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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Hoist The Colours!!

I felt it necessary to draw attention to an article written in the Yorkshire Evening Post today. In which Gary Walker questions the current attitude of Leeds United fans and whether they are really helping the team in what is a very difficult period.

The article can be found here:  Do Whites fans want to help the team?

In short, Mr Walker rallies for a call to arms and a 'United' front from the Elland Road faithful for Saturday's vital game against Swindon Town (and presumably the rest of the season). Claiming the negative attitude from the fans is making a positive performance from the Leeds players almost impossible for fear of a very audible reprimand from the paying punters. Gary goes as far as stating that a negative and disgruntled home crowd at Elland Road is worth a goal start to any opposition and that's what Danny Wilson's men will be looking for this weekend.

Although long-winded and clearly written by a passionate fan who is desperate to use his influence to give the team any advantage that will help shove them over the line come May, I can't help but agree with the majority of it. This isn't me climbing on my soap box and demanding that everybody should follow my example... I was the first to vent my sheer frustration when Robert Snodgrass wasted a match-winning opportunity against Brentford and couldn't even muster a nod of acknowledgement for the players efforts at the final whistle against Millwall but it is very much 'Do or Die' for Leeds United now and we need to play our part in helping the lads rescue a season that could now be historic for all the wrong reasons.

I, for my part will try not to get so frustrated each time Jonny Howson gives the ball away or each time Jermaine Beckford falls over. I'll even bite my tongue when Neil Kilkenney is inevitably substituted in place of one of Simon Grayson's favourites for a token appearance.

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Monday, 29 March 2010

Leeds United - 36 loan players in 6 seasons!

Following the close of the loan transfer market last week and the latest couple of players to play for Leeds United on a temporary basis I'd like to have a look back at some of the other 'borrowed talent' we have acquired in recent years, its quite a lengthy list of  34 players (not including the two most recent) since we waved goodbye to The Premiership and ultimately hit rock bottom.

There have been some huge successes over this period such as Casper Ankergren and Dougie Freedman but for every excellent aquisition it seems there has to be the odd Sam Vokes or Wayne Andrews... Below is a list of each player that has passed through the Elland Road 'Loans in' door;

Brought in along with Marc DeVries by Denis Wise as a stand in for Jermaine Beckford (no really) after him and Tresor Kandol were both serving a suspension for dismissal at Gillingham. Needless to say he struggled to fill Jermaine's boots and after a few more minor contributions he returned to Coventry. Has since been trialed and released by Bristol Rovers and Luton Town.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Brought to Leeds on loan from Brondby mid-way through the 2006/07 season, the Dane soon became a popular figure with the Elland Road faithful with several crucial penalty saves and performances that led to a permanent deal after the dreadful Summer of 2007. Still a first team regular due to Shane Higgs' injury problems Casper continues to impress as Leeds Number 1 as long as not too many crosses come in the box.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT

Loaned from Wolves in 2005 with a medium amount of optimism. Unfortunately any sort of impact were dashed as he picked up an injury in his 3rd game for the club and returned to The Black Country. 
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

A recent loanee, made a few appearances at left back in place of the injured Andy Hughes and Ben Parker. Struggled against Kidderminster's wingers and was soon returned to sender. Surely Aidan White would have been a better option.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Spent the first 3 months of the 'minus 15' season on loan at Leeds. His time at Elland Road was mainly successful with only 1 of his 15 appearances ending in defeat. Returned to Molineux and was last seen at Notts County before all the money men got involved.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT
Remember him having an excellent game at Forest but definitely benefited from the 'seige mentality' within' Elland Road at the time. 

Joined on loan before Leeds' first Championship game in 2004 but strangely signed a permanet deal 3 days later. Missed the majority of the 04/05 season through injury but recovered to play a large part in the clubs bid for promotion before being sent off in the Play-off semi-final, resulting in Kevin Blackwell playing Matt Kilgallon at left back in The Millenium Stadium... FFS!
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT
To a certain extent anyway, although my lasting memory of Crainey will always be one of mis-placed passes and questionable positioning.

