Leeds defiantly storm into the Championship! TSS May 9, 2010 Match reviews 56 Comments It’s through extremely blurred vision and with a very heavy head I write my final match report of the season. A season full of ups and downs, ended in a match many of us will be telling the next generation about in years to come. As the champagne flowed around Leeds City centre last night, the events of the day were celebrated and relived amongst thousands of ecstatic Leeds United fans, as the promotion party continued late into the night. It could all have been so very different though. The match itself was as eventful as they come. Historically, Leeds United are well known for bottling the big games. You only have to look back to the drama of the play-off’s over the last few years to see Leeds United seldom do things the easy way, and this was to be no exception. A sold-out and deafening Elland Road crowd sang their heroes onto the pitch for what we hoped would be the final game of the season. No Richard Naylor, Robert Snodgrass or Jonny Howson in the starting XI, Max Gradel moved out wide and Jermaine Beckford restored to the starting line-up as captain. Simon Grayson had hinted at changes, but few had seen this coming. Leeds looked hungry and it seemed as though things would be simple. All we had to do was get in front, and with Leeds dominating as they were, it was unlikely that Bristol would be able to respond. Controversy soon struck though; after Jermaine Beckford’s opener was ruled out by the linesman, Max Gradel sought retribution for an earlier foul and stomped on Rovers left-back Daniel Jones. Jones hit the floor like he’d been shot and feigned injury to his face. Chaos ensued, with Leeds and Bristol players clashing violently. Another dismal referee dismissed Max Gradel, but despite his part in escalating the situation, Jones escaped with just a yellow. Marching orders for Gradel The scale of the situation hadn’t escaped Gradel and he reacted furiously to the sending off. Jermaine Beckford in his new role as captain tried to play peace-keeper, but Gradel was a man possessed and determined to get his own back on Jones or the referee – whoever he could get to first. After several minutes of drama, Gradel was forcefully removed from the pitch by his team-mates, but he wasn’t finished yet and came back on for another go at whoever he could get to. This time, two pretty hefty security staff were sent on, finally managing to restore order. The tense and nervous atmosphere inside Elland Road was replaced by one of anger and disbelief. To the on-looking Leeds fans, it seemed that we’d once again been the victim of a major injustice that could well have cost us our place in the Championship. The referee was subsequently ridiculed with chants of ‘this games too big for you’ and ‘you’re not fit to referee’ along with some more x-rated stuff towards half-time. Daniel Jones’ part in the incident hadn’t been forgotten either and he was booed every time he touched the ball from that point on. After five minutes added time, an angry Leeds United crowd left for the break where the events of the first half would be analysed further. Most of the crowd were busy watching Beckford at the time, so few had actually seen the incident involving Gradel. There was much confusion as to what actually happened and many believed Gradel had punched the left-back, probably because of his exaggerated reaction. You have to wonder whether the referee had drawn a similar conclusion, but either way, the odds were now stacked against Leeds United and we were in for a roller-coaster 45 minutes that would ultimately decide our fate. Such is the way with these things, the villain of the day Daniel Jones hadn’t finished tormenting Leeds United yet. Minutes into the second half, Hughes failed to close Jones down and his cross led to a soft goal conceded by the make-shift Leeds United defence. 1-0 down, and the news elsewhere was that Charlton were winning. Whilst Millwall and Swindon were level, I can only imagine the roar that came from both sets of fans on discovering Leeds United’s troubles. Leeds were wounded and in total disarray. Fresh out of ideas and struggling with a numerical disadvantage, Simon Grayson was forced into his first change of the day. Jonny Howson was brought on in place of Shane Lowry in what would prove to be an inspired substitution from the gaffer. Just six minutes after coming onto the pitch, Howson levelled the scores. For all his inconsistencies and lack of goals, Jonny has a habit of scoring when it matters. Few will have forgotten his brace that sent us into the play-off final a couple of years back, but even those goals weren’t as big as this one. From the edge of the area, Jonny found himself in space and struck sweetly to curl the ball past the Bristol keeper and restore parity for the Whites. The roof lifted off Elland Road once again, but this time, it was a roar of defiant