Five times Leeds United have been at their p*ss-boiling best this season
Promotion may yet pass them by, but Leeds United have enjoyed a thrilling 2018-19 under Marcelo Bielsa’s management this season.
The great pantomime villains of English football, Dirty Leeds have embraced plenty of controversy along the way – something which their fans love to relish.
We’ve taken a look at five times Bielsa’s boys have well and truly boiled the p*ss of opposition clubs, fans and authorities.
Leeds and Millwall have plenty of history, so it came as no surprise when tempers flared during the Whites’ trip to The Den in September.
Having struggled against the Lions in recent years, Leeds snatched a draw with an 89th-minute equaliser from Jack Harrison as Samuel Saiz rather pointedly celebrated with Leeds’ bench moments after being involved in a heated exchange with the hosts’ dugout.
“Their reaction to the goal is completely over the top and a disgrace in English football,” Millwall boss Neil Harris fumed after the match.
Bielsa was typically philosophical in his response: “When you act like a savage, you will always be criticised. But when the river has too much water in it, you don’t only draw the conclusion that the river has too much water. You need to think why the river has too much. What are the causes?
“To be accused as a savage, when you are accused of not behaving well, you have to take into account the causes, the reasons that made you not behave well.”
Funnily enough, Harris went on to defend the actions of Ben Marshall after the Millwall midfielder celebrated his penalty at Elland Road in front of the Leeds fans. *shrug emoji*
— Dan Elcock💙💛 (@Dan_Elcock5) September 16, 2018
“We were lucky the cameras were here and everyone could see,” said Aitor Karanka after Nottingham Forest were denied a win at Elland Road by Kemar Roofe’s late goal, which saw the striker force the ball over the line with his arm.
“Anyone at home or in the stadium watching the game could see what happened because it was clear.”
Not only did Roofe upset Nottingham Forest and their manager; even Ian Holloway expressed his disgust on Quest.
“To be honest it’s wiped the smile off my face,” Holloway said. “It was a good game, they played well Leeds, so did Nottingham Forest, but to me it’s cheating.
“He knows he’s put his hand out there because the ball’s going to go past the far post and it’s not even close to his leg.”
He added: “I would not be proud of myself if I’m Kemar Roofe, you shouldn’t have to win or draw at all costs, that ain’t football, that ain’t sport. It’s not on.”
Roofe’s own verdict?
“What do you want me to do? Go to the referee and say that it shouldn’t be allowed?
“The ball came across and I anticipated it, and yeah, the ball hit my arm. The arm was by my knee, and I just hit it.
It’s the same with other decisions, free-kicks and penalties. Some you get and some you don’t. It’s up to the referee to make that decision. I’m just there to play the game.”
😡 I'd hit the Roofe if this goal was scored against my team!
— Sporting Life Football (@SportingLifeFC) October 28, 2018
The whole footballing world seemed to collectively lose their sh*t and clutch their pearls when Frank Lampard revealed Derby County had caught a Leeds employee spying on their training sessions.
Jermaine Jenas called for a points deduction, Stan Collymore demanded Marcelo Bielsa learn about “how the sporting culture works HERE” (his caps, not ours), Keith Andrews labelled the actions “disgusting”, Henry Winter – a man who has written a book in which he admitted to spying on England training sessions – criticised Bielsa for “a complete lack of respect for his peers”.
A game took place in the midst of all this, in which Leeds dominated Frank Lampard’s Derby County™ to win 2-0, and Bielsa responded to the criticism by admitting he had spied on every single opponent the Whites had faced, followed by an incredible press conference in which he presented the level of analysis he goes into – revealing everything he learned about Derby as an example.
We, meanwhile, pointed out that it was far more common than some people like to admit.
The powers that be at Sky have a curious relationship with Leeds, moving their fixtures so they can be televised on an almost weekly basis.
Leeds supporters have unsurprisingly not taken too kindly to having to change their plans for plenty of their fixtures and are happy to make their feelings known.
“Sky TV is f*cking shit” is regularly chanted by their fans during televised games, leading to the broadcaster to turn down the crowd noise when this occurs.
Defender Luke Ayling tweeted in response: “Have to sing a little louder on Sunday lads.”
And another Leeds defender in Pontus Jansson landed himself in hot water in September when asked live on air to describe his feelings after a controversial 1-1 draw with Brentford in which there were a number of questionable called from referee Jeremy Simpson.
“I feel sh*t to be honest,” Jansson replied.
When asked by the interviewer to curb his colourful language, Jansson again hit back: “No, I don’t care. This is a robbery by the referee.”
Pontus Jansson isn’t a very happy man!! pic.twitter.com/cRHp9CCxfD
— sam trego (@tregs100) October 6, 2018
In charge of Brentford that day was Dean Smith, and the manager has established quite the beef with Leeds over the course of the season.
After the fiery draw at Elland Road, Smith left Brentford to take over at Aston Villa. Following Leeds’ comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 with a dramatic late goal at Villa Park, Smith bemoaned: “From the celebrations, I thought they’d won the title.”
He added: “Still don’t feel they deserved to win.”
And the next meeting between the two teams was equally dramatic as chaos broke out following Leeds’ decision to play on and score while a Villa player was injured in backfield.