Welcome to Marching on Together

26 Apr 2017 01:05pm, by Shields53

Supporting Leeds hasn’t exactly been full of glories over the past ten years. From Champions semi-finalists in 2001 to relegation to League One in 2007 to seventeenth in the Championship where we sit today it’s been a rollercoaster. But it isn’t the first time in our history we have been through years in the darkness. In 1975 Leeds were in the European Cup Final (Though that is another story), the last true outing of the great Revie team. The job of dismantling and rebuilding that team was down to Jimmy Armfield, not an unenviable task and one Revie himself had always maintained he would have found near impossible.

It was a job Armfield wasn’t entirely successful at, his critics claimed he was too indecisive and was too nice an individual to be a success at top-level football management, and he paid the price with his job at the start of the 1978 season. He was replaced by Jock Stein who lasted a mere 44 days before taking the Scotland job. Then came a succession of managers; Jimmy Adamson, Dave Merrington and Allan Clarke and flirtations with relegation until Leeds were finally relegated to the second division in 1982. With victory over Brighton in the final home game at Elland Road the crowd celebrated a supposed safety. Unfortunately with only a point needed at West Bromwich Albion on the following Monday they lost 2-0 and finished in the drop zone.

Leeds were in the Second Division for eight seasons, most of that time was spent flirting outside the play-off places with the exception of 1986-87 when we finished fourth. A plethora of greats at the helm had failed to revive Leeds; Eddie Gray, Billy Bremner and Norman Hunter but it was 10th October 1988 that was the key date in Leeds Uniteds future. It was the day that Howard Wilkinson became Leeds United manager. Fancy your chance at being a champion, why not give automaty do gier (polish slots machines) a spin. Howard Wilkinson’s arrival was a total surprise as Leeds were next to the bottom of the Second Division, while Sheffield Wednesday were in the top half of the First Division. To lure a Manager of Wilkinson’s undoubted ability on a four year contract was a major coup for the club.

A plethora of greats at the helm had failed to revive Leeds; Eddie Gray, Billy Bremner and Norman Hunter but it was 10th October 1988 that was the key date in Leeds Uniteds future. It was the day that Howard Wilkinson became Leeds United manager.

When Wilkinson arrived United were a precarious 23rd with just 6 points to show for their 9 games played. They duly won his first game 3-1 against Peterborough United to progress to the 3rd Round of the League Cup. Three consecutive draws were achieved before the first League victory of his reign came, 2-1 over Hull City at Elland Road. League survival was the priority and a steady accumulation of points saw United safe long before the season’s end, finally finishing tenth. Wilko now started to look to the future and began his team-building in earnest by signing Scottish International midfielder Gordon Strachan from Manchester United.

At the start of the 1989-90 season Wilkinson continued his rebuilding. Skipper Mark Aizlewood, who had been stripped of the captaincy and banned for 14 days for making rude gestures to the crowd not surprisingly left the club to join Bradford City. In came the likes of Chris Fairclough, Vinnie Jones, John Hendrie, Mel Sterland, John McClelland, Lee Chapman and Chris Kamara. The arrival of Chapman and Kamara along with the emergence of Gary Speed who had emerged from the junior ranks proved to be the final pieces in the promotion jigsaw for United, as a three way battle developed between the three United’s of Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle for the two promotion places.

A win at Elland Road against Leicester City in front of a crown of 32,597 left United in the box seat, as a win at relegation-threatened Bournemouth would bring not only promotion but also the Second Division title. Sheffield United, who visited Leicester City, and Newcastle United, who had to visit relegation candidates Middlesbrough, were both ready to pounce. Dobra Mine can guarantee you an unforgettable experience in numerous classic slots and games. Chris Kamara crossed for Lee Chapman to rise and head the winner, and United had little difficulty in hanging on to their lead to win the championship with 85 points, on goal difference from Sheffield United who won at Leicester City.

Back in the top flight Wilkinson continued to strengthen his squad with the acquisitions of John Lukic, Gary McAllister and Chris Whyte. United could have been forgiven if they had settled for mid-table respectability after such an hard season but it was to their credit that they battled all the odds to finish fourth on 64 points, with some tremendous efforts. Chapman had a stellar season and after scoring twice in a last day 4-3 loss to Nottingham Forest to finished the top scorer in the First Division with 21 league goals and 31 in all.

The 1991-92 season was when the history was made though. The previous two seasons had seen spending of £5.5 million but the board again backed Wilkinson who strengthened his squad further. A new record £1.6 million for striker Rod Wallace, £1.3 million for Tony Dorigo plus the signings of Steve Hodge, David Wetherall and Jon Newsome completed the squad. With 20,000 Season Tickets sold, bringing in £3.5 million and the prospect of high TV and broadcasting income, the Board felt it well worthwhile in their strife to bring the title to Elland Road.

