English by Birth, Leeds United and Yorkshire by the Grace of God. Happy Yorkshire Day!   –   by Rob Atkinson


“We say what we like and we like what we bloody well say”

Whenever I sit down to count my blessings – something I occasionally feel the need to do in order to show a bit of gratitude for the good things in life – high on the list of those blessings are my Yorkshire birthright and heritage.

Life’s a bit of a lottery at the best of times, let’s face it – and the cold reality is that I was only about thirty miles east of being born into a whole different situation: red rose instead of white, black pudding instead of that glorious Yorkshire pud that gives real meaning to roast beef, pisspoor Boddingtons instead of John Smiths or Tetleys – good Lord, perhaps even Bolton or Blackburn or Manch….. no, I just can’t write that – instead of Leeds United? It’s a horrific thought, and whenever I’m feeling a bit less than chuffed with the way life is treating me, I’ll think on that for a while and reflect: things could have been a hell of a sight worse. 

I’m not normally the type to wear my heart on my sleeve, but I do take a lot of pride in wearing a Leeds United badge pretty well anywhere on my person. It’s a big part of my identity, and anyone who knows me even slightly will be well aware that I love Leeds United, hate Man U – and have a deep and abiding mistrust and suspicion of those troglodytes who live, move and have their being ovver on t’wrong side o’ t’hills – amid the dark satanic mills and Coronation Street hovels of Lancashire.

That’s not to say I don’t have friends who are unfortunate enough to owe their allegiance to the Red Rose – and a nice bunch of lads and lasses they are, too, by some fluke of genetics no doubt. Maybe they all had Yorkshire forebears, that must be it. And, let’s face it, Lancashire is one gene pool that could use a fair bit of purification. But, even given the odd nice guy here and there, there’s just something inherently wrong about Lancashire. It has silly place names that seem to cater to some of the local accent’s tortured vowel sounds – Urmston, Cheadle Hulme, Blackburrrrrn, Burrrrrnleh and the like. And a lot of the less civilised natives make our own cavemen seem like Oxford dons by comparison.

Let’s face it, the best thing about this god-awful place on the wrong side of the hill is the M62 heading East. And if you do venture far enough into its benighted interior to get past the most severely blighted parts, emerging into some sea air in the far West – you get to what passes for their coast and find it’s the wrong bloody way up. Seriously. Take a walk on Blackpool beach (if you must) and, for anyone who spent their childhood summers sensibly, at Brid, Filey or Scarborough, there’s this confusing feeling of heading South when you know you’re facing North, or vice versa. It’s not nice, it’s not normal. It’s just wrong.

It’s strange then, isn’t it, how whoever was responsible for creation so ordered things that God’s Own County should have been placed in such close proximity to the County that Time and Good Taste Forgot – with only a decent amount of high country to separate the two and keep those of us on the right side feeling clean and healthy.

As it is, and thanks to those blessed Pennines, them ovver theer get most of the rain that otherwise might have landed on us, and what wild weather we do get has had most of the impurities removed by its passage over those rugged mountains and through those narrow passes west of Huddersfield.

Lancashire is then, in effect, a sort of oil filter that keeps Yorkshire nice and shiny, while that less fortunate county lives with all of the grime and crud we can do without. As arrangements go, it’s pretty neat.

So, we have a lot to be proud of in the Broad Acres, what with our craggy and varied coastline, our bleak yet thrilling and panoramic moors, our beautiful national parks and our market towns – and of course our Leeds United. And even, I suppose, some of those lesser football clubs that are dotted around the three old Ridings. They’re all Yorkshire so, by definition, they’re all part of the best collection of football clubs anywhere.  And because we have this pride, this sense of identity that goes with being a tyke and having the White Rose for our emblem, we’re not to be blamed for wanting to show off a bit.

We want to say “I’m from Yorkshire”, with a note of defiant pride in our voices. It’s up to the listener to deduce that this is indeed something to be proud of – for a Tyke, all that’s needed is that simple, assertive declaration – I’m From Yorkshire – and our status as superior beings, lavishly endowed with the highest possible rank of birthright, is beyond doubt, requiring no further clarification.

A Proud Yorkshire Lad

A Proud Yorkshire Lad

I’m well aware as I write this that there are many Leeds United fans out there (and this is after all a Leeds United blog) who hail from parts of the country less fortunate and less beautiful than Yorkshire. Some of them even suffer under the iniquity of being Lancastrians themselves, with their love of Leeds United separating them from their less enlightened brethren. There’s little I can do for such unfortunates but sympathise – and remind those people that, as Leeds fans, they can at least claim some association with the Best County of Them All.

