Cover Your Goolies, Lads! Lash Lorimer is Back on the Ball – by Rob Atkinson


90 miles an hour

90 miles an hour

One of the most distressing things about being a Leeds United fan over the past decade or so has been to witness former heroes not exactly covering themselves in glory as, one after another, they’ve been wheeled out by local and national media to give their opinions or reactions to the ups and downs of the roller-coaster Elland Road soap opera. Even erstwhile midfield maestro Johnny Giles was at it recently, venturing into print to savage the man many see as Leeds United’s saviour, Massimo Cellino.

But perhaps the biggest let-down was the apparent disintegration of the legend that was Peter Lorimer as he seemed to be reduced from his godlike status as Mr Ninety Miles per Hour into a yes man for the then chairman and despot Ken Bates. However angry the fans got over Bates and his loathsome little tricks, Lorimer always seemed to be there, trying to pour oil on troubled waters, seeking to portray Bates as a positive factor around LS11. We weren’t fooled, and Lorimer’s pedestal crumbled into dust as he was perceived more and more as Papa Smurf’s creature.

And yet today, we have had the clearest sign to date that maybe Lash is back to something like his old form, blasting howitzer-like missiles at our enemies rather than attempting to persuade folk of Ken’s essential cuddliness. Lorimer’s article in Thursday’s Yorkshire Evening Post showed an appreciation of the fears so many Leeds fans feel at this latest crass decision by the Football League buffoons against il Presidente Cellino. The piece is full of good sense and, in a very welcome return to the old-style Leeds United siege complex, Lorimer also reflects on the historical fact that the League have taken every opportunity over the past half-century to berate, impede and generally get in the way of the Elland Road club. Peter certainly doesn’t pull his punches whatever the target, and more than one rocket shot is directed at the very vitals of those bastions of the Press who seem to have it in for the Whites.

Lorimer makes it clear that he has no time for any part of the Fourth Estate with its knife into Leeds. “For many years now,” says Lash, “I’ve refused to buy certain newspapers because in my opinion, they push an anti-Leeds agenda. They seem to take great joy for having a go at us. I’m not naming names but I think they know who they are.” I think we all do, Lash.

The former Leeds hero is clear in his own mind that Big Mass will not be taking the League’s machinations lying down. “Knowing what I do about the man, I expect Massimo to fight this move. I don’t see him walking away – not least because whatever happens, he’s allowed to regain control of the club in March. I think it’s safe to say that he’s finding out that Leeds aren’t the most popular club in the world (away from their own supporters, of course) and he must be pretty bemused by the negative attention we get.” This is classic stuff, the sort of opinionated stance you might expect from any committed Leeds fan, but all the more punchy and effective coming as it does from one of Revie’s Super Leeds Supermen. It’s the sort of thing, this blog would venture to suggest, that might well see an old hero’s reputation and status restored to him, and not before time. Lorimer is speaking for many, many United fans in this latest article; at long last he appears to be on the right side of the argument.

The Evening Post piece ends with our former Number 7 striking an ominous note for United. Reflecting on the decades-long struggle and war of attrition between Leeds and the game’s authorities, he concludes: “It was like this when I was a player and it never seems to change – when the opportunity to stick the boot in comes, there’s always someone waiting to take it. This time it’s the Football League’s turn.”

That’s a forbidding final phrase. But Lorimer may just have struck the first blow on behalf of our old heroes towards fighting back against those in the corridors of power who so devoutly wish to “stick the boot in”. The importance of a legend saying what the fanbase is thinking can hardly be over-stated. People listen; the fans feel vindicated; resistance and protest could thus be galvanised. A protest is planned for January 6th between 10 am and 12 noon outside the Football League offices in Preston. Several hundred Leeds fans are already promising to attend, Lancashire police are aware and media interest is growing. Who’s to say there won’t be a banner advertising the metaphorical shooting prowess of Peter “Lash” Lorimer at such an event?

After all, if the Cannonball Man himself really is back onside, then his could be a powerful voice raised against the pallid mandarins of the League who seem so arrogantly convinced of their own case, in defiance of all evidence to the contrary. Maybe it really is the Football League’s turn now; to suffer as Leeds United have suffered for a half a century. Cellino can be counted upon to put up firm resistance in his own style, the fans can be counted upon to stand behind him in numbers. Maybe now, at last, we can also rely upon the old guard, the old Leeds United heroes – and Peter Lorimer might just have lit the blue touchpaper on that particular rocket. It could with undeniable justice be aimed right up the self-satisfied backsides of those clueless gentlemen of the League.

