Leeds: Culturally Charged Retro Derby

LEEDS. “The Dirties” as my children think they are officially nicknamed. Not the power to be feared they once were. Nor even the hostile atmosphere of old for visiting fans. And not/probably not/as close we get to “a derby” – but still a game with a potential to really sting if we lose. Throw in the buzz around Aitor Karanka’s dug-out debut and a decent 2,500 turnout and we have all the ingredients of a culturally charged short-haul showdown.
Leeds. Every time we go there these days they seem to be in the throes of the latest destabilising takeover bid or boardroom battle. Usually by a mysterious offshore outfit with anonymous (but bearded) Byzantine corporate structures that are part geography lesson and part tax efficient financial flowchart. This time at least they know who is trying to buy a stake … Lucas Radebe, superb stand in keeper (but not good enough to keep out Graham Kavanagh’s penalty) and Kaiser Chiefs legend.
Anyway, enough of the waffle. Here’s one I did earlier on the curious historical nature of the Leeds retro-derby…

SO, IS Leeds a derby? That the question even needs to be posed is telling and speaks volumes about Teesside’s cultural confusion and identity crisis. Distance, geography and logic suggest it is not… but Boro are taking 2,500 fans to Elland Road for Aitor Karanka’s dug-out debut with even the new boss admitting it is a game that will have an edge.
It is a powder keg clash that will bring generations of historical emnity bubbling back to the surface on a day when there is far more than just the usual three points at stake. It sure feels like a derby….
Those from Stockton may insistemphatically that it is not a derby game. But then again, they are from Stockton, a “town full of mackems”. They will naturally look to the North and to more recent rivalries when it comes to bragging rights.
They will have grown up with regular Riverside clashes against our Tyne-Tees screen-time rivals Newcastle and Sunderland. And for years now fallen giants Leeds have been in their schadenfraude inducing post-Ridsdale nightmare of administration, relegation and lower league exile, the price they paid for the Goldfish Years of dream-chasing excess. There was a time when they were a dominant force – and with a Boro born boss in the dug-out – but that was 40 years ago. They are nothing to be feared or hated now.
For an older generation though, and especially those on the “Yorkshire” side of the river who grew up before Middlebrough was culturally and politically moved 30 miles north in the municiple shake-ups of the late 60s and early 70s, and for those who live in the hinterlands or have have friends and family and business links that point them south to Thirsk, Whitby, Northallerton and beyond, Leeds have a different historical footprint.
For many thwack of leather on willow merchants on the south of the river too the very fact that Yorkshire played cricket at Acklam Park was a binding cultural tie. But that was loosened gradually and cut completely in the early 90s.
But cricket is a sideshow. it is football alone that has shaped this relationship. For a decade or more Leeds were the most successful team in the country. They were a dominant evil empire lurking aggressively to the south and a serious threat to Boro in the battle for hearts and minds in the playgrounds of the town – and more so in the disputed badlands of North Yorkshire. For fans of a certain age, probably 40 plus, Leeds are the old enemy. Grrrrrrrr.
Leeds was always a derby in the 1970s. There was no question. When you watched Yorkshire TV the Revie machine was an ever present headline hogging juggernaut. That is who you were measured against, not Newcastle and Sunderland which were still then dark and distant alien towns practically on the Scottish border.
Leeds were the Manchester United of their day, the glory hunter’s choice and all the sheep in Boro schools had the stupid sock tags with the numbers on and smiley Leeds badges painted on their haversacks. Duncan McKenzie could jump over a mini you know.
When Boro were still in the second division and Leeds were winning trophies and carving through Europe the pecking order was quite clear. They were the big boys who offered reflected glory and glamour and to eschew that to follow Boro was to elect for a life of self-inflicted masochism and mediocrity.
And it wasn’t just kids who fell into dirty Leed’s cynical embrace. Every fortnight there would be coach-loads of Teessiders travelling to Elland Road, adults reafffirming their Yorkshire identity and rowdy young ruffians enticed by the boot boy mystique.
The problem was made concrete when Jack Charlton took Boro up and we went head-to- head with them. More so when we started to beat them. What had been a patronising pat on the head for the little neighbours or even a smarmy second team affection because of their hero Charlton became a more marked snarling antagonism and soon the game became a serious point of friction and a real battle for status. In the seventies beating Leeds was far more important than beating the pair to the north.
Leeds was one game when Middlesbrough had to metaphorically lock up its daughters. Shops put shutters up and all police leave was cancelled. There was always trouble: in and around the station, in the pubs and in and around the ground as the meatheads on both sides fought it out. There were running battles in Boot Boy Alley and the Old Mans Park as swarms of kids in flares and parkas ducked for cover and the police horses charged up and down Linthorpe Road.
At away games too. It was a trip where the Beggs Buses convoy often came back without windows and on the approach by foot you got asked the time a lot. Elland Road was a horrible and hostile place to go.
Since then thankfully the antagonism has eased. The immediate cultural conflict with our former sparring partners has faded as Middlesbrough has settled into its marriage with Stockton and started to get on better with the in-laws. We watch Tyne-Tees and are part of One North East, or South Newcastle or whatever the quangocrats’ sub-region is called these days. The once live grenade of the Leeds game has been defused.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a residual hostility. There is, and mainly because of the institutional boorish Tetley bittermen mentality of the Leeds travelling crowd, the only group that surpass Newcastle and Sunderland in their conscious nastiness. These are fans after all who sang in praise of the Yorkshire Ripper to taunt police. And Munich to taunt manchester United. And they started the paedophile taunts here too. Nice.
They always travel in numbers and bring with them an edge. That’s a good thing. It adds to the atmosphere. A lot cross the line. Probably the majority. And, to be fair, it is reciprocated. A section of Boro fans last year chanted to Leeds fans that Jimmy Saville was “one of your own.” But generally Leeds is now not a dangerous place to go. You can can wear shirts safely. Which is also a good thing. In fact, on the last few trips most of the home fans anger has been aimed at their own board.
So the animosity remains. Of course, it doesn’t help that their fans laughed as Juninho sobbed on the pitch when we got relegated at Elland Road in 1997 too but while that still stings a bit that is a minor charge on the historic crime sheet.
So it may only be a derelict shell of a derby and not even recognised in some parts of Teesside as being relevent – the poll on the gazettelive.co.uk Boro page edged just towards the ‘no’ camp so there is no emphatic feeling – but for many this will still be our biggest game of the season. And not just because of the massive pressure on the boss.


