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Will Leeds cling on in League One?

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Paul Fletcher | 11:41 UK time, Friday, 7 May 2010

The battle for the second automatic promotion spot in the third tier of English football is not normally much of a headline grabber, but this year is very different.

On Saturday, Leeds, Millwall, Swindon, Charlton and Huddersfield will all fight for the right to join Norwich in the Championship next season.

And the equation is simple: five into one doesn't go.

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Leeds have done their best over recent months to mess up what looked like an assured march towards promotion. They led the table by eight points at the turn of the year and had just beaten Manchester United in an FA Cup third-round tie. But then it all turned sour. Having been beaten only once in the league prior to the game at Old Trafford, they suffered an alarming slump in form, including a four-game losing streak that saw them drop to fourth in the table.

Leeds recovered and will probably scrape over the line after winning four of their last six games, but nothing is guaranteed, even when faced with what looks like a very winnable match at home to Bristol Rovers.

Any sort of slip-up by Grayson's team could be punished severely, with Millwall and Swindon in prime position to capitalise. Both teams lie just a point off second and face each other at the New Den on Saturday.

Only champions Norwich have a stronger home record than the Lions, who are unbeaten at the New Den since late November. As for the Robins, strike duo Billy Paynter and Charlie Austin have helped Danny Wilson's team threaten, although three draws in four games have damaged their chances.

Charlton kept alive their hopes of automatic promotion by defeating Leeds at The Valley on Saturday. Phil Parkinson's team need to win at Oldham and hope that Leeds lose while Millwall and Swindon draw. I don't think it will happen, but League One has rarely followed the script this season.

Huddersfield, three points behind Leeds, are the real outsiders. They need all the results involving their promotion rivals to go their way while dishing out a thrashing at Exeter to address their inferior goal difference.

While most of the focus is likely to be on the battle for promotion from League One, there is plenty at stake at the other end of the table.

It looked as though Gillingham, Exeter and Tranmere would scrap it out to avoid the fourth and final relegation place. But then Hartlepool joined them in the mire on Thursday when they were deducted three points by a Football Disciplinary Commission for fielding an ineligible player in their 2-0 win over Brighton in April, although on Friday the north-east club said they intended to appeal against the decision.

Tranmere are currently in the drop zone, trailing Exeter on goal difference. Hartlepool are a point better off while the Gills have a two-point advantage.

Rovers, who defeated Millwall last weekend, travel to rock-bottom Stockport, Exeter, who have not won in six, host Huddersfield, while Hartlepool visit Brentford. As for Gillingham, the only Football League team without an away win all season, they end their campaign with a trip to relegated Wycombe.

The three automatic spots in League Two are all sown up, but two play-off places are still up for grabs, with six teams in the frame.

Morecambe (70) and Dagenham & Redbridge (69) are the current incumbents, while Bury (68), Port Vale (67), Chesterfield (66) and Northampton (66) are hot on their heels.

At the bottom, Grimsby and Barnet are desperate to avoid the drop to the Blue Square Premier. But, barring a remarkable set of results that could see Cheltenham relegated, either the Mariners or the Bees will join Darlington in dropping out of the Football League.

It seems remarkable that a team that went on a 25-game winless streak between September and February could still avoid the drop, but that is the very real possibility that confronts Grimsby. They defeated Barnet at Blundell Park last Saturday and have won four of their last six games as they prepare to travel to Burton for their final fixture.

Barnet opened a top-class training facility earlier in the season, but their ambitious plans could lie in tatters if they do not defeat promoted Rochdale on Saturday. "It would rip the heart out of us," admitted Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous.

The Bees were relegated from the Football League on the final day of the 2000/2001 season and will be keen to avoid an unwelcome repeat. In an effort to beat the drop, manager Ian Hendon was dismissed and Paul Fairclough handed the reigns. It was the first time in 16 years that Kleanthous had sacked a manager, but he felt he had no other option.

Fairclough's reign began with defeat to Grimsby, but he has promised fans that his team will win this weekend. I wonder whether Barnet supporters feel quite so confident.

In fact, whether you support Leeds, Millwall, Chesterfield or Gillingham, I want to know what your thoughts are ahead of what is a crucial weekend.

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    An interesting weekend ahead with a lot to play for! I hope Leeds can get the automatic promotion place - they have been in that division for too long and I would like to see them back in the Premier League one day.

    http://the-fa-premier-league.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 2.

    The best outcome for League One is...
    Leeds lose
    Millwall/Swindon Draw
    Charlton don't win
    and The Mighty Terriers beat Exeter by 5 and get auto promotion.

    Go Huddersfield Town!

  • Comment number 3.

    Gillingham down please. I have never found their chairman to be anything other than 'nasty and bitter' towards anything or anyone and their club could benefit a chairman who doesn't spend his time sunning himself in Dubai, while his club struggle back home.

  • Comment number 4.

    Would love to see Grimsby stay up as I'm used to them being in the league.

    My tips are

    League 1 promotion - Swindon Town
    League 1 relegation - Tranmere Rovers

    League 2 playoffs - Bury & Morecambe
    League 2 relegation - Barnet

    we'll see Monday when hopefully United will be champions and Chelsea will indeed be blowing doubles.

    Quick question did any of teh Chelsea players actually play during Tony Carr's match?

  • Comment number 5.

    I really hope that Leeds can make it out of League Two, and I think they will. In a way, most of the country couldn't begrudge such a storied club from getting out of the lower divisions and hopefully, back in the Prem within a couple years. The fans deserve it and English football would be better for it. Good luck on Saturday.

  • Comment number 6.

    In response to LawrieA's post.

    Don't they realise that everyone dislikes L***s U****d apart from their true fans.

    "Most of the country couldn't begrudge.........." - totally wrong in my opinion and experience chatting to other footy fans.

  • Comment number 7.

    LawrieA - do you know something I don't?

    Honestly, could you imagine Leeds in the fourth tier? I'm sure some would like that though.

  • Comment number 8.

    @LawrieA - I think most of the country would be quite happy for Leeds to miss out on promotion completely. I can't really think of any other non-Prem team that is generally disliked as much by the neutral, their arrogance is astounding!

