'I shouldn't do it' - pundit's confession as 'unprofessional' Leeds United commentary goes viral

I shouldn’t do it, I shouldn’t scream over Bryn Law when Leeds United score massive, late goals like that - it’s very unprofessional, but I just can’t help it.

By Tony Dorigo
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 7:21 am

When the ball came out to Diego Llorente, I was screaming at him not to shoot. Thankfully, he didn’t and instead found Joe Gelhardt and what followed was amazing.

In the first half there was some good play from Gelhardt and also sometimes when he lost the ball and did things that were a little bit too risky - but that’s why he ended up doing something like he did in those last minutes.

For him to sit Lewis Dunk down on his backside, flick it over, and then still have the composure just to get it across the goal, with the pressure on at that stage of the game, was fantastic.

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And Pascal Struijk, who almost got knocked out a few minutes earlier, somehow had the wherewithal to be at the back post to head it in. It was an incredible goal. Cue craziness in the stands and screams from me on commentary, which is kind of normal, but it was just amazing. It really was.

It was huge, because there’s no doubt that the second half was better and the first half was pretty poor. Our passing just didn’t seem to click and, somehow, some way, it’s just by mental fortitude that we dragged ourselves up and at least stayed within a chance of a result.

They had chances too, to score plenty more than the one that they did, but how vital that goal is we won’t know until the end. It felt pretty important, simply because it puts the onus back on Burnley. The ball is in their court; they have to go and get some points somehow. And not only that, it gave everyone hope and belief that there still could be a positive outcome at the end of the season.

I’m fully invested, like a fan is, in the team and when I commentate on Leeds I can really just go with it. Everything else that I do has to be very controlled and I don’t show any bias. I do that, no problems at all. But when I do Leeds, it’s nice that I can be a bit more ‘me’. There’s so much feeling. It’s nice when I get the fans’ reaction that, at that moment, I’m exactly like them. They’re right, I am. So the commentary for Stuart Dallas' winner at Manchester City or Gelhardt's winner against Norwich, those are the moments when it comes out.

THE MOMENT - Tony Dorigo's commentary of this Pascal Struijk goal for Leeds United once again captured the imagination of Whites fans. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe

I was screaming to get the ball back after that because there are still minutes to go. We’re all celebrating and I get that but we’re wasting another 60 seconds or so that, you never know, we might have used that time to score.

Before the game, it was lovely to see some of the old boys back again, from ’72 and my team from ’92. We wondered if our presence on the pitch and greeting the lads as they got ready to go out would have the opposite effect to the one we wanted; we just weren’t sure. It was wonderful for the ex-players just to get out on the pitch and feel that atmosphere from the middle, again. As we’re going back into the tunnel, to be able to go up and give them a fist pump and say good luck, was really great. There were a lot of pumped-up, concentrated faces. Hopefully, it gave them some inspiration.

There’s no doubt we started well, although it’s such a ‘Leeds thing’ to have Gelhardt sending one goalwards only to hit Liam Cooper in the face. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the replay.

After that, Brighton took over, went ahead and then, of course, as time ticked away, after the late substitutions, supporters vented their anger. There’s so much pressure and frustration around the place that I think it’s only natural. I really felt for Rodrigo because there was a stage in the first half when he gave the ball away four or five times on the run. I said on commentary, he’s just got to make his next pass a two-yard one, make it, get it back and try to build confidence from there, but he kept trying to find difficult passes and you could hear the crowd reacting. Fans are human as well and their frustrations come out in that way. I didn’t hear much of that after the goal went in and, suddenly, things looked very different, and that’s just part of football for players, owners and fans.

Whatever happens in the next week, there will be, I think, quite marked changes in the summer. How far that goes, I don’t know, but you can just sense that the club is at a crossroads for lots of things. But the important thing now is to put everything like that on the backburner. The whole focus of energy and thoughts has to go towards this one game. Jesse Marsch’s job is to keep everything else pushed aside, anything that isn’t positive, for this one game at Brentford. That’s his sole job. I think he’ll get that done and the players will show their spirit. They might not be showing wonderfully fluid football that we’ve seen before, but spirit is what they always show. They’ve got guts and they dig in when things go wrong. It’s easy to waver at times like this, but our boys haven’t done that.

Marsch has to set them up to go and win on Sunday. It’s not a gung-ho thing but it’s important that our plans are to contain and control Brentford and to go and score and win.

It’s not a case of trying to put loads of attackers on - it has to be done in the right manner - but there has to be a lot of thought given to the end product, scoring and winning. That’s vital.

I hope to be screaming in commentary one last time this season as Leeds United win it and stay up.