Here’s to Promotion for United (Next Time)


In the end, it was not to be. Leeds United finally bowed out of the Championship playoffs in the most Leeds United way possible, losing at home to a team they’d played and beaten handsomely three times this season, blowing a one goal lead from the first leg, which had been extended to two goals as half time at Elland Road approached. And, again so typically for Leeds, it was a self-inflicted wound in the dying moments of the first half on Wednesday that changed the tone and tempo of what had always been a frantic game of football.

If they had the chance to play that fatal moment again, both Liam Cooper and United’s keeper Kiko Casilla would wish to have made better decisions. But for me, our former Real Madrid man was the more culpable of the two, failing to provide a safe option for the pass back, and then impeding Cooper as he tried desperately to clear the ball away. The ball fell kindly for Derby’s sub Jack Marriott, who had only been on the field for half a minute, and he tucked away a chance that should never have materialised. And so began the painful process whereby the life blood drained out of Leeds United and what had at one time looked like a promotion season.

Immediately after the interval, the tie was level, and the tide had well and truly turned. Then a clear penalty edged Derby ahead before Stuart Dallas scored his second goal of the night to restore parity – but only temporarily. The denouement of this crazy night of dog eat dog football saw Derby regain their lead over two legs, before Gaetano Berardi perpetrated the kind of tackle he’s too often guilty of, to leave the contest courtesy of a second yellow card.

There was still time for Derby to be reduced to ten men, but the damage had been done by that point and Leeds were doomed to become the current longest-serving member of the Championship, much to the delight of just about everybody who doesn’t hold the Elland Road outfit dear.

So there we are and, quite honestly, things could be worse. If we can look forward to another season of Bielsaball, albeit not in the top flight, then that’s an enticing prospect. Because, let’s be honest, this has been a fabulous season, despite its gut-wrenching climax. The pity of it is that Leeds United will not be a Premier League club come its hundredth birthday in October. But there’s still the challenge of celebrating that centenary by mounting an assault on the Championship league title next time around.

To achieve that, some squad improvements will be required, and doubtless there has already been some contingency planning for the eventuality of failing to secure the promotion that had looked so likely for so long. It is also essential to retain the services of Marcelo Bielsa and his staff, so that they can set about building on the massive improvement we have seen in this remarkable season.

What we can’t afford to do – as either a football club or a fan base – is to waste time in mutual recriminations or excessive licking of wounds. Thursday was the first day of planning for next season, and it’s in that positive spirit that we must now move forward. Leeds United is a Premier League club which happens to be marooned in the league below, and all efforts should now be concentrated on resolving that contradictory situation.

In a spirit of positivity, let’s look forward to renewing hostilities with Huddersfield and Barnsley next season. And, just to show there’s no petty bitterness in this blog – good luck to Aston Villa at Wembley.

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31 responses to “Here’s to Promotion for United (Next Time)

  1. Go on get one for yourself son

    Thursday was the first day of planning for next season, and it’s in that positive spirit that we must now move forward. Leeds United is a Premier League club which happens to be marooned in the league below, and all efforts should now be concentrated on resolving that contradictory situation.

    In a spirit of positivity, let’s look forward to renewing hostilities with Huddersfield and Barnsley next season. And, just to show there’s no petty bitterness in this blog – good luck to Aston Villa at Wembley.

    Here we go with Leeds United,
    We’re gonna give the boys a hand,
    Stand up and sing for Leeds united,
    They are the greatest in the land,

    Na na na

    Everyday, we’re all gonna say,
    We love you Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!
    Everywhere, we’re gonna be there,
    We, love you Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!

    Marching On Together!
    We’re gonna see you win
    Na na na na na na
    We are so proud,
    We shout it out loud we love you Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!

    We’ve been through it all together,
    And we’ve had our ups and downs (UPS AND DOWNS!)
    We’re gonna stay with you forever,
    At least until the world stops going round

    Na na na

    Everyday, we’re all gonna say we love you Leeds!Leeds!Leeds!
    Everywhere, we’re gonna be there,
    We, love you Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!

    Marching On Together!
    We’re gonna see you win
    Na na na na na na
    We are so proud,
    We shout it out loud we love you Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!
    We are so proud, we shout it out Loud we love you LEEDS! LEEDS! LEEDS!

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  2. Well said, need to hang on to Bielsa and for first time in an age support our manager and avoid wholesale change in the squad – build on what we have by adding quality.

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  3. Nigel Cotterill

    Well put Rob, I salute your self control sir. Hoping and praying Bielsa stays, cannot countenance what will happen otherwise. Here’s to ‘doing a Wolves’ next term.

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  4. Kal Sandhu

    Well stated Rob. We will e back better and stronger and hopefully, sew up the title by March. Cheers brother

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  5. Rob, I applaud your sangfroid after such a disappointment – personally, I will be disconsolate about tonight’s result until next season; and only relieved when I see Leeds recruiting quality players, and the Club retaining Bielsa.

