We All Love Leeds spoke to David Watkins about his first time watching the mighty whites in a new feature we are calling 'my first game'.
My first Leeds game seen live in the flesh was at the Hawthorns in 1969, just a few games before we were crowned champions for the first time. I was 12 years-old and had been following Leeds for a few seasons already but I lived with my Mum and Dad in Worcestershire, near the Malvern Hills, and hence it was always likely to be a game in the Midlands that took my Leeds virginity.Wal
I can still remember my Dad coming home one night from work and telling me that a mate of his was going up to the game the following week, it was a Wednesday night league game and did I want to go? Did I want to go? I couldn’t wait!
I was Leeds mad; I kept a scrapbook with cuttings of every game and a little black book (just like Jack Charlton!) with all the results, scorers and attendances.
I had my white Leeds shirt, the one with the round neck and the old owl badge and I had even glued the club crest onto my green school tracksuit top. That caused me a bit of a problem at school since I was told in no uncertain terms that unless I was a member of the club whose badge it was, I couldn’t have it on my school kit! I had to try to remove the badge but it was so well glued on that I was left with a patch of backing material and dried glue for the next two years until I grew out of the tracksuit! I also had my Leeds United tie, bought through the post from Jack Charlton’s shop. They sent me a printed autograph sheet with the tie, which I still have to this day.
We travelled up the M5 from Worcester to West Bromwich in a battered old bottle green, hand painted, ex-Post Office Morris Minor van, me on the shiny bench seat on one side in the back, hanging on for grim life and swinging like a deranged monkey as we went round corners! There were no seat belts in those days of course!
Dad’s mate was a Baggie, so we watched the game from behind the goal at the Birmingham Road end, with the rest of the Baggies even though I’d bought a big Leeds poster outside the ground and then carried it, in a big roll, under my arm for the rest of the night.
Fans of a certain vintage will remember the one – it had postcard sized head and shoulders photos of the squad in glossy black and white and the famous old frontage of the main entrance in the middle. Only problem was, it included Jimmy Greenhoff who’d left us at the start of the season. I sorted that in the next close season by sticking a picture of new signing Allan Clarke over Greenhoff’s face!
The game started badly for Leeds as a mistake by big Jack Charlton in the first few minutes allowed the Baggies to take the lead but early in the second half Eddie Gray equalised and the point was enough to keep Leeds six points clear of Liverpool at the top of the First Division. By the end of the campaign Leeds had amassed a then record 67 points with only two defeats all season in the league and they achieved the league title Don Revie had promised back in August.
Extract from “Leeds United in pursuit of the Premiership” by David Watkins
Thank you to David for being part of our new feature. If you'd like your first time watching Leeds to be on the site, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via Twitter! @weallloveleedsu
By Keith Ingham