Leeds United Change

Leeds United Keith Senior


A cold, March wind blew a cold, March drizzle into my face as I stood and counted. I couldn’t believe my eyes at the amount I saw. Seventy- two!

Although I’d never had time or reason to count them before, I knew that seventy-two surely must have been some kind of record.

It was five days before my thirteenth birthday but I doubt if it had occurred to me I was about to become a teenager or if it did, what that really meant. I’d made my way to the ground by taking the bus to town and then walking the rest of the way. I always made my way to the ground by myself and I always seemed to meet up with plenty of school mates, and never once had I watched a game by myself.

I usually went into the Scratching Shed, to stand at the front, to the right of goal but on this occasion I found myself at the back of the open Kop, peeing through the railings that were there to both stop fans getting in for free, and to stop the unwary from tumbling down the cinder and dirt slope into what I can only remember as ‘wet-lands’ that stretched out behind the Kop: They looked to me like numerous, shallow ponds dotted about on open scrublands, but could have easily just been the result of recent heavy rain. The area was later developed into a BRS depot and the current Lowfields Road Industrial Estate- oh, and the M621.

I don’t know if I had made my way to the back to have the pee, or just found myself blocked out by the packed ranks of supporters; either way, I had time to study my surroundings because the match had been stopped due to a barrier giving way in the Lowfields Road standing area.

I am unable to recollect who was with me but just before the match re-started we were still looking for anywhere that would give us a view of the pitch: We even contemplated trying to climb the flag pole which adjoined the northern end wall of the Lowfields Road Stand, in order to join the half dozen or so fans who were braving the elements on the stand roof. We soon discovered we were too small or weak to make the ascent, which was fortunate because it was decided to open the seating area to allow a limited amount of excess fans from the Kop to enjoy the luxury of what was, to me, a sacred area populated by the rich (but never) famous. On seeing the big, green door slide open I dived in with a few mates and there we were, running up and down the corridor at the back of all the seats, still unable to see the pitch!

Naturally all the seats were taken and the only way to see anything was to jump up and balance ourselves behind the rear-most row of seats which were about 3 or 4 foot higher than the corridor. After a while, unfortunately, this became very painful for my knees and I had to keep jumping down to give them a rest. Whilst giving my knees another respite, to my delight and curiosity, I discovered one of the fans standing above me was a girl in a mini-skirt, so for the rest of the game I kept walking slowly up and down, keeping an eye on her to make sure she didn’t fall!

At the end of the game I walked the empty terraces to look at the collapsed barrier and was lucky to find a lost or discarded programme, which I still have today. Apparently the result was a draw, against Sunderland and the crowd was a bumper 57,829, plus all those who sneaked in, plus the ones that the turnstile guys didn’t record, plus those that the club didn’t declare (for tax purposes?), so I reckon there were at least 65.000.

What a night for records! A huge crowd, I got into the Lowfields Road stand and most important of all, seventy-two Leeds City Council, Football Special, double-decker buses parked up on Lowfields Road, waiting to take the faithful back to town. Seventy-two!!

Perhaps all the above isn’t as accurate as I believe it to be (with the exception of the amount of buses- seventy-two!) and maybe the cold, dreary weather, along with the cold, dreary ground that Elland road once was, but all my recollections of that night, and indeed that era are definitely in Black and White

Keith Senior



1 Comment

Keith I too was at that game and really struggled to get in. It was only because a police horse 'moved' a whole phalanx of fans away from a turstile for a nano second that allowed me and my mate Bill Bailey to slip in before the ensuing protests could alert the old bill.

– John Cave, September 29 2013 at 17:53

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