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Sunday, 28 February 2010

"Leeds have F***** it up!"

I have to say I was amused by Town's fans parody of our re-written 'Baby Give it up' chant. Whether they were referring to the game itself, the title race or one of the many situations that Leeds have managed to grab despair from the jaws of ecstasy is unclear. Nonetheless, credit must be given to the cretins who were residing in the stand to the left of the visiting support.

It was far from their only contribution though, even before kick off a 'man' in his late forties, shaven headed and clearly three sheets to the wind, decided to stand on his chair and goad the Leeds fans with some verbal diarrhoea. Safe in the knowledge that there were 100 or so other like-minded fools, stewards and police separating him from his would be victims. This was the same pillock who decided that Robert Snodgrass wasn't going to be allowed to take a throw-in midway through the 2nd half in-case Leeds scored again! Few can blame the man though, if I had to endure a life where I continually felt inadequate amongst my peers and the wife only let me out one afternoon each week, I'd act like a tosser too!

With all that in mind, I have to say my 4th visit to The Galpharm, has confirmed that it and Huddersfield in general is one of the most depressing places in Northern England, grim streets, grim atmosphere and seemingly always grim weather. The football stadium, although infinitely more modern than its surroundings, goes along the same lines - dull, uninteresting and soulless. I couldn't watch football there every week!

The local football fanatics offer little in the way of reprisal either, bitter, deluded and tin-pot (they play music when they score for Christ's sake) perhaps this is what comes from living your entire lives in the shadow of a larger, more successful neighbour. Although I'm not sure Man City, Everton or Spurs fans have succumb to  such failings.

Celebrations akin to becoming the first domestic club to win The World Cup always ensue following any favourable result over their beloved West Yorkshire rivals but after yesterday's 2-2 stalemate, a result that all but rules Town out of the race for automatic promotion I expected sombre faces all round. To my surprise they were still celebrating a result that could prove valuable to Leeds' promotion ambitions. No doubt they will point to the fact they had snatched a deserved point form their most bitter rivals but that mentality is why they're destined for life in League One for a good while yet and probably why they haven't beaten any of the top five teams this season.

As for what all that means in the League One title race, and whether Leeds have indeed f***** it up, remains to be seen but a decent result  was made even better by the chasing pack's inability to register a win a few hours later. Yesterday's result and performance against 'The Galacticos' of Huddersfield could prove to be vital. There is a long way to go still and plenty of strange results will undoubtedly occur as teams buckle under pressure but so far this season only two teams have produced under pressure; Norwich and Leeds!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Leeds v Oldham - Dirty Leeds Verdict

A very nervous first half display that threatened to go the way of the previous two home games and only really got going after Aidy White picked the ball up in the opposition half and instead of passing responsibility onto a more established first team member decided to run at Oldham's central defensive pair. The first Leeds United player to show any sort of belief in over 2 matches. That passage of play kicked Leeds into life and they dominated the game the more time elapsed. The first goal settled everyone down and hopefully gave a bit of confidence to the front two, who combined indirectly for Becchio's tap in. Credit to Becchio, he had a very mediocre first half but after the goal it was like we had a new player, capped off with an excellent second goal.

It was an improved display, albeit against a very poor side who offered very little apart from their ability to waste time. I'm still not convinced that Jonny Howson has a part to play in our midfield, again last night he only came into the game when the rest of the team had fought to get us in a commanding position. Before the 2nd goal his contributions were dreadful and mostly resulted in us losing possession. I've said it for months, you can count on Howson to have a good game when Leeds are already on top of the opposition but Jonny himself isn't the player to get you to such a position. Although what the alternative is, I'm not sure.

The worst kind of football team 'We're s**** and we know we're s****' so we'll go away from home and waste time from the first whistle in the faint hope of a 'smash and grab'. A truly awful outfit who thoroughly deserve to get relegated, not once did they offer anything that a local Sunday League team would feel was beyond them. Infact, some of the physical defending from messrs Gregan and Hazel wouldn't have looked out of place on a local park. Quite what Dave Penny's game plan was last night, only he knows.

