If you were to ask fans of English football, who the most hated team in the country is, you might get a bunch of varied answers from the younger generation – Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool etc. However, pose the same question to people who were born before the 80’s and the answer is likely to be unanimous – Leeds United.
The prefix ‘dirty’ or ‘nasty’ is ubiquitous with the word Leeds for football fans of a certain age. The feeling of hatred is so deep that it persists till date even among fans of top flight clubs despite Leeds United not having been part of the Premier League for over a decade and a half.
People have tried to explain the contempt aimed at Leeds through different reasons. Is it because they were one of the most successful teams in the country at one time? Is it because of their Yorkshire roots? Is it because of the overly physical, in-your-face football they played under the likes of Don Revie? Is it because of the supposed arrogance of their fan base?
The truth is, the reason is hard to pin down but one thing is for certain – being hated is much better than being ignored. Leeds fans certainly seem to thrive off the hatred they receive from opposition fans. A recent newspaper column in one of the country’s leading dailies talks about this exact phenomenon and asserts that even those who hate Leeds , secretly want them to get promoted back to the Premier League. Unsurprisingly, an excerpt from the column has gone viral among Leeds fans on social media:
Leeds have had a few false dawns in recent years but looking at their performances and results so far this season, they certainly seem to have found the right guy to lead them back to the promised land in Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentinian has gotten them to the summit of the EFL championship table, playing attractive, high-pressing football that is a joy to watch even for the neutrals.
Perhaps even the people who hate Leeds do secretly want to see them get promoted, perhaps not. However, one thing is for sure – even if they do get promoted, this Bielsa team is anything but ‘dirty’, ‘nasty’ or ’boring’.