No tears for Leeds after this disgrace

FEW tears will be shed for Leeds after they were all but relegated by Ipswich.Shame was heaped upon humiliation for the once-mighty Whites who will, barring a miracle next Sunday, be playing in the third tier of English football for the first time in their long and illustrious history.

By Derek Davis

FEW tears will be shed for Leeds after they were all but relegated by Ipswich.

Shame was heaped upon humiliation for the once-mighty Whites who will, barring a miracle next Sunday, be playing in the third tier of English football for the first time in their long and illustrious history.

There have been some dark days for Leeds fans in the past but few will compare with the ignominy of going down in the manner that they did.


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Six years ago they were playing in a Champions' League semi-final, going out to Valencia, but through greed, arrogance and sheer mismanagement the Yorkshire club have been brought to their knees and the murmurings are that administration could follow relegation. If that happens, then they will start life in League One with a 10-point deduction.

But there will be little sympathy for Leeds and their supporters. The majority, it has to be pointed out, behaved very well and expressed their own disgust at the fellow 'fans' who brought disgrace on their club.

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Those that invaded the pitch and attacked the section of Ipswich fans, including girls as young as six and disabled fans unable to get away from the marauding mob, were derided as 'scum' for their cowardly and moronic actions.

The decent supporters who stayed in their seats chanted 'you're the scum of Elland Road' and 'you're not fit to wear the shirt' and those people then had to run a gauntlet of hate as genuine Leeds supporters turned on them.

The timing of the pitch invasion highlighted the stupidity of idiots.

With the game evenly poised at 1-1, and in the last minute of the six added on, Leeds were awarded a corner.

If they had scored at that point they would be going into Sunday's game with Derby County still in with a chance of survival.

The game was resumed after half-an-hour and the corner was eventually cleared by Ipswich and the 45 seconds were played out before the referee blew up and scampered to safety for a second time.

He needn't have worried because no one tried to get on the pitch again and the Ipswich players showed immense class by going to the remaining Town fans to applaud them.

They then applauded the decent Leeds supporters in the ground who stayed behind to pay tribute to hero Gary Kelly, who leaves the club after 16 years' service.

The disgraceful scenes were a shame for him, and for the club.

The whole stadium of 31,000 had shown respect for Alan Ball before the game with a minute's applause and the game was played at a blistering pace, with Ipswich sluggish in response.

Town went behind after 12 minutes with a goal that was carved out by some excellent football. Alan Thompson picked out David Healy, who had got behind Dan Harding. His initial shot was well saved by Shane Supple but Richard Cresswell reacted the quickest and got a stooping header in ahead of David Wright. The goal sparked celebrations with a handful of supporters joining the players. The situation was not dealt with properly by stewards as the guilty parties simply returned to the stand.

Leeds showed the urgency of their situation and played in the style of their manager, snapping and snarling and pressurising Town.

But, anchored by the unflappable Fabian Wilnis, the Blues resisted and slowly but surely turned the tide.

Harding had a shot tipped over the bar, while Frazer Richardson blocked a Francis Jeffers shot.

Jeffers had an effort disallowed for offside and substitute Jon Walters had a shot turned round a post by Casper Ankergren.

With two minutes to go, and the news already filtering through that Hull had won, Leeds knew they had to hold on but Alan Lee shattered them with his 17th goal of the season.

Again, a Leeds fan came on the pitch and confronted his own keeper.

Yet another Leeds fan encroached and this time attacked Billy Clarke before Walters and Lee raced to his help and a steward eventually bundled the attacker away.

Alex Bruce, who had stayed on the pitch at half-time to avoid a repetition of his sickness, made a terrific near-post run for Roberts' corner but it was Lee who had peeled away and flicked home his header.

The six extra minutes offered Leeds hope but it was Ipswich who continued to press and Bruce did not look to have done much wrong as he headed in only for it to be disallowed.

George O'Callaghan and Roberts were causing problems from midfield and went close before the mindless thugs had their 15 minutes of infamy.

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