Leeds Fanatic? Get Involved With the Life in the Leeds United Universe – by Rob Atkinson


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This blog has been going over a year now, but only since last September has it benefited from the wider exposure that the NewsNow aggregator affords. This has seen reading figures go through the roof, and the blog has also gained an inspiring following of committed Leeds fans who are ready, willing and able to contribute their own views on the full range of topics inspired by our club, as well as various other aspects of the game.  It’s a thriving blog, I’m glad to say – and I hope it will continue to grow.  What is needed is continuing and increased involvement from the people who read it.  From you – and for a very good reason.

There are a variety of ways in which a variety of people can get involved and help this site.  The reason I’m putting this out there now is that I need more time to devote to a book I’m writing about the seventeen years between my first match as a Leeds fan in April 1975, and the last old-style Football League game I saw at Elland Road in 1992, just prior to the inception of the Premier League and the start of Murdoch’s domination of English football.  So Leeds were reigning champions in that first game I saw, as they were again when Norwich visited Elland Road to bring down the curtain on the Football League Championship competition as we’d always known it in the last game of 1991-92.  In between were years of decline, stagnation and, eventually, recovery – to take us back to the top.

This period encompassed the second division years of 1982 – 1990, a largely neglected period that I wish to chronicle – because I believe there are thousands of fans out there who fondly remember that time, and some of the characters who passed before our eyes as we travelled the country from Plymouth to Carlisle by way of Shrewsbury, Millwall (Old Den) and sundry other delightful spots.  I think it’s a book that will evoke great memories of the time between two Champion teams and I’m enjoying working on it – when I can.

What I really need are contributions of various sorts – so if there’s any of the following ways that you can help, then please do so if it’s not too much trouble.  Basically, I need memories, commissions and cash.  That cash thing is obviously a sticking point when times are hard and friends are few; but if a good many people donate very little – even a quid – then it all goes towards affording me the time to work on this and other projects.  So if you’ve ever enjoyed reading an article on this blog, perhaps you would be kind enough to click the PayPal button and contribute – just a little will help.  Those who can afford to be a bit more generous – a fiver or more – will be remembered when complimentary copies of the book are distributed, whether they are e-books or the genuine paper type that grows on trees.  As those of you who have already donated know, I always email to say thank-you – and those who have given five pounds or more in the past are already – for what it’s worth – firmly on that complimentary copy list.

Any financial contribution will help me devote more time to the book, but commissions of various sorts would also help me work from home for a greater proportion of my time, and therefore enable me to spend more time on researching and writing my Leeds United project.  So, if you’re involved with any concern which needs a freelance writer who can write to a specification – then please consider me, perhaps drop me a line via the Contact page of this blog.  If you’ve read my stuff, you know what I can and can’t do – I’m happy to be judged on that basis.

Equally, for the executives and company owners out there – if you would consider advertising on this blog, I’d be very happy to hear from you.  I average in excess of 100,000 views per month and it’s growing all the time. Any way in which I can attract some investment in the blog will spare me more time  to continue with the groundwork and writing of this book. Incidentally, you may have noticed that I consistently fail to refer to the book by a title – for the very good reason that it hasn’t got one yet.  Any suggestions??  The idea I have is of a long fallow period between two peaks of success, so anything on those lines could be considered, or if you want to be more imaginative – go ahead.  Again, the person who comes up with the best suggestion will be remembered and will benefit – if they consider a free copy beneficial.

For those who read this and feel that I’m selling my soul for personal gain – it’s really not like that at all.  I have this project gnawing away at me and it’s got to come out.  Don’t forget, any help is to be given entirely of your own free will – anyone who is offended by the very idea of an appeal for help should simply turn away from it.  On the other hand, anybody of massive wealth who is inclined to be extremely generous should feel absolutely entitled to do just that.  I’m not going to be an inverted snob about this, and if there’s a benefactor out there, he or she is enormously welcome!

Fans’ own input is also going to be invaluable.  There must be so many fantastic memories out there that just pass to and fro across the bar-room table – it would be wonderful to have some of those to supplement the material I already have to hand.  My own time supporting Leeds is something I can draw on, but I’d be immensely grateful for the memories of those who wish to contribute their own anecdotes.  Anything between the start of the 1974-75 season and the end of 1991-92 (including the following season’s Charity Shield match) would be great.  I’m especially interested in the thinly-documented years of the second division eighties – the Eddie Gray/Billy Bremner era.  But equally, the brief near-glory of the Armfield/Adamson years, with that Jock Stein 44 days in between, are times I would love to cover in more detail, with illustrative anecdotes – there was even that short spell in the UEFA Cup that hardly anyone remembers these days.  So please – cudgel your grey cells, and get those reminiscences sent in.  Credit will be given as appropriate.