41 thoughts on “Leeds: Culturally Charged Retro Derby

  1. Its not a derby – who are boro? Week after its blackburn for leeds – were taking 7.2k not because its blackburn – just cos we can …. Only reason you are on the map is wor jackie, tc and ian baird…

  2. Jealousy is a terrible trait. Get over yourself.
    **AV writes: Jealousy? Where is that indicated in the text? This piece is nothing to do with Leeds. It is about the changing cultural context of the fixture for Boro. I don’t really do that playground call and response “banter.” Sorry.

  3. It’s a derby. Coz Leeds, like us, don’t actually have an obvious derby. Up here the derbies are Sunderland-Newcastle or Hartlepool-Darlington. Down there it’s the two Sheffields, for example.
    Historically we are the bigger club as we have spent more seasons in the top division than they have.
    **AV writes: Leeds’ obvious derby is with Bradford but they have been in the same division so rarely as to make it a cultural oddity rather than a burning passion.
    I think Leeds fans see the ‘War of the Rose’ clash with Manchester United as the one where their pride and bragging rights are most at stake with other ‘real’ Yorkshire games all more or less equal second and then us and Hull behind that.

  4. As I have posted before I saw a fair bit of Leeds when I was a student there in the early seventies.
    Like many I saw the sanitised highlights on TV in the sixties and they were OK originally as the new boys from our division taking on the might of ManU, Liverpool etc. As a Boro fan you could identify with them
    It was another world in the top flight but as the sixties wore on I started to dislike
    them but my eyes were opened watching them as a neutral live. They just couldn’t resist thuggery on the pitch.
    The fans were no better. Probably enjoy beating them more than any other team. Even our friends in the rest of Tyne Wear TV.