    In terms of merit this season I think Millwall and Swindon have been fantastic (considering their expectations and resources compared to those around them) and I hope both of them get promoted - preferably Swindon automatically. Slightly dissapointing that they have drawn 3 matches they could have won towards the end.

    In League 2 I am praying Grimsby go down, another small club with a big ego. To be fair though they have done fantastically well to be this close to safety.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Paul. Just about to get my train home for Gillingham's showdown at Wycombe, and incredibly nervous! Given our woeful away form it is hard to be confident, although with our allocation sold out I think we can sing the boys on to the point we need. I think Tranmere will win and Hartlepool will get a point at Brentford. Exeter are strong at home, and I predict will hold Huddersfield to a draw, but will still go down.

    I'd be very interested to know who you think the unlucky team will be to fall through the trapdoor?

  • Comment number 10.

    leeds will get promoted. in Simon "Larry" Grayson they have a manager who has been there and done that. (With Blackpool)

    I think Leeds have problems with players thinking they are bigger than the club and know more than the manager. Listen to Larry do what he says and all will be tickety boo.

    Would love to play Leeds in the CCC next season but my team, The Mighty Blackpool FC are gpoing to the Prem!!!! COYP!!!!!

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm a Gillingham fan, so clearly I'm hoping for us to hang in there. I think we have points enough in the bag, although it doesn't stop me being more nervous than a turkey meeting Bernard Matthews. I think realistically Exeter and Hartlepool have a harder job on saturday, but I can't ignore the fact that we are away, where we have been ineffective all season. At the other end, I expect Leeds will just about hold on. Frankly I'm not sure I care who goes up as long as we don't go down.

    And LawrieA, much as I wish it had been true that Leeds had fallen as far as League 2, but sadly karma didn't have that much sway.

  • Comment number 12.

    Lincoln_Fjortoft
    no arrogance from leeds fans just jealousy from small town clubs like yours, was you saying anything when the arrogant leeds loaned you somma

  • Comment number 13.

    LawrieA, only Leeds fans like Leeds, nobody else does. Only Leeds fans would want them to get promoted. It says alot that when they conceded a late goal against Ipswich to get relegated to League 1, fans of teams around the country (in different leagues, with nothing to do with Leeds) cheered when they heard what'd happened, and it's not uncommon on TV games to hear fans of teams who have nothing to do with Leeds or League 1, chanting anti Leeds songs. They may be a big club, but nobody other than their fans will be happy if they get promotion, and nobody but their fans will be hoping they're in the Premier League in a couple of years time. Nobody likes them, except their own fans. Also, the fans don't deserve it if Leeds are back in the Premier League in a couple of years. Most of them have deserted the team (full houses every week in the Premier League, regular attendances of just between 20k-25k most weeks in League 1).

  • Comment number 14.

    It's funny to see my team Swindon Town near the top and Gillingham where they are at the bottom. We lost 5-0 to them on the opening day.

    Ever the pessimist though, my head says Leeds will win easily against Bristol Rovers and render our efforts at Millwall pointless. Getting a win at The Den will be an achievement in itself.

    However, Town have been off the radar all season in my opinion and the absence of any of our players in the League 1 team of the year bears this out. Our prolific strikers have rightfully grabbed a few minor headlines but it's only the opposition managers who've praised our brand of football every week. So, maybe just maybe Swindon will sneak through and cock a snook at the 'bigger' clubs in this division who should have done far better.

    Good luck Town.

  • Comment number 15.

    I have a funny feeling that Leeds United will mess up again, there is the saying of third time lucky and Leeds United couldn't be in a better position going into the last day of the season.

    However I can really see either Millwall or Swindon clinching that final automatic promotion spot. They are facing each other of course, and they have both done really well this season.

    I like the Millwall squad they have some quality players in there ranks, but as team news suggests, both Morison and Dunne could well be injured for tomorrow's game.

    My bet is Millwall and to be relegated I will say Hartlepool.

  • Comment number 16.

    Stevvy1986

    You're right, all Leeds fans have deserted the team. Except for the 38,000 that have sold out the game tomorrow.

  • Comment number 17.

    Our thoughts on Leeds United here Paul: http://www.leedsguide.co.uk/review/leeds-united/down-to-the-wire/14712

    It's been a gruelling season for Grimsby, 25 games without a win. That would drive me apathetic!

  • Comment number 18.

    Most of the Leeds fans have deserted them ?

    What an absolute joke of a comment. We have been outside the Premier League for SIX (count 'em) seasons. We have been in the 3rd tier of British football for 3 seasons. Apart from Norwich, and more recently SOuthampton, no-one else in League One comes close.

    How do you think a club like Blackburn or Wigan Athletic or even some of the bigger clubs in the Prem would fare 6 seasons out of it, and now 3 seasons in the 3rd division of British Football?

    We still sell out all the away allocations we're given and take more away fans than all but the top 5 or 6 Premier League clubs.

    Huddersfield fans opinions are of no consequence to us, the game isn't even a proper derby game for most Leeds fans anyway, or at least doesn't have the intensity of Leeds vs Man U, Leeds vs Chelsea, Leeds vs Bradford, or even the Sheffield teams as far as most Leeds fans are concerned. Two good games this season but nothing like the atmosphere of those other games mentioned.

    Good luck to all concerned. I hope we don't crumble under pressure but if we don't make it, I will still be supporting Leeds next season. We may have lost some fans, but the ones we have are pretty hardcore and not plastic. Whoever makes it up will have deserved it.

    Also wishing Tranmere luck, Andy Robinson did the business last week (on loan from Leeds) and it would be nice to see them survive. Nice club with some decent fans. (no offence to anyone else down there at the wrong end).

  • Comment number 19.

    #8 Lincoln_Fjortoft

    Leeds are soooooooo arrogant that there is an article on the LUFC website detailing how to apply for tickets for the home leg of the play offs in the event that we fail to win automatic promotion.

  • Comment number 20.

    LordofKhemri, are you 12? Honestly the childish banality of not being able to actually type a teams name in astounds me. I don't like Huddersfield Town but, do you know what? I'd rather see us up automatically and Town up in the play offs, ultimately I'd like Sheff Utd, Wednesday, Town and Leeds ALL in the Prem! Why, some Yorkshire rivalry, I'm fed up of 'The Lancashire League'!
    As for Stevvy1986 you seem very certain that ALL fans dislike Leeds. Funny, I've only EVER had a real problem with two sets of fans. I can recall, if you wish, dozens of get togethers with Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle, Southampton fans to name but a few and ALL have been complimentary.

