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21 Nov 2014 11:01am, by Shields53

Seventeen games into the 2014-15 Football League Championship season and Leeds United have not yet found the form we need if we want to challenge for the play-off places. After two permanent managers have fallen by the wayside and a run of eight league matches without a win Leeds find themselves is fifteenth in the table but hopefully now Neil Redfearn is kicking off a comeback.

There is nothing quite like a good comeback to raise the excitement levels, in true Leeds United style, last-minute surprises are distinguishing trait of this team. Let’s take a look back at five legendary matches played by the Whites in the past twenty years that shocked fans with some of the amazing and most unexpected goals and comebacks in the club’s history.

Lee Bowyer (90”, vs Derby County, 8th November 1997)

Kicking off our list of shocking goals is the remarkable encounter between Leeds United and Derby County more than a decade ago. More than 33,000 fans stood gathered in the stands as they watched on the Whites turn around completely what looked like a hopeless situation.

Thirty-three minutes into the game, the home side were trailing behind the visitors 3-0 and some Leeds fans were already making their way for the stadium exits. However, those who stuck with their team through those dark minutes were treated to one of the most amazing comebacks in the clubs history.

Just moments before the end of the first half, Leeds starting dominating the game and reduced the goal deficit to just one. In the second half, Hasselbaink gave Leeds the equaliser they were all hoping for and when both teams looked like there were going to settle for a point each, Lee Bowyer smashed the ball home and gave Leeds the win.

Final score: Leeds United 4 - 3 Derby County

Liam Miller (86”, vs Southampton, 19th November 2005)

In another historic match for the Whites and a repeat of the events that took place in 1997 against Derby County, Leeds found themselves 3-0 down at half-time. The atmosphere was a glum one for fans so far, but when the players re-emerged from the dressing room for the second half they looked like a completely different team.

The reinvigorated Leeds went on to thrash Southampton, much to the disbelief of their coach Harry Redknapp, who used up all his substitutions trying to field fresh legs on the field to keep up with the Whites. Within minutes, Leeds were neck and neck with their opponents and as the game was drawing to a close, Liam Miller put Leeds in front with a powerful strike that sealed the deal.

Final score: Southampton 3 - 4 Leeds United

Jermaine Beckford (19”, vs Manchester United, 3rd January 2010)

Perhaps Jermaine Beckford’s greatest contribution to his club is the famous upset he staged against their bitterest rivals. The Whites were still recovering from an embarrassing 1-1 draw to Kettering in their previous match, and the thought of Manchester United inflicted more aggravation on the team was unbearable.

However, when it came to facing each other at Old Trafford, both teams displayed great confidence. Leeds United had a League One promotion on the cards, but on paper the Red Devils appeared to be the superior team.

After a few testy exchanges during the opening minutes, any doubt about Leeds’ performance were laid to rest after Beckford slotted the goal following a Howson long ball in his direction.

The stadium erupted in cheers on the Leeds’ side and although the next 70 minutes yielded no more goals scored (and none conceded) by Leeds, the Whites proved themselves on the pitch with an incredible performance against their rivals that fans still sing about today. It was also a shock for the bookies, having to fork out for the keen Leeds fans who had taken a punt online.

Final score: Manchester United 0 - 1 Leeds United

Mark Viduka (74”, vs Liverpool, 4th November 2000)

Mark Viduka frustrated many Leeds fans, he was hit and miss, often criticised for not turning up in games. At Elland Road on the 4th November 2000 against Liverpool he was at his brilliant best though.

Leeds found themselves two nil down after 18 minutes and defender Jonathan Woodgate had left the field due to injury. Leeds soon struck back though as Viduka struck on 24 minutes before levelling the scores just after half time.

Liverpool had not finished yet though and Vladimir Smicer put the Scousers back in front on the hour mark. Viduka had not finished yet though. On 73 minutes Dacourt slid the ball through to the oncoming Viduka who swivelled to lose his two defenders and slot the ball past Westerveld to level the scores gain.

Just a minute later Dacourt again played Viduka through, the Liverpool defenders hands went up for offside but the flag stayed down and Viduka calmly chipped the keeper to seal an amazing comeback.