The partner of a late and much-missed friend and colleague of mine hails from California – but she fell for my mate’s West Yorkshire accent and voice, and now she wears his old Leeds United shirt, giving full rein to that Yorkshire part of her that’s survived the passing of her man.  All of which says a lot about her, and about the late John, who was a terrific and mega-talented bloke. But it says a lot about Yorkshire too, and what the place can mean even to someone with roots thousands of miles away, once they’ve been here, breathed the Yorkshire air and been bewitched by the unique atmosphere and beauty of the place. That’s why it’s such a popular tourist destination – and that’s why we lucky Tykes are so incredibly proud of the White Rose.

If you’re Yorkshire, as I am proud to be – just embrace your Yorkshireness, wear your pride like the badge of honour it most assuredly is.  And if you’re not – well, what the hell. Join in anyway. Have a look at the I’m From Yorkshire Facebook Group and see if you don’t wish you belonged to God’s Own County, the Broad Acres.  Not everyone, sadly, can be that blessed – but for those who wish it, well – by gum, there’s always a warm welcome into the ranks of Honorary Tykes.

Think on now – after being a Leeds United fan, being even an honorary Yorkshire person is the second best blessing life can bestow!  

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43 responses to “English by Birth, Leeds United and Yorkshire by the Grace of God. Happy Yorkshire Day!   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. Thank you for your kind words, Rob. Couldn’t have put it better myself!

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  2. Classy article Rob, you know my email address!

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  3. As the great Cecil Rhodes once wrote:
    “to be born a Yorkshireman is to win first prize in the lottery of life!”
    (well, that’s what he meant anyway 🙂

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  4. A nice blog Rob and you forgot the full English breakfast in the mornings for those who are visitors at Leeds. I have been a traveler in Leeds for numerous times in my life and must say; the whole county, not just the city, is worthy to visit. I have because I am interested of people and their life in some part.

    I have never had any bad experiences at Yorkshire quite the contrary it is really nice place to visit on holiday if you have some spare time.

    Tare

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  5. Well that’s 2 minutes of my life lost. Anyway,Zigic is playing today. God help Tom Lees and Jason Pearce.

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  6. sniffersshorts

    therefore by the grace of god go I….. I am not from Yorkshire, but my heart is ….. so unlike John Bradford don’t burn me at the stake….. as I am a true believer Amen, Leeds through and through and give no quarter.

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  7. Rob, you have a way with words that has me laughing out loud whenever I read your Blogs! I’m a fellow Yorkist and live my roots (as the bayobab tree does, on the outside) for the world to see, my world (sadly) is full of Yamyams and Villans, and the lesser spotted Blue Nose, (so rare these days, especially in their own back yard?) fortunately they are very wary of me (dare I say in awe?) I, unlike most of them in this plastic City (2nd City? of course second to every other place!) I walk with my chest out and my head up, as my Yorkshire dad taught me! I say what I like, and I like what I bloody well say? If they don’t agree, well it’s down to them not understanding!!

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  8. Counte Of Monte Fisto

    Great Rob but please exclude South Yorkshire from this eulogy it’s so crap it didn’t even have it’s own Riding.
    Horrible place, horrible people, hideous football clubs, like Lancashire but with a bigger chip.

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    • You may well be right – it’s just that I was flown with patriotic fervour at the time 🙂

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      • Counte Of Monte Fisto

        What do you think of Cellino so far?
        It’s gone very quiet recently, do you think he has been doing work in the background or just recharging his batteries before a big summer?

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      • I think he’s the kind of guy where you need to watch out for eruptions when he goes quiet – a bit like Mount Vesuvius.

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    • oldcomrade

      yeh ok, Mr Count, maybe some parts of south yorks are tips, but the same goes with west yorks, east yorks and north yorks . horrible people ?? no worse than anywhere else in my experience. and you are showing a lack of respect to the many south yorks dyed in the wool Leeds fans, who like me pledged there support to this great football club many years ago.

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  9. Has anyone noticed that Andy Hinchcliffe has got an arse for a nose? That could be dodgy whilst presenting his passport in certain countries where mooning is a serious crime.

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  10. Ian Finlay

    Yorkshireman born and bred,strong in arm ,thick in head,an old saying,at least iam one of those, god bless Yorkshiredom,

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  11. joe wicklow

    not aword of football or leeds but another great blog i live in west wickow and can picture what you write so well

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  12. Ian Finlay

    Hi, rob,rumours flying about, that Benito carbone, is in line for McDermotts job ,

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    • So I’ve seen – first it was the Academy job, now the Daily Fail are saying it’s the hot seat itself. Massive jump from Italian Serie D to Leeds United – will believe it when I see it.