The latest in a line of 'joke' officials. Its as if they agree between themselves before the game that they won't be intimidated by the large crowd and subconsciously go to the opposite extreme. Quite how the referee came to some of his decisions last night is a mystery. As an amateur referee myself I know that occasionally Assistants are told to leave all the major decisions to the referee and just concentrate on indicating the correct direction for balls out of play but to blatantly miss some of the more obvious infringements last night is a true reflection of the standards of lower league officials. Granted Luciano Becchio made a meal of the the incident with Hazel at the end of the first half but how both officials missed the defenders arm around his neck is anybody's guess. Hopefully Saturday's official is an improvement of Mr P Taylor (not sure what the P stands for but you can decide yourself)

Small, nervous and relieved. 3 words that sum it up perfectly. Maybe Ken Bates' decision to label a midweek game against Oldham a Category A fixture had some bearing on the 7,000 supporters who went missing from Saturday or maybe the fact that it was the last of 3 home games in a week and its the end of the month, who knows!? Either way, it was a very poor turn out and with Season Ticket renewal forms set to land on the nearest doorstep at this time of the year its a concern that the club are still fleecing the more casual supporters.

Man of the Match
A toss up between Aidy White and Andy Hughes. I was impressed by White who showed a lot of belief in his own ability and was responsible for getting the team and the crowd on the front foot. Andy Hughes was his usual steady, zero excitement self and kept Chris Taylor very quiet throughout. Incidentally, for a player who Leeds have reportedly been interested in over the last few years his awful display was culminated in his caution for a ridiculous 'dive' midway through the first half - Pathetic player who wouldn't cope with the pressure of Elland Road.
Man of The Match  - Andy Hughes

Seconds after the 'Jason Price is f****** s****' chants the ball falls to the afro-laden striker, 6 yards from goal. He was so concerned about what his celebration was going to be to exact some retribution from The Revie End he forgot to swing his foot at the ball and wasted Oldham's best chance of the night. Cue ironic celebrations from the fans.

A routine victory against a very poor team, we'll have to up it again on Saturday if we hope to leave The Galpharm with anything other than disappointment. I think Grayson should stick with the same team (despite Jonny Howson's failings) in order to regain some stability as I'm still not sure he knows what his best 11 is. If 90 points is The Holy Grail in this division we need 8 wins from our remaining 14 matches - easy right?!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Pompey On Death Row....

Portsmouth F.C today played their final hand in a increasingly unlikely struggle to survive both as a business and a football club. Fratton Park chiefs have asked Premier League and FIFA officials to allow them special dispensation to sell their players outside the transfer window in an attempt to raise the £11.5M Mr Tax is demanding immediately.

Now it would be very easy as a Leeds United supporter to get very upset about this should the respective governing bodies offer a helping hand and allow such actions to take place. For less than 3 years ago my beloved club found itself in a similar precarious position and the 'football family' stuck the boot in by voting for an official punishment to stand. Instead though I'm going to look at the practicality of what the South coast club are asking...

The major flaw with their request is that for them to sell players, another team has to buy them. So in affect they're asking for the transfer window to be re-opened indefinitely until they've sold enough players, which if you ask me is absurd and should be totally out of the question. Last month, clubs across Europe spent their money on players they could afford (or not in some cases) from what was available at the time and with such a small 'window' of opportunity to purchase, naturally prices across the market are escalated. Its a strange system but one that everybody knows where they stand and know that they can spend all their available cash without fear of missing out on a bargain that could materialise soon after, until now it seems...

To put it into perspective, imagine we spent all our available on cash on Max Gradel (Bates haters can comment at the bottom) and were confident, that in him we had the best player who was available to us at that time, we had no transfer fund left but we wouldn't need any until the Summer. Then FIFA announce they're re-opening the transfer window for Portsmouth and Norwich snap up David James and Jon Utaka (Hypothetical of course but you get the point). The level playing field and nature of competition has gone.