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  6. Well at least we’ll be getting the chance to beat Derby twice next season although I can’t for the life of me understand how this season could be deemed “fabulous” though Rob. We’ve witnessed the same mistakes week in and week out,the same high balls put across the box with no one to nod them in. The same formation with the occasional tweak when we’re up against it with no plan b. Yet a young pup in managerial terms like Lampard transforms his team to at least make a fist of it but got helped over the line by Cooper and Kasillas. For a start I’d begin the clear out with anyone who’s surname begins with B.

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    • It’s all relative though, Mick. We’ve seen some right dross since 2010, and this season has been different class.

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      • This season has been different class in patches Rob. It’s also been catastrophic with the likes of Birmingham,Wigan and sheff wed amongst others mugging us. The recruitment by Orta has been found wanting and the football although pretty to watch has been ineffective when it mattered. This attitude people have when they say ” oh its been the bed season in years” is very commendable but shouldn’t we all be aiming higher and demanding better instead of blind acceptance? Owners and club boards prey on the goodwill and fanaticism and just take the piss. Everyone should be angry at the outcome of our centenary year,I know I’m bloody livid. I’m more interested in who’s leaving than who’s coming in at the minute because if Bamford,Casillas,Berardi or Cooper are still there come 1st July that club won’t get a penny out of me. Its time to dispel the myths surrounding Bielsa too as personally I think people have been fooled by his studious demeanor and seem to believe he was the inspiration for every top coach in Europe and the inventor of Tiki Taki football,Johan Cruyff takes the credit for that and Bielsa has won bugger all as a coach as far as i know. What makes it worse is our new Border Collie is called Todd so I’ll be reminded of Derby County every day. Rant over.

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    • Mr Rearguard

      “the same high balls put across the box with no one to nod them in.”……..Get yourself fit Andy Carroll but Leeds only pay if you play contract!

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  7. I don’t have any words to describe how I feel right now. How is it possible to feel the way I do about a stupid game. It defies logic, it defies all sensible reasoning. So I am going to be positive.
    I am glad we went out in the semis because Derby will feel a darnsite worse when they get dumped at Wembley by Aston Villa.
    We have achieved far more this season, played some of the best football I have ever witnessed and discovered some great young blood in the club.
    We have a great coach, a true gentleman who RIGHT now will be taking every bit of the blame not just for tonight but the whole season, because that’s the sort of great guy he is.
    We set off expecting nothing, certainly not automatic promotion nor the playoffs to be honest. Our squad was ridiculed, players were slagged and some hounded so much it was amazing they did not walk. Yet, these guys got us where we are and I refuse to be a Twatteratti and destroy them because I am not a footballer, and I do not know the pressures they come under nor do I understand why sportsmen of all kinds just capitulate for no reason.
    I really hope Bielsa stays. He MUST because his remit was never to get this club promoted in ONE season, that would have been totally unreasonable. The job is not finished, it’s ongoing and if given the chance and the finances and backing from the club and IF we can retain our young exciting talent and recruit, then next seaaon will be even better. NOW MY SEASON IS OVER, BLOOD PRESSURE IS NORMAL, ROLL ON A BRILLIANT SUMMER AND LETS COME BACK REFRESHED LOUDER AND EVEN BETTER..

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  8. Bielsa must stay, but all of this possession rubbish has to stop, because Leeds have lost so many games despite having 75% possession in most games. 100 more shots at goal than Norwich and Sheffield United and nothing to show for it – that’s not something that Bielsa should have been bragging about a few weeks ago.
    Every other team had four or five strikers, while Leeds only had just two strikers, along with two centre backs.
    The ridiculously tiny squad of Leeds players got injured every week, because the tippy-tappy possession football caused the injuries in the first place.
    The owner tried to do everything on the cheap and never backed Bielsa with proper money and Leeds are no paying for it.
    The defence has been a total shambles in so many key games during 2019 and I can count 12 defeats for Leeds since 1st January.
    To make matters worse, straight after tonights defeat, the “dog botherers” local rag are trying to stoke up their one-sided hatred already, by licking their lips and wetting themselves in excitement of their twice a season cup final returning, but that has only happened due to stale, burnt-out Leeds players gifting Derby a place in the play-off final.

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    • Paul. Our problem was we had NO recognised striker. To get promotion we need a twenty some seasoned striker. All that possession would have paid dividends because we failed in the box. Defense was weak but with more goals going in this would not have been so crucial. Blame Radrizzani and the board for a lousy January window. That’s why we are where we are.

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  9. Mike Riley

    Hi Rob and fellow Leeds fans – just got back from Elland Road heartbroken and started to read various reports and lots of attacks on players and negativity. I’m going to stop here at Rob’s blog because I love the positivity that is being generated. Yes, let’s keep the brilliant Bielsa and build on what we’ve have already with 3 or 4 great signings and win outright.

    Enjoy the summer Leeds fans and let’s do it again next year plus 10 more points. MOT

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  10. Agree with everything Rob – apart from Villa winning. Hate them with a passion after seeing them at Elland Road – cheats. Hope the sheepshaggers win myself, despite Lampard!

