By Andy Gregory
Name: David Griffiths (aka Griff)
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I live in Sutton Coldfield (north Birmingham) and have done so all my life. I’m married and have three girls and one boy. All my children support Leeds – my wife doesn’t ‘get’ football. I’m also a big fan of Rugby Union (although I don’t support a particular team) and American Football (Washington Redskins are my team and I’ve followed them for 30 years)
How long have you supported Leeds?
My first recollection of Leeds was the 1970 season and of course the FA Cup final against Chelsea. So I’ve been a fan through good and bad times for 43 years.
What is your favourite memory?
For some-one of my age, my favourite memory has to be the Centenary FA Cup final against Arsenal. I still get shivers down my back when I hear the commentary
‘Clarke one nil’. It wasn’t just because it was the first trophy I saw Leeds win, it was also the occasion. The FA Cup was far bigger in those days – even without wall to wall coverage on TV. It was the Centenary cup final – everybody was watching. Everybody at school talked about nothing but the FA Cup for the week before the game. And on Monday I walked into school with my head held high, proud as punch that we’d won!
However, if I can have a second ‘favourite’ memory, it has to be clinching promotion from Division 1 with Beckford scoring the winner. Why, because the atmosphere within ER was incredible, the game went from an incredible low (Gradel sending off and Bristol scoring) to even more incredible high (you know the story) – and also because my son was there to share the occasion with me.
You’d probably expect me to pick a player from the Revie years, and Allan ‘Sniffer’ Clarke was certainly a favourite of mine. But my all time favourite – David Batty. Although he is probably best known for being aggressive and combative in the tackle I thought he was also excellent at distributing the ball. Other than scoring goals, Batty was everything you need in a midfielder! So why choose Batty over Billy Bremner? Simply because he was a local Leeds lad, and Leeds through and through.
If you could bring one player from any era back to the club, who would it be and why?
Tony Yeboah. Excellent goals. Enough said!
Best goal scored by a Leeds player?
Yeboah’s goal against Wimbledon in 1995 was amazing but the best goal for me is ‘that’ goal by Eddie Gray against Burnley in 1970. He’d already scored with an audacious chip over the keeper from 25 yards out and then topped it with a wonder goal. On a dog of a pitch he beat what seemed to be every Burnley defender not once but twice before slamming the ball into the net. Goals like Yeboah’s have been scored since on many occasions – I don’t think I’ll ever see anybody score a goal like Eddie Gray’s.
What would you say are the proudest and worst moments in Leeds’
The worst moments for me followed the Ridsdale mis-management. Relegation, fire sale of what seemed like the entire squad, administration, relegation. It doesn’t get much worse than that. And although we’ve had one promotion since then we’re still suffering as a result of that mis-management.
The proudest moment – I’m hoping that will come in the future. Promotion will do as a starter!
How would you sum up this season?
Which player has impressed you most this season?
I’m not going for Byram although he has had a superb first season. My choice is for Diouf – he is still a class above everyone else in the team. It’s just a pity that he’s in the twilight of his career.
Which player have you been least impressed with?
Too many to mention! However, I don’t think we saw the best of any of the players under NW.
Which player’s would you keep beyond this season?
I think it’s important that you keep the core of a team together and not make too many changes. At the start of this season we played like a team that hadn’t been together very long – oh I forgot, NW dismantled the team and created a new team
that hadn’t played together before …….
What is your view on Neil Warnock’s time at Leeds?
What are your first impressions of our new manager Brian McDermott?
Unification – that’s a word I never thought I’d use when talking about football! We need to be united on the pitch, off the pitch and in non playing areas and this is what comes across listening to McDermott. His all-inclusive, no blame culture has
seemed to hit the right cord with the players.
The promotion of Neil Redfearn to first team coach, whilst keeping his role in charge of the development team might look like a small change but it emphasises McDermott’s desire to bring unity and consistency to all the squads. Whisper it quietly, but I think that’s called a long term vision.
Score prediction for the Birmingham and Brighton games?
I’ll take a 1-0 win over the Blues and with the confidence of three straight wins (for the first time in what seems like forever) we find the net a few more times against Brighton; 4-1.
What team would you put out against Birmingham?
As you can probably guess from my previous comments – keep the core of the team the same. Give them another chance to show what they can do now that we are playing football again. However, I think it would be a good time to give young Poleon another run out. Having being recalled from loan he must be desperate to get on the pitch.
Anything else you would like to add?
Keep the faith! After 43 years of more downs than ups, I still go into every Leeds game believing we are going to win – regardless of what division we are in and regardless of who the opposition are!
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