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Leeds United 2 v 0 Queens Park Rangers
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 2nd November 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Adventures on the high seas - Preview
Friday, 1st Nov 2019 19:04 by Clive Whittingham

Having blown the chance to gatecrash the top two with one point from a pair of home games, QPR now face a daunting Saturday trip up to Leeds.

Leeds (7-4-3, LWLWDD, 3rd) v QPR (7-2-5, LLWWDL, 8th)

Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Saturday November 2, 2019 >>> Kick Off 15.00 >>> Weather – Absolutely pissing it down, and some wind. Wind and water, straight in the face. >>> Elland Road, Leeds

A couple of weeks ago my company took me to Cannes for the week. They do this a lot. My friends, who’ve never been to Cannes, think this makes my job tremendously glamorous. Other people I speak to, who have been to Cannes, know this is the equivalent of being sentenced to seven days of hard labour in Milton Keynes-on-Sea. A conference town, centred around a big conference centre, with conferences rolling in and out on a weekly basis, made up entirely of budget hotels, rip off restaurants, hookers and plastic surgery enthusiasts carrying Pomeranians around.

To alleviate the boredom of visiting this hole for the twentieth time in ten years, and to try and render myself professional and competent after whatever happened the night before (look, the Pomeranians had an offer on ok?), I like to drag my carcass out of bed in the morning and go for a run down the artificial beach past all the artificial places and artificial people, and then when I get back I get in the sea with all the sewage flushed out of the cruise ships and dunk my head under and forget all the 1664 and red wine that went before.

Now there have been mishaps with this before. That time I didn’t take swimming trunks, tried to add the swim on at the end regardless, and emerged from the sea in a very much non-public, casual-wear pair of boxer shorts in front of a pensioners yoga class that had inconsiderately convened on the beach while I was washing the seaweed and used tampons out of my eyes in the sea, for instance. But nothing really to match the stupidity of my most recent dip, halfway through which I realised my mobile telecommunications device was still in my pocket.

Nothing tests these nonsense advertising gimmicks about waterproofing more than taking the product for a splash in the sea and, as it turns out, Apple’s claims about their iPhone 6s (shut up, I upgrade in the next paragraph) were overblown. Phone didn’t like seawater one bit, and started doing odd things like reducing to 1% battery life while refusing to take charge but staying on for a day and a half anyway; concerning things like receiving calls but putting me on mute so they couldn’t hear me; and downright terrifying things like sending pictures of its choosing from my library to contacts of its choosing from my address book. This would never do. In fact, this would pretty quickly result in me getting the sack and, although that would mean I don’t have to go to Cannes any more, it would also mean I wouldn’t have enough money to go to Derby at the end of the month and sing Richard Keogh songs, which would be a terrible shame.

Luckily, as it turned out, I was due an upgrade. The O2 website told me... after I’d remembered the third and fifth letters from the name of a fictitious pet I've never owned, got the capital letters right in the make of my first car, and reset a password that has to include a “special character”. It also told me that I could have the iPhone 11 Pro Max Infinity Silver Bullet Special, which LFW’s official photographer (not a salaried position, have a day off HMRC you’ve had your pound of flesh) Neil Dejyothin reliably informed me was better than sex and must be purchased at once. This was mine for a contract bigger than the one I have by a not completely eye-watering amount (I suppose) and an extra tenner for same day delivery which I readily took because, well, no-context dick pics are less amusing when I can’t pick where they go and the sea-water addled handset had gone properly rogue by this point.

Needless to say, same day came and went and phone did not. Nor did it come the day after the same day, throughout which the DHL website promised it was on its way right the way through to about 15.00 when it decided it was very much not on its way. It was, in fact, the farthest thing from on its way. I had an instant messenger conversation on the O2 website with Ikbal who told me I should call 202 from my phone to resolve this. When I told him I wasn’t able to call 202 from my existing handset because it was too busy forwarding my holiday pics to my address book and this was why I needed a new handset in the first place he suggested taking another day off work to see if it arrived tomorrow. When I said that wasn’t really good enough he referred me to his manager Vinod who, after taking down all the same details, recommended the same thing.