brilliance – Leeds weren’t done yet! Howson levels the scores It was easy to forget Leeds were a man down as they pushed Bristol back and went in search of a winner. All out attack was what the crowd wanted, and that’s exactly what Leeds United delivered. Those that did remain on the pitch will have been fully aware of what another goal meant for Leeds, and it seemed only fitting that Jermaine Beckford would be the one to get it. For all his flaws, Beckford’s goal tally is a big part of why we were in this situation to start with. Even his most hardened of critics couldn’t knock his performance today, he’d chased everything, battled hard and been an exemplary role-model for the younger fans in trying to resolve the sending-off situation peacefully. As Leeds United exits go, Jermaine Beckford’s is unlikely to be forgotten. The most valuable goal of the season, probably Jermaine’s final one in a Leeds shirt and the one that sends Leeds United up was beautiful in it’s simplicity. A classic poachers goal which was started by Jermaine’s hassling of the Bristol keeper. His poor throw was deflected by Beckford into the path of Bradley Johnson who surged down the left and sent a cross into the box. The Bristol defence struggled to deal with the cross and when it spilled free, Jermaine Beckford was on hand to send Leeds into the Championship. Needless to say, the Leeds fans nearly took the roof off Elland Road once more. Leeds continued to try and put the game beyond reach, and Bristol gave us a few scares as the final whistle agonisingly drew closer, but the poachers goal from Jermaine Beckford would prove to be decisive. The pitch invasion began before the referee could blow for full-time, but it didn’t matter. As the Leeds fans spilled onto the pitch to celebrate a historic win, the reality of it all began to sink in. The PA man’s attempts to get the fans off the pitch proved completely ineffective, and it took a plea from Simon Grayson to restore some order so the players could come out for a well-deserved lap of honour. "Na na na na na na na na na na, Leeds are going up..." As the players and the fans struggled to control their emotions, all order at Elland Road was lost once more. Some cheer-leading from TSS’ player of the season, Patrick Kisnorbo would follow and once Elland Road was finally vacated, the party spilled into the streets of Leeds. After six long years of demise, Leeds United have finally began to rise again. TSS man of the match Before I return to a state of slumber to recover from one of the most vicious hangovers I’ve had in years, I’m left with the final man of the match of the season decision, and perhaps, one of the easiest. In what is most likely to be his final game in a Leeds United shirt, Jermaine Beckford led by example. Not only did he score the winning goal, but he also assisted in Jonny Howson’s screamer. One of the most dramatic love/hate relationships I’ve ever seen between a player and fans ends in style. Whatever happens to Jermaine Beckford from here on in, I wish him well and thank him for the memories. Mikelufc Hangover or not TSS yet another top report. Thanks This may be my last view of anything football I think, the tension has been overwhelming since the start of the year. But we have done it, we can hold up our heads again, only one small step to the prem, Kenny needs to be loosening the wallet,I would not be at all surprised to see Becks stay and as Captain. Craig I’m willing to bet a few smarties that once the World Cup comes around you’ll be back for more of the Beautiful Game. As for Becks, surely his promotion to captain yesterday was a sure sign he is off to pastures new. Shermanator Leeds Way! At last promotions here We’re going up and that is certain Out of this tinpot league after three long years of hurting We did it in the end We went to each and every shithole And more, much more than this we did it Leeds way! Great wins, we had a few Especially the one at Man United We did what we had to do to win the points and get excited Simon planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway And more, much more than this we did it Leeds way! Yes, there were times I’m sure you knew We started great then blew a fuse But through it all, there was no doubt We pulled together to fight it out We faced it all and we stood tall and did it Leeds way! We won, we lost, we drew We had our fill, our share of losing And now as we move on we find it all so amusing And we must say, not in a shy way Oh no, oh no not us, we did it Leeds way! Now this is our club, what have we got? Great fans, top players and a boss Now chairman please put your hand in your pocket We don’t want to fall we want to rise like a rocket The table shows we took the blows and did it Leeds way! We did it Leeds way! TSS That’s genius! Nice one mate. Mick If we were that good, why did it take us 3 goes to get out of a “tinpot” league. League tables don’t lie – we’ve never been good enough to be any higher and if devious Ken doesn’t put his hand VERY deeply into his pocket then we won’t stay up. Take the white, blue and yellow stripes off the eyes and get real. We’re 6 players short of a decent chapionship side. Ramblinjohn Great match report as usual. Two things – you are quite right about Beckford and any fans who doubted his commitment to our promotion can look both at his goal stats and the photos of him at the final whistle. Also I’m glad for Grayson – mistakes no doubt this season but he has done it where others have failed. MOT yorkwhite The line I couldnt stop singing in the car on the way home ‘And we’ve had our ups and downs, ups and downs’. The line I cant stop singing today Oh, we’re half way there (Back to the prem) Oh oh, livin’ on a prayer Well done to the players and SG, it’s been real. Craig coulson Thank you for your work this season TSS much appreciated, The best day i have had following Leeds United in 21 years yesterday at Elland road, Jermaine Beckford nearly 100 goals in 3 years and the one that sends up! Thanks for the memories! your goals will be sorely missed. On and on! Craig Yes TSS well done for keeping us focused all season. I guess our focus now moves to transfer targets! TSS I guess our focus now moves to transfer targets! …and there was me thinking I could go on holiday! Cheers to everyone for the comments by the way. It’s been a pleasure (most of the time) writing about Leeds this season. MooJoo Leeds An unbelievable feeling for this die-hard supporter of more than 40 years. And the season has been illuminated and given lots more life and pleasure by the arrival of TSS. Thank you so much for heading up such a fantastic forum – by far the best, bar none. Brilliant stuff- and huge thanks again TSS! MOT Henry V WONDERFUL!! Great report TSS! I thought Becchio was outstanding, battling up front and laying on Jonny’s goal! Thank you Simon and his staff, and the whole squad. Thank you Mr Chairman and staff!! Mr Bates saved our club and has stuck by us through these wilderness years!! Simon will have a busy summer, bit I understand he has a list of player targets already. Exciting times!! Henry. Dje What an utter relief. Now promotion is a done deal I reckon there’s a lot of pride to be taken from the season, from the squad as a whole, and the manager (glad his super-sub touch finally came back to aid him!). Pride in Bates might be stretching things a bit far, but he deserves some accolade (or just a big pay off from some mythical new investor). I echo all those applauding TSS for his tireless contributions to the cause this season and acting as chairman/spokesman for the rabble who come here to give their ha’penny’s worth. You know a football site is crucial to the club and its followers when you find yourself getting visibly irate that TSS is a day or so slower than usual in getting the post-match review online. Cheers TSS, role on the post-season squabbles. TSS You know a football site is crucial to the club and its followers when you find yourself getting visibly irate that TSS is a day or so slower than usual in getting the post-match review online. Haha, sorry about that DJE. I’ll have been sulking in defeat and refusing to acknowledge the existence of Leeds United. LUFC-mac Sorry to jump on the bandwagon too, but TSS is without doubt the best Leeds site. Great match reports and brilliant articles to get us all involved. Also a big thanks to the many regular contributors who equally make this a very enjoyable site. A great 2009/2010 season had by all (phew). matt Agree with Beckford as man of the match. I was skeptical about him being captain to say the least, but he produced a great display not only in play but out of play where he did a captians job with gradel. I was very impressed with him on his own up front for short periods of the game and he held his own competently. I would like to add however that Howson’s goal was hardly a screamer; it was more like a beautifully curled shot Cheers TSS for your great game reviews throught out the season. MOT TSS Howson’s goal was hardly a screamer I beg to differ. Me and another 38,000 fans certainly screamed as it hit the back of the net! Craig In keeping with the spirit of the times please can I ask that you apply a version of PR to your player of the year poll. After yesterday’s performance I’m sure no one would argue with Max’s vote being redistributed according to second preference and so on… On the basis that Andy Hughes was almost certainly most people’s second choice I declare him the winner! Matt bb Howson injected real life into the middle of the park, but to be honest they were all brilliant. The real work starts now, two new ccc quality strikers, at least two mids and centre halves. I imagine kens usual rules will apply of free transfers only.. Good luck mr grayson! And thanks for getting us out of that league, another year of