“That wasn’t a dirty Leeds player, was it?” – New signing Diego Llorente’s antics from last night’s international friendly between Spain and Portugal was subjected to slight criticism by a Sky Sports commentator.
The Spaniard starred in an incident with Portugal’s Renato Sanches: after failing to execute a fair challenge for the ball, he caught hold of the midfielder’s shirt very cynically, and then tugged at it in a desperate attempt to win the ball back.
“The Dirty Leeds” tag grew up in the newspapers during Leeds United‘s promotion season in 1963-64. In the summer, the Football League’s official journal featured an article on the rise of dirty tactics and cynical football and published the disciplinary table, from the previous season with Leeds at the top.
The incredible success that the Yorkshire club enjoyed in the 1960s and 1970s was also often marred by criticism for being a very physical side: as Brian Clough famously said, “This is the dirtiest, most cynical team in the country.”
It is safe to say that the coinage of the term has stood through the test of time: as one could still hear rival fans chanting the same till even last season when they won the Championship.
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani commented at the start of this season that he is unfazed by the tag and stressed on the fact that the tag should motivate players to channel their public image into impressive performances.
Despite being a team which plays incredible attacking football, Leeds know that they have to fight for supremacy every time they get on the pitch, as reiterated by Radrizzani.
Leeds United fans, much like the club owner, won’t mind their players using menacing means as long as Marcelo Bielsa’s team get the required results, and build on their very impressive start to life in the Premier League this season.
Check out the clip of Sky commentator referring to Diego Llorente as ‘dirty Leeds’ player below –