Sunday, October 31, 2010

Leeds The 1991-92 Season

 As Manchester United suffered the final blow to what were only a short while ago heavily odds-on chances of winning their first Championship for 25 rears — going down 2-0 to Liverpool at Anfield on 26 April — it did not help manager Alex Ferguson and his men much when the Kop choir burst out into a chorus of "Always look on the bright side of life". With Leeds being crowned champions after their same-day victory at Bramall Lane, there is only bitter disappointment for Manchester, who a week ago were two points ahead with a game in hand over their rivals. But three defeats in that time — their first home reversal of the season, by Forest, and losses to bottom club West Ham and now Liverpool — have been them snatch failure out of the very jaws of triumph. This should not be allowed to detract from Leeds's fine achievement, however. They have battled with Manchester lor the leadership all season. They are unbeaten at home, and have lost only four League matches all together. All credit to manager Howard Wilkinson, who in less than four years has transformed Leeds from a side fighting to stay in the Second Division into the champions of England. 

 In doing so, he has banished from Elland Road the ghosts of the Revie era for good. Leeds have been strong in all departments, but their midfield has been outstanding: the evergreen Gordon Strachan, Wilkinson's most inspirational sinning, the combative David Batty and the elusive Gary McAllister, and Gary Speed play-Be wide. It is ironic that newly elected Footballer of the Year Strachan, the keyman in the Leeds revival, should have been fat out to grass by Alex Ferguson three years ago. with doubts surrounding his ability to keep up with the pace of top-level football. In goal, John Lukic won his second Championship medal, while other ex-Arsenal men shone in the centre: Chris Whiyte in defence and Lee Chapman up front. Wilkinson added an extra touch of flair and finesse with the introduction of French international striker Eric Cantona for the last third of the season. usually as substitute, and the popular chant of "Ooh, ah, Cant-o-nah" became a familiar mind on the terraces as Leeds gotl their way to the title.

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