Leeds United’s last great 1 to 11

TO SUPPORTERS of a certain age, their names roll from the tongue as readily as Revie’s men of the 60s and 70s. When Lukic, Sterland, Dorigo, Batty, Fairclough, Whyte, Strachan, Wallace, Chapman, McAllister and Speed brought the League title to Leeds, Kick Sportswear decked out players and fans alike in all-over print t-shirts bearing huge club crests on blocks of white, blue and yellow which proudly proclaimed LEEDS LEEDS LEEDS in Compacta Bold Italic.

Inside the brand new special 64-page issue of The Square Ball, alongside fans’ recollections of 1992 (and contrasting reflections on present-day mediocrity) lies my take on an early-90s design classic.

Buy the final TSB of the season from sellers around Elland Road at Saturday’s game against Leicester City, or online right now at thesquareball.net

Sheridan dictates in The Square Ball

SHERIDAN dictates. Sheridan scores. Sheridan celebrates. Sheridan makes the impossible look easy and makes you feel like you could do it too.

Bookended in the current The Square Ball by some fine words from Steve Firth and Adam Jubb on Leeds United’s 1986/87 season – that crescendoed from almost nothing, which is pretty much what we had when it ended – is my ode to joy, to John Sheridan, and his Marco Tardelli moment.


Buy The Square Ball issue 9 from sellers around Elland Road at Saturday’s game against Peterborough United, or online right now at thesquareball.net.

The Marching On Together Story

WHEN Andy Sturdevant saw The Damned United film a couple of years ago, he liked the theme song so much he adapted its lyrics for his city’s baseball side, the Minnesota Twins, and performed it on his local radio show.

When Sam Utne heard about Sturdevant’s version last year, he started to record his pals singing it on Skype and slapped the consequential cacophony onto YouTube in the nick of time for the opening day of the Twins’ 2012 season.

What these Minnesotans were meddling with was Marching On Together. I recently chatted to sock tag-inventing artist Paul Trevillion for The Square Ball magazine about how the anthemic sound of Leeds, Leeds, Leeds – to give the B-side to the top ten hit Leeds United its proper name – came into being. Days before Don Revie’s men beat Birmingham City in the 1972 FA Cup Semi Final, Trevillion takes up the tale.

“I said to Don, ‘We’ll have to get a song. Is there anybody you’d like to sing it?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Tom Jones.’ I said, ‘We won’t get Tom Jones!’ ‘Get the guy who writes his songs then,’ he insisted. ‘The guy who wrote Delilah, The Last Waltz, come on!’ ‘That’s Les Reed and Barry Mason,’ I replied. ‘They don’t do football records, Don!’ ‘You want the boys to wear your stocking tags?’ he said, ‘But you’re telling me you can’t get him to do our record? Go get him.’

“So I found out where Les Reed lived and I went round. I got there at eight o’clock in the morning and rang the bell. Nothing happened. I waited another hour and I rang it again, and there was no answer. I kept pressing the bell, and in the end it was about one o’clock in the afternoon and he answered the door and said, ‘What do you want? I’ll give you just a minute, that’s all. 60 seconds.’ ‘I want you to do the Leeds United song,’ I said. He burst out laughing, saying ‘You’re kidding.’ ‘No,’ I insisted. ‘We’re gonna bring it out in time for the Cup Semi Final. Are you on?’

“He said ‘Come in. I’ll get Barry over.’ Barry Mason arrived and asked, ‘How do you want it?’ ‘There’s a number in Robin Hood with Errol Flynn,’ I told him. ‘It won an Oscar, it’s the greatest music I’ve ever heard. Can we have it like that?’ And Barry started banging on the table, saying ‘How about: Here we go with Leeds United! We love you Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!’ I said, ‘Get the beat from Robin Hood, get that sound!’ and they were on for it.

“I couldn’t believe it, we got the record out for the Birmingham game. The bloody Birmingham game, the Semi Final, not for the Final! It got to number ten, for goodness sake! Above all the great stars who were around – the Elvis Presleys and the Tom Joneses and all of it – and it’s still a belter, and Leeds still do it.”

FREE: Leeds Fans United


FOLLOWING the Leeds City Council leader’s endorsement of the Leeds United Supporters Trust, whose membership is soon set to exceed 5,000, I release a second poster (below) as a free downloadable PDF for you to print, share, and show your support for fellow fans.

LUST is an independent, democratic, not-for-profit co-operative. Join now for free.

Links: A4 poster | Join LUST

Visit Beeston World Tour!

“I LEFT England 7 months ago to ride a motorbike trip to New Zealand, and stuck a Visit Beeston sticker on the back of my bike that my mate printed out for me,” writes intrepid Square Ball reader, Stu Muxlow. “It’s been through 20 countries so far, so it shouldnt be long before the hotel is fully pre-booked!”

