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Went into this match with a fair degree of optimism. A winnable game at last and surely time for the recovery to start, despite the pairing of Roque Jr and Morris in midfield (leading us to pine for the return of Paul Okon) at half-time I thought we were still in with a chance. The second half was possibly as bad as I've ever seen a Leeds side play.
Fratton Park is not a Premiership ground. 2 portaloos for all the Leeds fans and a shared entrance with the home fans coupled with thoroughly incompetent police (more of them later) do not make for a good day out. Kick off was delayed for 30 minutes with various rumours why, trouble outside, crowd congestion, floodlight failure and ref stuck in traffic were all mentioned.
We started, eventually, with Milner playing behind Smith up-front. Johnson and Pennant wide of Roque and Morris (neither of whom I ever want to see in a Leeds shirt again) and Matteo and Duberry providing another centre-back combination to try out. The first half was pretty scrappy and we weren't particularly outclassed, although Roque was strolling around and tidy with his passes when in possession him and Morris were utterly anonymous without it and this against Pompey's reserve midfield of Sherwood and O'Neill. Olembe and Johnson were linking well on the left, Milner was tidy and Smith looked a threat when he ran at them. Unfortunately our defence also looked a mess and it wasn't too much of surprise when they scored from a corner.
As the sinking feeling began to sweep over you, we wondered if the game was going to drift away. Bot within a couple of minutes and need move ended with Smith dinking the ball over the keeper and we were right back in the game. Perfectly ordinary goal celebrations led to the Hampshire police, deploying all their new equipment riot shields, helmets and video cameras, marching in front of us as if a riot was imminent - it wasn't we were just happy. The game continued and we really should have gone ahead when Smith set up Johnson who hit his shot too close to Hislop. Then in the last minute a speculative shot went in and we were in our usual situation, behind.
Second half was a shambles. It started innocously enough and Pennant had a chance to equalise but from the moment Robinson failed to stop a volley, from Hayden Foxe for christsake, we totally fell apart. The rest of the game is something of a blur, we kept singing and Pomey kept scoring, with our defence being run through at will. When the 4th went in all knew that Reid was doomed, I think by the 5th and 6th we were numbed. Despite all this I didn't hear a single "Reid out" type chant. Police obviously couldn't believe we were still making some noise and deemed it as a threat and sent the riot squad back in to stare at us. They also decided no-one could leave, so Niggy who can hardly be deemed at threat was forced to stay til the end even though the late kick off meant she was going to miss her train.
At the end of the game, a still largely bemused crowd was forced to stay behind for 20 minutes and sing "You only won 6-1" at the Pompey fans wandering past gesturing towards us. Our mood was further darkened as we were then let out and whilst about 3/4s of the Leeds fans were allowed to just wander off. Those of us heading towards the station were made to wait another 20 minutes whilst the Police surrounded us with Horses, Dogs and Riot gear. We then moved off incredibly slowly as the Police were walking backwards so as to not take their eyes off us, and the Police were constantly screaming at each other as it wasn't going quite as well as they had practised it. Throughout fans wandered off the side and by the time I got fed up with it and 'escaped' there were probably only about half the Leeds fans they had started with still in the escort. Ridiculous.
Where do we go next (apart from Cambridge on Tuesday). Reid will probably get sacked and it seems that Paul Hart is the only candidate. We were truly awful, but I don't see where the improvement is going to come from. Generally the players are trying their hardest, they are just not good enough, and with no money there is no-one to bring in. I'd have probably played Camara and Harte instead of Duberry and Roque but generally Reid has picked decent teams. Yesterday was the first day I thought relegation was a probability rather than a possibility and I think it may take a small miracle to keep us up now.
Robinson 4 - Little protection but could have done better with a couple of them.
When you get up at 4 a.m and have to travel hundreds of miles to see Leeds play the least you can expect is committment from the players. Well, it just didn't happen and this was the most gutless performance by a Leeds side for many a year. I actually met up with 2 Pompey lads who I know who said that they didn't play well and it was their worse performance at home this season. I think they may have been rubbing it in a bit but I really don't think Portsmouth were that great it's just that we were diabolical. The team selection was strange. We know that Camara and Matteo have done ok. It seems that there is a bit of understanding between them. So what does Reid do ? He chucks Duberry into the mixer and guess what we are a shambles. Kelly had another very poor game. Matteo didn't look 100% but did manage to a few good tackles in.
