Leeds’ Master Blaster Tony Yeboah – Which Scorcher Was His Best?

Tony "Master Blaster" Yeboah

Tony “Master Blaster” Yeboah

Mention the name Tony Yeboah to any Leeds fan – in fact to any football fan with a memory long enough to stretch way back to the mid-nineties, and you can bet that a faraway look will come into their eyes, and they’ll say “Ah, yes – that incredible goal against Liverpool.  Goal of the season, that.”  It’d be difficult to find anyone to argue the point.  But as a fanatical Leeds United fan who has a very special place in his Hero File for Anthony Yeboah, I’m going to try.

The Liverpool goal certainly was a brilliant technical piece of finishing; volleys from outside the box against a class goalkeeper invariably have to be.  At Leeds over the years, we’ve been lucky enough to see a fair few of these bazookas, and Yeboah’s late effort against the Anfield men stands comparison with any of them.  The fact of the goal being at the Kop End of Elland Road was of some assistance to the spectacle, but any way you look at it, this was a hell of a strike.  It wasn’t the first goal of this type in front of the Leeds Kop and against the Reds though.  A few years before, Gary MacAllister, a future Anfield hero, scored another fizzer, the ball being played to him in mid air from the left; he let it go across his body before wrapping his right foot round it to thunderous effect, the ball scorching into the net before the ‘keeper (the same David James beaten by Yeboah) could even move.

Yeboah’s strike though was probably marginally better.  It came from a headed knock-down forcing the Ghanaian to adjust his body shape slightly as the ball descended towards him, and he caught it so sweetly and with such ferocity that James was probably slightly lucky he didn’t get a hand to it; broken wrists have been known in similar situations.  It was a violent, arcing shot, the ball dipping slightly in its trajectory and just clipping the underside of the crossbar before bouncing down to rest, relieved, in the back of the net.  David James can perhaps count himself unlucky to have been beaten by two of the finest volleys I’ve ever seen at Elland Road, then again he might reflect they’d probably have beaten any two keepers on Earth.

The thing is though – tie me up and burn me for a heretic, but I don’t think Yeboah’s howitzer against Liverpool that balmy August night was his best goal for Leeds.  In my humble opinion, that came a few weeks later at Selhurst Park, temporary home of Wimbledon FC, when the phenomenal Yerbugger struck an even more vicious blow.  Reliable witnesses, standing close by as the man from Ghana hit his shot, swore blind that they actually heard the ball squeal in pain.   I am supported in citing this strike as Tony’s best by Guardian writer Dominic Fifield who, writing in 2011, saw it as his favourite Premier League goal.  He described it thus:

“Watching the ball cannon up from a series of scrappy headers and attempted clearances clearly tested the Ghanaian’s patience. Yeboah snapped on to the loose ball, controlled it on his chest then instep, exploded away from an opponent and lashed a glorious half-volley in off the underside of the bar from distance. It is the ferocity which is most impressive; a blistering effort.”

Sadly, I only saw this goal on television, though I’d planned to attend the match at Selhurst as I was due to be in London that weekend.  Four days previously though, I’d seen a pallid performance against Notts County in a 0-0 League Cup draw – and I just thought, well sod it, I’m not wasting my London time and money watching that sort of crap.  So I was exploring the delights of Selfridges when Yeboah broke Sky TV’s velocity-measuring equipment, and serve me right for a lapse of faith.  At least my wife found it funny, but I was understandably not amused.  Leeds won 4-2 as well, with Yeboah completing a hat-trick, and Carlton Palmer scoring a goal that might well have been Goal of the Month any other day, but which paled into insignificance next to the awesome might of Yeboah.

There are several YouTube videos devoted to paying tribute to Tony’s goals in his too-brief stay at Elland Road, and I’d heartily recommend a search, they’re well worth watching over and over.  I’d be interested to know what others think – I suspect that most will feel his effort against Liverpool was the best; it was a late winner after all, and scored in front of a packed Kop.  I should think this really, because I was actually there, stood right behind the line of the shot as it ripped past the startled James.  But I just can’t help harking back to what I think was an even greater goal, albeit in humbler surroundings.  How I wish that I’d been there for that one.  Tony Yeboah: thanks for the memories – and a belated Happy 48th Birthday from last Friday.

24 responses to “Leeds’ Master Blaster Tony Yeboah – Which Scorcher Was His Best?

  1. My favorite too Rob and I was lucky enough to be there with my two young sons and they are two of Leeds greatest fans now . So happy they witnessed this great goal . But Selhurst Park a nightmare to get too and away from , but worth the effort that day .


  2. Got to be the Wimbledon goal for me as I was lucky enough to be there.but if I was at ER for the Liverpool goal then that would be the one for me the Kop going crazy nothing like it MOT


  3. best ever volleyed goal was Peter Lorimer Man City 1971 = headed it over the defender and then hit it acctoss goal as the ball come down. The glory days.


    • Not sure I’ve seen that one, John. My favourite “Lash” volley was one I saw on TV – we were playing in RED (!) – and Lorimer belted it in on the full from a narrow angle. There is also the tragic memory of his goal that never was in the horribly bent European Cup Final of 1975


  4. Yes absolutely the Wimbledon one for me, possibly the best premiership goal of all time in my opinion. Certainly my favourite!


  5. Whiterhino

    Watched the “screamer” go in surrounded by Liverpool fans in a bar in Ibiza – a night I shall never forget!
    My favourite Yeboah goal tough, has to be the one around Christmas against Scum, brilliant from Tony and the systematic destruction of scum at ER. Priceless!


