When Birthday Boy Jasper’s Winner Gave Leeds Hope of Staying Up – by Rob Atkinson


Jasper: Happy Birthday

On the occasion of former United stalwart Kevin Hird‘s 59th birthday, there’s an opportunity not to be missed – to look back on a memorable win over this evening’s opponents Brighton & Hove Albion.  This victory gave Leeds some short-lived hope of avoiding relegation from the First Division, way back in 1982.  This was a match notable also for the ferocious atmosphere generated by a relatively small crowd of 19,831.  The attendances at Elland Road had dwindled to little more than the hard-core of true fanatics in what would turn out to be a disastrous season – but on days like this, the reduced numbers bizarrely added to the volume and intensity of support; serving only to magnify the pandemonium and chaos when we scored and won.

So it was that one of the best atmospheres ever at Elland Road was reserved for the club’s last top-flight home match for over eight years, as relegation was just a few days away for Allan Clarke‘s men, ending a First Division stint that went back to 1963.  But for those few days, it seemed that escape from the drop was possible, as goals from Gary Hamson – a spectacular thirty-yarder – and Kevin “Jasper” Hird, so nicknamed for his uncanny resemblance to Brummie comic Jasper Carrott, saw United come from behind to defeat Brighton.  Elland Road rocked, with a noisy mixture of hope and relief.  The hope was in vain as it turned out, but this match, this nail-biting comeback, was a fitting swan-song for Leeds who, when they eventually came back, showed that they meant business under Wilko. Watch below as an era ends.

7 responses to “When Birthday Boy Jasper’s Winner Gave Leeds Hope of Staying Up – by Rob Atkinson

  1. That was a terrible year,my Uncle died as did Captain Mainwaring,we got relegated and The Jam split up. I remember Kevin Hird,he was quick. I feel all depressed now. I’m hoping a member of an olympic curling team fails a doping test. How funny would that be?


  2. Jasper was always a joke figure amongst most Leeds fans and I remember that the Leeds fans would often gasp, curse and boo, whenever he was named in the Leeds team by the P.A. announcer, before each game at Elland Road.
    Hird would often go on mazy runs and end up losing the ball or blast the ball wide or over the bar.
    In some of the Second Division games that he played for Leeds, Hird would often be the only Leeds player to take long range shots during a game and I always thought that he tried to do his best, even though everybody else thought he was rubbish.


  3. This season was the first season me and 4 mates could afford season tickets ,,. We went over in closed season and we were allowed into elland road to sit in a assortment of seats around the ground to decide where we wanted to sit, we decided on the top section of the south stand ,, (can you imagine the current crop of suits affording you such a curtisy these days ? ) , anyway , for reasons stated this season is always special to me , even though we were relegated , Kevin hird was a cult hero , he used to make these jinking runs , beat 3 or 4 players then fall over his own feet , but not on this occasion , we really thought he’d kept us up that day , a few days later we all went to west brom and as we all know it ended in tears , ( and a broken fence) lol … Great memories Rob


    • Jasper WAS a cult hero – there were a few around this time. George McCluskey, for instance – or George McClumsy as some called him. He was quite a hero of mine, I recall going apeshit when he scored in a win at Grimsby and screaming in the face of some poor little guy who’d been slagging him off up to that point. I suppose the original “unpopular” player was Terry Yorath, another I really admired!


      • Mr orange

        Bloody hell , George and terry , sounds like a 70’s sitcom or an episode of rainbow now , but yeah you’re right Rob , these players were no messi or ronaldo but they wore the badge with pride and commitment and that’s what endered them to the faithful and made them cult hero’s , take note Mr varney !!!


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