Sorry for the delayed match report. Been away with work for a few days since the Norwich game and unable to update the site. Plenty of talking points from this game though, despite the lack of chances on goal.

It was, for the most part, a much improved performance from Leeds. A nervy, scrappy battle where both teams struggled to create chances and effectively cancelled one another out. Both teams fought for the ball like their season depended on it and it never really looked like either would score. Unfortunately for Leeds however, a final roll of the dice from the Norwich boss paid off and his late substitute earned him a valuable win which has undoubtedly tied the bow on their title challenge.

The biggest upset of the day for Leeds United was seeing Luciano Becchio being stretchered off after swallowing his tongue. All reports say he’s recovering well, but the incident itself seems to have been largely ignored. How Norwich’s player got away without a red card for that challenge still baffles me. It’s hardly questionable to whether his feet were high and a potential danger when A) he’s hit Luci in the head and B) Luci went off injured.

I won’t moan about the ref too much though because in fairness, he didn’t have a bad game. There was a lot on the line for both teams and passions were running high and he controlled it pretty well overall. His most bewildering act of the game however was sending Tres off after being on the pitch for 20 seconds. I saw very little of what happened, but from the replays it really doesn’t look like Tres does anything?

In all, this was the kind of battle we expected. A scrappy contest with neither team giving the other an inch which would ultimately be decided by one moment of brilliance. In defeat, I was actually quite content. This was never a game we were likely to win, but what we did do was improve massively on recent performances. The players showed fight, desire and hunger which is what we’ve been sadly missing of late. If they can take that kind of play into the Swindon game, we’ll undoubtedly be smiling again on Saturday.

Unfortunately, events off the field totally overshadowed this game. Although I wasn’t in the centre of Norwich prior to kick-off, reports of our fans harrassing innocent passers-by doesn’t really surprise me given some of the stuff I did see around the stadium. I know the actions of these fans has risen from the frustration they’ve been feeling lately, but a lack of Police presence allowed certain individuals to go way too far in venting those frustrations.

This wasn’t football hooligans clashing with other hooligans. Whilst I would never condone that, it’s not something that particularly bothers me either. Hooligans are grown men kicking lumps out of other like-minded grown men. So long as it doesn’t affect the innocent general public, then what they do is none of my concern, but this wasn’t that kind of behaviour. It was a sizable portion of the Leeds United fanbase hurling abuse at anyone in the opposite colours, regardless of age and gender.

It reminded me of the pitch invasion a few years back at Elland Road where a small minority added weight to our terrible reputation. Whilst the majority of Elland Road was busy singing ‘you’re the scum of Elland Road’ to this minority, that isn’t what people remember of that day and those that condemned the Leeds United fans in Norwich won’t be the ones remembered from that day either. Instead, the actions of a few will ensure the ‘Dirty Leeds’ reputation never escapes us.

18 Responses

  1. Craig

    Although I wasn’t at the game (despite living 18 miles away and trying every trick to get a ticket) I managed to see it on P2P and this seems a fair reflection of the game. I assume the real thing wasn’t the jerky affair I caught on my screen!

    I have to say that I was proud of the lads and the performance made me wonder which pub team of look-alikes locked our regular professionals in the dressing room on Monday night. What’s more, surely Grella did enough to get himself in the starting line-up if Luci isn’t fit to face Swindon.

    Didn’t hear about the thuggery. Most Norwich fans I know have a soft spot for us and I hope this hasn’t changed their opinion.

    • Carl LUFC

      Hi Craig. A friend of mine is a Norwich fan and was in attendance with his two sons. He said they received abuse from the travelling Leeds fans in the city centre leaving his two kids terrified so what TSS has said is undoubtedly true. Frustrated or not there is no excuse for this.

      • Matt NCFC

        I’m afraid to say these types of reports have been appearing in the local Norwich press for the last few days. It seemed anyone in opposition colours was fair game, particularly on the way out from Carrow Road, and a lot of parents with kids stories.
        Not that there wasn’t also a fair few Norwich fans trying to wind the Leeds’ fans up on their route to the coaches.
        The comment about a lack of Police presence was very noticeable. The man in charge from Norfolk Constabulary was quoted in the press as saying they had everything under control, but he would say that wouldn’t he?!

      • TSS

        Hi Matt, I’m not surprised the off-the-field events are dominating the headlines. As you say, it did seem the Leeds fans weren’t fussy about who they were hurling abuse at, it really was appalling.

        Although it excuses nothing, the Police presence for such a massive clash was truly pathetic. I’ve been all over the country this season and a lack of Policing isn’t exactly uncommon, but these are generally games where you wouldn’t expect an element of trouble. In such a crucial match, it was pretty inevitable with passions running high on the Leeds side. It really does shock me that they demand such high levels of Policing at Elland Road, but everywhere else is free to dictate these matters themselves.

