Proper football starts again with Leeds away.
Leeds away on a Sunday. Stuart Attwell refereeing. We’ve been here before. You may well remember the last time these circumstances combined – in fact, we’ll never be allowed to forget them. Marcelo Bielsa acted with dignity and extreme sportmanship, apparently. What has been forgotten is that in the first half his team had been having a Revie-style seventies revival all of their own, one of our players had been kicked off the pitch then back on it and Bielsa had already been booked, with the possibility of a touchline ban to follow. All this was overlooked in the ensuing myriad of publicity. That was lucky, wasn’t it? And it kicked off one of those comedy one-way rivalries we manage to pick up so easily. Perhaps Leeds could have a word with Newcastle, or Wolves, or Bristol City.
Also lucky was the way Leeds managed to avoid relegation last season, which means we have to go to Elland Road instead of Burnley. There aren’t many places less preferable than Burnley but Elland Road’s one. Patrick Bamford’s still playing for them, so make sure there’s an ambulance handy in case any light breeze should blow up. Their manager’s an odd case who started his career in America before training and managing a load of Red Bull franchises. Because he isn’t a ‘character’ like Bielsa the media don’t love him yet, so he got a touchline ban of his own the other week. Their supporters haven’t changed.
We’ve got the usual array of new player injuries, together with a few old player ones, although they managed to have a week off without any of them getting involved in any further dramas. What the team will look like is anyone’s guess but please, a bit of balance in midfield and no players shoehorned in for the sake of it. We’ve got a good record at Elland Road lately and a not very good record away everywhere else this season, so one will cancel out the other. Make of everything else what you will.