gillingham, millwall, carlisle would be too much to take. Colin two new ccc quality strikers – let’s hope they’re not sam vokes and gary mcsheffrey matt Gary Mcsheffrey never really got the right chances in his position. He played up front once with beckford and the ball was constantly floated over the top for him to head, and he’s hardly the biggest of men. It would have been interesting to see him play along side Becchio TheReaper08 Agreed matt, I don’t know how you can hope McSheffrey isn’t one of those strikers when we didn’t play him there. Probably the same people that moan about Hughes not being a world class left back ! LUFC-mac The reality of the Gradel fiasco is that he is a big prat! It was just in front of where I was in the JC stand. A crazy stamp down the player’s ankle who it seems had done very little to provoke the attack, no wonder he reacted like he did!! Gradel should never play in white again! But what a brilliant performance from the 10 true Leeds boys. They all stood up and fought for us all. What an atmosphere we created, awesome. Ups and downs through the season and in that 90 minutes. The crazy Leeds United way. MOT in the CCC, get in! Yorkshrman Little to provoke the attack??? I guess you didn’t see him nearly break Gradel in two about a minute and a half earlier ….. I don’t know whether it was deliberate or not (and neither Sky nor the BBC chose to show the incident) but it looked bad from where I was sitting. Watching the film, it looked as though the Bristol player said something to him as well …… Not that it excuses what he did, but he did look to have been kicked pretty hard ….. TSS Agree, the other player was a disgrace. His play-acting alone should have earned him a red, not to mention him starting on Luci shortly after his miraculous recovery. LUFC-mac Actually yes I did see the challenge earlier which left Gradel in a heap, break him in two?? No way, looking for a pen more like. Anyhow, the fact remains what he did could easily have finished our season. Still a prat in my eyes. TheReaper08 Still not an excuse for that reaction. Cheap shots occur in every game but you need to have a big game mentality, if you haven’t got it don’t play in big games. Reality is his temprament can’t be relied on and that’s a shame. TSS Oh, don’t get me wrong, I aren’t excusing Gradel. I just think it was unjust that the other player didn’t see red too. David N.I. Cometh the hour cometh the man, it has to be thanks to Beckford, if he stays play for the team if he goes good luck to him, [still think all the talk about moving unsettled the team] You have to wonder why Larry didn’t make him our captain from the start of the season, as his work rate, fight and cool head yesterday was just stunning, well done Becks. As for Max sorry but you have to go thank your team mates who kept their heads while you lost yours we needed eleven on the pitch and you let us down big time on our biggest game of the season, they got you out of jail and Elland Road cause if we didn’t win Max you were the hate figure and this time next week you would have still been hold up in Elland Road. You should be on bended knees saying sorry to the LU fans and players. Thanks to all involved for getting us out of this shit hole of a league but I still say money has to be spent for next season and thats just to let us finish mid table. In truth how many of our players could cut it where we’re going???? The league we’re going to will be no easier to get out of than where we’ve come from. Thanks to TSS i’ve enjoyed the banter from all the users, I think we all winge only because we Love Leeds United. We do not choose we are chosen Those who don’t understand don’t matter Those who do understand need no explanation WE ARE LEEDS Thanks again from a happy David In Northern Ireland TheReaper08 The player I am most happy for is Jermaine Beckford. Called many things in the last year or so the one that sticks in my mind are that he is a flat track bully that doesn’t do it when it counts. Oh dear, I guess that’s the end of that. Good luck Jermaine whatever you do you will hopefully be remembered fondly for what you were paid to do, score goals. The facts will say you were one of the best we ever had in modern times at doing exactly that. Will Okay, firstly, it can only be said in a way of celebration, “Thank **** for that!”