Goalden Boy Billy Sharp: Bound for Leeds United at Last? – by Rob Atkinson


...and you'd do for Leeds, mate

…and you’d do for Leeds, mate

The article that follows first saw light of day last September, when it seemed possible that Billy Sharp might be a loan-window option for Leeds. Sadly, it didn’t happen – but as the text shows, I was all for it at the time. Now, the Sharp to Leeds rumours are back, and stronger than ever. Could Leeds United finally get their man – the right man to provide the goals we’ll surely need in the season ahead?

Never one to get carried away by mere Twitter rumours, I am nevertheless fairly happy not to say excited at the loan window prospect – however remote – of Leeds United signing Southampton’s Billy Sharp, who spent most of last season on loan at Forest, but who certainly deserves a bigger move than that.

This is one that’s been mentioned in the past, and it’s always seemed like a good fit for all parties concerned, yet it’s never quite happened.  At first glance, Billy does seem an unlikely striker signing for United – he’s only 27 for a start, and we have historically looked to the superannuated end of the market – though things have improved in this respect under Brian McDermott.  And he scores goals.  My, does he score goals.  At Championship level, he’s a pretty reliable provider of that most valuable and sought-after commodity.  Billy Sharp just loves to hit the back of the net.

Any player – and most especially any striker – joining Leeds United needs to have one quality over and above the obviously desirable playing skills, fitness and application.  He needs to be strong-minded, a good character who’s resilient enough to step up to the demands of playing for a very demanding and sometimes unforgiving crowd.  This is a test that’s been failed by some pretty decent-looking performers over the years.  Elland Road has been something of a graveyard for strikers who have arrived with big reputations, but have failed to deliver and have ended up slinking off, beaten and broken men, into anonymous obscurity – or even worse, in the tragic case of Billy Paynter, into the first team at Doncaster Rovers.

Billy Sharp though seems to be a man of different mettle.  It’s impossible to comprehend a more tragic and shattering blow for a parent than the death of a baby.  Sharp, and his girlfriend Jade, suffered this awful calamity in November 2011 and the striker could readily have been excused if he’d felt unable to play professional football in the immediate aftermath of such a shattering bereavement.  Yet a mere two days after the death of his baby son Luey, Sharp played against Middlesborough and scored a brilliant volley, raising his Doncaster shirt to reveal the message “That’s For You, Son” (Pictured above). Thankfully, a more than usually understanding referee decided not to book the emotional Sharp, when normally a yellow card would have been applicable. Such a very courageous and professional response to tragedy speaks of a very strong character indeed, and this would seem to be the type of man that many a club would seek to have among their playing staff, not only for footballing reasons, but for the example of courage in adversity that will be set by such amazing resilience and fortitude.

I don’t know if Sharp will end up in a Leeds United shirt, but I’d love it if he did. He’s demonstrably what people used to call “The Right Stuff”, and his goal-scoring credentials are fully in order too.  I could see him being a massive part of any play-off push this season, and really it’s good to be linked with any player of this character and calibre. Twitter rumours towards the end of last season said he’s “in talks and a deal looks likely”. Well, we know that these stories float about and are often without foundation, but they seem to be surfacing again – and it’s definitely a case of fingers crossed for this one.  It might just be a match made in heaven, and the kind of signing which could see us challenging for a long-overdue return to the top table of English football.

The sticking-point could be wages – Sharp is rumoured to be on £15000 a week at Southampton, and it’s likely that the Saints would be reluctant to subsidise any of this. Often though, doing a deal is all about reaching an agreeable compromise even when one party is initially unwilling to play ball.

So, almost a year on, the Billy Sharp story still refuses to go away. The equation seems simple enough; Leeds need a hit-man, Sharp wants to return to Yorkshire, he’s the right age, the price looks right – could it finally all come together??

Fingers crossed here.

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34 responses to “Goalden Boy Billy Sharp: Bound for Leeds United at Last? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. I think he’d be a quality signing but our problem seems to be creating chances rather than putting them away and especially with 6 forwards in the squad already I think we need a creator from midfield rather than another striker unless of course we can get one of our current forwards out although with Hunt and Smith recently signed and Varney, Poleon and Ross getting regular playing time it would have to be Diouf which would be a shame as he is one of our best creative players when on form

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  2. Jersey Saint

    Great post. Billy is too good not to be playing week in week out – he wears his heart on his sleeve, been a fans favourite wherever he’s played and has repaid that with goals. I actually think he could still do a job with Saints, but just don’t see him getting a sustained run in the team for the forseeable future. Could definitely do a job for you guys, hope this one works out.

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  3. Southampton have said whoever takes him will have to pay all his wages/

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  4. Good article, better than all that “Revie” crap!

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  5. Could free up some wages by sending, Diouf, Varney,Hunt, White, out
    Then get this bloke and play him with Poleon and Smith. Also bring in Mowatt and Dawson…

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  6. What REVIE crap?? Those 2 words just don’t got you moron and give Smith a chance, you can’t judge a lad on a couple of substitute appearances, at least the lads hit the back of the net!

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  7. Tykemaster

    I think Billy Sharp is a quality player and obviously a man of integrity.Perfect character for our team and club.Unfortunately i don,t think a player with his style is the top priority at the moment.We need players who can give us options on our flanks.That,s not to say i wouldn,t be delighted if he came to us of course!!! Do you think it could be possible to take Dom Poleon to one side at TA and with some intensive training teach him how to cross a ball?.His pace,workrate and enthusiasm are not in doubt for me.He,s already scared the #### out of plenty of wing backs he,s faced already in his evolving career.

