Millwall v Leeds United: Leeds out to avoid more heartache

08 May 2009 07:15
Millwall v Leeds UnitedKick-off: Sat May 9, 12.30pm, The New Den, LondonTV: Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports HD1

Brian Clough's 44 days at Elland Road may have coined the term, but it is the Leeds of the 21st Century who can truly lay claim to being the 'Damned United'.

 Related ArticlesLeeds and Millwall unitePredict scores and resultsUefa asked to probe Leeds defeatSport on TV - live coverage for bank holiday weekendThe Damned United, reviewSir Alex Fergusons Manchester United are made of right stuffNo doubt the aptness of the tag was not lost on the current generation of Leeds players, the heirs of Clarke, Hunter and Bremner, when manager Simon Grayson took them to see the film of David Peace's novel last month, in an attempt to immerse them in the lore of a club that once boasted a side who were the envy of Anfield and Old Trafford.

"They didn't understand who a lot of the players were," admitted Grayson's assistant, Glyn Snodin, no stranger to his local team's history.

"The early Seventies are too far back for most of them, so us old folk had to explain to them who they were. But they understand what this club has been through the good and, more recently, the bad. They understand exactly what it means to get this club going."

That process begins on Saturday at that other home of the damned, Millwall, in the League One play-off semi-final first leg.

Only 1,000 Leeds fans will be allowed into the New Den to witness the club's first steps on their latest road to redemption, accompanied by 400 police officers from all over London and a stark warning of a zero tolerance approach to signs of trouble.

On the pitch, too, Leeds are likely to be given a frosty reception. Jermaine Beckford was lucky to escape being dismissed in February's league clash for elbowing Millwall goalkeeper David Forde, adding revenge to ambition in the list of Kenny Jackett's side's motives.

Yet there is a sense of now or never for Leeds, a fear that the longer they remain in the mire, the harder it becomes to escape.

"I'm a fan, too, and watching the demise of the club has been terrible," said Snodin. "It proves it can happen to anybody. We're here to try and get the good days back, to take this club back to where it should be.

"We know it's not going to be easy but we have to get out of this division as soon as we can. I don't mean any disrespect to the other teams in League One, but we don't want to be stuck here with the fans going where they've been going for the last two seasons.

"It gets harder to get out of it every year we're down here. If we don't succeed, there'll be changes again, and that makes it much more difficult.

"If you can get some stability and some time, getting Leeds back to where they belong gets much easier."


Source: Telegraph

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