Leeds United Change

Leeds United Ashley Tabony


As a Midlands based "Revie child", two memories stand out more than any others, my first game, and my first home game.

My first game was just before my seventh birthday. October 13th 1973. My Dad told me that morning he and my Grandad ( my other hero then and now) were going to take me to my first match. I had the paper in front of me and looked down the fixtures. Grandad was a Villa fan, but they weren't at home. Birmingham were at home to Wolves. But wait, Leeds were away at Leicester...where on earth was Leicester relative to Pype Hayes in Birmingham ?

Only one thing for it, I've got to ask, "Dad, are we going to Leicester ?" I said, trying not to sound too hopeful. "Don't be silly Ashley, that's miles away". I remember sitting there, trying not to be too disappointed, and consoling myself with the thought "at least I'll get to see Derek Dougan".

So we get in the car and off we go. Now I didn't really watch where we went, head into Shoot magazine, but then I looked up and we were on the motorway. Now even at 7 I knew you only went down the Birmingham Road and along the Expressway to get into the City Centre, and this little candle of hope lit in my mind.

Then I saw it. The sign pointing to Leicester, and we turned and followed it's direction. I remember I wanted to burst with excitement, but didn't dare. Before logn the truth was out.

I leapt out of the car, and Grandad bought me a scarf and a pennant from the fella at the roadside, I still have them today.

We went into the ground, we had grand seats in the upper tier of the main stand, I walked up the steps, and...Oh lordy lordy, nothing prepared me for this. The pitch, the crowd, the noise, this was me, this was everything I ever want, or need. Not true of course but at that moment, for a young boy, that was just incredible, I wanted to live that moment forever.

Then they came out. My heroes, the images I treasured as soccer cards and Shoot posters, there they were, waving to me, as they did the Leeds wave.
All of us must have this moment, I'll never forget it, it was a moment of complete commitment, you are MY TEAM, FOREVER.

The game itself probably sums up the next 40 years really, promised much but a bit disappointing, we led 2-0 early, my King Billy scored and raced across to salute me (the fact we were sat just behind Don is irrelevant !!) however Leeds blew it and it finished 2-2.

But to be honest, and this will sound odd to anyone not smitten by a football club, but sensible to anyone who is, it didn't matter. I'd consummated my relationship with Leeds United, the sweet smell of victory could wait for another day, we had taken our vows, for better or worse, richer or poorer.

I am so glad that day happened, Leeds United Football Club has made me laugh, smile, frown and cry, but I wouldn't have missed a day of it since that day.

Ashley Tabony



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