midfield strolled around the Elland Road pitch seemingly untouchable by any player in white and passing the ball for fun to each other. Things were not looking good as that all too familiar feeling of hopelessness drove away the slightest bit of pre match optimism. We were in for another long afternoon. On 20 minutes my worst fears were confirmed when another piece of woeful defending led to the opening goal for Donny. Rovers made good use of the wide open space on the right flank to fire a teasing ball into the box which Pearce flung himself at to prevent a certain goal from Brown. Cotterill took the resultant corner. Leeds failed to clear and with the defence strolling out as if on a Sunday afternoon walk the ball found it's way out to Cotterill who casually advanced into the box before hitting a searing shot via a slight deflection past Butland. 1.0 Donny. The atmosphere in the ground changed. "F*** off to the GFH" chanted the kop.
Confidence drained from the Leeds team as they floundered against a team fighting for their championship lives. Leeds looked leaderless and all at sea. The midfield pairing of Austin and Murphy were quite frankly shocking. They didn't close anyone down and couldn't pass to a fellow team mate. Apart from that they weren't bad! Quinn escaped with a yellow card after cynically bringing down Stewart as he sped away towards the box but chances for Leeds were as scarce as money in their current account as the game headed for half time. This was shaping up to break the record for the worst half of football seen at Elland Road for the tenth time this season. The icing on the cake was a well taken Billy Sharp goal just before half time after more lackadaisical defending. Smith nearly got one back deep into added time but the team trooped off with boos ringing in their ears and me with my head firmly planted in my hands. Rovers were well worth their 2 goal lead. Leeds were just shocking.
It's got to the stage where even the most vociferous urinal philosophers just can't be arsed anymore. We've seen far too many shocking performances this season even to get upset. We just expect it now. At least Brian McD realised the ineptness of his starting midfield duo and dragged both Murphy and Austin off at half time replacing them with White and Tonge. Mowatt dropped into a deep midfield role with Tonge now the play-maker. White went on the wing. Suddenly Donny were on the back foot as both the subs made an immediate impact. White, who struggled to get in the Blunts team whilst on loan, looked a breath of fresh air as he attacked with pace and passion. Half chances fell to Ross Mac and soon the kop were baying for a penalty as a clear Doncaster hand blocked a cross from Byram. Stewart also started to chance his arm on the other wing as the Leeds crowd hopefully roared on the beleaguered mighty whites.
On the hour the Leeds pressure finally told. A deep free kick found Smith towering at the back post and his header dropped invitingly in front of Ross Mac who expertly converted with his head to send the home fans into unexpected delight. 2.1 Donny. Now could Leeds get up a head of steam and complete an unlikely comeback? Well for the next 15 minutes the answer was most definitely yes. Smith and Pearce went agonisingly close with headers while both Stewart and Pugh tried their luck with fizzing shots. Donny were hanging on and for once in recent weeks I was out of my seat urging the penniless home team on.
Ross Mac was now showing all the quality that will have the vultures circling in the summer as he ran the visitors defence ragged. Johnstone in the Rovers goal was yellow carded for taking the Scot out after foolishly coming too far out of his box to clear. Marching on Together belted out all round the ground in hope of inspiring an equaliser. 4 minutes of added time gave Leeds hope but despite some heavy artillery into the Rovers box our South Yorkshire cousins held firm for a rare
victory against their Yorkshire neighbours. Full Time 2.1 Doncaster.
There were many grim faces as the crowd streamed away from Elland Road. If we suffer administration and the inevitable 10 point deduction we would be sat precariously just two points ahead of Barnsley in the final relegation place. Not a pretty thought. The 2nd half performance couldn't make up for a woeful first 45 minutes from Leeds. None of the off the field problems are an excuse for that showing. Tonge made a good impression when he came on simply by showing for the ball and passing to his fellow players. White added some pace and determination even if his final ball is still not the best. Overall this was another case of too little too late though. I'm not sure we have put two good halves of football together all season?
Struggling Charlton arrive at Elland Road on Tuesday the day after the FL hearing of Cellino's appeal. These are really dark days in LS11. I can only see it getting much worse before it gets better I'm afraid. Can we grind out 3 points against the Addicks? Will Austin and Murphy join Diouf, Kebe et al in the Leeds United rest home for failed players. Will Cellino be strutting his stuff in the directors box? Roll on Tuesday.
