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Leeds United Down To The Wire

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Leeds United: Down To The Wire

So, nine months after Leeds United opened this incredible season against Exeter at Elland Road last August, United face their 70th game of the campaign on Saturday with everything still to play for.

It’s all come down to the final 90 minutes of the League One campaign and on Saturday afternoon at Elland Road Leeds will take on Bristol Rovers knowing that a win will see United take their place in the Championship next season and anything else will likely put Simon Grayson’s men in yet another play-off battle.

Last Saturday at the Valley saw gift horse number umpteen kicked in the mouth, as Leeds were presented with another golden opportunity, this time being only one goal away from wrapping up promotion. United pressed for a winner against Charlton that would have guaranteed Championship football next season, safe in the knowledge that Millwall were losing to relegation-threatened Tranmere, thanks to goals from ex-Leeds striker Ian Moore and on-loan United midfielder Andy Robinson.

Simon Grayson, to his credit, recognised this, throwing on five strikers, but United could not fashion any chances in the second half and were undone by a sucker punch when Richard Naylor headed into his own net with three minutes remaining.

A bright start from United gave way to a disappointing second-half performance, as the loudest cheers from the Leeds end in south London and also the 6,000 fans at Elland Road who watched the game on the big screen came from news of Tranmere’s goals at Prenton Park.

Thanks to our new scouse best friends, United’s loss doesn’t really change things going into this weekend; a win and we’re in. Elland Road sold out weeks ago, so Bristol Rovers will face a frenzied 38,000 capacity crowd in what is essentially another play-off final for United. With four other teams still harbouring dreams of second spot, anything less than three points will surely not be enough.

This also means yet another stressful week waiting for Saturday afternoon to roll by. This season is surely lowering the life expectancy of United’s fans and we’d be amazed if the divorce rates in West Yorkshire haven’t spiked since Christmas. Lord knows what will happen if we have to go down the play-off route again. Why do we do it to ourselves?

Over the next few of days it’s a case of crossing everything, wearing your lucky pants or whatever your superstitions are and trying not to upset any colleagues, friends and family that don’t understand the emotional mixer that being a Leeds fan at this time of year is all about. The result of the general election may well be second place for many Loiners, at least until 5pm on Saturday (unless, of course, the pro-United party We Beat The Scum 1-0 party upset the odds in Leeds Central on Thursday!).

So bring your best singing voices to Elland Road this weekend and we’ll all cheer the lads across the line. Marching on together!

Leeds fan Joe Mewis runs football history website On This Football Day and Elland Road regular Mark Fletcher runs beer reviews website Real Ale Reviews

Posted on Wednesday 5th May 2010

Leeds United FC

Elland Road, Leeds, LS11 OES

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