Joined in an emergency to cover for Tresor Kandol (when he was good). Didn't play too many games before breaking his toe and was returned to Leicester.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT
Did what he was there to do and will always be remembered for the injury-time headed winner at home to Yeovil

Another attempt to solve the problem left-back position. Carl played 7 games before returning to Stoke amid rumours of a permanent deal. He then moved to Barnsley for the rest of the season. Didn't do a lot wrong nor was he spectacular
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT

Initially signed for Leeds on deadline day, January 2009 but failed to get the relevant paperwork to the football league in time, missing the deadline by 14 minutes. The transfer was put on hold but was eventually completed two months later. Liam promised lots but delivered nothing, another in the list of players too weak to play for Leeds United. Started this season at Brighton.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS 
Never a Leeds United player

Joined Leeds from Blackburn in 2005 for a an initial season before signing a permanent deal the following Summer. 'Dougie' went on to captain The Whites and was instrumental in a 4-0 victory over Huddersfield Town, scoring two goals. Lost his central midfield role with the emergence of Fabian Delph and spent most of last season at full back. Currently having an excellent season at Swindon Town
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT
Came in for critisism towards the end but I'd put him straight back in our midfield tomorrow

A season long loan from Coventry, playing a pivotal role in the clubs climb to the summit of League One in 2009. Doyle has received a bit of stick recently as his style of play seems to be on the quiet side rather than an 'all action' battler that Leeds so desperately need.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT
Was part of the team that recorded just 1 defeat in 23 games and then 3 wins in 16... 

A brief two month spell with Leeds that produced 2 goals, one in either net! Ugo made 6 appearances for The Whites before eventually signing an 18 month deal with Glasgow Rangers were he scored the winner against Old Firm rivals Celtic with a spectacular bicycle kick.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Signed from QPR in the Autumn of 2009 with a decent reputation, made several substitute appearances but his solitary contribution was a well taken goal against Accrington Stanley in The Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Possibly Leeds' most successful loan signing. Brought in by Gary McAllister to provide a much needed creative element to his side, Dougie's performances almost single-handedly propelled Leeds to the 2008 Play-off final. Five goals in nine starts, including a crucial 96th minute lifeline for United in the Play-off semi final first leg against Carlisle brought Leeds within 90 minutes of achieving 'Mission Impossible'...
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT
Probably the best loan signing we've ever had... 

Having given Jonny Douglas a torrid time at The Walkers Stadium at the end of the 2008/09 season, Max joined Leeds on a months loan in late 2009. His introduction to proceedings against Norwich swung the game in Leeds' favour and he quickly gained a reputation as 'super sub', changing games just by crossing the white line. Simon Grayson made the deal permanent in 2010, unfortunately Max has struggled to replicate his earlier form and has been largely disappointing (although the same can be said of all the squad in early 2010)
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT
Hit as a loan signing but as a permanent player he looks totally lost 

Joined from Southampton in 2005 and made his debut as a substitute in a loss at Pride Park... that's about it! Now plays in Belgium apparently.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Holds the honour (if you can call it that) of scoring Leeds United's first ever goal outside the top two divisions of English football, a thumping back-post header in a 2-1 win at Tranmere. Matt joined on an initial loan deal before signing on permanent basis in 2007. Must surely hold the record for most penalties conceded in a career, a stat strengthened when he hauled down Luciano Becchio at Elland Road this season.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT

Signed on loan from Sheffield United in August 2006 with a view to a permanent deal in the Januray window. Geoff scored in his second appearance for United at QPR but fell out of favour when Denis Wise took over as manager and his deal was cancelled in early 2007 after 14 appearances and 2 goals.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Joined a Leeds team struggling to stay in The Championship. His five appearances involved lost of running and very little else....
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Signed a two month loan deal at the end of the 2005 season but struggled to make an impact as Kevin Blackwell's insistence on square pegs in round holes saw Marlon appear on right wing. He joined Watford the following Summer where he scored 21 goals, eventually coming back to haunt Leeds as he ran the back four ragged in The Millennium Stadium and secured promotion to The Premiership. Well done Kev!
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS
You can blame 'Mr Excuse' for this verdict

A breath of fresh air when he arrived, brought a bit of creativity to an otherwise two-dimensional midfield. Came back a second time but failed to replicate the success.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Has had two spells at Leeds, the first was arguably the most successful. Having joined in the 2nd half of the 2007 season on loan from Bolton, the Lancashire club activated a 24-hour recall option after a string of impressive appearences for United. Gary McAllister re-signed the Slovak on a permanent deal in early 2008 for £500,000 but there is still some debate that Bolton sent the wrong player...
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT

Joined from the 'Old Enemy' in November 2005 and played a large part in the clubs route to the Play-off final, his most telling contribution being the winner in the amazing 4-3 win at Southampton. Rumours of a return the follwing season never materialised and he returned to Elland Road with Roy Keane's Sunderland, scoring the 1st goal in a 3-0 reverse.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT

Signed a permanent deal 2 weeks after joining on loan from Ipswich. Current Captain of the club and part of the league's best defence along side Patrick Kisnorbo
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT

The most bizarre story in this list. Singed from Aston Villa on a one month deal Stephen was set to make his debut against Swindon Town but suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in the warm up and was out of action for 7 months
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Another player signed with a reputation as a goalscorer but failed to deliver, showed some nice touches and a definite footballing brain but it was not to be. Suffered a broken leg following a Jonathan Douglas challenge whilst playing for Preston in the Play-off semi final.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT

Several promising displays were coupled with an arrest and a breach of contract at the clubs Christmas party that saw him returned to Sunderland after just 4 weeks. Went on to win a Championship Winners medal with Reading (another Kevin Blackwell master stroke)
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT

Lonaed from Spanish cup winners Espanyol, Sa was part of the team that failed to escape the clutches of League One in 2007. Apart from having a decent chant in his honour he achieved little else at Elland Road.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Another attempt at filling the left-back void. Alan's Leeds United career started well in a Leeds United team that were performing consistently in the second half of the 2007/08 season including scoring a memorable free-kick at The Keepmoat Stadium. Unfortunately as Gary McAllister's Leeds lost their way, the cracks in Alan's game became all to obvious, he never recovered.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT

An erratic but capable defender that came in for the final play-off push last season. Unfortunately he couldn't keep Millwall out in the semi-s though... A deal was rumoured in the Summer but eventually he joined Charlton and has had an average season - He'd have been a better bet than Michalik though
Dirty Leeds Verdict - HIT

Joined at a time when Leeds had a host of goalkeepers (that Denis Wise didn't like). If you'd have combined the attributes of them all you'd have been on to a winner... as it was he was just another average player than passed through LS11.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

The quintessential lower league journey man, you go the impression that he thought he was better than his talents actually conveyed. Scored once in 8 appearances but missed a whole host of opportunities in crucial games, including a penalty.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Joined with the reputation as 'budding Premier League and International starlet', left with his tail between his legs. Whether it was confidence, pressure, nerves or just genuine lack of quality is unclear but Sam was a spectacular failure at League One level in a Leeds team that were sweeping all before them (Good job we're not relying on him now...)
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Similar to Graham Stack, had half the attributes a good goalkeeper should have... struggled to stem the tide in a terrible Leeds team that were destined for relegation.
Dirty Leeds Verdict - MISS

Other players to be at Leeds but not make an appearance were three goalkeepers;

Looking back at the list I think it tells its own tale; No successful team or football club is built on players loaned from other clubs... A change of tactics needed Mr Bates!! Sadly you could write another list probably equally as long with the clubs free transfers, with the likes of Paul Telfer and Steve Guppy...

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Thursday, 25 March 2010

New signings : The lowdown


Sanchez Watt-

Young winger signed on loan from Arsenal for the rest of the season. Only 19 years old, but already being mentioned as one for the future by Arsenal fans due to his blistering pace and intelligent style of play. Matches Robert Snodgrass, in that Barcelona once looked at him, hoping to sign him. Could hopefully be the player we were looking for, fast, strong, skillful, all things needed at this level. Made his debut for Arsenal reserves aged 15, has been at the club since 1998, after signing from Senrab F.C, who produced Lee Bowyer, Sol Campbell, Jermaine Defoe, John Terry and many more. Had a loan spell this year at Southend, playing only 4 games with 0 goals. Has featured in Arsenal's Carling Cup games, earning first team experience. Mainly plays as a left winger, so could be used from the start or the last 15 minutes to inject pace to the attack. Think Kilkenny with pace.

Shane Lowry-
Australian left back that returns from Aston Villa, after an unimpressive loan spell for 90 days with us. Chinned by some Carlisle inbred in the JPT Northern Paint Pot final away game, will provide good cover at the back. Good option to have to replace the injured Ben Parker, who is slowly coming back.

Neill Collins-
Surely Collins, a loan signing from Preston, will only be here to provide cover for the sadly injured Patrick Kisnorbo. Can play as a centre back, but also slightly familiar with the right back role from his Sunderland days. Has featured only 5 times for Preston this season, scoring 1 goal, good aerial threat apparently. Stands at 6ft 3in, so will add the height and prowess that Paddy did, until his injury. On the outlook, not too bad a signing from Grayson, but time will tell.


Andy Robinson-
It was only a case of when and where with Robinson after 1 and a half disappointing seasons with us. Robinson signed from Swansea in 2008, hoping to spearhead our promotion push that season. Fans were excited, nobody could really blame them, Robinson looked just what we needed. The final piece in the jigsaw. But the first season at Elland Road for Robinson was one full of opportunities, but not opportunities that he took. Was resigned to the bench after a lacklustre first season, leaving many fans disappointed. Robinson vowed to be slimmer and fitter for the following season, many of us believed him. He told us that he wanted to be a part of history at this club and at York away in pre-season, we kind of believed him. But then, the form of the previous season had hit and Robinson was resigned once again, this time to the reserves. His alleged 12k a week wage will not be missed, but how much of that Tranmere will pay is debatable.

