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 Paul Knights who has been a Leeds fan for 35 years and has regularly made the 450 mile round trip from where he lives to watch the Mighty Whites.
Name: Paul Knights
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m 45, married for 15 years (!!!), and have an 8 year old daughter. Neither likes football. I’m self-employed in the Marketing and Graphic Design world. I live in Swindon and have made the 450 mile round trip more times than I’d care to remember (easily 400+). I’ve heard way too much 5Live.
How long have you supported Leeds?
35 years (Wow, I’m old), since 1978. My first match was in 1984, vs Wolves, I can still remember the team and we won 3-2, Wright and Lorimer the scorers. Season ticket from 1986, and my southern accent either got me hassle or got me layed.
What is your favourite memory?
That’s easy, the 1989/90 Season. From getting slaughtered at Newcastle first day to Strachan against Leicester and Chappy at Bournemouth, it was, quite simply, the greatest ride of my life.
I suppose most fans my age say the Title, but somehow to me the Div. 2 win was better, with the terraces and Vinny and the noise, it was just the most fun ever.
Favourite player past and present?
My first hero was Tony Currie and from the current team Rudy Austin. All-time favourite is probably John Sheridan.
If you could bring one player from any era back to the club, who would it be and why?
Lucas Radebe, we need a centre back and he’s the best I’ve seen. He loved the Club, was a great Captain, and he was great with young players.
Best goal scored by a Leeds player?
Tony Yeboah Vs. Liverpool
What would you say are the proudest and worse moments in Leeds’ history?
Being the last ever Champions of the Football League!
I never knew Christopher Loftus & Kevin Speight, couldn’t have picked them out of a line up, but when I heard they had died, that they were never going home again, I never felt worse as Leeds fan, and never cared less about a bleeding football match.
How do you think the squad is shaping up for this season?
We are living within a budget and it’s a very unpopular but realistic path. The squad is what it is. Too old, too slow, and full of journeyman pros. That however is not BM’s doing, and I genuinely believe he is doing the best he can with what he has. It won’t improve over night, but it has improved since he’s got here. I’m too old for miracles or quick fixes, real improvement takes time.
Who’s the player to watch this season?
Luke Murphy, he was a great signing. Not the finished article, but so much potential.
What do you think to our three summer signings?
Murphy I’ve mentioned, Smith has some potential, and gives us a completely different option. Hunt to me was a Warnock, journeyman, do a job, one paced wonder we’ve already got way too many of.
McDermott has been told he can bring in some new players, who would you like to see come in?
I’d like to see young players, with a bit of pace, as we build a team. From the rumour mill, Tommy Rowe or Gary Mackay-Steven would have been nice. We have got to find a little pace somewhere.
With a lot of speculation about the future of some of our players, how important do you think it is to keep hold of players like McCormack and Diouf?
McCormack must stay, and if GFH are serious about taking the Club forward, they have the chance to show it. We all know that under Uncle Ken, Ross would already be in red shirt. He’s not, so far.
Diouf, I don’t care, he’s got decent touch and vision, but I can run quicker than him.
What is your view on Brian McDermott?
Top bloke, he even bought the boys some beer on tour, and luckily enough he seems to be a decent manager too. The performances have improved on virtually no money, and the football is night and day better. Oh God, do you remember last season? I sometimes wake at night sweating, picturing Brown punting the ball 60 yards in the general direction of Becchio, time after time after time after time.
What is your view on GFH’s time at Leeds so far?
They are doing a professional job. Ticket prices, fan initiatives and basically repairing some of the damage done by the previous regime are ways forward. Of course I’d love it if they whipped out £10m and told BM to go nuts, but we really haven’t recovered from the last time our Chairman said that, and slow and steady is probably the way this time.
Score prediction for our next game v Ipswich?
Where do you think we will finish this season?
If we unload a few of Warnock’s Dad’s Army and get a little pace into the team, we
may be flirting with the playoffs, but consolidation is probably the way this year, top 10 minimum.
Anything else you would like to add?
GFH are trying to make a profit, that’s it. They don’t love the Club, have no ties to the Club, nothing, they are just trying to make a profit. The best way to do that is to improve the Club, and the playing staff, without bankrupting the Club in the process. Uncle Ken & Neil Warnock left us in one hell of a mess, GFH are making the right moves, and these things take time.
Give BM a chance, it won’t be easy or quick, but No Bates, No Warnock, we’re making a start, I haven’t felt like that in a long time. MOT
Massive thanks to Paul 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