By Keith Ingham
I nearly left at Half Time but decided to stay for the second half, within ten minutes of it we were 0-4 down and I wished I had left. A late fightback with goals from Matt Smith and this thunderbolt from Rudy Austin gave the score a more respectable look but we were beaten again in the Theatre of Hope.
A goal each from Ross McCormack and Matt Smith gave Leeds a much needed win at home to Millwall. Both players deserve the plaudits as Ross' 25 goals and young Matt's 10 have been the reason why we are still in a decent position in the Championship despite some God awful performance from the team. Meanwhile we awaited word from the Football League if the takeover was to be passed by them.
The return of a 'icon'. Vinnie Jones returned with his second Division title winner's medal to be kept at the club. It's a shame he didn't bring his boots as Leeds have not had a player of his ilk for numerous years. A rendition of "Marching on Together" was well received by the Elland Road faithful. Welcome back Vinnie !
Says it all doesn't it !!. After the takeover by Massimo Celllino was turned down by the Football League because he didn't pass the 'fit and proper' test they set for owners. The players of the club showed themselves not to be 'fit and proper' to wear the clubs shirt. A horrendous night on the South Coast. Can it get any worse ?????
By Mike Courtney
I haven't blogged in a while. In fact since the events of transfer deadline day my heart hasn't been in it. The club I love, the club I have supported for 44 years, through thick and thin finally got the better of me. I'm ashamed to say it but I lost interest in Leeds United.
My head was telling me "enough is enough" and for once my heart agreed. We Leeds fans have suffered endlessly since 2004 but the happenings of the past 2 months went a step too far. Cellino's sacking of McDermott and his subsequent reinstatement was farcical to say the least. Results on the pitch have matched that farce. There is something inherently wrong at this great club and it's the fans that are suffering. Being beaten in games is one thing but being hammered by average teams ie Bolton, Reading and Bournemouth, is unforgivable. There is no passion, no pride, no fighting spirit and no leadership being shown on and off the pitch.
We lie 12 points off the playoff spots and 15 above the relegation zone. This is after the worst run of form since Christmas, that I have witnessed. Imagine what we could have achieved in that time. Four more wins would have had us in a playoff position. Let's just look at some of the games we lost; Blackburn at home, Wednesday away, Leicester at home, Brighton and Burnley away, Bolton and Reading at home and Bournemouth away. 8 defeats in total since the new year. Just winning half of those games, our home ones, would see us up there battling for the playoffs. Instead we are stuck in mid-table mediocrity trying to see out a season that promised so much, but much as our times under Grayson and Warnock, has failed to deliver.
Many fans are asking where the blame lies? Has the Cellino takeover saga made McDermott's tenure untenable. He was completely undermined by the whole affair and I have to give him credit for the way he handled the media. His handling of team affairs though seems to have been affected and the results and performances have certainly deteriorated since that whole sorry episode. Now with the Football League blocking Cellino's takeover where does that leave the club? The Italian has pumped a large sum of money into the club since he began the takeover process and one wonders what will happen if his appeal is unsuccessful. Will he want his £10million back and if so where is that going to come from. Players and staff are worried that they won't get their monthly pay check this weekend and maybe this is the reason performances have dipped.
The big question is, are we on the brink of administration again? If so, where will that leave the club? What points deduction will we face for going into administration for a second time since 2008/9. I have heard the figure of 20 points being bandied about. If that is the case we will almost certainly be relegated to League one and have to sell off all our best players, McCormack, Byram etc and have to start from scratch again, possibly with a new manager and a whole new batch of players.
It is certainly worrying times at Elland Road and for the Leeds faithful. We still harp on about being a big club, which we are, but we are a club that has limited ambition at present that is just hanging on to survival by the tips of its fingers. We are a long way from being a Premier League side again. At the rate we are going we will be lucky to see top flight football in the next 10 years. We need investment and we need it soon. We have a great fan base that will support the club through its ups and downs but we need to have people in place in the running of the club that have the same vested interest. As it stands GFH or whoever it is owns us at present, are not showing that vested interest. The players and management are suffering on the pitch and us beleaguered supporters are suffering in the stands.