  6. David Smith

    Rob – I remember one of my work mates, who I believe had satellite TV or at least a good knowledge of European football, mentioning to me that if Leeds managed to sign both Yeboah and Faustino Asprilla (who we were apparently rumoured to be interested in at the same time)…….Leeds could well be in with a chance to win the Premiership! One early quote that I distinctly remember was from Ray Wilkins who was managing QPR when Yeboah made his first substitute appearance late on in a 4 -0 thrashing of the Hoops!
    Wilkins mentioned that as Yeboah was warming up, he was astonished at the size of Yeboah’s thighs, one of which on its own, was wider than Wilkins’ waist !
    For me it has to be the Liverpool goal – I still have the original video recording of the match, which must be threadbare as I played it over and over again for weeks after the match !


  7. Rod Wallace vs spurs when he ran past 4 men then buried it in the top corner best I’ve seen live.

    Yeboah vs Liverpool was right up there too though.


  8. the goal at selhurst park I was sat , of all places in the hospitality suite at Leeds rd huddersfield , it was a free works doo to watch rugby , I have no idea who was playing rob because me and a work mate and fellow Leeds fan sat in the bar drinking free beer and watching football,, me and said fellow then ran around the suite going mad cos tony had ‘done it again’, but my favorite is against Liverpool, simply because it silenced a lot of plastic scouse’s in our town and still great to play back to the Mrs who as I’ve mentioned before is one of the above mentioned plastic micky’s


  9. Went to Selhurst twice, both times late despite the fuzz telling us the kick off had been delayed. I’ve always thought Yeboahs goal v Wimbledon was the best, it was brutal & beautiful at the same time!


  10. I’ll say the liverpool goal as well just because i was there. I still cant believe it went in. Anyone remember his second from his hattrick against monaco? The way that curved in was pure beauty, an absolute missile


  11. I was sat in the Kop, 3 rows up, behind the goal, when Yeboah scored that goal against Liverpool and it was a truly fantastic goal on what was a boiling hot August night.
    I also think that Yeboah’s goal against Wimbledon was actually better, due to his brilliant control of the ball, before he struck the ball.
    What a great player, who was sadly never the same after his injury.


    • We were lucky to have had him for the time we did. Not an ordinary player at all. That Liverpool goal, when you see the replay of it from behind Yeboah, with the ball hurtling towards the goal, you can see ONE guy on the Kop who obviously knew it was in from the instant Tony hit it. He’s up on his own, arms raised, a good second before anyone else. Don’t know why, but I love that.


  12. Got to say, Yeboah is the best striker I have seen playing for Leeds. As thunderous as Lorimer, as precise as Clarke, as quick as Beckford and as tough as Becchio. All kinds of goals, he could do the lot.
    My personal favourite was away at West Ham, the opening day of the season and, I think, the game before the Liverpool goal. We were one down at half time; he equalised with a cracking header from Gary Kelly’s cross, then hit a far post volley from another GK cross that would have broken the ‘keepers wrist for sure, if hadn’t had the sense to stay out of the way!
    Gary Mac said once, that he was so good at 1 on 1’s ( the mark of a true striker in my opinion) that when he saw Yeboah put through, he just turned to jog back for the restart – a goal was inevitable.
    What a player.


    • I well remember that West Ham game, Rex! I was right behind the goal, and I’ve never been so glad that they put strong nets on those goal frames. It was just as you say, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ball struck quite as fiercely – possibly Hasselbaink’s effort in a 1-2 defeat at Highbury. As you say – what a player.


  13. Just watched that West Ham goal again on U-Tube. The build up was actually nothing like I remember, but the strike was even better. A real net-buster.


  14. RoystonLUFC

    I was on the Isle of Man for the GP that August, my bike was still cooling down when I dragged my football-hating cockney (cockney in this instance is not a euphemism for Scum fan – he really is a cockney!) friend into a bar in Douglas. The bar was selling beer at the reduced price of £1 per pint, to be increased by 25p as each goal was scored. I’ve never been so happy to see the price of a pint of Okells rise at such an extraordinary inflationary rate; even my football-hating friend was ecstatic at Yeboah’s brilliance.

    And I think that has the edge for me: the fact that some sullen, miserable, football-hating “biking individual” could swallow his puerile biker folklore pride for a second and admit that that was a scorcher of a goal! That, plus I was surrounded by scousers and I jumped like a dervish in front of them for a full ten minutes – then repeated the performance when they showed the replay.

    So I suppose I’m basing my judgement on context, rather than objectivity; but that’s the magical, mystical irrationality of football for you.

    Sadly I was at White Hart Lane a while later when Yeboah threw his shirt to the floor because Wliko subbed him. That really soured my attitude towards him. I don’t think he played for us again after that. From that point on he seemed to be more the focus of the tax man rather the ER faithful. How the mighty fall!

    I’d just like to add that I might be able to support the England team this world cup, given the paucity of Scum players in the side. I’m even starting to look forward to it!


  15. Great piece again Rob. And how apposite that you have bought this up as I have said for years that the Wombles goal edged the Scouse goal that season. Nice to find some agreement. MOT


  16. Good shout about that one guy standing up way before everyone else Rob, I notice that everytime i watch that particular replay. He never wavers in his confidence either. I clearly remember thinking it was going to bounce out for a split second when it happened and that the whole thing seemed to happen in slow motion.


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