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Manchester United 0:1 Leeds United- Welcome to the War of the Roses, New Footy Fans


In a football world full of foreign fans, which have never once traveled to England, Manchester United is the flavor of the millennium. But those of us, who love and appreciate the English game, and its history and passion, felt liberated today.

Leeds United, one of the giant clubs of the last forty years in English football signaled its return to relevance with a fantastic 1-0 victory at Old Trafford. The War of The Roses Rivalry, which is one of the biggest in England, was on display for the newer Red Devils fans today.

Manchester United has for years profited at Leeds expense. Gordon McQueen Eric Cantona, Rio Ferdinand and Alan Smith, just to name a few. Leeds once was fortunate enough to sign Johnny Giles from Manchester United, and that transfer changed history! Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, Leeds United under Don Revie gave Manchester United and Liverpool all they could handle. Matt Busby’s retirement reflected an era in which Leeds and Liverpool had emerged as the powers of the English game, and United’s post Munich run was over.

When the recently completed decade began, Leeds looked like the most likely side to dispatch Manchester United atop the Premier League. Some football watchers, like your humble writer, were foolish enough to believe the hype: I thought Leeds could be the best team of the decade, and actually picked them before the season to win the 1999-2000 Premier League crown.

But alas, Leeds squad had been built by taking on massive chunks of debt. A few years later, despite a run to the Champions League semifinals, the club was sinking fast. Today, under Simon Grayson, the club leads League One, England’s third flight. Leeds has been in League One now for three seasons, longer than anyone truly objective believed they’d be down there.

But today, the War of the Roses rivalry was renewed with vigor. Grayson’s side was well organized, pushing men forward on the counter, and using a speed advantage to get behind the Red Devils back four. Leeds also wanted the match more, cheered on by at least 10,000 fans who made the trek from Yorkshire.

Manchester United fans, many of whom are front runners from Asia or the United States will lament today’s result. But for those of us who love and honor English football every day, this was one of the best things that has happened in recent years. Leeds, a previously massive club matters again, and for that, English football is a winner.

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  1. Samuel

    September 1, 2010 at 3:16 am

    I love Leeds & I really wanted Jemaine Beckford to stay he is great, but we do have Schmeichel in goal!

  2. JC

    January 4, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    A statement that should surprise no one, I’m sure, but it’s amazing what happens to a club when you remove the best player in the world. SAG realizes as much, I suspect, and will be making a major move in the transfer window.

  3. edgar

    January 4, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Refering to the comments about United fans in the States because of the titles that United has won since the inception of the Premier League is not always true for all. I didn’t know who Manchester United was when I started watching in the 03 season. Actually I went three seasons without United winning any true silverware. I fell in love with United when I saw them playing the then (Club World Cup Challenge) at Azteca Stadium vs Club America. Ruud Van Nistelrooy scored and United went on to win that game 2-0. Hence my passion for Manchester United began…

  4. frank

    January 4, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    There were only one shout of united and that was leeds, leeds,leeds superb play by leeds they all played well the whole team,l hope keep on hold beckford for another season he’s a good value to the team. well done leeds

  5. Jk

    January 4, 2010 at 11:24 am

    I have been watching football my whole life but only English Football for four seasons now. I had read about the history of Leeds United and was really excited for this tie. This probably was the most exciting and tense game I had seen from England in those four years. Even my wife who is not exactly a huge football fan, sat down for the last thirty minutes and found herself enthralled in the storylines and impressed by the perseverance of Leeds. This was an absolutely great moment for any sports fan.

  6. Bren..Leeds Fan

    January 4, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Still Cant come to terms with it!
    Best feeling in the world….
    Feeling like crap yesterday dying with flu but when we beat united no kidding felt like new man. Natural endorphins.
    Best start to any decade ever. Were definitely on the way back.
    Proud of my Boys!!!


  7. John

    January 4, 2010 at 7:28 am

    “Manchester United fans, many of whom are front runners from Asia or the United States will lament today’s result.”

    Once again, EPL Talk doesn’t fail to surprise me with typical English arrogance. Most Man Utd fans are actually front runners from England.

  8. robert

    January 4, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Americans for Man U? Not this yank.

    Any true football fan in the U.S. dives a little deeper than the team with the most titles since the Prem’s debut. Most Man U fans in the states aren’t really football aficionados. Same people that rooted for the Bulls during Jordan’s reign and never watched a hoops game after he retired.


