By Andy Gregory
Welcome to this week's interview with a Leeds fan, our feature where you can have your say on all things Leeds. This week we are talking to John Rawson, a fan since 1956 experiencing all the high and lows during that time, and is still a season ticket holder now.
Name: John Rawson
Tell us a bit about yourself:
63 years old with two Sons, one who loves Leeds as I do, and one who winds me up pretending he is a Man U fan. One grandson of 3, who got his first kit the day after Bates was relieved of his Presidency.
How long have you supported Leeds?
Since 1956. I have seen it all! I am still a season ticket holder, and travel to many away games also.
I just followed my Dad. My parents used to live in Southend, but came to live in Leeds because John Charles was my Dads hero, and he wanted to see him play every week. I remember crying my eyes out at the age of 6 at Johns last game before going to Juventus. I was lucky enough to get to know John personally in his later life, and it gave me an enormous amount of pleasure to introduce my Dad to his hero.
What is your favourite memory?
It has to be winning the cup in 1972. It was such an important trophy then, now it's all about Champions League, and survival in the Premier League, nothing else matters.
Favourite player past and present?
Has to be Eddie Gray. To watch him go down the left wing and beat a player was perfection. There is no one in present day football who can do what he did.
If you could bring one player from any era back to the club, who would it be and why?
John Charles. He was world class at both Centre Half and Centre Forward (remember those positions?) We would probably have sold him to Norwich by now.
Best goal scored by a Leeds player?
I have two. Eddie Gray v Burnley in 1970 because of its beauty, and Gordon Strachan v Leicester in 1990 because of its importance and the sheer relief it brought. “Have you ever seen a better goal, Have you ever seen one better timed”
Your best Leeds 11?
Martyn, Reaney, Cooper, Bremner, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Clarke, Charles, Giles, Gray
What would you say are the proudest and worst moments in Leeds’ history?
This is easy. The first time we won the league in 1969, and relegation to the Third Division. From the sublime (Revie) to the ridiculous (Bates)
What do you make of our transfer dealings this summer and how the squad is shaping up?
We are really short up front, and a lack of goals is there for all to see. In effect we gave Becchio away for nothing, and have nothing in return, and that was unforgivable by the previous regime. We also have no width but that will hopefully be rectified in the loan system. The jury is out on Hunt, and Smith is a work in progress, but Wootton and Murphy look good.
Who’s the player to watch this season?
If they can get him fit then it has to be Byram, but having watched the game for many years, I fear his comeback may take a long long time.
What is your view on Brian McDermott?
Very impressive guy. Its clear he bought into Leeds very quickly, and understands what we are all about. I trust him to do the job, but it wont end in promotion this season.
What is your view on GFH’s time at Leeds so far?
GFH never came into the club with a promise of millions. They are doing a good job of changing the structure of the club, but they admit that they are in it for a profit. Thats business. They are at least getting the fans onside after a period of complete mistrust.
Score prediction for our next game v Bolton?
Bolton are too good to be at the bottom of the league, so I reckon 1-1
Where do you think we will finish this season?
Around 10th. We are not good enough at the moment, but at the end of the season, when certain players contracts will be up, we will be able to re group and push on for promotion.
Anything else you would like to add?
We have suffered for the past few years with poor management on the field, and appalling management off it. It is now a much more pleasurable experience going to Elland Road. All we need to do now is put the away supporters back where they used to be, and have a pricing structure that will enable us to have regular crowds at the level of the first match of the season. The atmosphere that day was amazing, and it was due to the sensible pricing.
Massive thanks to John 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