By George & Tom Chellis
In these frustrating days of boardroom mystery, there is only one thing in which all Leeds fans can be certain: we have no money. The rumour mill churns out a million new ‘imminent loan signings’ a month, only for McDermott and the owners to release a statement saying that they need to secure investment to bring some fresh blood into the team. This infuriating merry-go-round of disappointment got us thinking; what if we had all that money that we’ve wasted in the past? Such is the ironic hilarity of how bad some of our expensive signings have turned out to be, the accumulative money we would have saved would surely have us playing Champions League football by now. The @LUFC_Calypso brothers took to twitter to find out who you think was the worst. There are obvious candidates and intriguing surprises. Here are your answers:
Sweden’s answer to Johnny Vegas was undoubtedly the name that cropped up the most. After showing bags of potential for Swedish clubs Navikens IK and GIF Sundsvall, Brolin endured an inconsistent and injury-ridden spell in Italy with AC Parma. Aware of the fact that he would no longer be guaranteed first-team football with the Italian outfit, Brolin hopped on a plane for Leeds. Howard Wilkinson, who was mentioned in a previous article as an underrated LUFC manager, was the unfortunate ‘visionary’ who was able to look past the injuries, the weight issues and the inability to find the net to see the saviour to Leeds’ goal-scoring woes. He was wrong. Brolin played just 20 league games for United, scoring just 4 goals (@LUFCDATA kindly points out he cost £1.13 million per goal), and was promptly shipped out on loan to FC Zurich. Wilkinson had accused the striker of not ‘pulling his weight’ (pun intended), and LUFC fans became united in the belief that he was the worst player we have ever had.
With an average of just over 10 games per season with LUFC, Johnson is inevitably your second most popular candidate for biggest Leeds United buffoon. The highly publicized transfer fee of £7million, coupled with a reported £37,000-a-week contract, meant that Johnson had to prove his worth instantly and would have his work cut out to win over the fans. Like so many of our flops, he was hindered by constant injury problems and the ‘form’ that earned him an England call up during his time at Derby never materialized. History confirms what we all already knew: 1) the national team was in disarray if it resorted to Johnson as a solution to their problems, and 2) the financial dealings conducted by Peter Ridsdale are solely responsible for our current predicament. Ironically, as Johnson came back from injury with a point to prove to the fans, we couldn’t afford his wages and he was released at the end of the season.
A slightly less obvious choice we admit (and we must thank @LUFC97Lloyd for bringing him to our attention), but Nicholls needs to be included as we believe he is a signing that does not generate as much hatred as he deserves. Signed for £700,000 by Dennis Wise during a period when this level of money represented a significant investment in the playing squad, once again he was hampered by fitness concerns and could not play for months. Following his recovery, Nicholls was installed as captain of Leeds United, a position held by some of the most revered names in the club’s history. What followed his appointment would spell the death knell for his brief LUFC career. Nicholls was red carded in his first game as captain, missing critical Christmas period fixtures as a result, and was then dropped for his lack of commitment. He subsequently asked for a move to Luton, a decision that demonstrates a lack of ambition comparable to that of a certain Mr Bates, and he was never seen again.
As fans, we must take sadistic pleasure in the fact that a list of Leeds United flops is the longest and the most lacking in quality throughout the entire footballing community. The vast array of hopeless footballers that were tweeted to us in the last week makes very amusing viewing and we have included them for you at the end of this article. Thank you all for your suggestions, we’d advise all readers to check out the twitter pages of everyone listed below!
Brolin - @LUFCDATA, @DaveK61, @christ4d, @duncanpub, @crossgatescal, @FranTollerson,@SpanishPirate1,@Vikingbaznett, @Jamielufcsmith,@milkybar39, @philbthebear, @RedThunderChris, @weareleeds_, @LUFC_Members
Rachubka - @Nr32OnTheBack,@BakkeTheNet,@lufc_bishop, @JoeJames1996
Johnson - @LUFCDATA, @LufcColin, @philbthebear, @tommoovthornaby
Pierre Laurent - @LUFCDATA
Nicky Barmby - @duncanpub
Ken Demange - @peterfully
Neil Collins - @LeedsUnitedLiam
Carlton Palmer - @LeedsEditor
Fede Bessone - @TalkLeedsUnited, @warnermarkjames
Cyril Chapuis/Frank Strandli - @lufcstats
David Harle - @slflufcjimmy
Paul Okon - @wakeyfin
Roque Junior - @tommoovthornaby, @royllew93
By Andy Gregory
Name: Hilary Attard
Tell us a bit about yourself: I'm the chairman of Real Leeds Malta Branch and a proud supporter for more than 43 years. I've formed the club here 3 times and can't live without Leeds United.
