Thanks to Pete from Through it all Together for answering some questions before our game at Elland Road.
1) Given more favourable financials how far do you think David O’Leary could’ve taken Leeds?
I’d like to say Leeds could have hung around the top of Premier League, with another Champions League run, but it was always built on a house of cards. I’m afraid that for all of the quality in those sides, once Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea and the transfer prices started skyrocketing, I don’t know if Leeds could have kept up.
Another Champions League quarter-final or semifinal could have been in the cards, but I don’t know if Leeds would have been able to keep up with Chelsea and Liverpool in the following years.
At the very least, you’d like to think that Leeds could have survived and made a few UEFA Cup appearances, perhaps like an Everton or Tottenham Hotspur, but who knows.
2) Who would you rather have as your midfield enforcer, David Batty or Olivier Dacourt?
David Batty. There is a not-insignificant amount of Leeds fans who consider Batty to be their all-time favourite Leeds player. And, no matter how good Dacourt was, Batty bled for Leeds. Dacourt came in and did a job, but he could never have been the heart of the team.
3) Do Leeds fans hold any resentment towards Rio Ferdinand or Alan Smith for joining Manchester United or is there an acceptance that your club needed the money and it shouldn’t really matter where that money came from?
I don’t think too many people are that fussed about Rio, since he came to Leeds for money and left for money. It’s not the same as with Alan Smith, who really did seem to love Leeds.
Smith was heavily vilified by a lot of fans for leaving for the red half of Manchester, but time heals all wounds. Smith, if I recall correctly, left money on the table to help Leeds and while some fans don’t forgive him, I think a large majority of fans have moved on and don’t hold him in the same regard as a lot of other players from that time period.
4) Do you think Nigel Martyn gained the international recognition he deserved, compared to someone like Paul Robinson who probably overachieved in this regard?
Probably not. I think Martyn has largely been overshadowed over the years, but he’s still regarded as one of the best, if not the best, keeper to have played at Leeds.
5) How do Leeds fans regard Harry Kewell? Obviously he left for Liverpool at the peak of his powers but then gave Leeds fans a stick to beat him with when he joined Galatasaray. He was one of the best attackers in the Premier League, for my money.
Harry Kewell is about as hated a figure as you’ll find in Leeds. Leaving for Liverpool was painful enough, as Leeds had brought him through the youth Academy, but to sign for Galatasaray was just too much.
Most of the players who left after the Ridsdale era at Leeds during the meltdown were forced to leave, and fans can forgive that as it wasn’t their fault. Even Alan Smith signing for Manchester United can be forgiven, but to sign for a club whose fans literally stabbed a couple Leeds fans to death? No way. I don’t think there is a single Leeds fan that doesn’t consider him a snake.