By Andrew Butterwick
During the week Neil Redfearn declared that "all I am doing is fighting for the club and if that's a crime then I'm guilty" yet another indication from the unassuming Head Coach that he "gets Leeds" unlike the owner and his deputies. Incredibly Cellino had chosen not to renew Redfearn's contract before today's final game against Steve Evan's reprieved Rotherham United side. With the rotound Millers boss threatening to turn up in his beach wear against the background of a wave of emotional support for Redfearn today promised to be...............well as the Monty Python announcer used to say "Now for something completely different"
Elland Road was buzzing as the Quiet One, Daughter Saz and yours truly dumped the car and headed for the Pavillion for some pre match refreshments. Redfearn kept the same starting eleven from last weeks victory at Wednesday. The game got underway in front of a remarkable 32,000 crowd for this meaningless end of season game. The opening exchanges did little to enthuse either side's fans as each team cancelled the other out in a low tempo first twenty minutes. Bamba then launched himself at a free kick only to see his header drift wide before our newly prolific goal scorer, Morison, slid the ball into the net only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. This flurry of mild excitement inspired chances at both ends as the game meandered to half time. Austin hit a scorching drive just past the post from 30 yards whilst Lafferty wasted the best chance of the half when he sent his flying header straight at Taylor in the Leeds goal. The frustrating, dreary half finished 0.0.
The support for Neil Redfearn was as vocal as ever in the opening period supplemented by numerous Purple beach balls bouncing around the ground in defiance of Mr Cellino's dislike of the said colour. "The send half won't be as disappointing as the first" I rashly announced to daughter Saz as she marvelled at how so many fans continue to watch what she described as frustrating rubbish.
Now I'd like to report that Leeds came out for the second half with all guns blazing and treated the crowd to a 45 minutes of high octane entertainment to finish off another challenging season........but they didn't. Neither team seemed capable of anything other than some very pedestrian paced passing and very conservative decision making in both attack and defence. A classic it was not. Liam Cooper did raise hopes on 53 minutes when he connected beautifully with a corner only for the Rotherham keeper to make a comfortable save. Billy Sharp came off the bench on 55 minutes to replace Barardi as Redfearn switched to a more attacking 4-4-2. He did add a little impetus but not enough to truly threaten the goalless score line. Morison was replaced on 81 minutes by Montenegro as Leeds did build up a slight head of steam. Austin did test the keeper with a viciously dipping shot that he was glad to parry away for a corner and Mowatt wasted a glorious chance from a free kick.
White came on for a lively cameo near the end but a tepid Yorkshire derby ended 0.0 to bring the curtain down on another season. We stayed behind to salute the players and Redfearn on their end of season lap of honour. The burning question on everybody's lips though was how many of them will be still wearing the white shirt of Leeds come August? Just to put the cap on a frustrating afternoon we had the delight of taking one hour to exit the car park. Mint! Bamba and Cooper stood out for me in a very disappointing game which only highlighted the fact that whilst we currently have a very talented core of young players we desperately need an influx of 4 to 5 quality players if we are to challenge for promotion next season. Of course before that could happen we need clarity on the Head coach position from our absent owner. Another summer of chaos at Elland Road is on the cards me thinks. Still it couldn't be any worse than last year could it when we had a non league Head coach who took us half way across Europe to thump a pub team 16 nil before training in an ice cold river?
Have a good summer everyone and thank you for reading my ramblings throughout the season. God willing we will do it all again come August because one year we will get it right. There will be no off the field mis-management, no selling star players or buying second rate journeymen, an owner we can trust and an influx of true quality to bolster the team. Well I can dream you never know.......