18 Apr 2019 07:22am, by YorkshireSquare

Back in 2005 we compiled a list of the 100 Greatest Leeds Players Ever. In the time that has passed since 2005 nearly 200 more players have donned the white shirt of Leeds United. Some of those who were fresh in the memory when the initial vote was taken may have faded in the memories over the years and some players may no be looked on with greater fondness. As such we have updated the 100 Greatest Leeds United Players Ever to give you our 100for100 in our centenary year. Last time in our countdown we profiled Mel Sterland, Dominic Matteo, Albert Johanneson, Jonathan Woodgate and David Harvey. Now we bring you players 30 to 26…

30) Rio Ferdinand (2000-2002)

Country: England | DOB: 07/11/1978 | Position: Defender | Apps: 73 | Goals: 2

A supremely elegant footballer who defended with intelligence and guile, but also used the ball when possession was gained. Leeds smashed not only the British transfer record, but also the world record fee for a defender to prise Rio Ferdinand away from Upton Park. Paying £18m for Ferdinand, a fee which sent shockwaves through the footballing world. The move undoubtedly benefited Rio, who improved his ability and claimed a spot in the England set-up as the old rearguard was phased out. At the 2002 World Cup he emerged as a truly world class defender. He was a rock as England went out to Brazil in the quarter-finals. He left for Man U for £29.3million. Player of the Year at Leeds in his final season, Ferdinand was a real favourite at Leeds, played 73 games for the club and scored three goals.

Read more about Rio Ferdinand on Oz Whites fantastic Leeds United FC History website.

29) Trevor Cherry (1972-1982)

Country: England | DOB: 23/02/1948 | Position: Defender | Apps: 484 | Goals: 31

Born Huddersfield, 1948, he signed for his home town team in 1965 and captained them to the Second Division Championship in 1969-70. He moved to Leeds for £100,000 in 1972, and, while formerly almost exclusively a central defender, his ability to play midfield and full back made him a valuable acquisition. He won 27 caps for England and had the honour of captaining his country, but he was also one of the few England players to be sent off. He won a League championship medal in 1974 and played 477 full games and 8 as substitute, scoring 32 goals before joining Bradford City as player manager and led them to promotion to Division 2.

Read more about Trevor Cherry on Oz Whites fantastic Leeds United FC History website.

All White: Leeds United's 100 Greatest Players
By Jon Howe and Andrew Dalton

For a different perspective on the 100 greatest Leeds players of all time check out All White by Jon Howe and Andrew Dalton. A celebration of Leeds United's greatest 100 players. Definitive and official, All White offers a perspective on the history of the club, combining stories and expert insights into the players with telling facts and statistics. From Bremner and Batty, Chapman and Charles to Smudger and Sniffer, the book gives a real sense of how these heroic, combative, iconic characters could affect the moods and the lives of fans over the decades - all contributing to the rollercoaster drama that is pure Leeds.

28) Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink (1997-1999)

Country: Netherlands | DOB: 27/03/1972 | Position: Forward | Apps: 87 | Goals: 42

Surinam born, Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink moved with his family to Holland and started his European football with Telstar, then AZ. Coming to Leeds from Boavista, for £2M in 1997, he soon became a firm favourite with the fans... if not with the management. Produced 42 (usually flamboyant) goals in 87 Leeds appearances, but was too temperamental for George Graham's liking and was frequently substituted. O'Leary gave him his chances, but in the summer of 1999 he was transferred to Athletico Madrid, for £12M. under very unclear circumstances. The official Leeds board statement said he demanded a new wage contract far above what they were prepared to pay. Jimmy himself says he wanted to stay at Leeds, as he saw O'Leary's team gearing up for European success, and that he was sold off to provide the money needed to take Leeds into Europe.

Read more about Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink on Oz Whites fantastic Leeds United FC History website.

27) John Sheridan (1982-1989)

Country: Ireland | DOB: 01/10/1964 | Position: Midfielder | Apps: 267 | Goals: 52

Discarded by Manchester City, Sheridan went on to become a major influence in the Leeds midfield as they strove to recapture Division One status in the 1980s. Within six months of being rejected by Man City, he had made his league debut for Leeds, his vision and skill hallmarking him as a player for the future. He recovered well from a broken leg sustained at Barnsley in 1983, to become United's most valuable playing asset, being particularly lethal from free kicks. On the arrival of Howard Wilkinson as manager Sheridan was sold to Nottingham Forest.

Read more about John Sheridan on Oz Whites fantastic Leeds United FC History website.