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  11. John Milner

    In all honesty I can’t say I’m too disappointed. We’ve had a great season with some of the best football I’ve ever seen at ER and the emergence, thanks to Messrs Bielsa and Corberan, of some great young talent. I never have been a fan of the play-off system it’s just another way to extract even more money from the fans and I don’t believe a team who finishes 6th has any right to premiership football just based on a bit of luck in 2 or 3 games .Lets hope we can keep the manager and with a bit of judicial investment in the right places, i.e. strikers and defence, we can walk away with the league title next season and get promoted properly

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  12. Philip of Spain.

    Only Leeds could have lost like that.It seemed like they must win one out of four, averages. It had to be in the Leeds cauldron at E.R.From a neutral it must have been a spectacle of a game, let’s face it. The over riding thing to me is, we came third in the league, beat Derby twice, won and drew with Villa, (?) Good season on all fronts!!

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  13. Chris Wheeler

    Well said Rob it’s vital to keep Marcelo who has done a remarkable job in restoring pride in our great club in such a short time after so much dross and also provided us with thrilling attacking football.
    If Andrea can somehow find a way to back him better in the transfer market why shouldn’t we build on this season especially with the superb U23s set up to which has players coming through with that winning mentality.
    This is another massive moment in our clubs history to ensure we keep Marcelo and he can work with Carlos Corberan who looks like a strong candidate to succeed him as manager.
    MOT and thank you Leeds United for a thrilling white knuckle ride this season & the inevitable heart break that just makes this club so bloody special

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  14. andy hinks

    copy of email i sent to my close LUFC Muckers since 1969 in KENT, SURREY,SYDNEY & GLASGOW after our wonderful adventure ended last night!

    FROM ME (ANDY) TO MARCELO & MY LAST WORD AS PER MY EMAILS TO YOU ALL LAST NIGHT!
    THANK YOU FOR THE WONDERFUL FOOTBALL, EXCITEMENT & YOUR HUMILITY IN THE FACE OF MANY DICKHEADS WHO COULDN’T PROBABLY SPELL THE WORD “HUMILITY”, (FWANKY, DEAN SMITH, KEITH STEPHENS, SCOTT MINTO, SKY SPORTS ‘NEWSTEAM’, DEAN SAUNDERS ET AL.
    I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS SEASON EVEN THO’ I’M DEVASTATED LIKE MANY THOUSANDS OF LUFC FANS ROUND THE GLOBE & CLOSER TO HOME (LARRY, THE DOOG, MARTIN, ALAN , PHIL & OUR MUCH MISSED FRIEND JIMBO!)
    WE HOPE YOU WILL STAY & GET THE BACKING NEEDED TO GET THE JOB DONE ?

    LUFC FOREVER

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  15. Grenville Hair

    I doff my cap to your positivity Rob but we can’t delude ourselves. Since the fixtures reversed at Xmas this team has reverted to type in the form stakes – and that is mid-table at best. Radrizzani has not shown any signs of being willing to make the kind of investment that would make the difference. We were, are and always will be every other team’s cup final in this division – and of course officialdom knows that the FL/Sky are desperate to keep us in it, so we also face that disadvantage.
    This means we need a deep squad of proven ability with cover in each position and we just don’t have it. So we have to rely on out of form strikers (Bamford), blooding kids on a wing and a prayer (Shackleton) and squad players who you hope will turn up on the day (Dallas – who did). As Don Revie said, I can turn a good player into a better player but I can’t turn a good player into a great player. And we just don’t have enough good players for Bielsa to make better – nothing like enough.

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    • I agree with most of that, but I remain optimistic. IF Bielsa stays, I’m sure it will be conditional upon proper backing and investment. Time for Radrizzani to step up to the plate. He wants those EPL riches, and you have to speculate to accumulate.

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      • Grenville Hair

        Quite right Rob – it’s up to AR. I would think MB will be asking some pointed questions in that regard

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  16. Nice to focus on the positive of what a great season we’ve actually had.
    A couple of quality additions and the addition to the first team squad of a couple of the excellent U23’s and the centenary season will be one to remember.
    Bring on August!

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  17. Life is LUFC

    I could have accepted the loss better if it had been the final at Wembley. However last night……well that was last night so let’s leave it there. As soon as Derby was awarded that penalty I left, I knew how it was going to end, tears and heartache for all the Leeds supporters.
    I’m hoping your good and positive words above will go some way to helping heal those wounds, thanks Rob for being that shoulder to cry on. MOT

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  18. With FFP I don’t think it’s quite as easy as just throwing money in(unless your Man City of course and have many excellent lawyers).
    I’m still mulling over last night and weighing up the positives and negatives of this season.
    So I’ll just settle for saying that young Jamie Shackleton was and is going to be absolutely immense for Leeds.MOT

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  19. Steve Emsley

    I hate to say it Rob but we did not merit a place in the premier league on our form since Christmas. I do feel sorry for the lads and gals that are both home and away supporters the are a credit to the club. The plus side to me is that we now have a manager and owner that understands the fan base, and to be honest I think the EfL is the best league anyway anyone can win any match unlike the Prem when the top six are all ready penciled in for the start of the new season

    MOT

    Like

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