  • Comment number 21.

    I'm hoping it's Millwall, but I've no idea - it could be anyone the way the world's greatest league has gone this year.

    It would be funny to see Stelling cry if the monkey hangers go down also.

    Come on you lions!

  • Comment number 22.

    "Leeds are soooooooo arrogant that there is an article on the LUFC website detailing how to apply for tickets for the home leg of the play offs in the event that we fail to win automatic promotion."

    Of course there is (doh!) this is actually the REVERSE of Arrogance. This is called planning. There is a 50/50 chance we are going to be in the playoffs.

    What WOULD be arrogance would be advertising seasons tickets for the CHAMPIONSHIP. Heaven help some of you people and your bitter souls ...

  • Comment number 23.

    I've had some really good away trips and banter with the following sets of fans :

    Norwich (maybe the best fans out there after ours!), Liverpool, Arsenal, Fulham, Crystal Palace, QPR, Charlton, Tranmere, Ipswich, Brighton, Hartlepool, Darlington (cup), West Ham (yes you read that right...), Southend, Wimbledon (pre MK Dons), Oldham (even though they used to always beat us), and plenty of others.

    Most of these clubs supporters just get on with supporting their own team or singing songs against proper rivals, rather than petty hating on Leeds. In some cases, Leeds fans can also join in - at Anfield and Maine Road (now Eastlands) we all joined together in songs against another common enemy - no guesses as to who that is ;)

  • Comment number 24.

    Agree 100% with LeedsStig, the more Yorkshire teams we can get into the PL the better. I am desperately hoping that Simon Grayson will get the boys properly up for this one!

    Our average crowd for this seasons League1 Home games is currently just over 24k, and will rise to just short of 26k after Saturdays final home (Sellout) game.

    Not bad for a League 1 team with the most expensive tickets in the division....is it Stevvy1986 ????

  • Comment number 25.

    Very true. Although our team has long since been good enough to compete in the Premier League in the past few seasons since the financial collapse, you would be hard pressed to think we weren't in the Prem when it comes to inflated ticket prices. If there was a league table for that, we'd comfortably in the top half of the Premier League for exorbitant ticket prices, in spite of the mediocrity of League One standard football (yes, including our own team).

  • Comment number 26.

    *edit* - long since NOT been good enough to compete in the PL since the financial collapse. Apologies.

  • Comment number 27.

    Good post there Paul, keep up the good work pal.

    As for tomorrow's game I'm nervous. My heart tells me an easy victory but my head tells me that this is going to be a very hard fought match. Make no mistake about it, there will be drama over the course of 90 mins, both at the top and at the bottom.

    I'd like to wish all the best to teams involved, both in the race for promotion and relegation.

    Read some posts about Leeds fans being arrogant, well let's just put on record that this is so far away from the truth it's laughable. We're in League 1 as it stands because we deserve to be there, end of. That being said, I don't think many people (who know and understand football) out there wouldn't want Leeds in the top flight.. let's hope that comes to fruition over the next few years.

    Good luck Leeds, I believe in you!

    MOT

  • Comment number 28.

    I think certain supporters would love us to slip up and not make it. I don't worry too much about what they think, like all football supporters, the priority should always be to support your own team first and foremost, but some people take more bitter happiness in the failings of others more than willing their own team success. There was a supporter last week on the Leeds 606 board spewing hate and wishing us beaten by a team who if they HAD beaten us, would actually put their own team into the relegation places ... doh ....

  • Comment number 29.

    22. torontro white

    Read comment 19 again and see that it is a response to comment 8. Doh-nut!

  • Comment number 30.

    :)

    well we agree on the same basic principal at least ;)

  • Comment number 31.

    Stevvy1986 -

    As you say, an average of 20-25k fans in League One, how is that most fans deserting us when the ground holds less than 40k?

    Also, you will find, as I have been told many times by the 'bigger' teams in the Prem that clubs do want Leeds back. Clubs want us back because it brings back history, bigger games, more crowds instead of playing and no disrespect but Wigan, Burnley etc.

  • Comment number 32.

    No disrespect at all to those fans. Burnley and Wigan and Hull etc all got into the PL on merit and Wigan earned their right to stay there.

    I think it's important that us Leeds fans don't get too high an expectation about returning to the Prem, heck we haven't made it back to the CCC yet.

    We all know that even if we are promoted, without significant investment in the team, we could do a Peterborough and really struggle next season. A couple of decent performances vs man U, Liverpool and Spurs in Cup games is a far cry from the likes of Walsall, Exeter, etc who beat us this season. We will need to strengthen the team either if we go up, or if we fail and have to do League One again next year.

  • Comment number 33.

    Torontro White

    Absolutely investment will be needed. Lets hope tomorrow we can do it and get promoted, and full credit to the players and management for the season and hopefully progress again in Championship, steady progress I think is needed, no more stupid loans like Ridsdale has done more of with Cardiff.

    First things first, tomorrow. Come on Leeds!

    WACCOE

  • Comment number 34.

    It's pretty ridiculous to claim Leeds fans have deserted them. Our Championship crowds were massive and, years later, our League 1 crowds are massive. 25000 at home to Brighton on a Tuesday in January at £30 a ticket is better than most, and we still have higher average attendances than many Premier League clubs.

    Every club wants Leeds in their League because we sell out our tickets away and more, and everyone wants our scalp. And the precise reason that everyone wants our scalp is because we're a big club with a big reputation, that's why everyone hates us, and we love it.

    The fact that we're a hated club is testimony to our status and our history, although respect for Leeds as well as hate is a feeling most have, even if they refuse to admit it through jealousy (Huddersfield you're nobodies) or ignorance - fake fans who have only 'supported' their club for 10 yrs and forget the years of rivalry and competition with Leeds, even right up until our relegation really.