Then Reid decides that he has to honour his word to Junior. Let's face it he didn't get this Brazilian star over here to play in the reserves did he so Reid moves him into midfield in the absence of Batty. So did it work ? Did it f*** ! I've never seen such a stationary midfielder in all my life. He made Mark Aizlewood look like a human dynamo. Terrible and I think we've seen enough of this overrated s***ester. Good God the guy is clearly a poor all round footballer and f*** knows how he's managed to win himself a world cup winners medal. I read a few comments from Milan fans on the net and it appears he was found out totally over there - too slow and can't defend. So it's not really that strange that he was prepared to come to Leeds. Junior as always though wasn't the only problem - Jody Morris. He's had a few games out admittedly but apparently he's a fit lad and never lets the team down (Reid's comments in YEP Friday). I've yet to see him have a good game. Blackburn was his best game but that's only cos Batts and Johnson played out of their skins. All he did was run round and get in the way in that game. He was totally anonymous yesterday. Just unable to do anything to contribute at all. He's s***e.
Pennant yet again had our best chance (apart from the goal) and he managed to find the keeper to easily. Apart from that he was very quiet again. I think we need a system that uses him more. Johnson huffed and puffed and had a few decent moments especially earliy on but faded with the rest. Milner worked his bollocks off but in truth contributed little.
Smith playing alone up front (why ?) did well and took his goal like the striker we all know he can be. I'd make him captain immediately. Bridges might be a little way off but he's not going to get any better sitting on the bleeding bench is he !?
Who have I missed ? Robinson - s***e. I think his confidence is rock bottom. I thought he should have saved at least 2 of their goals. He dithers like f*** at crosses. I think he should be dropped.
Reid said he was happy with out first half performance. I wasn't. We just kept giving the ball away. We didn't have a clue how to even start building a decent attack. It was better than the second though which goes down as a LUFC all time low. Portsmouth cruised through the half scoring at will. Our lads weren't communicating and to be honest I think we'd thrown in the towel mid way through the half. This was very disappointing to see and you'd think that at the very least Peter Reid would be able to install some passion if nothing else. They started passing it around like the great leeds team did on the Glory years. I just wanted somebody , anybody, to get stuck in , even if it met a sending off I just wanted some passion. Somebody in midfield who cared, somebody who was p***ed off with Pompey taking the p***. Nobody did and I would make big changes for Bolton because nothing can be worse than this.
Peter Reid out ? Well, this match I know has changed a lot of minds and although the players are to blame you have to look at some of Reid's decisions. He has to terminate Junior's loan (if he can) and he has to start looking at a steady partnership at the back. He also has to give Bridges the chance to play himself into form and fitness. I think he's maybe lost the spirit now. Very , very sad.
Viduka - I see El Tells had a right go at him saying that he is a big kid and just a sulker. He doesn't put the effort in and has no respect. First time I've agreed with him for a while although he's still a c*** and I don't know why papers pay him to write about the game cos he's a 100% fake. Him and Roque Junior - imposters !
Trouble - inevitable. I knew Leeds were taking a mob down there. It's something new (well we haven't played them for a while) and its a bit of a jolly and lets face there's some afters from the last time we played them. There was argy bargy all the way down the road from the station which explains the overreaction in the ground from the RoboCops although I'm not sure if that was the reason for the delay though.
Leeds fans in the ground - fantastic as usual.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 10/11/2003.
Peter Reid's tenure as Leeds United manager, a period which has coincided with one of the most turbulent chapters in the club's recent history, will end with him being sacked in the next 24 hours.
While Reid watched Manchester City take on Leicester yesterday, his chairman Professor John McKenzie, the club's influential vice-chairman Allan Leighton and the new chief executive Trevor Birch unanimously agreed the 6-1 defeat at Portsmouth has effectively ended any argument about the rights and wrongs of looking for their fourth manager in 17 months.
It follows weeks of internal talks which almost led to Reid being sacked last month, only to be given a second chance - on Leighton's wishes and against McKenzie's recommendation - which he has failed to take. They have won only once in the league since August and, in the wake of their heaviest top-flight defeat since 1959, Reid can have little grounds for argument if, as expected, he is asked to clear his office when Birch summons him today. Eddie Gray, who has an ambassadorial role at the club, may take over on an interim basis.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 09/11/2003.
Mark Viduka may be the most hated man in Leeds at the moment but he might have a point. 'If you all want to go down, then stick with him,' he is reported to have said during a training ground bust-up with the manager Peter Reid on the eve of this game. In horrendous debt they may be, but Leeds might well now deem it necessary to add to the £80 million to pay off Reid.
Certainly this cannot continue, the financial implications of relegation being unthinkable. Leeds were again the ragbag assortment that had conceded four at home to Arsenal last weekend and they have now lost four Premiership matches in a row and are anchored at the bottom of the table. This against a side struggling for form themselves, who were giving a first Premiership start to Gary O'Neil. He responded by scoring two of the goals.
How shaming was the scoreline for Leeds, joyful for Portsmouth. In the FA Cup three seasons ago, Leeds came to Fratton Park as a team on the up, one that would go on to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League. Portsmouth were in the First Division and lost 5-1. No doubting which looks closer to the First Division now.