I think its very unlikely that Pompey's plea will be granted and 2010 may well see the first Premiership club go out of business. Its amazing, given the revenue available to the 20 elite clubs that any of them could have such problems, maybe now they'll have some sympathy for the likes of Luton, Rotherham and Chester who continually scrape an existence form minimal income, but I doubt it... Making it even more unlikely that the Premiership fortune might one day filter its way down to the lower leagues.

This week Gerald Krasner (remember him) predicted that other Premiership clubs will follow Portsmouth into oblivion as early as this Summer! I'd take his predictions and financial acumen with a pinch of salt but watch this space.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

"Eternal Bridesmaids"

I'm not sure at which point during the 1970's that this accusation was levelled at Leeds United but its well deserved! Perhaps it was shortly after the club lost 3 F.A Cup Finals, finished runners-up 5 times (including 3 consecutively) in Division 1 (The Premiership), lost a Charity Shield, a European Fairs Cup Final (Europa League), a European Cup Final (The Champions League) all in the space of 15 years!! During this time, the clubs most successful period in its history, they collected 6 pieces of Silverwear, including 2 League titles but the feeling of 'What might have been' was unavoidable and has plagued the club ever since...

Fast forward a decade or so and Leeds were at it again, after 5 years in England's 2nd tier Leeds met Charlton in a Play-off Final for the chance to return to the top division. After a two-legged tie finished level and a replay went to extra time, Leeds took the lead and had to hang on for 20 minutes... They lost 2-1 and were left to wonder 'What might have been' again. That defeat was the first of 3 Play-off Final defeats the club has suffered since 1987, two of which I have been in attendance and suffered the pain of another 'stage fright' from United first hand. Infact, in the 3 finals I have seen Leeds United 'contest' I have yet to see them register a single goal!

An all too brief period of success under Howard Wilkinson saw two League Championships in 3 years but a sensational return to form the following season saw the League Champions barely escape relegation after failing to register a single away victory all season. Several years, 2 European Semi-Final  heartbreaks and a League Cup Final defeat later, the club still struggles to deal with the pressure of the occasion...

For those that witnessed the game last night, the latest abysmal display in Leeds' attempt to throw away promotion after being a massive 12 points clear, will realise that we're at it again! In 90 tedious and painful minutes we managed 1 decent effort on goal, a comfortable 20 yard shot from a stretching Bradley Johnson in the closing minutes of the 1st half. Our goal was a 'freak', a Mis-hit  Gary McSheffrey cross (one of about 6 during the game) caught the 'keeper totally off guard, it gave Leeds parity and a platform to build a winning display on... But again we're left wondering 'What might have been' as Walsall scored again from a ball into the box from a wide position, our 4th such concession of a goal in 3 games.

Unfortunately I think the problem this time is more than nerves. In my opinion the Jermaine Beckford saga has had a huge affect on the team and his petulant signalling towards the Kop last night after they bemoaned another half-hearted flick into the box told me all I need to know, Jermaine's future lays elswhere. Quite how this sits with his team-mates is unclear but they're not putting together any case that they can cope without him. All that said Mr Beckford has the ability to win games on his own so we'll just have to hope that any damage done is managable.

I think, by far the most serious problem is with the natural dip in form of certain players and the recruitment of new talent, Simon Grayson no longer knows what his best 11 is. This situation, at any football club is a disaster but the thought of Leeds missing out on promotion this season is catastrophic. I'm not suggesting for a minute that Grayson's position is under any threat, he has been great for Leeds United but we need to get a settled team again ASAP.

Anything but victory in the upcoming home games with Brighton and Oldham is unthinkable. Should that nightmare scenario become reality, we can preapre for another Leeds United collapse of titanic proportions as failure to reach The Championship will be the end of the club as we know it. The current team is a pinnacle of what any club can expect from a spell in this division and with the likes of Snodgrass, Kisnorbo and Beckford attracting National attention we're sure to be looking for sub-standard replacements come the Summer. I'm sure Kilkenney, Becchio and the like won't be short of suiters either...