How long have you supported Leeds?
I have supported Leeds since 1969 when we won the First Division championship (equivalent to the premiership of today) and have been infected ever since, in fact I don't want to be healed!!!
Because they were a pleasure to watch and gave me a lot more pleasure than sorrow week in week out. They were the best team in Europe without a doubt. Although they were robbed in 2 European cup finals as everyone knows!
What is your favourite memory?
To mention a few... The FA cup final in 1972 vs Arsenal and the Uefa cup final win in 1971 vs a very strong Juventus side will be with me till I die! Also when we won the last league title against our enemies across the Pennines was surely the Greatest because they thought they were the best in the land and we showed them that we shall not be moved! On a personal note presenting Jonny Howson and Sam Byram with the player of the year awards at the end of season dinners will remain very proud moments!
Favourite player past and present?
Having grown up in the Revie era it is hard to pick one single player because they were all fantastic players. But I will mention 3 from the past in Bremner, Clarke and Lorimer. At present it's Byram, McCormack and Mowatt.
If you could bring one player from any era back to the club, who would it be and why?
A player from any era must surely be Billy Bremner for class, passion,determination and will to win every game for Leeds united.
Best goal scored by a Leeds player?
Just 3 in my memory till I die : Eddie gray vs burnley, yeboah vs Liverpool and Clarke in the cup final 1972.
Your best Leeds 11?
Martyn, Madeley, Cooper, Bremner, Radebe, Hunter, Giles, Lorimer, Clarke, Charles and Eddie Gray.
What would you say are the proudest and worst moments in Leeds’ history?
Proudest moments are: winning 3 league championships , FA cup and two Uefa cups. Promotion to the premiership and to div 2 under Simon Grayson.
Worst moments: Every relegation and all the cups we were robbed of in Europe by the corrupt sides aided by referees.
Who’s the player to watch this season?
This season's player to watch after last years emergence of Sam Byram must be Alex Mowatt and Chris Dawson
What is your view on Brian McDermott?
I think he is the the man for the job as he knows the game that is played in the right way and knows what it takes to go up.
What is your view on GFH?
Still early to say but they know we need more investment and are doing everything to put the club on a solid base to secure a long term success in the premiership.
Things haven’t been going great recently, but we turned it around v Birmingham, can we go on a run now?
Everyone knew that we needed width in the team to create scoring chances. With the introduction of Byram on the right and Ross on the left hand side proved that sooner or later we are gonna fervor right. A couple more signings should see us in the top 6 for sure.
Prediction for our next game v Huddersfield?
I was present last season vs Huddersfield and enjoyed a great 4-2 victory and I'm sure that with the same passion we showed vs Birmingham last week we will get the 3 Pts... I'll go for a 2-0 win for Leeds United.
Where do you think we'll finish this season?
It all depends on the loans and the signings we make in January. But personally I think we will definitely be in the top six.
Anything else you would like to add?
My wish is that the management, players and supporters unite together to get back where we belong in the premiership. A dream that will become reality if we march on together a now solid group.
Massive thanks to Hilary for taking part in this weeks interview. If you would like to get involved and take part in an interview on our site, please contact us via this link
By Farai Diza
Former Leeds United and South Africa national team legend Lucas Radebe has taken on a role with South Africa Football Association's newly-formed technical committee, which is headed by ex-Mamelodi Sundowns boss Natasha Tsichlas.
Radebe, who helped South Africa claim Africa Cup of Nations honours in 1996 and captained Leeds United in a distinguished playing career, will report to Tsichlas, along with the likes of one-time Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Farook Khan and former Banyana Banyana mentor Greg Mashilo.
Radebe made over 200 appearances during his time at Elland Road and he was part of the defence that helped Leeds reach both the semi-finals of the Champions League and UEFA Cup in successive seasons.
