Now if you’re a Leeds United fan proper then you might already know a few of these, so do forgive us. But the rest of the Leeds folk who want are craving random trivia probably won’t know most of these golden fact nuggets. Pull them out at a party, recite them in the pub, or simply rejoice in the small pleasure of knowing some strange information about our city’s beloved football team.
Guess what Elland Road used to be called? Any takers? It would be a hard one to get. The Old Peacock Ground was what Leeds’ home ground was formally known as. And what’s the best partner for the beautiful game, a match (!) made in heaven? The beautiful pub. And a pub is what we have to thank for this rather glorious original name. The Old Peacock is the name of a pub that has remained in the same spot on Elland Road for over 200 years, since 1826. 50 odd years later in 1878, the owners, Bentley’s Brewery, flattened land across the road and opened up a sports ground. It went from being used as a private club to a rugby (god forbid!) pitch, until Leeds United eventually set up shop here in 1919. Despite going through a turbulent time trying to survive and temporarily closing down, Ossett Brewery invested in the Old Peacock pub in 2013. The company pumped £400,000 into its relaunch and The Old Peacock proudly stands today in exactly the same spot as a revived ‘food and ale house’. Awww, what a story.
Rio-lling in it
Rio Ferdinand has been the club’s most expensive player to buy and sell. In July 2002, footballing and urban rival Manchester United poached prime player Rio Ferdinand, giving Leeds United a whopping £32.5 million for it’s sizeable loss. It was a decent profit for the club when you consider that they only got their mitts on Rio 2 years prior for £18 million. However at the time of purchase, Rio was the most expensive player Leeds had ever bought and still remains so until now.
The award for the highest number of league goals ever scored in club history goes to Leeds United’s legendary centre forward John Charles. He bagged a very impressive 42 goals in the 1953-54 season. A Welsh born footballer who has since been awarded a CBE, he is widely considered as one of the UK’s best ever players, despite George Best pipping him to the post as the best British player of all time. He arrived at the club age 17 in 1948 after starting out at Swansea City and would remain at Leeds United all the way through until 1957, scoring 150 goals in total in the English league. Wowed by his footballing prowess, Juventus ended up hiring Charles and he made history as the first British footballer to play professionally outside of the UK. Within a year of being at Juve, Charles became the top scorer, finished champion and was voted as the best player of the competition. We have Leeds United to thank for the birth of this true footballing star!
Leeds born and bred musical favourites, The Kaiser Chiefs, named their band after the club that former Leeds United footballer Lucas Radebe played for in South Africa. Radebe was the most capped player, having played 61 times for South Africa. The band were previously called Parva but were dropped from their previous record label after releasing only 3 singles. Starting out again with a new name and new material, The Kaiser Chiefs borrowed their name from the South African team, which was spelt slightly differently as Kaizer Chiefs. The quartet have since gone on to perform at Elland Road where they sold out to over 40,000 people following their debut album release in 2008. Who knows where they’d be if they didn’t have the former Leeds United captain to thank for the namespiration…
Leeds United’s most successful years were between 1961 and 1974. It was during this time that they were awarded the FA Cup, the League Cup, 2 Inter Cities Fairs Cups and 2 Division One titles. If only we could go back to those glory days! The period is known fondly as the Don Revie era in honour of super player George Donald Revie who directed the team at the time. He went on to train the English Football Selection for the FA from 1974-1977 leaving Leeds United fans firmly missing his presence.
So there you have it, our collection of the oddest Leeds United facts. We hope even the most avid fans out there have learnt something new, and if you haven’t, then maybe you’re just a little too hard to impress!
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