Heroic Leeds Overcome Sheffield United, the League AND a Disgraceful Referee – by Rob Atkinson

Pablo celebrates after scoring United’s winner at Bramall Lane

There’s no such thing as a bad win away in a Yorkshire derby, but this 1-0 success for Leeds United at Bramall Lane was particularly sweet, and for reasons that transcended three very welcome points.

I might even go so far as to say that today’s win was every bit as satisfying as our last victory at this stadium, way back on 26th April 1992. Victory over the Blunts on that far-off Sunday proved sufficient for United to clinch the title of Last Champions, eventually finishing 4 points clear of what is now Manchester’s junior club. That was a great day – today’s result, fashioned out of adversity and good old-fashioned Football League corruption, had a savour all of its own.

As delighted as I was on the final whistle, I’d been snarling and raging at a lot of what had unfolded before me during the game, particularly a first half notable for the most abysmally atrocious refereeing performance you’ll see outside of United’s last two European finals. Referee Oliver Langford was so bad, you thought it had to be a joke or some surreal and paranoid dream. He looked on as McGoldrick of the Blunts stamped down on Mateusz Klich‘s shin in a classic over the ball challenge normally earning the perpetrator an early bath. Langford waved neither yellow nor red, he didn’t even blow for a foul. Whatever his agenda, such dereliction of duty exposed him as, at best, an incompetent fool; far more likely, given United’s treatment so far this season, he was simply as bent as any other corrupt official of this corrupt Football League, a body that seems to view its Last Champions not with veneration, but with cold hatred.

Langford wasn’t finished with Leeds in this comically bad first half display of persecution. Having booked Sheffield’s Enda Stevens after 25 minutes, he then contented himself with a mere warning for another blatantly bookable challenge; by this time I was chewing the carpet with frustration. The home side should have been reduced to 9 men by the interval, and could easily have been behind as a very decent penalty shout was ignored when Kemar Roofe was pushed and pulled out of the way in the Blunts box. And, just to add insult to injury, Kemar himself received a yellow for the heinous crime of turning his back to avoid a head to head collision. It was a Tinkleresque performance by the laughably bent Langford, and fans of a certain age will know exactly what I mean by that.

By half time, it seemed clear that I was going to get nothing out of watching this game apart from a headache, dangerously raised blood pressure and rear molars ground to powder. It’s fair to say I wasn’t looking forward to the second half.

And yet, it all came right in the end. Having endured yet more injury woe when losing skipper Liam Cooper after 21 minutes, to add to the various injustices listed above, United thoroughly deserved the two pieces of good fortune that eventually came their way. First, on 82 minutes, an overhit backpass had Blunts keeper Dean Henderson scrambling to stop the ball going out for a corner. All he managed to do was present sub Jack Clarke with an opportunity to put an open goal on a plate for Pablo Hernandez, a chance the Spanish wizard snapped up with relish, to the delight of the massed Whites in the stand behind.

And, as time ran out, Dame Fortune, that fickle jade, smiled on Leeds a second time, as a Conor Washington overhead effort beat United keeper Peacock-Farrell all ends up, but crashed against the crossbar instead of pegging Leeds back. So, we got the three points that one of the worst refs I’ve ever seen had tried so hard to deny us, and the very best of hard cheese to him, to Sheffield United and to the corrupt clowns of the Football League.

As for Leeds – the heartiest of congratulations on a win that showed character and guts in the measure needed by any team that knows it will have to battle against the odds to get anywhere. Based on today’s gritty and committed display, this Leeds United team might be about to sample a bit more of that title-winning glory that followed, with a little help from Liverpool, our previous success at Bramall Lane. Let it be.

38 responses to “Heroic Leeds Overcome Sheffield United, the League AND a Disgraceful Referee – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Peter Litchman



  2. Domenico pietrovito

    You are spot on with your comments…Can you just imagine the championship next season without Leeds United?????


  3. NickB(50yrsLU)

    Were they deliberate, oblique Beatles references at the end (‘With a little help from…’ and ‘Let it be’) ? If so, I’d add ‘Get back to where [we] once belonged’!


