Them and Us: Leeds I

Posted by Rushian on October 24, 2003, 05:15:35 PM

The fifth in our series this season where RAWK seeks out the views of one of the opposition's leading websites or fanzines in the run up to the game at Anfield. Our contributor this week is Mark Monk of the Leeds fanzine and website To Ell and Back.

RAWK: How has the start of the season been for Leeds?

Mark: Well obviously not good, fourth from bottom, 2 wins in 8. Constant speculation over the manager's future and anything which isn't nailed down being sold off .... not looking good!

What are you expecting of this season?

Oh Europe at the very least!

Should Peter Risdale be barred from any involvement in football?

No. I liked Peter Ridsdale having met him once, whether or not this is still the case when I find out next week how much he was paid off (Leeds next set of accounts are due next Tuesday) remains to be seen. He did a lot of good and seemed to do the right thing for several years, then when the going got tough he was clearly out of his depth. I haven't spoken to any Barnsley fans but I'd speculate they are very suspcious about him, because after all he was very publicly this die-hard Leeds fan turned Chairman who blew it big-time. Saying that, his failure to keep a tight reign on the purse strings and make decisive action when things went pear-shape is only part of the ingredients to the disaster. O'Leary's buying of Fowler/Seth Johnson for over inflated fees, the failure to get into the Champions League. Bowyer and Woodgate, the incompetence of Venables/Kidd etc.

Who do you think is your most important player(s)?

Probably the three who we can just about guarantee getting a fee for if we sold them - Robinson, Smith and Viduka! Other than that, out of Reidy's loan-signings from France, Zoumana Camara (no relation to Titi) looks a steady enough centre-half, when we have got Dom Matteo (another key figure for us when he is fit) alongside him. The little Cameroon guy Olembe who is playing an unorthodox role at left-back has done quite well too. On last week's showing against the Mancs, 34-year-old David Batty is the future of our club!

Your worst player(s)?

Too many to mention! We've been left with the fringe-men O'Leary didn't want but couldn't be bothered to sell, when less than average players were costing about ?5m. I don't see much future for Jason Wilcox, Michael Duberry, Ian Harte or Reid signing Jody Morris - who is otherwise engaged at this moment in time. As well as Morris, the only other thing I have against him is Roque Junior. The term world-cup winner defies belief!

Any young gems in the squad that we might not know about?

James Milner had some press when he snatched the record as the Premiership's youngest goalscorer from some potato-headed gap-toothed scally from Goodison you may have heard about. Aaron Lennon is being dubbed as another emerging prospect, but he is tiny and younger than Milner! We seem to have a posse of lads, such as Simon Johnson, Harpal Singh etc there or thereabouts but not quite there for the Premiership. We have a Keegan in the ranks, an Irish lad Paul Keegan who is currently on loan with, er, Scunny.

What sort of line-up can we expect on Saturday?

Robinson in goal, back four of Kelly RB, Olembe LB, Centre-halves Matteo and Camara. Midfield: Pennant, Milner/Sakho (possibly) on the flanks, Viduka and Smith the strikers, unless Reidy gets really brave and drops either one of the free-scoring duo (4 goals between them this season, Robinson the goalie is only one behind them!) and brings in Micky Bridges.

Your favourite/best chant(s)?

I think "What the F**K is going on!" has been the most popular over the past season and a bit!

How do you think Liverpool will do this season?

With 4 defeats and Chelsea, Arsenal and the Manc's looking so strong, think the title is a tall-order. Barring a late Newcastle recovery, fourth.

Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?

Heskey always seems to score against us!

And your feelings on Anfield?

Fantastic stadium, been there many times, Like Leeds though, I think it has suffered atmosphere wise due to the all-seater concept and the rise in popularity of football with the middle-classes - who tend to turn up with their Wanker Hats and flags and expect to be entertained rather than be part of the spetacle. Anfield holds a special place in the hearts of Leeds fans when the 68/69 title was won by holding Shankly's mighty team to a 0-0 draw. The great man was very gracious, despite the disappointment of not winning the title (Jack Charlon's autobiography has a picture of him and Billy Bremner shaking hands with Shanks after that titanic battle) and Don Revie famously said to the Leeds players: "Go on, take yourselves off to the Kop" where superbly the Liverpool fans had stayed to applaud the new Champions. 1992 was pretty-good too, when Rushie and Mark Walters scored against the Manc's to seal the title for Leeds.

And Harry Kewell?

Don't go there! I think we all knew deep-down it was inevitable he was going to leave. The circumstances he went under were a bit cloudy to say the least. Not sure if Houllier's tactics will bring out the devastating best in him, but he has shown glimpses.

Predicted score?

A gutsy performance by Leeds and Reid, nothing like the horror-showing over Stanley Park a couple of weeks ago - Liverpool keen to bounce back from 3 defeats on the spin, I think you will spawn it, 1-0 or 2-1.

Thanks once again to Mark for the time and help in answering our questions.

More news and views from a Leeds' perspective can be found on the To Ell and Back website at

? Mark Monk/RAWK 2003

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