Sunday, January 03, 2010

Leeds United v My Blood Pressure

Back in the land before time, say, England in the early 70's, I moved to Leeds and immediately started supporting the local footy team, Leeds United. They weren't a popular team back then and nothing has changed today. Leeds United regularly tops the league of "Most Hated Team In British Football" and it's easy to see why.

Jealousy. Yes, that's it. Jealousy.

Well what else could it be ? I mean after a few years of on and off field problems that would've sunk most teams, we're currently in the 3rd tier of English football, regularly play teams where you need a GPS device to find their grounds (like Yeovil and Huddersfield) and so you'd think that we're hardly in the news enough these days to top ANY league table.

But obviously we do. We're still called Dirty Leeds just because people have called us that for decades and football fans rarely have enough brain power to make up new insults. Sounded good in 1978 so why change it now. And so it's "Dirty Leeds, Dirty Leeds" they chant.

But we're 5th in the Fair Play League (points given for yellow and red cards) and are one of only 3 teams who haven't had a player sent off this season. Dirty Leeds ? I hardly think so.

The irony is that the people who class us as dirty, probably haven't seen us play in decades but it's a chant that we're going to be stuck with forever. Even back in the days when the description had some validity, plenty of other teams were just as bad. It was just that Leeds played a superior style of football back then and so.....jealousy.

Anyway I followed my team through thick and thin times, fat and lean times and my body shape went the same way. There were plenty of good times and lots of bad times and I stuck with them through them all.

Then I retired (at 49 mind you) and as this coincided with those off field shenanigans I mentioned and with the young talented team being sold off for peanuts to lower the wage bill of a financially collapsing club, I had a hard decision to make. The cost of going to games would take a large chunk out of my much reduced income and I wanted to spend 6 months in America every year.

And so it was that I stopped going to games. Ever since then I've tried to at least listen to every match and with the progress made in streaming audio and video recently, I manage to listen to live commentary and even see a few games each season via the internet.

Following Leeds United over the years has never been good for my blood pressure and although we've been a winning machine this season, there have been too many last minute winning goals for my liking. Or my cardiologists liking.

Today was no different. Although we're having a brilliant season and top League One by 8 points with a game in hand, we were the total underdogs when we went to Old Trafford to play one of the top teams in Europe in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. No one, including plenty of realistic Leeds fans, gave us a chance. We just hoped we'd not be humiliated. After all our last game was against Stockport and the next one would be against Wycombe !! GPS time for both.

But as they always tell us, football is a funny old game. Yes they threw the kitchen sink at us at times. Yes we had goalmouth scares. Yes we had to endure 5 minutes of Fergie time. Yes my blood pressure and nerves took a battering. But........

We went to the "Theatre Of Dreams" and by winning 1-0, we gave Manchester United a nightmare and Fergie another reason to think about retiring. Even those friends of mine who normally prefer watching the Serbian version of Big Brother to watching a football game got swept up in it all and watched. Daphne even blogged about it.

Yes the good times could be just around the corner, if you take a couple of years to turn it. We're on the way back to where we belong. Can my blood pressure stand it ?

Watch out Premiership teams. Dirty Leeds (and their fans) are heading your way and it would be nice if you watched the current team and stopped calling them dirty. New team, new manager, new start ?

But although it may be a funny old game, some things in football will never change.


Katie said...

I finished nights this morning, blissfully unaware of any impending FA cup tie. I was woken up by Liam screaming. I ran into the lounge in a panicked haze to find him watching A BLOODY FOOTBALL MATCH! I was awake then. Sat awake on the end of the sofa, not really watching the match, but Liams reaction to it. Priceless. In all fairness it was a gripping match, and there were some truly heart stopping moments towards the end!

Daphne said...

As for "dirty Leeds" - well even my untrained eye saw Man Utd doing a few things that aren't in the rule book, such as holding onto a Leeds player's shirt so he couldn't move! It was a really exciting match - I've never been anti-football, just never watched it because I don't know the rules and thought this would stop me enjoying it - - but I loved it!

rhymeswithplague said...

I have actually heard of High Wycombe. Can't remember, though, whether it is because an Air Force Base was there or an IBM Laboratory.

Football? Did someone say something about football?

The Atlanta Falcons played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday. That's the only kind of football I know. Soccer and rugby don't count over here. Not as football. I know, it's the ugly American syndrome coming to the fore.

Dylan said...

I'm more than happy to give it out, so I've got to be a man and take it when it's due. Congratulations to Leeds, and to you, Ian. And yes, that sound you hear is the unmistakable tones of me choking on my own words.


Silverback said...

Hang about, Daffy. I know you're a woman an' all but you can't have it both ways. How do you know that pulling a players shirt isn't in the rule book if you then say you don't know the rules. It COULD be there !
In a special MANU section.

Dylan, your words have choked me up. Much appreciated. now could you just say them once again please.......

Bob, as you may know, I support The Falcons, seeing as Atlanta was the first major city I visited in America way back in 1989. I also support their Zoo, Stone Mountain and, via my pocket, Coca Cola !

Katie, as I said on FB, I'm glad too that you weren't working last night as I can't imagine the number of drunken LUFC fans the hospitals had to deal with.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

As Billy Bremner might have said to Norman Hunter "Good heavens Norman old chap that was an absolutely spiffing game of footie. How utterly tiresome that one team has to lose. Fancy a winter warming Pimms before we sponge each other down in the end shower cubicle?"

jay said...

I'm not much into soccer as you know, but it's the same in the American Football leagues. There are teams we still think of as 'dirty' because of the way they played when we first began watching. It does take time to live it down.

Funny, we were saying only last week, 'Why is it we hate the Packers so much?' and not really coming up with a satisfactory answer .. other than that I HATED seeing Brett Favre wave his d*mn finger in the air when he completed a TD pass. LOL! Yes, they used to be seen as 'dirty' players. Not sure it's true anymore.

rhymeswithplague said...

We hate the Packers because they are a bunch of cheeseheads....

Dylan said...

Don't push your luck, eh?

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