This weekend, Newcastle travel to Elland Road looking for their ninth win in a row in all competitions, however, standing in their way will be Garry Monk’s in-form Leeds side, who are unbeaten in their last five. Elland Road will be full for the first time since 2011 for what may be the match of the weekend in the Sky Bet Championship between two of England’s biggest clubs.
This fixture is one of the most famous in English club history as two traditionally loud fan bases clash and has resulted in some memorable games throughout the years. Many fans will remember the days, where Leeds were a regular in the Premier League, however, in recent years, Leeds have sunk as low as League One. Yet, in the past, Leeds have illustrated just what a big club they are. Their most recent success came when they were crowned champions of England in 1991/92, they impressed thanks to players such as Eric Cantona and a young Gary Speed. Furthermore, Leeds had multiple league and cup successes through their glory years of the 1960s and 70s in which they gained multiple cups and leagues as well as an
Furthermore, Leeds had multiple league and cup successes through their glory years of the 1960s and 70s, they also won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup twice. Their impressive history definitely makes them one of the largest clubs in England. This makes the match up with Newcastle extra special. The huge support for the sides has often made this game into a classic especially throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s where Newcastle and Leeds both featured regularly at the higher end of the Premier League table.
One such game came 20 years ago, with Newcastle needing a win to keep the hopes alive of a first Premier League crown. Kevin Keegan’s side managed to succeed in getting the win, however, infamously were unable to win the league despite at one point being 12 points clear of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side. However, the night is perhaps more famous for Keegan’s rant on national television, uttering the famous words ‘I’d love it if we beat them. Love it.’ Despite the pressure getting to Keegan, Newcastle on the night gave a performance of champions despite the eventual disappointment, with Keith Gillespie’s 17th minute strike the only goal on a famous night at Elland Road.
However, perhaps the most famous meeting between the sides came in 2001 with Newcastle top of the table following a 3-1 victory over Arsenal. Sir Bobby Robson’s side came to Elland Road looking to keep the momentum going and did so in a thrilling fashion with a 4-3 victory over the Lilywhites. Nobby Solano finished the game in thrilling fashion with a last minute winner which secured the game’s place amongst the Premier League classics and sent the Geordie faithful into ecstasy. If you wanted to know what a state the two United’s have got themselves into you can simply look at the starting
If you wanted to know what a state the two United’s have got themselves into you can simply look at the starting line-up from that day and compare them to the sides which could feature on Sunday afternoon. The Leeds side featured: Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler and Harry Kewell, while Newcastle fielded Alan Shearer, Nobby Solano with Sir Bobby Robson in charge. In contrast, on Saturday, Leeds may field a side featuring Mackem reject Liam Bridcutt and former England keeper Rob Green, famous for spilling a simple shot into the net against the United States in the 2010 World Cup, hardly an upgrade. However, Newcastle can’t particularly claim a huge advance either, perhaps fielding the undeniable genius of Messrs Dummett and Gouffran on the field at Elland Road.
One thing is clear, Leeds v Newcastle is a top-flight fixture between two of England’s biggest clubs but this weekend it will take place outside of the Premier League. It is a fixture worthy of the so called, ‘Greatest League in the World’. Instead, we will have to watch Hull’s visit to the cultural metropolis which is Sunderland and the mega game between the great pillars of the English game, Stoke and Bournemouth. Clearly, Newcastle and Leeds both need to get back where they belong not just for their fanbases but for the good of the English game as a whole.
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