As well as holding legendary status at Elland Road, he is seen as a huge role model in his native South Africa, for whom he played 70 times.
The Leeds United legend was guest of honour at the club’s Championship clash with Birmingham City having flown in from South Africa earlier this week.
"I love the club," Radebe told Radio Leeds. "If there is any way that I can come back or get involved with Leeds, I would love that."
By Adam Walker
My, my, where did that come from? The performance yesterday against Birmingham City just proved that the international break, at the right time can really give you a serious boost. The squad played so well, I couldn't be critical of any player. Not only did we score four, but we also kept a clean sheet too.
An unpopular opinion of mine is that Rudy Austin isn't a great player. Previously I
thought he was just a bit of a battering ram with no real skill on the ball. Yesterday, McDermott played him in a triangle up-top with McCormack and Smith. It worked a treat. His vision and energy in that hole was key for us yesterday. He caused problems all afternoon for the Blues. Some of the passes he sprayed about were phenomenal too. Our two youngsters on the pitch that also impressed were Byram and Mowatt. Byram after coming back from his troublesome injury hasn't been hitting the form we know he can. In a more advanced role yesterday he strutted his stuff superbly, Mowatt as we've seen in the past month or so really can play. McDermott wanted a passer of the ball and in young Alex Mowatt he seems to have found one. The first-time assist to Smith for the fourth goal epitomised his performance.
Smith is actually a player I really like. A lot of Leeds fans have been quick to criticise him but I've always felt he could pose a real threat to defenders. Yesterday he put himself about well, challenged the weaknesses of the Birmingham back four and scored two well taken goals. Playing him and Ross together really worked yesterday and I hope McDermott takes a similar gameplan into our next game. I'd also like to give Tom Lees a bit of a shout-out, he hasn't been at his best for a while but yesterday did play very well and was like a wall at the back. His clearance off the line, one of the highlights.
Although yesterday may have only been Birmingham City who have been struggling, I do feel with a gameplay, mentality and work-rate like we showed yesterday we could string some results together and get out of this inconsistent spell. It may sound odd to some, but I rarely find myself applauding a Leeds goal or performance. Yesterday I did, just in awe of the way the team played. I hope to see more of the same.
Thanks for reading
By Keith Ingham
I write on the Yorkshire Evening Post 'Your the Boss' as well as on this excellent blog site and after a horrendous period of lacklustre performances I suggested a little tongue in cheek who I'd pick for the game versus Birmingham.
I went with Kenny, a three man defence Lees Wootton Pearce, a midfield five of Byram Murphy Mowatt Austin and Warnock with Dioufy just behind Ross in attack.
Yes I got Diouf wrong but his replacement Matt Smith showed the people who regularly abuse him in the social network that he can be a asset to the squad, yes a swallow doesn't make a summer but he did enough to at least shut them up with his performance and two goals.
It was the formation that pleased me so much, I've been a lot this season and nearly every game I've bemoaned the lack of width to get behind the opposition and right on cue the change worked like a dream. The manager said it had been tried in a behind doors friendly versus Rotherham and it worked well. It's also good to see that players not generally liked are getting into the squad through bloody hard work in training. Pugh and Brown deserve credit for at least trying to change people's mind about them.
Sunday evening was definitely a nicer night because of a much improved performance by the lads in white.
On On On
By Andrew Butterwick
The tempting aroma of traditional Sunday roasts assaulted my senses as we set off for yet another trek to the Theatre of Hope. The Happy Chocker was on board as I set the virtual sat nav to LS11 0ES and put the car on auto pilot for the short trip to Leeds. Lee Clark's Birmingham City were today's visitors with the ex Huddersfield boss's cheery personality being severely tested with his team's recent away form. It's that bad it's even worse than ours having lost on their last four league road trips. The fact that a certain Mr Zigic plies his trade for the Blues was enough to send a cold chill of reality through the pre match discussions though. He always scores at least once against us. Add that to the fact that the West Midlands side were seeking their 6th consecutive league victory against the once mighty whites and there wasn't a great deal of optimism filling the car as we entered Elland Road.