  5. Leeds fan here, this is a different, interesting & explained article.
    A cut above the usual anti Leeds drivel we get every week.
    For what its worth I have always considered Boro to be a (Yorkshire) derby game which really matters.
    I can confirm that the nastiness was a two way thing as visiting Ayresome park many times in my youth it was ALWAYS a place to be on your toes with grief a given. In terms of places to go where you expected to be attacked it was in the top four with Sunderland, Man City and Chelsea
    Not sure how it will pan out on Saturday but a good read.
    **AV writes: Good, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Anthony –
    Get over it. You sound very bitter and jealous. Oh yes, because you are.
    Looking forward to the game…you finally beat us at Riverside last season, albeit thanks to the miss of the season by Ross. Oh yes Ross…almost certain he’ll score on Saturday.
    *pat on the head for Boro’*
    **AV writes: I think you should really be on another board.. You sound about 14.

  7. And of course the fanged venom dripping irony that their success was owed to Don Revie, one of the fantastically successful pair of Middlesbrough born managers who changed the face of football.

  8. Have I come onto the Yorkshire Post site by accident? Considering the Whites are not bothered about Boro there seems an awful lot of them reading a Boro blog intently.
    For me I’m looking forward to seeing Aitor’s influence on the Boro and the opposition is almost irrelevant.
    **AV writes: I’ve had to spike a few because it was just swearing and the other stuff, you know, nasty stuff. Which is a shame. I’d be quite interested in a reasoned critique from a Leeds fan of exactly where Boro stand in their cultural universe and how it has changed since the 70s,

  9. I didnt mention if I thought it was a derby. Never thought of it like that, they were just a nasty piece of work.
    Luckily I was never involved with the running battles because I worked and lived away during most of that period.

  10. Think I’ll desert this haven of civilised and perceptive discussion until the barbarians have passed through. They do a disservice to their town.

  11. “I think Leeds fans see the ‘War of the Rose’ clash with Manchester United as the one where their pride and bragging rights are most at stake”
    That’s exactly my point. The ManU derby is quite obviously against City. Same as Sunderland is obviously against Newcastle. You can’t have half of someone else’s derby.

  12. I think people live in the past too much when they talk about Leeds ,the players ,their fans etc.
    The worst of these events took place over 30/40 years ago. They weren’t the only club at the time to behave like this. Chelsea, Man Utd, West Ham all had fans equally as bad as did other clubs. It was the culture then but you don’t hear anyone making the same association with their fans of today.
    They are always well supported at home and especially away and take at least three times as more fans than other clubs and pay top end of the scale prices as home clubs cash in.
    Every team sings derisory comments about the oppositions players managers and fans,I’ve heard Boro fans sing sick songs at away games ,Leeds fans sound worse because there are such a lot more of them.
    I have been to Elland Road many many times since the eighties,I have never felt threatened or unsafe. I would say visits to Cardiff, Millwall and Sunderland have been a lot worse!!
    **AV writes: Yes, Sunderland is far worse. At risk of starting an argument about demographics I’m not sure Leeds are that well supported at home. Last season they were regularly getting 21k or thereabout which for a “big” club in a one team city at the heart of a massive conurbation isn’t a lot. It isn’t as many as Sheffield Wednesday get regularly for instance. Or Wolves. Or even Forest and Derby. I think Leeds are a club that has been shrivelling through mismanagement for a decade and is now just one of a long list of sleeping giants.

  13. Having grown in N’thallerton I can confirm that in the mid 80s a shocking and horrible shift to Leeds to took place. I remember after a Newcastle game midweek me and one mate had on at school a darts top given away at the match by Newcastle Brown. Couple of years earlier most would have been there to get one.
    In short I don’t like them. Let’s just see them off on Saturday.

  14. ‘insistemphatically’
    That one had me puzzelled briefly AV. l thought I’d wandered inadvertantly into a German/English dictionary until I’d squinted at it a few seconds and the under- active neurons kicked in – many Leeds fans can’t even lay claim to those of course given they simply have yorkshire pud batter swilling around in a porous sack between their ears.
    It has to be said that its not a pretty sight on a cold and windy Saturday afternoon on match day as said liquid has a tendency to drip coupiously from their noses as the verbal diarrheoa gushes forth.
    l recall watching some self same Leeds ‘ fans’ pursue a lone Boro fan at pace across a field near the bus park after an away game. It reminded me that some elements of our society were still more closely connected to the ancient Roman mob mentally. The biggest and most dangerous aspect is that like the latter day troll on the internet they get a perverse enjoyment from their actions.
    Then again l can’t believe they’re all bad.