Liam Darville-
19 year old Liam Darville was the other player to depart, leaving for Rotherham until the end of the season. What will be made of Darville is unknown and maybe this loan spell could decide his future. Darville has been a reserves veteran, not being able to get a look in near the first team yet, but as with Watt, time will tell. The system is there to use for Grayson and maybe a useful resource in the near future.

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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Leeds United: The Ultimate Selfish Lover!

A love affair that blossomed in it, and your infancy. It seemed magical and passionate in its innocence. Each rendezvous provided happy memories and fuelled the desire to make this relationship... a lasting one. All seemed well yet there were times when you thought that you weren't getting an adequate return for your efforts but put any such concerns to the back of your mind, just happy to be part of something special. Several years on and those concerns are now tearing you apart, your lover offers you nothing in return for the time, effort, money and love you adorn them with whilst taking every opportunity to break your spirit. There have been times over the years when you thought you were getting somewhere, thought that your devotion was to finally be rewarded only for it to be snatched away at the last second without a moments consideration for your feelings... alas you carry on regardless in support of your loved one in the feint hope that the relationship and adoration will one day become mutual...

Its often said that love is blind and many would argue that more than a handful of Leeds United fans have been blind to the current state of affairs at Elland Road for a while, unwavering support for the club in the hope that promotion would make their hardship worthwhile. However, I'm confident that after last night's debacle; the latest in a series of soul crushing 'performances' few are in any doubt that our club is in disarray. For 'supposedly' the biggest club in the league and undoubtedly the biggest wage bill we lined up for our most crucial game of the season with no recognised full back, a central midfielder at left wing and a 37 year old striker in place of our leading goalscorer (who, rumour has it stormed out of the ground last night after learning that he wasn't in the team). All this for a club those earnings from a lengthened flurry in the F.A. Cup this season dwarf the annual turnover of fellow members in our current lowly rank.

Many suggestions and theories have been put forward for what has set Leeds United on a run of form that has seen just 4 victories since the turn of the year but I think by far the most credible is that Simon Grayson has lost the dressing room! How can the likes of Neil Kilkenny, Andy Robinson or Aidan White have any respect for a manager that clearly has his favourites; How Jonny Howson, Bradley Johnson or Lee Bromby are named in the squad, never-mind the starting 11 is anybody's guess. What do these lads have to do to get an opportunity in a team that is on its ass?? Rui Marques commented a few weeks ago in an interview that we're conceding goals and not performing but the manager seems to have forgotten I'm here... now I'm not suggesting that Rui has the ability to stem the tide but at least use a viable alternative to the system that clearly isn't working. If Beckford did leave last night after learning of his omission whilst the 'golden boys' remained in the squad, can anybody blame him?? Granted its not professional but enough is enough!

Unfortunately its all come too late, we can't strengthen, a managerial change would be ridiculous, the team is in disarray and we're all hurtling head-long into a car crash! Should Leeds United miss out on promotion in May, its time for fans to get used to the fact that we're a lower league club with huge potential and a decent fan base...

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Why does it always rain on me?

As I came home from the match last night, the distinctive feeling of supporting Leeds United was apparent in my veins again. The real Leeds United I knew and loved had come back to hit me in the face, ignore my handshake, piss in my pocket, you know the usual. The feeling before the game was that we'd sing til the final minute no matter what, that the players would bleed for the shirt and that our fightback would begin again after the infamous few games we've played in after the Scum game, all the way back in January. But 'blaming' THAT win over our Norfolk/Nagasaki/Nevada neighbours is the wrong thing to do, all we have to do is look at the performance last night. The feeling of hope and the expectations are always there before kick off, no matter who it is. The club loves to play on it all though, even with this corker just seconds before the teams came out onto the pitch. "Here we go, the 10 game countdown to promotion kicks off with Leeds United vs Millwall!" shouted Ben Fry, with that annoying high pitched voice that makes you wonder if his balls are being trapped in a vice whilst he screams down the microphone. We've been here before. "The 10 game countdown to the relegation battle!" "The 10 game countdown to York away in Pre-Season", whatever the 'countdown', it's only an outlet to make money from the hard working fans. You expect the players, the fans, the representatives of our club to be up for this, make this a cauldron of hate for those chimney sweeping, taxi driving, cockney wankers, but no. Instead, it was bottled. But not sold on in the club shop, much to Ken Bates' dismay. People were discussing that we'd show the country that no matter what the crowd, no matter what the result, we'd keep on singing, keep on supporting. There used to be a time (albeit before my time) when Millwall was a fiesty fixture in the season, whereas now, it's just another bogey team and an excuse for some pissed up chav to wear Stone Island. At times last night, the support was good, such as us going down 1-0, and 'We are Leeds' being sung seconds after. But too many times, the fans had nothing to sing about. Looking at the performance, can you blame them? From the first minute, Millwall looked much more up for it, always fighting for the ball, being aggressive, keeping it simple, eventually getting the job done. We looked weak, lifeless, too keen to pass the ball around and walk it into the net. What last night showed is that we lacked backbone, spine, upper vertebrae, call it whatever you must. Why when we are 1-0 down, do we get Max Gradel on to shoot from 35 yards out? Why on earth does Mike Grella continue to be only on the bench? Why do I go home once again, £30 out of pocket, depressed and angry with my one true love? Too many questions, but too many answers being covered up with the hazy smell of bullshit coming back around.


