Who makes your list as Leeds United’s greatest right back?
11 May 2020 06:34 pm, by YorkshireSquare
The regular contributors to our message boards are spending lockdown debating the best Leeds United players for each position, at the moment they are debating right backs. So, who is the greatest?
Jimmy Dunn made over 400 appearances for Leeds between 1947 and 1959 but perhaps is a bit before everyone’s time to make the cut. Paul Reaney was first choice in the great Revie era though has competition from the ‘Rolls Royce’ Paul Madeley who was adept in every position, particularly right back. Mel Sterland held the position for promotion to the top flight and Championship before being replaced by Gary Kelly who made over 500 appearances for Leeds. A staggering achievement in the modern game. Danny Mills took the position from Kelly but does he beat the Irishman in your top five? In modern times Luke Ayling is emerging as a fans favourite, has he done enough to reach the top five or will he have to wait to show what he can do in the Premier League? Here is the top five as voted by our contributors.
5) Danny Mills (1999-2003)
Country: England | DOB: 18/05/1977 | Apps: 141 | Goals: 4
Born Norwich 1977, he initially played for his home town team. After a £4m transfer from Charlton Athletic in 1999, Danny found himself with only 20 appearances in his first season with Leeds, due to the re-emergence of Gary Kelly. He maintained enough form to be chosen at England under 21 level, including the European Championship winning team in Slovakia. An ideal player at Premiership level he had the ability to play any of the back four positions and to push forward in midfield if need be. He regained his first team berth and won over his critics to become an important part of David O'Leary's team. Despite a few on-field indiscretions, he won a place in England's 2002 World Cup team, recovering from an initial poor performance to become a solid performer, as the team reached the quarter finals.
4) Paul Madeley (1962-1980)
Country: England | DOB: 20/09/1944 | Apps: 724 | Goals: 34
The original "Super Sub" and the most versatile player ever to wear the Leeds shirt...and arguably in the whole history of the Football League. In his 724 first team appearances, spread over an incredible 17 year span at Leeds, he scored 34 goals, playing in every position except goal - perhaps hindering his international selection, as he never had a regular first team position at Leeds. Nevertheless, he still earned 24 full England caps. Paul retired from football in 1980 and worked firstly for a sport shop, before opening a decorating supplies shop in Horsforth.
3) Mel Sterland (1989-1993)
Country: England | DOB: 01/10/1961 | Apps: 146 | Goals: 20
Born Sheffield 1961, he joined his home club Wednesday and turned professional in 1979. He played a key role in their 1984 promotion to the top flight. He gained 7 under 21 and a "B" cap before his sole England cap in 1988. He was sold for a club record £800,000 to Glasgow Rangers in 1989 where he won a League Championship medal before rejoining his former Manager Howard Wilkinson at Leeds for £600,000 the same year. Dubbed "Zico" by the fans because of his ability to score spectacular goals, his dynamic runs down the right and booming crosses brought many goals for Lee Chapman as Leeds swept firstly to the Second Division title and later to First Division Championship in the space of three years. Injuries took their toll and he retired in 1994 after 143 starts and 20 goals.
2) Gary Kelly (1991-2007)
Country: Ireland | DOB: 09/07/1974 | Apps: 531 | Goals: 4
Born Drogheda 1974, after signing in 1991 he went from a struggling reserve-team front man to World Cup full-back in 1993-94. He made the right-back position his own with a series of superb displays, his blinding speed and tenacity making him a daunting opponent for any winger. He was ever-present in his first two seasons and presently has the most appearances of any player at the club. Holder of over 50 caps for Eire he is approaching the twilight of a long and distinguished career with United and has, as yet, no silver wear to adorn it. He was selected in the Premiership "team of the year" in 1999-2000. Record to 2004, 405 starts and 15 from the bench with 3 goals.
1) Paul Reaney (1961-1978)
Country: England | DOB: 22/10/1944 | Apps: 745 | Goals: 9
"Speedy" Reaney was one of the first fullbacks to assume an "overlapping wing technique". His pinpoint crossing to the Leeds attack one minute was matched by his ability to pop up and clear off the Leeds goal line the next. One of the few defenders in the world capable of containing the genius that was George Best at his peak, his career was hampered when his leg was broken in a game against W.Ham, in 1970. After recovery, he played a further 8 years for Leeds before moving to Bradford City and then to Australia, where he was voted Player of the Year in 1980. One can't help but speculate that, but for that broken leg, he would have earned more than his paltry 3 England caps.
Who would you have as Leeds United’s greatest ever right back? Join the debate on our message boards.