With recent disappointing results all too raw in the memory Brian McD's selection for today's game was always going to be difficult. Diouf was on compassionate leave but would Byram get a start? What about Murphy and Wootton and would today be the day Hunt scored? We waited with baited breath for the team sheet to be announced. When it was there were veritable gasps of surprise from the faithful home fans in a crowd of 21,000. Three centre backs and two wing backs were clearly on the team sheet. Brian McD had bravely gone for broke with his selection bringing Wootton, Smith, Murphy and Byram back into the starting line up to facilitate a 3-5-2 formation. Wow! This should be interesting. I hurriedly placed an outrageous wager on a 4.1 victory for the mighty whites and scuttled to my seat.
Before the game the Chief, Lucas Radebe, was introduced to a misty eyed crowd who gave him a standing ovation. "Hope he's brought his boots" I suggested to HC. Bright sunshine smiled down on Elland Road as the game got under way. Lees, Pearce and Wootton formed the back three and immediately settled into their new roles as if they'd played that system all their life and with Murphy and Mowatt settling deep in front of them allowing Austin to motor on forward as Leeds opened brightly. Warnock and Byram were soon hurtling up and down the flanks giving Ross Mac and Smith plenty of ammunition to pepper a very hesitant Blues back line. This was a very unusual start for Leeds as they took up the early dominance.
Ross Mac benefited from an awful mistake by the Birmingham centre half and found himself one on one with Randolph in the Blue's goal but planted his shot straight at him. Next Pearce was on the end of a teasing cross which he should have buried from 6 yards quickly followed by another save from Randolph as Ross Mac broke free from his lumbering marker. All this and the game was only ten minutes old. Shots were raining in on the visitor's goal as Leeds dismissed their recent poor form to the dustbin with some lovely football. What a difference from the woeful showings at Derby and Millwall.
Leeds' pressure finally told after 18 minutes when Ross Mac coolly converted a chance after some comic defending from the Brum defence and goalkeeper Randolph who was left literally hopping mad as the Scot swept the ball into the empty net. 1.0 Leeds and credit to Ross Mac for keeping going after missing two glorious chances earlier in the match. The goal inspired Leeds who were gaining a real stranglehold on the game. Murphy and Mowatt were dominating in midfield with Austin revelling in the freedom his more advanced position gave him. At the back the 3 centre backs were snapping at the heels of any attacker who came near them whilst Byram and Warnock were making intelligent runs down the flanks. Paddy Kenny was a virtual spectator as Leeds put the Blues to the sword. Lee Clark cut a very lonely figure in the technical area as his demonic gesticulations had no affect on his team.
Birmingham did have the ball in the net from Novak but he was offside before Burke wasted a good chance after Mowatt's poor clearance. Wootton seemed to have the measure of his highly rated ex colleague Lingard as Leeds powered on. The inevitable 2nd goal came on 33 minutes when excellent running from Ross Mac made space on the left for him to launch a pin point cross onto the head of the rejuvenated Austin who steered the ball home. 2.0 to Leeds and the home side were in overdrive. Unbelievable? After all the doom and gloom of recent weeks here was a Leeds team giving an admittedly poor Birmingham side a proper spanking.
At 2.0 Leeds weren't entertaining any ideas of taking their foot off the accelerator as they went for the Birmingham jugular and their efforts were rewarded just before half time as big Matt Smith stroked home the 3rd goal after Randolph had saved a Ross Mac shot. 3.0 Leeds at Half Time! The urinal philosophers were buzzing. Everyone had smiles from ear to ear as they dissected as good a 45 minutes seen at Elland Road for a long time. In fact the only dispute was when we had last been 3 up at half time. Nobody knew. One particularly difficult to please fan reminded us that "We were once 4.1 up and lost 6.4 not so long ago" I couldn't see that happening though as I checked by betting slip. A 4.1 win would return the princely sum of £85 to my coffers. Mmmmm still possible?
