Friday, 22 February 2013

Tony, Tony Yeboah,Tony Yebo-o-ah

In some respects, occasionally, I consider myself lucky to be an aged supporter of Leeds United.

Like every football club far and wide players come and go; some will make an impression on you, make you feel like they are involved for you as well as themselves and team mates. I’m not a lover of the badge kisser; it seems transparent and somewhat diluted in this day and age, and besides sometimes it’s unnecessary. Usually what they’ve just done is enough to show you the love they have for the club, and it’s on that note that I’d like to talk about Tony Yeboah.

Yeboah played for Leeds 65 times (league and cup) and scored 32 goals… 32 amazing goals!

From the very start, at the back end of the 94/95 season, I knew he was something special. He created a rise of anticipation in my chest and my palms would sweat profusely as I drove to a game thinking about what this man might do if the ball was to come to his feet.

The makings of a fans favourite or a cult player at Leeds United will sometimes be work ethic, we like that or their first goal, how it was celebrated or who it was against. In the case of Tony Yeboah it was a goal at Old Trafford in a FA Cup 5th round tie in February 1995. Tick those boxes Tony!

Yeboah was a player that featured on ‘Match of the Day’ often, and with that came his contributions to ‘Goal of the Month’ awards. This was an era of English football where we had Shearer, Ginola, Kanchelskis, Le Tissier and Kinkladze. This was a time when the Premier League had a massive gold pin on its chest showing off to the rest of the world that we had some of the best strikers in the game and one of them was playing for Leeds!

Which leads me nicely onto the spectacular goals that he scored, the two goals that just will not go away; they bring with them a feeling of elation and a need for a euphoric celebration!!! Not Tony though, usually he’d just turn, run and wag his forefinger as if to say “No, no, no!”

The first was a game against a Roy Evans Liverpool side looking keen to exceed their top four finish of the previous season and the game was hard fought, both sides locked horns. Then, in the 50th minute Tony Dorigo crossed to Rod Wallace, who gave a simple header back to Yeboah, who was 25+ yards out. Then, a ‘stop the clock’ moment; a massive intake of breath from Leeds fans… Seconds turn to what feels like hours, then the ball belts the underside of the upright, down into the ground and then bulges the top of the net still with some alacrity, as if it wants to joyfully keep moving, and with that, Leeds move to the top of the Premier League.

So it posed the question: Was this man that good? Was that ‘wonder goal’ a fluke?

Hardly, practically one month later to the day it was Wimbledon away, and not only did he score yet another breath-taking goal, but got himself the match ball that day too. Some might argue that the goal against Wimbledon was superior as he took the ball on as well as the Dons defence before once again spanking the ball so hard it just left Paul Heald on all fours looking backwards into his net. Not a position any goal keeper wants to be in.

Alas, as is quite commonplace, a footballer’s injury due to international duty and not seeing eye to eye with the manager, George Graham, will soon see you on your way and our Tony returned to the German game from which he had come.

So there you have my take on a fantastic No. 21 for Leeds United FC. A player, whom I saw many times, home and away, and as mentioned, always excited me beyond fever pitch. Always and Forever, Marching on Together!

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