Leeds United: The Lost Generation

By way of introduction, the following article was written by my little brother Nadav Winehouse, who is aged 16, and captures a feeling that I assume is shared by others of his generation, for as bad as we have it, those who have never known success surely have it worse. I remember the days when David Healy was his hero, a fate I do not wish on my worst enemy. I read it and felt it had to be published, as he writes with a maturity that belies his age.

January 10th 2004, a date which will have very little significance to the majority of Leeds fans. However, to me, the date signifies the first ever time I entered Elland Road. That day, Leeds United lost to a solitarily Robbie Keane goal. Unfortunately, it was also the first and last ever time that I saw Leeds United play in the Premier League. I am a member of a certain generation; a generation that has never seen a ‘good’ Leeds team, a generation who have had to endure the tales of Leeds under David O’Leary, Howard Wilkinson and Don Revie, a generation who have been lost in the perennial abyss of the Football League.

To me, Leeds United have always been shite. I have never had the luxury of seeing quality football at Elland Road. Rather than seeing Leeds go toe-to-toe with Barcelona and A.C Milan, I’ve seen us fail struggle to survive onslaughts from the footballing minnows of Hull City and Watford. It is not only the footballing side of things that me and my fellow generation have missed out on: we have never had the luxury of wearing quality football apparel, sporting Macron and Diadora rather than Nike and Puma; we have never had the gratification of opening a packet of stickers and finding one of our heroes in a white shirt glaring at us; we have never been able to go onto FIFA and see Leeds listed alongside the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. Our generation have not only missed good football, but we have also, to an extent, missed out on a childhood.

What would the Premier League be like for my generation? Will it be akin to the promotions of Reading and Swansea, entering an unknown land, not knowing what will occur? I imagine that some Swansea and Reading fans do not see their clubs as top division sides – their situation will simply be foreign to them. This is a similar feeling to what some, older Leeds fans will surely feel, the current Leeds United side the antithesis of what they are used to from times gone by. Luckily, one of the perks of being a member of the generation to never know a good Leeds side is the fact that, to quote Marching on Together, we have known the ‘downs’ rather than the ‘ups’, thus being destroyed by Barnsley, or the sale of our best players, is simply the norm.

The Premier League to my generation will feel odd, it will not be Leeds United to us. Unfortunately for me, Leeds will always be a dire lower-league side. It will take years of the therapeutic embrace of Sky Sports’s loving glow to convince me otherwise. Why am I writing this? It is a message to David Haigh, Salem Patel and GFH Capital. It is vital for the club that another generation is not lost – thousands of potential Leeds fans have been attracted to the ‘successful clubs‘ during this current spell in the lower leagues, thousands more will be lost if we progress in the current fashion. A change needs to occur for the club to create a fan base for the future.

Follow Nadav Winehouse on Twitter (@nadavwinehouse1).


11 thoughts on “Leeds United: The Lost Generation”

  1. Wonderful article. I am lucky enough to have seen all the Leeds teams you mention. Seen them win the league, cups and followed them into Europe. I feel sorry for guys of your age as it will be many many years before this happens again, due firstly to the fact that football has changed so much and only the strong (rich) will survive. Secondly due to the fact that Bates has destroyed anything we had as a football club. It was hoped that the takeover would change things, but GFH are skint, and as they have nothing to offer, they must sell before things get even worse.

  2. Being a Leeds United fan of ‘a certain age’, I have witnessed the ups as well as the downs. Although I emphathise with you on the dross we have had to endure for most of the 21st century, in many ways being around when the good times rolled if anything makes it even harder to endure the present. I have stuck with Leeds United through thick and thin (mostly thin it has to be said!) and I would urge all younger fans to do the same. The occasional high (e.g. winning at Old Trafford in the FA Cup as a 3rd Division side going to the home of the then Premier League champions and beating a strong Tottenham side in this year’s competition) gives us a glimpse of what the good times can be like. The only positive spin on the current state of play is that we are just one rung below the Premier League and not two as we were when a League One side from 2007 – 10. If the current board shows ambition (as a previous one finally did in the late 1980’s) then we can be back at the top table within a relatively short time scale. It will take investment of course and the fans will need to be courted back to Elland Road in their thousands with more realistic ticket pricing for the Championship and a better standard of football being offered. This will help to make Elland Road a fortress once again and send out a message to our rivals. This is not an easy division to get out of as Burnley, Hull, Blackburn, Bolton and Wolves can testify over the last couple of seasons, but it is not impossible. Norwich and Southampton have shown what can be achieved when a club is focused and has momentum behind it. Unfortunately a great opportunity was wasted in our first season back in the Championship but there is no point in looking back. GFH have to show us their blue print for the future and how they intend to achieve it. Get the fans back on side and with proper investment in the team, Leeds United can become an unstoppable force at this level.

  3. Great article ,the first time I saw leeds utd.was the 1965 cup final as an 8 year old boy living in Newcastle.We had just moved from Geldered road that year .It was tough being a Leeds fan in Newcastle then.Over the years I have followed them through ups and more downs that I care to remember.We have had some terrible injustices in the time I have followed them. I thought that the early part of this century under Oleary that we were about to make it,should have known better foundations built on sand again.As for the last ten years I have lived in dispair and at times wished the club had gone bankrupt when in administration.Why Bates and now GFH want to own a club like Leeds is beyond me ,if they cant or dont want to invest in it why own it unless they actualy want to see the club wither and die,I would not put that past Bates and believe he still pulls the strings behind GFH.We will probably have to wait till he is dead before we are shot of him,god forbid he has a son waiting in the wings to take over from him to twist the knife a little more.Rant over,mot
    gerry 50 years a white.

  4. I am of a generation who witnessed good Leeds sides
    Your brother is spot on
    Leeds are heading towars mediocrity amongst the has beens and never has beens
    The new owners need to prove thet have real ambition to resurrect this club
    If they have a plan lets heAr what it is
    Waving scarves and tweeting proves nothing
    The reality is significant money needs to be spent to move in the right direction
    I hope your brother hangs in there and gets to enjoy a decent side competing with the best

  5. Nicely written – I felt a lot like you missing the Revie years, and enduring the decline in the late 70’s to the dark days of the 80’s, but when we arrive back in the top division and ER is full all those bad memories do fade away pretty quickly. As for your FIFA comment – not sure anyone has played as Leeds with a decent team!!

  6. When I was 16 Leeds had just been relegated to Division Two as was. The Revie giants were destroyed, the club falling apart. Racism and violence was rife. Shortly we would be playing in front of crowds of less than 10,000. We’d watch David Harle, Jeff Chandler, who knows how many other nobodies disgracing the shirt.

    The odd really good player appeared only to be sold from under our noses. Sellars, Irwin, Sheridan as examples.

    We messed with our legends, making them managers and then sacking them.

    We were pitiful.

    And then we had a brief spell in the sun – after 1992 we actually won nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    It was actually only just over a decade, just as the Revie era was. We have spent only around half of our history in the top flight. Assuming Nadav can bear life out of the limelight for a bit longer then the lesson is that being a football fan is for most fans in the country this IS football.

    Unless you’re part of the Scum Sky generation (which is ironically seen as a good thing in the article when in fact it’s unutterably awful), welcome to what it’s all about. It’s the journey, the ups and downs, the joy and the pain. The Lost Generation will be back when the lapsed fans suddenly remember where LS11 0ES is, just as they deserted us the day we were relegated from the Sky Premiership.

    Life isn’t easy.

    Deal with it.

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