Please help, if you can – whether it’s a monetary contribution, an offer of work, an advertising or sponsorship proposal or – last but not least – your recollections of following Leeds between 1974 and 1992.  I know there are a lot of fanatics out there, real Leeds United nutters, people who love our club every bit as much as I do, and more.  We’ve all known the pain and joy of being Leeds fans, we’re all part of a common experience.  I want to reflect that in every word I write as part of what will, I trust, be a work that makes it clear what it is to be a fan of the greatest club in the world.  I know there are thousands out there who share that belief, that knowledge. Many will be going through hard times, and all I will ask of you is your good wishes, and perhaps a story or two.  And equally I know that some of you have a fair bit of clout in one direction or another – so if you’re minded to, and able – please consider helping with this undertaking in any way that you possibly can.  After all – we’re all Leeds, aren’t we?

Thank you – and MOT.

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22 responses to “Leeds Fanatic? Get Involved With the Life in the Leeds United Universe – by Rob Atkinson

  1. This is very spooky, by sheer coincidence i was just clearing some drawers and came across a match report of my very first visit to Elland Rd on 29th March 75,it was a 1-1 draw with Newcastle and my boyhood hero Sniffer got our goal. The report said that he’d saved our blushes after a week in wich we’d suffered an FA cup ko v ipswich. Funnily enough i also found David Stewarts autograph on a bit of scrap paper,thats when footballers could be bothered. I still haven’t got my photo of Ross McCormack signed and returned for my little lad.

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    • You predate me by precisely one week then Mick. Mine was Liverpool on 5th April 75. We lost 0-2. I’ve always remembered the date – so when it turned out we had a home game on the 30th anniversary, I shelled out for myself, my wife, my daughter and her mate, and went to see us play Warnock’s Blunts on April 5th 2005. We lost 0-4. There’s either something about that date, or I’m a Jonah…

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  2. ACTOOOR !!!!!

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  3. They were the Leeds dark ages! Good luck!

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  4. Football wise they were pretty dark days, but it was those days that cemented my feeling that Leeds fans were the best in the country , we were teenage lads during the late 70’s and we would follow Leeds by hook or by crook , we’d often thumb a lift to off the beaten track places like ipswich , ( if you’ve ever tried to thumb a lift to ipswich you’ll know what I mean) , one year I set off on Friday tea time and I only got as far as norwich by kick off time , that night I slept , dejected , on norwich train station, I finally made my way home by Sunday tea time ,

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    • That’s a tragic tale, Mr O. Did we win, to take away the sting??

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      • Mr orange

        If memory serves me right it was a 1-1 draw rob ,
        Good luck with the book , I shall be getting a copy once published, I will also be making a donation to the cause , and if I had the nouse to write a book I would title it , life , love and sleeping rough with Leeds united lol

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      • Top man Mr O, many thanks – I shall be emailing you. I like that title – there may be something there I can adapt!

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  5. Counte Of Monte Fisto

    Just checked the date & it was 15th March 1975 home to Everton. I was only 5 & can’t remember much about it but that was my first game.

    I started going to every home game in 1981 & have been largely underwhelmed for most of the seasons since, with some mamoth exceptions!.

    The 1980’s were crazy but in some ways awesome (perhaps its like that when you are a teenager). Perfect storm and all that

    Best season ever, thats easy, the promotion season, I only missed 2 games all season home/away inc ZDSC pompy (work), Sunlan (we didn’t get enough tickets). Me & all of my mates had the Vinny V haricuts done at rossi’s near the makret place (dodgiest barbers ever)

    I still have all of the newspaper cuttings of that season from pre season to post bournemouth.

    Good luck with the book, lets hope next season we have something to talk about other than memories

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  6. I don’t think you’re a jonah,if you look at the amount of games we had during that period you’ll see why we were struggling to win. We DID beat barcelona 2-1 on the 9th April though, but it looks like you know who at the football league had been up to his tricks again. When he wasn’t causing offence to black people and foreigners with his crass racist remarks,he was making life as difficult as possible for Leeds United. So glad the football league is now staffed by men of honour and integrity these days.

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    • That Barcelona game was my second, Mick – so King Billy scored my first-ever Leeds goal and thankfully it’s burned on my brain to this day. I couldn’t have wished for a more fitting hero to give me that first taste of Eland Road mayhem as we celebrated taking the lead against Cruyff’s men. Fantastic.

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  7. Aye,50,000 for that game and Sniffer got the other goal. My lad like all kids is Barcelona daft and finds it hard to believe we beat them. I remember Gordon Mcqueen getting sent off in the return leg for kicking the wrong balls. I couldn’t even defend that challenge and i’m totally blinkered where Leeds are concerned.

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    • Of course we should have beaten them comparatively recently, in 2000 – if that bastard ref hadn’t played about 20 minutes injury time, on the night Paul Robinson became a hero. McQueen paid the price by missing the final, about which I can hardly write even today, without grinding my teeth to powder.

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      • Well it didn’t help that we were playing against a bent ref in the final who seemed to be one of the in-laws of their captain,coincidentally the same captain who helped his country to cheat their way to another major cup win the previous year.

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  8. How old am I ? it’s just a number Rob .

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  9. low as in not very bright, or low as in pointless (the programme) ? you saying I’m pointless rob ? you are aren’t you ? why are you being so beastly to me ? Please don’t put me in that dark room again

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