Personally I think/hope that we'll be better than at least 3 of the 5 teams who might contest promotion over the next 12 weeks but the thought of another 'What might have been' is unthinkable - unfortunately our record speaks for itself.


Monday, 15 February 2010

Men For The Job...?

With such an attractive prize laid out by Bristol Rovers tonight, who should be the men charged with making sure Leeds grasp it with both hands? Certain places in Simon Grayson's line up seem to be up for grabs at the moment, infact as many as 8 starting positions are 'open' for debate... perhaps this has been part of the problem for Leeds lately as the whole spine of the team has either been rotated, injured or under-performing.

Starting with the two centre backs, for me Paddy Kisnorbo and Richard Naylor are the only two players who should be considered here but unfortunately various injuries have kept the two apart more often than anybody would like thus far and with the backup being a Slovakian, who's footballing prowess resembles that of an electricity pylon with cramp or Rui "Oh that was my man?!" Marques its not difficult to see why Leeds have leaked a few more goals recently. 

Bradley Johnson and Neil Kilkenny were given the nod in central midfield at Orient after their introduction at Brunton Park completely changed the teams performance and the game as a whole. The team has a more attacking threat with 'Brad' and 'Killa' and maybe this should be the pairing of choice in the games against weaker opposition but i'm not sure they have enough 'steel' against strong, battling midfileds, such as Millwall or Norwich. In my opinion, Jonny Howson has been a passenger for months and the odd 'Hollywood Pass' to Beckford doesn't disguse the fact that his passing, tackling and decision making have all been below par. Perhaps some reserve football is in order.

The wide positions is more of a quandary, several excellent players for 2 positions. Snodgrass, Gradel, McSheffrey and I'd even say Aidan White all have more than enough quality to trouble League One full-backs, with the first three adaptable to the main striking roles too. Signs were there on Saturday that McSheffrey is settling into this Leeds team and should be a real asset for the run -in. Snodgrass more than earns his place, though is a little frustrating at times (although the National press love him) but Gradel still appears to be an impact player for now.

Up top, it's a case of who partners Jermaine Beckford. The 24-goal hitman is surely the first name on the teamsheet, when fit. Luciano Becchio has drifted in and out of form this season and just when you think he's got it together again he has a nightmare. And there have been plenty of calls for Mike Grella to get a start after some decent displays in a cameo role from the bench. 

Its all to play for and Mr Grayson has got some big decisions to make!


Pirates Gift-wrap 2nd Place!

Leeds United's hopes of promotion were dealt a massive boost this evening as Bristol Rovers outplayed Charlton in an entertaining game at The Memorial Stadium. A goal in each half was enough to secure a deserved 2-1 victory for the Gasmen, a result that flattered the Londoners, who were second best throughout. A brutal match that saw Charlton lose a man inside 30 seconds with a broken leg continued in the same vein for all 103 minutes. The Addicks hit a consolation in the dying seconds.

The result leaves the South London outfit 5 points behind The Mighty Whites, having played 2 games more and with an inferior goal difference. Focus now turns to Leeds, with Walsall the visitors to Elland Road tomorrow night, the first of a triple header of home games, one would expect that gap to be stretched further. 

The importance of this week's games has just been amplified, hopefully the lads can find their shooting boots that were seemingly left at Thorp Arch for the weekend trip to Orient. A maximum return would make Leeds red-hot favourites for a top-two spot come May!

I've said all week that these next 3 games will go a long way to deciding the outcome of this season, with a potential 10 point gap over Charlton and 9 point gap over Colchester the prize, lets hope Leeds don't disappoint!


Saturday, 13 February 2010

94th minute equaliser? Thanks, but no thanks...

Two Saturdays in succession Leeds' fixture has featured a 94th minute equaliser. Last week Anthony Sweeney headed Hartlepool level with just 10 seconds remaining, costing Leeds two valuable points. Today, in similar fashion Leeds were on the right end of a last-ditch leveller as Charlie Daniels of Leyton Orient put through his own new to gift Leeds a much deserved point at Brisbane Road.

