My Leeds United - Shouting up the chimney to help Lee Bowyer score against AC Milan
Bradley Lomas is an assistant commercial manager and Leeds fan.
“You need to shout up the chimney Bradley. You need to shout ‘Come on you Leeds!’ so they can hear you.”
As a child this weekly ritual seemed completely normal
Looking back, I still think the reason Bowyer smashed in the 89th-minute winner against AC Milan back in 2000 is because he heard me.
However, living 150 miles away from Elland Road, maybe it doesn’t quite add up.
Being Leeds ‘down south’, you often get questions like ‘Why are you Leeds?’ or ‘Is your dad from up north?’ and I reply ‘My dad grew up watching Leeds and he wanted to punish me too.’.
It’s that simple and I’ve never looked back.
There would be the odd trip to Elland Road and a fair few away games around the country, but usually following passionately through TV, radio and now social media.
Until this season.
On an act of pure spontaneity, dad and I struck gold and snagged two season tickets in the South Stand.
First home game, we set off early. Really early.
I wanted to experience what I’ve spent 27 years missing out on; the walk down Lowfields Road, giving the Leeds salute to the mural, passing half-and-half scarf sellers and double tapping the ‘S’ on the Bielsa bollards all whilst clutching the season ticket in hand.
I wanted to hear ‘Marching on Together’ ring out around Elland Road and go mad with delight with the rest of the South Stand.
This year I got it all and, most importantly, I got it all with my hero – my dad.
Setting off on the two-and-a half-hour journey home, we would phone my mum, sister and fiancée each separately with the match report and how the day went.
And whether or not we pulled off our northern accents, so that we wouldn’t stand out too much!
Admittedly, there were initial nerves that we might not be made as welcome, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. It just feels right.
Journey done and home in time for highlights and a catch-up on everything from The YEP, The Square Ball and Twitter. Then comes the yearning to do it all over again.
Flash-forward seven months and I’ve become a man who is obsessed. In week one of the suspension I got withdrawal.
I miss the journeys up the M1 and the pre-match drink in the Dragon. I miss the sickening thrill of coming away with three points and taking one more step towards the ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could bes’.
I even miss the sound of the chap who plays the bagpipes by Billy, and that says a lot.
Whatever the future holds for Leeds United, I realise how lucky I am that I’ve managed to have seven months of this season and, of course, I want more.
I know that I’ve waited 27 years for this, so I’m sure a few more months won’t hurt.