    …and any fan, from any country, who loves “the beautiful game” cannot turn away from a Gunners game (for the same reason they can’t turn away from a Barça match). Objectively gorgeous football. Man U’s game? Meh (except when Berbatov pulls something out of his *ss once every ten games).

    Thank you Leeds.

    • Henry H

      January 4, 2010 at 1:45 pm

      Being an American and supporting arsenal isn’t that much different, though I know exactly what you’re saying and it pisses me off as well.

  9. GoFutebol

    January 3, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Very live performance by Leeds United. Last I watch them during the peak of Alan Smith and Rio Ferdinand.

    One more thing, Gary Neville shouldn’t play. He lose the touch and pace.


  10. edgar

    January 3, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    As a somewhat new Manchester United fan here in the States, I knew of the past rivalry between Manchester United and Leeds United. Having said that, I was extatic to see the cup tie being broadcast live on FSC. I got up at 7am to watch my Manchester United lose to Leeds United. Fair enough though, Leeds deserved to win today. They played like they actually wanted to win, and Manchester United played as if Leeds was just going to roll over and let them win. Congratulations to Leeds United. Needless to say, I will be rooting for Tottenham in the next round. Oh by the way, hope that my boy Landon Donovan can make an impact on the only Merseyside club that I will ever remotely root for… Everton.

  11. Wazza

    January 3, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Tyson – pretty sure Chelsea won the fa cup last season (and probably should have won the league cup too if not for a jammy woodgate effort), so not sure why you feel differently for this season? but you are right, United wont be winning it!

    And yes, well done Leeds. Even if ‘we all fecking hate leeds!’

  12. jleau

    January 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    As a relatively new fan, I was fascinated with the Leeds story when they were relegated to League 1 a few years ago. Imagine if the LA Dodgers were suddenly demoted to double A ball??

    What a teriffic result for a team that has really been down for awhile. Grayson appears to be a great manager and the team has been vastly better since he took over.

    I would hate to see them lose Beckford before they secure promotion. I agree with the poster above that Snodgrass is their best player, but I would hate to see them lose the goals that Beckford pours in. At that level, he is unstoppable.

  13. brn442

    January 3, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    “For those of us who grew up with the sport in the 1980s and 1990s, Rangers and Celtic were more massive in the states than any English club save perhaps Liverpool.”

    That’s what the writer said a month ago. For the rest of us, the likes of Leeds and Forest have been and will always be – big clubs.

    Well done Leeds – the only English led club to win the title in 20 odd years.

  14. Rob McCluskey

    January 3, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Leeds totally outplayed Man Utd and deserved their win, Man Utd were too complacent.

    And even though there is a lot of rave about Beckford he isn’t their best player.He is great but Leeds’ best player is Robert Snodgrass and he barely featured in the match today, even more credit to their performance!

    This is just one of those things about the FA cup though, we get shocks, its nothing to hit the panic button over

  15. olivert

    January 3, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    In a perverse sort of way, losing in the 3rd round of the FA Cup (instead of later) will help Man Utd.

    The “fixture congestion” problem that plagues top EPL clubs near the end of the season, particularly during World Cup years, disappears instantly.

    The “big 4” make their extra big TV money from the “big TV money” competition, namely the UEFA Champions League. EPL, not the FA Cup, is the gateway to the UEFA Champions League.

    The English FA Cup may be the only domestic cup left in the world that has any significant TV value. Most of the other domestic cups have faded in importance, value, and prestige in recent years.

    • Tyson

      January 3, 2010 at 8:03 pm

      The FA Cup doesn’t have any real TV value left anymore actually.

      The Premier League is the biggest cup for English teams and then second most important is the Champions League.

      The FA Cup is treated like a joke by the big teams. Cups like FA and Carling were devised before the Champions League and Premier League became so big.

      Nowadays since few people bother to watch them managers field their weaker team or second rate players with little concern for whether or not they win or lose.

      It’s a lot like Federer getting knocked out of Tennis tournaments against nobodies. Recently he got knocked out in the first game but tennis players are notorious for not winning small tournaments and almost always triumphing by a wide margin at the big tournaments. The reason they do that is if the big tournaments are near by they don’t jeoparise their form with the smaller tournaments so they play crap and then get knocked out.

      Manchester United will field a weak second rate team against Manchester City this coming Wednesday and chances are United will be out of the Carling Cup too in the next few days.

      At the moment for United the PL is much more important than either FA Cup or Carling Cup. I don’t expect either Chelsea or United to win either FA or Carling cup.

