Can Resurgent Leeds Draw High-Flying Bees’ Sting? – by Rob Atkinson


Old friend turned temporary foe - the Bees' ex-White, Jonathan Douglas

Old friend turned temporary foe – the Bees’ ex-White, Jonathan Douglas

Brentford, one of the real surprise packages of this Championship season, will roll up to Elland Road on Saturday – having already furnished ample proof that they are not phased by an illustrious reputation. Last September, Leeds United ventured to the Bees’ Griffin Park, with only one solitary third tier meeting between the pair at this venue since 1953. Leeds had lost 2-1 in that long-ago Coronation year – and they fared no 61 years later, brusquely dismissed 2-0. United’s record against last season’s Championship newcomers from the third tier has been uniformly awful, a 100% record of defeat. Can they do better than that, this weekend?

In point of fact, it is Brentford’s unexpectedly good performance in a higher sphere this season that might just give rise to some hope of Leeds prevailing on Saturday. Despite some unpalatable defeats against opponents they would have hoped to send packing, Leeds have managed to buck the losing trend against better-placed outfits, with wins against all of the current top three, including a memorable ‘double’ over a fine Bournemouth side. There are signs, too, that the Whites – unbeaten in the league in 2015 – are slowly but surely getting their act together, maybe just in time to avoid more than a passing flirtation with the relegation dogfight. Brentford will be a stern test of this mini-revival, a team that Leeds coach Neil Redfearn respects as fighters with pace, energy and quality out wide.

It hasn’t exactly been “Fortress Elland Road” this season, but most of United’s better performances have come at home, success on the road being much harder to come by. With some awkward trips in the offing, at places like Reading, Brighton and Middlesbrough, Leeds will know they have to capitalise on home fixtures and take maximum points if possible from Brentford and then Millwall, in order to consolidate the gap between United and the bottom three.

An intriguing selection issue will surround new signing Edgar Cani, a player ideally fitted to the sort of lone striker/target man role filled lately by Steve Morison. Star man at Huddersfield Sol Bamba will surely continue to anchor the defence, and Billy Sharp‘s late heroics might see him pushing for selction if the team formation permits. There would have to be some compelling reason, though, to change the victorious line-up from last weekend’s derby win.

For Brentford, this match may be slightly too soon to expect a return from injury for midfield general and part-time right-back Alan McCormack, but Leeds are likely to meet an old friend in the visitors’ engine room – in the shape of Jonathan Douglas, who has been a terrific performer and frequently captain for the Griffin Park outfit this campaign.

One topical oddity is that both coaches were nominated for the January “Manager of the Month” award. It was tempting to hope that Brentford’s Mark Warburton might win the accolade, and the managerial curse that goes with it, ahead of a subsequent defeat at Elland Road. Doubtless the Brentford fans were hoping for the alternate scenario, with Redders copping for the prize and the hoodoo – in the event, it was Boro’s Aitor Karanka who, unsurprisingly, got the shout, on the back of an unbeaten league record in January as well as dismissing Manchester City from the FA Cup in the Champions’ own back yard.

With an accurate prediction for the Huddersfield match under its belt, Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything will stick its neck out once again, and bravely forecast a 3-1 success for Leeds tomorrow. That’s based upon little more than a hunch, liberally spiced with some wishful thinking. But it’s been one of those seasons where league positions have often been made nonsense of by results on the park – and this weekend could just turn out to be another of those funny old games.

So, lump on the Bees to get stung – and Leeds to edge that bit closer to mid-table security. And, if I’m wrong, you will see my confessional penance right here, on Monday.

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27 responses to “Can Resurgent Leeds Draw High-Flying Bees’ Sting? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. I think and hope you will be correct. A win on Saturday and a similar result on Tuesday followed by Millwall may have us all daring to think of loftier heights come the end of the season.
    However, this is Leeds and we may come down with the proverbial bump and have to settle for a relegation scrap.
    I am just ever so slightly optimistic for the former scenario!