  4. Even with these ridiculous decisions/non-decisions going against us the team keep their discipline and grind out the results.
    Bielsa deserves massive credit for rising above all the BS and merrily picking up the points.
    Last season we had a period of daft sendings off that effectively did for Christensen. MOT out of this league!


  5. Ken Jarvis

    Pathetic refereeing & as per norm nothing will be done about it.

    BTW it was nice to hear a Sky commentator say at h/t that The Blunts should have been down to 9 men, it’s unusual to hear that & it was nice to see the nasty tackles at h/t because they are normally AIRBRUSHED

    IMO, they should have been down to 8 men for all their dirty cynical tackles.

    Roll on VAR for LEEDS UNITED because its the only referee we can trust

    Very ironic, our last win there was 1992 so I hope that is a great omen in that we might be champions come early May 🤗🤗


  6. Reality Cheque

    3 wins with 3 clean sheets and too many U23’s cameos to keep count against a backdrop of a catastrophic never ending spate of injuries causing more defensive shakeups than I can remember.

    Does anyone still doubt that Bielsa is the long awaited messiah who has performed miracle after miracle after merely tweaking last season’s squad?
    And just to add to the joys of today Rob, Mourhino’s rabble only managed a draw against lowly Southampton as Mourinho complains that he cannot attract the best players with only a paltry £400 million pounds spend.!!

    We now have 7 days between each of our next 3 games before the festive mayhem descends on every team so lets keep the momentum going please Marcelo. ALAW


  7. Could be one of the most biased match reports ever written. And complaining about tackles from the land of Norman Hunter has a slight whiff of Irony. Can’t deny the ref was crap though. Yes the McG tackle should have been a yellow but he also fell for plenty of Leeds’ play acting.
    Overall Leeds look well organized and hard to beat. Defended well and rode the luck when needed.


  8. king sniffer

    I have been spitting feathers all day Rob. They should have been down to 9 men at halftime, and 8 shortly after. Sitting at home watching it on my own with no one to bounce off I thought I was going quietly senile. Thank God for reading this. Still can’t believe it – I feel somewhat abused. AND THEN to top it all, Chris Wilder comes on and complains about the referee. By this time I was looking round the lounge to double check I was still there and hadn’t in fact been transported to some secure unit! Got a Blunts mate who I seriously can’t wait to have a post-mortem with, and as we speak already feel very sorry for him as I won’t be holding back.


  9. Stephenc Cartwrightc

    spot on about most things Rob but you forgot the challenges by Baldock his first another studs down the shin challenge that the corrupt official didn’t merit as a booking then a yellow in the second half.we were kicked,elbowed,man handled and stamped on and that was just the ref.there were also numerous offsides that the liner with the yellow flag deliberately let go which you didn’t mention either and we still beat the 14 of them.


    • The thing is, if you mention everything, you just come across as paranoid. Which I do too often as it stands. Suffice to say this was 94 minutes of ridiculous piss-taking which meant we did really well to overcome extraordinary odds.


  10. Robert Parr

    Spot on Rob. Even when we scored, I was expecting the officials to conjure up a reason to disallow the goal, as i very rarely celebrate a Leeds goal like Noel Whelan does, until I’m sure it’s allowed!
    The referee by the way, was Sheffield’s best player on the day


  11. Mike Durham

    I’ve had to tell my other half to sue the football league ( no capital letters as that may imply respect ) if I were to suffer a heart attack during our matches Rob. Has anybody ever explored the possibility of legal action against the pious bastards?


  12. I noticed that the commentator on quest mentioned “another big crowd” at Bramall Lane Erm, 25000??? just as well Leeds took 2500 eh??


  13. Stephenc Cartwrightc

    there is more cut in a spoon than a blunt Rob


  14. Christopher Mawer

    “Tinklereske”. Absolutely beautiful analogy, being there for that LUFC vs WBA game, and watching that blatant offside goal by Jeff Astle. Immortalized on YouTube! Today was a great victory against a tough,dirty team. Video review technology would have given us at least 2 penalties, never mind the sendings off. Come on Leeds!


