What it means to be a Leeds fan

.This is a section of what being a Leeds fan is all about. Here our members tell us WHEN they became Leeds Fans, HOW they became Leeds fans, Their BEST and WORST moments and WHEN they became a DW.

Lee Cousens – Chairman
My Dad was a huge fan in the 60’s and 70’s and went all over the place with them. I was born in 73 and by the age of 5 or 6 I remember him asking me if I wanted to go with him. I refused because Liverpool were my team at that point (glory supporter, I know). As I got older he stopped going as much due to work commitments. When I was 11 though he’d become friends with the Chief Steward in the West Stand who could get him in for free so he insisted on taking me to a game. By then Leeds were in the old 2nd Division under Sir Billy. I remember it as if was yesterday. Leeds’ opponents were Portsmouth on a cold November afternoon in 1985 ( I only know it was November because it was my birthday soon after). Leeds won 2-1 with a lad called Lyndon Simmonds scoring 2 on debut. I left the ground with a new love. Leeds United was now my number 1 team. All the Liverpool kits were thrown out and for my birthday I was the proud owner of a Lions Cabinets sponsored Leeds shirt. The next few seasons I continued to go with my Dad (yes for free) but then after starting high school me and a few mates joined the Junior Whites and went together. My best ever moment as a Leeds fan came on 28th April 1990 and THAT Gordon Strachan goal against Leicester. We were stood at the back of the Kop and when it hit the back of the net all hell broke loose. I actually ended up about 10 foot from the front which was quite handy because when the final whistle blew it was easy access to the pitch! My worst moment as a fan, and there are loads to choose from, is the night of the Galatasaray incident. I was actually working in Turkey at the time in Gaziantep, along with a few other Leeds fans, and as news filtered through of what had happened we all got together and watched in disbelief. No one could understand what was going on and to this day I still think UEFA should have postponed the game. After many years of Up and Downs I moved to Dubai 6 and a bit years ago (2010) and contacted Paul to see what the crack was. My first meeting with the DW’s was at the Soccer 7’s where Leeds had sent a team of juniors to compete. I couldn’t believe the amount of support we had and how welcome they made me and my boy feel. I knew then that this was a special group and 6 years on it still is.
James McFarlane:
  • How you became a Leeds fan?

Was a Leeds fan before I could decide. My dad knew a lot of the famous 70s team (Gordon McQueen still calls him up for a chat now and again). Born in 1988 so around that time it wasn’t the happiest of times but then grew into the champions in 92. Unfortunately I have no recollection of that

  • What age?

Went to my first game at 6 and had a season ticket for 10 years.

  • First game ( if you can remember)?

Home against Arsenal in 1994 (first year of 10 as a season ticket holder). Noel Whelan scored in the 89th minute and I had never heard a noise like it. Hooked completely and still get that buzz seeing the pitch at Elland Road!

  • Best moment (few and far between for our younger members)?

AC Milan at home in 2000 where Bowyer scored in the 89th minute. Just summed up that run! Been 12 years old at the time and counting down the minutes to Tuesday or Wednesday to watch us in the Champions League was a truly brilliant time.

  • Worst moment (loads to go at there)?

I have 2…the realisation that we had been relegated from the premier league…I sort of convinced myself it hadn’t happened!

Galatasaray at home. Eerie game of football I had ever been to. They had about 30 fans there and I have never known such a sombre and sad atmosphere

  • When you joined the DW’s?

Only been in Dubai 1 year. Heard about this group and always go down to watch us when we are on TV.


Graham Rushforth:

  • How you became a Leeds fan?

Born in Dewsbury and schooling at Halifax meant the only real local team was Leeds.

  • What age? 

Age about 12. I remember getting good at guessing attendances and it must have been about 1980/81/82 and I strangely predicted the Leeds crowd to be 17,251. Which it was, exactly.

  • First game ( if you can remember)?  

Sheffield United

  • Best moment (few and far between for our younger members)?

Tony Yeboah volley versus Liverpool.   403 crap moments since.

