Two years at Elland Road, 83 appearances and 33 goals, the sign of a true marksman. Leeds have been blessed with many a talented striker and one of them is Ian Baird.
A career total of 472 appearances and 128 goals, Ian Baird was an ever present force in English football. Now in his 50's, Baird is now well into his coaching career having managed both Hong Kong and Eastleigh and now finds himself as assistant manager of Sutton United, Leeds' opponents tomorrow in the 4th round of the FA Cup.
Head of Content Keith Ingham got the chance to speak to Ian ahead of tomorrow's match, here's what was said;
Ian, you've been away from the club for a while. What's your thought's on what has happened to it since you left the club?
Since I left the club, which is a long time ago now, the fans have experienced the full range of emotions. Wilkinson delivered two titles in three years and then eventually the paid for a few years of no further success. The Champions Lge run was as incredible but the turmoil and relegations that followed were unbelievable. Nobody could've seen that coming but Simon Grayson did a good job when he came in. The club has been in the Championship too long but Garry Monk looks like he's turning it around and I hope the fantastic league form continues.
Special games you played for Leeds? I remember so well Newcastle United at Elland Road, your diving header won it for us, it was a horrible pitch and a proper battle. On and off the pitch!
The Newcastle game lives long in the memory. It was a special atmosphere, as always, that afternoon and we wanted revenge for the hammering we took on the opening day. I was lucky enough to get the winner against a good side. I remember Mel putting a great cross in which I managed to get on the end of to win us three vital points.
There was a 'special' group of players at the time of your involvement at Leeds, any players that stick out for different reasons?
We had a good young side under Eddie Gray. Shez, Denis Irwin, Scott Sellars, Tommy Wright. Ian Snodin was there and he was a class act. There were the older lads like Frank Gray and Lash. They were special times.
Who is your favourite manager and how did he had a impact on you as a player?
Eddie Gray and Billy Bremner were different class. They both looked after us and the lads were gutted when Eddie got sacked. When a men like Eddie and Billy, who re-signed me from Portsmouth want you to come and play for their football team, it's a real honour. Billy used to entertain us with his stories about the glory days and although he was manager, he was still the best player at the club.
Any players from your era you keep in touch with now?
I keep in touch with a few of the lads from Leeds. John Stiles, Ian Snodin and Shez are the main three.
You've seen some of the best (in your era) stadiums and some that weren't. At Non-League level is it a different world to what you were used to?
I've been involved with clubs at this level for a while now and there are some excellent facilities and stadiums. There is a lot of money in the national league these days.
How did you get involved with Sutton United FC?
I worked with Paul Doswell the manager when I was at Eastleigh and he gave me the opportunity to go to Sutton. I had been out of the game for a year or so but the opportunity felt right and I was happy to get the chance.
Any players you think can easily make the step up from Non League to Football League from both Sutton and teams you've played against this season?
Like I said, there is a lot of money in the national league and some of the teams have massive budgets. There are lots of players who have played at higher levels and lots who have the potential to do so.
Is the gap between Non-League and Football League decreasing or increasing?
The gap is decreasing and you see a lot of teams who get promoted into League 2, go straight through it into League 1.
Prediction for the game?
We'll have a good go and we have nothing to fear. Leeds will make six or seven changes and we have to fancy our chances. Cup shocks have happened in the past and will happen in the future. Why not Sunday?
We'd like to thank Ian for taking the time to do our interview and wish him and Sutton the best of luck for tomorrow and for the rest of the season. It truly is such an honour to have an Elland Road legend on our site.
By Keith Ingham