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    • It’s called keeping the faith…

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    • Come on Tim, we are actually one of THE form teams of the championship this year – so far!
      I’m hoping to wake up Sunday morning to read that we’ve done the Bees, and are aiming to put a few past Millwall on Tuesday! Dare to dream, Tim!

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  2. BITESYERLEGS 74

    I said we’d beat udders feeled 5-0 on saturday and we didn’t. And you implied that I was smoking strange substances. Sooo…. I think we’ll win 5-0 this saturday. . . Got a light mate?

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  3. I think redders is starting to make them tick rob , Brentford will be fully aware of this and will not be relishing the trip up t north , Leeds didn’t lose a league game in January and I think that’s the first time in 34 yrs , then a double against the puppies , the first time in 70 odd yrs , all this on the back of a double over the league leaders… redders pre match motivation speech should be pretty easy , bring it on

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    • Maybe our problem now will be over-confidence! Hope not, Mr O…

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      • The wonderful thing about Leeds supporters is despite whatever the world throws at them optimism always rules! We get two wins on the spin and we are ready yet again to rule the world.
        However, I just think the club has turned a corner at last. Cellino’s enforced vacation has turned out to be a damp squib, no youngsters or Austin sold, three new ones in and talk again about buying back the ground. It’s been a while since that feel good factor has been around Elland Road.
        So lets really get behind the team and treat every game as a life or death must win and get that twelfth man out there to help the lads. MOT+++

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  4. Luck never made a man wise… I have a French nephew, a Leeds supporter (bien sur), who joins my son and I at Elland Road whenever he can. Before the last game he attended I called him a lucky charm as Leeds had never lost when he was with us. I shoulda kept my gob shut as that was Boxing Day! Leeds put in an abject performance against Wigan and didn’t deserve to win. Had we been lucky that day and maybe got a draw I don’t think Leeds would have taken a serious look at its playing strategy, system, personnel, or tactics. Nothing comes of nothing.
    Losing to Brentford at Griffin Park in September was the start of our fall and it’s troubling that it took until 2015 for us to get wise and realise that winning is not just about luck.
    In 2015 Leeds has been a competitive side but still hasn’t had much “luck” in front of goal – how many times have we seen shots go wide, over the bar, or into the hands of the goalie! Perhaps we just need a lucky striker (Billy Sharp, anyone!) or a bit more wisdom applied to how we create scoring opportunities.
    Beating Leeds kicked-off Brentford’s rise up the table. Now is the time to turn the tables.
    Rob, as long as it not entirely down to luck, I’m happy to go with your positive prediction.
    MOT

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  5. Morrison hat trick and a 3-1 win worth a pound or two.

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  6. When we played them in League one, we drew both games. and interestingly their Goalkeeper was Czesny of Arsenal fame.
    Older readers will remember Brentford Nylons. For our younger viewers, I will explain that Brentford Nylons bought up masses of ITV advertising time in the early/mid 70s to promote their bright and colourful high street stores selling nylon sheets and pillowcases, Nylon shirts, nightdresses and anything else you could make from that awful product. Only Crimplene could surpass its ability to look shit after one wear and it made Polyester look like Cashmere.. Nylon shirts were a new and vulgar trend that luckily faded as fast as a Max Gradel re-signing for Leeds rumour. Nylon and Crimplene (by ICI) were massive in the early 70s….as were Leeds United and Persil. So on that basis, I predict a narrow victory to the team in white Nylon, assuming we don’t tumble dry or go above 30 degrees C.

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    • Haha! I remember that so well! Wasn’t a helicopter involved, and a crap actor??

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      • JoeNamath

        Deep in the dark tunnels below London, late at night, crews of cleaners have always picked up the fluff from passengers clothes that gets blown on to the tracks and causes a hazard due to the electric current powering the third rail. Human hair makes up a significant percentage and a while back, hair, wool, and cotton made up much of the content. Apparently things have changed, there is still lots of hair, but less of the clothing fibres, due to man made fibres not shedding as easily as natural ones. Looks like Brentford Nylons were right all along. If we all wore Nylon and Viscose ( The worst of the lot), the cleaners on the Underground could get home to their Barratt houses earlier. After all, advertising works wonders.

