Basically, my plan for this column was to do a humorous ranking of Leeds United’s last 10 FA Cup runs. Unfortunately, upon refreshing my memory, I realised it would be almost impossible to rank them as some have just been so equally horrifying. So, we are just going to go through the best and worst.
Well, we might as well start as we mean to go on with easily the worst of the lot. The only good thing I can say is that it was still remotely in a time where the FA Cup was great to watch. As I recall, this was a year with many non-league teams in.
So, after a thrilling 1-1 draw with Northampton Town and thwacking them 5-2 in the replay, we draw non-league Histon in the second round. Lovely stuff.
I remember my young self, watching on ITV as we played them just thinking it wasn’t going to go well. Low and behold just before half-time and Histon’s Matthew Langston, who I’m pretty sure was a postman, nutted in the winner from a corner.
It was just a god awful game of football that we were destined to lose. But I mean it can’t get worse than this right?!
If I was going to do any kind of ranking system, then this would sit rather nicely at the top.
Still, in League One at the time we, of course, enter at the first round and kick off with a lovely 2-0 away win to Oldham.
Onto the second round draw and we look on in despair as we draw another away non-league tie. Not this again, please.
Kettering Town the destination as Leeds look to balance the cup with their promotion push. After going 1-0 down, Jermaine Beckford came to the rescue to take the tie back to Elland Road with a second-half equaliser. But all of a sudden, the replay became very interesting. What was at stake? An away tie to Old Trafford for the winner. Thank goodness we dismantled them 5-1. As I recall, the mad-man himself Tresor Kandol scored.
Yes, we were in League One, but the fact never changed that this was a game between arch-rivals. It was a typical Fergie lineup that you would be bewildered to him winning a Champions League game with.
But the man of the moment Jermaine Beckford stepped up and won the game with a first-half goal in front of the Stretford End.
The fourth round was met with anticipation drawing away to Spurs. It went deep into stoppage time with Spurs in a 2-1 lead thanks to goals from Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko. Jesus Christ.
Fortunately, we had Mr FA Cup to save it as Beckford scored a 95th-minute penalty. Unfortunately, we got taken apart 3-1 at Elland Road. Always next year.
Coming in at the third round being back in the Championship, it meant avoiding non-league teams were easier. Yes, they do still haunt me.
Drawing 1-1 with Birmingham in the third round, it set up a home tie against old foes Tottenham should we win the replay. Which of course we did so 2-1.
This goes down as one of the best FA Cup runs is because we beat Spurs 2-1 at Elland Road with one of the truly worst teams I have seen as a Leeds fan. A strike partnership of Ross McCormack and the delightful El Hadji Diouf; a midfield that included Michael Brown and Luke Varney; then a defence that had Lee Peltier at centre back. If you’re a Leeds fan, you know.
I reiterate this goes down so well because of this game alone. We will ignore the fact that we got slapped 4-0 at the Etihad in the next round.
The season following and we draw away to Rochdale in the third round. Nothing to worry about.
This probably goes down as one of the worst for me as it was a truly low point to be a Leeds fan. To paint a picture, our owners GFH Capital were probably the only middle eastern owners with not a dime to spend; we were playing the worst football you could imagine; then there was the sheer fact that the squad, in general, was just outrageously bad.
So, you’ll be surprised to learn that we lost 2-0 thanks to a winning goal by a certain Scott Hogan. This resulted in the whole team being booed and chants of “what the f*****g hell was that”.
Of course, the list I have provided is just the best and worst. Of course, there is more. This is Leeds United remember.
So, we must give attention to the last two seasons of this beloved competition. A 2-1 loss to League Two’s Newport County and a 1-0 loss to Sutton. Ah, I do love non-league.
Then another one that still sickens me is losing away to Arsenal in 2012 with a winning goal from the returning Thierry Henry. It sickens me purely because it was destined to happen and there was absolutely naff all we could have done about it.