Millwall 1-0 Leeds United (Sat 16th September 2017)

Just an awful performance. The only worse in recent years have been the complete capitulation games. The only good point was some decent defending and goalkeeping. The biggest concern is that Millwall have now laid a blueprint for teams to follow on how to beat us. Birmingham was a portent for this - we didn’t look like we liked being harried and bullied on Tuesday, and Millwall stepped it up a notch today. How do you think Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich are going to play next Sat?
This is a crucial point for Christiansen and his team - what have they learned and how do they respond? More importantly, can they respond? There are only two options against teams like Millwall - match them or outplay them. For the latter, you still need a bit of the first, and you need to play with precision and pace and we played with absolutely neither today.
The team selection was wrong also, and looked it from the outset - Hernandez, Saiz and Alioski were all too lightweight, they were like under 10s trying to play against under 15s. Yeah they have far more technical skill, but the physicality knocked them completely off of their games. Without them, Lassoga was isolated. O’Kane and Phillips rans their socks off, but they looked outmanned and outgunned and, in the end, out on their feet. A lot of players looked in need of a rest.
Jansson was having his usual good game but completely fluffed it for the goal. Ayling put in possibly his worst performance in a white shirt, and Anita showed that while comfortable on the ball and joining in attacks, when he is faced with a good winger he is a right footed midfielder playing at left back. On the plus side, Shaughnessy continues to look good enough for this level.
Dallas tried but his delivery let him down, and Roofe offered nothing but running down cul-de-sacs. As much as we need to rotate, I questioned his being benched for the Brum game. He was in the form of his life and his confidence was visably growing. Alioski on the other hand leaves a lot to be desired. He has played well in a Leeds shirt twice. I had my doubts after the first three games, he silenced them at Sunderland and Forest, but he was poor today and was our worst player against Brum. I honestly think today was a day for Sacko. Is he injured? I know how limited he is, but we really could have done with his pace and direct running as an outlet.
Weidwald made some good saves, but also some blunders. He was lucky the flag went up for Morison’s goal, because that was a colossal cockup. We know about his play with the ball at his feet, but he had to show today, for the first time, other facets of his game. He looked a decent shot stopper with good reflexes, but it also looks clear he could not catch a cold. He conceded more than one corner by parrying a routine catch.
To be positive - what a start to the season, absolutely brilliant. But chapter one closed today, and chapter two begins with Ipswich on Saturday. Forget Burnley, a lot of players look in a need of a rest, and the likes of Vieira, Klich and Cibicki should be champing at the bit to stake a claim.
I hope TC learned today about horses for courses. I love Hernandez and Saiz - look at our performance against Burton, we showed what we can do. And any thoughts of “it was only Burton” have to be tempered by the fact they have had two fine results since. But really good managers look at the opposition and take into account their strengths and weaknesses. We’re not good enough (and I don’t think any team at this level is) to simply feel we can play our way and have it our way all the time. We had to dig in against Birmingham, so we can do it, but today was like a continuation of that performance minus the good parts.


Leeds United - Top Ten Goals 2011/2012

Leeds United Top Ten Goals 2011-12
from Simon Cranston on Vimeo.

This is my top ten Leeds goals of the 2011/2012 season. The goals are:

10 - Robert Snodgrass (2nd Goal VS Burnley (A))
9 - Andy Keogh (VS Peterborough United (A))
8 - Adam Clayton (VS West Ham United (A))
7 - Jonny Howson (VS Nottingham Forest(A))
6 - Robert Snodgrass (1st Goal VS Millwall (H))
5 - Adam Clayton (VS Doncaster Rovers (H))
4 - Luciano Becchio (VS Doncaster Rovers (H))
3 - Ross McCormack (1st Goal VS Brighton & Hove Albion (A))
2 - Ross McCormack (VS Doncaster Rovers (A))
1 - Adam Clayton (VS Leicester City (A))

Footage courtesy of LUTV & Sky, made using Apple iMovie '11


Robbie Fowler - His Leeds Goals

A video I made showing all of Robbie Fowler's goals for Leeds United...

Footage courtesy of Sky, ITV, BBC, Leeds United Season Review 2001-02 VHS tape & Leeds United Season Review 2002-03 DVD; made using Apple iMovie '11.


Mark Viduka - A Tribute

Mark Viduka Tribute by LeedsUnitedVideos

A video I made showcasing some of Mark Viduka's best moments in a Leeds shirt...

Footage courtesy of Sky, ITV, BBC, Leeds United Season Review 2001-02 VHS tape & Leeds United Season Review DVDs (2001-02 & 2002-03 seasons, & 2004-05 season bonus disc); made using Apple iMovie '11.


Ian Harte - A Tribute

Ian Harte Trubute by LeedsUnitedVideos

A video I made showcasing some of Ian Harte's best moments in a Leeds shirt...

Footage courtesy of Sky, ITV, BBC, Leeds United Season Review VHS tapes (1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-00 & 2000-01 seasons), Leeds United Season Review DVDs (2001-02 & 2002-03 seasons, & 2004-05 season bonus disc) & Leeds United: 100 Greatest Goals DVD; made using Apple iMovie '11.


Leeds United - The Late Show

Leeds United - The Late Show by LeedsUnitedVideos

A video I made compiling some of the goals scored by Leeds United over the years that have snatched a result late on in games.

Footage courtesy of LUTV, Sky, BBC, ITV and various Leeds United Season Review VHS tapes & DVDs; made using Apple iMovie '11.


Robert Snodgrass - A Second Tribute

Another video I made showcasing some of Robert Snodgrass's best moments in a Leeds shirt...