  15. Ah Vic. How many times are you going to churn out this tired old article? It was interesting first time round, but this must be the third time at least you’ve recycled it. Do you just enjoy baiting Leeds supporters?
    Yes, Leeds are a similar club to us in many respects, but they have too big differences. Whilst the averages see us around the same level, Leeds peak was so much more spectacularly successful than ours.
    Yes, we all know the thuggery side to their game at the time, but Bremner, Giles, Clarke & co could play as well. I don’t like Leeds any more than the next man, but I have to respect their success. Secondly, they attract a bigger crowd than us. Yes I know, demographics, bigger conurbation blah blah blah. Have a listen to yourself
    AV. “I’m not sure Leeds are that well supported at home”. Let’s face it, our home crowds are nothing to write home about.
    Now we’re both back to our historical norm. They attract bigger crowds than us and (at least until The Mowbray era was finally ended) clearly edged us in the “chance of getting promoted” stakes. Did anyone really think Ross McCormack made an illogical choice?
    I’m one of your biggest fans AV, but I’m sorry to say you have a big chip on your shoulder when it comes to Leeds and the blog could do without articles like these.

  16. Bob –
    I think part of the problem is that once you dislike the club it is very difficult to change your stance.
    I didn’t like the Leeds that Revie created and that has stuck with me. It cant be because they were a Derby match because they were promoted by the time I became heavily in to supporting Boro.
    When they played Liverpool in the cup early 60’s it was white rose against red rose so I supported Leeds. By the time I went to Leeds in the early seventies they were not my favourite team, my dislike intensified.
    I was working in Castleford in our promotion season and the site was packed with Leeds fans, many converted from Rugby League and they couldn’t see anything wrong with ritualised violence on the pitch.
    You cant undo those memories so when you see a match it is difficult not to support the other team. I even supported the Mackems in the cup final.
    In part it was living amongst Leeds fans, we all tend to back the other team. The local fans spout the same sort of tosh we do about Boro, except we are right!
    In the same way, those matches with ManU in the cups in the sixties and seventies and some good memories make me prefer ManU to Liverpool. I prefer Spurs to Arsenal, Sheff Wed to Utd.
    You just pick up a hierarchy of dislike. It isn’t logical.
    **AV writes: I don’t dislike any club really. And I think most clubs have the same broad range of fan types. I get on well with intelligent fans of Leeds, Newcastle, Sunderland and Chelsea, all clubs on the official Boro hate list, especially the ones who are honest and a bit cynical about their club. I don’t get on well with the one-eyed semi-literate ‘banter’ idiots whatever club they follow. And that includes Boro.
    I am quite hostile to Man U/Arsenal/Chelsea/Liverpool etc but that is down to their economic dominance and role in distorting the game to create a massive financial imbalance and alienating ‘business’ model rather than anything intrinsic about those clubs. And I think a lot of fans of those clubs feel the same.

  17. Geographically it may not be a ‘Local Derby’ as the teams are separated by 55 miles (as the crow flies) but Middlesbrough is still a part of the North-Riding for ceremonial purposes and historically has always been so technically a Yorkshire Derby.
    Most Derbies need bragging rights for example from Durham onwards its all Newcastle/Sunderland fans and the Leeds/Boro fixture has that with Leeds/Boro fans mingling in Boro itself, Redcar, Whitby, Scarborough, Thirsk and Northallerton.
    **AV writes: But I don’t and never have felt part of Yorkshire. I’m from Teesside. And at least half of the Boro fan-base have never had any affiliation with Yorkshire. I think with younger fans it is a far greater proportion.
    Before the next “derby” I think I’ll do a big survey on this. I find it interesting.

  18. AV –
    Don’t confuse football rivalry with people. I get on with fans of all clubs and joke about Boro rather than disparage their teams. It appears your children call Leeds The Dirties – who gets the blame for that?
    You come from Teesside, I come from Yorkshire historically. If we went further back the Middlesbrough we know didn’t exist!
    Are we getting in to political correctness where we go from like a lot, to liking, to liking not as much, to failure to fulfil our potential for liking such that we need counselling? By implication if I like a club there must be a spectrum of like. Are you confusing dislike with hate?

  19. AV – “I think Leeds are a club that has been shrivelling through mismanagement for a decade and is now just one of a long list of sleeping giants.”
    Got a new line of computer screen wipe cloths you’re trying to drum up some demand for AV? Poor Leeds fans wont be able to see what they are writing for all the spittle!! Made me chuckle.
    They were swift writing on here. They must have a reminder set to come and see what you are writing.
    **AV writes: I think they are probably mainly Gazetteshire-based Whites. Just as whenever we play Our Friends In The North the reaction is all locally sourced.

