Welcome Home, Jonny: Howson Deserves Leeds Ovation   –   by Rob Atkinson

Leeds and he knows he is: local boy Jonny

Tonight sees the first return to Elland Road of prodigal son Jonny Howson, now of Norwich City. Roll out the red carpet, sound the welcoming herald and kill the fatted calf for, lo, he that was lost is returned to us, albeit temporarily – and under an enemy banner. 

Actually, we might have to amend these tributes, but only slightly. After all, we’ve lost a lot of prodigals over the past few years at Leeds United and, if we hang out the bunting every time one of them shows up back at the old homestead, it’ll be a bit of a strain on that emaciated post-Living-the-Dream budget. The red carpet’s a bit tatty from that time Uncle Ken used it to protect the tiles when he was having CCTV installed in the bogs. And we’re fresh out of fatted calves. We did have a fatted goalkeeper, but sadly he was cast out into the wilderness (transferred to Ipswich Town).

So it might be a case of “modified rapture” when Jonny comes marching home – especially if he forgets his manners and scores the winner – but, nevertheless, this blog would like to think there’ll be a warm LS11 welcome in store for our former hero. By your deeds shall ye be judged – and Mr. Howson did manage a few notable deeds during the time he graced the iconic White shirt. 

Chief among these examples of unforgettable derring-do is, of course, the Howson Howitzer that broke the resistance of Bristol Rovers‘ embattled XI as the ten men of Leeds laid siege to their goal in an attempt to get out of a promotion-threatening emergency. 0-1 down and needing the win to climb out of third-tier purgatory, Leeds were becoming desperate when Jonny, our steely-eyed and über-cool marksman, fastened on to a ball laid back to him outside the box and simply lashed it into the Kop End net. The sonic boom of joy and relief fair sent the terrified Rovers into panicky disorder; they were softened up for the kill which Jermaine duly delivered – and we were up. 

Then, of course, there was that laser-accurate long pass at the Theatre of Hollow Myths for that same Jermaine to roll the ball in at the Beckford End and send the Pride of Devon, tantrums and all, spinning out of the FA Cup. And there was his late and massively timely strike at Carlisle to secure us one of our doomed Wembley play-off occasions. For a young, local lad, Jonny Howson made a mark on Leeds United history of almost Batty-esque proportions – and there can be little higher praise for a born and bred White than that ever so slightly exaggerated accolade. 

So, tonight – at last – Jonny is back at his spiritual home Elland Road. It’s a place printed into his DNA and somewhere I’m convinced – if we ever rid ourselves of fools, incompetents and charlatans – he will one day return to stay. The manner of his leaving does not weigh against the lad; in football, once “your” club has shown willing to lose you, there’s little point hanging around. Like a good pro, he went off to distinguish himself in a Premier League midfield; he went where the ambition and desire was, and away from the decay and complacency which pervaded – still pervades – Leeds United. Who can seriously blame him for that?

In the context of the 21st Century, Jonny Howson is a United Legend – not least for the moments recalled above, among many others. But he’s a legend too because, while he was with us, he epitomised what the spirit of United could and should be about. A Leeds heart beat proudly under that Leeds badge and it showed – in his general play and in his delightful knack of popping up when most needed, to strike decisively and turn the game Leeds’ way. 

One of my favourite memories of Jonny was a game at Scunthorpe when he struck what I still think of as the best example of the “perfect hat-trick” I’ve ever seen. A clean strike with either foot for two of the goals; the other a brilliant header. It meant little in the grand scheme of things, but it was a Leeds United youth product saying boldly: here I am, in the shirt I love, and this is what I can do. Sadly, Leeds didn’t appreciate what they had and, along with several other diamonds, Jonny left to glitter elsewhere. 

I hope he gets his due from the Elland Road crowd tonight. Under his pro’s facade, Howson will still care about what’s happening at Leeds – he’ll still hurt at what’s happening to Leeds. It won’t distract him in the slightest from his job this evening – but deep down, Jonny is still Leeds – and he knows he is. 

With our cheers and applause tonight for a departed hero – let’s show him that we know it too. 