. Don’t get me wrong, this promotion, right now, is huge. The club was well and truly in trouble if it had not been achieved as the recent accounts revealed the lack of financial capital. I can now only hope that we consolidate in The Championship, attract much needed new owners, new investment, a new squad, and probably yes even a new manager to take us up to the next level within 5 years. Thoughts now thankfully turn to the World Cup, not the play-offs, and to return to LUFC in mid-July hopeful that Grayson does not blow all his transfer kitty on old or slow players with little ability to actually play football. So come on Grayson, its time to prove yourself worthy of managing this club in the Championship! The hard work to keep us from being immediately relegated starts now! MOT. saltburnwhite wow we did it!!!!!!! we definatly need to push on from here now…some ruthless descisions need to be made on and off the field …i think the deadwood at the club needs moving on . in my opinion they are as follows: andy robinson (merseyside bound) alan sheehan (never cut it) tresor kandol (nuff said) paul dickov ( dick off ) lubomir michalik ( promising at first but unreliable ) rui marquez (good servant his time has come) richard naylor ( his legs have gone im sorry to say) LUFC-mac Deadwood, need to add:- Crowe (didn’t make it in lower league) Hughes (great effort, but out of his depth) Johnson (gives us nothing) Gradel (idiot, impact sub at best) Good interesting list lower down, Saltburn!! Tim Campbell True drama, and this time we got the last laugh. I just have a feeling that now we are in the championship again the club will be much more marketable to potential investors. I would not be at all surprised if an offer for the club was forthcoming in the next few months. As far as football clubs outside the premiership go, there can be no more appealing to potential buyers than Leeds United saltburnwhite players that are gettable and realistic if we just show some ambition… charlie adam midfield blackpool ( possibility if they dont get promo) joe lewis gk peterborough (relegated to league 1) darren ambrose midfield crystal palace (palace skint) tal ben haim cd p’mouth (pompey are skint , would want high wages though) jimmy bullard cm hull ( hull skint , again would want high wages) stephen fletcher striker burnley (relegated , superb finisher) ricky lambert ( would cost a couple of millions but worth it) david wheater cd middlesboro ( again couple of million but exellent) billy sharp striker sheff utd ( out of favour cut price deal?) we def need a v good central defender , two new good midfielders and a 20 goal striker. Dje Certainly need a new owner for any of them. Timothy Wilson Now it’s all over it’s easy to say, but the season could not have ended any better. That game had it all, shock, Becks as captain, despair, ten men and a goal down and we’ve bottled it, the fight back and the raised volume levels of the greatest fans in football( I put the surround on, LOUD) The final whistle and the tears that went with it. (Bin three years and two days since my nephew and best mate was murdered, wish you were here kiddo) Couldn’t have written a better script. I’ll think about next season, well, next season. Til then happy summer. timm I have to say i thought Hughes was outstanding. It’s easy to get carried away & say they were all brilliant but i thought Kilkenny looked terrified & we were lost until Howson came on. If i was SG i’d offer Hughes a new contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if we sign Mcsheffrey too? Sometimes players can look ordinary against lower league clubs but shine against better quality opposition, as an example look at how good Hughes was at Old Trafford, but look how every Man Utd player struggled against us, or look at Sol Bampbell having a torrid time at Notts County & then turning in quality performances for Arsenal. One thing’s for sure though, we need 5 or 6 quality players or we’ll struggle. timm Oh & i forgot to say, if i was SG i’d have sent Gradel home instead of letting him join that lap of honour! He needs to sort himself out quickly or he won’t be here long. Duncan I’d love to know what the thinking was behind making Beckford captain. I’m not against it particularly, just puzzled. Was it a reward for past service or perhaps an inducement to stay next year? Anyone got any ideas? Dje ‘Thanks for all the effort over the last three years and best of luck with the new job’. IMHO. timm It was to motivate him to turn in a match winning performance. I don’t think anyone could’ve expected the extra stuff with Gradel but i thought Beckford was magnificent & it was the perfect way for him to end his time here. If he ever plays against us i’ll give him a standing ovation. Perfect scenario would be for him to struggle at Everton & end up back here on Loan! He’s Leeds & he knows he is! Benjamin Bunny TSS I wanna thankyou for the most enjoyable season with Leeds and alot of that is down to you mate. Genuinely I come on here everyday and read every comment. Thankyou. Transfer targets and take over talk is gonna be swamping this site very soon me thinks. I’d like to see Billy Sharp in white next year with maybe someone like Ritchie De Laet from scum united on loan. Would be a wise choice and convenient(distance) for Sir Alex to let him come here. Highly rated and versatile, won the Man Utd reserves player of the year too. Or look to Man City to see what they can offer, I thinkd defence is our main priority though. Ye if