  • Worst moment (loads to go at there)?

Anything starting with bates…. GFC….. Hock….. also the older I get, the more pissed off I am thinking about the team O’Leary had. We all thought he was a great manager at the time, but in fact, how did he manage to win NOTHING with the squad he had ?

  • When you joined the DW’s?


Paul Rodgers:

  • How you became a Leeds fan? 

Dad and Grandparents had a season ticket from 1950 up until finding out 79 when I was born. Moved to Hull as a family in 85 and I got into football with the next door neighbour being a hull city fan!  I asked to start going to football matches so my dad refused to go to hull and we started our first season ticket in 1988-89 season in the north west corner next to the kop. Had a season ticket ever since and maintained whilst in Dubai!

  • What age?

 8 years old. My middle brother stated coming as a ST holder when he was 5 and my youngest as a ST holder when 3. 

  • First game ( if you can remember)? 

I had been to Elland Road a few times as we knew Peter Swan but my first real memory was 1988 August v Middlesbrough. Awesome August warm evening with my new shirt and first home game after 5-2 defeat at Newcastle. I just remember the noise when Vinnie Jones came on and started pumping up the crowd. Own goal in the last 5 mins, we went on the win 2-1 and been hocked every since. That noise!

  • Best moment (few and far between for our younger members)?.


First game v boro.

Gordon Strachan scoring in the last min at home to hull in the 88-89 season (My next door neighbour was sat next to me at the game and went very quiet.).
That Strachan goal v Leicester.
Being at my grandparents house in Leeds the day of the norm out game and listening to radio Leeds in the garden (the whole street had it on).
Liverpool at ER the first season back when we lost 5-4.
Watching scum lose at home to Notts Forest in the south stand being at the Coventry City game thinking we can win the league
Sunday afternoon when we won the league.
Radebe scoring v Moscow at Elland Road and the place going mental
Jimmy Floyd scoring against Arsenal at Elland Road and handing the title to scum. We didn’t care as we thought we were on the verge of something!
First away game on my own at Anfield and this unknown guy called Allen smith scored.
Travelling home and away with dad and two brothers.
Being at St Mary’s 3-0 by half time to come back and win 4-3
Noise at Elland road when its rocking
Last Leeds game before moving to Dubai at Old Trafford in the FA Cup!
Meeting the Leeds team at Nasimi beach in 2010 after promotion and my wife having my Leeds shirt in her bag. Sat buying them all a beer and having a drink with them despite the cost!!
Taking my children to Elland Road for the first time. My eldest at 3 years old blasting out marching on together with her brothers and grand parents at ER. Then this season taking her and my youngest (now 4 and 2) to ER and having them all morning running around going Leeds Leeds Leeds and chest thumping!!


  • Worst moment (loads to go at there)?

Wembley 96, Cardiff 06, Wembley 08, Millwall 09


Missing the chance to run around Elland Road with Gordon Strachan and Vinnie Jones in 91 (last game of the season) as my parents made me go on school field trip!!

  • When you joined the DW’s?

2010. Same story as Lee!!


Paul Mather – President and Founder of The Dubai Whites

  • How you became a Leeds fan?

Two teams were at their heights, Leeds & Liverpool, Liverpool had the edge when I started to know football. Father, a Sunderland fan, never imposed his or any team upon me! My family tree spreads from the Southwest (Plymouth, on my mothers side) to the Northeast (A small mining village on fathers side)

Uncles in Hipperholme & Helperby soon told me which team “tha will support!!”

  •  What age?

6 months

  • First game (if you can remember)?

Too young, I just remember the noise and being thrown about 🙂

  • Best moment (few and far between for our younger members)?

The 3-0 victory over Deportivo de La Coruña, What a night, its as if it were yesterday!!

The win over Bristol Rovers with the Dubai Whites to name a few.

  • Worst moment (loads to go at there)?

Relegation to Championship and then League One and just the never- ending current state of affairs!

  • When you joined the DW’s?

I formed it 2004 🙂 Marching on always!!!


Brian Murgatroyd:

  • How you became a Leeds fan?   

