We Shall Overcome

Posted: February 19, 2015 in Uncategorized
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The Duke

Royals 0 Whites 2, Whites 1 Lions 0

From darkness into light? Perhaps. The consequences of the last week will become clearer over time but for the moment there is a sliver of hope. The suffocating yoke of relegation induced despond has been temporarily loosened.

A long midweek trip to Royal Berkshire isn’t the daunting experience it used to be but heralded a victory that was as surprising as it was deserved. Our dominance in all facets of the game was underpinned by resilience and another man of the match performance from the hitherto one million pound misfit Luke Murphy.

Unfortunately Millwall continued to torment us. News of their unlikely victory at St Andrews tempered our joy and dragged us back into the mire. Bermondsey’s day out in the Ridings is always an excitable afternoon for our visitors but this time we were all aware of its importance. During the build up both Coach Redfearn and local pundits attempted to under play the occasion by suggesting that the Reading victory had eased the trepidation but I was having none of it. My biliously taut, tension filled stomach said as much.

Typically we made a meal of it and success arrived grudgingly. A first half display deserved much more than the slender advantage and could have been derailed by the sort of laxity that has so often cursed us.

During the aftermath the Lions’ tempestuous manager attempted to deflect attention from his side’s mediocrity by accusing West Yorkshire Police of disrespecting a pitiful offering of South Londoners. It was an ironic and bizarre outburst from a man who whist in charge of Crystal Palace, allowed a coach driver to soil Brighton’s dressing room floor.

The dawn of a new year generally sees a mood of desolation sweep through the masses but not this time. Tactical nous, youthful bounty, the rebirth of yesterday’s men and an astute arrival has combined to bring a little sunshine into the cold foreboding months. The work must go on.

 

Whites 0 Bees 1

Posted: February 8, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Billy's Despair

Twenty four hours and one angry night’s sleep later and I still can’t get on with it. We didn’t deserve to win but the scandalous Mr Salisbury ensured that there was little chance we would. A more morally bankrupt display of officiating you would not wish to see. He strolled around Elland Road lapping up the apoplectic rancour of the masses, with his tiny little member growing firmer with every disgraceful decision.

There was little attempt to disguise a personal agenda that first unearthed itself with a dubious penalty against Charlton in early November. Some say it was incompetence but it was far too tendentious for that. It was cheating pure and simple. Losing is one thing and our own team’s mortality is often too much to bear. This was different. This was a battling effort stunted at every turn by the behaviour of a black clad bastard with a grudge.

Terriers 1 Whites 2

Posted: February 2, 2015 in Uncategorized
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King John

This was a fixture with a degree of symmetry. It was exactly a year to the day since a controversial Italian crashed into consciousness on a gloomy Friday night. One phantom sacking, one nocturnal taxi ride and one emotionally draining day later our dog bothering cousins had been sent packing by a euphoric and brutal demolition.

Twelve months on and the Terriers once again provided the opposition. Once again they had the smell of blood in their nostrils and once again they came up short. The frenzied celebrations that followed Billy Sharp’s delicious dénouement cut like a knife through the collective heart of the natives and ensured the cup final bunting came down early this year. I was recently reminded of Huddersfield Town’s proud history and I had to agree. Unfortunately it all seems so lost at a modern-day club that has become rabidly obsessed with its illustrious neighbour.

Desperados

Whites 1 Blues 1, Whites 1 Cherries 0

It felt so very bleak and looked set to become even bleaker. The sliver of encouragement scraped from an improved outing in Lancashire had all but evaporated in the grim realisation of our sticky predicament and the club’s apparent inability to do anything about it. Don Massimo returned to England weighed down by the  burden of an impending appeal and hopes that a fledgling transfer window would answer Neil Redfearn’s call for ‘Championship experience’. By the time a much improved Birmingham City side arrived in LS11, ailing spirits had crumbled further.

You could perhaps understand the refusal to sanction a romantic return for Luciano Becchio but the Italian’s decision to allow Stephen Warnock’s departure to Derby bemused many. The seasoned left back had been one of our more consistent performers during another troubled campaign and it all reeked of personality clashes rather than hard-headed football matters.

Solace was desperately craved but against the Blues only frustration was forthcoming. A spirited display built on the back of rejuvenated players like Murphy and Morison yielded a bucket load of chances and bruised woodwork but alas only a single point.

Respite came at the most unexpected of moments. By the time Eddie Howe brought his table topping Cherries north Don Massimo’s four month censure had been ratified and a heavy defeat predicted. It is said that even our visitors arrived with the expectation of teaching their host’s a lesson but instead endured an evening brim full of quite the opposite.

A deserved victory was as hard-fought as it was necessary but didn’t come without a scare. Giuseppe Bellusci divided opinion with a well-timed trip that resulted in both a sending off and a penalty. Some criticised the player’s often volatile nature while others suggested he’d taken one for the team in true Billy Bremner fashion. It hardly seemed to matter when the resulting spot kick grazed the bar on its way into the South Stand.