Are you listening, Johnny Giles?

NB: Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything would like to make it clear to female readers and lady supporters of Leeds United everywhere that this article does not imply either disrespect or disregard for the proportion of the Leeds fanbase who lack the physical attribute of goolies. Goolies in this context should be taken in an entirely symbolic sense; please be assured that this blogger is 100% respectful of the women in the Leeds United family – and he certainly does not wish to get on your tits.

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25 responses to “Cover Your Goolies, Lads! Lash Lorimer is Back on the Ball – by Rob Atkinson

  1. That’s brill Rob now what will the league twits do now is the 20 Million question MOT….

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  2. Excellent post, Rob… especially the postscript.

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  3. Sorry Rob, I disagree. Mr Lorimer is just grabbing on to the nearest flag of convenience and sucking up to the latest owner.

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    • I think he really cares. And he wasn’t the only Great to cower under the Bates regime. It was pretty uncomfortable listening to Eddie defending the Smurf against angry callers to Bates FM sometimes.

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  4. It really is time to rally round and support Cellino
    I hope that the idiots at the FL realise what they are taking on.
    Shaun Harvey is a disgrace.I just hope he gets what he deserves.Maybe a few months in Armley? plenty of angry Leeds fans in there pal.

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  5. Reality Cheque

    Interesting post Rob, however, I am old enough to remember how the FL paid no attention whatsoever to the voice of Peter Lorimer and his fellow international team mate’s protestations whilst we were enjoying the many successes of the Revie era. Sadly, I do not think Lorimer’s status or voice raises any concerns within FL HQ whatsoever. I am much more confident that Mr Cellino’s legal challenge of their ruling represents a much more credible and serious threat to exposing the gross incompetence, arrogance, hypocrisy and blatant bias of the FL. The FL cannot simply ignore an Italian citizen, his basic rights under Italian Law. A conviction is not a conviction until all 3 stages of the appeal process are complete, so he is presently only accused not convicted. On paper it sounds like even My Cousin Vinnie could win this court battle much to the humiliation of Shaun Harvey and his FL allies. Bring it on Massimo.

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  6. If I had 20 million Rob I would fly the FL board first class for a meeting they could have in a nice tropical climate as a special gift from all LUFC supporters as a Christmas gift. They would have to leave immediately but they will all have passports so it shouldn’t be a problem. Where would I fly them to? The Philippines of course, specifically Leyte Island in the town of Tacloban. There they would feel the wrath of Leeds fans in the form of Super typhoon Hagupit due to arrive in around 48 hours. The board could cool down when the storm surge arrived as I would ensure the meeting would be held close to the sea shore.
    If they don’t fancy Tacloban I have two alternative places they could go, Oras and Sorsogon where Hagupit is also due to hit land first.

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  7. Ropey Wyla

    Great read as always.

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  8. Here you go Rob. An invitation that just begs for you to respond: Please read this disgraceful article on cellino, the many responses from fans and the news papers response below
    http://www.newsnow.co.uk/A/747273169?-11130:816

    The London Economic Sport
    December 4th, 2014 14:42
    TLE is paper that supports opinion without an agenda. If anyone would like to write an article defending Massimo Cellino and/or the seemingly corrupt agenda within the Football League, please email

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  9. Is Harvey based in Preston? I’ll certainly be there, complete with banner and air horn!!

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  10. Glad to both peters statement and the new one from lust (in contrast to their wishy-washy prior statement)

    Both have made it into the national press, on sky, bbc, itv, most papers even the Manchester guardian.

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  11. like you rob I am willing to forgive lash, I think he thought of ken bates as a saviour of the club when he first took over (as did many many other fans) and as we know now ken bates played a game of two halves , peter lorimer is a Leeds united legend and those of us that had the childhood pleasure of singing 90 miles an hour will always think of him as a legend…

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  12. We’ve a similar situation up here in the North East and it’s very uncomfortable to say the least so I can empathize totally. A certain Bob Moncur- the last captain at Newcastle to win silverware way way back in 1969. He writes a column in a local paper- The Evening Chronicle- and has basically been defending Ashley for the last few seasons almost to the point where the reader starts to wonder if in fact they are related. These embarrassing columns show no sign of abating but I am left to wonder what his motivation is- does he want/ is he willing to tarnish his reputation for ever in something he fervently believes in or is he doing it because he is on the pay roll of NUFC and is simply towing the party line because he needs a few quid- heaven knows some great players of the past (and not so dim and distant in the case of David James) have fallen on difficult times- but to sacrifice their status with the clubs fans seems a heavy price to pay- Does Moncur believe what he says, Does Lorrimer? or does it run deeper than this- it’s worth considering.

