By Mark Rasdall
Like all Leeds United fans up and down the country and across the world, I am really looking forward to tomorrow's game between Huddersfield Town and Leeds.
As it's a 12.30 kick-off I'll also hopefully be able to enjoy Sky's Gillette Soccer Special on the TV in the afternoon all the more. It's no kind of substitute for not being there but does provide a great background accompaniment to a lot of my Saturday afternoons when I can't afford to travel to games. It's always gut wrenching though when Jeff Stelling announces a 'late goal' or 'dramatic equaliser' before the scores appear on the teleprinter isn't it?
I grew up listening to football commentaries on a huge black wireless in my bedroom. Nobody else was really interested in football in our house so the wireless became my second best friend after LUFC. I can remember listening to the results from a match back in October, 1970, when Leeds United beat
Huddersfield 2.0 at Elland Road. That season was of course doomed to disappointment in League and Cup but I wasn't to know that then and was still drying my young tears over the treble failure of the spring. Our 0.0 draw at the old Leeds Road ground in Huddersfield in front of what is still their record home crowd of 43,011 on 12th April 1971 ultimately cost us the league again that year, although most LUFC supporters are more likely to remember, darkly, the 'Ray Tinkler' loss to West Brom at home five days later.
Of course Huddersfield haven't been in the top flight since those early 'Seventies days and their most famous exploits occurred in the 1920's just after our club was born. In 1926, they became the first English team to win three successive league titles, which no other team has bettered. We still had forty years to wait before Don Revie came along and put our neighbours well and truly in the shade.
A week in football has made a huge difference to our expectations and we can look back and forward as much as we like. Tomorrow is a West Yorkshire derby and, as they say, the form books can go out of the window. I'd be happy with a draw though we all know that we should be able to push on for a win.
By Keith Ingham
I'm writing this after a momentous week in which we were taken over by GFH, brought in two players that have certainly made a difference and two wins against top three teams, one on a Tuesday too!
There has definitely been a upturn in the fortunes of Leeds United, with a new found confidence spreading
from the terraces to the pitch. I must mention Alan Tate after his performance v Leicester, it's a long time since I've seen a player stroll through a game but this man can, he reads the play so well and intills confidence in all around him. A class act even at the beginning of his stay at Elland Road. Thomas has also added a new dimension to the team, a bit of flair and he will get better with games as he's been out of action most of the season before he joined the club.
I would also like to complement the 17,000 + in attendance versus Leicester, a time for reflection as it was Elland Road where Speed started and he will always be remembered here.
We face our near neighbours Huddersfield Town on Saturday, ex player and manager Simon Grayson in charge, with Adam Clayton and if fit Jermaine Beckford amongst their squad. Simon upped the 'ante' with comments made about ex player and now Director Peter Lorimer in the pre match interviews. They are winless in five games but will certainly be 'up' for this game.
We have not beaten Town since 2008 but with the recent wins under our belt and a new found confidence apparent I think we can win this tight encounter. It should be a great game.
Huddersfield 1 Leeds 2, Thomas and Becchio
On On On
By Andy Gregory
Name: Ray King
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I'm a 52 year old (18 in the head) die hard Leeds fan who has followed my team through thick and thin and always will. Even in the current lean years when we have had little hope I still get a feeling of electricity through my veins when at matches home and away.
How long have you supported Leeds?
Since around age 11, but particularly strongly over last 12 years after I left the forces and able to get to matches regularly.
What is your favourite memory?
In recent years the promotion from league 1 on the last day of the season at elland road (great atmosphere). Also Scum match away in the FA cup which I will never forget and had £10 on beckford 1 – o win @ 100 to 1 odds, so drew £1000 from a scum bookie (priceless taking it off him) and it paid for the following years season ticket – scum paid for every Leeds match that season!
Favourite player past and present?
Past for me is Eddie Gray…. A magician who is still Leeds through and through and a real gentleman who I have had the pleasure to meet. Current is Sam Byram…that boy is class and will play for England for sure one day.
If you could bring one player from any era back to the club, who would it be?
Radebe for me….never ever saw him have a bad game.
Best goal scored by a Leeds player?
All four scored by Mark Viduka against Liverpool in the 4 – 3 win at Elland Rd. Every goal was strikers instinct and brilliantly finished (you had to be there to appreciate it).
How would you sum up our season so far?
In truth it started only last week against Palace, initiated by the takeover news. The performance level of the previous 6 games in particular were awful and as bad as I can remember meaning like many
fans I felt empty and aimless. Based on all performances this season I still genuinely believe we can finish in top 6 at worst…look at Millwall in 4th position now and you know they are gonna finish 18th at best, so its up for grabs.
