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From the vault: Opponents in focus - Leeds

From the vault: Opponents in focus - Leeds

Another of Pompey's no power championship opponents will be Leeds, so they are next to come under the microscope as Pompey Jake has a look at them - we revisit this ahead of the meeting at Elland Road on Tuesday...



Leeds United "The Whites/United/The Peacocks"

Introduction:
Since being founded in 1919 it has been a roller coaster ride for Leeds fans with some great highs and dreadful lows. I have to summarise it as otherwise you and I would be here all day so I apologise in advance if anyone feels I have missed something important out.

Leeds United started out as a second division team with occasional appearances in the top division during the early years of the club. It wasn`t until the 60`s that Leeds became a top English team and arguably one of the best teams in the world. The manager was Don Revie. The club, at the start of his reign, were going through financial difficulties and just avoided relegation to Div 3. Revie transformed the club in the years he was there winning promotion to Div 1. Between 1965 and 1974, Leeds never finished outside the top four, won 2 championships, the FA cup and League Cup. Leeds finished runners up in the league 5 times during this time, losing finalists in the FA cup 3 times and losing finalists in the European cup to AC Milan.

Revie went on to manage England in 1974 and this is where the club lost something, although they did make European Cup final in 1975, losing to Bayern Munich. The club slowly lost its quality and in 1982 were relegated. However, under Howard Wilkinson the "2nd Golden Era" then occurred. In 1990 the club were promoted back to the top division. In 1991 the club finished 4th, taking the title the season after. The club then had several losing final appearances and started to drop again. However, Wilkinson was replaced by George Graham who got Leeds in to the UEFA cup. David O'Leary then took over and 1998 got the club in to the Champions League. In 2001 they signed Rio Ferdinand for a transfer record (£18 million) and reached the Champions League Semi-Final losing to Valencia.

This is when Leeds financially imploded. Leeds could not afford players salaries and star players started disappearing. Rio went to Man U for £30 million and Venables was appointed manager after a fall out between O'Leary and the chairman. The team underperformed badly for a couple of seasons and the disruption within the club had spread to the dressing room. In 2004 Leeds were relegated after 14 years in the top flight.

The club were sold to Ken bates for £10 million after this and Leeds began to stabilise. Their excellent youth system was producing some exceptional talents and they finished mid table in their first season in the championship. In the 05/06 season Leeds made the play off final and lost against Watford, an event which was to have devastating consequences. The next season Leeds were relegated having had an incredibly poor season and incurring a 10 point deduction for entering administration. The relegation was the lowest point of the clubs history as it had never been this low in the English football league structure before.

This is when the story starts to sound very familiar. In a bid to exit administration Ken Bates tried to get the club out of admin through a CVA. The CVA was appealed against by HMRC a move which almost liquidated the club. The League imposed a 15 point penalty for the way the club had entered admin. HMRC then dropped their legal challenge. That season Leeds reached the play off places WITH a 15 point deduction but lost in the play off final to Doncaster. The following season they made the play offs but lost in the in the semi final legs.

Last Season:
Leeds started off by winning their first 8 games, a club record. Although losing to Liverpool in the League cup, they beat Man U at Old Trafford in the FA cup 3rd round 1-0. They then drew Tottenham and at White Hart Lane claimed a 2-2 draw but lost in the replay 3-1. Their league form suffered as a result of their cup run and the club went through a major blip in February and March. They lost their position at the top to Norwich but managed to hang on to 2nd place, the Automatic promotion spot on the last day by beating Bristol Rovers. At the end of last season, Jermaine Beckford left for Tottenham. He was Leeds top goal scorer with 31 goals and will be greatly missed next season.

Head to Head:
League Cup (Last 2 meetings between the clubs)
28.08.2007 Round 2: Portsmouth 3-0 Leeds United
26.10.2004 Round 3: Portsmouth 2-1 Leeds United

Last League Meetings:
25.04.2004 Leeds United 1-2 Portsmouth
08.11.2003 Portsmouth 6-1 Leeds United

League standing last 5 years:
2009/10 Coca Cola League One 2nd (Promoted)
2008/09 Coca Cola League One 4th (Lost in the play Off Semi final to Millwall)
2007/08 Coca Cola League One 5th (Lost in the Play off Final to Doncaster Rovers)
2006/07 Championship 24th (Relegated)
2005/06 Championship 5th (Lost in Play off final to Watford)

Fixture Dates:
Saturday, 22 January 2011 - Portsmouth v Leeds United, 15:00
Tuesday, 28 December 2010 - Leeds United v Portsmouth, 15:00

The Man in Charge: Simon Grayson:
Simon Grayson was appointed manager of Leeds in 2008. Grayson used to be a player having stints at Leicester City and Aston Villa. He managed Blackpool and guided them to promotion to the Championship, having avoided relegation with them the seasons before. He left Blackpool for Leeds in controversial circumstances as the Blackpool board had refused him permission to talk to Leeds. He then tendered his resignation which the Board did not accept before being unveiled Leeds manager. He is a young at only 40 and has the potential to become a top top manager.

Key Players:
Kasper Schmeichel (GK) was signed this summer by Leeds. The son of Peter, he is highly rated and will be definitely one to watch in the Leeds side this year.

Luciano Becchio (FW) is an Argentine striker for Leeds and has scored 30 goals for Leeds in 82 appearances. He could be dangerous next season.

Robert Snodgrass (FW/MF) is a Scottish Winger and has won many awards whilst at Leeds for his performances with them. He has 16 goals in 86 games and was in the League One team of the year last year.

Stadium:
Leeds play at Elland road which has a capacity of 39460 making it the largest ground in the Championship. Its average league attendance last season was 24817 but it will be far more than that this year. If I can get too it, this is an away game I will definitely be going too.

Prediction:
To try and guess where Leeds will come next year is tricky as they are such an unpredictable team. I believe they will miss Jermaine Beckford who went to Tottenham although Billy Paynter has been bought as a replacement. I think they will avoid relegation but will finish in the bottom half of the table.

Interesting fact:
They didn't adopt their famous all white strip until 1961, when Don Revie introduced it with the hope of emulating Real Madrid. They had originally played in blue and yellow.

Written by Pompey Jake.

Opponents in focus: Barnsley FC - here.
Opponents in focus: Bristol City - here.
Opponents in focus: Burnley - here.
Opponents in focus: Cardiff - here.
Opponents in focus: Coventry - here.
Opponents in focus: Crystal Palace - here.
Opponents in focus: Derby - here.
Opponents in focus: Doncaster - here.
Opponents in focus: Hull - here.
Opponents in focus: Ipswich - here.
Opponents in focus: Leeds - here.
Opponents in focus: Leicester - here.
Opponents in focus: Middlesbrough - here.
Opponents in focus: Millwall - here.
Opponents in focus: Norwich - here.
Opponents in focus: Nottingham Forest - here.
Opponents in focus: Preston - here.
Opponents in focus: QPR - here.
Opponents in focus: Reading - here.
Opponents in focus: Scunthorpe - here.
Opponents in focus: Sheffield United - here.
Opponents in focus: Swansea - here.
Opponents in focus: Watford - here.

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  • Writer:Pompey Jake
    Date:Monday December 27 2010
    Time: 5:47PM

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