Leeds Fans Shouldn’t Mock Away Crowds, Our Prices Are Out Of Order

£37 to watch Giuseppe Bellusci?
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Patrick Gunn
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£37 to watch Giuseppe Bellusci?

In a week highlighted by a well publicised protest against the rising ticket prices in English football, you need look no further than Elland Road for proof of the ridiculous pricing structures in the modern game.

Leeds are by no means the worst club in the league when it comes to ticket prices - Sheffield Wednesday's £52 tickets take some beating - but when you consider that tomorrow's game against Birmingham, a match with very little grandeur or history, could potentially cost some supporters £42, the fact that Wednesday fans have it a tad worse doesn't make up for much.

We've all heard enough complaints from travelling away fans to know that fans of other clubs aren't a fan of our prices, and to those people I say this - We don't like it either.

As a fanbase, we can be rightly proud of our often insane travelling numbers, and take great joy in mocking those support groups that fail to sell out their allocation at Elland Road. The fact of the matter is, however, that these fans are having to weigh up the possibility of paying £37 (and that's just the ticket) to watch their side play a team who have finished 15th twice in a row.

Mark my words, Cardiff boycotted last season, and I'd bet good money on more teams making the same decision in the future. I don't hold much optimism for the protests this week, as much as I agree with them, but if nothing else I hope that they raise enough awareness among football fans for more to stand up and vote with their feet next time around.

Approaching the match itself, Leeds will be looking for a serious response to the calamitous display at Middlesbrough last week. The defeat at the Riverside was exacerbated by a horrendous defensive display that saw the comedy duo of Bamba & Bellusci hand three goals to Boro on a silver platter, before slapping cream pies into each other's faces and driving off in a tiny car with Terry George and Verne Troyer.

Luckily for Leeds' answer to Laurel & Hardy, it seems that most have passed off the game as one we were likely to lose anyway, choosing instead to revert to arguments about whether or not Sam Byram deserves to be paid more than a nurse or a soldier. Excusing the performance is all well and good, but it would be surprising to see last week's defensive pairing again come 15:00 tomorrow, especially given the questionable nature of Liam Cooper's exclusion.

Chris Wood, it seems, may still be out of action, with Mirco Antenucci likely to feature in his place once again. Antenucci had few opportunities at the Riverside, but was unlucky not to come away with at least one goal that was cruelly and mistakenly ruled out for offside.

Many will be looking out for a place on the bench for summer signing Lee Erwin after his good run of form for the development squad. Rosler has, so far, chosen not to use Erwin at all this season, but with Massimo Cellino seemingly ruling out a loan move for the young Scotsman (despite the apparent desire of both Rosler & Erwin for a deal to be done), he could well return to the fold tomorrow.

Alongside Antenucci, Rosler now has the option of Will Buckley, signed on a loan deal until January from Sunderland. Buckley has impressed at Championship level in the past, but has struggled to make an impact since joining the Premier League side from Brighton. Less Jordan Botaka, more Stuart Dallas, Buckley will bring a similar, direct approach to the opposite wing from the Northern Ireland international, giving Leeds a significant threat either side of their lone striker.

With Botaka still looking a tad raw as the Boro game dragged on, Rosler may feel that the more experienced Buckley will be a better option to break down Birmingham's defences. It's odd - a month ago and we were crying out for wingers of any kind, now we've got wingers falling out of our pockets and rolling down between seat cushions. Oh look, it's Gboly Ariyibi next to that 50p.

Birmingham, much like Leeds, have only lost twice this season, but currently sit in 5th place compared to Leeds' 15th after taking the risky route of winning four of their other 7 matches. Clayton Donaldson, who was a summer alternative to Chris Wood in Leeds' transfer plans, has scored four goals so far, the same as Leeds' Kiwi frontman, but has laid on three more for his teammates than Wood.

All in all, Birmingham have scored more and conceded less than Rosler's team, which, on paper, means that Leeds could be in for a tough afternoon as they look for a first home win since March 4th against Ipswich Town. Last season yielded two 1-1 draws between the sides however, and Leeds are still top of the "draw table" in the Championship, so don't rule out another stalemate.

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