Leeds United up next, step up Mr Willoughby!
In the latest segment of Getting to Know our opposition, we call on a fellow Australian, a massive Leeds fan with a touch of Rovers in his bloodline! (Oh where did it go wrong!!)
Some might be familiar with Mr James Willoughby, a writer in the Leeds Match Day Program as well as being an Australian correspondent on TalkSport UK!
So here goes, Step Up Mr James Willoughby!
1) Leeds United! Tell us a little about your club and why you support The Whites!
Leeds United are the biggest football club in Yorkshire and play at Elland Road. Leeds have a proud history and are three-time champions of England, while they have also won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (now the Europa League) twice, the FA Cup and the League Cup. Leeds are also known as perennial bridesmaids though, and have lost their share of finals, including the heartbreaking 1975 European Cup final defeat to Bayern Munich.
I support Leeds because at the age of 11 or 12, the club had a fair contingent of Australian players, namely Mark Viduka. Viduka scored over 60 goals at Leeds in four seasons and was particularly prolific in the 2002-03 Premier League season. It was an easy choice to make – especially because my best mate followed them – and although I have seen almost no success in my time supporting the club, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I lived in Leeds in 2009 and travelled home and away for six months and head back at least every couple of years to visit friends and watch matches.
2) Of your first team squad, who would be the footballer that typifies Leeds United. Who bleeds for the jersey?
That’s a hard question to ask, particularly given the recent turnover of the squad. I would have said Jonny Howson previously but he – and former captain Robert Snodgrass – both depressingly left the club for Norwich City. With so many new players, it’s hard to single out one in particular, but our Jamaican defensive midfielder, Rodolph Austin, has made a promising start. Leeds fans love players who work their socks off and can make a tackle, and he looks like he can also pass and shoot. He is already becoming a fans favourite.
3) Any emerging stars ready to make a name for themselves?
18-year-old Sam Byram has made a nice start to the season, putting in a couple of impressive performances at right-back that were capped off with a terrific lobbed goal against Oxford United in the League Cup this week. He is quick and has a good shot on him. Looks lively. Aidy White is another youngster who looks like he can play.
4) A solid start to the season with 2 wins. Can Leeds United push for a return to the big league?
I’d love to think so but given the lack of depth and star power in our squad, I would say it is very unlikely. The on-again off-again nature of our takeover has meant that while we have made a few signings, we are short on quality, particularly a cutting edge up front. I think we’ll be solid but struggle for regular goals.
5) What are your thoughts on Blackburn Rovers
I’ve always liked Blackburn, mainly because my dad follows them. I’ve also been to Ewood Park once, with him, and Rovers won 3-0 against Southampton. Brett Emerton had a great career at the club and as a result, they receive a lot of coverage in Australia. Saturday’s match will have family bragging rights on the line!
6)Steve Kean- Should he still be in a job?
I don’t know everything that has gone on at Blackburn, but if the club’s fans have protested against him for so long, then something must be up. Having said that, I think Rovers are a big chance to bounce straight back up. I was having a look at your squad the other day and there’s some good quality there. The signings of Nuno Gomes, Danny Murphy, Leon Best, Colin Kazim-Richards, Dickson Etuhu and potentially Jordan Rhodes will only help that.
7) If you could sign one Blackburn Player, who would it be and why!
Probably Rhodes (if he signs). He isn’t proven at a level other than League One but all the signs indicate that he can step up. An out-and-out goalscorer is probably what we miss.
8) Make a starting 11 consisting of Leeds and Blackburn players with no more than 6 from 1 team!
L Peltier – J Pearce – S Dann – Martin Olsson
D Murphy – D Etuhu – Morten Gamst Pedersen
J Rhodes-R McCormack
(Bit Generous there James, 7 Rovers!)
9)And finally, a prediction
A 1-1 draw. Only because is at Elland Road too, otherwise I’d have your lot winning.
Massive Thanks to James who can be found on Twitter via