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      • I’m astounded by the depth of your knowledge!

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  7. Do you remember the glass ‘Worthington E’ symbol that they used as a beer glass in a 70s advert and pulled a pint into it?

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    • I do – and I’ll tell you what, I’d give my left nut for a good clean recording of the song they played behind that…

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    • RoystonLUFC

      nostalgia time! OK, How about the Tetley Bitter men. Seriously! Sounds like some kind of video game, but I’ll never forget those bearded, white-woolly jumpered “men” all lining up for a pint of King Josh’s finest. They were so gay and southern-looking, I’m sure they were all lager drinkers – they wouldn’t know a pint of Tetley’s from a fucking teabag.

      As for the Brentford Nylons (take note, I’ve already referred to them as “the nylons” in one of Rob’s previous blogs) can you remember who was the “star” that they paid to advertise their dross? Yes, it was Alan Freeman. Not sure if he’s been arrested – along with the rest of the seventies – for having the kind of desires that we all have (oops, are we allowed to speak the truth?), but he should be sent to Siberia for that little, polymeric indiscretion. I’m equally guilty though, I may have attended the Gelderd End once wearing Sta-Prest trousers while shafting Sheff U on our way to our famous, dizzy heights. The only thing that prevented me from not looking hard was the fact that the Teaspoons were also wearing similar. How embarrassing!

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  8. I dont remember the music, it might be on you tube. I do remember Freddie Trueman breathing fire after a pint of Websters though. Somehow with Harvey Smith, Leeds United, Geoffrey Boycott (boo) and YTV’s Indoor League, not to mention Parkinson and the lad off the Heinz advert being a Leeds fan, also Rigsby being a Leeds fan,(despite Rossiter being an Evertonian) Yorkshire was massive in the early/mid 70s. If only we’d had a flamboyant DJ in a gold tracksuit to be proud of too. Can’t think of one off hand.

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  9. Went off Boycott when I heard he and Parky were Man U. Then went off him even more when I met him at Headingley. Lets just say he was just as one would have imagined. Never met Harvey Smith but have heard that he and Geoff went to the same Charm School. No surprise then that people hate us, when we have ambassadors who thrive on proving how difficult and stubborn they can be. Only the woman from the Shackleton’s advert can save us. They had over 100 chairs to choose from. My neice etc etc. I feel sorry for people outside the YTV zone, because they never experienced the finest 30 seconds of television ever made.

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  10. Patrick Hogan

    Royston. I went to visit my brother at Keele University at that time and they had the same advert, with the same jumpered men queueing up for a pnit of beer only with a different voice-over. This time for Amstell’s bitter. The beers were all part of the same national group – Inde-Coop – so I suppose those actors could’ve been Southern Softies.

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  11. Looking at todays league table makes pretty dismal reading for Leeds fans. Millwall couldn’t turn over ten man Huddersfield and the bottom two look stranded which are the only plus points of what is turning out to be a really poor season. I really fancied you lads for a play off spot. what’s gone wrong? Bad players, bad management or just bad luck Rob? or a mixture of all three. It reminds me of the dark days just before Keegan when Ossie Ardiles was managing us- we played canny football to be fair and a lot of the young lads that represented Newcastle during them dark days went on to have very good careers- Lee Clarke, Stevie Watson, Steve Howie- but we needed a play maker a goal scorer and a decent centre half- without these thee key positions being sorted decent footballing sides can still get beaten regularly. I used to scratch my head sometimes wondering how we’d managed to get turned over yet again- is the same thing happening at Leeds I wonder. I think selling Matty Smith was a mistake- I think he’d of been a good foil for the Billy Sharp and got you the goals to keep you well away from a relegation fight. I hope Readfern stays as he’s clearly a proper football coach – if Cellino loses patience with him it will be his biggest mistake yet. I hope for Leeds’ sake he hold his nerve this time and then hopefully take stock in the summer.

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