Leeds United Jury: The ‘buzz’ at Elland Road conjures up a ‘unique feeling of belonging’

Leeds United fans celebrate outside Elland Road after winning the title in 1992.
Leeds United fans celebrate outside Elland Road after winning the title in 1992.
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Our YEP Jury discuss whether they have renewed their season tickets, why Elland Road is so special to them and whether Leeds United can beat Bolton Wanderers today.

DAVID WATKINS

Leeds United fans at Reading.

Leeds United fans at Reading.

There was never any question of me not renewing my home and away season tickets for next season – disappointing as this campaign has been – it’s just what I do! Every Leeds game is an event in itself and it’s still a great buzz meeting up with fellow fans and sharing whatever the game throws up.

In any case, it’s a brave decision for any Leeds fan to decide not to renew; after all we’ve been through how bad would we feel if we missed out on the one season we do finally get promoted? Now that would be heartbreak!

I’m not sure if supporting any other team is anything like supporting Leeds or not but there is a certain togetherness and unique understanding of what it is to ‘be Leeds’ that binds all Leeds fans together. As the song goes, ‘We’ve been through it all together’ the ups and the downs.

And I think it’s that unique feeling of belonging to a group that has seen so many highs and lows that helps create the Elland Road atmosphere which, if anything, has been getting more intense as we now sense some sort of a plan for the future. They do say that the joy of victory is ultimately more intense the more difficult that victory is to achieve. Our promotion party will, one day, be the party to end all parties!

Elland Road will be full again for the visit of Bolton thanks in no small measure to the ‘bring-a-friend-for-free’ offer. It is another fabulous opportunity for the club to ensure that many of those new to Elland Road will come back if we can just give them a rip-roaring game to savour.

I’m in the camp that has seen some signs of improvement under Paul Heckingbottom and I believe, mistakes apart, we were the better side against both Reading and Wednesday.

It is vital though to now prove that Hecky can stop those errors and post a much-needed three points on the board.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Bolton Wanderers 1.

MATTHEW EVANS

Every year there’s this little charade that I go through with Leeds United. As I write this, I still haven’t renewed my season ticket and I doubt I will until the very last minute.

‘Make them sweat’ is probably the theory, but there’s nothing more certain about a year in my life than the renewal period will open up and I’ll throw yet more cash at the perpetual disappointment that is Leeds United Football Club.

Why? Because there’s no place like Elland Road.

The ritual of turning up every week is great for keeping in touch with friends and family and, as the latest in a line of United fans, it remains a comforting link to my past and loved ones who are no longer around. Like a rubbish share trader, I am heavily invested, in up to my neck, and patiently waiting for an increase in the club’s stock where all my efforts will be rewarded.

I’ll be there again today, watching a meaningless game with Bolton Wanderers, dreaming of the day back in August when the reverse fixture held such promise.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Bolton Wanderers 1.

KEITH INGHAM

Today the opportunity to save a few quid on renewing your season ticket ends. I won’t be one of them.

Not being able to go to as many games as I’d like to because of work commitments is one reason, but another is my patience is being severely stretched because of another season that promised so much but delivered more disappointment.

I’m as much ‘Leeds’ as many and have been for more than 40 years, but I need to see an ambitious but believable plan before I commit my hard-earned wages to Andrea Radrizzani’s coffers.

He said we had a top-six squad but he was well wide of the mark with that comment. The players he and Victor Orta bought, except a few, just weren’t up to the job.

Bolton Wanderers roll into Leeds 11 today and a full house is expected, thanks to the offer of giving season-ticket holders the ‘bring-a-friend’ to the game.

I’m taking my granddaughter. It’s only the second Leeds game she’s ever seen.

Wanderers sit too close for comfort to the relegation zone but have seen an upsurge in their form. They have lost only once in the last six games, a 3-1 defeat to local rivals and play-off hopefuls Preston.

Before the international break they beat Aston Villa 1-0 at the Macron Stadium and, by all accounts, have been performing well for manager Phil Parkinson.

Leeds, on the other hand, have only one win in eight games under new head coach Paul Heckingbottom. Admittedly, his first six were difficult games against teams in or around the top six, but only one point against Reading and Sheffield Wednesday have already made a few fans doubt the appointment of the new head coach already.

The one good thing at Elland Road is the form of the under-18s and under-23s. Both teams have had impressive results recently. There may still be a chance that a few of these youngsters will get a first-team chance before the season ends.

Hopefully, Leeds can put recent indifferent displays behind them and we can actually win a game for a change.

Elland Road is still a special place, despite the years of ‘ups and downs’ and when it’s ‘rocking’ there are not many grounds that can match it.

The games against Millwall and Bristol City were incredible to witness; during these games the player’s were on their proverbial backsides in both games.

The fans took matters into their own hands and in both games the turnaround on the pitch was partly, if not majorly, down to their superb support.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Bolton Wanderers 0.

MIKE GILL

As usual, I renewed my Leeds United season ticket at the first opportunity.

Having been exiled from my home city for nearly 50 years, it is only in the last 10 or so that I have been able to buy a season ticket and make the 400-mile round trip to Elland Road every other week of the season.

I consider it a privilege because every trip brings back so many memories.

My first visit was just after we had sold John Charles, who seemed like our only hope at the time.

Relegation followed a couple of seasons later.

We signed a certain old ‘has-been’ player from Sunderland called Don Revie, who never contributed much on the field but somehow persuaded the club to give him the manager’s job.

To have been a part of what followed this still thrills me.

As to the Bolton Wanderers game at Elland Road this afternoon?

The result is important but not as important as being there.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Bolton Wanderers 0.

SHAUN SMITH

I predicted a 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday and was spot on – morally. I got the right goals but not necessarily in the right order.

Leeds, incredulously, lost that game, proving that there is no order in the universe. All is chaos, all is unpredictable. One can only move into the realms of faith. The Dalai Lama recommends we maintain a warm heart to find happiness. I do wish, though, that we would find a huge ‘nasty streak’ at Elland Road.

I shall keep the faith and I have ALREADY renewed my season ticket. Will it bring me happiness? Who can predict? Whatever it brings I shall share the experience with thousands of others for we are Leeds, Leeds is me and we share in something that approaches a spiritual experience.

As much as I take to heart the teachings of the Tibetan head coach, I suggest we get very worldly in our attachment to the idea of winning at all costs, suspend our spiritual well-being for 90 minutes and wreck any hopes Bolton for example, harbour of worldly contentment.

This is pure selfishness. Too right it is. I have, however, taken one for the team and offset bad karma by committing to another year of penance and ‘seasonticketism’.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Bolton Wanderers 0.