Final score: Leeds United 4 - 3 Liverpool

Tony Yeboah (51”, vs Liverpool, 21st August 1995)

Yes, that goal! The one that thundered past David James and had Dom Matteo looking on in disbelief. Not a comeback but one of the most famous goals in Leeds United history, held up there with Clarke against Arsenal and Gray against Burnley.

Yeboah had got his season off to a flying start but this is the goal that will define his spell at Leeds. In the fifty first minute, Yeboah smashed in a devastating volley of such velocity that it was just a blur to the watching audience and even more of a blur to the poor Liverpool keeper. Yeboah was known for the special and the spectacular but goal caught the eye of the footballing world and is still commented on as one of the best goals ever nearly twenty years on.

The thing is, I’m not sure this was even his best goal. The goal just over a month to the day later at Selhurst Park against Wimbledon was possibly better but it’s the first that always takes the plaudits.

Final score: Leeds United 1 - 0 Liverpool

Leeds fans have been taken on an emotional rollercoaster ride throughout the club’s history. It would appear that odds cannot quite capture the surprise factor that the team is known for, but those fans who stuck with their club through thick and thin a wager on the games listed above must have left them all with plenty of extra cash to celebrate a win!

Over to you – what do you think of the goals listed above? Any others that you feel were worthy of mention?

20 Nov 2014 10:21am, by Shields53

As a life-long Leeds United fan and an award-winning playwright, Adam Hughes has finally managed to bring together his two biggest passions, football and theatre, with his new play Marching On Together.

It's Leeds, it's the height of the football season in 1984, and it’s carnage. West Yorkshire miners are on strike and football hooliganism is rife, with bitter battles being fought on both the picket line and the touchline. Macca, ex-leader of the notorious Service Crew, is released from prison into a divided Leeds that he hardly recognises. With Macca’s infamous crew now disbanded, a younger generation of hooligans have taken up his violent mantle defending the mighty Whites, leaving the former general on the side-lines without an army. Abandoned by the only group who respected and supported him, Macca is no longer just fighting for Leeds. He’s fighting for his own survival.

Despite only being Adam’s second play, it was the only UK finalist in this year’s Burbage New Writing Prize (out of more than 400 entries) and will be performed for a month at the renowned Old Red Lion Theatre in London. The play is set over the 1984/85 football season- a season which saw the highest number of hooligan related arrests and ended tragically with a Leeds fan getting crushed to death in Birmingham as well as the Valley Parade fire. Although the play centres around football hooliganism, it is also set against the backdrop of the miners strike and explores what it meant to belong to this particular footballing culture.

‘I’ve noticed how many football hooligans in the early 80’s were branded as mere thugs, particularly by the government. They were seen as ‘the enemy within’, a quote used by Margaret Thatcher to describe the miners on strike. Interestingly, in the Yorkshire region, many men used football hooliganism as a form of escapism from the strikes. It was a place where they felt they belonged- a place where they had some form of identity. This is what the terraces provide for Macca, the play’s central character. Released from prison, he can’t believe how much his town has changed and so falling back into the world of hooliganism seems to be the only option for him’.

Following its London run, the play will come up to Leeds where it will form the basis of a unique theatre project. Not only will performances take place in bespoke venues such as working men’s clubs, community halls and locations used in the play but these will be for specific audiences such as ex-miners, former hooligans and schools.

‘What excites me the most about this project is the new audiences we can bring to the theatre. When you think of people who used to be part of the Service Crew or those who used to strike, then theatre is the last thing that probably springs to mind. But this play is about them and it’s vital that they get to see it and hear what I believe is an extremely important story told for the first time’.

Alongside the performance, there will also be post-show Q and A sessions held to discuss the themes of the play and what impact these had on its audiences. The play will also tour local schools to alert them to this significant time in the region and the difficulties many faced in a world where jobs were scarce and optimism scarcer.

Adam is now looking for support to help fund the project and bring it to Leeds. He has launched a Kickstarter campaign and is hoping that the strong Leeds United support from across the globe will help raise the funds required.

‘Essentially this is a non-profit project and it is actually being produced by a charity theatre company. We simply need the funds in order to bring the show to Leeds and ensure that those with the closest connection to the story get to experience it first hand.’

If you wish to donate, please visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/13 ... n-together
If you want to know more about Adam and his work, please visit http://www.adhughes.co.uk

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