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Leeds United A.F.C.
Member Name: Carrow Road Canary
Leeds United A.F.C.
Date: 28/12/00, updated on 30/12/00 (141 review reads)
Advantages: Strength in depth, youth, experience, good manager, ambitious chairman
PETER RISDALE, 55 – Peter Risdale is a very ambitious chairman who is prepared to put money into the club in order to gain success. He has shown this with the purchase of Rio Ferdinand for £18million, a world record fee for a defender and a British record for any player. However he is sensible and will not go spending money which Leeds cannot afford, stating recently that they need to sell players if they are to finance a £12million deal for Robbie Keane at the end of the season. He has also shown good judgement in appointing David O’Leary as manager – at the time most experts thought O’Leary was far too inexperienced for a massive job like this, but Risdale’s choice has proven to be a good one.
DAVID O’LEARY, 42 – Aged only 42 David O’Leary has many years in management ahead of him. He is the most promising manager certainly in England, maybe in the whole world and has been compared to sir Alex Ferguson. His tactical awareness has been visibly improving throughout this season. In his first Champions League group game Leeds were destroyed 4-0 in the Nou Camp. In their most recent game, however, O’Leary outwitted soon to be England manager Sven Goran Erikkson, winning 1-0 in Rome. It is very likely that David O’Leary will become manager of his native Republic Of Ireland in years to come, but only if he can leave club football where he is currently enjoying so much success.
THE ASSISTANT MANAGER
EDDIE GRAY, 52 – In his first full season in charge of Leeds’ youth team Eddie Gray led the side to
the FA Youth Cup. He then took Leeds reserves to the
league title, also in his first season in charge.
Gray was the automatic choice as assistant manager when O’Leary took over.
Leeds don’t have any problems in the goalkeeping department, with three keepers who are good enough to play at Premiership level.
NIGEL MARTYN, 34 – Nigel Martyn became the first ever £1million goalkeeper when Crystal Palace signed him from Bristol Rovers in 1989. Leeds then signed him for £2.25million, another record for a goalkeeper, in 1996. In his first season in the Leeds goal Martyn kept 23 clean sheets in 44 games. Many people, including me, think that he has been unlucky not to have been an England regular as he has been the most consistent English goalkeeper in recent years. Didn’t have a great game in Euro 200 against Romania in a poor England team but can’t be blamed for England’s defeat, as he only knew he was playing minutes before the start.
PAUL ROBINSON, 21 – Paul Robinson has overtaken Richard Wright in many people’s eyes as the best young keeper in England, impressing in the Premiership and Europe. Although he has only come into the team because of an injury to Martyn, the Leeds number two will provide real competition for a starting place. With David Seaman and Nigel Martyn the wrong side of 30, and David James too inconsistent Robinson could earn many international caps.
DANNY MILOSEVIC, 21 – Another exciting prospect, the 21 year old Australian played in the Australian Olympic squad but with Martyn and Robinson at the club, Milosevic will find first team opportunities hard to come by.
In terms of strength in depth Leeds’ defence is one of the best, if not the best in England. They have 4 quality centre backs, and such is the strength of the full backs at Elland Road, Ian Harte is available for transfer.
RIO FERDINAND, 22 –
The world record fee for a defender of £18million shows that Ferdinand must be a world class player, if not now certainly in the future. His defending ability has been criticised but he is a solid centre back and is excellent on the ball. Unlucky to miss Euro 2000, Ferdinand is certain to gain a lot of international experience as players like Tony Adams and Martin Keown retire from international.
JONATHON WOODGATE, 20 – One of two Leeds players who could face prison if found guilty of an assault they are accused of carrying out. On the footballing side, however, Woodgate has looked a superb centre back and in Woodgate and Ferdinand Leeds have what could possibly be England’s future central defence partnership.
LUCAS RADEBE, 31 – Leeds captain and South African international who looked like leaving not too long ago as he was unhappy about being left out to new boy Rio Ferdinand. He has now signed a new contract and the rock solid defender should help the championship charge in coming years. Radebe is superb in all aspects of the game, especially when man marking. Some regard him as one of Leeds’ best ever defenders and bought for just £250,000 Radebe is one of footballs biggest ever bargains.
MICHAEL DUBERRY, 25 – Left Chelsea due to a lack of first team opportunities in the first team having been touted as a future England star. Duberry, however, doesn’t now look world class and is unlikely to play for England unless there is a serious injury crisis. He does look comfortable in the Premiership, although behind Ferdinand, Radebe and Woodgate in the pecking order Michael Duberry will not be able hold down a regular starting place.
DOMINIC MATTEO, 26 – This solid left sided Scotsman is one of Leeds’ most versatile players and has already mad appearances on the left side of defence and midfield since his £4.25million move from Liverpool pre-season. Matteo is also capable of p
laying in the centre of defence or as a sweeper. He could turn out to be one of the buys of the season and has already displaced Ian Harte from the team.