    Ultimately, if we fail to get promoted it will be the fault of our players not the fans, who have financed the club a supported them hugely over the last few yrs despite Bates' austerity measures.
    The fact still remains that we've got a pretty rubbish team. Naylor, Collins, Hughes and Lowry are all second-rate at best. If Beckford and Becchio aren't firing we're impotent and Graysons' lack of imagination in the transfer market and his persistence in playing Doyle, and Howson on the right etc. has been detrimental to our cause. If we fail to beat Bristol Rovers in front of 39000 we don't deserve promotion. I think we will though, just.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'd like Leeds to draw & Millwall to win only because my work mate is a Leeds fan & he keeps harping on about how great Leeds are. So if they make the play-offs and lose again I can have a great laugh at him, all season he's been telling me Leeds will get auto promo this season. But hopefully Leeds can go up 2nd next year behind the Saints!

  • Comment number 36.

    No.1 mattydalton and No.5 LawrieA both non Leeds fans post wishing us well and looking forward to seeing us back in the Prem. Then you get the intellectual giants stating that NO-ONE but Leeds fans wish us well. We all know that there are some people out there that really don't like Leeds but it is far from universal and even those that throw the "dirty Leeds" tag around often admit sneakingly to like having us around. End of the day I won't care if we win against Rovers but that is far from certain. We can worry about strengthening the team if we actually get out of this league, should be no problem... Simon is very good in the loan market apparently! :)

  • Comment number 37.

    To Stevvy1986

    Are you slightly challenged? Leeds fans deserting them. ONLY 25K in league 1. How many other teams can boast attendances like that? We average a higher attendance than 7 Premier League clubs and we have abandoned the club. My god, you should think before you post.

    Leeds will go up on Saturday and with regards to no-one liking us, that would be all the clubs in the championship and leagues 1 & 2 that look on in envy as they know we are on our way back up.

    Sort your thoughts out sunshine

  • Comment number 38.

    I've got a sneaky feeling Leeds will mess up again, and let the winner of the Millwall v Swindon game take it. Leeds have been awful since Christmas, and if it wasn't for all the late goals scored at ER in the early part of the season, they wouldn't have even made the play-offs.

    I can remember watching the Leeds v Millwall game, and when Leeds went behind the blank look on Grayson's face indicated that he had no idea how to change it. Leeds were very poor that night whilst Millwall did a workmanslike job on the night.

    Swindon has been the team of the season, and when you consider they sold the League 1 top scorer of last season in Simon Cox, it's an even better achievement. In fact if Swindon do do it, it would mean that the two teams that suffered the biggest defeats on the opening day of the season, would've finished first and second, and at the moment they've lost the least amount of games in the division.

    I will take Swindon to beat Millwall, and Wovers to get something at Leeds (don't forget about the Trollope factor...both have played for Swindon, with Paul's father John is a Swindon legend with holding the League record of games played for one club), and I've just got a feeling Grimsby to achieve mission impossible by staying up.

  • Comment number 39.

    It's quite obvious what's going to happen! Leeds will beat Bristol Rovers and clinch promotion, Millwall and Swindon will draw (but it will be irrelevant anyway) meaning the mighty Leeds march on into the championship!! Don't care a jot about who joins us and norwich and certainly couldn't care less about league 2 other than wondering who'll be beating huddersfield next year!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    Tomorrow is going to be intense. I'm so proud of Millwall being in the frame for automatic promotion, and catching some positive headlines for once! beating Swindon tomorrow is all we can do, and I pray we can achieve that to at least end the main season on a high. The play off's would be at the highest standard for league one in years and after last season's heartbreak I don't think my sanity could face another trip to Wembley. But if that's the way we have to do it then it has to be done. I would love the chance to square up to Palace next season, I've missed that rival match a lot.
    We need all Millwall fans in the country to cross their fingers tightly throughout the day tomorrow, and the fans lucky enough to be there need to get behind the players right from the first whistle, and just pray Leeds slip up. Although, our fans are amazing anyway every game, so a full house at the Den should (I pray) be enough to get us a victory to heap the pressure on Leeds.
    I would not only be celebrating Millwall going up, I would be laughing for days if Leeds are resigned to a FOURTH season in League one. They don't deserve the right to go up simply for being a huge club, they need to earn their right like the rest of us and I can only pray tomorrow they slip up like they have for several seasons now.
    Cummon you Lions, make us proud! We are Millwall, super Millwall, we are Millwall, From the Den!

  • Comment number 41.

    I agree with HongKongPhooey (post 38) that Swindon have had a fantastic season. Striker Charlie Austin must be the find of the campaign - though Bournemouth fans would argue their club discovered him first.

    If the Robins are to end the season with promotion then I think it might have to be through the play-offs as Leeds have to be a strong bet to win tomorrow.

    One thing Leeds do is divide opinion - they are certainly not boring to watch from afar.

    Any Barnet or Grimsby fans out there? Confident of staying up?

  • Comment number 42.

    adampsb,

    No Chelsea players took part as none were allowed. Rio played for 27 minutes and did fine alongside his brother but quite a few of the guys recognized missed out. Lets hope Wigan do us a favor

  • Comment number 43.

    As a Blackburn fan who is from Leeds, I have mixed feelings about Leeds promotion prospects.

    On the one hand, I want them to go up as most of my friends support them. It would also be nice to see the same amount of yorkshire teams (with wednesday going down) in the Championship. On the other hand, the arrogance of Leeds fans really grates on me sometimes (I know it's been covered). Suffering the humiliation of 3 years in their lowest ever division has not humbled them at all and I constantly get stick about supporting Rovers.

    I can't call tomorrow, it really depends what Leeds team turn up. All I can be certain of is that IF Leeds dont secure promotion tomorrow, they wont go up. The playoff's are not their friends.

  • Comment number 44.

    As a Southampton fan, it's pretty galling to see the clubs from 2nd - 5th all still with a chance of automatic promotion. Had it not been for our 10 point deduction from day 1, we'd be sitting pretty in 6th with the best goal difference in the league (bar already promoted Norwich) - and would probably not have lost to Gills last week when we fielded a weakened side knowing there was little to play for.

    Millwall's home form has been incredible all season - it's had to be, because their away form in the last few games (and in periods over the whole season) has been that of a mid-table side. Having got so close to Leeds, they've really buckled under the pressure and have wasted the opportunity to go into the final day with their destiny in their own hands.

    As to Swindon, they too have bottled a chance to make a dent in the automatic promotion places - following wins over us and Leeds, three draws in the final five matches is not the form of a side confident of sealing a second place.