26 responses to “Welcome Home, Jonny: Howson Deserves Leeds Ovation   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. Pattaya White

    Nice article as usual Rob . But calling him a Legend ?? I hope that was tongue in cheek . Good player and pro don’t make you a legend at Leeds , far too many more deserving in front of him mate . I like him and wish he was back in the fold , a good reception would be a fitting return for one of our own . Same for Bradley Johnson , who has surprised me and most at LUFC by being a consistent and reliable part of the Carrot Crunchers midfield both in the Prem and Championship . I never saw that one coming .
    Keep up the great blogs mate , I love reading them .


  2. Sylvia Wilkinson

    Totally agree,there is no way Johnny Howson wanted to leave the club,both he and Bradley Johnson have played well since leaving Leeds.I believe Ben Parker publicly said that Johnny didn’t want to go – they had better leave the current youngsters where they are,I think there would be a riot: Is Umbers Ken Bates in disguise?


    • milano whites

      Lets get on the pitch, lets get on the pitch, we’re Leeds United so lets get on the pitch. Better than a boycott muckers and others have done it quite recently. Last game v Rotters!


  3. Let’s give them a good stuffing, then at the end of the match give him and Johnson a nice ,,time to go wave.


  4. I have heard Simon Grayson say since that Howson had to be forced out of the door. I think he deserves a good ovation from the leeds fans. I wouldn’t have been so sure about Bradley Johnson had he played.


  5. wetherby white

    he was a good un’ and one of a barrow load of players sold by the loathsome Bates and his fat little side kick Harvey. It still burns me that we will never get to know why Bates/Harvey sold all the star players, spent all the cash (and incurred more debt) on vanity building projects and DELIBEARTLY prevented Grayson and others any chance of getting Leeds back to the promised land.
    One day….


  6. Philip of Spain.

    Rubbish,give him hell,he’s just a Norwich player.Never mind born within site of Elland Road.The crowd should treat him as an opposition player,not talking of singleing him out personally,but please don’t encourage him.He’s too good a player.Norwich pay his wages,toughen up,that’s why we are in the mess.Too soft.


  7. milano whites

    Always a good read Rob and do believe that JH would be back asap if we got our shit sorted. Might be tricky to get past their keeper today cos I hear he’s got webbed hands. Leeds 3 Bog People 1…MOT/YRA


  8. milano whites

    Heyup lads…what’s your take on the accounts. Is the Hatter just loaning money to himself for interest, which would cost a lot if/when he bails, or has he genuinely invested. The kit saga is a bit of a joke re payments and the right colours. I know we haven’t always played in these colours as WUMS on other sites have so helpfully pointed out, but in my life we are Leeds and always play in white at home and should have the yellow, not canary, away. Colours of the city but some have suggested that they would accept scummy Red if it got us promoted. Not me lads. Also, that gold strip bugs me but the blue away looks good and still has some yellow and white on it. That disgusting day/glo shite we wore a while back should be burnt.. what do you think…MOT/YRA


  9. Rob,
    I support and enjoyed your latest missive……I have always said Bates + co have a lot to answer for although he did state clearly his intent to destroy our club, and to my mind like his predecessor came incredibly close
    I ‘m of the same mind as you if we could get back some of those lost
    (Milner,Lennon,Carson,Rose….etc) what a team including the two I’ve not mentioned M.O.T tonite as you said 3-1?


  10. milano whites

    See some tit is slagging off lads fer speeling mistakes on’t YEp…shiiite or wot…c’mon Leeds


  11. milano whites

    Did Howson just try to con a penalty! Bog person missed but if he did……


  12. milano whites

    Heyup lads…Johny’s home…hope he didn,t celebrate too much…MOT/YRA


  13. milano whites

    Dirty, dirty boggies…three yellow cards and counting…bite their legs Leeds but if we did we would probably be called racist…MOT/YRA


  14. milano whites

    Nuff said..got to hold on to the youth…MOT/YRA


  15. milano whites

    Heyup lads according to the BBC we only lost 1/0.

    Norwich remain just a point behind Championship leaders Bournemouth courtesy of a victory at Leeds.
    Jonny Howson scored the only goal of the game against his former club with a neat finish from inside the box.

    Not so bad after all then…catch yous later…MOT/YRA


  16. Big respect to howson


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