Leeds United AFC: Yeboah…

There can be few – if any – loan signing over the last 20 years who could claim to have had a bigger impact on Leeds United AFC than a certain Anthony Yeboah. The Whites paid Eintracht Frankfurt an initial “loan” fee of £800,000 to take Yeboah till the end of the 1994/1995 season. The nature of the deal caused a stir within the Department of Employment, but a bigger stir was being created within the White Army thanks to the strikers exotic sounding name & his remarkable goal scoring exploits. Yeboah failed to score on his debut during the 4-0 home win over QPR, but the striker with a love of Yorkshire Pudding, soon netted his first goal for the club 4 games later, during the 1-3 FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford…

Yeboah had already begun to amass something of a cult following on the terraces & by the time the Whites hosted Ipswich Town in April 1995, he had ignited the clubs push for Europe by scoring 7 goals in 9 games. The Tractor boys were struggling at the foot of the division & Yeboah duly put them to the sword with a devastating hatrick on a wonderful night. Yeboah chipped in with 3 more goals that season, ensuring that the Whites qualified for the UEFA cup with a top 5 finish. At the end of the season, Sgt Wilko moved swiftly to tie up the Ghanaian on a permanent deal & in 1995/1996,Yeboah started the season on fire. He lit up English football by scoring some astonishing goals…

Nobody will ever forget his strikes against West Ham, Liverpool & Wimbledon, as well as the amazing hatrick in Monaco. Despite missing a few weeks of the season due to African Cup duty & injury, Yeboah’s magical touch ensured he went on to pick up the “Player of the season” award. Sadly, when new manager George Graham entered the equation, things did not go to plan for the striker & after the infamous shirt throwing episode at Spurs, the player headed out of the club in 1997. Despite that incident, the memories the player left still burn brightly…

The same can’t be said of the memories left by too many other loan players, or indeed Ipswich Town’s last visit to Elland Road. The 1-1 draw saw the Whites slip into the abyss of Division Three in 2007 & the less said on that, the better…

The midweek win at Preston meant that, with just 10 games remaining, a Play Off place was still up from grabs & if things went our way today, we could cement that top 6 spot further. As it turned out, it was to prove to be a frustrating, albeit point gaining afternoon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Grayson stuck with the side that beat Preston, thus giving “Come on Billy” a chance to build on his goal. For their part, the tractor boys ensured the staff at Jimmy’s were on high alert by fielding the expensive injury prone pair of Bullard & Dyer. The visitors were quickest to settle into their stride, with Priskin shooting wide of the far post within 30 seconds. Shortly after, Paynter was booked for what appeared an elbow on McAuley…

It was the beginning of an early spell which saw the Whites struggle to put any constructive moves together. Indeed, it was the defence who stepped up to the plate & O’Brien was forced to clear from Dyer. Priskin then tested Kasper before our first real chance. Gradel burst through the middle & unleashed a 20 yarder that Fulop did well to tip round the post. Ipswich were well organised, managing to keep possession too easily at times & when Priskin forced Kasper into another save, it was clear this was going to be no easy ride. There was no easy first half ride for the man in the middle either as the aptly named Deadman became the latest official to feel our wrath with a period of bizarre refereeing…

After Deadman missed a blatant back pass, Kasper was forced into a double save, first from Martin, then from McAuley’s header. Deadman then nearly caused a riot as O’Brien chased Priskin for a loose ball. As the striker stumbled, Deadman not only gave a free kick, but a Yellow card too. Still, despite the official, we slowly grew into the game. Paynter glanced a header just wide, before Gradel’s long range effort dipped just over. However, Deadman was involved again & went toe to toe with an angry Grayson after he had missed another blatant foul. Grayson’s unusual rant was a measure of how the official was performing. Of course, the referee was not to blame for missed chances…

Paynter slipped at the vital moment when he looked certain to score. That said, referees do influence things & just on halftime, Deadman waved away claims for what looked a clear penalty. O’Brien’s shot looked to be handled in the box by McAuley, but a corner was the outcome. A clean sheet at halftime was the only positive that could be found amongst the angst ridden faithful, but we started the Second half much brighter. Howson volleyed Snoddy’s cross high over the bar, before Snoddy almost put the seal on a brilliant 3 man move, but his shot just drifted agonisingly wide. Ipswich now seemed content to “Park the Tractor” & invited the Whites to try break them down, though it was hard going…

At least with Deadman now trying to stay out of the limelight, the game began to find some rhythm. Paynter was next to fashion a chance, but Fullop kept his scuffed effort out. O’Brien then smashed one wide from the edge of the box before Luciano came on. No, not ours, some bloke from Ipswich & Becchio was most amused to hear “There’s only one Luciano” as he warmed up on the touchline. With the Whites hitting a brick wall, it wasn’t long before he entered the fray as Grayson made a double switch. Howson & Paynter made way for Becchio & Bannan as we looked for some added creativity. Sadly, the switch failed to ignite the Whites & as a spell of hoofball ensued, frustration began to grow…

Time ebbed away & it was clear that we needed to try something different. All eyes were on Somma, yet even when the striker was stripped & ready to come on, the change was not forthcoming. As the game entered the final minutes, from nowhere, Ipswich made a late charge. It would have been typical of the side to conceed, but McCartney blocked an effort from Wickham, before the impressive Bromby cleared Bullard’s corner & was also in the right place to block Scotland’s last minute shot. The final whistle was met with full appreciation for a side who battled hard, though just ran out of steam after a draining week. With results elsewhere going our way, perhaps this could be viewed as a missed opportunity…

However, 7 points from 9 & a clean sheet against a side who were no mugs, provided reasons to be satisfied. So, we head to the “Yorkshire Derby” at the Blades with the outcome of this amazing season still in our own hands. With 9 games left, what more could we ask for (OK – apart from 9 wins, 9 clean sheets & automatic promotion!!)…

Leeds United AFC… “Tony, Tony Yeboah”… Keep Fighting…

Youtube clips with thanks to LEEDS4EVER1992 / SUPERITFC & STEVIEDLUFC…

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Posted March 13, 2011 by keepfighting in leeds united, Uncategorized

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