Please, Leeds, PLEASE – Not the Play-offs – by Rob Atkinson


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If anyone thinks I might be losing my nerve here, losing a bit of faith and belief – then let me tell them, they couldn’t be more right. At the time of writing, with Leeds United having somehow contrived to seize defeat from the jaws of victory against the ten men of Wigan Athletic at Elland Road last Friday – Good Friday? Don’t make me laugh – I am having a severe attack of the football-related collywobbles. Fatalistic is what I’m feeling. My experience of being a Leeds fan, together with my knowledge of the Whites’ appalling play-offs record down the years, leads me to believe that it’s automatic promotion, or bust. Currently, I have a nasty feeling that we might have blown it.

Obviously it’s tight at the top. Right now, before the Easter Monday games are played, Leeds are out of the top two only on goal difference, and both United and the Blunts still have nine points to play for. All of which means that anything could still happen, and there may well be another twist or two still to come. Really, we have to hope that this is the case – as the alternative to going up as of right is to submit ourselves to the lottery of the play-offs. And then, the logic goes: lottery implies a large element of chance and luck. Leeds United do not get much luck, not of the good sort, anyway. Ergo, if it’s the play-offs for Leeds… we’re screwed.

You don’t exactly have to be a student of Elland Road history to see the truth of this. Right back to the very first year of the play-offs, we lost out in the most tragic and unfortunate of circumstances to Charlton Athletic, having thought we were on our way up after a John Sheridan free kick put us ahead in a replay at neutral St. Andrews. Let’s draw a veil over what happened next. After that first, ill-starred attempt, we’ve had a few more stabs at the promotion lottery, with consistently negative outcomes. The semi-finals have usually been OK, but once we get to that showpiece play-off final, it just all turns to angst and despair. Really, it’s almost preferable to finish right out of the picture and kid on we were never that bothered about going up – not that we have such an option this time around. The play-offs, for Leeds United, have always been about misery and disappointment. Does anybody really believe it would be any different this time around?

Of course, what I’m trying to do here is apply a little reverse psychology, hoping that Fate will listen and be influenced enough to either send us up automatically, or make sure that we buck our previous play-off trend and have ourselves a glory, glory day at Wembley. It’s pretty much all I can think of just now, and at least I’m having a go. As ever, I’ll welcome your comments, the more optimistic the better. Now is the time to be clutching at straws – we can save the post mortems for such time as the worst has happened.

Marching On Together.

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25 responses to “Please, Leeds, PLEASE – Not the Play-offs – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Only Leeds United can manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. What a shambolic performance against 10 men Wigan. I’m hoping that I’m wrong, but I think that we have blown it this time. How many times do we need to blow it? On Boxing day we were top of the table, 10 points in front of Sheff Utd and 3 points in front of Norwich. Leeds Utd are not good for your health, they’re putting years on me.

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  2. I really can’t believe what I saw on Friday – did we really lose that match? Apart from Luke Ayling (who I thought was excellent) everyone else appeared to me to have my granddad’s steel toe-capped boots on. Why did we freeze? We should have been home and hosed by HT. I can’t stand the agony and anguish of these next three games. So many matches to look back on and say What If? QPR, Blunts at home, Brum at home. Several others. On a more serious note my youngest son and his gf are holed-up in an hotel in Colombo this weekend, and by pure chance booked that one instead of the Cinnamon Gold. Such decisions does fate rest upon and it helps put the footie in perspective. Best, Rob. MOT

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  3. Reality Cheque

    Only one team are going up via the play offs this season Rob and that is Aston Villa. If we cannot hack it at home against a 10 man Wigan team, cannot beat QPR, Birmingham and Forest during their worst run of results then we are clearly not ready for promotion yet
    Losing home games to Norwich and Sheffield United showed that we lack the bottle to achieve automatic promotion

    The play offs have always been regarded as a lottery but this season Villa are nailed on to win promotion

    Sorry to be so negative Rob but I just honestly think that we have fluffed our lines too many times since topping the league at Christmas which was supposed to almost guarantee promotion based on years and years of stats

    PLEASE prove me wrong Mr Bielsa

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  4. Jeeze Rob! Did you have to bring this up? I’ve been trying to put Leeds’s failings out of my mind but every chocolate Easter egg I see melting in this unseasonal heat reminds me of a Leeds player… Bielsa has worked a miracle in getting Leeds, with pretty much the same failing team we had last year, into being contenders for promotion. Would it have been less of a miracle if we’d invested in a few more quality players? As well as we’ve played, mostly, all season I’ve never been convinced that our players have a ‘winning mentality’ – this quality of player mindset costs money and no amount of ‘football by numbers’ is a substitute. However, as despondent as I am now, I still have faith in Santo Marcelo delivering a miracle promotion for Leeds.