  15. Gordon Baxendale of Biddulph Staffs

    Could just not watch after frirst incident, just quietly and patiently waited for the worst result.
    Then had a private party with a large whisky. And really felt good about life again. Waiting now for my annual visit to the church of Elland road. THE 72nd MOT


  16. It wasn’t just the ref as that earlier comment rightly states. The linesmen were giving them everything,clear throw-ins to us were going to them. Dubious offsides for us but never for them. Its getting ridiculous now,this is why i think we need a more prolific striker so we can put teams away without any doubt instead of winning by the odd goal despite having the majority of possession.


  17. I had to laugh when Sky stated that the referee ‘had made some inconsistent decisions’ only to proceed to show four incidents all to the detriment of Leeds!
    Every Blunt player should be sent a Leeds shirt for Christmas, it is clearly what they all want!


  18. Spot on Rob it was a blood & thunder Derby I had been enjoying until the Blunts started the GBH & Bonny Langford looked the other way after which the red mist descended & through my rage I could barely notice a football game. Most of 2nd half was spent waiting for one of the red card escapees to pop up with the winner so what unbridled fist pumping joy when Jack coolly squared to Pablo to dispatch poetic justice.
    On a serious note I think our hierarchy should lodge a list of observations again before Pablo suffers a snapped ankle as teams regularly get away with roughing us up!! MOT hopefully out of this league & clutches of corrupt EFL


  19. Life is LUFC

    Hey steady on Rob…if the FA/EFL read this one the whole of the team will get a three match ban and all at the same time.
    As you say despite the refs Leeds are fighting tough and coming through it all. Shades of Revie’s boys having to fight for every point through adversity because of bias/call it what you will.
    Come on lad calm thee sen there’s still another 26 games to go. Oh yes with all your ranting you have forgotten the counting clock of Penalties vs Games 😉


  20. Reality Cheque

    Now that we have both had time to calm down from the indefensible refereeing “decisions” Rob, lets just bask in the glory of being a Leeds United fan. I know there is an unfamiliar air of confidence emerging from the repeated disappointments of recent seasons and would just like to offer some positive reassurance to all my fellow Leeds United supporters out there.

    After 20 games last season we were 17 points behind the leaders, 13 points behind second place having W9 D3 L8 and were temporarily occupying a flattering 8th position before our full blown nosedive from there on in.

    Yes, Father Christmas has come early this year Rob, and who would have ever guessed that he was born in Argentina and not the North Pole, (I always suspected that my parents were lying about something regarding Santa!).


    • It’s a good job those who read this blog are glass half full types, while the guy who writes it accentuates the negative. I’m just annoyed that I couldn’t enjoy yesterday’s performance because of the blatancy of what was going on. But – in a glass half full context – at least all that 80 minutes of angst had me celebrating as loud and long when Pablo scores as I did for our last winner at Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane, 26 years ago. Get in 👍


  21. Spot on article Rob, it really does make me wonder what the FL will do next to keep us down, points deductions for historic offences perhaps ?
    I was watching the game in a pub in Southport and the barman who was a self confessed scumchester utd fan was shaking his head in disbelief at the performance of the reff, then he admitted that they miss Leeds in the PL.


  22. I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember this far back Rob, but back in the late 60s and 70s there was a rash of British boxers going off to Italy to fight Italians for European titles (maybe Italian promoters offered more money to fight over there) always with a negative result for the Brits when one wag came away with the comment “we’re going to have to knock them out just to get a draw”, anyway this reminds me of what Leeds are having to go through with the FL just to get a result.


  23. Hi Rob i am really starting to believe the EFL and refs are colluding or just plain corrupt! The better team won and it was hilarious that mistake from the scum goalkeeper who had been bragging he’s the future England goalie! As i said on the Radio Leeds phone in great composure from Clarke who must replace Alioski.


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