      • Henry H

        January 3, 2010 at 11:38 pm

        Well Rooney and Berbatov sounds like taking it pretty serious to me. Typical bitter united fans, they can’t take losing. Well done Leeds, completely deserving of the victory. It could conceivably been 0-3.

        • MNUfan1991

          January 4, 2010 at 8:09 am

          The midfield lineup yesterday was entirely made of reserve-ish players–Obertan, Gibson, Anderson, and Welbeck. All four in the backline were just coming back from injury.
          You can see SAF is more concerned about giving his youngsters a run-out than for an all-out assualt. Given the debt load the youngsters are essentially the future of the club.
          The Rooney-Berba bond is still being cultivated and the latter is still recovering from injury.
          Tough loss, no doubt, but I would not worry too much about the FA Cup. After all, PL and CL are still the priorities. We went all the way to semi-final last year only to practically throw the match to Everton because of fixture congestion. If the same is to happen we may as well just play the reserve all the way, a la Carling Cup.

      • Applan

        January 4, 2010 at 12:03 am

        What a load of crap. The FA cup is absolutely stil a very prestigious tournament in England following very closely behind the EPL actually. Though of course it’s not important for Manchester United any more this season is it?

        Well done Leeds on a totally deserved win!

        • Eric T

          January 4, 2010 at 1:43 pm

          I guess if Manchester United aren’t in the cup, it’s no longer important. I’m sure we’d be hearing a different tune from you boys had the results been different.

  16. Harry

    January 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Any word on which providers are broadcasting FSC in HD?

    • The Gaffer

      January 3, 2010 at 7:31 pm

      Not yet. Lots of conflicting information right now, but it looks likely that DirecTV will begin broadcasting in the next 60 days. Charter Cable should be broadcasting or will be broadcasting FSC soon in HD.

      The Gaffer

  17. AtlantaPompey

    January 3, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    As someone relatively new to the game who has never been to England, I can tell you I am glad to see the upset. I usually like the underdog, and Leeds is certainly that these days. While I don’t know all of the history surrounding the matchup, I do appreciate seeing Sir Alex red-faced at the refs for not getting the 20 minutes or so of stoppage time he thought they deserved.

  18. Jason

    January 3, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    How good is Leeds United without Beckford though? He clearly is at least a Championship level player. I bet he will swooped up now. I get the impression that perhaps this team is not quite as good without him around? Hopefully somebody who knows more about them can clarify if you can please. Leeds certainly is going up to the 2nd tier next year but I would not count them on receiving back to back promotions so quickly though. But for now, great result for them!

  19. Cantona

    January 3, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    good coaching from Leeds.. they could have shut up shop.. but they didnt.. they kept on both strikers and took it to United.. I hope Sir Alex sees this as a warning that his squad is thin.. Vidic out at the last minute.. not good.. Brown and Fabio were rubbish… time to strengthen the defense… time to buy a defender..


  20. The Gaffer

    January 3, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    And how about Beckford? Looks ready for the Premier League to me!

    The Gaffer

  21. The Gaffer

    January 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Tremendous win by Leeds United to keep the FA Cup dream alive for seeing upsets. Plus, for many soccer fans who are new to this sport, this was a perfect introduction to seeing United in action for the first time. The thing about Leeds was that this showed how passionate their supporters were, which put most Premier League clubs to shame.

    The Gaffer

  22. Dave

    January 3, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    as a Leeds fan in the US, one who has to constantly hear about manu or chelsea from gloryhunter supporters today was probably my happiest soccer memory to date, nearly cried

  23. eplnfl

    January 3, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Certainly a good show for football fans.

  24. pall_good

    January 3, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Well done.

  25. Laurence

    January 3, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Could that have been any sweeter for Leeds? To beat their ‘hated’ United.

    There is no need for United to make excuses, Leeds rode their luck on the day and came away with the win. What does this say about United?

    • Applan

      January 3, 2010 at 11:53 pm

      Except “luck” never came into it. Leeds won it fair and square and completely deserved to win the game. They could easily have had four with more of that ‘luck”.

  26. Joel

    January 3, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Shite display from Man Utd. They had no real fight back in them today. Well done to Leeds. I’m going to go cry now.

  27. peter woodward

    January 3, 2010 at 11:35 am

    we all love you leeds united.
    more goals please.
    to all at vital leeds well done,dazza i can not get back on help.saigon.

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