“Cup Final Syndrome” Inspires Barnsley to Thwart Leeds – by Rob Atkinson


Marius Zaliukas - clogged by Tudgay

Marius Zaliukas – clogged by Tudgay

On the day that we lost David Coleman, the man who so memorably commentated on Leeds United’s only FA Cup Final success, it was the Cup Final mentality of smaller Yorkshire rivals which, yet again, intervened to make a liar of the formbook.  That nagging chip on the underdogs’ shoulders acted to dispense with the gulf in class, which is evident from a glance at the league table, and to produce a result nigh-on as daft as the Barnsley fans apparently celebrating some sort of trophy success at the final whistle.  Such evident confusion is perhaps understandable – it’s 101 years since their only piece of real silverware, and even that was upstaged by the loss of the “Titanic”.

It was one of those games, a bad day at the office, a match where nothing dropped for Leeds.  Choose your cliché and go with it.  Ultimately, it all boils down to the same thing: dropped points for Leeds against inferior opposition who simply dared not give less than heart and soul plus blood, sweat and tears, urged on as they were by the rabid hatred their fans bear for the Elland Road club.  For Leeds, Matt Smith missed a hat-trick of reasonable chances, and the game rather passed their other recently effective performers by.

This enhanced desire on the part of smaller clubs against United is something I’ve written about before, and far too many of the “Yorkshire derby” games follow this same, frustrating pattern for Leeds, costing valuable points that add up to a significant dent in the team’s potential over the season.  Huddersfield benefited from the same thing; even Doncaster performed well above themselves last week in losing to United at home.  Barnsley, though, are a case in point.  This disappointing (for Leeds) goalless draw was actually one of our better results against the men from Oakwell, who apparently view the two games against United as the main part of the season, with the other 44 matches a chance for some not all that well-earned relaxation.

The type of performance that Barnsley, as well as several other hotly-resentful Yorkshire clubs, manage to produce against Leeds leaves them open to charges of dishonesty and cheating their manager with the poverty of their displays in other games.  Barnsley have been pathetic for most of this season, but you just knew they’d be bang up for it against Leeds.  That said, it’s a thing that the Whites simply have to learn to deal with – there can be no excuses, whatever the lop-sided motivation of the opposition, for failing to take full advantage of a poor team.

It’s quite probable now that Barnsley will go on to collapse to defeat against their next opponents.  After all, that’s what normally happens – look at Huddersfield’s next few results after their 3-2 success earlier in the season.  Unless new manager Danny Wilson can inspire his team to repeat today’s determined effort, the delighted Tykes fans can look forward to some Christmas and New Year misery as their knackered heroes ease off into post-Cup Final torpor.  None of which helps Leeds; it simply serves further to illustrate the annoying nature of this extremely annoying and inconvenient phenomenon.

Ouch!!

Ouch!! Red card for Tudgay

There were no real winners today; Barnsley’s point leaves them rooted to the foot of the table, whilst Leeds’ failure to grab all three dents their hopes of consolidating a play-off position – even though the league position improved slightly from 6th to 5th.  United will hope to get back on track in front of the live TV cameras at6 Blackpool on Boxing Day.  It is to be hoped that central defender Marius Zaliukas will be fit enough to play after being clogged by Tudgay, a challenge that saw the Barnsley man receive a straight red card.  Leeds will already be without Luke Murphy, suspended after his 5th yellow of the campaign.

Allan Clarke, the man who scored that Wembley goal to win the Cup for Leeds in 1972, played for and managed both of these clubs.  His presence in either forward line today would probably have resulted in at least one goal, with his clinical ability making some sense out of the hurly-burly in either penalty area.  As for David Coleman, the iconic commentator who intoned “Clarke…..one-nil!” on that day over 41 years ago – well, even he would have found it hard to enthuse about this one.  A very unmemorable and disappointing day for United  – but yet more faux “Cup Final” joy for plucky little Barnsley.