By all accounts Leeds played very well today and a shots on goal ratio of 5:18 would suggest that a single point is scant reward for such dominance. Perhaps with a little more composure, luck or just Jermaine Beckford in the starting line up we would be celebrating an excellent away win. The situation Leeds found themselves in today as the clock ticked over to added time dictates that this is a point gained but as the more perceptive amongst you may have noticed, should neither added time goal have been scored over the last two weeks, Leeds would be a point better off, a point closer to Norwich, a point further away from Charlton and a point closer to promotion!

As I mentioned yesterday, our 'Fatal 4-Way' with Orient, Walsall, Brighton and Oldham must yield al least 9 points, meaning today's result reduces the margin for error at Elland Road next week to a minimum, a situation exacerbated by Norwich City's late reversal at The Withdean this afternoon. Leeds may find some solace should Bristol Rovers prolong Charlton's dismal form and give The Whites some breathing space before the first of our games in hand on Tuesday but how long can we go unpunished?

Simon Grayson will hope Jermaine Beckford is available sooner rather than later, as we hope to turn these improved performances into much needed points as we enter the business end of the season. For all Jermaine's faults, he is a match winner, a commodity that we sadly lack elsewhere in the squad - Today's game being exhibit A.

I'll say it again, we must make these 3 home games count if we're to avoid a very nervy and uncomfortable run-in. Time to deliver...

Friday, 12 February 2010

Fatal 4-way!

Amidst the minor disappointment of Tuesday night and our unfortunate exit from the JPT, it is easy to forget that we actually won the game! Not only that but the come-back performance of the last half-hour or so was reminiscent of the confident and fearless displays that our travelling fans have become accustomed to under Simon Grayson's tenure. (The midfield partnership debate is best left for another day)

Unfortunately, Tuesday's victory was our first success on the road since the heroics at Old Trafford. Since that day the lads have served up 2 dismal displays at Exeter and Swindon and a showing at Hartlepool, that was patchy at best. The mild heartbreak of the penalty shoot-out might have subdued any celebrations but hopefully this indicates a return to 'form' for Leeds United with what is possibly the most crucial 10 days of the season upon us.

Tomorrow's predictably difficult trip to Orient is followed quickly by three successive home games against opposition, in Walsall, Brighton and Oldham that even the most optimistic gambler would struggle to back at Elland Road. Regardless of what rival teams manage in their games its imperative that Leeds collect at least 9 points over these four games, anything less and the league table may begin to look a little more harrowing come the game at the Galpharm 4 days later.

If another play-off nightmare is to be avoided we must capitalise on these games and put any sort of gap between ourselves and 3rd place hopefully creating a springboard to see us through to the end of the season and promotion!

In fear of getting ahead of ourselves its worth noting that all these teams now see us as 'beatable'. Examples set by lowly Exeter and Swindon have taken away the 'fear' factor from matches against The Mighty Whites. Couple that with the fact that the opposition all have a decent record against us... Orient came within 2 minutes of sharing the spoils at Elland Road in November, only a last-gasp Max Gradel strike separated the teams. Oldham have won both their trips to Elland Road since we dropped from The Championship, Walsall were set to inflict our first defeat of the season back in August before a quick-fire double gave Leeds all three points with the 90 minute mark looming and Brighton can match anybody on their day.

So this is where the run-in starts, an already difficult month of March and Easter period will be compounded should we fail to force home our advantage over the next 2 weeks. Anything less than 9 points could be fatal!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

"We won't do a Leeds...!"

I can't tell you how many times I have read those 5 words over the last six years or so. "We won't do a Leeds" has been uttered by football chairmen up and down the country since our implosion and subsequent nose dive to the depths of League One. Whether the men in question penned the statement in confidence, hope or sheer ignorance it seems that there are plenty of clubs 'Doing a Leeds' at this present moment.

