Either Leeds United recently employed a Leprechaun to administer huge doses of luck when all hope seems lost or I’m at a total loss to explain today’s events.

For the first hour or so, Leeds United were second best. Behind thanks to an Andy Lonergan blunder and incapable of stringing half a dozen passes together, there was no creativity, no inspirational leading figure and absolutely no chance we were going to take anything from this game. In short, there was no belief – not from the players and certainly not from the fans.

It was painful to watch. As news spread that Robert Snodgrass has ended contract talks with the club, citing a lack of ambition and broken promises as his reasoning, the cries of the dissidents were understandable. What we were witnessing was the death of a football club.

The seven year long asset-stripping, under-financed reign of Ken Bates had clearly taken it’s toll. The fans had lost faith and the players had too. As easy as it is to point to Simon Grayson’s tactics and failure to motivate when your team is struggling, there is little anyone can do in this situation. All the tactical wizardry in the world won’t change the fact our players have lost all faith in the club itself.

Ken Bates had his say of course, pointing to a £2m overspend on the club’s £9m “transfer budget”. The only problem with Ken Bates’ definition of a transfer budget is that it’s actually our wage budget, but we’ll cover that wonderfully crafted piece of misdirection in a separate post (now published here).

Anyway, as one man’s yawn contagiously spread around The Kop, the epically proportioned bit of luck Leeds United required started with Alex McCarthy who was sent off for handling outside the box. This seemed an incredibly basic error for such a hugely talented goalkeeper to make, leaving some fans to question which side he was playing for – had he taken pity on us?

That was followed by Ipswich Town’s centre-back passing the ball to Robert Snodgrass who must have felt embarrassed by the charitable equaliser he was allowed to slot home. 1-1.

Soon after that, Ross McCormack put Leeds ahead as Ipswich Town’s replacement goalkeeper got caught in two minds making it far too easy for Leeds’ top goalscorer to add a second. Paul Jewell’s defence had crumbled and his team were masters of their own downfall. 2-1

That just left Luciano Becchio to round things off and bring an end to the most bizarre twenty five minutes of football you’re ever likely to see. Even Paul Rachubka’s meltdown paled by comparison as this had spread throughout Ipswich’s entire team almost instantaneously.

In summing up this match, words fail me. The only way I can describe it is that this could be the only time in the history of professional football where a team has won 3-1 and their highest player rating was 4/10 – and even then I think I may have been generous.

Finally, the comedy on display almost overshadowed the dissident protests. Large numbers of fans gathered before the match to call for an end to Ken Bates’ reign and there was no real let up inside Elland Road either. The chants were a common theme, banners found their way in and stewards ejected some fans as tensions rose.

Despite the result this was a dark, but nonetheless necessary day for Leeds United. Seven years since Ken Bates “saved us” (from administration I presume…? oh wait…) our homegrown club captain has been sold and Robert Snodgrass is looking set to follow. At the start of this season our optimism was based on the midfield trio of Max Gradel, Jonny Howson and Robert Snodgrass.

Two down, one to go…

New feature: Rate the players v Ipswich Town here

Photo Credit: Alex Knight Photography