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56 responses to ““Cup Final Syndrome” Inspires Barnsley to Thwart Leeds – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Dwayne Barker

    Got about half way through that and had to ask for help wi t’big words cos Ah’m frum Baaaaaaaahnsli.

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  2. In over two hours of listening to five live today from one o clock onwards,i didn’t hear one mention of Leeds. All i got was the inevitable manure love in and the embarrassingly inane “banter” between lawrenson and the other dullard commentating. I kid you not,it was almost stalinist the way we were erased from the days proceedings. God i hate the bbc.

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    • Crap, isn’t it? So blatant too. I’ve still not forgotten how they tried to erase the Don from public memory when they were discussing great managers whilst touching themselves and mourning Taggart.

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      • Cant believe you are actually moaning about being belittled after that effort of a post doing exactly the same to Barnsley FC. Also you first claim the reason you didn’t win is because we upped our game yet in the very next paragraph it was because nothing dropped for you and it was a bad day at the office. Make your mind up.

        Our league position is down to the previous incumbent whom has now left to probably try and ruin Bury FC also. He did nothing short of remarkable last year but this season abused the trust he gained and turned us into nothing short of pathetic with his under performing mates getting a game week in week out and left players like Bobby Hassel out to rot in the reserves because he didn’t like him.

        If i were you id be happy you picked up a point today. It may turn out to be an important point. Just remember the pastings you have had over the last few seasons as a case in point. We were robbed at your place last year too.

        All in all I think you will do ok because you have a decent manager – it makes such a difference, but please don’t make out you didn’t win because we just raised our game for Leeds. We are in the sh1t and will play like that week in week out now.

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    • Try a regional news channel. In fact try BBC Radio Leeds. It doesn’t cover the national teams, just smaller regional ones, in the Leeds region. Like Leeds United.

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  3. Why not just acknowledge the fact our midfield, which creates very little and has no width, gets outplayed most weeks and if anyone thinks this team is good enough for the PL then god help us cos you must be seeing something I ain’t. The player with the best touch, after Ross, is Zaliukas and McDermott needs to unearth a few more gems like him to make us even play-off contenders.

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    • I actually agree with the worries about our midfield – too many teams that are poorer on paper are having too much of an easy ride against us, too much possession and presenting too much of a threat. We need some element in our team to break up play and stop lesser teams having these periods of domination in far too many games. And yet I feel that the generally poor standard in this league will see us make the play-offs. What happens then is up for grabs. IF we went up, some longer-term solution would have to be found – or we’d come back down like a concrete kite.

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  4. Luke backatsuccess

    Well lad… When was your.last “proper” F.A semi final at Wembley? Before ours.! Living in past again!

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  5. Yeah,unfortunately the bbc are obsessed with man u, tv chefs and protecting paedos. Wouldn’t surprise me to see ” cooking xmas dinner with cliff and leon”followed by “strictly licking david moyes arse” this xmas.

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  6. john palmer

    we are lacking a creative play maker, and worse still the position is filled for good by making the lumbering austin capt.the rest of the side is good enough.hoolahan or the like wood do the trick.

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  7. Luke backatsuccess

    Think you find the last cup semi final your Cup Giants played in was WAY back in 2001? Ours was 2008!
    History both. Lower in League, yes. In awe of?
    Don’t think so.
    As you say, supposed “lesser teams dominating you” is hardly setting you apart as a major player in a league where anyone can beat anyone.

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    • I do think you’re “protesting too much” – and there’s plenty to back up my Cup Final Syndrome contention. Don’t know who you play next but I bet that, knackered and played-out after your Big Game, you lose.