It comes to something when a home victory over Bournemouth elicits such glee. I pity the youngsters that can’t remember a time when such things were rudimentary and often delivered with ease. I know we should be living in the present but at times it’s so hard, so very damn hard.

1973

Black Cats 1 Whites 0, Trotters 1 Whites 1

If there was ever a contest that aptly showed the shifting sands of time and our demise entwined, it was this one. In its commentary BBC Five Live reportedly referenced that horrible day in May of 1973 a dozen times in half an hour.

Neil Redfearn arrived on Wearside with his reputation on the line and by half time events had deteriorated further. Despite wholesale changes and a detour from the now loathed diamond formation, we toiled abjectly, painfully unable to muster a single effort on goal. Redemption of sorts arrived with a much improved second half performance but a deserving denouement was scuppered by the width of a post and a sloppy refereeing misjudgment.

Forgotten souls such as Luke Murphy and Casper Sloth came in from the cold to impress, while the hitherto unknown quantities of Dario Del Fabro and Brian Montenegro staked their claims for further involvement. Another example of our bristling academy manifested itself in the appearance of teenage left back Charlie Taylor and despite the unfortunate result we considered it a fruitful affair.

The bold team selections continued at the Macron (nee Reebok) Stadium with the surprising inclusion of the barrackers’ latest plaything Steve Morison. Lamentably the afternoon yielded another hard luck story in the shape of a thoroughly deserved point that could have been so much more. While others seem to prosper from such situations by way of last-minute wonder strikes or scruffy five yard pokes, we always seem unable to prise the juicy oyster from its shell.

Despite an encouraging gain the result saw us slip closer to the bottom three and left the lunatic fringe apoplectic with rage. Sadly at a club such as ours lunacy is an affliction not limited to the outer reaches of an unswervingly expectant fan base and many a manager and player has found it an exceedingly difficult cross to bear.

 

Sir Les

Reds 1 Whites 1, Whites 0 Latics 2, Rams 2 Whites 0

A point is decidedly better than being impaled on a red-hot poker and the festive period began with one (a point that is) at the City Ground. The merits and finer details of an evening by the Trent differed depending on tribal affliction but left many unhappy.

Forest fans steamed when recounting the controversial moments that scuppered their want while many of our number voiced dismay at the continuing frailty. This considered Leeds fan respected a battling display that stemmed the tide of misery but recognised that our improvement must be swift and merciless.

Such an improvement didn’t manifest itself on Boxing Day. Far from it.  During pre match interviews some players seemed oblivious to many fans fears and dismissed talk of another impending relegation battle but another destitute display will have served to sharpen their senses.

A painfully average Wigan side arrived in the Ridings with little going for them but departed clutching Yuletide spoils that had been conceded without much of a whimper. Coach Redfearn can’t do much about the debilitating defensive errors that pepper our existence but so much of this experience was found wanting.

The lustre of those earlier months seems a distant memory and things are beginning to unravel somewhat. Redders’ decision to replace crowd favourite Billy Sharp left the striker vexed and many of us dismayed, a mood not helped by the sight of fellow forwards Morison and Doukara suffocating in ineffectuality.

By the time Neil Redfrearn’s rudderless relegation charabanc trundled into Derby, the mood was one of desolation. Most supporters feared another bleak affair and our latest collection of calamitous clowns did not disappoint. The performance was one of such ineptitude that it is said the high-flying Rams were embarrassed by the ease of a victory played out to the cackling of their gleeful followers.

This latest aberration had many commentators claiming it was the worst Leeds team they had ever seen and not becoming of a fan base and club of such esteem. A record of just twelve victories throughout 2014 suggests a deep-seated malaise but Massimo Cellino, Nicola Salerno and Neil Redfearn must take their share of the blame.

Don Massimo’s desire to drive a recruitment process based largely on the continental game is drowning in the futility of players like Bianchi and Doukara, while coach Redfearn’s inability to muster anything from his players points to a man severely out of his depth. This is not a relegation battle my friends, there isn’t enough fight to call it that.

 

Babies

If you ever needed an example of what a complete fuck up our club has become you need look no further than the events of the last week. On Wednesday night English champions and cash drenched Manchester City visited the Olympic Stadium in Rome for do or die Champions League encounter backed by a paltry 1500 followers.

Twitterwhites recoiled in disdain at a so called football giant’s pitiful effort and cast their minds back to the early noughties when three times that number converged on the eternal city to bask in the glory of O’Leary’s runny nosed ‘babies’. It is upon such trivia that the lunacy of our predicament is most keenly felt.

We are again at the whim of a youthful brigade but Saturday’s defeat saw us slip into the bottom six alongside such storied names as Millwall, Brighton and Rotherham. It was another result that perhaps suggests that our young cubs may not be quite as good as we think they are.

A vexing afternoon was compounded by the victorious return of a certain Scottish striker whose dream it’s said, was to play at the half empty and often anaemic Craven Cottage. Strangely the old house refrained from the stinging vitriol usually reserved for quislings and to be fair the player himself acknowledged the disagreeable nature of his departure.