Portsmouth F.C.
Rapidly spiralling out of control, The Premiership and possibly even existence! Several owners already this season and we're still 6 weeks from Easter. The South Coast, over-achieving minnows are reportedly £60M in the red and our old friends at HMRC are demanding £7.5M immediately! Today they have been granted a 7-day stay of execution as they cling onto the faint hope of a takeover. Could possibly be the first Premiership club to go out of existence.

Cardiff City F.C.
Ah now this is an interesting story... Several years ago that serial clown Mr Sam Hamann claimed that Leeds' demise started on a wet and windy January afternoon in Cardiff when his team at the time dumped Premiership leaders Leeds United out of The F.A. Cup. Leeds United went into reverse for many reasons following that defeat but that game was far from being one of them. Incensed by such an accusation Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale decided to teach the Welsh b******* a lesson and donned his Special Agent fa├žade and several years later appeared as a director at Cardiff City - Agent "Publicity" Pete had successfully infiltrated the enemy from within. Systematically he began to rip the club apart, negotiated them a new stadium that they couldn't afford, lied to the fans about season ticket receipts being spent on players and not ornamental orchids for his plush 3-acre office. As we stand Agent P is 28 days from successfully completing the biggest undercover operation that World football has ever seen.

Sadly for Peter it would be a hell of a lot easier if any of the above was true. Cardiff City are on the brink of administration (again) whilst Ridsdale claims that everything is ok in a style non too dissimilar to the Iraqi Foreign News Minister when he claimed that coalition troops were not even in Baghdad... as 3 heavily armoured American tanks rolled by in the background! How Peter Ridsdale is even allowed inside a football ground is beyond me?!!?

Having said all that it couldn't happen to a nicer club.

There are other clubs who are currently 'Doing a Leeds' albeit to a lesser extent; Crystal Palace, West Ham United, Charlton Athletic, Notts County even Liverpool and our friends at Old Trafford are giving it a go! Eventually luck is going to run out for one of these companies and we will lose a professional football club, the corner stones of communities, heirlooms passed from Parent to Child for generations, all that history - lost! and when this happens I will utter 5 words too "YOU'RE NOT LAUGHING ANY MORE!" how you would all have loved Leeds to have gone to the wall in 2007. I have absolutely no sympathy for any of you.

PART 2 of "We won't do a Leeds...!" can now be found here

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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Rather saw my Dickov?

Should I ever be asked 'Who is the footballer past or present that you hate the most?' the words "...Gary Neville" would leave my lips almost as an impulse. Nobody has ever attained the levels of global derision that Mr Boot-licker has in such a short time, even Adolf had his followers!

However, football fans up and down the country would offer up several candidates for the runners up position, namely the likes of Robbie Savage, Craig Bellamy even Lee Bowyer but undoubtedly there would be plenty of calls for Paul Dickov. Paul is a player for whom the line "Yeah he's a ****, but he's our ****!" was written for, he seemingly, unwittingly gets under the skin of opposition players and fans alike. With the permanent scowl and gritted teeth, many a Sky Sports producer has winced when his camera man has caught one of Paul's regular verbal tirades in full flow.

Some would say Paul Dickov and Leeds United is a match made in heaven but the thought of that as never sat well with me and at 37 years old I thought that a time when I'd perhaps have to come to terms with Paul in a Leeds United shirt had long since past... until yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon Leeds' official website lead with; DICKOV JOINS SQUAD FOR TRAINING confirming rumours that had circulated a few hours prior to the headline (the full article can be found here). The article explains that Paul Dickov had joined training this week after being released by Leicester City a few days previous, whilst making clear that no deal had been done but "we'll see how things go".

Now if I thought that the signature of such an experienced player would go in some way to guaranteeing Leeds a top two finish then I'd be the first to hold my hands up and say I was wrong and I will never question Simon Grayson's wisdom again but what exactly does Paul Dickov offer?!? Yes he has built a reputation for popping up in the right place at the right time but at 37 how much of that is still a reality? 11 goals in his last 77 appearances suggests not a lot.