We don't deserve this!

So as Leeds United players trudged off after being tamed by the Lions last night, the boos echoed around Elland Road. Chants of "What the f**k is going on?" were audible for all to hear, even those who (perhaps wisely) opted to watch the game on Sky. With just a three-point lead over 3rd placed Millwall, along with playoff humiliation in both of United's previous League 1 campaigns, Leeds supporters have been left dreading the thought that similar heartache will fall upon them this season. But the question which is being asked is - were our fans right to boo the players?

Managers, coaching staff and players have come and gone through the years, but one thing has remained constant - the passion, desire, and love shown towards the club by the Leeds United fans. At least 20,000 pay to watch our beloved club at Elland Road each week for the third season in the third tier, coupled with the fans who sell-out allocations at away grounds time after time, but what reward have we seen?

What exactly have we got in return in the past 8 years from Leeds United and its owners? 2 relegations, 25 points deducted, administration, the loss of ownership of our stadium and Thorpe Arch, and 3 playoff disappointments, to name but a few.

On the pitch, the players in white did not have the bottle for the fight last night, and did not do their jobs. If we, as regular employees, performed our jobs to such a sub-standard level week after week, we would be sacked. Ken Bates famously said that to watch Premiership football, we'd have to pay Premiership prices. Well we certainly are paying Premiership prices, but the football aspect is somewhat lacking.

It is hard to put a finger on just what has gone wrong since we entered 2010, but it would seem nothing is working for Leeds at the moment. Even bringing in the gritty Paul Dickov, at the spritely age of 37, has failed to inject some desire into a lifeless United squad, who look a completely different outfit since those wonderful FA Cup performances in Manchester and North London. Quite why the team wasn't strengthened in January opens up a completely different can of worms, but time is rapidly running out for Simon Grayson to put things right.

If, somehow, Leeds to manage to hold on to the second automatic spot, then the long-overdue promotion party will be based more on relief than success. Leeds fans deserve medals for their long-standing support of the club, despite everything we've been through, and promotion this season from this league is the very least we deserve.

For more Leeds United discussion join the Dirty Leeds messageboards at

Note from the editor: Welcome to our new author DIPDEES, hopefully the first of many excellent articles.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Saints latest victims of 'The Leeds United Effect'

Following Southampton's metamorphosis from a team that could easily have been mistaken for Barcelona on Saturday against Leeds into mid-table 'also-rans' at home to Swindon tonight, I decided to investigate this infuriating pattern that has been a mainstay of United's time in League One.

Its been said for months now that teams raise their game when Leeds United are in town or when lower league players get the opportunity to play in the relative splendour of Elland Road. Its easy to pass these comments off as a cliché or arrogance from a team 'living in the past', struggling to accept reality of life in English football's third teir. So as Southampton became the latest victim of 'The Leeds United Effect' lets see if this myth has any substance...

It turns out that of the 32 opponents  Leeds United have faced this season in all competitions (51 matches) only 3 teams have managed to back up 'their cup final' performance by winning their next two league games! Colchester, Norwich and Brighton are the only clubs to keep their season on track following a fixture with Leeds. Astonishingly of the 8 teams that have recorded victory over The Whites this term, only two (Liverpool and Millwall) have backed it up with victory in their next league game. Moreover, Exeter City haven't won a single game since beating Leeds 2-0 back in January and Huddersfield Town have recorded 3 straight defeats since their almighty effort in the recent 2-2 draw at The Galpharm.

Hopefully we can escape this 'tin-pot' league with its 'tin-pot' clubs in the not too distant future and play against clubs who see Leeds United as just another fixture instead of playing like Brazil, in the carnival atmosphere that inevitably grips the Towns and Cities Leeds visit.

All this for a team that was once famous...

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Thursday, 11 March 2010

Five Great Leeds United Comebacks...