Which player has impressed you most this season?
Sam Byram, for such a young man he shows maturity above his years. Anyone also noticed his body strength and how often he clears corners with a powerful header. That takes some doing for an 18 year old against grown men. Our future is bright with him in the team
How would you describe our current team?
In last 2 matches very hungry and motivated, previous 6 very poor. Its too early to say but my instinct tells me we have a reasonable foundation now in the team and with new additions in January it's definitely showing signs of a strong team ethic.
What do you think of our two latest signing Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas?
In the 2 matches both have been very impressive and settled extremely well bearing in mind they have had little game time. We finally have an outlet now in Jerome Thomas to take the pressure off our back line. Tate just seems to read the game so well.
Who would you like to see us sign in January?
Craig Mackail-Smith, George Boyd, Eric Lichaj, Matt Kilgallon
Where do you think we will finish this season?
Champions, hope so – got a £50 bet on it!
What's your view on Neil Warnock’s time at Leeds so far?
I like the guy and believe he can take us up either this year or next depending on extending his contract. The football has been average at times if honest but then he pulls in 2 new players and we start playing entertaining attacking football. Just hope it lasts and we now climb the league.
Which game are you most looking forward to this season?
Chelsea should be fun for the fans! In the league really looking forward to going to Uddersfield on Saturday. Be a great atmosphere as it’s the only game Uddersfield fans turn up for, even though they still never fill their end of the ground – we will be sold out as usual.
We’ve just had two fantastic results against Crystal Palace and Leicester, do you think we can keep this current run of form going?
In a word yes. The players all now look motivated and hungry again and I have to put it mainly to the takeover saga sorted.
Score prediction for the Huddersfield and Derby games?
Leeds 2 –0 win v Uddersfield and 2 – 1 win v Derby
What team would you put out on Saturday?
Unchanged except I would bring in McCormack, resting El Hadji Diouf but bringing him on for last half hour to seal the win.
Anything else you would like to add?
Yes, can we stop asking biffs to do the half time goal shoot out competition….it seems we only get volunteer fans out of the stands who have never played football! Embarrassing when they kick a ball
towards the goal and fall over or kick it like a girl. Any biff fans should be punished by having to attend a match at Uuddersfield or Barnsley who we all know are not the most exciting teams, nor are their fans?
Last point, attendances are currently very poor but I am optimistic its about to change… the atmosphere is coming back and the fans who do attend are making fantastic noise levels again. I understand reasons some have left but you know your gonna come back ….its what makes us Leeds fans. Do it now and enjoy the ride.
Thanks to Ray for taking part in this weeks interview. If you would be interested doing an interview, or would like to find out about other ways you can be involved with our site, then check out our "Have your say" page to find out how... MOT
By Josh Grainger
Tonight sees high flying Leicester City visit Elland Road, 12 months on since Leeds and football legend Gary Speed tragically took his own life. I’ll never forget my initial thoughts upon hearing the tragic news, the day before I remember watching Gary on BBC’s football focus, I recall tweeting ‘Gary Speed hasn’t aged a single bit’.
On a frosty Sunday morning, I remember seeing a post on facebook from a friend stating ‘Gary Speed is dead.’ What a load of absolute rubbish I remember thinking, he’s not dead, he was fine yesterday on the television, with that famous twinkle in his eyes, but then my fears were confirmed. I checked the BBC Sport website to see if these ‘rumours’ were true, and then I saw the headline – “WALES MANAGER SPEED FOUND DEAD”. My heart sank, part of me still didn’t believe it, how could this of happened. The weeks after the news, was one of the times where football unites, similarly to the Muamba situation.
It doesn’t seem right, switching back to talking about football, however a year on Leeds face a difficult fixture against Leicester City. Leeds come into the game on the back of an impressive 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at the weekend, the first game of the GFH Capital era. Tonight’s fixture may be every bit just as difficult as the Palace match, the Foxes don’t sit 3rd in the table for no reason.
The game presents another opportunity for Leeds to banish their ‘Tuesday night hoodoo’, the last time the Whites won in the league in a midweek encounter was almost a year ago, when Simon Grayson
guided Leeds to a 4-0 victory away at Nottingham Forest. That game will be remembered as it was United’s first fixture after the passing of Speed, Leeds fans will be hoping the current side will produce a similar display tonight.
Leicester are looking for their third straight victory tonight, their last two results have been particularly
impressive, with a 6-0 thrashing of Ipswich, followed by a 2-0 away win at Sheffield Wednesday. Whilst Leeds’ recent form has been poor to say the least, the recent victory against Crystal Palace will have injected some much needed confidence back into the squad.