The ominous and unmistakable figure of Mr Zigic appeared at the start of the 2nd half. "Hope he doesn't get 4 again" commented a nervous fan. Birmingham stuttered into life with their substitutes giving them a spark of hope but still Mr Kenny had little in the way of shots to deal with as Lee Clark's charges sort an unlikely comeback. Tom Lees made a fantastic headed clearance to keep the three goal advantage before Kenny tipped over a stunning drive from who else but Zigic. At the other end Randolph was doing his level best to keep the score respectable as he made fine saves from first Austin and then a Smith header that he acrobatically tipped over the bar. Leeds weren't to be denied though as Smith's next header from an exquisite Mowatt cross was unstoppable. 4.0 Leeds and suddenly missing a good old fashioned Sunday roast and Yorkshire Puds seemed a minor inconvenience to witness the mighty whites in this form. Ironic cheers of "what the f*** is going on" tumbled down from the kop as the home fans basked in the rare occurrence of a comfortable home victory.
I was now left with a dilemma as Brum pushed on for a consolation goal that would have seen me £85 to the good. Do I cheer if they score? Well thankfully they didn't and Leeds finished well deserved winners over a poor Birmingham side. Austin was my man of the match for an impressive showing playing in an advanced role but in truth this was a sterling performance from the whole team from back to front. Smith was a handful all afternoon and his two goals showed promise of more to come. Byram looked back to full fitness and Mowatt again purred through the game like a veteran. All in all an excellent performance. Much credit to Brian McD though for his astute change of tactics.
Lots of smiling faces adorned the usually craggy features of Leeds fans streaming away from Elland Road. We're not used to this type of domination from the mighty whites but it is something we could get used to. Was this a flash in the pan or a seminal turning point of a testing season? Time will tell starting at Huddersfield next Saturday lunchtime. One thing for sure.................
By Mike Courtney
What a feeling. I'm sitting here with a smile as wide as our winning margin and it feels good. This is the way it should be most weekends. I haven't seen us play with such passion, pride, determination and skill in many a year. The scoreline doesn't flatter us in the least, in fact we could and should have scored a few more but let's not complain. This game was won with ease and hopefully it will be the start of the run that we need to close the gap on the top of the table. So the questions is, where did this performance come from, and more appropriately where has it been all season?
Let's give credit where credit is due to BMAC for finally changing from the diamond formation and adapting a 3-5-2 formation that gave us width and pace and allowed Rossco to operate closer to the opposition penalty box. I have previously blogged about this formation, twice I think, and felt it would enable us to create more chances. I don't for one minute think that BMAC would pay the slightest heed to what I write but I'm glad he adopted this formation which allowed us to press high up the field and put Birmingham under pressure from the off. Playing Rudy in an advanced role was a master stroke as he never gave the Birmingham back 3 a second on the ball and with Rossco running the channels brilliantly and young Mowatt showing composure beyond his years in midfield, we totally dominated a poor Birmingham side.
We should have been two up early on with Ross and Pearce both missing guilt edged chances, but it wasn't long before the faithful were cheering, when the Blues keeper went walkabout and Rudy teed up Ross to finish cooly from outside the box into an empty net. Ross returned the favour by crossing perfectly for a marauding Austin to stoop and nod home from 8 yards to send the home fans into ecstasy. It was 3 just before half time when Ross latched on to a flick from the imposing Smith only for Randolph to save, but Smithy was alive to the rebound and he calmly slotted home from the edge of the box to cap off a majestic first half team performance.
The second half was never going to live up to this as Birmingham did come back into it a bit but some last ditch defending by an impressive Tom Lees kept them at bay. Leeds did create plenty more opportunities with Randolph saving brilliantly from a point blank Smith header and when Rudy was put through by a slide rule pass from Mowatt, Randolph was again up to the task to keep his shot out. Smith did have the ball in the net when Mowatt played him through and he hammered the ball to the roof of the net but he was harshly ruled offside. The Revie Stand didn't have long to wait for number 4 though as Mowatt's inch perfect cross was met at the far post by a powerful Smith header to seal the 3 points and move us up into 9th place and improved our goal difference into the bargain.
