Dirty Leeds

When you tell someone you're a Leeds fan, you can almost guarantee that they will use the phrase "Dirty Leeds" at some point in the first thirty seconds of their reply. With this in mind, the aim of this page is to shed some light on the whole dirty leeds misnomer.

Popular Misconception

Look no further than the urban dictionary for a text book definition of what the uneducated believe underpins the Dirty Leeds tag.

Perpetuating The Myth

Sometime during his 11 year reign as the self proclaimed God of all things football, Tim Lovejoy declared that any mention of Leeds had to be preceded by the prefix "Dirty", this not only perpetuated the myth among those old enough to remember it's supposed historical origin, but it also gave rise to a bizarre postmodern incarnation, whereby the term "Dirty Leeds" would be bandied around by an army of plastic football fans who didn't know why they were saying it beyond the fact that they obviously thought it was cool to do so.

But Surely Lovejoy Knows His Stuff?

Err...No, and if you are in any doubt I invite you to read the following article penned by the brilliantly perceptive Taylor Parkes writing for When Saturday Comes magazine.

No love, No Joy

Helen Chamberlain’s former sidekick has celebrated leaving Soccer AM for 6.06 with a book. Taylor Parkes wants to know why anyone – anyone – thought it was a good idea to expose the presenter’s ego and prejudices across 288 smugly written pages

Soccer AM is a bad memory: hungover mornings in other people’s flats, disturbed by a crew of whooping simpletons, the slurping of pro and ex-pro rectums, cobbled-together comedy that made me long for the glory days of Skinner and Baddiel’s old shit. Yet Tim Lovejoy himself, with his fashionably receding hair and voice oddly reminiscent of Rod Hull’s, I remember only as an averagely blokey TV presenter – in fact, one of the few averagely blokey TV presenters to make me clack my tongue in irritation, rather than buff my Gurkha knife. Other than as a namesake of The Simpsons’ self-serving man of the cloth, he barely registered; just a bland, blond ringmaster in a cocky circus of crap. Almost a surprise, then, to find that his new book is not just ­tedious in the extreme, it is utterly vile.

Chopped into “chapters” that barely fill a page, in a font size usually associated with books for the partially sighted, Lovejoy on Football is part autobiography, part witless musing, and one more triumph for the crass stupidity rapidly replacing culture in this country. Hopelessly banal and nauseatingly self-assured, smirkingly unfunny, it’s a £300 T-shirt, a piss-you-off ringtone, a YouTube clip of someone drinking their mate’s vomit. Its smugness is a corollary of its vacuity. I hope it makes you sick.

First, it’s clear that being Tim Lovejoy requires a very special blend of arrogance and ignorance. When he’s not listing his media achievements with a breathtaking lack of guile, he’s sneering at those “sad” enough to take an interest in football history, revealing his utter cluelessness about life outside the Premier League (in a section called “Know Your Silverware”, he refers to “League Three”) and making sundry gaffes, major and minor. He names Johan Cruyff as his all-time favourite player, then admits he’s only seen that five-second World Cup clip of the Cruyff turn. Grumbling about footballers’ musical tastes, he complains that “all you’ll hear blasting out of the team dressing room is R&B, rather than what the rest of the country is listening to” – by which he means indie bands. Everywhere there are jaw-dropping illustrations of insularity, self-­satisfaction and a startlingly small mind.

There’s something sinister here, too: beamingly positive, thrilled by wealth, too pleased with himself to ask awkward questions, Tim Lovejoy is the football fan Sepp Blatter has been waiting for. Roman ­Abramovich’s darling young one. Not least for his complacency: his lack of understanding of how football works (and doesn’t work) is best illustrated in a section called “Give Your Chairman A Break”, in which he defends “that Thai bloke at Man City”, and implores us to “look at the Glazers... you would have thought they were nothing but a bunch of Americans intent on buying the club and selling off Old Trafford to Tesco judging by the howl of protests from the fans. Within two seasons though, they had won the title and built a squad the envy of Europe.” Bang your head off the wall at such unreviewable stupidity – Tim’s infantile ideas of shunning “negativity” prod him into precisely the kind of thinking that has had such hugely negative influence on the game. “Look across our national team” – he means England, by the way – “and there isn’t one player who wouldn’t walk into any side in Europe... why is it, before every tournament, we start believing we’re overrated?”

