I can’t think about this fixture without remembering that golden day in May 1990.
A friend who lived in Bournemouth had repeatedly told me that it was totally impossible to get me a pair of tickets for the match. So when he rang me the night before the game and said that he had acquired a pair, I was more than happy.
The following morning, my son and myself met him at the Little Chef at Winchester and picked up 2 of the old-fashioned season ticket books from him. When I pointed out to my nervous friend that the season tickets appeared to belong to Bournemouth players wives he became even more agitated and made me swear that if “anything happened” I would not reveal where I had sourced them from.
After reassuring him and giving him a few bob for a drink we made our way to Dean Court. Hundreds of Riot Police had been bussed in from all over the South Coast and I thought for a moment that I was back in Donny during the Miners Strike. The Police made all the fans welcome by playing drum tattoos on their shields with their batons. I’d heard on the radio that there had been some trouble but I just wanted to get into the match without losing the tickets.
Bournemouth’s manager at the time was none other than Harry Redknapp. He later complained that some ‘yobbos’ from Leeds had rocked his car, frightened his wife and demanded tickets from him. I witnessed the incident and rather like Harry’s successful management career it was a bit of an exaggeration.
Anyway, the history books show that Lee Chapman did the business and Super Leeds were promoted. This began a second ‘Golden Era’ at the club which only came to an end with the overspending of Peter the Riddler who led us into administration and near oblivion. Waiting in the wings to desecrate the carcase was the awful Vulture Capitalist Bates.
Back to the present. This season seemed to be going ok until the 95th minute at Reading or was it the 18th minute against Burnley?
On Saturday against Millwall we witnessed a first half which was almost devoid of shots on goal from either side as two teams who resembled aging heavyweight boxers slugged it out.
In the second half one of the boxers scored 2 sucker punches and we were out for the count. It was unquestionably our worst performance under Brian McDermott. Leeds only came to life when Byram came on and by then it was already too late.
The most worrying factor in this game was the loss of form of several key players:
Varney hardly won any headers and when that happens he isn’t a lot of use elsewhere
McCormack worked hard but seems to have lost all his confidence in front of goal
Austin also worked hard as usual but got caught in possession too many times.
I could go on but what’s the point. Roll on Tuesday night.
So on Tuesday we face Bournemouth managed by Affable Eddie with his permanent tan and a permanent rictus smile which could only be matched by Steve McCLaren if he swallowed a mixture of Prozac and Viagra.
Now Bournemouth have had a very strange start to the season. They have managed to ship 20 goals in the league and another 6 in the league cup. However THEY HAVE MORE POINTS THAN US.
On Saturday their game against Blackburn was already over when they had Richard Hughes sent off on 55 minutes. They did get a consolation goal on 72 but it was by then already too late and they ended up losing 3-1.
So what can St Brian do this time?
Got to be all out attack. If Sam Byram is fully fit he should be given a free ranging midfield role play wide on both sides of the pitch. If he’s not fully fit then why not play Poleon wide on the right. He is fast strong and can beat his man. He is a decent crosser of the ball and has a good shot on him. Varney should be rested and Smith should get a start. McCormack should revert to his advanced midfield role. He has scored more goals from there this season anyway. He just seemed so anxious against Millwall and confidence is everything to a player like him.
Strikers having barren patches is a problem that often sorts itself out one way or another but scoring 7 goals in 9 games will not sort itself out without a massive confidence boost. The game against Bournemouth could provide that boost.
I have not said anything about incoming transfers as I trust Brian Mc to do the right thing. His only dubious decision was to bring Hunt in. Hunt seems to be a slightly different version of Varney. That’s no insult to either of them by the way but they are very similar.
The title of this piece is Seeds of a new Golden Era or More Pain and Suffering?
Seeds of a new Golden Era – Possibly but only seeds. You probably have to look back to the first Golden Era – Don Revie inherited a side that was much worse than this one.
Pain and Suffering – Definitely
Its going to be a long haul but I am convinced that Brian McDermott is the right man for the job. He will need at least the 3 years of his current contract to build a squad that will get into & then stay in the Premiership.
The Board must attract more new investment so they can give him reasonable financial backing.
And as for us fans we will need to practice the patience that we have learned in the last few years.
See you Tuesday.