Beckford goes then were gonna need a 20 goal plus striker but if he stays and after being made captain then ya never know then defence needs cleaning up and id say sign Doylee too, don’t care what anyone says, I rate him as a player. Dje I’ve never understood the vitriolic reaction from fans that follows incidents like Gradel’s sending off. ‘Never want to see him play in the team’ again sounds like an over-reaction – especially considering we won the game despite of it. Gradel a liability? Certainly, and that red card has been a long time coming his way, IMHO; as how many times this season has he come off the bench and either got us a super-sub goal, or, almost walked straight back off (alla Kandol)? But he’s a young lad, and hopefully he’ll learn form it (for both on and off the pitch). Yes he over-reacted, and it is never great to see a player look as if he’d be as happy to punch a fellow teammate as much as he would the cheating opposition or referee, but in all honesty it reminded me of my younger days when a night out might end up with one of my mates (and occasionally myself) in a scuffle with another group of blokes over nothing worth remembering. At the time whatever it was ever about meant the world – and the blood red mist made you see your mates who were doing the restraining or trying to talk some sense in to you being as much a prick as the guy you wanted to belt. But that’s just life, and you end up the next day either massively embarrassed about it all (and blame the drink), or you wake up and realise that your mate can be a right wanker of a loose cannon at times (and can’t we all). A three match suspension. A nagging embarrassment that 38,000 people saw you act like a prick (a few million more via the TV). The Championship next season. C’est la vie. Pingback: Tweets that mention Leeds defiantly storm into the Championship! -- Topsy.com() Craig 1919 The below quote I love from the Daily Mail really packages together exactly why every single player on Saturday is a hero After the relegations, administration, litigation and humiliation, the failed takeovers, the play-off losses to Doncaster Rovers and Millwall, the nationwide mockery and listing self-esteem; then this 60-game season with its appropriately tortuous end, one man down, one goal down and tempers burning — after all that, a pitch invasion was never in doubt. Saturday was one of the most important days in our history and for once the players had the bottle to see it out! After Beckfords goal everything is still a blur, I think I may have blacked out with excitement. Monday morning and In still recovering from an extremely heavy weekend, Sarurday still doesn’t seem real as if I dreamt it as I’m so used to seeing failure and the heartbreak it brings every year, success is a very strange emotion for Leeds fans, however I’m sat here with a Cheshire cat grin and a 2 day hangover wanting more! I hope we make a fist of it next year. TSS again it’s been a pleasure, easily the best independent Leeds site, enjoy your break and I’ll see you again next season as we make our assault on the Championship and hopefully in 12 months be having the exact same converstion, come on Leeds MOT Mark R What a magical day …. Was in West Stand 7 rows from front right of tunnel towards South Stand. Gradel lost his head and clear view for linesman – red card inevitable. Their no.48 ..should have been off for raising his hands in ensuing melee. SG – tactics and substitution rescued a dire situation. Well done SG – really pleased for him, one of our own. Beckford – I was pleased for him and he put in a Captain’s performance. Thank you Jermaine and good luck in whatever you do in the future. Hughes – Reaper, I had my doubts but he put in a solid performance. Paddy K . was in tunnel next to us for second half, kicked every ball, cheering the lads on – great to see his commitment to the cause. 10 Men, 1 down, expectation of 38k+ fans in the ground – and we snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. A great great day. It’s been emotional. The Dandelion and Burdocks are on me ! MOT…Forever and Ever Henry The rumor mill begins:- Nick Montgomery & Derek Geary from Sheffield Utd. I am sure Simon will move very quickly with his list already prepared. The above two are out of contract so it may be true!!! We need a squad of 16 players of Championship standard. My feeling is that we need 10 new players, minimum! Henry. Dje If I remember correctly from a Yorkshire Post I found on the train this morning, they were also saying: Chris Morgan from Sheff Utd Paynter from Swindon (presumably hoping they blow their play-offs) Billy Sharp from Sheff Utd/ Doncaster (are we really after half of Blackwell’s team?) Gary Hooper And another I forget. I haven’t seen Morgan play for a season or two but if he is anything like he used to be then he could do a fair job for as the back in the Championship. Montgomery always looked good