We will sing our hearts out, take the piss out of ourselves and follow Leeds through good times and bad but there comes a time to say Enough is Enough and that time is now. Things need to be sorted and fast or we face falling further into debt and falling further down the league table into oblivion. We have 9 games left this season. Nine games for the players to show passion, pride and fighting spirit to show us fans that they are worthy of wearing the white shirt of Leeds United. Nine games for BMAC to show that he is the right man to lead us forward. Nine games for the Board to get things sorted and put up or shut up. Nine games that could decide the future of Leeds United.
My heart is breaking with what is going on at my club. We the fans deserve more. Phil Beeton, who attended his 2000th consecutive Leeds match last night, deserves more. The fans are behind the team and yes I know there are issues behind the scenes, but professional footballers need to perform on the pitch and of late that is not happening. A complete overhaul of the squad is needed. Money is needed in order to accomplish that. So a takeover by Cellino or some other multi millionaire is required. As always at Leeds it won't be straight forward, it won't be pretty and it will keep us fans on tenterhooks but we will live in hope that the mess of the last couple of months will be resigned to the history books and that we can all look forward to a brighter future at Elland Road. It may get worse before it gets better but our rise back to the top will be all the more sweeter because of it.
One can dream.
MOT Leeds Leeds Leeds
By Keith Ingham
The shambles that is currently Leeds United rolled back from another 'debacle' on the South Coast, where they were comprehensively hammered 4-1 by a workmanlike Bournemouth team. There are fingers pointing at certain individuals wearing but not working in a Leeds shirt in the recent matches. Ex captain Rudy Austin is coming in for a lot of criticism as he was seen when he came to the club as the answer to the clubs need for an 'enforcer', but as it turns out if he is the answer we need to ask another bloody question! He's at best a very average Championship player, no more or less. I'm not just picking on one player, Pugh, Lees, Hunt, are a few more earning money for 'old rope'. I'm leaving the youngsters Byram, Murphy and Mowatt out of my criticism because of their age and experience. A few have continued to do their best, Jason Pearce, Matt Smith and captain Ross McCormack without his goals, God knows where we'd be, but even these players cannot be without some 'flack' after such a woeful performance on Tuesday.
What concerns me as much is that the manager's post match comments to BBC Radio Leeds' commentator Adam Pope, in it he blamed the current farce that is happening away from the pitch is having an effect on the playing side and they are uncertain of their March wages, really Brian nearly two thousand fans travelled from all parts to watch that drivel and I'm sure although it could worry an 'average Joe', these are professional football players on plus ten thousand pounds a bloody week! Surely the prospect of playing for your fans out ways this. I'm pretty sure that their are players in the club that have given up and are throwing in the towel. If this is so wouldn't it be best to not play them and give other players an opportunity. The manager continues to swap and change nearly every game and this season I can only remember a few games in which he kept the same eleven in the team from a previous game. He is a decent manager but is he right for Leeds? Right now I'm beginning to think not as he certainly has his favourites and others like El Hadji Diouf, the most skilful player at the club continues to be omitted for some unknown reason. I still like the man but I've never been keen on managers particularly washing dirty linen in the public domain. He lost a lot of my respect in doing that interview, at best it was ill advised with his feelings laid bare for all to see.
Leeds now face back to back home games versus Doncaster and Charlton respectively and it is hoped that the manager now sees sense in removing Austin, Pugh, Hunt from the first team along with Byram and Mowatt because their confidence must be suffering seeing more experienced players not giving their all. Who should replace them I hear you ask, well Thompson could fill the right back berth, Coker or Bryan alongside Jason Pearce and forgotten man Aidy White at left back. In midfield I'd go with Chris Dawson alongside either Michael Tonge or Michael Brown with Luke Murphy given a free role with Ross McCormack and Matt Smith up front with either El Hadji Diouf or Lewis Walters given a chance. It would be a gamble, but without some changes to the current holders of the first team jersey I see I downward spiral that could leave the club in a position near the foot of the table. To be honest if Tuesday is anything to go by, that lot on view haven't the bottle to fight for their team. If the manager persists with his 'favourite few' he's lost mine and probably the last of the remaining supporters he's got within the fan base of the club.
