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Ridsdale and I Part 15 - The Flying Fan and Hammering the Hammers
Tuesday, 16th Nov 2021 10:16 by Mark Monk

Resuming the tale of my early years following Leeds United, as the 1989/90 promotion season continues with some mixed results.

To this day, it remains a mystery who the flying fan is/was. The date was March 10th 1990, the venue The Manor Ground, Oxford. I would argue this was the moment that defined the season and got the promotion push back on track after four games without a win. Leeds had trailed Oxford 2-0 at half-time, but Lee Chapman and Imre Varadi equalised and then, on 75 minutes Chris Fairclough rose to nod us in front and behind the goal, a lad in typically "baggy" attire of the era cartwheeled in the air down the terrace.

I wish I could claim to be him but I'm not that agile and wasn't even back then, sadly I was not even there, but think Swansea 2019/20 when Pablo turned in that beautiful winner. Chapman added a fourth and when Leeds won a penalty, naturally he wanted his hat-trick and stepped up and missed earning the wrath of Howard Wilkinson for his profligacy.

Our next home game on 17th March was against one of Chapman's future clubs, West Ham and 32,316 packed into Elland Road. I had to pay a bit more for my ticket that day because the "complimentary" was for the seats in the South Stand upper. I was sat near this heavily tattooed guy who spent the entire 90 minutes verbally abusing the Londoners and I'd doubt he saw much of a cracking game, played in a white hot atmosphere. Leeds winning 3-2.

I remember the final whistle and after the cheers, en-masse the entire South Stand bounced: "E-i-e-i-e-i-o up the Football League we go..." it was an amazing, hair on the back of the neck moment.

I couldn't go to Sunderland the following week, as their colourful chairman (well we thought he was a bit of a twat) Bob Murray held a grudge about the 1700 or so tickets Leeds gave his side back in the Autumn, so he followed suit and gave us the same and appealed in the local press for the Mackem public to turn out en-masse, no doubt invoking the spirit of Stokoe, nauseating black cats and Jim the Octopus Montgomery.

But barely 16000 of the great North-East supporters could be arsed to turn out and a Mel Sterland winner no doubt boosted the profits of the Vaux brewery as they drowned their sorrows.

I didn't go to the Portsmouth home game as I lost my bloody wallet on the morning of the game. The season-ticket fiasco all over again! We won 2-0 as well to go 10 points clear of Sheffield United at the top, but they had two games in hand on us.

March ended with a 1-0 defeat at Wolves and there were more twists to come as April beckoned.

If you can’t wait for the next episode to appear on toellandback, you can sneak a peek at my blog by clicking on this link.

Photo: Action Images

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