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When Birthday Boy Jasper’s Winner Gave Leeds Hope of Staying Up – by Rob Atkinson

Jasper

Jasper: Happy Birthday

On the occasion of former United stalwart Kevin Hird‘s 59th birthday, there’s an opportunity not to be missed – to look back on a memorable win over this evening’s opponents Brighton & Hove Albion.  This victory gave Leeds some short-lived hope of avoiding relegation from the First Division, way back in 1982.  This was a match notable also for the ferocious atmosphere generated by a relatively small crowd of 19,831.  The attendances at Elland Road had dwindled to little more than the hard-core of true fanatics in what would turn out to be a disastrous season – but on days like this, the reduced numbers bizarrely added to the volume and intensity of support; serving only to magnify the pandemonium and chaos when we scored and won.

So it was that one of the best atmospheres ever at Elland Road was reserved for the club’s last top-flight home match for over eight years, as relegation was just a few days away for Allan Clarke‘s men, ending a First Division stint that went back to 1963.  But for those few days, it seemed that escape from the drop was possible, as goals from Gary Hamson – a spectacular thirty-yarder – and Kevin “Jasper” Hird, so nicknamed for his uncanny resemblance to Brummie comic Jasper Carrott, saw United come from behind to defeat Brighton.  Elland Road rocked, with a noisy mixture of hope and relief.  The hope was in vain as it turned out, but this match, this nail-biting comeback, was a fitting swan-song for Leeds who, when they eventually came back, showed that they meant business under Wilko. Watch below as an era ends.

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Video

Clarke……One Nil! Hear the Late, Great David Coleman as Leeds Utd Win the Cup

David Coleman died today, and with him went another piece of our youth for all those of my generation who grew up listening to him describe Cup Finals, historical athletics achievements and so much more, all in that distinctive, much imitated voice – the voice of the seventies, surely.

This video shows highlights of the Centenary FA Cup Final at Wembley on 6th May 1972, a game whose only goal will forever be remembered in terms of Coleman’s memorably laconic description. As the ball winged in from the right, crossed by Mick Jones, Coleman simply intoned: “Clarke ……… one-nil!” There was the implication that a goal followed such a chance for Sniffer as surely as night follows day – and so it most usually did. But this was a special, historic day, the only time to date that Leeds have ever won the FA Cup, and so the commentary has a special resonance, much as Kenneth Wolstenholme‘s did for the World Cup Final of 1966. As Coleman recapped the Clarke goal at Wembley that day, he added that it was “an example of the Leeds one-two”. He usually had the right words for any occasion, and his unique voice always enhanced whatever game he was describing.

A marvellous commentator and a giant of sports coverage over many years, he even saw a new term introduced into the language courtesy of Private Eye magazine. “Colemanballs” was an affectionate reference to his occasional lapse – and it’s as much a tribute to him as anything else that will be said on this sad day of his death at the venerable age of 87.

David Coleman, 1926 – 2013 RIP  A sad loss who will be much missed – thanks for the memories.

Video

Leeds United – “The Best Ever” for Malcolm Allison – by Rob Atkinson

Malcolm Allison – “Big Mal”, as he was known – knew a thing or two about football. An innovative coach and tactician, he achieved great success at Manchester City, working in harness with Joe Mercer in one of the great coaching partnerships. I was lucky enough to meet him once – without his fedora hat – when I attended the launch of a book on Billy Bremner. Talking about football, who he hated and who he rated, he was mesmerising.

For Big Mal, Leeds United were simply The Best. Jimmy Greaves and Co may have thought differently – but you didn’t see Jimbo getting far in coaching – did you?