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  8. Barnsley don’t need an excuse to raise their game against Leeds and as soon as I knew that they had brought in Danny Wilson, I did not expect an easy game today for Leeds. Barnsley did not play like a bottom of the table team and are one of many bogey teams that are preventing Leeds from getting out of this league. I agree with you about the cup final syndrome, but it is concerning that Leeds do not have more attacking options on the bench to come on and break down teams that come to Elland Road for a 0-0 draw.
    McCormack is not going to score in every game and a creative Gradel or a Blackstock type of player would have won the game for Leeds today and other games like the Leicester and Blackburn away games.

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  9. It is comments like these that make Leeds a team people dislike,I can ensure you as a Barnsley fan it was a good point for us, but the comments you have made regarding teams treating Leeds like a cup final is far from true we feel no different playing Leeds than Sheffield Wednesday,Doncaster or huddersfield,live in reality you are no longer a big team.but people like you will never see this as you are living on your memories of long ago.

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  10. Rob. Isn’t it amazing that we have gone from being thankful for at least a point every time we take the field (just so that we could avoid relegation to the third division again)…to being upset that we ONLY get a point? My how quickly perceptions change.

    I saw the first few lines of your post earlier and then stopped reading and my heart sank because I just assumed we had lost…I looked over at my son (who knows nothing about football) and said “Damn, we lost to Barnsley! I had a feeling that was going to happen.” But then I realized later that we had tied (drew) and got a point.

    I am sorry to say I was elated. All the teams I root for here in the New York area are doing awful…really, really bad. Every one of them. But I am proud to say that I also support a team not from here and that is doing great, even if it is still early on.

    I’ll take the point…even if it was against a much less talented team and even if it was at home…because we still kept up our momentum to a degree. Hey…it’s better then a loss, right? Can you imagine how we’d all feel right now if Barnsley had beaten us 0-3 at Elland Road? I shudder to think how I would have felt…

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  11. Typical Leeds fan mentality. NO wonder every body hates them. Barnsleys Cup final lol, maybe its the price of the ticket that makes us think its a cup final. We just turned up expecting our usual 3 points against a Leeds team that very rarely beats us, unless the ref gives a penalty for a foul on the half way line. You did we today to get a draw.

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    • you lot celebrated that point like you had won the FA cup.i was embarrassed for ya.its the same every time we play you,you all up your game and even that little blonde midget manages to look like xavi!i still think you will go down and i am glad cos the lads obviously dont like playing ya!

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  12. Lol at Leeds thinking they’re still a ‘big’ club. Whats all this bull about FA Cups? Was colour TV even invented the last time Leeds won it? I like playing Leeds they’re always generous for giving us points 🙂 ha ha remember when Vaz Te scored that hat trick? Funny 😉 especially when they showed this young leeds fan crying in the stand. Always good for a laugh are Leeds, in more ways than one! YOU REDS!!!!! WE ALL HATE LEEDS SCUM..

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  13. Rob I bet Man Utd fans say the same about Leeds every time you play them and raise your game,all the rabid hatred you have for Man Utd and the songs you sing and your not even rivals with ,never have been and never will be,(but I always like to read your articles,but your too literate for a Leeds fan were you born somewhere else or just educated outside of Leeds

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  14. I like Smith but some of the chances that fell to him would’ve been buried by a certain Argentinian.

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  15. Wilson's Wonderland

    This brand of disrespectful and delusional arrogance is why everybody hates your team

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  16. Colin Wanker

    Your wind ups are $hit. Keep up the good work though 🙂

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  17. The Leeds fan who wrote this symbolises all that’s wrong and disliked about the Eland Road outfit and its supporters. In terms of arrogance, disrespect to the opposition and delusions of grandeur, you top the lot my friend. The Championship is universally acknowledged as being one of the most competitive leagues in Europe. It’s no surprise when the teams in the lower reaches beat the top teams and this happens on a very regular basis. You make out the result is up there with some of the biggest F.A. Cup shocks of all time (but don’t worry, I won’t mention Histon). As Ken says, playing Leeds is nothing special for Barnsley fans these days. Admittedly, you were a big club once but let’s face it that was in the days of the 3 day week, power cuts and flares…most of us weren’t even born then mate. You seem to be looking for excuses to cover up your own team’s inadequacies but if I was Leeds fame, I would be embarrassed reading this.