This was the performance that every Leeds fan was waiting for, it's been almost a year since we last scored 4 goals, and it was a great way to bounce back after a run of poor results. Every player impressed from the back through midfield and up front. I have been critical of Smith as a signing up to now but I was impressed with his work rate and finishing today and he was unlucky not to have bagged a hat-trick. The back 3 were solid throughout and handled most of what Birmingham threw at them. Murphy and the aforementioned Mowatt controlled the flow and it was nice to Byram back to his best on the right flank. Warnock got forward also and made a few decisive clearances as well. The attacking trio of Austin, Rossco and Smith were excellent throughout and it's hard to find fault with the team as a whole. The change in formation certainly helped us create more chances than we have done all season and we were rarely exposed at the back as Murphy and Mowatt gave good protection to the back three. Kenny was hardly tested in goal but had to be rescued by Lees on a couple of occasions. It just goes to show that if you have pace and width in this division you will create chances and I believe this is the formation we should keep for the remainder of the campaign.
So hats off to BMAC for having the guts to make the change and giving us something to cheer about after a disappointing few weeks. I know one swallow doesn't make a summer but if we can continue to play in this way more wins will follow. Its great to see young home grown talent emerging and I believe young Mowatt is a star in the making and needs to be nurtured and protected and signed to a long term deal before some of the premier league teams come knocking. So let us bask in the glory of a pride restoring performance that has me, and probobly every Leeds Fan, beaming on a Sunday afternoon.
MOT Leeds Leeds
By Rob Atkinson
League football resumes this weekend after the latest international break and for Leeds it's a chance to return to winning ways on Sunday lunchtime at home to Birmingham City, who are four points and five places worse off than our heroes. United sit 14th, 7 points behind the play-off places and, perhaps more relevantly, 8 points clear of the bottom three.
Suggestions that this is a "must-win" game for Leeds have more or less merit, depending on your expectations for this season. Anyone who feels that there is any reasonable chance of a tilt at promotion will know that nothing less than three points will do. The rest of us, more likely resigned to a mediocre campaign with the occasional fearful glance over our shoulders at the relegation battle, have longer-term problems in mind. The bigger picture, we would argue, is of more importance right now than individual results; the direction of the club is being questioned after bleak failures to augment the squad by the additions of much needed talent up front and on the wings. Nevertheless, a win is always welcome and Elland Road certainly needs to brush up its reputation as a fortress.
The Birmingham game also sees the welcome return as a special guest of Lucas Radebe, The Chief himself, one of the true heroes for Leeds fans everywhere and a man with a proud and deserved global profile. The recent tendency of the owners GFH to look back at a glorious past strikes quite a contrast with earlier in the season when it was all "Forget about the past, the future is bright". Clearly, circumstances alter cases. This visit of The Chief may well be seen as another distraction from the complaints of those whose concerns are more urgently current - and yet Leeds United icons such as Radebe should always be assured of a warm welcome home.
Whatever gloom might surround Elland Road, Birmingham under their lugubriously Geordie manager Lee Clark, have had a poorer time of it so far. Two wins in their last 9 league games and no goals in their last three is not the stuff to strike fear into the hearts of the opposition, even opposition such as Leeds who have been sadly easy meat for Blues in the last few season with seven out of the last eight meetings going their way. Leeds' own current form is dodgy enough for us to take little comfort from Brum's woes, so the match will kick off with head-to-head history perhaps the best guide - not a pleasant thought for the Whites.
For Leeds, Sam Byram is pressing for a start, seemingly now recovered from his chronic hip problems. Midfielder Luke Murphy and striker Luke Varney are two more who will be hoping for recalls, with the make-up of the team, as ever, dependent upon the shape and formation manager McDermott deems best-fitted to deal with our opponents. Birmingham have had injury worries over midfielder Wade Elliott and left-back David Murphy, both of whom will be assessed prior to kick off.
Both teams have a lot to prove and amends to make to long-suffering fans. Leeds were awful at Derby, losing 3-1 - a scoreline that flattered them if anything. Birmingham arguably fared even worse, losing at home to a Bolton side who have keeled over to almost all other opposition this term - even Leeds. This Elland Road clash is a battle of the demoralised, and much will depend on who can deal the better with their currently reduced condition. Leeds have apparently had a Big Meeting to thrash things out, and it's to be hoped that the air has been sufficiently cleared for them to overcome a team that have been problematic lately. I will put my most optimistic head on and, based on absolutely nothing but blind faith and wishful thinking, go for a 2-0 win to Leeds - which would at least buy GFH a few more days of grace and allow them perhaps to mollify a grumpy fan base with some success in the loan market.