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  13. I’ve orderd mine

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  14. Hello again Rob,
    Nice article what’s wrong with Bolton though. The next time we play at the reebok give me a bell and I will introduce you to some fine Lancashire beers and the town is full of top restaurants and we have some fantastic countryside on our doorstep.while I agree about t weather and used to get an excellent pint of tettly in t nelson at holbeck pre match its not all that grim over ear& t lasses are better looking also.
    Look forward to seeing you next season
    Mot

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    • Hi Andy – It was slightly tongue in cheek, mate. I know that there are some good things about Lancashire – I had a fling with a lass from Bury many years ago, and she was nice! Then there’s always the M62 back to civilisation… MOT and cheers!

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    • You’ll have a hard job meeting anyone at the “reebok” next season. It’ll be the “macron” stadium or the “acron” after 6 months, if you get a lot of that lancashire rain should the lettering be anything like their shirts.

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      • Hi Mick
        Didn’t call it macron because I thought people wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about.
        About t weather I seem to remember it being glorious sunshine back in September for the game.
        Same invite to you as Rob you are more than welcome to visit Horwich town centre there are about a dozen pubs all in walking distance of each other some lads turned up this season and enjoyed a warm welcome in all t pubs they went to, more leeds than Bolton. Forgot to mention j smiths is available to t uneducated!!lol
        Mot

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  15. If you want to know how it feels to be a Yorkshireman watch Countryfile on BBC I-Player

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  16. Clearly you are suffering from hallucinations.
    The red Rose of Lancashire stands true and proud, protecting all that travel from the weird talking group, the land of the white tulip.
    If the best to come out of Yorkshire is Leeds United then God really does need to help em all. Lol

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    • Always nice to hear a few gibberings from the other end of the evolutionary scale, even if they make no sense. Good luck with fire and the wheel, guys.

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  17. LOL, Great crack- i’m like a kid in a sweet shop whilst proudly holding a new toy. Sincerley. You’re a proud lot and rightly so but you can’t pick and choose- did I read because South Yorkshire wasn’t a riding it’s reputation in gods own country is tainted somewhat? lol And what about our cousins from the River Tees? lol lo lol. They’re Yorkshiremen as well are they not? we don’t want them. I’m loving the crack it’s much better than the Newcastle Sunderland shite as that argument was won fuckin centuries ago, lol lol lol Brilliant- I’m in tears here.

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  18. Great article. As a Pole I’m jealous of you English because you have great regional identity which we lack due to dreadful history in 20 century. WWII leaved as with dramatic population exchanges and drastic shift of borders. Today only Silesians, Kashubians or Górale (Highlanders) preserved high sense of regionalism, the rest is a mixture of Poles from many regions as well as from the Eastern Poland lost after WWII from which part of my family originates as well. MOT from Poland.

    p.s I’m not from England nor from Yorkshire but have at least proper surname because Biały means White 😛

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    • When I think of Poland, I think of the national pride and bravery shown by Polish airmen in the RAF during the Battle of Britain and the rest of the conflict. MOT to you too, sir – and what a fantastic name!

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  19. Leeds4alongtime

    Although I am a southerner by birth (not my fault) I have (by the grace of God!) been a Leeds supporter for around 50 years now and once Leeds, always Leeds!

    A great post, and brings home all I feel about Yorkshire, I may not have been born there, but I certainly intend to end up there and (someday) even die there.

    I have worked there, many times, I visited Elland Road many times over the years, I have a real affinity with Leeds that many of you (lucky) locals probably won’t understand, I too appreciate what Bridlington, and even Scarborough have that we don’t see down this end of the country.

    By misfortune I live in Milton Keynes (I was here before it was even though of, let alone built) and my son is offerring to take me to the MK v Leeds game for my birthda, that would be something….

    Great Post Rob, especially on the back of todays result…..

    Leeds4alongtime

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  20. Happy Yorkshire day rob ,,
    Chris woods was class today ,

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  21. Philip of Spain.

    Reminds me of a game against Bunla early seventies,late sixties and one supporter from the dark side was chelping on and on,when a Yorkie wag stood up and said ” Trouble with all you lot is your all Roooled by The Mooooon!!! .Memories,great piece Rob,again.

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  22. There are three types of people in this world, People from Yorkshire, People who wish they were from Yorkshire People with no ambition at all

    Like

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