Brian a message from the heart, although I don't think you'll read my blog. Show the fans you've the bollocks to actually remove the 'wasters' and build a team around the youth of what is left at our club. These next few weeks the least we can see from the starting eleven is at least one hundered and ten percent effort. The balls in your court Mr McDermott, show the football public of Leeds that you can continue to try and take the club forward and stop looking back at what you had at Reading. Remember they sacked you and Leeds can too if your squad is not performing, your the manager, kick some lazy arses it's part of the job, being a nice guy is not working at all. You cannot blame the takeover for all the problems on the pitch.
On On On but so fed up.
By Keith Ingham
At around eleven o'clock the news we've been waiting for came through but it wasn't the answer some had wanted. Mr Shaun Harvey and his mates had said NO to the man from Miami and the takeover of Leeds United by Massimo Cellino was tossed out of Football League headquarters.
What that means to the club remains something Mr David Haigh, may or not comment on but it does look like Leeds United FC is set for troubled waters, or more likely down a brown stained river without the means of propulsion! Myself I am loathed to say it that I feel GFH should be looked into as an owner because they are not running the club on a proper basis. They have now to find around six million, or possibly more to refund the Italian within six calendar months and I'm struggling to agree that they will not be able to do so.
If another backer is to be found the price of the club will now have to be reduced as monies are owed to who knows how many more 'contributors' that have kept this once mighty club away from another stint in Administration, no I hear you cry but a business with no viable means of keeping going only has only a few options.
The person who I feel for is the manager who has battled through a season that a few if not most would have walked away from. Brian McDermott may still have his critics but his honesty and his continuing support of the club and it's fans deserves at least a mention in this blog. Whatever happens he's a 'Prince amongst thieves' and I thank him from the bottom of my Leeds United heart.
In a season that I cannot remember a more torrid time, even the first administration was easier as at least we knew where we were and that we could only move forward whatever happened, it also galvanised the club with a bloody minded togetherness that screamed "we'll beat this".
Forty years ago in May, Billy Bremner lifted aloft the First Division trophy as Leeds were crowned Champions, my friends, my family I feel Billy and his manager Don Revie wiped away a tear up in heaven today at the state of their club. Mr Haigh and your cohorts you've betrayed us and we won't forget it.
Bloody Shame on you !!
Still On On On.
By Andrew Butterwick
Match day dawned with bright sunshine and a chill in the air. Millwall are the latest team to travel to LS11 hoping to add to this season's trials and tribulations at Leeds United. Having won only once in 15 trips away from South Bermondsey this season and carrying the joint leakiest defence in the league at 62 goals hopes of a rare 3 points haul for Leeds were at least luke warm amongst the tide of fans making their way to Elland Road. As ever the off the field events were high on the pre match discussion agenda for the Happy Chocker, brother Chris and the Quiet One as we cruised along the M62 towards the Theatre of the never ending takeover. Cellino's conviction in an Italian court this week for tax evasion should, according to the FL's rules, ensure he fails the Football League's "fit and proper" test. The letter sent by GFH/David Haigh to the Football League demanding an early decision on the case will have done nothing other than piss off the committee who are judging the matter. Ironically one of the committee's members represents today's visitors Millwall. The perpetual state of confusion, mismanagement and chaos looks set to continue at Leeds United for the near future me thinks.
One topic did manage to interrupt the talk of the takeover debacle. The return to Elland Road of a certain Mr V. Jones. Oh how we yearn for a midfield presence such as Vinnie Jones especially against Millwall. Misty eyed memories of goals, crunching tackles and that Leeds salute flooded back to fans of a certain era. Brian McD stuck with the same eleven that did so well at Burnley last week. 23,000 fans settled down for what was a vital game for both teams but for very different reasons.
The Lions came out roaring against a nervy and disjointed Leeds team. They bossed the first 15 minutes with a positive approach inspired by their manager Ian Holloway. Early corners heaped pressure on the home team as the visitors midfield imposed an iron grip on the game. Butland made an impressive save to tip a Pearce header round the post as Millwall sensed they could add to their surprise victory at Derby by once again upsetting the residents of LS11. Then just as I was thinking this was going to be another long and excruciating afternoon at the famous old stadium we got a bit of luck. Leeds attacked down the left and won a throw in. Connor Wickham launched a long throw towards Matt Smith who flicked it hopefully goalwards and over the floundering Forde into the Millwall goal. 1.0 Leeds. It was that much of a surprise I didn't even jump out of my seat!
