Date: 14th July 2011 at 9:15pm
Written by:

Thames Valley Whites organiser Steve Griffin made the trek up to Scotland from Oxfordshire on Wednesday, along with members of the branch for Leeds pre season friendly opener against Falkirk.

Steve shares his thoughts on the trip to Scotland on his arrival back in Oxfordshire as he gets set to travel back up to Scotland on Saturday with more members of the branch.

A Few hardcore members from the Thames Valley Whites made the long and arduous trip to Falkirk, leaving at 8am on match day.
Two stops later, we arrived in Bonnie Scotland at 3pm to absolute glorious sunshine. Checking into our hotel in the centre of town, we eventually made it to the street beer garden with the sun reminding us that this should have been the Algarve. With a decent price for a two-course meal, we were soon spotting wandering Leeds fans looking for pubs to settle into.

After paying our bar bill we headed round the corner to join the small but growing fans in the Sportsters Bar, meeting up with familiar faces. A few beers later, we succumbed to the call of a local Weatherspoons with its typical cheap beers and a rumour flying round that we had just signed Alan Smith!!.

This was followed by another rumour around 7.15pm that kick off was 7.30pm. This obviously emptied the pub with a fleet of taxis arriving to ferry everyone off to the Stadium.

If anyone has been to Oxford United’s, Kassam Stadium then you will have a better idea of what Falkirk`s new stadium was like, new, clean and three sided.

The game seemed to be played at a decent pace with Falkirk already well into their friendly fixture list, but the Leeds Squad were able to match them for fitness. Paynter looked unconvincing and almost disinterested; otherwise, the rest of the squad looked fairly lively.
Snodgrass gave a good performance and deserved the goal but still appeared rusty. Clayton gave a very impressive performance and seemed to have the performance of the match. The new Keeper looked comfortable and commanded his area well but was rarely tested.
Gradel made a burst when he came on in the second half but soon faded. Kisnorbo appeared to command the back four but again we did look dodgy in that area and it certainly needs improving before the season starts proper.

Overall, Leeds have not lost that ability to go forward and attack but defensively we appear to have the same old gaps.

A decent turnout of over 700 fans attended but was mainly quiet watching what was on offer on the pitch. Highlight of the game was just after one of our members had just settled back into his seat with a £2.50 pie when it was announced that all the pies were now being sold for a quid. There was a sort of a pause in the stand before one Leeds fan jumped up and headed for the concourse. This just then provoked the rest of the 700 to point at him, chanting, ”You fat b*****d”, nervously more followed him waving back as the same chant was aimed at them too. This probably killed Falkirk`s pie sale.

The final whistle came and the fans gave the team a decent applause before leaving the pitch. We headed out of the ground and into the town centre via taxis.
Falkirk was dead for a Wednesday evening; we conversed with the locals on Scottish football and the great legends who had plied their game at Elland Road. A few beers more and we were soon back in the hotel with the town firmly shut behind us.

The Following morning during breakfast, the hotel manager presented one of us a signed framed picture of Billy Bremner, who wanted it to go to a good home where someone would appreciate such a great Scottish legend.

Eventually we headed back home on what was described as a trip with a difference and how welcoming the people of Falkirk had been to the travelling Leeds Fans, Motherwell here come!!!……..MOT

Thanks to Steve for his recollections on the first leg of the Thames Valley Whites Scotland double header.

Looking forward to reading your report following your trip to Motherwell at the weekend.

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