My Leeds United - Rivaldo, Gary Kelly, Kalvin Phillips and getting lost in limbs

LEEDS ON TOUR - Steve Creek has experienced every emotion as a Leeds United supporter.LEEDS ON TOUR - Steve Creek has experienced every emotion as a Leeds United supporter.
LEEDS ON TOUR - Steve Creek has experienced every emotion as a Leeds United supporter.
The YEP's My Leeds United series brings you the stories and memories of the rank and file of the worldwide Whites fanbase.

Steve Creek is a freelance journalist and copywriter who lives in Burley

Patrick Bamford receives the ball in the QPR box, takes a glancing touch and time seems to pause.

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My eyes drift to my phone, and Leeds Utd Memories have tweeted a Gary Kelly free-kick against West Ham in 1997, the Gaussian blur of the old tape giving his curling 20-yard effort a dreamlike quality.

Why didn’t Kells take more free-kicks?

No time for that. Bamford is still deliberating over his shot. I glance towards Pablo Hernandez, and I’m gripped with panic that he’ll do what mercurial Leeds number 19s do after they’ve lit up our lives for a few enigmatic years: leave in disgrace and aim a series of punches right to the gut of LS11 that render us unable to speak his name for decades.

What will happen to our Pablo memories when his magic ankles finally give out?

QPR are attacking. Kiko Casilla inexplicably parries a shot as a line of Hoops bear down and I’m eight years old again, watching Oxford United exploit The Beeney Gap at our near post in an FA Cup replay at Elland Road.

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I’m listening to my dad tell stories about Gary Sprake throwing it in his own net.

I’m sobbing into my beanie hat after Rivaldo scores that 94th-minute equaliser for Barcelona.

A cross flashes past Bamford’s head. I try to anticipate joy, though it’s clear we’re going to lose this.

Joy usually goes unrecorded. Even now, with phones in the air at every corner or penalty, the peak moments remain private and without need for external validation.

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And thank goodness, because look at Manchester United, unable to work out who they are after two-and-a-half decades of identifying their existence by a trophy.

Kalvin Phillips clatters into Geoff Cameron and expresses my whole heart and all its pent up frustration in one swift motion. Silly Kalvin. Stupid heart.

It doesn’t matter. We’ll mess it up, or we won’t. We’ll go up and remind the jaded top flight what a real club looks like, or we won’t. Some of it we’ll remember, some of it we won’t.

Leeds Utd Memories has tweeted again. It’s Gary McAllister pinging that sweet, arrowed volley into Rangers’ top corner at Ibrox in 1992. I’m on the floor of my parents’ living room in my pyjamas asking my dad why the crowd has gone so quiet.

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I’m slumped in the doorway of Waterstones in town after the Ipswich relegation game in 2007, unable to speak through the tears.

I’m at the Olympic Stadium in Munich in August 2000 with my scarf round my head and life will never, ever be this good again.

I’m lost in limbs in the northwest corner after Pablo’s 19-second strike against West Brom last season.

I’m watching Stephen McPhail taking endless corners in 1999, never getting beyond the near post.

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It’s full time at Loftus Road. The players pour down the tunnel.

I turn off the screen and wonder how much of this I’ll remember. Freeze frames of crestfallen men in light blue. I wonder how much it might come to matter.

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