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  5. Thinlizzywhite

    So many times I have turned to my wife this season and after battering sides into a nil nil half time said we will lose this now, and have. I said the same on Friday. What side has 36 attempts on goal against a 10 man team and only scores 1. Answer … the mighty whites.
    Our goals to strikes ratio this season has been abysmal. That’s why I feel we will no longer go up. We have blown this season time and time again because truly … our small squad is way over performing due to Bielsa magic but when it truly comes to the class and skill to turn fitness and army drilled high octane performances into goals (hence victories) we are lacking. We have not got the quality of player to consistently score goals.
    So in spite of dominant possession and peppering shots, we lose, and in some games against teams that managed just the one shot … but knew where the damned goal was.
    Ahh well … it’s been a mesmerising season nonetheless.
    And I still have all my fingers crossed … little good though it may do.😒

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  6. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that having lost at home appallingly to Wigan that this current Leeds side beat Villa next weekend after securing a result at Brentford.
    I get the feeling there might be a few twists even at this late stage.
    Having gone through a morose stage on Fri pm and most of Saturday I am coming through back into a probably totally unrealistic optimistic mood believing we will go up automatically on the final day of the season at Ipswich. Probably a ridiculous thought I know but anything is better than contemplating the playoffs!,

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  7. Gotta keep the faith Rob. We will win our last three games. Sheffield Untd will slip up. Norwich have 3 points from a possible 9. The pressure is on ever team. We will be better than them at handling it. Live long and prosper. Tony

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  8. Life is LUFC

    I am still praying but ‘im up there ain’t listening to me yet.
    Was that really Leeds playing Wigan on Friday?
    Right you lads pull your damn socks up and stop all this nonsense. You just get out there and win these last three games because you are not only NOT going to Las Vagas you are not going to Aus either. Instead you will be cutting the grass at Elland Rd with nail scissors and you will be docked a months wages for the mental anguish you have caused your fans.
    However I still love you all, Marcelo the most and I will still be singing and waving me scarf like a demented windmill.

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  9. James Dawson

    48 hours on still very hard to take and be optimistic. As much as we all hurt at the mo none will hurt so much as the team. They have played so beautiful football this season and they have it in them to bounce back. The down side is that we might be playing catch up again come 17:15 tomorrow and feel if that’s the case the mental side of the match might just be to much. Couple of years back never thought I would said this but Liam Cooper was never needed so much than at 15:20 on Good Friday to see the game through and LEAD the team to Victory. Proud of the players, believe in the players and still much to play for. Always MOT…………..

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  10. Chadlnooky

    How’s this for optimism.
    The last few weeks have seen Leeds and Sheffield u swap position from game to game.
    By my reckoning this means: next game Leeds up sheff u play offs next game sheff u up Leeds play offs, final game Leeds up sheff u play offs result = Leeds up!
    No need to panic. We can still win the damn thing! MOT.

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  11. Theres been a problem all season with the ratio of chances to goals and its just not good enough. I lost count of how many balls went into the Wigan box on Friday and you’d expect at least a couple of them to be converted. What a crap year this is turning out to be. Don’t you sometimes wish we had Dwight Gayle up front to finish all those chances on silver platters and that ole gunner whatshisface was prime minister so he could take us out of Europe in the early spring with no chance of being back in for the foreseeable future?

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  12. There’s no point to the amount of crosses that we send into the penalty area, if the majority of crosses comes from Alioski, What does Alioski bring to the team? He’s a league one player and that’s being kind. Why Bielsa keeps picking him is just beyond belief.

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  13. Come on guys we sound like one of those lesser websites!
    Even if we fall just short I’m so proud of the 24 players and thousands of fans who have represented LUFC this season.
    Wish I was going to Brentford today but have a great day lads and you may just be the factor that gives us back the advantage MOT

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  14. Dammit, playoffs it is then, ah well, I haven’t been to that new Wembley thingy yet, so fingers crossed for a day in the sun with Captain super duper Cooper lifting that cheapo tinpot trophy 😊 MOT forever

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  15. Brentford watered the pitch. Leeds players had wrong studs in, so slipped a lot. Caused mistakes and Alioskis injury. Think a complaint to EFL is warranted. Seeking to gain unfair a vantage. Leeds management fell for this. Lack of local football gamesmanship experience. Stopped Leeds playing their usual flowing pass and run game.

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    • You’d have thought, though, that a change of studs might have occurred to somebody…

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      • I noticed that and it beggars belief how many times OUR players were slipping over. Its not rocket science is it? When my lad has a match I take the world cup boots and the cops mundials to every game. Unfortunately modern plastic boots are shite and have too many studs just ask Steven Gerrard. Still it didn’t stop Pablo making a size 5 ball look like a helium balloon.

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  16. Life is LUFC

    I keep believing something good will come out of this season, probably the hard way. Unless of course the Blunts loose their next two games and Leeds win their next two games. I just wish they would sort their feet out when it comes to putting the ball into the back of the oppositions net.
    Come on Leeds we all still love you and me scarf is in tatters but it will still do a few more twirls.

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    • If Leeds were to beat Villa and Ipswich, then two draws for the Blunts would do nicely. I suspect, however, that they’ll win next time out, and it’ll be time for us to get into that play-offs frame of mind.

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