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Lowdown on Leeds

Posted on 2 November 2001  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

For all the plaudits Leeds United have received since David O'Leary took over from George and gave youth its head is the one tangible currency recognised by supporters - silverware.

It might have irked some Leeds supporters that, while Leeds were blazing a debut trail in the Champions League, losing out in the semi-finals to Valencia, Liverpool were quietly setting about putting three trophies on the table.

The connection being, that Leeds were viewed as being further ahead in their development than the Anfield side at that stage.

But, by acquiring the knack of winning key games, Liverpool now have the confidence to take on all-comers, while Leeds are not yet proven in this sense. That is why O'Leary would gratefully take the Worthington Cup this season.

You may not have to hurdle Lazio, Real Madrid and Barcelona to do it, but it is a pot on the sideboard that can have a springboard effect where future cup runs are concerned.

As things stand now, should O'Leary for whatever reason take his leave, he would not, in historical terms, be considered a success. Of modern times he would fall behind Howard Wilkinson who has a League Championship on his Leeds CV.

The fact that O'Leary has transformed the club, harnessed a crop of exciting products into an outfit that are often thrilling to watch, would count for little because they haven't won anything. Points win prizes, as they say, not just being gallant and pleasing on the eye.

This is being slightly pedantic, and Leeds are a fine side sitting very near the Premiership summit. O'Leary and his forward-thinking chairman Peter Ridsdale are well aware of the need to win things and the chairman has invested accordingly.

Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane and, more recently, Seth Johnson have been added to the squad at great expence as Leeds seek to sustain a challenge to Manchester United on the domestic front.

A young, vibrant pool of players along with approved plans to switch to a new, enlarged stadium at the end of the A1M, suggest a bright, well mapped out future for the Yorkshiremen.

But the best way to ease the transition into a bigger arena is to win things, attract players and increase gates accordingly. The experience of Newcastle differed slightly.

An injury ravaged Leeds well surpassed expectations in the Champions League last term, outlasting the challenge of Arsenal and Manchester United. The problem was that League form suffered due to the thin resources, although they did rally and nearly closed in on the third spot secured by Liverpool.

Leeds have hit the ground running in Premiership terms this season - and do not have the distraction of the Champions League. O'Leary is not afraid to talk in terms of winning it, avoiding usual manager-speak and stating that he wants to win every game.

The fact that Leeds have emerged from visits to Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United unbeaten suggests they are well equipped for a shot at the leading domestic prize - and few neutrals would begrudge them winning it.