  20. It never fails does it. Each time we have a fixture with LUFC coming up and AV publishes his topical offering and there are LUFC trolls all over the place.
    Which part of the obvious is it that none of them seem to get? The simple fact of their being bothered not only to read about what regular Middlesbrough supporters have to think, but to post an entry on the blog themselves, demonstrates that this (a game between Boro and LUFC) is something that matters a lot to them.
    I can agree with much of your perspective on the fixture AV. There are only two times in my life that I have been concerned for my own safety at or around a football match. Once was at Stamford Bridge when the stewards allowed the Chelsea nutters onto the pitch the day we were promoted at Chelsea’s expense in the playoffs and we were all locked in the pens on the terrace; the other time was attending Elland Road for LUFC versus Middlesbrough in the early 80s with a Leeds supporting friend in a “neutral” part of the ground.
    I’v never held any affection for either team since.
    Speaking as a Middlesbrough born Yorkshireman, I’m really looking forward to seeing how we perform on Saturday under the regime.

  21. Leeds isn’t a local derby, they’re simply not local enough for me. It’s got a bit more to it than your average Boro game but not much.
    There again I was born in ’79 and missed “Dirty Leeds”. I’m indifferent to them.
    I do remember all the Chelsea battles of the past 25 years but I’m indifferent to them too. I suppose I just don’t buy into football rivalry. It’s all about Boro for me. I hold no particular affection or disaffection for anyone else.
    I grew up in Yarm, which I would guess that most Teessiders would consider to be Yorkshire, but I’ve never felt any white rose allegiance.
    All of my extended family lived in Teesside, the Saturday supermarket big-shop was in Middlesbrough. My world growing up was Yarm and anywhere 15 miles north of it. Yorkshire was foreign soil.
    Technically I suppose Leeds-Boro is a “Yorkshire derby”, but I don’t think that has any great meaning for anyone without any tangible history with or against Leeds Utd.
    Three points tomorrow might be slightly more satisfactory than usual. A defeat won’t feel any worse.

  22. AV –
    Are you sure your fame isn’t spreading far and wide so whoever we play they want to come and immerse themselves in our debating chamber.
    From Mankini to ManU, they can find it all here.
    Which reminds me, obviously I also go on to the Gazette site to read the stories and currently the site is bordered by some peculiar hog roast advert.
    It is intriguing that Trinity Mirror can set up filters to prevent spam getting through but bombard us with another four letter word beginning with S.
    **AV writes: Spam? And as you say my fame spreads far and wide. Why just this morning I was named among the North-east’s top 100 most influential titter users. That’s the NE Twitterati. Not Yorkshire.

  23. From Teessside!! Bloody Teesside!!
    The Boro is in N. Yorkshire. Always has been, always will be.
    Don’t get me started on the political cons that Cleveland and Teesside are!

  24. I’m more interested in the Boro line up for tomorrow, the style of play and of course most importantly the result.
    I’m off to put a quid or two on McCormack scoring

  25. AV –
    The surely to be signed by the weekend No2 has drifted to next week. Other papers suggesting it’s Mike Phelan, which I think would be another coup for the club in terms of stature and experience. What’s your gossip on this? Is Mike going to be not the main man at Boro?
    **AV writes: In the chat we had last week with Steve Gibson Mike Phelan was never mentioned as being a target for the club. He certainly wasn’t one of the two others he menationed as a fall-back if they couldn’t get Karanka. Gibbo wanted someone with experience and knowledge of the teams and players in the Championship. That’s not to say things can’t change – Boro may not be able to prise their top targets away if they are in jobs for example – but I never got the impression that Phelan was a candidate at the time.

  26. Nigel –
    Maybe the last badge change was the cause of all our trouble. It looks Mickey Mouse and we have played that way since.
    And GHW is correct. Yorkshire it is.