Leeds are likely to field the same starting 11 that beat Crystal Palace last weekend, Ross McCormack is likely to start on the bench again in his return from injury, however could possibly be in line for a return to the starting 11. New loanees, Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas are expected to keep their places after impressive debuts, Michael Brown who came off the bench at the weekend may return to the starting 11, Ryan Hall and Aidan White will both hope to return to the starting line-up, however Michael Tonge is expected to retain his place out wide. Leeds captain Lee Peltier is in line to face his former side for the first time since leaving Leicester in the summer.
Leicester will be without David Nugent and Sean St Ledger, however have no other injury worries for tonight’s fixture. Kasper Schmeichel will return to Elland Road for the second time since joining the Foxes from Leeds. Leicester have a number of players that have the ability to cause Leeds problems, Jamie Vardy was signed from Fleetwood Town and has hit the net 3 times since. Pacey winger, Lloyd Dyer will need to be watched, whilst young attacking midfielder, Anthony Knockaert has impressed since signing for the Foxes in the summer window.
Overall, either team could come away with three points tonight, however in my opinion, Leeds’ new lease of confidence will guide them to victory. I think the Whites will run out 3-1 winners over the Foxes, with Luciano Becchio, Jerome Thomas and Paul Green scoring the goals.
Before I finish, I’d just like to personally pay my respects to Gary Speed, I know he’ll be watching tonight and I hope we can put on a performance in his honour. I’d like to also send out my thoughts to Gary’s family, particularly his wife and two children, in what must be a difficult time.
This article was a guest post written by Terry Owen a few months ago. I personally enjoyed the article, as did many people who got in touch with the site. This is why I have decided to choose this as my first "Editor's pick" and re- publish it so that everyone who may have missed it can enjoy this article full of great memories, a thoroughly good read.... MOT!
It all started nearly 60 years ago, my undying love of Leeds United. I am 70 years old next birthday and before I leave to play for Eternity Utd. in Div.1 of Heaven League, I hope and believe I shall see us back where we belong. I am talking Europe here, not just Premiership.
Living in the Wakefield area, in our village the only two people with a motor car were the Undertaker and the ‘poor’ Farmer. So it was easier for my father to take me by bus to Huddersfield, rather than by train & bus to Elland Rd (so he told me and I believed him). Town had a good centre forward in Jimmy Glazzard and I also watched Stanley Matthews when Blackpool visited. I remember the half-time ritual of going down to the front, to buy a hot pie from the tray bearers, who came around the pitch during the interval. We used to applaud the visiting players if they showed
exceptional skill, not scream obscenities like today. Leeds were of course in a lower league at that time.
For some reason, which time has erased from my memory, one Saturday dad had to visit Leeds, so he
took me to Elland Rd. We stood on the kop, which was open to the elements, the grandstand coming much later. John Charles scored a hat-trick and I was hooked. In the United team that day, I remember Harold Brook, Granville Hair, Albert Nightingale and little Georgie Meek. The only times I ever visited Leeds Rd. again was as an away fan. Our world fell apart, life would never be the same again when ‘Big John’ was sold to Juventus. Although he eventually came back, he was never the same player, Italy had the best of him. I remember his first match back was away at Stoke, I went to hail the kings return.
One proud moment came in 1958 when our skipper and right-half (midfielder to the young ones) Wilbur Cush went to the World Cup finals in Sweden, representing Ireland. By 1963/4 promotion season I was a learner driver and after working all week, would get my practice by driving to most away matches. My friends and I would arrive early to find a decent pub. We would spend a wonderful couple of hours, talking to the other teams supporters and more often than not be invited back to the pub after the game. This was of course 3 years before the minister of transport (Barbara Castle) in her wisdom,
brought in the breathalyser. Although I was supposed to be driving under instruction, many is the time I would drive the 2 or 3 hours home, with my 3 passengers fast asleep. The 1964/5 season saw us going to Wembley, only to lose after extra-time. This bitter blow came after losing the league title on goal
difference. That could not happen now (unless some new owners have Billions to spare). We set off at midnight to drive to Wembley. Before anyone says “we used to have a car like that” let me remind you that this was before the days of motorways. I recall finding a pub at lunchtime, no Tetley pump, so we ordered the local horrible flat ‘Fullers London Pride’, at the bar for the second round, the guy next to me knocked over his pint and I quipped “you lucky sod, I’ve got to drink mine” He did not seem to understand the Northern humour.
