'It's going to be electric': Leeds United fans show their love ahead of crucial Derby play-off clash

James keenan and his son Freddy, aged four, from Birstall, were among those outside Elland Road yesterday. Picture by Simon Hulme
James keenan and his son Freddy, aged four, from Birstall, were among those outside Elland Road yesterday. Picture by Simon Hulme

White roses laid among the stones in memorial to legions of lost Leeds United fans outside Elland Road ahead of tonight's crunch clash.

Karen Dobson was there to rest her own, spending hours at the statue of club legend Billy Bremner yesterday in the knowledge that her late husband would have loved the wild ride of this season.

It was a year to the day that "Leeds United-mad" Peter died aged 64 from cancer, so she made a special trip from Knottingley with their pet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Ollie.

Mrs Dobson said: "He said he was not going anywhere until they got back up to the Premier League, but they didn't make it.

"I've come here today to put a rose on his stone."

With tonight's play-off semi-final second leg, United have the chance to cement victory against Frank Lampard's Derby County.

And fans will desperately hope Marcelo Bielsa's side's 1-0 edge will help them on to Wembley to take the chance of competing in top-flight football for the first time in 15 years.

Mr Dobson was a season ticket-holder with fond memories of the Don Revie era and as "the Three Musketeers" enjoyed matches with his friends Roy and John.

If Leeds were to go up, Mrs Dobson said: "He would have loved it, and he would have died a happy man.

"Roy was saying, 'Oh Karen, he would have loved this season'."

Such was Mr Dobson's love for the Whites that he even appealed on his deathbed for his young Everton-supporting grandsons to be brought up Leeds fans.

Mrs Dobson, who works at the Prince of Wales Hospice shop in Knottingley, said: "Literally on his deathbed, he was saying bye to everybody, I can remember looking at him and [son-in-law] Graham crying his eyes out, saying 'No Peter' and shaking his head.

"He kept saying, 'Will you bring the boys up Leeds United supporters?'"

Mrs Dobson, whose husband worked at the Stolzle Flaconnage glass factory in Knottingley, says she will go out to celebrate should United go the whole way.

Whites fan Glenn Spedding was another of the supporters reflecting on the season as he visited the club's merchandise store yesterday.

The Castleford man, 35, will be in the stadium tonight and is anticipating an "electric" atmosphere.

"It would be absolutely massive," he said, about the prospect of Leeds success.

"I'm a life-long fan. Fifteen years we've been away, and it sort of hurts."

But he is optimistic about his team's chances, saying: "The whole of Leeds is behind them."