In this paragraph several things will happen very quickly, because I know you don’t care about any of this. A visit was made to the O2 shop in North Finchley on Thursday, where three mid-20s lads in smart cazsh O2 uniforms handed me a sweaty landline handset and told me to call 202 from there, then had a very loud conversation about whether each of them was a “shower or a grower” while I was on hold to be told that the handset would “probably” come tomorrow. A further £30 was spent with the moody phone repair man over the road to make my existing handset a) live, b) accept charge when I plugged it in, c) stop with the random sending of stuff. Four separate calls to 202 after that could only yield “not sure where it is or why it’s there, think it might come tomorrow, sorry about that we’ll put some credit on your account”. At one point they gave up and gave me the number to call DHL myself. When they simply referred me back to O2, the person I then spoke to said it was outrageous I’d been asked to call the deliverer myself and that should never have happened, but 20 minutes of holding later she too could only repeat the “maybe tomorrow” mantra. O2 sent me a text survey, to ask how Vinod had done with my query, and when I said he’d been absolutely fucking useless they thanked me for my feedback. I posted that on the Twitter, which O2 ignored, and somebody laughed at it, which O2 responded to asking how they could help.

At every point of this, be it Ikbal and Vinod on the instant chat, or the horny staff of the O2 shop in North Finchley, or the various optimistic call centre staff I slowly ground down, I was constantly asked if I was the account holder, to which I replied 'yes'. This troubled me, firstly, because who are these absolute sadists that want to spend whatever time they have left in their miserable lives bouncing around between the various lobotomised gibbons in O2 customer services demanding to know where somebody else's handset is? Presumably they exist, otherwise why would they need to keep asking me if I'm me? And secondly, even if I was one of those sadists, and I was enquiring about somebody else's handset, I'd obviously still say fucking 'yes' to that question wouldn't I? It's like when I apply to have my US working visa renewed and they ask me if I was a member of the Nazi government of Germany. On the off chance I was, do you think I'd say 'yes'? When Himmler fancies a few business lunches in Denver Colorado do you think he says 'yes' to that? When the BBC iPlayer asks me if I have a television licence I say 'yes', because I have, otherwise that speccy twat in the van comes round and knocks on the door and says he can hear a television. But if I didn't, do you think I'd say 'no' when I want to watch RuPaul's Drag Race? I would not. Who are the people who come up with these questions? It's those pricks who invented the "smart motorway" isn't it?

One week on from my ‘same day delivery’ I called another very optimistic girl on 202 who said that this was all absolutely disgusting, and she would have it sorted very quickly. More holding and more empty promises about “maybe it’ll come tomorrow” later I told her I’d grown weary and would like to use the cooling off period to leave. Honest to God, this O2 employee said she’d do exactly the same thing, and would send me a PAC code forthwith. At no point did anybody I spoke to try and rescue this fish-in-a-barrel £1,200 two and a half year contract for their company by saying “look, it’s obviously lost in the system, we’ll send you a different one and it’ll be with you tomorrow.” PAC code secured, Sky Mobile had a phone with me in half a day. O2 subsequently rang me back, asking why I was leaving, and when I read out the above a second employee of theirs simply sighed and said “yeh, it’s bad innit, I’d have done the same”.

And why have I done this by way of a Leeds preview? Well because I have to write 49 of these bloody previews this season, and angles aren’t always forthcoming. And I think we all, in some way, use the football as an escapism from the day to day drudgery of life, and having bit my tongue through all of this I was subsequently treated to Reading’s annual 678% increase in performance levels against us just when a home win would have propelled us into serious contention, and then Brentford posting dressing room celebration videos after giving us a good going over on Monday, which I had to view on my lap top, because my bastard phone wasn't working.

I’m fed up, to be honest, and I could do with a nice scrap from the QPR table this weekend to nourish me through next week, less I strangle the living shit out of somebody who cycles through a red light while I’m trying to cross the road. Whether I’ll get that from my £39 ticket at Elland Road tomorrow – with Pablo Hernandez potentially back and missed-sitter enthusiast Patrick Bamford likely to miss out for proper striker Eddie Nketiah - is doubtful.

Yeh, that’s my intro. Live with it.

Links >>> Wegerle’s goal – History >>> Pragmatic Bielsa – Interview >>> Brentford aftermath – Podcast >>> Eltringham in charge – Referee >>> Leeds United official website >>> Yorkshire Evening Post – Local Paper >>> Yorkshire Post – Local Paper >>> The Square Ball – Fanzine >>> WACCOE – Forum >>> Marching on Together – Forum >>> Not 606 – Forum >>> SB Nation – Blog

Geoff Cameron Facts No.72 in the Series – If Geoff had been charged with building the Ark he would have left the wasps behind.