    Charlton, on the other hand, have impressed somewhat - I've barely read anything about their 'good form', or 'star players', or 'fantastic football' over this season, yet they've refused to budge from the top 6 all year and barring their poor results against the other top 6 sides, they've probably been the most consistent over the course of a season. But again, they've never convinced in trying to make that step up to automatic promotion contenders, and I'd be very surprised if they can rouse themselves to reach the playoff final, whoever they play.

    For Huddersfield, who started the season on fire, they probably know they haven't been a top 6 team overall. I truly believe if they'd not snatched that unbeleivable 4-3 win over Wallsall, Southampton would have had the impetus to overhaul what would have been a five point gap in four games.

    I really hope Leeds win tomorrow, avoiding any 'what ifs' from any of the other four promotion chasers who, in my opinion, haven't shown the consistent form over the 09/10 season that would merit automatic Championship football next season. But it's going to be a fantastic final day for the supporters of all five clubs, and indeed the neutral.

  • Comment number 45.

    Lets be honest, Leeds are just awesome

  • Comment number 46.

    I've got to say, regardless of which team you support, this has been a really interesting season in League One. Even as a neutral, I've been engrossed in it; well, since Leeds looked like they might not go up automatically anyway!

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not really that anti-Leeds, but the idea that 5 teams can enter the last weekend of the season with a chance to snatch 2nd place must be almost unheard of. Talk about close! It obviously wouldn't be so exciting had Leeds kept their form and booked their promotion as easily as it looked like they might.

    I might take issue with some of the points regarding Leeds' support deserting the club, or not though; first off, does anyone really expect that they would regularly fill Elland Road, in the third division? I really can't think of many clubs that would fill a ground of that size in this division, maybe Man Utd or Liverpool probably. Look at the Geordies, even they can't regularly fill their ground, a division higher up.

    But another point might be, how come Leeds don't get more fans in their ground when they ARE doing well? I think I'm right in saying the actual city is bigger than Manchester (population wise) and certainly larger than Newcastle, they are a one-team-city, and they were only getting crowds of 40,000 when in the Prem? Surely demand would have been such that Elland Road would have been in for enlargement, when the money was there, if they're as big a club as they seem to suggest they are?

    Anyhow, with all that daft stuff aside, in answer to the question posed at the top of this blog; yep, I think Leeds will cling on; decent recent form and being at home can only help their cause!

  • Comment number 47.

    djshep1973, they were only getting 40,000 because that was the ground capacity!!

    I've supported Leeds for nearly 40 years. I'm not holding out any hope we will win tomorrow as I've been let down so many times. If they DO win, then I'll start celebrating.

  • Comment number 48.

    @45 - leeds would never beat Chuck Norris. That's absurd.

    (and they weren't that awesome against Millwall this season...)

  • Comment number 49.

    Nothings Abusurd with when it comes to Leeds Paul. Not even Chuck Norris.
    Apart from that Millwall game...and Swindon. Apart from that we are awesome

  • Comment number 50.

    I'm a Norwich fan, and so proud of the boys after a disastrous start to the year. I'm hoping anyone but Leeds go up, had enough of listening to their fans harp on about how they're a big club and don't deserve to be in that division. I'll be supporting Bristol Rovers tomorrow.

  • Comment number 51.

    A word about Bristol Rovers .......they are the divisions Jeykell & Hyde team. One week awful, the next week brilliant. They have dismantled Swindon away 4-0 and also beat them at home 3-0. They have beaten Charlton, Huddersfield, Millwall at home and Southampton away. You just don't know what team is going to turn up, they pull rabbit out of the hat when you least expect. Last week they were awful! ...but this week?

  • Comment number 52.

    Swindon, Millwall and Leeds have all had a chance to wrap this up before now and all bottled it!! Still, it makes for an exciting end to the season. As a Reading fan i'm actually hoping for Swindon to go up just so we can have a local derby again! I don't think Leeds will slip up though as they seem to have found a bit of form again just at the right moment. Good luck to all teams involved. Whoever goes up is in for a tough season in the Championship next year!

  • Comment number 53.

    Good luck to Leeds. It's in their hands and they have the players to get the win they need to go up automatically. But against Man Utd. they have shown that they have the 'tournament' mentality and determination to claim promotion from a play-off berth, so a second bite of the cherry through that particular lottery very much favours them.

    They have been my second team since 1970 and I have always followed them, accept of course when they come up against my team. You see it isn't always the case that fans of other teams hate Leeds. Some of us neutrals actually have a sweet spot for them. ;o)

    Still love Bremner, Hunter, Charlton & Co!

  • Comment number 54.

    As a Leeds fan - couldn't give a toss what other fans think about us, we'll always keep supporting Leeds, no matter what the result is tommorrow!

    As for the dire comment about or 'diminishing' fan base, most of the teams in the Premiership would have found their fans capitulating were they in our position, testament to the thousands of Leeds fans for sticking with the club through the bad times, fantastic support.

    Obviously nervous about tomorrow, but one things certain, Leeds fans will be singing for Leeds for 90 minutes!

  • Comment number 55.

    Hi Guys, i'm a big Gills fan, have been forever, although we are at the wrong end of the table it doesn't tell the whole story of our season. We have beaten Leeds, Swindon, Millwall and Huddersfield and taken draws from Norwich and Charlton in the league this season, we have lost 3 home games, one of the best in the whole football league, our problem is that we havent won away which makes my trip to Wycombe tomorrow very nervous and tense, however we are in the driving seat and i'm sure we will survive,

    On the point of Leeds fans being arrogant, what a load of nonsense, at the game at the Priestfield last month i spent the time before the game in the pub with some of their fans, all of them were really nice people and totally good people they werent arrogant at all,

    Wish all the teams at both ends of the table the very best for tomorrow, sadly someone will fall through the trapdoor, hopefully not The Mighty Gills though.

  • Comment number 56.

    Hi there,

    I'm a Grimsby fan, heading to Burton tomorrow along with another 2000 official away fans, but no doubt there'll be more in the ground...

    Literally everything is crossed, I just hope we can pull off the impossible.

    UTM!

  • Comment number 57.

    Come on Leeeeedsss!! We love you - do the job! Next step the premiership.

  • Comment number 58.

    Huw Davey - hope you have a good day tomorrow, but literally everything crossed? That could result in a hospital visit.

