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Friday, 26 November 2010

What does Sunday's Cup Draw hold for us?

Rewind to 29th November 2009. Eyes glued to TV sets, ears pinned to radio's, fingers rapidly pressing F5 on keyboards. It was the weekend of the 3rd Round Draw for the F.A Cup, to be played the 2nd and 3rd of January 2010. We'd just drawn 1-1 with Kettering away from home, avoiding another 'Histon', yet still not clear of embarrassment. We'd gruelled and grafted in the mud, not being that bad, but it's typical Leeds. Nothing can go your way, regardless of performance. Anyway, a replay at Elland Road beckoned which we'd surely win easily and go on to face whoever we were drawn. Scum, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal would all be nice I told myself. Just not another year of Swindon at home or Brighton away, we prayed. Not another fixture we'd played just 2 weeks ago, please. I sat with my mug of tea on my right, my Sunday Dinner on my left. Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal, all drawn out within the first 15 ties. At this point, it was just a matter of time before Scum were drawn away against Tranmere or similar. Team after team drawn, until there were 6 or 7 teams drawn. Heart beating faster, hope in my head, realisation coming closer. 4 teams left : Leeds United/Kettering, Scum, Accrington Stanley/Barnet, Gillingham. Remember that point about not another league fixture in the cup? Please not Gillingham, I prayed, on the edge of my seat. "Accrington Stanley or Barnet will play..." seconds seemed like hours, like days, shouting at the box, screaming 'GILLINGHAM, PLEASE GILLINGHAM'. God knows what the neighbours thought. Steve Redgrave's hand reached in and it all seemed to happen in slow motion. He grasped the ball and I was about 20 centimetres away from the TV at this point on my knees, hands grasped, eyes fixated. He looked at the ball and slightly chuckled. It couldn't be, surely?

"...Will play Gillingham at home." Screams, celebrations, dances, obscenities were all exchanged within 10 seconds. 15 phones calls recieved in as many minutes, it was as if we'd won the bleeding thing. Plans put in place already, an early birthday present if we did the 'impossible'. Scum. Away. Some say the magic of the FA Cup has gone, pushed aside by Murdoch and co., but moments like that come once in a lifetime. We overcame Kettering quite easily in 15 minutes after 90 minutes of slightly struggling and it kicked in. Scum, afuckingway. And the rest of course, shall be repeated on January the 3rd 2011 in a special anniversary post.

But enough of that. What about January 2nd/3rd 2011? What does it hold for Leeds United? Another Premier League giantkilling tie? Another visit to a Salmonella ridden ground? Another lovely return to the police forces of Carlisle? Oh wait, just mentioned that. After last years heroics, anything is possible. The magic of the FA Cup still shines bright, waiting to come out behind the covers of the dark and dingy corporate values of Football today.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Leeds held to ransom by most deluded ‘star’ in club’s history.


For fear of getting a reputation of only appearing with posts when the team are playing poorly or that something isn’t going right, I feel I should first explain my recent absence;

After berating the performances of Jonny Howson and Robert Snodgrass in my previous articles, I thought it best to keep a low profile after they have both been leading lights of our current up-turn in form. ‘Our Jonny’ even notched a perfect treble at Scunthorpe, and I know it wasn’t an error on the Sky Sports vidiprinter as I was one of the lucky few to see it with my own eyes… So having had my words shoved firmly down my throat and my posts relating to our quest for survival being the best we can hope for made to look ridiculous against our current 5th place standing. I shall apologise to the pair here. Whilst pointing out that the real reason for my absence is that it is a busy time at work and unfortunately this blog gets pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list .

Now, with that out of the way lets approach one of the craziest stories released by Leeds United’s press officer in recent memory; MIDFIELDER TRANSFER LISTED appeared on NewsNow this afternoon, the initial fear of what, or whom the article could be referring to quickly subsided upon clicking the headline. Thankfully, Robert Snodgrass, Max Gradel and Neil Kilkenny are all staying put and even Andy Hughes will remain at Elland Road… I can hear you thinking, “well who else is there!?!”

It turns out Bradley Johnson has rejected the club’s final offer of a 3 year contract.

Firstly, I’d have to question Simon Grayson’s thinking in offering Johnson another contract, never mind a 3 year deal!  For me, Bradley Johnson will always epitomise the ‘average’ players that have passed through the door at Thorp Arch since our decline to League One. He is by far the most infuriating player I have ever seen play, he obviously has some talent but it is totally undermined by his lack of vision, awareness and terrible decision making. I was hoping he would leave in the Summer on a free, so any sort of transfer fee would be a bonus!

Quite what goes through the head of some players is a mystery. Perhaps his agent has pointed to the amount of games he has started this season and that his wage should reflect that of an important first team member… he has obviously forgotten the game at Boundary Park a couple of years ago when Bradley turned in the worst performance of any professional footballer I have witnessed. Can anybody think of anything Johnson has done this season that would look out of place in an amateur game at your local park? Even his decent finish and steady game against Hull was undone by a comical own goal due to lack of concentration.

Out of the whole squad, I can’t think of a player who I would be less upset or concerned about leaving.

I’m sure he’ll find his rightful place back in League One again before long…

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