The YEP jury have their say ahead of Leeds United’s final league game of the season against Derby County at Elland Road.
This year celebrates 40 years since Leeds United went to Loftus Road, home of Queens Park Rangers to claim the Football League Championship for the second time in the club’s history.
It was the first trophy I’d seen Leeds win in my first season as a proper supporter. Forward to one of the most miserable seasons in recent years, 21 defeats so far and nine at Elland Road, with so much to write about and all for the wrong reasons.
Tomorrow the curtain falls with the visit of Derby County. The midlands club are in the play-off semi-finals. The Rams have, incredibly, won the last 10 games against us, the latest being at Pride Park where many of the under-performing Leeds players showed very little pride at all. Steve McClaren inherited a very young and good squad from Nigel Clough. They include Will Hughes certainly one of the best midfielders outside the Premiership. With the forthcoming play-off games due next week, McClaren might rest a few key players.
Well my friends, my last trip to Elland Road this season beckons and I’m pretty sure that a great deal of the squad will be changed before another ball is kicked at the ‘Theatre of Hope’.
Whether or not Brian McDermott remains in charge of the team as a coach only a certain Italian will decide that. I’m hoping that Leeds can give the fans the send-off they so richly deserve with a hard-earned win – plus Ross McCormack grabbing a goal to complete a 30-goal haul for the season.
I’m going to finish this preview with my end-of-season awards to try and put a little cheer into the season’s epitaph.
Best player of the season: Ross McCormack, 29 goals so far is a fantastic return from the Scottish international. Captain Fantastic.
Most improved player: Jason Pearce, the best defender we have at the club and more than once he put his body on the line.
Best signing: Matt Smith. The youngster deserves credit for the goals he’s scored. Always offers a different option and will continue to improve with time.
Best youngster: Alex Mowatt, came in at Doncaster and never looked back. Skill and a great touch. One definitely for the future of the club.
Best goal: Luke Murphy, the winner in the first game. Incredible scenes afterwards.
Loyalty award: Every fan who put his or her hand in their pocket, week in week out to follow this club. I salute every one of you.
Prediction: Leeds United 2 Derby County 1.
LEEDS United bring down the curtain on another Championship season with a home game against perennial bogey side Derby County tomorrow.
Including a League Cup tie in 2008 the Whites have lost an amazing 11 successive matches against the Rams with their last victory way back in 2005 under the stewardship of Kevin Blackwell!
The visitors, courtesy of Steve McClaren, have already secured third place and a place in the end of season play-offs, whilst United have won three of their last four league matches, albeit against sides battling at the other end of the table.
The game earlier this season saw Derby comfortably take the three points with a 3-1 victory and they have some significant talent within their ranks, including Will Hughes who may well be playing in the Premier League next season, irrespective of how his club fares in the lottery of the play-offs.
Ross McCormack, fresh from being named in the PFA Championship Team of the Season, still requires one more goal to notch 30 for the season and his contribution stands out like a beacon from a very dark season indeed.
Some might think the visitors will be taking it easy with their forthcoming play-off matches ahead; however they have won their last five matches on the bounce and an impressive seven of their last nine.
After a thoroughly miserable season the loyal hordes deserve a final performance and at least the honour of being the highest placed Yorkshire team in the division, which a point would guarantee.
Here’s to next season!
Prediction: Leeds United 2 Derby County 2.
It’s the last game of the season so let’s end our losing streak against a team that has played some attractive football and deserve to go up via the play-offs.
It would be nice to close this manic season with a win and some optimism.
Prediction: Leeds United 1 Derby County 0.
Another disappointing season for Leeds United finally comes to an end tomorrow as we entertain Derby, who have already secured a play-off spot.
Steve McClaren and his players could have one eye on their two-legged semi-final coming up, which might allow us to go out on a high.
Having broken our hoodoo at Barnsley and Birmingham could we put one over the Rams? They have won the last 10 meetings and the rivalry can be traced back to the Brian Clough and Don Revie days.
Ross McCormack has one more chance to join the likes of Tom Jennings, John Charles, Lee Chapman and Jermaine Beckford in the list of 30 goals in a season.
Prediction: Leeds United 2 Derby County 1.
The visitors tomorrow have promotion on their minds and one eye on the play-offs. For Leeds it will be a last hurrah for many of this squad. Massimo Cellino will ensure another turbulent summer, but one that sees an influx of talent make Leeds competitive next season.
Prediction: Leeds United 1 Derby County 2.
Saturday, February 11, 2006 – the last time Leeds played against Derby and avoided defeat.
Alex Mowatt was two days away from his 11th birthday. London was seven months into planning an Olympics that are now two years behind us.
Jermaine Beckford was fitting windscreens and scoring for Wealdstone in his spare time.
For me, this has been the worst season in 17 years.
Even the relegation seasons gave us times of hope. Now all we have left to play for is to put an end to this wretched run against a Rams side who could have one eye on next week’s play offs.
prediction: Leeds United 2 Derby County 2.