Good news with the fund raising for Toby Nye as £150,000 has been raised so only £50,000 to go; this should be achievable by Christmas with auctions and other events being done. I’ve also had an appearance on Radio Yorkshire Thursday morning where as usual I talked a lot. As I was told afterwards that is what they want!!
With a late kick off today of 5.30pm for the live Sky game we still set off from Leeds at 8.00am. This gave us a decent run down to London where we stayed in Staines until 4.00 pm. Our original plans to go to Twickenham changed due to a big rugby game being played there today. We had a laugh whilst in the pub when one of our party got his phone out of his pocket as it was ringing but when he got the phone out it was silent. I said I could still hear something and all of a sudden he got his own phone out of his pocket that was ringing. He had us in stitches then as he’d no idea whose the other phone was? He’d only been in one other pub nearby so he went back there to see if anyone had lost their phone. It only turned out to be the landlords although he’d no idea how it had turned up in his pocket. He’d probably picked it up on leaving thinking it was his but at least all turned out well.
When we arrived at the ground we got dropped off at the end of the street and decided to go straight in as it was approximately 40 minutes to kick off. After a quick search of the bags we got in and Sue and I hung our banners across the back of the stand. I only realised later that some fans had hung theirs over the front of the stand. I then went back downstairs onto the terraces to take some photos before the game began and chat to a few fans. Due to the recent defeats it was vital we got at least a point today although Griffin Park hadn’t been a good hunting ground for us previously.
The team today was Lonergan, Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Jansson, O’Kane, Phillips, Vieira, Lasogga, Alioski and Saiz. Subs were Hernandez for O’Kane (45), Roofe for Lasogga (45) and Got for Alioski (80). Attendance was 11,068 with 1,647 Leeds fans. Leeds lost 3-1 with Alioski scoring for Leeds (67).
Leeds started off under the cosh from the start of the game and it was a very nervy few minutes. With Brentford’s first attack Lonergan flapped at the ball as they won a corner. Brentford were making the most of playing in the tight knit ground although the referee was falling for every little touch as their players kept hitting the deck. One time the linesman to our left had put his flag up to give us the throw in only for the ref to overrule him. We had a couple of shots on target which were easily saved by their goalie.
A comedy show happened next as the ball came over to Lonergan who wasn’t under pressure only for him to drop the ball giving their player an easy tap in of the ball to put Brentford into the lead. Damn, damn, damn up against it once more. The first half played out with Brentford on top and us struggling to do anything else of note. It was made worse when Brentford were awarded a penalty a Jansson took their player out in the penalty area. I shouted that Lonergan could make amends and save it but as it was he didn’t need to, as their player skied the ball over the net. I was hoping that would be our get out of jail card.
At half time my stomach was churning like mad with nerves as I stopped to have a word with Gary Edwards. As we were discussing the game so far a couple of men in front of him joined in. I didn’t agree with their version of things especially when discussing Lonergan flapping at the ball. Although he did make one great save in between I didn’t like the way we were passing back all the time getting put under pressure then hoofing the ball up front. I said he was still doing the same as what Wiedwald had been doing under pressure and they said Wiedwald was a coward and should never play for us again whilst I disagreed. When they said they would have Silvestri back in his place that did it for me and I left them to it saying never in a month of Sundays would I have him back! Opinions, opinions! Trying to get down the steps at half time was very difficult but eventually I got to the half way mark before going back into the stand for the second half.
Christiansen had made a double substitution at the start of the second half bringing on Roofe for Losagga, playing him in the middle and Hernandez for O’Kane. It didn’t take long for us to start playing better and put some pressure on to Brentford.. We had suddenly upped our game and looked in a better shape as we attacked towards the Leeds fans. It was the first time I had a good view of the goal in front of us from the seats as I was on row B just to the right of the goal. When the ball came over from the right their goalie did the same as Lonergan by missing the ball which Alioski gratefully headed into the net to equalise. As Alioski headed to the Leeds fans to celebrate most of the others were heading back to the centre circle to get on with the game. As the game carried on I thought we could go one better and clinch all three points at that stage as we took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Unfortunately as soon as Christiansen made his third sub by bringing Grot on for Alioski, this decision changed the game, as Roofe went back out to the wing instead of staying in the centre of the park. I have no idea why this sub was made as were on the attack and he should have kept things as they were.. He probably thought Grot could be a game changer but sadly for me I have seen nothing in his play that would make me think that. I feel he needs to play for the younger lads or go out on loan for game time as he hasn’t done anything for me. With that Brentford managed to get their.noses back in front again with a free kick that sailed into the net from the edge of the box. Admittedly they’d had a couple of long range shots that I was grateful had hit the woodwork but we had come close too with Vieira having his strike saved by their goalie. As I untied my banner in the last few moments I missed Brentford putting the game out of reach by scoring a third. We were well and truly beaten whereas as I felt totally pig sick and totally deflated.
As I did a fan video for Sportsline on Monday evening, all I could think of was we have been beaten both times I have done this, the first one at Millwall and today’s effort. I may have to refuse to do anymore if this carries on! As I was doing this one lad said he was embarrassed to be Leeds so I said I never would be but agreed it was a deflating situation. Lots of fans are pretty upset at the moment with a few wanting to jack things in and many wanting Christiansen sacked. I don’t know where we are going to go at this moment in time as I wanted us to persevere by keeping Christiansen. With Orta having made the signings it is very much a different set up these days and I don’t know how changing manager would make a difference in this case. Although we are now in 10th place having been at the heady heights of top of the league in September, we have come down to earth with a bump. We did stand a chance with the half time changes but then our change of suicidal tactics with the last sub cost us the game.
As we walked out of the ground Del from the Thames Valley Whites was waiting for me to get my new book and a big thank you for the support as usual. We got away from the ground very quickly and I was just dropping asleep when our driver beeped the horn as a Hungarian lorry encroached our lane on the motorway waking me up with a jump. The same thing happened again later on the M1 with another lorry. We ended up going straight through to Leeds without stopping and managing to get through the roadworks before the lanes were shut and get diverted. The journey passed very quickly as I slept most of the way back and managed to be at home right on midnight!
We have another international break next week; the songs recording on 18th November before Middlesbrough come to Elland Road on 19th November with the return of Monk. As things stand, they have started to get a few wins under their belt just at the wrong time for us. Time will tell what happens in the meantime and whether Christiansen will, still be here. I would like to think we can work through this as a team but unfortunately I haven’t got a crystal ball to say that things will turn out okay for us by persisting with him.
See you at the Boro game LUFC – Marching on Together.