Legendary England striker Alan Shearer enjoyed a wonderful scoring record against Leeds United, whether it was for Southampton, Blackburn or Newcastle.
Over the years he scored 22 times against them – more than against any other side. His success against the Yorkshire club prompted him in an interview in 2016, aged 46 and 10 years after his retirement, to say he wished he was playing against them for Newcastle in the Championship that weekend because “he always scored against them”. He probably would have.
He didn’t stop: “When Leeds got relegated from the Premier League I was gutted because it cost me three or four goals each season.”
Unless they meet in cup competitions, Premier League strikers won’t get the chance to score against Leeds next season.
After a promising start to the 2018/19 English Championship where they led the standings at Christmas, and were still odds on favourites to go up as one of the automatic top two at Easter, Leeds faltered in the final quarter – losing six of their last 13 games to finish third behind Norwich City and Sheffield United.
There were just as many downs as ups in the season for Leeds, who were justifiably hit in the pocket for “Spygate” involving Derby, and mocked for unsporting behaviour for scoring while a player was down injured against Aston Villa.
On Wednesday, they were consigned to another season in the Championship (it’s been 15 years since they last played top-flight football), after Frank Lampard’s Derby County defeated them 4-2 in the second leg of their playoff at Elland Road after the home team had secured a 1-0 victory in the first leg last weekend.
To make matters worse for Leeds, who won their last of three top-flight league titles in 1991/92, they were 2-0 up on aggregate after opening the scoring. But that’s where it stopped as Lampard’s men dug deep and scored four times in less than an hour to record a remarkable comeback.
Judging by the current success of English clubs – they boast four finalists in the two European cup competitions – a young Leeds side would have taken some nasty beatings in the Premier League.
As hard as it is in the unpredictable Championship, Leeds may have been spared some blushes from the strikers in the Premier League had they been promoted. But next year, or the year thereafter, who knows…