Here’s Stu and his bike taking time out from their epic journey through (amongst others) Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Nepal, Bangladesh and India to do a quick bit of sickpotting in the destination country of New Zealand. Well done, that man!

Read more about Stu’s quest on his Big Trip blog, and get your very own FREE Visit Beeston downloads.

FREE: JOIN LUST

TO ENDORSE the Leeds United Supporters Trust’s vision for an inclusive, transparent football club its supporters and the city can be proud of, I present this poster as a free downloadable PDF for you to print, share, and show your faith in the collective power of fellow fans.

LUST is an independent, democratic, not-for-profit co-operative organisation. My message is simple: join now, it takes two minutes, and it’s free.

Links: A4 poster | Join LUST

Bates for your face in The Square Ball

“I can’t do nuttin’ for ya man; You want six dollars for what?
I can’t do nuttin’ for ya man; You better man kiss my butt,
I can’t do nuttin’ for ya man; I’m busy tryin’ to do for me,
I can’t do nuttin’ for ya man; That’s the way the ball bounces, G.”
~ “Can’t Do Nuttin’ For Ya Man” by Public Enemy

BATES for your face, Beeston! Celebrate Mr Chairman’s 7th anniversary at the helm of Leeds United, and his recent 80th birthday (which makes him just 12 years younger than the club itself), in fine style with The Square Ball this Saturday.

For what seems like an eternity, Ken’s been able to have his cake and eat it – but now it’s YOUR turn with this stunning FREE cut out & wear Ken Bates Cakehole Face Mask.

Buy issue 6 from sellers situated around Elland Road at the game against Ipswich Town on Saturday, or online at thesquareball.net.

Ken Bates Goes Bust: an epilogue

“This was the plan: we would take a holy and sacred picture of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, to the very summit of the earth; once there, we would place it with sincere reverence amongst the chimerical shimmering palaces of ice and snow and then (accompanied by some weird Zen magic) we would light joss sticks, dance about making screechy kung-fu noises, get off our faces, and that would be it: Planet Earth saved. Simple.”
~ Mark Manning, Bad Wisdom

WE HAD the same plan, at 9pm on Saturday 17th December 2011. But instead of a holy and sacred picture of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, we possessed a life-size copper bust of The Great Dictator, Kenneth W. Bates, which we’d just liberated from an Egyptian Temple in Holbeck. And we were on our way to Peter Lorimer’s pub.

Once there, we would place it with sincere reverence amongst the shimmering palaces of football, booze and fags and then we would take him outside, dance about playing “toss the chapati onto Ken Bates’ head”, get off our faces and that would be it: Leeds United saved. Simple.

We weren’t to know all this at the time, though, as we marched towards our destination in the hope that the landlord would be there so we could introduce him to our reconstituted copper effigy of his master. But Lorimer wasn’t there. Nobody was, except we sickpots with The Great Dictator, Kenneth W. Bates, and the Vikings sitting at the bar, demanding in guttural Norse tongues that their flagons be filled to be brim.

Suddenly, our ears pricked up. Vikings? In Holbeck? Could Valhalla, the great hall in which Norse gods received the souls of fallen heroes, stand right here in these frozen south Leeds wastelands? What better place to end our epic quest to sacrifice an artifact of such rare quality and undeniable potency?

Our disappointment would soon be complete, however. No amount of weird Zen magic; certainly no joss sticks; and no kung-fu noises, however screechy, could ever tempt Odin to receive our sacred and holy offering, for its subject – The Great Dictator, Kenneth W. Bates – not only possesses no soul, but also lacks the virtue of having a single heroic bone in his entire body. But shortly afterwards, safely back at the Temple, we did get off our faces.







Photos courtesy of Rob Glover. Thanks to Rob and to Mike Boorman for their good-humoured generosity, to Aidan Brown for creating a brilliant bust of Ken Bates which Ken Bates hates, and to everyone who came along to see it at The Square Ball do.

We bring you the head of Ken Bates

REMEMBER the mysterious emergence of a copper Ken? Thanks to its commissioner Mike Boorman, Aidan Brown’s life-sized bust of the Beeston Hotelier goes on show for the first time in the city of Leeds at The Square Ball Christmas Party at Temple Works on Saturday, straight after the home game against Reading.

The art world hasn’t seen such derring-do since Duchamp signed a piss pot. Be there! Book your £2 ticket right now at thesquareball.net

All proceeds go to the Leeds Children’s Hospital Appeal.

Gary Speed 1969-2011

HOW do you do a man’s life justice in just one image? It’s impossible, but here’s how I remember Gary Speed: on the move, in space, with time on the ball.

This pullout is just one of many fan tributes inside issue 5 of The Square Ball magazine, out on Saturday at Elland Road for the home game against Millwall. See you there.