      • Christopher Riches

        Just to add, from the Norwich view, we know the majority aren’t like these idiots. Unfortunately, you kick them out or continue to be tarred by their antics. I’ve no particular problem with Leeds – as a team – but it comes to something when I’d rather Millwall (and their ‘fans’) were promoted, rather than the Peacocks! I chose not to buy tickets for my 8 & 6 year old sons, rather than risk what turned out to be an utterly predictable barrage of abuse!

        I agree – what like-minded hooligans choose to engage in – is regrettable, but between themselves. When ordinary fans are dragged into it we risk the return of the 70’s violence which engendered fencing and the treatment of all fans as scum.

        All the best for the rest of the season – but lose the ar5eh0le5 who ruin your fine football club!

      • Craig

        I certainly wasn’t doubting the truth of this report, just saying I hadn’t heard about it. I am saddened to hear this for the first time.

  2. Will

    The players were very much improved when we didn’t have the ball compared to all the room in the world we gave Millwall.

    Such defensive improvements will at least see us pick up several draws as, I suspect, we will continue to be uncreative.

    In possession, I remain unconvinced we can get the necessary forward momentum to regularly win games other than by some fortunate mistake by our remaining opponents – that cannot happen so frequently to generate the five wins or more required to finish second.

    On the ball, there remained a lack of co-ordination or even a comfortable pattern of play – each pass was hesitant or playing on probabilities, not precision; there is little moving into space and certainly no evidence the team were playing as a team, each knowing where another player would be free to receive the ball.

    In contrast, watching Southampton vs Carlisle, those two teams played naturally, making co-ordinated progress up the field towards the respective penalty areas, moving forward as a team, not as individuals as we are currently seeing with ourselves.

    It is hard to see how the team can find the extra gears they MUST find to finsih second.

    But, let’s hope the hard working off the ball ethic remains and we can find some scrappy 1-0 wins out of nothing.

  3. Mikelufc

    Michael Green gave a good report with llinks on
    Clarkonenil at the beginning of the week in his inimitable style
    whilst a number of Leeds fans were denying it and rubbishing Norwich posters.
    Probably the villains.

  4. Mikelufc

    Missed a bit….Leeds fans on Leedsmad, I blame either the red wine or the new iPhone

  5. Paul C

    I am always a bit puzzled by criticisms of the Police when there is disgraceful behaviour from fans.

    It is trotted out in either the ‘Too many Police’ or ‘Too few Police’ guises….too agressive or too passive , Make your mind up! The people responsible for such behaviour are the drunken louts who behave like animals. Please stop making excuses for them, they are responsible , nobody else!!

  6. Mje

    it seems the defensive changes worked well and the general closing down of Norwch was good. Larry seemed to have worked hard to sort out the problems from the Millwall display.

    We have lacked pace on the flanks all season and this contnues to be a big issue. The defenses of Southampton Millwall and Norwich are solid and need to be pressured by fast full backs and wingers. We rarely turn a defense and this is a problem as it would open up many option.

    Lets hope the progress continues against Swindon with a win which is much needed to give the team a boost and keep us at least on the same points as Millwall in the hope their run of good form comes to an end.

  7. Raph

    No wonder we have THAT nickname, dirty leeds. Am apauled at these so called fans. Whoever goes to q game to cause trouble should keep it amongst themselves.

  8. Chareose

    the only people who can truly stop them are other leeds fans, we need to shun anyone who brings our club into disrepute….

  9. Colin

    Is it me or are these leeds fans incidents on the increase?

    This happened against Millwall also – then it was a group of youths – was it the young fans creating this aggro also our was it a mixture of age ranges?

    I don’t think these actions have anything to do with the frustration caused by the recent results. I’m not being funny but the sort of person who harasses a bloke and his 2 kids just because they’re wearing Norwich shirts is a complete idiot as a person. Irrespective of what Leeds do (good times, bad times), that person is still an idiot. I’m pretty sure that these goons would still be harassing innocent people even if Leeds were top of the table.

  10. timm

    I’ve noticed a new breed of Leeds hooligan over the last 3 seasons, they’re really young & they don’t go to the home games. They walk down Elland road & stop outside the Mcdonalds at 5 o clock to wait for the away fans. I used to laugh to myself about them & think they’d run a mile if it kicked off, but then i saw them kicking the sh*t out of some lads & i changed my opinion. The worrying thing is that they have no fear of the coppers either. I totally agree with TSS re like minded blokes having a go with each other but i worry about this new breed. Regarding matters on the pitch, i’ll repeat what i said before, the minutes silence will unite us all & we won’t lose again all season. Kevin Speight & Chris Loftus will win us promotion!


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