As Leeds prepare for a huge game at St Mary's this weekend its hard not to cast our minds back to November 2005 when Kevin Blackwell's team completed one of football's greatest ever comebacks. For me this is one of the greatest footballing turnarounds ever but there have been others involving The Mighty Whites; (I'm sure there are more than this but these are some I can remember)

16.09.1992 - Leeds United 4-1 Vfb Stuttgart (European Cup)
It wasn't so much the game that was turned around, but the tie. Trailing 3-0 from the first leg in Germany, Leeds returned to to England with a mountain to climb. A relatively small crowd of 20,457 generated what is widely recognised as one of the greatest atmospheres Elland Road has seen (at 9 years old I was lucky to be part of it). The team responded to the crowd and took an early lead through Gary Speed but all seemed lost when John Lukic was beaten by a speculative effort from outside the box and Leeds need another 4 goals! A fantastic performance from Howard Wilkinson's side overwhelmed the Germans and goals from Gary McAliister, Eric Cantona and Lee Chapman left Leeds on the brink of mission impossible...disappointingly it wasn't to be, well at least not yet. The following day it emerged that Stuttgart had broken UEFA rules by fielding an ineligible player (a 4th foreign player, in the days when clubs were restricted to just 3 non-domestic players on the pitch at any one time) It was decided that a 'winner takes all' match would by played at a neutral ground to settle the tie. Leeds won the match at Barcelona's Nou Camp, courtesy of goals from Gordon Strachan and Carl Shutt.

The match is available for viewing on Youtube

10.11.1997 - Leeds United 4-3 Derby County (Premier League)
The first game I ever took my Mother to, naturally she was blamed for Leeds being 3-0 down inside the first half-hour. A dismay opening period in which Leeds were blown away by Derby was heading for a very depressing half-time interval when Rod Wallace pulled a goal back and a classy volley from a young Harry Kewell on the stroke of half time gave Leeds hope... Leeds dominated the 2nd half but struggled to find an equaliser until 8 minutes from time when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink confidently dragged Leeds level from the spot and as the game was seemingly playing out to an entertaining draw substitute Lee Bowyer smashed a 12 yard effort beyond Mart Poom into the top of the net from a cross into the box. Cue mass hysteria inside Elland Road.

08.01.1996 - Derby County 2-4 Leeds United (F.A.Cup 3rd Round)
You can't say Derby weren't warned! Leeds visited The Baseball Ground for a 'classic' F.A. Cup tie on what was a cold and sunny afternoon, if I remember correctly but the playing surface wouldn't have looked out of place in a World War II movie. The first half saw 2nd Division (The Championship) Derby reduced to 10 men after a foul on Brian Deane around the half way line was deemed a professional foul by the referee and it all seemed a formality from there... (Leeds' issues with matches that appear to be formalities isn't a new thing) 4 minutes into the 2nd half Leeds conceded 2 goals in as many minutes and were staring at the wrong end of an embarrassing cup giant-killing. As if to prove a point Leeds returned the favour on the hour mark when Gary Speed and Brian Deane scored in consecutive minutes to pull Leeds level. Derby sat deep and hoped for a replay at Elland Road, they came with seconds of achieving it. Gary McAllister won the game for Leeds in the 90th minute and as if to maintain the symmetry of the match Tony Yeboah added fourth a minute later.

16.05.2008 - Carlisle United 0-2 Leeds United (League 1 Play-off Semi-Final Second Leg)
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg where a 96th minute Dougie Freedman goal was about the only constructive bit of play Leeds managed, Gary McAllister's men faced an up-hill task against a Carlisle side boasting the best home record in England. True to form, Leeds rose to the challenge and were level inside 10 minutes when Jonny Howson's scuffed volley found the far corner and the away end behind the goal sensed it was to be their night. The game swung from one end to the other and Leeds missed a few late opportunities but everyone seemed resigned to extra time and maybe penalties. "But hang on a minute, here's Howson" were Ian Darke's now famous (relatively) words as Jonny Howson received a cushioned pass from Dougie Freedman on the edge of the Carlisle penalty area... another mis-hit shot skidded across the surface and into the bottom corner! Mass celebrations ensued and my Dad still bears the scars on his shins to this day!

19.11.05 - Southampton 3-4 Leeds United (Coca Cola Championship)
A game that I had a ticket for but decided it was a long way and Leeds were without a win in five so I returned it to the club, in the days when you were allowed to do so. I spent the afternoon in the local pub with a keen eye on Gillette Soccer Saturday, whilst my mates watched the 'Scum' on some Arabian channel. At half-time it seemed like an excellent decision, Leeds were 3-0 down and I'd saved the time and expense of a 500 mile round-trip. I remember specifically ordering another pint as news of Nigel Quashie's 45th minute penalty appeared on screen and I was coming to terms with another weekend ruined by Leeds United. After that I decided to just ignore it completely and only when my phone buzzed to inform me of a 71st minute consolation goal from Paul Butler did I show an ounce of interest. This was the start of one of the most incredible 15 minute spells in Leeds United history, further goals from Robbie Blake, David Healy and Liam Miller had The Whites in front with 4 minutes remaining! Leeds saw the game out and completed an incredible comeback, Oh to have been there that day! Unfortunately the only recorded commentary track of the game was for a highlights package and obviously recorded after the event, thus losing the shock and hysteria somewhat, although I think there might be a BBC Radio Leeds commentary on the internet somewhere. Looking back now, an incredible victory is made even sweeter as the Southampton team that day contained a certain Denis Wise...

