Archive for the ‘Leeds United’ Category

Brian Clough and Don Revie are arguably the benchmarks for managers in the modern game. Revie’s Leeds team benefited from his understanding of every element that created a great player and a great team. He was revolutionary in his consideration on diet and on the off field care for his players. From the late sixties to the early seventies Leeds dominance of the English game was testament to Revie. As Leeds success faded in the mid 70’s, Nottingham Forest’s began. Clough was an incredible motivator and manager of men; with his assistant Peter Taylor, they put together a team built around experience and up and coming talent which dominated Europe and English football for several seasons. Does the Premier League need teams with this sort of pedigree in it?

Both teams achieved top three finishes in the Premier League over the years but after a somewhat dramatic fall from grace found themselves languishing in the third tier of English football. Despite this, as big clubs, Forest and Leeds always achieved gates that even some Premier League clubs would be delighted with. This owes much to their large fan base and their history which is still the bedrock of their significant following.

Elland Road and the City Ground find themselves on the verge of welcoming the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal to the away dressing again. Leeds United versus Liverpool, Nottingham versus Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United versus Nottingham Forest, all fixtures that don’t sound out of place amongst England’s elite.

So if the two sleeping giants were to return to the top flight what would that bring to the beautiful game? The regional passions will be reignited in the ‘Black Country’ and ‘Yorkshire’ prompting even more impressive ‘Super Sunday’s’ on Sky. Leeds United and Nottingham Forest still carry European Pedigree, especially Leeds who within the last decade reached a UEFA Cup and Champions League Semi Final. The lure of the Premier League is huge for players, but saying that, wth all due respect to the likes of Hull City, Burnley and Blackpool they would still not have the allure of Forest and United.

The return of Forest and Leeds would be a PR dream for the men in grey suits at their Wembley headquarters. It would add to the clubs that can dominate the headlines both front and back. which on the basis that ‘no publicity is bad publicity’ can only add to Premiership’s dominance of the football stage.

Should the two return to the Premier League, it could only be described as a long overdue ‘home coming.’

The Premier League has been graced with some wonderful talents over the years, with some players turning in good performances for various different clubs, David Ginola for Newcastle and then Tottenham Hotspur, Dwight Yorke for Aston Villa and Manchester United and Patrick Vieira for Arsenal and now Manchester City. Sadly for many players though this isn’t the case, either they can’t live up to the high transfer fee, troubled by injuries or just loss that extra yard of pace. So who are the top 10 players whose careers nosedived after promising starts? Will Fernando Torres be joining them soon?

Stephane Guivarc’h, regularly voted as the worse striker to grace the Premier League. Off the back of some very impressive domestic goal scoring records (68 goals in 110 appearances for Guingamp 22 in 36 for Rennes and 21 in 32 for Auxerre) and leading France’s World Cup 98 team front line, Kenny Dalglish signed the Frenchman for Newcastle United, but Guivarc’h made just four appearances managing one goal, and eventually the striker had to say ‘au revoir’ to the Toon Army.

Juan Sebastian Veron, surely a man with such an illustrious name can’t have a career that has taken a nosedive? After being Lazio’s driving force for two seasons, Veron transferred to the Premier League with Manchester United and then onto Chelsea, but throughout his time in England the Argentinian struggled with the pace of the English game and regularly gets voted into the top 50 of the most expensive flops. Veron now plays back in his home country for Estudiantes.

Richard Wright was signed by Arsene Wenger as the long term replacement for David Seaman, yet he was anything but. Needless to say, after punching the ball into his own net in a 4-2 defeat against Charlton, Wright soon found himself third choice keeper behind Seaman as well as Stuart Taylor and left the North London club after making only 22 appearances. Spells at Everton, West Ham, Southampton, Ipswich again and now Sheffield United have seen Wright fail to live up to the standards he achieved during Ipswich’s promotion campaign that caught Wenger’s eye.

Eusebio, Rui Costa and Figo, Hugo Viana was tipped to join these Portuguese greats after winning the European Young player of the year and then joining Newcastle United for around £10 million. Sadly for the Geordies they had gotten themselves another Stephane Guivarc’h, and Viana left after failing to hold down a starting spot.

Michael Ricketts scored 24 times for Bolton in their promotion season to the Premier League and continued this form by netting 15 goals by February to earn his one and only England cap; however, after this game, Ricketts failed to score for Bolton again that season. Fast forward various failed periods at numerous clubs and weight problems and Ricketts was released by Trammere Rovers at the end of the 2009/10 season, quite a nosedive indeed.

Robbie Fowler, the Premier League’s fourth highest goalscorer with 162 goals, surely must have had a long and successful career? But after scoring 120 goals in eight years with the Merseyside club, Fowler departed Anfield on bad terms, after a strained relationship with Gerard Houiller. Fowler never recaptured the form that had Liverpool fans labelling him ‘God’ and ended up seeing out his playing days Down Under with Perth Glory.

Alan Smith came to prominence as a tough tackling and hard working forward during his time at Leeds, which prompted Sir Alex Ferguson to sign the Englishman after Leeds’ relegation, but during his time at Old Trafford Ferguson deployed Smith in a more central midfield role, and combined with a horrendous leg break that ruled Smith out for 12 months, this led to his failure to excel at United. Smith now struggles to break into Newcastle United’s starting eleven, a fall from grace for what was meant to be a bright prospect for England.

‘The Fox in the Box’ for Everton, but for Arsenal he was more of a rabbit in the headlights. Jeffers was just another example of a promising youngster that choked in the media limelight and after his poor spell at Arsenal, Jeffers followed this up with relatively unsuccessful stints at Charlton, Rangers, Blackburn, Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle Jets and now Motherwell.

Harry Kewell was part of the golden generation at Leeds, a very exciting and talented attacking winger. During his eight year spell with Leeds the Australian international was constantly linked with Arsenal, Manchester United and Inter Milan, to name but a few, but it was Liverpool he chose to leave cash strapped Leeds for. But Kewell never hit the heights at Anfield, and despite occasional good performances serving as a reminder of his former abilities, his spell there was largely spent on the sidelines, with the Ozzie winger eventually limping out of Anfield and now playing for Turkish side Galatasaray.

Michael Owen was nothing short of a superstar during his time at Liverpool, leading the scoring charts and picking up numerous individual accolades. However, during his time at Anfield, Owen had numerous problems with his hamstring and was out for large portions of seasons, but this didn’t stop him from securing an illustrious move to Spanish giants Real Madrid. Yet when Owen exited through the Bill Shankly gate, his career stalled. Mainly used as a substitute in a very unsuccessful period with the La Liga club, Owen returned to England with Newcastle United and is now with Manchester United but has spent most of his time in the treatment room being labelled as a ‘has been.’