I had and have family connections to Yorkshire even though I was born and brought up in South Wales. For a short period when I was very small my dad worked in Wakefield during the week (this was in the early 1970s) and would come home to visit us at weekends. One Friday night he brought me home a Leeds United pennant and they have been my team ever since.

  • What age?

I reckon I was somewhere between four and six years of age when my Dad brought me the pennant.

  •  First game (if you can remember)?

October 1986. I applied for Leeds University specifically to get the chance to go and see Leeds United and my first game was a second division match at Elland Road against Crystal Palace. Leeds won 3-0 with all the goals in the second half. I remember the United side included Andy Ritchie and for those DW members of a certain age they’d chuckle that the Palace line-up included George Wood in goal and Mickey Droy at centre-half, an old school brick tankstand of a defender who also played for Chelsea.

  • Best moment (few and far between for our younger members)?

Plenty. I remember in Sergeant Wilko’s first season in charge we went on an unbeaten run and then played Shrewsbury at home. We went 2-0 down then came back with two goals in a minute, playing towards The Kop, in the second half. As the second goal went in I remember someone in front of me jumping up and down and shouting: “If we score again I’m going to stab someone!” Needless to say, Shrewsbury broke away in the last minute and scored to win 3-2.

In the season before that, Billy Bremner’s last full season in charge, we beat Sheffield United 5-0 at Elland Road and big John Pearson scored one of the goals finishing of a wonderful flowing move. And in 1986-87 I was on The Kop when Brendon Ormsby powered in his header to beat then-first Division QPR in the FA Cup en route to our semi-final loss to Coventry City.

After I finished University I found a job in Leeds to allow me to stay in the city and watch as many matches as I could and in 1992 I managed to get to Barcelona along with Adrian Durham (now of Talksport fame) to watch the replayed European Cup game against Stuttgart. To be able to say ‘I was there’ is a wonderful thing to recall.

I was also near the dug-out when Tony Yeboah scored his wonder goal against Liverpool in 1995 and I was part of the crowd at Selhurst Park for his hat-trick against Wimbledon in that same season. Wonderful memories, all of them…

  •  Worst moment (loads to go at there)?

Probably the play-off final loss to Watford in Cardiff in 2006. Apart from the fact we managed to come third in the match – no mean achievement in a two-team contest – I also remember it rained so much that by the time I got to city centre having walked from the outskirts my trousers were so wet I had to buy another pair at M & S before the match.

  •  When you joined the DW’s?

Can’t remember, although work commitments and now a small baby mean I struggle to get to watch any matches with the rest of the supporters’ club.


Andrew Smithurst:

  • How you became a Leeds fan?

After watching the Chelsea v Leeds 1970 final and replay on TV. Even though we lost the replay I was hooked.

  • What age?

Almost 8 years old

  • First game ( if you can remember)?

I think it was 1973 my dad took me to a night game against Huddersfield Town but we had to stand on the hill at the back to watch as we could not get a ticket. After that I remember going from school to the FA Cup defeat against Wimbledon (Dickie Guy saved a Peter Lorimer penalty from memory) I think that was 1975

  • Best moment (few and far between for our younger members)?

Has to be January 3rd remember the date. Going to Old Trafford as a 3rd tier side and beating Man Utd with that Beckford winner. I went with my nephews from Ireland and remember telling them not to get upset if it was 5 or 6 nil. The atmosphere after that win was unbelievable

  • Worst moment (loads to go at there)?

League one play off defeat at Wembley against Doncaster. I was also at the Watford Premier league play off at Cardiff which was equally disappointing but with the Doncaster game the whole ground was nearly Leeds and everyone expected a victory.

  • When you joined the DW’s?

I have never lived in Dubai but have been a regular visitor for 20 years. I started coming to a couple of events around 6 years ago and always try and get to a couple of games at Goodfellas when in town. Memories from watching with the DW’s include the famous cup game against Spurs when Paul got a bit upset and a couple of times when David Haigh came to Goodfellas when he was Chairman

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