SUPPORTER of the year Phil Beeton will be watching his 2,000th consecutive Leeds United game when the Whites travel to Bournemouth tomorrow.
The likeable 61-year-old Supporters’ Club treasurer, who won the honour at the Football League Awards night, has witnessed all the Whites’ highs and lows of the last four decades-plus.
It’s fair to say that of all those games, Saturday’s narrow 2-1 win at Elland Road over Championship strugglers Millwall is unlikely to live long in his memory.
Nervy Leeds ended a grim run of six games without a victory but the issue of the ownership of the club continues to rumble on with Massimo Cellino’s proposed takeover in doubt after being found guilty of tax evasion.
With the Football League dragging their heels on a ruling as to the Italian’s fit and proper credentials to take over the club, Leeds look rudderless with no sense of direction.
Millwall boss Ian Holloway recognising a missed opportunity, said: “They (Leeds) were on their knees. I’ve never sensed this place like that. They need to back their manager and get their life sorted out.”
United made a start as uncertain as the off-the-field issues swirling round Elland Road but somehow got themselves into a winning position by half-time.
Millwall were slicker and sharper all round in the early stages, but against the run of play Matt Smith headed in Connor Wickham’s long throw on 19 minutes.
Four minutes from the interval a Tom Lees tackle sent the ball into space down the right where Ross McCormack seized possession and sent a low shot past goalkeeper David Forde for his 25th Championship goal of the season.
Jack Butland remained the busier net-minder as Leeds struggled badly in midfield and Holloway went for broke with three attacking substitutions before the hour was up.
His gamble was rewarded when one of the trio, DJ Campbell, smashed in a 25-yard shot in the 72nd minute but despite plenty of possession the Lions were unable to find an equaliser.
Leeds United 2, Millwall 1
Leeds United: Butland, Byram (Wooton 90), Lees, Pearce, Pugh, Austin, Murphy, Mowatt (Tonge 83), Wickham (Hunt 85), McCormack, Smith. Subs (not used): Cairns, Warnock, Poleon, Stewart. Cautions: Austin, Hunt
Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Robinson, Lowry, Beevers, Garvan, Upson (Campbell 58), MacDonald, Woolford, Onyedinma (Jackson 58), Marquis (Maiehofer 57). Subs (not used): Bywater, Fredericks, Abdou, Powell. Caution: Maiehofer
Referee: Stewart Attwell (Warwickshire)