Saturday

Team News: Changes both forced and needed for Mark Warburton after a couple of disappointing home performances and results put the brakes on a previously very successful start to the season. Todd Kane (Angel Rangel), Dom Ball (Geoff Cameron), Luke Amos (Josh Scowen) and Jordan Hugill (Bright Osayi-Samuel) will all be pushing for a place ahead of underperforming starters from the Brentford humbling. Man City midfielder Matt Smith has a knock, apparently, while Yoann Barbet is still a doubt with the injury that stopped him facing his former club during the week.

Nothing but bad vibes in the Leeds team news. Pablo Hernandez, who makes this lot tick, could be back. Come on lads, don’t want to rush him, give him another week. Patrick 'Bam Bam' Bamford, who hasn’t scored for nine games and does a nice line in a missed sitter, has a violin lesson this weekend so might actually miss out forcing Marcelo Bielsa to pick Eddie Nketiah from the start – this is very unwelcome indeed for a defence that made Sam Baldock look like the second coming of Christ ten days back. Bamford's finishing has been so bad this season Leeds might have been better off with the actual Flintstones character. They do have concerns at full back though where Ezgjan Alioski is a doubt with wankers’ cramp and Barry Douglas has had a Buckfast overdose.

Elsewhere: Strange goings on at Poke City who happily stood behind Nathan Jones while he rampaged through the first ten league games of the season without a win, but have now sacked him after he beat Swansea and Fulham. To be fair, they did lose 1-0 at Sheff Wed and 2-0 at Millwall after that but still, the timing would suggest somebody they want has either just become available or is about to be made unavailable – Tony Pulis is the bookies favourite for the leader-of-Isis job that has just come up, for instance. Anyway, they’re the terribly exciting Monday Night Football (which we're told we have to cap up by Richard Keysie Keys, whenever he hasn’t got a mouthful of his daughter’s mate’s box) at home to West Brom.

Bold start, even by our standards.

Tonight it’s Grimethorpe Miners’ Welfare at home to Bristol City in this weekend’s exciting fixture between two teams beginning with B. Yes, we know we sabotage that joke by changing Barnsley’s name to a northern stereotype. No, we don’t care.

Wigan Warriors v Swanselona kicks Saturday off with a cross-code clash in Lancashire and there’s also a televised game in the early hours of Sunday morning with the two surprise packages, Charlton and Preston Knob End, meeting at The Valley with a kick off time specifically designed by Sky Sports Leeds to make it impossible for the away fans to travel to the game by train.

Among the 15.00s, PSV Derby host Middlesbrough fresh from the news that long serving captain and living QPR legend Richard Keogh had been fired for gross misconduct for being a passenger in the recent drunk driving car crash that followed a morale building team dinner. Derby say “The club will not tolerate any of its players or staff behaving in a manner which puts themselves, their colleagues, and members of the general public at risk of injury or worse, or which brings the club into disrepute. The club will be making no further comment at this time regards this matter until the conclusion of any potential appeal.”

Which rather begs the question of how Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett - who were actually piloting the vehicles while off their tree but got the legal equivalent of a slap on the wrist at court because one of them is bit sad about his dead mum and the other has remembered he’s got a three year old kid kicking about somewhere - were allowed to return to the team the following week with a fine. Now, legally, Keogh has rendered himself unfit to play through his actions whereas the other two haven’t, which is likely where a subsequent employment tribunal will be fought assuming Derby don’t just bung Keogh some money to fuck off back to the owl sanctuary. Cynically, realistically, this is a club finding a reason to get rid of the crippled 33-year-old who can’t play for 18 months while making excuses to keep hold of the two lads in their early 20s who they might one day sell for some money. It’s typical of a club that has been dancing off into the grey area of morality citing technicalities and loopholes for sometime. Still, don’t dare watch their training session through the fence from a public footpath will you? Christ, hell hath no fury…

Reading v Millwall.