Hopefully this Saturday's game is a little more straight forward and Leeds can keep on track for the biggest comeback ever... A return to The Premiership!

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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Tranmere boss joins 'Lucky Leeds' brigade


When I started the Dirty Leeds blog, I was adamant that it wouldn't be a news site or a copy, paste and discuss free-for-all but a small article on Tranmere Rovers' Official website caught my attention. It seems rookie manager, Les Parry has been to the Phil Parkinson school of 'Blame Lucky Leeds if your team is s****!' His post-match assessment of his side's thumping defeat is below;
Les Parry was disappointed with his side's first half display as they conceded three goals before going on to lose 4-1 at home to Leeds United.
The Manager told Tranmere Player: "I think the first half was our poorest performance since we've taken over. It's not as if Leeds scored good goals - a free kick, a penalty, a third poor goal and then the fourth was a boot over the top.
"We had a pop at the lads at half time and I think we were unfortunate to lose the second half. But the first half was a poor performance. It was a comedy of errors.
"I had a word with the referee at half time as I felt the first four free kicks were debatable, the one they got the goal from especially so. But he gave them and we have to deal with them
Not actually being at the game last night due to being on holiday when the original game was scheduled (arrived back just hours before the trip to Old Trafford) I can only go off the replays of the goals I have seen on TV. Quite how Mr Parry came to the above conclusion is mystifying... the quality of the last 2 goals was there for all to see in the few seconds the Sky Sports News editor allowed them. I assume if the 'big boot over the top' had been a wonderfully flighted, inch perfect pass then Jermaine Beckford wouldn't have been able to finish with such composure and style and thus Tranmere would have avoided conceding a goal... and if Jermaine's cross to Becchio had been of better quality Luciano would have been chasing the ball towards the corner flag instead of scoring a splendid diving header. Come to think of it, according to Mr Parry, if Leeds had played better football Tranmere would have won!!

League One seems to harbour a lot of sore losers; Phil Parkinson, Paul Lambert and now Les Parry. Oh and not forgetting the serial lower league bad loser that is Paul Ince, although he lost all credibility with his "It was a close game, between two massive clubs" comment after our win at MK Dons.

Lets just hope we can leave this lot behind come May...

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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Who actually owns Leeds United?? - Who cares!?!

For the last several weeks I have seen countless internet pages, newspaper columns and message board posts relating to the ownership of several professional football clubs but most have focused mainly on Leeds United, either for easy reference or in a sinister attempt to provoke trouble at the club, in what are relatively stable times. For some reason the calls for transparency are getting quite heated, as fans, officials and even members of our Majesty's Parliament demand to know who owns 'our' club. There have been calls for The Football League to adopt the same ruling as The Premier League and insist on total transparency with regards to ownership of their member clubs, information that is freely available to the public.

Now I can sort of see why these people are getting upset. What have these clubs and Leeds in particular, got to hide by keeping the identity of the ownership out of the public domain? Its obvious that Ken Bates has some sort of stake but ultimate ownership is credited to FSF Limited in The Cayman Islands. Quite who FSF are or what they do is a mystery! Perhaps this is what the problem is, fear of the unknown. Mr Phil Willis MP has thrown his influence behind the movement and called for league officials to sanction the transparency ruling. Now forgive me if I'm wrong but Mr Willis only seems to comment on Leeds United matters when he can publicly berate our Chairman, it is Mr Willis who has 'demanded', more than once an investigation into the deal that saw Leeds United re-sold to Ken Bates in 2007 and made detrimental comment at every available juncture ever since. This after throwing his weight behind one of the failed buy-out packages that were available to KPMG in that dreadful Summer. The words 'Sour' and 'Grapes' come to mind. Perhaps Mr Willis should concentrate on matters in his own constituency instead of those in LS11. If you don't have anything positive to say, don't say anything!

Perhaps its just me, perhaps I'm not a 'real' fan or maybe its because I don't live in Leeds that makes me totally disinterested in who actually owns Leeds United. I take up my seat on a match day and live the entire 90 minutes (plus Fergie time) like victory is a life or death situation. I totally relate to Billy Bremner when he said "A goal against Leeds United is like being stabbed in the chest" (or words to that effect) and Leeds United is part of me. Whatever the outcome of this season, either ecstasy or the all too familiar despair of another failure... at no point will I stop and think, this promotion is all well and good but "who actually owns Leeds United?" Yes Ken Bates has his failings and his customer relation skills rival that of George W. Bush but I'm content in the fact that nobody will take the p*** out of my club or rape it of its assets whilst Uncle Ken resides in the throne.

