Here, for the 12th successive month on this Blog, is a screenshot taken from the BBC website that shows Leeds United, the team that I have supported since childhood, top of the Championship, the second tier of English football.
When I posted the most recent of these pieces (here, last Saturday) I wrote, “If Leeds avoid defeat against Luton Town on Tuesday night, they will still be top of the table when July begins”. I hadn’t checked the full list of midweek fixtures. Even if Leeds had lost last night, they would have remained top of the table, for 24 hours at least. West Brom travel to Sheffield Wednesday tonight, Wednesday 1 July.
As things stand, last night’s game (a 1-1 draw) guarantees that Leeds will still be top, and Luton will remain at the bottom of the table, until the weekend at least. I watched the whole game streamed live through LUTV (Leeds United TV), something I have never done before. I don’t recall this option being available for previous games. Next Saturday’s game (away at Blackburn) is also available through LUTV, at the same cost (£10 for a matchday pass). The fixture after that (home to Stoke on Thursday 9 July) is not available to UK viewers through LUTV (but will be accessible outside the UK). I’m guessing that’s because it will be screened live on Sky Sports.
To get full value for my tenner, and as advised by emails from the club, I logged in well in advance of kick-off and enjoyed over an hour of pre-match chat and highlights of the season so far. The latter featured all the goals scored by Leeds (including the 3-0 win at Salford City in the Carabao Cup tie last August, which I missed) and none of the goals conceded. The pre-match, interval and post-match discussions were hosted by Emma Jones and former Leeds left-back Ben Parker. Commentary was by Bryn Law and former Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford. As you might expect, the coverage made no attempt to be neutral. It was all very enjoyable, apart from the result.
Like most sports fans, I am superstitious about many things. I posted two screenshots from the Championship table last weekend (taken at 15:03 and 17:04) and realize that the example above takes me to 13 for the season so far. Is that unlucky? Or is the possibility of bad luck neutralized by the fact that I used the same screenshot in the pieces posted in March and April? I hope so. It means that there have only been 12 different screenshots posted on this Blog so far this season that show Leeds leading the way. That can’t be unlucky, surely? But if things go badly against Blackburn next weekend I might have to rethink this.