Tag: Leeds United

91 Years Of Football Through 7 Players: From Leeds United, 1920 to West Ham, 2011

An article on the front page of the When Saturday Comes website bemoaned the airbrushing from history of anything from before the beginning of the Premier League, but the time-line of football is considerably more textured than this. With this is mind (and from a post on the WSC forum, which is probably the best place on the internet to discuss football), here is a rambling six degrees of speculation. From Leeds United’s first season in the Football League to West Ham United vs Blackpool in the Premier League on the 2nd February 2011 in seven players. Feel free to have a go at this in the comments and knock mine into a proverbial cocked hat. Centre-half Ernie Hart joined Leeds United in September 1920, a year after they were formed. He was a regular in that team – he left Leeds in 1936 – alongside… …Jack Milburn (cousin of Jackie), who signed for Leeds in November 1928. Jack was in the Leeds team until the outbreak of war in 1939, and in January 1938 Leeds signed the sixteen year-old winger… …David Cochrane, who went straight into the first team and became a regular himself. David’s career was interrupted by the war, but he re-signed for Leeds after it and, in April 1949, he played alongside… …John Charles, who played for Leeds for nine years, before going to Juventus...

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FA Cup Third Round Weekend 1: Arsenal 1-1 Leeds United

No-one is hit harder by the unremittingly harsh light of football’s inherent meritocracy than the supporters of a “Big Club” that falls upon hard times. When they slipped to the third tier of English football during the late 1990s, Manchester City supporters came up with a song that expressed their existential angst called, “We’re Not Really Here”, a singular act of defiance at the plight of their club that bordered upon minimalist genius. “What has become of us?”, is the subconscious question that is constantly running through the mind of the supporter that didn’t sign up with their clubs for trips to slowly decaying League One grounds and early-round humiliations in the FA Cup. All of which brings neatly on to the subject of Leeds United, of course. There must have been many points over the last four or five years at which the years of the Don Revie dynasty or of the Cantona-inspired, out of the blue league championship must have felt like, if not a dream, then an out of body experience. The supporters of Leeds United have tasted what they have interpreted as hell, but if there are steps to be made on the return journey from perdition, this afternoon’s performance against Arsenal may just reached the point at which, after seven years away, their club took on the feel of a Premier League club. Leeds...

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2010: A Football Financial Review

You could frame it. If you wanted a short, pithy representation of all that has been wrong with football finance in 2010, you could do no better than quote a Plymouth Argyle fan known as “Sensible Surfer” on the BBC Football website over the Christmas period. “Ridsdale set to take control… good news,” he/she said, a phrase which would sit nicely as an explanation of irony…except that it didn’t appear to BE irony. And it served as fair comment on Argyle’s current state that, relatively, Peter Ridsdale – the failed former Leeds and Cardiff chairman and serial over-borrower – IS good news for the cash and panic-stricken South Westerners, with the heaviest possible emphasis on the word ‘relatively.’ If professional football entered 2010 in a state of moral and financial bankruptcy, it is leaving it in much the same manner. Certain football problems have been “solved.” Some more have emerged. While others, hello Portsmouth, look set to run forever. The “greater fool” theory still underpins much of the game’s financial strategies. The theory is about as scientific as it sounds – buying something in the belief that you will be able to sell it again for a higher price (to a “greater fool”), regardless of what has happened in the meantime (increased debts, usually), or even whether the original price was rooted in reality. Finding a “greater fool” is...

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Ken Bates: Master Of PR & All He Surveys

I should be on my knees every day, thanking my God that my only experience of Kenneth William Bates, chairman but not owner – oh no – of Leeds United, was brief and indirect. And it summed him up too. In the 1990s, Chelsea’s reserves in the old Football Combination played their “home” games at my team Kingstonian’s ground. As part of the deal, Chelsea played an annual pre-season friendly against the Ks. And they treated it as a proper first team occasion. Matthew Harding once drank the bar dry. An ineffectual Gianluca Vialli was once substituted after an hour,and Pierluigi Casiraghi limped off injured shortly before half-time in his one appearance. Bates turned up once, revelling in his two favourite scenarios. He was the centre of attention, the press photo pack focusing on him rather than Kevin Hitchcock for some strange reason. And he was conning people. A tabloid newspaper was involved in some Chelsea-related sponsorship. And Bates was in his seat, proudly reading his copy… or at least looking at the pictures. But, of course, he wasn’t reading the paper at all. Tucked inside the paper was another publication entirely, the magazine he was actually reading. He was fooling them all and he was loving it. But Bates wasn’t making any point to anyone else, at least anyone else important in his scheme of things. The only...

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The Christian Aid Secrecy League

Of all the football figures railing against the appointment of another independent FA chairman, Leeds United chairman Kenneth William Bates was the most predictable. An independent mind and independent voice would also have an independent eye. And Bates wouldn’t be one for independent eyes, in case they saw him for what he really is. That thought occurred as I read a report by Christian Aid, the – surprise – Christian organisation dedicated to the end of world poverty, into the secrecy surrounding football clubs in the United Kingdom. Entitled Blowing the whistle – Time’s up for financial secrecy, the report offered case studies of some of the more secretive clubs, and noted that Bates’ Leeds United “takes secrecy to a new level.” The way that Bates’ mind works, he would probably be miffed that these words didn’t translate into Leeds actually winning the Christian Aid Secrecy League which forms the focal point of the report – Manchester United fans can be assured their team won more than the Carling Cup this season. But being a voice independent of any footballing vested interest, Christian Aid are quite happy to tell things like they are, which makes for uncomfortable reading for more than just Bates. It would be easy to joke that world poverty could be near-cured by halving Premier League wages. But the report is only really using football and...

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