the ups and downs of leeds united.

by Anthony Lewis 

If there is one thing that all football fans ask from their team it is to give 100% week in week

out. If you get hammered by a better team but you’ve put the effort and performance in,

that can be understood and forgiven. What fans, especially us Leeds fans, can’t stomach is

when there is a distinct lack of this. The Christmas period has been a truly awful one for my

team. Coming into it on a decent run of form, we drew 0-0 at home to Barnsley on the 21st

December. Our record is not the best against the Tykes but it is still a game that we should

have been winning. We then went to Blackpool on Boxing Day in an evening kick off and

took a deserved lead. But a huge slice of luck dragged the Tangerines back into things and

what, again, should have been three points was only one.

Then came the defeats. Firstly at Nottingham Forest where, despite trailing for much of the

game, we dragged ourselves level only for Matt Derbyshire to immediately put them back in

front and eventually win the game. Forest is not an easy place to go and they are riding high

so this was far from a catastrophe. However, a lethargic effort in a New Year’s Day 2-1 home

defeat by Blackburn showed that perhaps the lads had had one too many pints the night

before. Completely devoid of creativity or solidity, Rovers completed the double over us in

relative comfort. Suffice to say the Elland Road faithful were not amused. We thought the

worst was over but oh how wrong we were! FA Cup Third Round day. This competition has

treated us well over the years (look away Manchester United) and with a trip to Rochdale

we expected to progress again. Little did we know the horrors we were in for that day.

After being outplayed and beaten 2-0 by a League Two side, Leeds fans booed and abused

the players and manager. I for one do not blame them. Those sort of performances are

unacceptable for this great club and those great fans.


The embarrassment of the cup defeat still lingering we made the short journey to Sheffield

to take on the ‘not so massive’ club that is Wednesday at Hillsborough. A Yorkshire derby is

always physical hard fought and anything can happen. What better way to reenergise the

boys after a cup humiliation? Apparently not. It was diabolical from a Leeds perspective

from start to finish. Two simple goals, including one where our defence just stood and

watched, gave the hosts a 2-0 lead before Half Time. Fools that we are, we thought we

could get back into it in the second half. How wrong we were once again. Just seconds after

coming on, Matt Smith received a (harsh) straight red which made our task all the more

difficult. Four more goals followed for Wednesday, each as painful as the last and when

the referee kindly killed the pain in with the final whistle we had been thrashed 6-0! Being

beaten 6-0 is awful in any circumstance but against your local rivals and especially those lot

it hurt deeply! Brian McDermott called it a “Public Humiliation” and “embarrassing” which

were both huge understatements. So, I hear you ask, what has gone wrong? Leeds have

never been good over the Christmas/New Year period but that’s no excuse. I think we’ve

overachieved so far this season and it is finally catching up with us. I still think this squad is

well short of being able to challenge the likes of Leicester (who we play next), QPR or even

Derby and Burnley at the moment. McDermott has been messing around with 3-5-2 and 3-

4-3s left right and centre which is hazardous when we can’t even defend with four at the

back. The players and staff need to identify the problem and fix it quick. Cameron Stewart

and Jimmy Kebe will be good additions and should not be judged on the Wednesday

performance. Ross McCormack taking over from Rudy Austin is a step in the right direction.

Rudy looks off the pace and perhaps taking this responsibility off his shoulders will help him

get his game in order. Ross seems like a leader and a guy who will relish the captaincy. He

is our man main and the league’s top scorer and deserves the armband. We host top of the

league Leicester in the early kick off live on Sky on Saturday. Please show some pride and

don’t humiliate us again Leeds!

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