Roddy the Rawkite posted a gem on the forum recently and it set my mind reminiscing ahead of the Leeds away game coming up later this month.
"I was on this piss with my Aunty Shelagh at the weekend - the first person ever to bunk me into a footy match (Wembley 1971) and as usual we ended up having a footy related sing-song round the piano.
Eventually she asked me to play 'we all fuckin' hate Leeds' which I duly did to the mirth of the assembled throng, who thought it was funny that I would know the tune by that name rather than 'The Dambusters Theme'. She then told me how that song came about.
It was an Elland Road lockout 2 hours before kick off back in the 70s. The Leeds ground had been broken into the night before and all the records had been stolen with the exception of the one record - theme from the Dambusters - which they played over and over again to the chagrin of the assembled away supporters. Eventually one bright spark started joining in with 'we all hate Leeds and Leeds and Leeds' and so a legend was born."
Unquote. A brilliant story by Roddy.
Leeds was a happy hunting ground for us in the 70's, with one BIG exception.
70/71 saw us beat them 1-0 with "Big John" scoring the winner.
71/72 we were beaten 1-0.
72/73 we won 2-1 with the unlikely pair of Lloyd and Boersma scoring.
73/74 again saw us beaten 1-0.
74/75 we won 2-0 with Keegan scoring a brace.
75/76 we won 3-0 with Kennedy scoring a cracker and Cally having his shooting boots on, scoring two.
76/77 1-1 draw with Kennedy for us.
77/78 2-1 win with The Thunderball Case scoring twice.
78/79 3-0 win Dave Johnson with a brace and Case rounding the day off, with a thunderbolt.
79/80 1-1 draw with Terry Mac saving the day.
We also had one domestic cup win and one defeat in the same period.
The big exception? 28th April 1971. After beating Liverpool at Anfield 1-0 in the first leg of the Fairs Cup Semi Final, Leeds managed to contain Liverpool for 90 mins at Elland Road. I still have the pair of programmes in my collection.
I remember travelling to Leeds in "Thunderbird 2". Does anyone remember the old blunderbuss Cortina, built like a Sherman tank with an engine that couldn't cope with anything over 1:6? Well ours was British Racing green and looked just like the thunderbird model. Come to think about it, my Father did resemble "Virgil" at the time, since (he'd) decided to shave off his ever-present Moustache. (Probably my Mam's idea, being fed up being scratched to death in their throws of passion). Although he wouldn't admit it, my Mam was definately pulling his strings.
The journey to Leeds passed quickly as outward journies always seem to. I guess it's the excitement and expectation that we always carried with us in "The days of the Messiah". He had said we would win and we believed him. It was as simple as that in the days of Shanks.
My Father and I still laugh today about the time, four years earlier, when he told us after a 5-1 drubbing in Amsterdam that in fact we would turn it around at home and win the tie. Were we mezmarised, hypnotised or just believers in the Faith?
To be honest I remember very little about the Leeds game on the night, it wasn't the type of game that sticks in the mind (certainly not an Inter Milan at Anfield). But I can remember coming away from the ground with tears in my eyes and no voice. The Liverpool fans screamed at the top of their lungs for the whole 90 mins. Not like the short bursts we are becoming used to today. To be fair to Leeds, they were our equal on the night on and off the Park.
This was the Second time in my lifetime, that we had been beaten in over the two legs in a Euro Semi. It was hard for a then 14 year old to accept, we were just not good enough to win a Euro comp at that time. So near but yet so far (was that in the charts then?).
The Dambusters tune "We all hate Leeds". The story of how Leeds ground was robbed the night before and all the records were nicked apart from The Dambusters - well I'm not sure if we can blame our lads for that as we rarely travelled up the night before games in those days. But whoever nicked them, it's the funniest thing I've read in ages.
It's a song I love to sing, but there is a massive BUT. In their current plight I have nothing but sympathy for them. Games at Elland Road have always been favourites of mine and the thought of them going down, actually upsets me. The rivalry between Shankly and Revie is legendary.
The two spoke to each other most Sundays, as recalled in both Shanks's and Revie's biographies. Billy would rant about "How Great" every player he had was and every time Don tried to put a good word in for one of his own, Billy would cut him off mid sentence "Och, he's fair, but over the hill" or "He won't progress any further, better sell him".
Although Leeds were a good team, Don Revie must have thought after the calls that half his squad were geriatric and the other half finished before they started. I have fond memories of beating the likes of Bremner, Giles, Lorimer, Cooper, Hunter, Reeney, Grey, Jones and Clarke.
And as for Gary Sprake, well all Kopites had a soft spot for him (remember those 'Careless Hands')? Watching Tommy Smith chase Bremner and Giles round midfield was a pleasure to watch. The thought of not playing Leeds for a few seasons twangs at the strings of my heart. Very similar, in my mind, to imagining a season without a local derby.
So sing the song as much as you like, I'll probably join in, but without them being in the top flight, who are we gonna sing it to? We play Leeds this year just after the Sofia game, from memory. Treasure it, it might be our last visit for some time.
© Wooltonian 2004