Leeds United are a side who have won every major domestic honour, including 3 league titles. Alongside this, we’ve also made our mark in Europe, reaching the European Cup Final in 1975 and twice winning the UEFA Cup.
Such a history is something a once rugby-dominated city should quite rightly be proud of, and if any Leeds United fan wishes to start a worldwide day of celebration for these exploits, you can count me in. In fact, I’ll even help organise it.
What I won’t celebrate however is a 3rd round FA Cup tie from 3 years ago when we beat our hated rivals and (then) Premier League champions, Manchester United. I’ll leave the celebrating of one-off cup game victories to the lesser teams like Hull City and Barnsley who have good reason to celebrate these things like they’ve won the cup itself, they’re small-time teams who’ll never taste real success. It’s as good as it gets for them.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy beating Manchester United on their own turf as a League One team owned by the closest living relative of Ebenezer Scrooge, on the contrary, I was there and that day was pretty special. But it pales in comparison to the exploits of Howard Wilkinson’s team in the early 1990′s and of Don Revie’s side in the 1960′s and 1970′s. Celebrating a pointless FA Cup victory like it’s on a par – perhaps even better – than the things this club has achieved previously is an affront to our history.
Unfortunately (for me at least), I seem to be in the minority on this one. As anyone who has ventured onto Twitter this morning will testify, the majority of the Leeds United community seems to have turned rather tinpot. Rarely does 10 seconds pass when another embarrassing reference to January the 3rd isn’t added to the #LUFC timeline.
There’s not a single fan reading this who hasn’t mocked (allegedly) lesser teams for rattling on about a victory over Leeds United. Every time one of these sides beats us we joke that they’ll be releasing a commemorative DVD to mark the occasion, we love nothing more than laughing at how tinpot they are.
The irony is, we seem to have sank to their level. We seem to have forgot the reason these tinpot sides want to beat us in the first place. It’s not because we beat Manchester United 3 years ago and hold an anniversary every season to celebrate, no, they find that just as embarrassing as I do.
The reason these sides want to beat us is because Leeds United are a big club with real history. It’s the league and European success that makes us a big catch, not a one-off game in a competition we no longer stand any chance of winning. For the sake of the Barnsley’s and Hull City’s of this world, let’s try and put this January the 3rd thing to bed once and for all before they realise we’re just as tinpot as they are.
January the 3rd. For the sake of Don Revie and Howard Wilkinson, forget the date.