  • Comment number 59.

    Cheers! We're still favourites for the drop in my eyes, but we can do it, we're in good form and Barnet, well they're not. Hope Rochdale decide to turn up at Underhill!

  • Comment number 60.

    Hi as a Gills fan this season has been a complete mystery to me. How can a team that has one of the best records in the league do so badly away from home its crazy. As for promotion I dont think that leeds will slip up this season. They have a great squad and a quality manager which will see them through. I think Charlton would be pretty close tho.

  • Comment number 61.

    Good luck Grimsby

    As for Leeds, for the team's efforts I hope they go up, but for the majority of their fans I (and I suspect many others) hope not. Living in Leeds and having to listen to their delusions of greatness are enough to drive you mad. If their fans showed any sense of humility instead of the 'we're not famous any more' and 'WACCOE' rubbish then they might not be so disliked.

    Football is not all about history and banging on about how big a team you are, if it was then Halifax or Huddersfield for all their history have a greater claim to deserved success than Leeds. Leeds were a decent team once, but that was a long time ago.

    As for their crowds falling, well they have done but to get the gates they do in League 1 is impressive, but its noticeable how many Leeds Rhinos shirts you see in the city centre these days and the lack of Leeds United ones - in fact i'd say you're almost as likely to see a Manchester united shirt

  • Comment number 62.

    In reply to most of you on here, im not sure if you are all aware but leeds fans love the fact that nobody like them, infact they do drink to it and have a laugh about it.
    I will say it how it is, they are a club to be proud of, they are a yorkshire club with a fantastic history, ther fans are as passionate as any fans, one chap STEVVY quoted stateing Leeds fans dont deseve promotion? why? apart from norwich no team has averaged 25.000 in league one, we have sold out every away allocation this season, we have attracted extra tv coverage for league one, we have a fantastic youth programme. so why does everyone hate leeds? all i can think of is a slight case of jealousy or resentment.
    Im not telling anyone to like leeds, crist i wouldnt do that but on a personal note as a leeds fan, we have been in administration twice, suffered 2 relegations, suffered 2 playoff final defeats, so im sure we are as much deserved a promotion party tomorrow as anybody. All the best for tomorrow lads, ill be there shitting myself like everyone else.

    PS Well done Norwich

  • Comment number 63.

    HONGKONGFOOEY

    You dont go till january only losing one game on luck, current form creats luck, some people on here dnt have a clue, they hate leeds so they just think of sum rubbish to write, we have won the 2nd highest amount of games over a full season, sort yourself out sunshine

  • Comment number 64.

    #61. If you don't like Leeds, what are you doing living there?

    What a load of tosh. Of course you see plenty of Rhinos shirts in the city, Leeds (like Wigan) is very much a rugby town (and the rugby team is currently successful, unlike the football team) and while there are plenty of fans in Leeds who support Leeds (and definately not many Man U shirts around at all), Leeds do draw their support from other areas, especially in Yorkshire, such as Harrogate, Wetherby, Castleford/Pontefract etc.

    Halifax really have a rich history don't they? I mean best wishes to Halifax, no axe to grind, proper supporters willing to follow their team for years in Div 4 and now non league and Leeds played their reserve matches at The Shay for quite a period of time. Huddersfield were massive - in the 1920s. If anyone needs a history lesson and who keeps banging on about 'tradition' it would be the men from the Galpharm.

    Bitter, jealous resentful fans a plenty here, as usual. Of course we have a few wums and a few numpties who crow a bit too loud, but no more than any other team. Most of us are like Man City fans, long suffering and humourous and philosophical - we can hardly be classed as glory hunters, apart from a few years in the late 60s and early-mid 70s, we have been underachieving most of the time.

    All these Saints fans crowing about our arrogance ? What happened to your lot, we always used to have a good crack on trips to The Dell, and in terms of away support, I remember that you and WImbledon brought absolutely dismal numbers to Elland Road - one game when I was in the SOuth Stand back in the early 90s, I could actually count the number of Saints fans in the South-East Corner. 45. If our fans are arrogant, your lot are fast catching up to us, I would suggest ...

  • Comment number 65.

    Torontro White

    I live in Leeds because of work, I never said I disliked Leeds as a place and if you note said I hoped for their efforts that they went up. My point was more based around the lack of humility shown by their fans in the main.

    I think you missed the point re Halifax, the Leeds fans that I know and work amongst are forever going on about their history and how they deserve to be in the top flight, the point was that history is relative and is certainly no grounds for deserving success. Surely current success is deserved through effort and achievement in the present not the past.

  • Comment number 66.

    ...admittedly the Man Utd shirt bit was a bit tongue in cheek

  • Comment number 67.

    ;)

    WHile there have been a couple of folk here say things like 'The Premier League misses us' (which to be fair both Sir Alex Ferguson - unbelievably, given the rubbish he wrote about us in his book calling us 'animals' and wishing we were relegated - Harry Redknapp also stated this and those of us who are a bit older and wiser know when something is just a bit of mind games and media drivel, some of the younger ones less so). There have also been some voices of reason.

    If you don't support the club, you'll never know the pain we've faced, having a really promising future totally snuffed out, etc. etc. However, we are where we are and most of us acknowledge that we deserve to be where we are. If we do go up, I'm sure a certain ratio will be full of it, but there are also plenty like me who then just take on the worry that with Uncle Ken at the helm, that next season we could well be on our way back to League One without significant investment. And if we don't go up, we don't deserve it and let's see how many others will then laugh at our schadenfreude and be arrogant themselves - it's a marathon and not a sprint. Whoever is second after 46 matches deserves it. If we don't make it, it will be tough but most of us will be back next season.

    Most of us don't forget the beatings Exeter, Walsall, Swindon etc dished out on us - only a naive few think that because we beat Man U in the cup that we are a super team.