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  18. Andrew Marsden

    Oh dear big club syndrome , it’s a wonder we were even allowed on the same pitch as the mighty Leeds .
    So glad you chose to go down the history route , we’ve actually won the FA cup precisely as many times as you have .
    You also have more of a memory of league 1 football , yeh your so big it took you 3 season’s to get out of it .
    The reason you can’t turn us over these days is pretty simple , your shyte , totally outclassed in the last 3 visits to Oakwell , nothing to do with raising our game , Hamill , Vaz Te and Marlon Harewood have torn you new ones .
    To conclude and sorry to bruise your considerable ego , your not our biggest rivals , never have , never will be , the two Sheffield games blow you out of the water .
    See you at Oakwell next year , fancy turning up for once .

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  19. You’re so deluded it’s laughable. To think that the modern day footballer regards Leeds as a Cup Final is hilarious. Yes it carries a bit more spice for us, as fans. But it’s just another big game for the players, like lots of others in the Championship. The fact is you were playing a team with a new manager, desperate for points due to the position we find ourselves in. The players may want to do well for the fans (no surprise there) but their first thoughts will certainly be to show what they can do for their new gaffer. As for players like Jack Butland, Jacob Mellis and Marcus Tudgay, I think you’ll find they were no more up for this one than they were for Brighton away two weeks ago. And no one thought we’d get anything there either. Typical Leeds fan – no respect, no class and destined for another 40 years of no silverware.

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  20. Is your match report supposed to be tongue in cheek? Barnsley have conceded too many goals away from home so Danny Wilson went with a much more defensive 4-1-4-1 formation which proved difficult to break down. As the game panned out, Barnsley probably had the more clear cut chances and could have been 2-0 up at half-time had Tudgay shown a bit more composure. Leeds’ tactic was simply to hoof the ball to Matt Smith all afternoon but the Barnsley defence had this worked out from the off.

    To suggest that Barnsley see a game against Leeds as a cup-final these days is laughable; 20/30 years ago it would have been a big occasion for a Barnsley fan but it’s now just another run of the mill Championship game. It’s the Leeds’ fans delusions of grandeur that make fans of other teams “bite” to the statements made on blogs like this.

    Football has changed, no-one cares about history apart from the fans of clubs who have had some moderate success in the past and have been out of the spotlight for a very long time.

    Based on yesterday’s performance I can’t see Leeds troubling the play-offs come the end of the season as there are too many average players being carried by one or two better players like McCormack – pretty much every team in the Championship is only a top striker away from being a title challenger, the classic example being Burnley. Barnsley aren’t bottom of the league because every player isn’t good enough (some certainly aren’t), it’s because the main striker has been injured for the last two months after averaging more than a goal every two games throughout 2013.

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  21. Thanks for reminding me why everyone hates Leeds.

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    • Usually it’s because their bonehead Dad, a relic of the sixties or seventies when everyone resented United for being the best, told them to. It’s a shame so many in this country glory in their inability to think for themselves.

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  22. Aaron Lane

    I can’t believe I’ve just wasted 5 minutes reading that. ‘Delusion’ springs to mind.

    ‘Celebrating a 0-0 draw like a cup final’. Actually, we were singing our new manager’s name who’s quite the hero in Barnsley, it wouldn’t matter whether it was Leeds, Yeovil or a non league side in the cup Wilson would’ve still got the same response.

    As for the point suits neither side. Well it suits us just fine, we’ve been awful away from home & that’s our first clean sheet on the road since April & considering Wednesday & Yeovil both lost at home it’s definitely a good point.

    As for the actual game Leeds edged it but for actual clear cut chances it was one a piece & Smith’s should’ve never been a chance anyway as he clearly fouled Ramage to get the opening.