And, surprise: Lovejoy is as wretched a starfucker as could be inferred from his television shows. Everyone in football is Tim’s mate (and here we have pictures to prove it, stars looking confused in his grinning, over-familiar presence, frozen by an arm around the shoulders). He’ll “even watch the occasional game of rugby now, because I’m friends with a lot of the players like Will Greenwood, Matt Dawson, Lawrence­ Dallaglio and Austin Healy”.

It’s perhaps telling that among the many anecdotes offered here, the most heartwarming (and least surprising) involves Tim getting clattered hard by Neil Ruddock in a charity game; even in this version of the story, there’s nothing to suggest Razor meant it affectionately. Still, our man is blinded by quite astonishing hubris, reprinting a photo of a banner at Anfield reading “LOVEJOY SUCKS BIG FAT COCKS” with a glee that is nothing like self-deprecation. “The hardest thing about leaving ­Soccer AM,” he says regretfully, “is the thought that I might no longer be influencing the game.” True, it’ll be tough. But who knows? Perhaps the game will struggle on.

It’s not that there was ever a time when football on telly wasn’t in the hands of dimwits, poseurs and blowhards. It’s not that Lovejoy is significantly more objectionable than TV shits of ages past. The point is, in his own mind and that of the powers that be, he’s one of us. He is us. Savour that. God help us.

Destroying The Myth

Most Leeds fans find it hard to contain their indifference when it comes to the whole "Dirty Leeds" thing; but if pressed they are able to offer an informed account of why it's quite simply a load of old bollocks. As a case in point, have a read of this reply on the BBC 606 Website posted by oldlufc (sorry don't know your real name) on the 17th August 2007.

Same Old Rubbish About Revie's Leeds

Yet another 'outsider' on the site tonight slagging off Revie's Leeds team of the 1960s & 1970s. I wonder how many of these 'critics' actually saw the Leeds team of the late 60's early 70's? Most hated? How come Don Revie was Manager of the Year in 1969, 1970, 1972, awarded an OBE in 1970 and then awarded the England job. Leeds players won Footballer of The Year in 1965 (Collins) 1967 (Charlton) 1970 (Bremner), 6 players selected for the 1970 World Cup squad (with Madeley turning down the opportunity) How come they attracted big gates at every away game? usually the best of the season. It was no different then to today when every wanted to see the 'top dog' taken down a peg.

The southern press took it on themselves to start publishing a 'foul count' when Leeds played in London but had to abandon it when the facts did not stand up. The BBC have shown numerous replays of the game in 1972 when Leeds took Southampton apart 7-0 in one of the greatest displays ever by an English league game. Sure everyone 'hated' Leeds because they were a bloody good team. Why did Norman 'Bites yer Legs' Hunter that most 'dirtiest' of players win the 1st ever Professional Players Player of the Season? which shows how much his fellow professionals respected him.

Hunter Davies book, published in 1972, 'The Glory game' where he travels with Spurs for the whole 1971/72 season has fascinating story of the Leeds team when Spurs went to Leeds for a 6th Round FA Cup tie. Trevor Francis is on record as saying that the 1972 FA Cup Semi-Final Leeds team (vs Birmingham) is the best team he ever played against. I have in front of me, as I write, match programmes from 1970 for Liverpool, West Ham and Derby and all contain articles on how much the Leeds team were admired. I could go on all night. My advice is to all these 'critics' is don't jump on the bandwagon of hearsay if you cannot support your comments with fact. MOT

Essential Reading

Book Description

1961. Dirty Leeds is a struggling industrialised city in the north of England. Dirty Leeds is the city's club, sometimes called a football team; its home ground Elland Road, rarely called a stadium. Dirty Leeds is the label given to Leeds United in 1964 by the FA for improper conduct on the field.

Other first teams have far worse disciplinary records, but mud sticks. Dirty Leeds is where young Jimmy O'Rourke is born and bred, brought up by his grandma in the shadow of the hallowed ground itself. This gives him a thirst for the beautiful game and determination to play for the club he loves. 'Dirty Leeds' is a hidden history of Don Revie and his men, and the story of Jimmy's dramatic life, from 1961 to 1974.

(David Peace)

Robert Endeacott has done things the hard way, his way. He writes without pretension, honest and unflinching, born of dedication and passion. With DIRTY LEEDS, he has raised the bar to write a history not only of a football club and its manager, but also of a city and its people.'

(Peter Lorimer)

The 'dirty' tag aimed at us was a sensationalistic jibe more than a fair or true statement. This book addresses the Dirty Leeds myth, truly and fairly, and in a very entertaining way. 'Dirty Leeds' is a great read!

For more details and/or to get hold of Dirty Leeds see following link.

Dirty Leeds

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