Rumours about Senior repeated and opinions on Smiths squad selection exhausted during the six-hour car journey to Cardiff, left me standing outside the Millennium Stadium with my own thoughts.|
I had fallen into watching Leeds over the season, the happy recipient of an occasionally unused season ticket. It hadnâ€™t taken many games before Iâ€™d become hooked, and now here I was at my first Challenge Cup final.
Young an old, men and women, cod heads and whinoâ€™s all mixed up together, no hint of any agro just some high-spirited last minute leg pulling.
In the ground with an hour to go till theyâ€™d run on and get this thing underway, supping the black stuff out of plastic cups the tension was really starting to build. The whinoâ€™s werenâ€™t sure what to expect, The bruising the Bulls had thrown at us the Friday before had made me edgy and looking round at fingernails between teeth and some tension furrowed brows, I could see others were feeling the same.
Taken our seats now. The party atmosphere was starting to build a mixture of emotions, happy to be there but heart pounding with nervous anticipation and a knot slowly tightening in my stomach.
The military band comes out, 'how appropriate could that turn out to be', I thought, as they brought the crowd to its feet with the theme tune to â€˜The Great Escapeâ€™, "hope itâ€™s us escaping and not them".
The pre-match concluded with â€˜Marching on Togetherâ€™ raising the Rhinoâ€™s end of the ground to fever pitch, the waiting was over it was time to cheer the lads to victory.
What followed...well it turned out that â€˜The Great Escapeâ€™ was a prophecy. However close to freedom he is and no matter how much you shout, cheer or yell, in the end Steve McQueen never does make it over that last fence...does he?