I'm sure if a deal was agreed it would be 'til the end of the season and Dickov would be used as, well I'm going to stop short of 'impact player' and go with 'last ditch effort' in the remaining minutes of games to turn defeats into draws or 1 point into 3. All of that sounds great but how much can you expect from a 37 year old who, granted will give you 100% effort and has plenty of experience but had limited ability in the prime of his career and is he really what Leeds are missing? Is he really a better option than the likes of Grella, Kandol or even Davide Somma who has done well enough for the reserves?

Time will tell but it seems a very strange move from Leeds United and almost smacks of desperation.

To discuss similar subjects join the Dirty Leeds Forum

Monday, 8 February 2010

The JPT - What to do?

For my first post I'd briefly like to take you to a world of fantasy and make-belief; Lets imagine that our beloved Chairman, Mr Kenneth Bates actively sought out supporter opinion last Summer in order to keep on board with the fans and the people of Leeds as a whole. I did say it was a fantasy!

So now we're all safely here in this strange and unfamiliar world, let me set the scene;

Its late July 2009, Ken Bates has let it be known that he will 'go with the fans' in regards to this season's Johnstone's Paint Trophy. He lays down 2 options;

1/ Simon and the lads will go all out for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy this season, fielding the strongest possible team in every round whilst trying to maintain a promotion challenge.

2/ Forget The Johnstone's Paint Trophy, success in the competition would be an insult to Leeds United's history. Promotion to The Championship should be the only aim this season.

Now I realise that there are many other options that could be part of our fictitious poll from our fictitious, fan friendly chairman and that in reality Leeds, this season have been somewhere in between the two extremes. That said, I'd have been surprised if, back in August that poll hadn't been 95%+ in favour on option 2. Its no secret that this season is 'do or die' for Leeds in terms of promotion but now we're here, 90 minutes and possible extra-time (hang on a minute, here's Howson...) from a trip to Wembley suddenly it becomes an excellent opportunity. 

Granted, there is no bank-busting promotion or passport into foreign climbs for the victor but there is the possibility to put an honour next to this Leeds side, they always say the first trophy is the hardest! Could a JPT win be the catalyst that spurs this Leeds United team onto greater things? Promotion? perhaps successive promotions?! Its difficult to tell... these sort of fairytale stories only seem to happen to other clubs. I confidently predicted with 2 'Fergie Time' minutes to go at Old Trafford, that if we hold on it will be the result that propels us to The League Title   with a record number of points, record number of goals and Ken Bates for number 10! Ah...!

Personally, I'd like to look at it like I did last weeks replay with Spurs - If we win, great! if not, who cares?!? but it has the potential to have far reaching consequences whatever the result. A Wembley Final to look forward to, without doubt would be great but we're not great at keeping focus around the big games and a win could have a huge, familiar come down. Having said that, one win in nine doesn't sound too great either... What to do?

To discuss this and similar subjects visit the DirtyLeeds messageboards at



The idea of this website was to discuss the various goings-on of modern day football, focusing primarily (but not exclusively) on Leeds United. As is often the case with such projects whilst setting the blog up I decided to change focus a bit, I decided I would stick almost exclusively to footballing issues and supporter opinion as opposed to match previews and the like. So although we will have the odd preview and build up to the larger games, the JPT Final for instance should we overcome Carlisle (Typed with a straight face). I will be trying to solve the real issues like 'Why does Jonny Howson keep getting picked?' or the reason Casper Ankergren has the ability to be 'World Class' and 'Sunday League' in the space of several minutes...

The other surprising issue while setting this site up was regarding the name, after much deliberation I had settled on and decided to set about some artwork etc to get it up and running. The problem came when a current Leeds United messageboard, one that I am a member of, decided to change its name... became 24 hours before I was ready to purchase the domain! After years in the internet domain wilderness it had suddenly become very much in demand. Kindly the people responsible for the DirtyLeeds website have offered me the chance to be part of their site which I fully intend to take them up on. Hopefully it will work out nicely for both parties. I do intend to invite other members of to 'Guest Blog' on this site if they should wish to do so.

So I look forward to commenting and finger-pointing over the coming months and the latter part of a football season that still has the potential to be historic for Leeds United.