26) Lee Bowyer (1996-2003)

Country: England | DOB: 03/01/1977 | Position: Midfielder | Apps: 265 | Goals: 55

Bowyer moved to Leeds United in July 1996 from Charlton Athletic for a then British record fee for a teenager of £3 million. After taking a long time to settle, his performances led to him being voted United's Player of the Year for 1998/99. A hard-working player, hard in the tackle and with an eye for goal, Bowyer looked to be the fringe of an England place until his well-publicised troubles. Bowyer showed magnificent form in the first half of the 1999/2000 season, he was a star at home and in Europe as Leeds made the semi-finals of the Champions League, and he almost finished top scorer in the competition. He was one of the best players in the Premiership throughout 2000/01, even though his court case was in progress. He left Leeds in 2003 for West Ham before moving to Newcastle United.

Read more about Lee Bowyer on Oz Whites fantastic Leeds United FC History website.

For the full 100 players check out our 100 Greatest Ever Leeds Players...

17 Apr 2019 03:42pm, by YorkshireSquare

Leeds United are on the verge of returning to the Premier League (PL) for the first time since 2004. But a lot has changed since the Whites were last in the top flight. It’s now arguably harder than ever for clubs, even of Leeds’ stature, to maintain their PL status – never mind compete for European qualification. One club that’s had a pretty good go of it, however, is Wolves. After an impressive first season back, they currently occupy the ‘best of the rest’ position, sitting just below the ‘big six’ in the PL table, led by Nuno Espírito Santo. Can Leeds achieve the same?

Avoiding The Drop

Want a rough idea of how brutal the top flight is? Consider the current bottom three. 2017 Championship play-off winners, Huddersfield Town, sit alongside newly promoted Cardiff and Fulham. The last thing Leeds want when they do go up, is to crash straight back down with a load of PL salaries on the wage bill. The solution? Take a look at the most successful PL newcomers – Wolverhampton Wanderers. What have they done that Cardiff and Fulham failed to do – and can Leeds replicate it?

Signing The Right Players

First and foremost, clubs need to spend money to stay in the PL. Warnock made clear from the start that Cardiff would be taking a slow and steady approach, rather than splashing the cash. They’re not afraid of returning to the Championship, if they have the “building blocks” to come back up again. Despite twice almost matching their record transfer fee (£11 million) with the signing of Josh Murphy and Bobby Reid, the Bluebirds were relatively thrifty in the summer window.

Fulham, on the other hand, spent money – but not always wisely. A case in point was their £30 million swoop for André-Frank Zambo Anguissa. Their record transfer proved underwhelming almost immediately, being outrun in the centre of the park by almost all of Fulham’s opponents. Credit where credit is due – Aleksandar Mitrovic was well worth £22 million, but the team simply lacked the depth required to score goals when Mitrovic was injured or just marked out of the game.

How did Wolves differ? They spent money in all the right places. Nuno brought in several players that would play a key role in their 2018-19 squad, from £10 million Willy Boly at the back and £5 million midfielder João Moutinho to the permanent signing of 2017-18 top scorer Diogo Jota for an undisclosed fee. They also signed Rui Patrício on a free and utilised the loan market to add Raúl Jiménez and Jonny Otto to the ranks. In short, they weren’t afraid to use the transfer window to add key players, who went straight into the first team. Based on his summer signings in 2018 – Bamford, Casilla, Douglas and Harrison on loan – we could see Bielsa replicate this approach for Leeds.

The Style of Play

Above all else, Wolves’ success has been down to their unique style of play. Nuno sets his team up to play possession football, slowly carving out chances throughout the game. High wing backs, deep midfielders and creative wingers are complemented by the impressive passing range of their defensive players to create a team that’s hard for even some of the best to beat.

As you can see on the sportsbet.io soccer news portal, Wolves have seen off Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham at home in their first PL season, as well as holding Arsenal and Manchester City to a draw and knocking Liverpool out of the FA Cup.

Fortunately, this style of play bears some similarities to that of Bielsa’s Leeds side. Most of all because of its fluidity. Under Bielsa, Leeds are flexible and versatile, with wing backs pushing forward and midfielders dropping back into defence, switching formations seamlessly throughout the game. Bielsa combines this with a high press that has delivered undeniable success for Guardiola’s Manchester City – a good omen, surely?

The Verdict

While it’s impossible to predict how Leeds would fare in the PL, these two key elements – the signings and style of play – will undoubtedly play a huge role. From what we know now, the signs are promising…