So, last week on Premier League Years, we looked at Leeds towards the end of the 2002/03 season and this week it turns out we’re looking at the Leeds side of 2003/04.
What is this uncreative, unoriginal BS?
Well, I accidentally clicked on a video and I’m too lazy to change it so here we are stuck with Leeds once again.
Anyway, Leeds at this point made the recession a few years back look like that time you accidentally lost a fiver with all their money woes. They travelled to Bolton who were really making waves under some bloke called Sam Allardyce. He’d signed some unknown foreigners called Jay-Jay Okocha and Your Djorkaeff and punted it long and it seemed to work just grand for him.
Bolton 4-1 Leeds United (2 May 2004)
To say Leeds were pretty much goners by this point is like saying Sunderland under David Moyes were an atrocity to football and they may get a lawsuit for having to watch them even take to the field last season.
Tangent aside, Leeds lined up at the Reebok with some recognisable names which was a shock to my memory. All I remember of Leeds in this era is Alan Smith crying and some very questionable defenders *cough* Roque Junior *cough*. Ian Harte was still kicking about and it’s always nice to see Nick Barmby earning his, probably undeserved, £45,000-a-week (may not be the actual amount but you get the idea).
Bolton played their usual mix of old foreign boys and Kevin Nolan. That’s it. They were Stoke about 15 years before Stoke were a thing.
Bolton were the first to threaten. An Okocha long throw (that was a thing?) fell to the feet of Henrik Pedersen but his effort was deflected just wide of the post. The only thing I remember about Henrik Pedersen was that he also played left back. Unsurprising if you ever saw him attempt to be a striker sometimes.
Then the opener came from the most Bolton move possible. Kevin Davies (not for the first time I imagine) lost a foot race to Steven Caldwell (the uglier, ginger brother) who headed back to Paul Robinson. His long hoof to Alan Smith was misjudged by Emerson Thome who gave Smithy a pat on the shoulder to congratulate him on getting through. Smith went down, a penalty was given to the most unenthusiastic commentary of all time.
“Smith…goes down…the decision has been given” spoken proudly by Microsoft Sam there. Our mate Mark Viduka stepped up and slotted it home to put Leeds a goal up.
Then Viduka decided ‘f**k Leeds’ and angled for a move away by getting himself sent off for two bookings after clashes with Bolton players. Amongst this, we got a lovely shot of Big Sam with his earpiece in, ensuring all the calls are getting a cabbie on the way to them ASAP.
That would take the game into half time with Leeds winning 1-0. Now I wonder if they can hold on?
Pfft, of course, they couldn’t. It only took them just over a minute before they let Bolton score. Okocha wriggled into some space, played in Djorkaeff who failed with a backheel but set himself up and slotted it past Robinson. Just went to show that if you gave it to the talented players rather than the lumps, Bolton were a decent side.
Djorkaeff almost scored a brilliant second too. Okocha and Ivan Campo did the old walking training corner but Djorkaeff’s long range strike was headed off the line. He wouldn’t be denied later on though as he stabbed in a rebound after Leeds’ defence didn’t just go AWOL but actually went away on their holidays at half time.
It would be 3-1 soon after. A cross from Pedersen hit human set piece Ian Harte and went in for an own goal. Poor Harte may be the worst full back (not named Paul) to have played in an upper Premier League side. He offered little other than his set pieces so this own goal encapsulated him perfectly. The ball flew towards him, he was confused that he was meant to do something with a moving ball, he attempted a header, he failed, own goal.
Bolton would wrap the tie up with another goal created by Okocha (he wasn’t that bad him). A lovely spin and pass set through Kevin Nolan who rolled it past Robinson and sent Leeds into the oblivion of the Championship from whence they have not returned.
Bolton meanwhile continued to be decent then stopped when Gary Megson arrived. They too are now rotting in the Championship hoping that Okocha can roll up and win them some games just like old times.
And with that current Bolton side, he probably could…