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  8. He looks like Jake La Motta on that photo. Let’s hope talk of him playing for Leeds is not just raging bull.

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  9. AllWhiteNow

    Let it happen, let it be so – then let Ryan Hall become the winger we need….with Byram back to terrorise the other flank. We can dream…. Good call Rob, lets hope it happens. MOT

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  10. good article rob! strong minded and strong of mettle are what are requiredat LUFC!

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  11. Anonymoose

    We could play a pretty decent 4-3-3 with him, McCormack (in his proper position) and someone else up front. Murphy, Austin and potentially Mowatt could be an interesting midfield and then the standard back 4 improved with the addition of Byram.

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  12. It’ll be interesting to see who we farm out on loan, I’m actually surprised we let the Turner twins go out, I really thought the way they were being hyped for so long that they’d of been in/around ER Ready to fit in alongside Byram & help fill some of these voids at the club, alongside Dawson, Mowatt & young Zac! I think it’s fair to say BMD aka(or very own Baldy of Mass Destruction) has seen the Future! & That Future is the Academy! Along with 1 or 2 additions I think from within the Academy alone in his mind he already sees the nucleus of a Team of the Future!

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  13. Could be the icing on the cake hard first game hope we roll them over will see how brave the hock is will he start with last season team or will he play the new boy from the start ?

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    • David Dean

      Rob this would be great – feel free to post if you want. Amend it or whatever. Lennon isn’t even a Liverpool fan so he won’t care.

      New song for the Revie Stand or the Gelderd End or the Kop (John Lennon from about 1969 Give Peace a Chance)(YouTube it for those who don’t get it)

      Everybody’s talking ’bout
      revolution, evolution, Massimoses, Carbones, Sorenson, Billy Sharp this guy and that guy and buy … buy…and buy, buy….and buy buy……

      ALL WE ARE SAYING ………..IS GIVE HOCK A CHANCE…

      ALL WE ARE SAYING …..IS GIVE HOCK A CHANCE…

      ALL WE ARE SAYING …..IS GIVE HOCK A CHANCE…

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  14. No disrespect to Billy Sharp but we are not bringing in players we need for specific positions. Are we playing the diamond which was a disaster last year as opposed to more orthodox 4-4-2. Still need a LB, CB and one or two wingers. Club has 8 midfielders. We already have enough forwards to fill McCormack’s gap.
    If I am wrong then I would welcome Billy since he will surely become a fan favorite that will piss Morison off. In which case leave him off the return bus from Millwall.

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  15. David Dean

    I trust your judgement. Sounds a good fit and strong comments from Twitter are encouraging. I want them to sign anyone they are interested in – regardless if anything else. Stack ’em high and sell ’em cheap if past sell by date. The new season is always exciting and we always get carried away – this one more than ever. Come in ye whites!

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  16. Rob, it would be a dream signing Leeds. I think that we would then only be a couple of players away the play offs. I think that Cellino will give us a ‘surprise’ quality signing before the window closes. This could be it!

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  17. Well Rob,here’s hoping,could be our best signing thus far, pray the rumours are right. Keeping fingers and toes firmly crossed!

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  18. this is not sour grapes but I rate billy sharpe higher than Ross Mc , the southhampton team had some fantastic players in it last year and the top of the premiership was obviously a step too far for billy , but back in the championship based in yorkshire I think Leeds will have a 20 odd goal a season man and he’ll do that consistantly , being consistant is something Ross Mc has yet to prove and that’s why I rate billy higher..

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  19. alf tupper

    Billy rumored to be getting a free transfer from Soton so the price is right – would love to see him at Leeds

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  20. With the amount of players Southampton are shipping out at the minute, would they let him go? definitely got the right character to come through what has been a truly awful experience. A Bobby Davison type perhaps? will score a lot of goals at this level. you’ve sometimes have to bite the bullet with wages for strikers/ match winners so get him bought before someone else steps in and snaps him up as he’s tried and tested. NUFC.

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    • Couldn’t agree more, Grem. As usual though, we have the standard LUFC fan attention-seeking type pouring cold water over this possibility in various outposts of the internet. “He’ll be a flop”; “He’s crap” etc etc. I sometimes wonder why anyone would bother to sign for Leeds, given some of the overgrown juveniles we have among the support.

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  21. Good post Mr Orange.
    I don’t like to do down players who played for us but I couldn’t see McCoriminthemoney doing it year in year out. Sharp is a proper no 9 and importantly can handle the pressure of playing for a big club.
    Really hope he signs and then laugh at Ross playing for a crowd that will barely trouble the turnstile operator.My only concern is no width again.If only we had Gradel and Snodgrass .

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  22. Aye- we’ve more than our fair share of doom merchants- I can be one myself sometimes to be fair as sometimes its depressing being a toon fan, lol I know what you mean though- some fans tend to pour cold water over everything and most of them havent been to a match in years- these type of people generally hate everything and everyone. I try to take a more balanced view- rare for a geordie lad I appreciate,lol. I’m one of the few up here who even has the odd good word to say about Kenny Dalglish- he signed Gary Speed R.I.P, Shav Given, Nobby Solano, Temuri Ketsbiha but all people up here remember him for is Carl Sarrant, Andy Hamilton and pistone. He got us to second in the league, beat barcelona 3-2 and finished in the top four on a couple of occasions- its just he replaced King Kev so was on a hiding to nothing- but on the other hand he was also bit of a miserable sod who tried to win every game 1-0.!! Now that’s what I call a balanced view. In saying that if Pardew loses the first few games I’ll still want the bastard OUT!! Nufc.

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