  27. Agree with Ian, ever since the badge change our fortunes have nose dived.
    Regarding the political geography then we are North Yorkshire. Teesside like Wearside, Merseyside or Tyneside is a local catch all general area based around a river mouth.
    Teesside has been elevated locally because of all the ridiculous nonsense created by individuals who were well paid to know better but disappeared up their own jacksie when they came up with Unitary Authorities along with names such as Langbaurgh or Cleveland and now apparently I live in Redcar and Cleveland.
    I have put Teesside on my home address for over 30 years as a way of helping people know where I live and the post has a fair chance of finding me but officially I apparently live in the borough of Redcar & Cleveland, a unitary authority in the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire. Strange then that our post codes begin TS!
    And don’t get me started on our local councils………………….

  28. **AV writes: But I don’t and never have felt part of Yorkshire. I’m from Teesside. And at least half of the Boro fan-base have never had any affiliation with Yorkshire. I think with younger fans it is a far greater proportion.
    Before the next “derby” I think I’ll do a big survey on this. I find it interesting.”
    Is that because Middlesbrough is 28 mile from Sunderland and 40 mile from
    Newcastle a lot closer than your Sheffields, Barnsleys etc? Yorkshire is the biggest county in England. Middlesbrough vs Leeds has more history than the two further up north.
    **AV writes: No, I don’t think it is just simple geography. Unless the towns have been moved, the distances have always been the same. It is the cultural distance that has changed.
    And I don’t think there is more history bewteen Leeds and Boro. The North-east big three had played each other for years in the Northern League and then in the Football League many times before Leeds were even founded. Boro have played Newcastle over 130 times and Leeds 89 times. And for long spells we have historically been in a higher division than Leeds but almost always had at least one of the two to the north in the same division as us.
    For me two things have happened. Firstly Teesside became part of the Tyne Tees TV region in the mid-late seventies. Before that you had the option of pointing your aerial south and getting Yorkshire, Calendar instead of Look North, Austin Mitchell instead of Tom Coyne. And watching the Yorkshire version of Shoot! on Sunday. That meant for a decade or so Boro were measured in screen time against Leeds, who definitely were the big boys in that universe.
    The other thing that has happened is the decline of Leeds as a playground power. I grew up at a time when the schoolboy glory-hunters picked Leeds as their psychological prop of choice. They were the arguably the most successful club in the country and relatively close (although very few of these people ever went to games). The Teesside Whites are generally 50.
    There is another similar generation of people who refer to Liverpool as “we” who are about the 40 mark. And then there are the current manifestation of that mentality who are Man United fans in their later 20s and early 30s. Who knows, the way TV works now, the next wave of playground plastics may be Barca fans.

  29. Always interesting to see how identity shifts but for us older guys, I sense that loyalties may have been pulled in two different directions.
    In soccer terms, I was brought up with Boro in the second division – I first went in the late fifties – and remember the Cock of the North Cup pre-season games with huge crowds. Not sure if my memories are correct but I would love to know if the ground really was full for those games.
    However, the sporting highlight of every summer was Yorkshire coming to play a home game. I was Yorkshire through and through in my loyalties and have stayed that way but oddly enough that has never seemed to link into soccer derbies which were and are north-east. My main memories of Leeds from way back then are their cup battles against Chelsea.

  30. Looking forward to the game tomorrow amd meeting up with my two Leeds season ticket holding sons( they aren’t all bad you know) with my Boro season ticket holder son, providing my plane lands on time. We do have good natured banter because we all are under no illusion about the state of our teams,we know they are both crap at the moment.
    I don’t think there will be too many changes in the team tomorrow,I just hope Karanka has been working on defending and set pieces. Making us more defensively sound to get a result is more important to me at the moment than how we play. We need much needed points on the board to stop looking over our shoulders.
    I’m going for 1-1 because we can’t keep a clean sheet and Ross McCormack is bound to score!!

  31. Its all an age thing.
    I would probably say AV, that if you were to break this blog into age sections,the old ones would top out. That’s is why Yorkshire figures high in the debate.
    I was born in Middlesbrough, North Yorks, but lived the biggest percentage of my life in a village just outside the town, geographicly Stockton on Tees.
    Does that make me a Mackem?