  • Comment number 68.

    to all those people who have said the leeds have a sliding fanbase... clueless!! there are probably only half a dozen teams in the country that if they were in our position would get the turn out we get every week.

    to all those people who have said every1 hates us!.... clueless!! Ure livin in the past! may have been the case a few decades ago, but certainly not now! i know for fact alot of prem supporters of various teams miss the rivalry we used to give them and look foward to our return to the top flight.

    this season weve been sceened on sky god knows how many times!(dont actually know the figure) but i can bet ya we aint far off the amount of times the top 4 have been screened this year.... why is this i ask myself.... coz of our so called sliding fanbase! and coz we are now begining to attract the neutrals ok it mite be from a sympathy vote but they want to see how were doin... coz were missed! and not coz were hated!

    i for 1 am pooin my pants for tomoz's game as we havent been the most reliableist team this 2nd half of the season but in fairness to the boys they had to play a mad month of somethin like ten games in feb! and yea they prolly did get abit carried away with themselves on there cup run, but who wudnt, they are human. havin said that plzplzplz some1 come and take beckford away from us .... ********!

    wishing the mighty leeds all the best for tomoros game, u can do it boys!

  • Comment number 69.

    Two of my mates are avid Leeds fans, so for their sake I hope they get the win and subsequent automatic promotion.

    However, I will never understand the whole "we love to be hated" mentality? I could understand if it didn't bother you, but what kind of person actually WANTS people to hate them?

    That just seems a bit moronic.



  • Comment number 70.

    There's quite a bit of talk about Leeds getting back up to the premiership here. Now, i think they'll get promotion today but the Championship is a very tough division to get out of. Many big teams have already failed to get out of it and i think its getting more competitive every year. Leeds have a long way to go before they'll be premiership material again.

  • Comment number 71.

    LusipherDiablo wrote:...

    but what kind of person actually WANTS people to hate them?

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Millwall fans?

    Just joking. I'd love Millwall to go up as I used to work there. As for Leeds, I suppose they've been hated as a team since the days of Bremner and Revie. Like Chelsea, they were seen as kickers and cloggers. In modern times, It was the fans Ferguson branded as 'animals' not the team and Ken Bates doesn't do them much good in the PR dept. I, for one would like to see them back in the Prem one day becuase it would get up Fergie's nose so much. But alas, I think he'll be gone before they make it.

  • Comment number 72.

    Whilst i find it great that we are playing 'falling giants' like Leeds, Southampton and Norwich, i feel if Leeds were to go up, it would make for a very interesting league next year, so therefore hope that they do. With teams like Peterborough and Plymouth coming down i feel League 1 will be less dictated by bank balances and more on the football played (Southampton excluded of course- they should walk the league next year!!)
    As for the bottom end of league 1, i hope Exeter stay up as its always nice to have local games.
    All in all it should be a very interesting weekend!
    Lets hope it doesnt dissapoint!!

  • Comment number 73.

    Tough one for me as a neutral - quite like all 5. Maybe Swindon with Nouble scoring the winning off of the bench, as he's a Hammer's man.

  • Comment number 74.

    being a man u fan, im not really too bothered who goes up, but ideal situation would be leeds lose out on promotion then face huddersfield in the play off final, only to lose probably on a missed penaly from the failure who is jermaine beckford...... then for said player to leave for higher climb's anyway

  • Comment number 75.

    As a Gills fan I am hoping to see a first away win at Wycombe today. We have taken our full allocation of 2,300 tickets so there is no better time to reward the faithful. It is bizarre that we can perform like promotion contenders at home and fold so regularly away. Come on you Gills!

  • Comment number 76.

    Come On Leeds !!!!! we must be able to get out of this league today surely ??? a few teams in the running and players that have had great seasons ( Billy Paynter of Swindon for one ) but The Mighty Whites need to get back to where we belong... and thats not being big headed, just honest !!;-)

  • Comment number 77.

    As a Spurs fan i have no problems with Leeds i went to both games in the cup and spoke to loads of Leeds fans and i enjoyed the games.
    Yes there players kicked lumps out of us but i am old enough to remember thats how football was before the premier league and they ran us close after beating man utd.

    As with our battle for 4th todays games will leave all fans reaching for the defibrillator but for the winners it will taste so sweet (im still buzzing after Wednesday :D)

    Good luck to all teams today i will be watching with interest and my the best team go up.

  • Comment number 78.

    Although no longer a regular first team player, Ryan Giggs recently stated that the fixture he missed most was Leeds United versus Manchester United at Elland Road. Sir Alex "Taggart" Ferguson has described Elland Road as the most "intimidating ground in Europe" to visit. There are imbeciles submiting posts on this site who have no idea the impact Leeds United have for top-flight players and clubs not to mention the broadcasters who would be falling over themselves to cover such a fixture. You may not like the Pope but if he turns up you can be assured of a big crowd.

  • Comment number 79.

    Come on Leeds!! Lots of bile in these comments re Leeds fans being arrogant or Leeds being disliked by everyone. It's a load of tosh, similar to when Scots say that no other countries in the world like England, its just factually incorrect. Coming from Leeds and having lived in London and Edinburgh I've lost count of the number of people that have told me we should be back in the big time of premier league football. I think our rivals sometimes mistake the fans passion for arrogance. I agree with the comments about a full Elland Road being the most intimidating place in the country, I can remember games where things weren't going well and it seemed almost as if the fans willed a goal with the passionate singing! Fantastic atmosphere. Come on Leeds today, let's get on the road to the premier league, and Grayson and Wise, well done for turning the corner for us, before then it seemed we would never hit bottom.

  • Comment number 80.

    As was stated originally; on Saturday, Leeds, Millwall, Swindon, Charlton and Huddersfield will all fight for the right to join Norwich in the Championship next season. This must be one of the most dramatic ends to a season on any league, it can even be compared to when Arsenal beat Liverpool in the last match of the 89/90 season, YET is it covered on TV, no!

    Last week we saw another dramatic game, Sheffield vrs Crystal Palace, what a brilliant game, on terrestrial TV, and it was much better than the Chelsea game that was showing at the same time.

    The BBC could have done so much with today's fixtures, with I assume Millwall vrs Swindon being the centre piece. But unfortunately we have to wait until the League show very late this evening to see highlights, which would never convey the drama or the twists and turns that may happen today.

    I must say I am dissapointed with the BBC, this could have been a real bonus, it would have given many license payers real value for money, and would have appealed to thousands of football fans across the country, none of which would be associated with the teams, solely for the drama.

    Opportunity missed!

  • Comment number 81.

    Charlton to get automatic promotion

  • Comment number 82.