After ten games Leeds and Manchester United remained the only unbeaten teams in the Division. Ironically Leeds lost the next game and Manchester became firm favourites with 26 points from ten games, already six points ahead of Leeds who had played a game more. Manchester wasted their game in hand when beaten 1-0 by bottom of the table West Ham United and Leeds now had destiny in their own hands. If they won their remaining games at Sheffield United and at home to Norwich City the championship was theirs, falter and Manchester, who had to visit Liverpool at Anfield before finishing at home to Tottenham Hotspur, or the fast finishing Sheffield Wednesday could claim English Football’s major prize.

On Sunday, 26th April 1992 Leeds won 3-2 at Bramall Lane with goals from Jon Newsome, Rod Wallace and an own goal from Brian Gayle. The 3-2 win meant Manchester had to win at Anfield to keep their hopes alive. An early Ian Rush strike and a late Mark Walters goal ensured a 2-0 defeat and many thousands of Leeds fans all over the world were jubilant as they reclaimed the championship after 18 years to become the last champions of the Football League Division One as the country’s top League.

26 Apr 2017 10:16am, by Shields53

Teams who have the hunger and desire to succeed stand up to the occasion during the latter stages of the season when every point is crucial. Unfortunately, Leeds appear to have lost their bottle and crumbled under the pressure of holding onto a play-off spot that they had worked so hard for.

Spending twenty-five games in the top six appears to be all for nothing as Leeds now find themselves facing the daunting reality of missing out on the play-offs altogether. The insipid performance against Wolves at Elland Road was made all the more disappointing by the fact that Garry Monk and his team had worked so admirably to get themselves into a fantastic position up until that point, only to hit the buffers when it required calm heads all round to ensure that Leeds could not be caught.

That result made it just four points from a possible fifteen prior to the trip to the Midlands to face Burton who proved in the reverse fixture that they are a tougher nut to crack than their league position suggests, as although Leeds eventually ran out 2-0 winners, it took until the 83rd minute for the recently-crowned EFL Championship Player of the Season Chris Wood to break the visitor’s resilience. It should have been enough for Monk to know that his men would have to put in a strong performance to get past a team who also need the points, albeit for contrasting reasons, but it appears that they forgot all about the previous meeting back in October. Bookmaker Ratings were unconvinced that Leeds could arrest their worrying slide out of the play-offs prior to the Burton game, particularly with Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham all hitting good form, and they may, sadly, be proved right.

Fans travelled in their numbers to the Pirelli Stadium in the hope that Leeds had learnt the lessons from the Wolves game and have the fire in their belly to make amends for the hugely disappointing performance. Although there are no official figures for the away following, it is unlikely that anyone felt optimistic after a lacklustre first half in which Leeds only looked a threat from set pieces and failed to find any rhythm in their passing game. Aside from pressing Burton and having a goal questionably chalked off in the 11th minute for perceived impeding on Stephen Bywater as Kyle Bartley headed in Pontus Jansson’s directed header across the box, it was flat.

It felt like a moment of magic or a mistake was the only thing that would decide the game in either team’s favour, and while Leeds began to play in the second half, a costly error in the 75th minute led to a crazy period in which the players lost all concentration and focus. Marvin Sordell capitalised after the ball was carelessly given away mid-way in Leeds’ half, and it took just two minutes for Burton to double their lead as Michael Kightly raced onto a through ball to finish past Rob Green. Bartley did eventually get himself on the scoresheet in the 80th minute, but despite Kemar Roofe having a shot cleared off the line and Hadi Sacko failing to squeeze the ball home right near the line, Leeds paid the ultimate price for starting slowly and making the one mistake that let Burton in.

Losing the game 2-1 is disappointing enough, but doing so against a team that wanted it more is just criminal, particularly at this stage of the season. It appears that the campaign is simply fizzling out towards a sad conclusion that sees Leeds miss out on the play-offs, and with destiny now out of our hands, that feeling is stronger than ever. Anyone who feels brave enough to back Monk’s men to still finish in the top six should check out the free bets bookmakers listed on Bookmaker Ratings, but given how deflated and disappointed the players were at the full time whistle against Burton, it will take considerable character to lift themselves off the ground and get the results needed against Norwich and Wigan.

Unfortunately for Leeds, even if they do pick up six points in the coming fortnight, it will still not be enough if Fulham, Sheffield Wednesday and Reading all do what Monk’s men have failed to do – hold on to what they have got.