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‘Leeds and Newcastle are only 2 clubs capable of becoming powerhouses to challenge the elite’

12 months ago

Newcastle United travel to Elland Road tonight and face Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United.

A lot of fans up and down the country are fairly mixed on whether they like Leeds or hate them (a bit like they are wiyth us!).

Well to be honest, I’m glad they’re finally back in the big time after such a long absence, far longer than a lot of people expected, certainly me anyway.

A lot of people may have been happy to see “Dirty Leeds” go down at the time and laughed at them as they fell down the divisions. Personally, for me as a 33 year old, I never knew Leeds as a ‘dirty’ side.

While I was in my teens, I thought Leeds were similar to Newcastle. Full of ambition, good attacking football, great to watch and were very capable of winning silverware, plus we used to get some crackers when Newcastle United and Leeds United met.

We all know what happened to Leeds and what their prize was for daring to dream and chasing success, Mike Ashley and his cronies preached to Kevin Keegan and to the fans about what happened with Leeds and what would happen with us if we followed suit. Yes we didn’t quite do a Leeds financially but it didn’t stop Mike Ashley overseeing us relegated two years after he’d bought NUFC and six years after Leeds had made the drop.

Leeds may have had nothing to shout about these last 15 years or so and they’ve spent it stuck in the Championship and League One, but we have hardly had much to get excited about either.

Newcastle and Leeds for me are massive underachievers and should have won more, plus they should be more than they currently are today as clubs.

The potential of both is massive and as far as I’m concerned, they are the only two clubs left in the land with room to grow. Given the right backing, plus no backstabbing from the likes of the big six and Richard Masters, they could become the next powerhouses of English football.

We hear the term “sleeping giant” get thrown about a lot, a bit too much for my liking, but both clubs are exactly that for me.

It is criminal that Mike Ashley went about destroying our club, ripping nearly everything away that was good about Newcastle United, bit by bit, year in and year out.

Sad to miss seeing Leeds in the Premier League for so many years, I’m glad that tonight we will finally get to see this top flight fixture back, as it was one of my favourites of the season.

They may not be anywhere near the teams we had with Sir Bobby or Leeds with David O’Leary but there’s still something about this fixture for me that is special.

Leeds in some ways are better off than us, they are showing ambition, playing a better brand of football and have a great manager , one that is a lot better than ours anyway…and I’m not having a pop at Steve Bruce in saying this.

On paper, Newcastle are the stronger in terms of the current respective squads, but at the moment Leeds are playing with a bit of freedom, happy to be here, and appear to be pretty much all pulling in the same direction as a club. Whereas we are a club that has no current identity with the only hope that the owner clears off.

I was hopeful when Rafa Benitez chose to stay after the relegation in 2016, I felt maybe finally Mike Ashley was going to allow Newcastle United to be a football club once again. However, we are simply continuing to go around in this vicious circle and will continue to do so until he goes.

So Leeds for me are like what we were coming backing to the Premier League with Rafa Benitez in charge , the big difference is that their owner is allowing Bielsa to get on with things and is backing his man all the way.

I obviously want us to beat Leeds tonight but honestly wish them all the best for the rest of the season.

Comments welcome.


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