Match day started at Leeds City Square where hundreds of disillusioned fans gathered to campaign against Ken Bates’ ongoing reign of terror. “Bates Out” chants were echoed repeatedly as the 800+ strong army of Whites fans marched towards Elland Road, determined to make their voices heard.

The numbers involved make it hard for anyone to dismiss the overwhelming feeling of disillusionment shared by almost the entire Leeds United fan base. This wasn’t a march of some thuggish youngsters looking to cause trouble, it was a group of concerned, mostly season ticket holding, lifelong Leeds United supporters who had simply had enough. They’d ran out of options, and in LUST, they’d found someone willing to speak for the majority. A banner under whose name the Leeds United fans could be represented.

Of course, this is but a small minority of fans who feel they’ve been pushed to extremes, and numerically speaking they only account for around 5% of yesterdays attendance. They’re the ones that feel inaction is no longer an option, but the feeling of disillusionment is not confined to those on the protest march. A recent poll on the Yorkshire Evening Post website, impossible to dismiss simply because of the numbers involved shows 84% blame Bates for the current league position. It was even more damning before the YEP changed the poll from “Who do you blame for the current situation at Elland Road?” to it’s current wording – at that stage 92% said they held Bates responsible.

The irony of the Leeds United fans protests was hard to ignore. We were marching to a stadium where we intended to hand over large sums of money to the man we were protesting against for wasting our large sums of money. It was money we knew would have no effect on the underfunded team we were all there to try and support. The unavoidable reality is, those of us marching continue to fund the ongoing madness. It’s a bit like the American’s providing whichever oil-rich-third-world-country they decide to go to war with next with weapons and ammo.

But football is a bizarre world, only here can customers be regularly abused and keep coming back for more .Our irrational sense of loyalty doesn’t allow for an alternative.

After the protests ended, there was the small matter of a football match to turn our attention towards. Neil Redfearn had stuck with the same team that played Bristol City and the same kind of performance followed. Only this time, two red cards wouldn’t come to our rescue.

A strong penalty shout was about all The Whites could muster in an instantly forgettable first half. Robert Snodgrass was being doubled up on down the right wing and Aidy White wasn’t having much more joy down the left. Leeds lacked a certain creativity, an unpredictable spark that could turn a game on it’s head in an instant – a Max Gradel for example?

If you think I’m summarising a little too much, the sum total of attacking threat during the first half was Adam Smith forcing a save just before half-time, two wayward attempts on goal by an out-of-sorts Luciano Becchio and a long range strike from Brighton that was saved by Andy Lonergan. Aside from Ross McCormack’s penalty shout, that was it. Leeds were posing no real threat in the final third, nor were Brighton.

The second half saw a slight improvement, but more for Brighton than it was Leeds. Andy Lonergan made a couple of strong saves, most notable of which was a great reactionary save to deny former Leeds loanee Sam Vokes from close range. Leeds picked up a little from there and created a couple of half chances, but it was substitute Craig Mackail-Smith that opened the scoring with just 15 minutes remaining. 0-1.

As I’d predicted moments earlier, Becchio was the one to restore parity for The Whites. Often seems to be the case with Luciano that when he’s looking a little below par, he pops up with a crucial goal. It was an instant response from Leeds with the Argentinian heading home a Robert Snodgrass corner. 1-1, and two teams with a habit of scoring injury time winners were heading for a show-down.

Four minutes added on but the visitors wouldn’t need them. Adam Navarro scored in the first minute of stoppage time and the response from Leeds was largely non-existent. The late flurry of attacks we’ve relied on (and indeed secured a lot of our points from) this season was nowhere to be seen – that was perhaps the only noticeable difference between the final few performances under Simon Grayson and the Neil Redfearn brand of football. Well, that and his reluctance to make a substitution.

A poor game overall with Leeds getting exactly what they deserved. That’s not to say Brighton performed much better, they were equally poor if anything, but as the home side, Leeds should really be looking to dominate these fixtures and they failed to do so. Had Leeds been in control and were simply caught twice on the break, then fair enough, but they weren’t. At no point throughout the fixture did Brighton look under intense, or even moderate pressure from Leeds. They just turned up and took their chances without any noticeable battle in between.

I don’t want to sound overly critical of Neil Redfearn because he’s in the job for the next two games and I’ll give a fair chance to whoever is managing the team – whether it’s on a temporary or permanent basis. But it’s hard to see what he did differently from Simon Grayson? If anything, Grayson would have probably won this with a late flurry, Brighton were there for the taking and we were void of any attacking threat.

More concerning still is Redfearn’s post-match comments where the caretaker manager points to ongoing problems with the defence, fails to mention our lack of any discernible attacking ideas and then states we didn’t deserve to lose. Sorry Neil, but we did. And it’s this kind of pandering that excuses poor performances, the message to the players is “unlucky” as opposed to “not good enough” – which it damn well wasn’t!

It was an almost sleep-inducing performance of the worst possible quality without an end result. If the plan is to go out and win every game 1-0, then fair enough, I can handle the depressing George Graham-esque football if it gets us promoted. But Redfearn’s comments when he took charge were that he knew what the problems were and was confident he could fix them. Nothing has changed!

“Back to the drawing board” was Redfearn’s response. No Neil, it’s back to the youth team!

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