    It might be different for the couple of thousands fans who only turn up for the Leeds & Wednesday games but for most of us it doesn’t matter whether we’re playing Leeds or anyone else we want to win just as much. You seem to put yourself on some sort of pedestal that teams only try against them which is absolute nonsense. I can’t honestly believe you think teams try harder because it’s Leeds, that’s just a poor excuse for your team’s shortcomings. Your whole game plan seems to resolve around hoofing it up to Smith or hoping for a moment of brilliance from McCormack. I’d say if anything Leeds are overachieving given the lack of creativity in your midfield.

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  23. What a typically brilliant and incisive article from you Rob. I’d say more but I am simply not worthy.

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  24. L L Fauntleroy

    Rob, that’s really well written, but I’m sorry, the content is utter bobbins! You can obviously turn a phrase better than most, so what a shame you let yourself down with a litany of complete nonsense. I think someone else further up pointed out that it’s this arrogant, poor-loser mentality that’s helped give Leeds their terrible image and made you such a disliked side. Anyrode, keep working at it!

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    • Now this is the kind of criticism I can take on the chin! Grown-up feedback from somebody obviously in fundamental disagreement with the content of the piece. Fair enough, it wasn’t put out there as a bland article that people would simply digest and move on. I can remain of my own opinion and yet really appreciate a quality response like this.

      Gazza, Dylan, “Paul” of Hotmail, and all the other trolls who read and hate every syllable I write – this is how it’s done, but sadly you’re none of you equipped to do it like this. But here is the reason why 90% of your IQ-minus, abusive and degraded dribblings are either rejected or, if I feel like winding you up, edited to suit my mood. It’s good to be King, after all. Rest assured that the more you trolls write, the more of your time, energy and hormonal dysfunction you will be wasting in your futile attempts to have any effect here.

      Thank you, Little Lord. You’ve (partially) restored my faith in the ability of people to take issue constructively.

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  25. Shall I take that as a yes then Rob

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  26. Counte Of Monte Fisto

    I despise barnsalay I really do. I hope they and the other South Yorkshire garbage get flushed to league 1
    If Danny Wilson thinks this is a sign they can survive wait till next week when they get back to normal.
    Take the point and move on derby go up they go down that’s an extra 12 points to play for next season

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  27. hi Rob,

    Once again we witness footballers raising their game to compete with Leeds, they were dropping like flies with cramp from the extra effort they put in. They aught to be ashamed of themselves, let us see the next few results from Barnseley as they call themselves to fit it in to the song Barnseley, Barnseley, Barnseley. MOT

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    • Very true, Steve. Worth looking out for their next result. Huddersfield and Millwall tried their little hearts out against us and their form collapsed afterwards. Cup Final Syndrome is REAL!

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    • Both players who were down with cramp haven’t played at all this season. The Barnsley team was ‘makeshift’ to say the least due to several injuries.

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  28. I’m one of the “trolls” Rob referred to earlier. Its not nice being called a troll but I can see what he meant – I was getting a bit obsessive and abusive. It’s Christmas though so I’d like to apologise for the things I said – stuff I can understand anyone would refuse to publish. I’m hoping this can make the cut as I really want to admit how immature and silly I was, and to apologise.

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    • Thanks Dylan. You asked for original, and I think you’ll agree that was as original as it gets.

      It’s good to be King.

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      • Fantastic – I’ve just been told by a troll that he won’t be coming back, and that I therefore won’t be able to use his presence to enhance the popularity of this blog – he actually said this, seemingly in all seriousness. Breathtakingly deluded – even for a troll. Cheers Dylan, I do appreciate a good laugh on a cold, wet afternoon! Trolls, eh. The blogosphere would be a duller place without ’em 😉

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  29. Pingback: Barnsley Pay the Price Against Bolton for Leeds “Cup Final” Exertions – by Rob Atkinson | Life, Leeds United, The Universe & Everything

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