"McQueen, Jordan et al...."
Monday, 24th Jun 2013 23:21
You have to feel sorry for the poor old YEP, transfer activity at LS11 has been so insignificant this summer today (Monday) they were reduced to reminiscing about Gordon McQueen's defection from Elland Road to Old Trafford some 35 years ago! We thought we would go one better, Infact 10 better and come up with a team who played for both us and them!
1- Phil Hughes.
Phil was a Northern Ireland youth international goalkeeper on the Old Trafford books, who by 1983 clearly got fed-up wondering how the f*** Gary Bailey was keeping him out the team, so he headed east down the M62 to make all of 6 appearances for us in two years before the arrival of Mervyn Day forced him to move to Bury on a free. After spells at Wigan, Rochdale and Scarborough a knee injury meant Phil called it a day at 26 and became a Policeman. He returned to football as a goalkeeping coach, he returned to Leeds working with Scott Carson and his last appointment was at Bolton as part of Owen Coyle's back room staff.
2- Denis Irwin
After 72 league appearances for us, the young Irish youngster was culled by Billy Bremner in '86 and joined Joe Royle's talented bunch of misfits (which included a posse of former Leeds players who were deemed unfit to wear the shirt) before a £625,000 move took him to Old Trafford. Playing mainly at left-back, he ended his career with Wolves in 2004. If it is any consolation, my Leeds supporting mates who are *ahem* a little older than me did not rate him that highly.
3- Michael Gray.
Funnily enough Gray started life as an Old Trafford apprentice before becoming a stalwart with his native Sunderland. He had a couple of spells here on loan under Kevin Blackwell and thankfully had long-shed his cheesy Michael Bolton mullet before donning our precious white shirt. Now sounds just as awful as Bolton on the radio as a match co-summariser.
4- John Giles
Yes I know I should put him in at number 10 but I was fortunate enough to acquire a copy of his autobiography "Football Man" which is worth the cover price alone to see the pictures of him signing for Leeds under the watchful eye of Don, Sir Matt Busby and Jimmy Murphy. Then another shot shows him walking away for the Stretford End with Don putting a guiding arm around him. A steal and in 1963 not a gold plated Cadillac in sight nor a cigar chomping agent lisping "Monster Monster bubblah...."
5- Gordon McQueen
Speaking to older Leeds fans, I think the thing which rankles most is that McQueen said of his February 1978 transfer that "99% of Footballers want to play for Manchester United and the rest are liars". McQueen has since cited lack of ambition and a desire to win trophies as the driving force in his decision to switch allegiance which I'm sure will offer a crumb of comfort as he looks back at his solitary FA Cup winners medal (1983) having been kept out of the 1985 final by a pissed-up Irishman with dodgy knees (Paul McGrath). Was it lack of ambition that forced him into punching that Barcelona player in the gob in the 75 European Cup final that forced him to miss what would have been the biggest game of his life?
6- Rio Ferdinand
After what seemed like a aeon, Leeds coughed up £18m to land the talented, young West Ham centre back in November 2000. 18 months later, he was wowing the world with his sterling displays in an Engand shirt at the 2002 World Cup and any throb of pride at seeing the now Leeds skipper excel on the international stage was dissipated by growing daily rumours that he was bound for Ferguson's Evil Empire. A mercy dash to Japan by populist chairman Peter Ridsdale and even the appointment of one of his own kind in Terry Venables as O'Leary's replacement could not sway Rio into staying put. The £30m fee disappeared into the Elland Road overdraft and bar the odd laugh at his resemblence to a duck and missing a drugs test, it has not been a pretty sight.
Considered past-it by Ferguson at 32, welcomed with open arms by the Leeds faithful who marvelled at his abilities for five years. Spearheaded our Division Two Championship, then captained us to the big one two years later under the noses of his ex employers, strangely a management/coaching role at the club never materialised and was forced to slum it at Coventry, Southampton, Celtic and Boro. Bizarrely the only Scot I know of other than George Galloway who is teetotal and celebrated our 1992 title triumph having a cup of tea at the home of Sir Leslie Silver. He also famously expressed his disgust at bring given a crate of ale for his man-of-the-match debut against Portsmouth in 1989 (I'm sure John Sheridan would have willingly took it off his hands!)
8- Eric Cantona
Sadly the only person inside Elland Road who could not see what a fantastic player Cantona was was a certain Howard Wilkinson, who sold him for less than half what he would pay for Carlton Palmer a year or so later?
"Who is kissing the badge now?" Was the regular question during the early part of 2004/05 when our Smudger was banging them in for them. As far as Smith is concerned, I think I have more liberal views than most when I have some sympathy for the predicament the lad was in. Leeds needed the money desperately, hard-cash and only they were willing and able to cough up £6.5m. Never seemed close to coming back but given his appalling strike rate in front of goal, would we have wanted him back home?
10- Danny Pugh
Makeweight in the deal that took Smith to Old Trafford. Had the very rare, odd, stand-out moment in his first spell. Grayson's decision to spaff his entire January 2012 transfer budget to re-sign him after a hardly inspiring loan-spell surely helped cost the Leeds manager his job? Considered surplus to requirements by Warnock, Pugh was given the ultimate punishment in old big gob/noses eyes and sent on loan to Sheffield Wednesday. Still has a year to run on his contract and given his hacking down of Jem Karacan in the Reading v Leeds game on Good Friday last year under the watchful eye of then Reading boss Brian McDermott, his future prospects at Leeds look rather bleak.
11- Lee Sharpe
Halesowen born Lee became famous for his haircuts. He carved out a niche career on "Celebrity Love Island" and had TV presenter Jayne Middlemiss smitten, but he turned his attentions to the lovely Abi Titmuss who he dated for a while after the show. He has also appeared on "Gladiators", "Celebrity Wrestling", "Dancing on Ice" and can also boast of appearances on "Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway" and 'Hider in the House" on the CBBC channel. Once upon a time he was actually a footballer who Leeds paid an astonishing £4.5m for.
Photo: Action Images
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