So came the ‘Revie years’ and Europe, when we were robbed in Athens by a referee who was later found guilty and never officiated again. Also robbed in Paris with the disallowed goal. There was also of course some great victories that are well documented. A question for you readers, about our first competitive European game, which was against Torino at home. The question is, who was our No.9? The answer is at the end (no cheating now) I cannot let this European passage go without saying R.I.P. Kevin & Chris. A word about our Goalkeeper at that time. Gary Sprake is mostly remembered for a few mistakes, especially at Liverpool where he was labelled 'Careless Hands’ by the witty scousers. I have always said in his defence that Gary was one of the most talented goalkeepers I have ever seen. (236 clean sheets for Leeds Utd.) People forgot the times when nearly all the 90 mins took place in or around our penalty box and we escaped with a 0-1 away victory. Also at that time, he was keeper for Wales, who were about as good then as they are now and he saved them from defeat on many occasions. Peter Ridsdale, probably rightly so, took a lot of stick for our subsequent demise, but lets not forget that the Finance Director was one Alan Leighton who later moved on to run the Post Office, they have been leaking money and closing down branches ever since, and David O’leary wasn’t entirely
Running out of space, I will leave alone memories of recent years and can only hope our younger readers will also have some wonderful times to think about, when they are in god’s waiting room.
Oh yes! the answer to the question, Revie thought that Torino would have sent a scout who would note our style of play, especially our centre forward Alan Peacock, who was a brilliant header of the ball. So when the teams came out, all our players had different numbers on their backs, to try and confuse the updated opposition. So our no. 9 that night was full back Terry Cooper.
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By Keith Ingham
Today is a year since Gary Speed passed away in tragic circumstances. I sit here with the memories of that day still there, wondering why it happened, we might never know the reasons, nor maybe should we.
A man who was a legend and who wore the white shirt of Leeds with such pride and endeavoured to do his best for the team. Lots of words have been spoken, written about the man but I remember a young man who happily chatted with my young children who looked at him with awe. They still mention the meeting, it was a summers day in August, a pre season game and he made them feel special. That's what legends do.
Today I go to Elland Road to pay my respects and to see the present team endeavour to get three points v Leicester but the 'family' will be there to show the football world we've not forgotten one of our own. There will be tears in the hardest of eyes, myself included as our memories of the man flood back.
He might have moved away and played with distinction at other clubs but Elland Road is where he started and it's fitting he is remembered there with such fondness. To close I will repeat a bit of commentary v Sheffield United 'Go on Gary Speed, get one yourself son'
Gary Speed - Legend in my lifetime
God Bless, Rest easy
On On On
By Keith Ingham
In the week when the takeover of Leeds was just about finalised, fans could again turn their attention to the most important thing... three points on offer versus the league leaders Crystal Palace.
Neil Warnock handed Jerome Thomas and Alan Tate debuts with Lee Peltier replacing Drury on the left, I've said before I find the managers decision to play him out of position strange and surely the latters confidence must be low as he plays a game then gets dropped on a regular basis.
Leeds started brightly and Luciano Becchio was denied by a splendid stop from Speroni, he also denied Norris soon after. Palace came into the game after 20 minutes their wing man got the better of Sam Byram, hit a cross- come shot, but Paddy Kenny was alert to it. With both sides now showing attacking intent, Palace nearly grabbed the opener but for a splendid double stop from the Leeds stopper, first he saved Parr's free kick, then was up sharply to deny Murray. The last action of a busy first half saw Byram and Zaha get involved in a bit of 'handbags' when there was an incident in the area. The Palace man claimed a penalty and then got involved with Norris. A good first half and a much better Leeds performance.
Within minutes of the second half Leeds got the goal they deserved, when Lee Peltier seized on a poor Ramage clearance, sending a great cross which was headed into the danger area by Green, as the ball
broke Luciano Becchio forced the ball over the line. This sparked more from the home side who were well on top. Norris sending a shot over was the next action, he would have hoped for a better finish.
With fifteen minutes remaining Leeds claimed the important second goal, Alan Tate sent a hopeful ball forward and it found Paul Green, who volleyed the ball in the net. Poleon was brought on but after ten minutes was himself replaced by Brown. A strange decision by the manager. Ross McCormack replaced Diouf as Leeds tried to maintain their lead, but Ramage headed in to leave the Leeds fans biting their nails as Palace threw everything at them to get an equaliser. In the depths of injury time Tonge cleared off the line after a goalmouth scramble.
A fantastic performance by Leeds ending a great week for the club and it's new owners must have been happy with the new found positively around the ground. Well done all
Man of the Match : Jerome Thomas , but all deserve credit for this win and Sam Byram is developing into a great player, Zaha won't meet a more 'dogged' defender
Fans : Wonderful, passionate and behind the team from the first minute to the ninety sixth. 20/10
Mr Haigh welcome aboard !!
On On On Upwards!