Footage courtesy of LUTV; made using Apple iMovie '11.


Lee Chapman - A Tribute

A video I made showcasing some of Lee Chapman's best moments in a Leeds shirt...

Footage courtesy of Sky, ITV, BBC, Leeds United - The Second Coming - 1989/90 Champions DVD & Leeds United Season Review VHS tapes (1990-91, 1991-92 & 1992-93 seasons); made using Apple iMovie '11.


Gary Speed - 1969-2011

As I woke on Sunday morning I reached out, as I always do, to my bedside table to check my phone. I had an e-mail from YouTube - “Comment posted on your video ‘Gary Speed Tribute’”. The comment simply said ‘R.I.P. Gary’. My initial thought was “what the hell does that mean?” The possibility that Speed was dead didn’t even register with me, despite the comment being as blatant as it possibly could be.

As I got up and headed to the shower my mind cleared and the gravity of the comment hit me - R.I.P. Gary. Hold on a minute - could Speed be dead? I immediately grabbed my phone again and typed the words “Gary Speed” into a Google search. Ignoring the first result, which was actually a news story about that mornings breaking tragedy, my eyes were instinctively drawn to the second result - Gary Speed’s Wikipedia entry. There, in a preview of the article itself, were the words: Gary Andrew Speed, MBE (8 September 1969 – 27 November 2011) was a Welsh football player and manager.

I was stunned. Gary Speed was dead. My immediate instinct was to call my dad, the man who steered me from a young age towards following Leeds United. He hadn’t yet wakened so hadn't heard. I informed him of the news and as I hung up the phone I tried to compose myself. What had happened? My immediate thought was a tragic car accident or something similar. Certainly not anything sinister. Further internet investigation revealed the truth. For the rest of Sunday, and everyday since to be honest; my thoughts haven’t strayed far from Gary Speed.

As a child I remember vividly the Christmas of 1993. Squad numbers and names on shirts had become the new thing in football and I was delighted to wake up on Christmas morning to my shiny new white Leeds home shirt. And on the back? Only one choice: Speed 11. In fact on the street I grew up on, in a small Northern Irish town, there were two other kids - brothers - that supported Leeds. They too had ‘Speed 11’ on their shirts. Why Speed? To us he was the superstar of the team, the young, handsome, home-grown winger, capable of scoring spectacular goals and always giving 100%. In that famous midfield quartet of Strachan, McAllister, Batty and Speed, the latter two were the old heads, the responsible players, the players your dad related too. David Batty's role was difficult for a small child to appreciate. His game centred around crunching tackles and he scored few goals. He was unglamorous. Speed was the young maverick. Arguments would inevitably ensue as to who got to “be” Gary Speed when we had a kick about.

It’s a hobby of mine to compile video tributes to my favourite Leeds players past and present. Just last week I compiled one for Gary Speed. Going back through all that old footage was wonderful - from “go on Gary Speed, get one yourself son” through to his final season at Leeds, reliving those childhood memories is a big reason why I enjoy making those videos so much. From 305 views before the news broke of Speed’s death, the current view count sits at just north of 222,000. That is the measure of people that have been affected by his passing. The heart-felt comments left on the video range from the clubs he played for to their biggest rivals. Leeds and Manchester United, Everton and Liverpool. Why? Because Gary Speed was the kind of player any supporter would have wanted in their team. He wasn't quite world-class, but he could hold his own on any pitch and he always gave his all. He was never in the front pages of the papers. He was never even really a player talked about much. He was simply a constant, something taken for granted. Gary Speed’s name would always be on the team sheet, and he would always give 100%.

On Tuesday night in Nottingham the travelling Leeds support gave Gary the send-off he deserved. The chanting of his name sent shivers down my spine as I listened on the radio. The players also responded with a top class performance. The timing of the first goal, just as the 11 minutes of non-stop chanting of his name ended; was like something out of a fairytale. Today I booked flights I can’t really afford so that I can be at Elland Road this Saturday. Win, lose or draw I just have to be there so that I can chant the name of Gary Speed alongside my fellow Leeds supporters. I have never wanted to attend any game as much in my life.

It’s hard to explain why the death of a footballer has had such a profound affect on me. It’s hard to understand myself. Gary Speed was part of a Leeds team that delivered, a team I was in awe of as a small child. A team that has not been bettered since. The life of a football supporter, especially a Leeds one; can be a heartbreaking and cynical experience. In this day and age players come and go with such frequency an emotional bond is hard to establish between them and the fans. In 1992, with the advent of Sky, football changed forever. The days of the same group of players staying together under one manager over a prolonged period of years is gone. Testimonials are a thing of the past. Gary Speed broke into the Leeds team in 1988 and stayed there until 1996. To think he also served seven years at Newcastle is pretty remarkable.

As a child my VHS tape of the 1991/1992 title winning season was almost worn out because I watched it that much. In adulthood it is viewed with less frequency but still at least a couple of times a year. Last night I watched it and the feeling of nostalgic joy I usually get from it was tinged with sadness. I suspect this will now forevermore be the case. On Sunday 27th November 2011 Gary Speed chose to end his own life. The reasons why may never be revealed or understood. All I know is that with him died a very important piece of my childhood. But, tainted as they are with sadness, the memories live on and for me they always will. For that, Gary Speed, I thank you. Rest in peace.


Mel Sterland - A Tribute

A video I made showcasing some of Mel Sterland's best moments in a Leeds shirt...

Footage courtesy of ITV, BBC, Leeds United - The Second Coming - 1989/90 Champions DVD & Leeds United Season Review VHS tapes (1990-91 & 1991-92 seasons); made using Apple iMovie '11.