    My bet for this weekend:

    Tranmere to beat Stockport
    Southampton to beat Southend
    Dag and Red to beat Darlo
    Leeds to breat Bristol Rovers

    And:

    Chelsea to beat Wigan
    Man Utd to beat Stoke
    Liverpool to beat Hul
    Everton to beat Pompey.

    Lets see how I do next week!

  • Comment number 83.

    Leeds have got to be favourites for this at home to Bristol, with nothing to play for except pride at a sold old Elland Road, if they win they are up. Nobody else can say that.

    If they lose this one, then as ateam they will deserve to stay in league 1 next season, i say that as a Leeds fan. I can not see them getting through the play offs (they never have in their whole history) off the back of such a massive embarresment as not winning today will be.


    Good luck whites.......no pressure!!!

  • Comment number 84.

    @ stezzacoat

    You been a 'man u fan' it's quite telling that you felt you had to comment on a league 'you're not bothered about'. That Beckford (failure) goal still smarting too, it would seem.

    Leeds will go up today, the start of something;)

  • Comment number 85.

    Best scenario Leeds beat Bristol to go up , Uncle Ken sells up to a billionaire Saudi Prince and Larry goes on a massive spending spree before leading us up next season to the Premiership !
    Come on you mighty Whites ! cometh the hour , cometh the man

  • Comment number 86.

    Posted this comment up on 606 yesterday, but probably missed by most people ... so just wanted to bung it on here as well!

    Millwall fan here - so of course I SHOULD say come 5 pm this Saturday the Wall WILL finish 2nd, and out of the 4 left ... Huddersfield to win the play off because I think they've gathered momentum at just the right time.

    However ... if I DO say this, then it won't come true - cause whenever I 'predict' a lions outcome I'm always naffin wrong!

    So ... I think a bit of hush is the answer!

    BTW ... If you include the play-off final last May (was there, fantastic atmosphere, and the roof nearly caved in when Alexander scored his 90 yarder ok, ok, so I exaggerated the distance a tad!) we've played ELEVEN matches in play offs (been to most of em) ...

    Brighton
    Derby
    Wigan
    Birmingham
    Leeds
    and Scunny (final)

    ... and only ever won ONE match (Leeds at home last year OF COURSE)

    So you can see why it's easy to be NOT looking forward to the play-offs!

    Irrespective ... COYL's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh yeah, and in answer to the question posted ... "The best position to finish?" (NOTE : That was the thread)... My answer was : "Doesn't matter diddly squat if you're 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th or who's paired up with who. Looking back through play-off results for all the divisions, there's no real edge or advantage to be had. Virtually every year there's a real mix of end positions who make it through."

    It is now kick-off minus 100 minutes ... jeezers am I getting nervous or WHAT?

  • Comment number 87.

    I am by no means a Leeds United fan, but i hope they go up and one day return to the premier league. The heartache their fans have been through in recent times is no fault of their own, they deserve a break and i feel they definitley desereve to go up, albeit after trying their hardest to throw it all away.

  • Comment number 88.

    I'm happy for Leeds to go up - three goals in first 5 mins would be nice so Huddersfield are aware there is no point trying to crush Exeter!

    C'mon you grecians!!

  • Comment number 89.

    Ummm..... am I the only one who doesn't know what 'WACCOE' means / is ? Could you tell me? anyone? somebody? please??

  • Comment number 90.

    Right, so, everyone seems to be putting Leeds United down and what not, but that's fine we'll be the underdogs even though we're second....
    I think it's a bit harsh to say that "they've done thir best to throw it away" I agree that we've thrown away obvious chances but the fact remains that we are still in second place. I'm not making excuses, but we also had other commitments in the shape of FA CUP..WHERE WE BEAT MAN UNITED...may I just add, and nearly took against Spurs.

    But honestly people, for 3 years now we've been struggling to get back up, I really think that today is our shot...I'm not saying we completely deserve...but I just hope that wecan do it.

    BEST OF LUCK TO ALL THE OTHERS TEAMS THAT ARE BATTLING...THIS IS WHAT ENGLISH FOOTBALL IS ABOUT!!!
    p.s. I think Leeds, Millwall, Swindon, Charlton and Huddersfield should all be the Premier League, OUR TEAMS ARE SO MUCH MORE EXCITING THAN CHELSEA AND WHAT NOT.!!!

  • Comment number 91.

    kingy_90...THAT'S REALLY APPRECIATED MAN!!!!!

  • Comment number 92.

    Have to say really excited, but extremely nervous today people!!!

  • Comment number 93.

    @ BartyBluebonce

    We Are the Champions, Champions Of Europe....that's a bit a Yorkshire humour :)

    Hope I can get a decent stream on this today, would have loved to have been there though. We Are Leeds

  • Comment number 94.

    If Leed lose 1-0 and Millwall - Swindon draw 2-2 and the others fail to capitalise What happens?
    That would put Leeds and Millwall level on points, goal difference and goals scored.
    What's the next criteria?

  • Comment number 95.

    I couldnt care less if anyone likes us (leeds united) or not , the only people who want us to stay down are the teams in div 1 so that they can see a crowd when they play us . however it doesnt matter we will win today to end all arguements.

  • Comment number 96.

    Leeds are losing....

  • Comment number 97.

    10 man Leeds are all over Bristol Rovers like a cheap suite.

    Automatic promotion a certainty.

  • Comment number 98.

    Congratulations to Leeds! It's about time they started making their way back up the leagues, I just hope they can do well next season and continue climbing towards the Premiership.

    http://the-fa-premier-league.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 99.

    Fair play to Leeds, they got there in the end.

    I know they made hard work of it, but at the start of the season Grayson would have settled for needing a home win on last day of the season.

    Be interesting to see if Bates will let Grayson spend much in the Championship next season, you don't necessarily have too as Leicester have shown. But then again look at Peterborough.

    Suppose that Leeds and Leicester are clubs structured for the Championship and (maybe) Premier League, unlike 'The Posh' who are used to budgeting for the lower leagues.

    My club, Coventry, will need to be careful who they appoint as new manager. For a few years too many now, they have been flirting with the trap door to Div 1, need to get this appointment right.

    Footballgambler Blog

  • Comment number 100.

    To all those wishing Leeds ill and a loss today....

    Ha ha.

    We did it - suck on that.

 

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