Millwall still looked a threat though without really testing Butland in the Leeds goal. The quality of football on the pitch matched the awful weather as torrential rain sent the East stand fans scuttling to the back in search of shelter. Typical of the play was a shot by Wickham after Mowatt had created him space he ballooned the ball high into the South Stand. The game inched to half time with Millwall still having the better of the scrappy play. Then a tenacious tackle from Tom Lees ricocheted the ball up field where Capt Ross reacted first to gratefully run the ball into the box before sliding the ball between Forde's legs and into the goal from a ridiculously tight angle. This time I was out of my seat as the league's top scorer celebrated yet another goal in his prolific season. "How the f*** Danny Ings won player of the year in front of Ross is beyond me" HC commented pointing out that Ross Mac's goals have come playing in a bang average team whereas Ings has had the luxury of a decent team round him. Good point well made I thought. 2.0 Leeds.
Leeds so nearly made it 3 when Tom Lees of all people found himself free in the box but his shot was blocked and bounced away for a corner. Half time came with Leeds still leading 2.0. The urinal philosophers were quite succinct in their assessment of the half. "We're the better of 2 rubbish teams" one fan thought. "We might not deserve it but 2.0 is 2.0 and that'll do me" said one thankful mighty whites fan. I scuttled back to my seat to see Hollywood star and Elland Road cult hero, Vinnie Jones, milk his rapturous reception in front of the kop inevitably culminating in him leading a couple of choruses of Marching on Together. Delicious!
The second half continued pretty much as the first half finished with lots of endeavour and virtually no finesse. Beevers tested Butland with a low shot before Butland then grabbed the ball in the 6 yard box after a mad scramble. Smith flicked a header wide after good work by Mowatt in front of the kop but the longer the game went the more Millwall looked like scoring as Leeds seemed incapable of retaining any possession. On the hour Holloway brought on the giant Maierhofer together with Jackson and DJ Campbell to try and get the goal that would give the Lions a chance of a draw. Leeds did create a couple of chances to kill the game off first Murphy trying an ambitious volley before Ross Mac shot wide after finding space down the inside right channel. That nattering feeling that we needed a 3rd goal was eating away at my insides as Millwall continued to push forward looking for a goal................and on 72 minutes my worst fears were realised as Campbell hit a stunning volley from a lay off from Maierhofer to reduce Leeds' lead. 2.1 Leeds and the nerves were now jangling like a hyperactive tambourine.
Austin conceded a free kick on the edge of the box. Garvin lined up for a shot that I was sure would end up in the Leeds net but thankfully floated high and wide. As the game entered the final ten minutes the Leeds defence resembled a scene from the Alamo as Millwall launched attack after attack into the heart of the home defence. Tonge and Hunt replaced Mowatt and Wickham. HC's had a puzzled look as he tried to figure out the logic of that move. Desperate blocks and tackles were now the order of the day as Leeds hung on for dear life. 5 minutes added time seemed like an eternity before Leeds caught Millwall on the break. Ross Mac crossed for Smith who's shot cannoned away for a corner. The final action of the match saw Ross Mac then Tonge so nearly get a 3rd for Leeds as Forde panicked in the away goal. Thankfully the ref's whistle blew and Leeds scraped home with a very welcome 3 points.
Nobody was under any illusions as the fans streamed out down a bitterly cold Elland Road. Lady Luck had for once shone on Leeds today as Millwall will count themselves unfortunate not to have returned to South Bermondsey with at least a point. Lees, Pearce, Wickham had reasonable games with Mowatt playing better than of late. This was an instantly forgettable and frustrating game highlighted by the deafening silence in the car on the way home. I wonder what Vinnie made of it all?
Bournemouth away on Tuesday night a game I will miss due to work commitments. Difficult to see anything other than another struggle for Leeds though. This season can't end soon enough for many fans.........oh and hopefully the off the field farce finally gets resolved. I'm not holding my breath though. Roll on the mighty Donny next week!