IAN HARTE, 23 – Irishman Ian Harte is best know for his thunderous free kicks but is also a more than capable defender whose only drawback is his lack of pace. Harte is a regular international but could be on his way out of the club. Peter Risdale recently stated that Harte is one player who may be sold to finance a possible £12million mover for Robbie Keane at the end of the season. He may be out of favour at Elland Road but you can guarantee that there will be plenty of interested parties.
GARY KELLY, 26 – The experience Irish right back missed the whole of last season through injury but the man who made his debut at the age of 18 has not found if difficult to regain his place in Leeds’ defence. Despite being so young Kelly was called up to Ireland’s international squad before his first season in the team had been completed, and is one of Leeds’ most consistent performers.
DANNY MILLS, 23 – Big things were expected of Danny Mills when the former Norwich right back joined Leeds form Charlton for £4million. Despite good performances when playing for Leeds, Mills has struggled to establish himself as the number one right back in front of Gary Kelly. Another of Leeds’ young contingent, Danny Mills should gradually get more and more chances to prove himself.
In midfield Leeds have absolutely everything. The tenacious, hard tackling of Olivier Dacourt and David Batty, the composure and goalscoring ability of Lee Bowyer and the pace of Harry Kewell and Jason Wilcox.
DAVID BATTY, 32 – Signed from Newcastle for £4.4million, the ferocious midfielder has represented England at U21, B team and first team levels. His trademark tackling has
won many admirers and Batty is a firm favourite amongst the Leeds faithful. However, Batty missed most of last season through injury and is only now playing in the Premiership again. Despite his obvious qualities, David Batty will be remembered by many football fans as the man who missed that penalty against Argentina in World Cup ’98.
OLIVIER DACOURT, 26 – In many ways Olivier Dacourt is a similar player to David Batty as he is hard tackling and will give it 100% every game. The ex Strasbourg, Everton and Lens midfielder was signed by David O’Leary for a club record £7.2million but it remains to be seen whether this price tag was justified.
LEE BOWYER, 23 – Lee Bowyer joined Leeds from Charlton for what was a record fee for a teenager, £2.6million. Many people see Bowyer as the star of the Leeds midfield as he has everything – determination, creativity and the ability to score goals. This season he is in the form of his life and would certainly be playing for England was it not for the alleged attack on student.
JASON WILCOX, 29 – Jason Wilcox’s pace and ability to go past players with ease made him a target for David O’Leary. The Leeds boss got his man for £3million and at first he seemed worth every penny of it. However, an injury picked up towards the end of last season saw him miss Euro 2000 and he has only recently returned to full fitness.
EIRIK BAKKE, 23 – Bakke, who has forced his way into the Norwegian team, is a very good midfield prospect for the future. He has the ability to score goals, especially in the air. He is excellent at getting in the header from corners and this has brought him several goals.
HARRY KEWELL, 22 – Australian Kewell normally plays on the left-hand side of midfield but is also more than capable of playing up front. He has become one of the most admired players in the whole of Europe since joining Leeds from the New So
uth Wales Soccer Academy at the age of just 16. His pace and flair have startled many world class defences and anyone wishing to purchase Kewell will have to pay well over £20million, possibly over £30million.
Scoring goals should not be a problem for Leeds this season as they have a wealth of talent in this important position, with 4 or 5 players, including Harry Kewell, trying to gain just two spots in the team.
MARK VIDUKA, 25 – When David O’Leary paid £6million for a striker who had only really proven himself in the weak Scottish Premier League many people thought that the Leeds boss had made a big mistake. However, Viduka has quickly silenced the critics with some excellent displays including his 4 goal demolition of Liverpool. Excellent in the air, Mark Viduka has shocked many with his skill and quick footwork.
ALAN SMITH, 20 – The fiery young striker has quickly established himself as Mark Viduka’s strike partner, ahead of Darren Huckerby and Michael Bridges, with some excellent play since coming into the team 2 years ago. He scored with his first touch in the Premier League – at Anfield in a 3-1 win. One drawback in Alan Smith’s play is his aggression which has seen him in trouble too many times.
MICHAEL BRIDGES, 22 - £5million man Michael Bridges has looked superb since leaving Sunderland for Elland Road, shortly before last season. Bridges repaid the price tag with over 20 goals in his first season, including a hat-trick in his second game. Bridges has now established himself in the England U21 team.
David O’Leary has managed to put together a squad with an excellent blend of youth and experience, and determination and creativity. They have already started to look like a good side in Europe
but have struggled to find their form in the Premiership this season. Leeds look as if they may dominate the next decade just as Man Utd dominated the 90s.