This isn't a pro Ken Bates rant, far from it but everyone demands to know "Who actually owns Leeds United?!? - Who cares!! We're finally going in the right direction after years of turmoil, idiocy and ineptitude, whomever this mystery man is... they're not doing a bad job are they?

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HANDS UP! Who wants promotion!?


To an outsider (or a supporter of any Premiership team) it would seem that the 2nd Automatic Promotion place in League 1 is unwanted, or that the clubs chasing the prize see the runners-up spot beneath them.

Realistically the race has been cut to 3 teams, all of which are doing their best to avoid the embarassmemt of finishing 2nd! Our beloved Leeds are up to their usual tricks of putting their fans through hell with just 2 victories in 11 games but some relief has come with Charlton and Colchester both boasting equally dismal records... each with just 5 wins in the same period.

You can't help but feel that the charity won't last forever though and that Leeds need to pull away sooner rather than later, should we slip into the play-off places, I fear we'd never recover and to be honest the thought of another play-off campaign turns my stomach. The current League 1 table was unimaginable after the game at Old Trafford but credit to Norwich who have been very consistent since Paul Lambert arrived and they have shown Championship class in putting a few teams to the sword, something Leeds have theatened to do this season but are yet to manage.

As any Whites fan would tell you, we'd have taken 2nd place back in August, probably even in January but the thought of a scrap to the death for promotion must make every Leeds fan shudder. Let's face it, we usually get found wanting when the heat is on and had it not been for the awful form of the chasing pack we'd be in a far worse position than we are now.

As it stands, I'm stubbornly confident that we will will cross the line, whether it will be in style or otherwise, I don't care! Victory tonight will open up an 8 point gap over Colchester and 5 over Charlton and a quick glance at the Addick's remaining games gives greater hope with 6 of the top 10 still to play! Signs have been there over the last couple of games that we've turned the corner, granted without much return in the shape of points but we're creating chances again and with the quality in the team its only a matter of time before it clicks back into gear right?!?

Stupidly I've had a fiver on 4-0 in Leeds last two home games, in the hope and/or belief that we will burst back into life very shortly. A similar bet tonight would make me £200 better off... mmm.

Monday, 8 March 2010

No Urgency, No Tempo... No Good!

Another 2 points dropped on Saturday in Leeds' latest attempt to throw promotion away and crucially another chance for the chasing pack to put Leeds under pressure for the run-in. Most reports will reflect that Leeds were one cool finish away from 3 points and that they had the majority of the chances but against a Brentford team set up with a 4-5-1 damage limitation plan, would anybody expect anything less?!

It's become a concerning trait of this Leeds team that they have to concede a goal before they display any sort of urgency or attempt to play at any sort of tempo. Strangely it's not just the players to blame for this, it's the whole setup! Early in the first half a wayward effort on the Brentford goal landed on the segregation netting between the two sets of supporters in The South Stand...  at least 50 seconds elapsed before the game was ready to resume as everybody in the stadium waited for a steward to hurdle down a few rows of seats to retrieve the seemingly solitary football inside Elland Road! This has been the story all season, how can you expect the team to play at a tempo and put defensive teams under pressure with constant reprieves whilst waiting for the ball to return??

At The Galpharm last week we were subjected to huge amounts of pressure, fuelled by a constant supply of footballs to players waiting to get the game back underway. Surely any Leeds team, nevermind a promotion chasing one should be looking to dictate proceedings at Elland Road, trying to turn the screw and not give the the opposition a chance to regroup, instead we get dragged down to the level of the teams that come to Leeds content with a 'smash and grab' and subsequently struggle to create any pattern of play...

As detrimental to a winning display that this is, it's far from the only problem we have currently; lack of confidence, nervous fans and the fact that the ball just isn't dropping for us at the minute, as pathetic as that sounds. Its all combining to make a once straight forward season into a very nervous one (Norwich City fans may argue that we've had enough luck to last 2 seasons this term).

By the time Lubomir Michalik headed against the foot of a post Leeds had already spurned more chances in 90 minutes than they've created in the previous 3 home games, Robert Snodgrass the biggest culprit as he failed to convert a magnificent opportunity after being released through on goal with only the 'keeper to beat. Leeds now travel to Tranmere for our long awaited 'game in hand' in the hope of strengthening our ever-weakening position in the top two. Hopefully we set about them from the off and not wait until we're a goal down and have it all to do.

Its all getting a little nervy but I'll take solace in the fact that bar Norwich, every team in this league would swap places with us, no questions asked and we're more than good enough to see the job through. We certainly make it hard for ourselves though!

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