too. sue lloyd great beckford article http://www.sabotagetimes.com Matt BB On Saturday we witnessed probably one of the most satisfying games of football ever seen by Leeds United fans. Greater sense of achievement felt by us all than perhaps any of our champions league victories, our win over Manchester United earlier in the season or any of the games which saw us into the play off finals for championship or league One. Leeds have faltered since the start of the year but through sheer power of will they finally crossed the line on Saturday. It would have been travesty for Millwall, Swindon or Charlton to have taken that prize. What would they have offered meaningfully to the championship? Teams happy to survive there, as have Doncaster, Scunthorpe, and for that matter Watford when they over took us to be promoted to the premier league? Leeds task has always been heavier than all of those teams and it has shown in the performances they have given in these key games, this team doesn’t just have to get out of this league, they have to compete with the best teams in the division above, and after that fight to get back to the top four of the premier league. Before now we have had players who were not equal to that task, now we do. Many of the players on Saturday knew that they would probably not follow Leeds to the championship but to a man they gave it their all. So typical of our usual opposition Bristol Rovers are not a team who will never play in Europe, be in the top four of the premier league, not in the next 50 years anyway. They had nothing to play for and therefore nothing to lose. They set out their stall with some cynical gamesmanship, aided by the other blight of the lower leagues, awful refereeing. And we rapidly saw ourselves down to ten men. They then had the audacity to go one nil up. We could all see it happening again. Another missed opportunity another year in the third division, our best players giving up the ghost. But yet this time something different happened, the ten men of leeds finally felt the thrill of the challenge in front of them, as though in one go all the fans in the stadium, all the players said that that was just about all they were going to take. Rolling their sleeves up and shouted on by their fans the players finally bridled the beast of that ambition and hope and shot down Bristol as only a team with as good a group of players as Leeds could, at last. If they rekindle that spirit in the championship we will be back in the premier league soon, and hopefully with an investor to replace our current board, who purely put us at risk of being disqualified from the league and are a liability. A new board will need to buy and redevelop our ground, and ensure that Leeds are a proposition for many years to come, this is a challenge for Leeds, and the talk is of free transfers already and loans. But to be honest if that gets us into the top flight then so be it. timm Well you nearly got to the end without having a dig at Bates! Cynical gamesmanship? Nothing worse than what Becchio does every week. Some awful refereeing? Maybe so, but spot on when it came to the red card. You can’t just skim over the fact that Gradel nearly cost us promotion & then go & have another pop at Bates. Were you at Carlisle in the JPT when Gradel nearly smacked Kilkenny because Kilkenny had the audacity to mention that he should have passed him the ball? I think we might be seeing why Nigel Pearson let him go? Matt BB well my issue was not with gradel going, but that jones got off scott free, i also thought offside against beckford was a joke. How many times was Beckford going to get hacked down in the area without a penalty, as much as i was embarassed by gradel i could understand why he had to be held back. Jones was walloping him and giving him abuse all the way through the first 30 minutes. Mark R Good post Matt. It was a massive massive day and highly charged,and one we’ll never forget. I think Timm’s right about Pearson’s reason for letting Gradel go, and the evidence is there with the Kilkenny incident and Saturday which I was near to whilst sat in the West Stand. Max has to control his hot head – and that’s down to SG. He does give us a speedy attacking option, but he has a responsibility to his team mates. SIDE BEFORE SELF . MOT Craig I thought Jones got a yellow card – not exactly scott free. I guess he was rough + verbal with Gradel because now it is common knowledge he is likely to do something stupid. I’m sorry but there really is no defence for Gradel doing what he did. It was vicious and cold blooded revenge and played right into the opponent’s hands. TheReaper08 Exactly Craig, opposition do there homework on players and realise they can get at them, wind them up a bit. Regardless of what Jones did or didn’t do that was not the way to deal with it. Gradel does not have a big match temprement and therefore can not be trusted when ultimately called upon.