  32. I have an idea for the merchandised sales dept: everyone of us entered the Boro world in different years, I’d like a cap or shirt or scarf ,with a slogan: “I’m a rookie fan since 1958” ,which is my case. It would indicate the first time you seen a live game featuring our team
    **AV writes: I like it. “Suffering since 1973”

  33. Don’t really think it is an age thing. If you look at the Facebook pages all the younger based fans are saying the same thing “hope we beat the Dirty Leeds scum” and the rest yet most of them weren’t born in the eighties let alone the seventies and havnt a clue who Bremner,,Hunter and Co are.
    It’s just something inbred into them from earlier generations and it wouldn’t matter if Leeds played the best football in the league and won the fair play award every season they would still say the same about them.
    **AV writes: I don’t know anyone like that. That may be an age thing on my part. .

  34. **AV writes: LEEDS. “The Dirties” as my children think they are officially nicknamed.
    **AV writes: I don’t know anyone like that. That may be an age thing on my part.
    Do you know Tony Blair by any chance?
    WMD – Words of Mass Disingenuity.
    **AV writes: That was a joke. Tongue in cheek. My kids also believe Boro’s full name is Middlesbrough Nil. But then, maybe I ‘hate’ them too..

  35. I agree with the comment that we all have an illogical hierarchy of clubs we like/dislike.
    There will be hundreds of thousands of youngsters who “love” Manchester United, and call them “we”, but may never have been to a match in their lives. For the last 20 odd years they have been the regular trophy winners and youngsters want to ally themselves to that feeling of success.
    Equally there will be many thousands who harbour a dislike of Man U precisely because they are the big, rich club, and many have an innately British thing about disliking the bully and supporting the underdog.
    I can remember cheering wildly, and splitting a pair of jeans after jumping in the air following Jim Montgomery’s blinding double-save against Leeds in the 1973 Cup Final – a games where I guess the whole of Leeds (& Newcastle) supported Leeds but the whole of the rest of England wanted Sunderland to win. Of course in those days the FA Cup Final was THE game of the season. Nowadays it’s appeal has been watered down with clubs playing weakened teams in the early rounds etc, or saving a few players for next week’s Super-Soaraway Sunday.
    I regard Leeds as a derby match. It doesn’t matter what Leeds fans might think about it, though their denials are so loud and the number of their posters on a Boro blog undermines their position – “methinks they do protest too much”.
    The old birth certificate makes it clear that Middlesbrough is firmly within the North Riding of Yorkshire, and the political introduction (and then the swift subsequent abolitions) of Teesside then Cleveland, will not change that.
    Things do change over time, though. Someone above mentioned the rivalry between Darlington and Hartlepool (now that was a spicy rivalry). Realistically with Darlington now in the local pub Sunday league, fourth division, there will be no derby matches for Pools fans within any time in the foreseeable future, unless they manage to acquire regular fixtures with Sunderland. So the memory of the Pools/Darlo rivalry will whither away.
    Fingers crossed for Boro at Leeds today. Onwards and upwards, hopefully.

  36. We’re on the cusp AV and there lies the problem.
    l too vaguely remember the old black and white pictures on the tele and very vagueIy how by changing the direction of the aerial a whole different world would be set out before your very eyes.
    It was and still is somewhat confusing- feet planted on Yorkshire soil south of the Tees (perhaps Stockton could be called Stockton-north of-Tees) yet media focused on events to the north.
    l think the people in wooly back land never had a sense of dual nationality because they kept the aerial pointed south. How they feel now is a great unknown to me.
    In terms of our present day team with it’s collective of international journeymen, l think they may be both somewhat bemused and amused.
    l only hope they return from their trip southwards with points in the bag.
    **AV writes: I remember before this fixture a few years ago asking a few Boro players if it was a derby. Richie Smallwood was emphatic that it was. Matthew Bates was emphatic that it wasn’t. Seb Hines said it wasn’t -but it was the most important match he could imagine because he was from Wetherby and all his family and friends were Leeds fans.

  37. AV –
    I will be generous and ask do you know Ed Balls instead of Tony Blair? Both have a poor grasp on history but one is more recent.
    I thought it was tongue in cheek but it was an open goal and deserved a response. There again, maybe underneath the surface….
    You mention Matt Bates and Richie Smallwood, the former comes from Stockton on Mackem, the latter, fine boy, stick your shoulders back, comes from Dormo. One is from the dark lands, the other from Gods chosen Country. Simples!
    Some of us have a cultural identity and are dual nationality citizens.
    It all distracts from a poor defensive performance from Mogga’s best squad ever.
    Karanka has seen the DVD’s, just when we thought we were safe, be afraid.

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