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    • It does sound the same sort of thing, Grem. Any sign of Moncur redeeming himself? It’s been like a tiny little ray of sunshine in the darkness threatening to envelop us, seeing Lorimer stick his power-packed right boot into those dweebs at the League.

      Incidentally – do I detect a fellow Eye reader??

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  13. Eye reader? I honestly don’t know what one of them is Rob, lol. Moncur is an interesting one- Having read a lot of Leeds lads’ views on ex professionals maybe I will have to change my view of him because there’s no doubt they have a totally different stance to that of the fans- I’m thinking about what was said about Eddie Gray etc. Bob Moncur is an official ambassador for the club so I’m assuming he will be on the payroll- maybe I’m being cynical I don’t know. His views on Ashley are simplistic but maybe that’s because he needs to simplify things in his column to get his broader point across. He is also maybe realistic enough to know what the alternative could be. It’s a difficult one because as fans we want to see ex players get as emotional as us fans about the club but often they take a much more measured approach which can be infuriating at the time. It is unlikely that he will redeem himself whilst he remains an ambassador because Ashley, like any dictator, demands a level of loyalty from all of his zero hours contracted staff but if he were to headline the back page with “Ashley is a lying B****** ” then I would really start to like him once again- fickle us fans arn’t we?

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    • Damn I thought I’d got you sussed as a fellow Private Eye aficionado then 😉 As for your Moncur/Gray analysis, I can only agree totally. I’ve gone on about this before; the pro and ex-pro (with a few notable exceptions) just don’t see the game as fans. They lack our propensity to be one-eyed, irrational bigots with a “my club right or wrong” outlook. Although I have it on good authority that Billy Bremner bucked this trend – then again, King Billy was in a category and a class all of his own.

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  14. Yes you’re not wrong – yous have King Billy and my comparison would be our very own King Kev (who I read went to Don Revies funeral when others didn’t!! so fair play to him for that)- Keegan still does talks on tyneside and is very much anti- Ashley- Keegan proved in court when he was awarded constructive dismissal that Ashley is a lying B******* and Keegan is as emotional as any Newcastle fan about the club so he bucks the trend there- that’s why it would literally break my heart to see Keegan towing any party line cos like Billy we’ve hold them in god like regard. King Kev isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but I would walk through hot coals for him and its reassuring to know that people like him and Billy really are one of our own.
    Just to finish I have a little story about the Revies- My late father used to tell me that either when he was in Cumbria or the Perth area of Scotland (I can’t remember which) he used to deliver Milk to his mam and Dad- he also used to say that the t.v used to pronounce the surname incorrectly?

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    • Keegan spoke well of the Don in one of his autobiographies (so much so that I can forgive his reference to “the Revs”). I’ve always thought of him as an emotional guy too, the classic example of course being that outburst after winning 1-0 at Elland Road when Ferguson has attempted to psyche out his team. The weird thing about that was, there was work going on at the time to improve the dressing rooms ahead of Euro 96, so there were temporary dressing rooms in the West Stand car park. As I walked past, Keegan and McDermott were hanging half out of the high windows, laughing and exchanging banter with fans – not a care in the world. A marked contrast to his demeanour in THAT post-match interview. But I always felt Keegan got a rough deal over that from the media, who contorted themselves into unlikely shapes to paint Ferguson as the winner of a mind-game. Keegan, to me, shone with the honesty of his reaction and emerged with the greater credit. I also remember walking back to the station afterwards with a few Toon fans and exposing to them how and why I was glad their team had won. By the time we arrived, I’d more or less convinced them that I hated the scum more than they hated Newcastle – no mean feat.

      Revie’s name was mispronounced in the media. It’s properly given as “Ree-vee”, but most hacks went for the short “e”. Tossers.

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  15. Yes that’s bringing it back to me- REEV VEE-that’s how the family pronounced it- do us a favour Rob- find out where his parents lived if you can- my late father used to deliver milk to them- I think it ma have been somewhere in Cumbria as that’s where my Dad was evacuated to during the war.

    The Keegan thing- we’ve got to stop agreeing Rob, mind most Newcastle fans would agree with you on that point about the rant- it was totally over reacted to by the media and now we know why!! I thought it was brilliant at the time and our failure to win at Liverpool and then Man yoo at home even though we absolutely battered them first half, were the reasons we lost the title that memorable year, not Fergusons mind games- just media arse licking as you alluded to. Hey at this rate I might even start reading Private Eye!! Maybe not.

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