Allam Tigers have recovered from the Ebere Ezeing a week ago to swiftly beat Florist away and Derby at home so travel to see Tarquin and Rupert this weekend with some confidence in their form. Nottingham Florist’s cast of a thousand footballers, meanwhile, head to Lutown. The Mad Chicken Farmers are at home to Sheffield Owls, so that three coacher the TransPennine Express insist is adequate to run between Manchester and Sheffield should be a giggle on Saturday night as ever.

Birmingham City are the latest guests on the Eleventh Annual Neil Warnock Farewell Tour and Cowley sisters Danni and Nikki will have all on to keep their revival of Huddersfield Imps on track this weekend as they face Justice League leaders Spartak Hounslow who will probably be the best side they’ve played all season.

Referee: After the horrors of Jeremy Simpson and Andy Woolmer in our last two home games, we have at lats been treated to LFW’s highest rated referee on the Championship list currently, Geoff Eltringham, for this difficult trip to Elland Road. It can’t last can it? He has been mostly brilliant in the multitude of games we’ve had him over the last few seasons – as you can read by clicking here.

Form

Leeds: Leeds have played eight away games this season, winning four and drawing two. No Championship team has taken that many points on the road, and they’re third in the Championship as a result. At home, they’ve been less convincing. Three wins, two draws and a late defeat here to Swansea places them 13th on the table for home points accumulated. They come into this game in distinctly midtable form with three wins, four draws and three defeats from the last ten matches. They have, however, won their last two home games 1-0 against West Brom and Birmingham. Of Leeds’ 17 goals scored in the league this season, four have come in the final nine minutes of games winning them five extra points against Preston, Barnsley and Brentford. Of the eight they’ve conceded, four have been scored in the 74th minute or later including two injury timers against Swansea and Derby at Elland Road. Those four goals have cost them seven points against Swansea, Derby, Preston and Forest.

QPR: As pointed out by Thom Gibbs on this week’s podcast, if QPR were to lose on Saturday as most are expecting it would leave them with a 7-2-6 record for the season so far which is exactly the same as they were a year ago when they won for a third time in a week at home to Aston Villa 1-0. Rangers have won four and lost two of six away games this season – only Swansea have a better points record from six road games with three wins and three draws. The R’s are still the only Championship team without a clean sheet to their name and only bottom of the league Barnsley (27) have conceded more than our 26. Only the top two have scored more than our 24, on the other hand, and Leeds are lagging behind on 17 which is in stark contrast to a year ago when they’d scored 26 by this point.

Prediction: Our Prediction League this year is sponsored by The Art of Football. Get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s QPR collection here. Last year’s champion WokingR says…

“This is a tricky one to call. Leeds home form is 50/50, whereas we currently sit top of the current form table for away matches but have been crap in our last two home games. Going to stick my neck out and hope we can continue our away form with another 2-1 win and Hugill to score first after his rest.”

Woking’s Prediction: Leeds 1-2 QPR. Scorer – Jordan Hugill

LFW’s Prediction: Leeds 2-0 QPR. Scorer – We wish.

The Twitter @loftfowords

Pictures – Action Images

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TacticalR added 00:04 - Nov 2
Thanks for your preview.

Call centre hell. It's interesting how we've created these systems (software, customer support etc.) that just don't work very well. In theory everything is automated, but in practice, if a single link in the chain fails then nothing works. Everyone is trying to do an Amazon but it's harder than it looks.

As for Leeds we can only hope they have one of their stutters. We could definitely do with Hugill returning too.
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gigiisourgod added 00:50 - Nov 2
I think I preferred the Brentford one...
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snanker added 08:12 - Nov 2
Good news Clive the misanthropy really sets end post 50 y.ears of age ! Hows your bank been treating you lately !! Reckon R's may get something out of this fixture.
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nix added 08:26 - Nov 2
Telecoms companies have worked out a fantastic system of all being useless at varying degrees at different times with hopeless outsourced call centre 'support' systems. It works brilliantly, as there's generally no point in switching between them as the others are equally crap. Sky were so hopeless when I tried to upgrade to Sky q, sending an engineer who was so rubbish that he told me my system wouldn't support Sky q and then reconnected my old HD box so it wouldn't record anything. I haven't been able to face getting anyone else round, having lost all faith in them.

I think we're all feeling a bit battered and bruised after starting so well and having a bit of a setback. November is going to be a tough month with some difficult fixtures but I think everything will turn around over the Christmas period, and maybe we'll get a couple of players to shore up the defence in January, maybe on loan and we'll finish strongly.


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