From established England internationals to popular centre-forwards, The Whites had a decent side back in the day.
It’s over 13 since Leeds United last beat Aston Villa in the league. To put that in context, Ian Harte, Nick Barmby and Mark Viduka were all on target in a 3-1 win at Elland Road in May 2003.
This weekend, the likes of Ronaldo Vieira, Kemar Roofe and Chris Wood will be hoping to repeat the trick for the Championship play-off pushers as Steve Bruce’s side make the trip north on Saturday.
But how does Garry Monk’s high flyers compare to the Leeds XI the last time Villa travelled home with their tail between their legs?
Some 1,664 days after his last Premier League appearance, the former England number one returned between the sticks in the top flight, a little greyer perhaps but no less sharp. A series of impressive reaction stops kept Manchester City at bay, only for Sergio Aguero to snatch a second-half winner against Burnley. Whether that is his last league game is anyone’s guess. After all, we thought that the last time.
An uncompromising hardman on the pitch, it turns out Danny Mills is largely the same off it if his punditry skills are anything to go by. The former Leeds, Manchester City and Middlesbrough right-back once played on with a dislocated finger at Old Trafford. These days, he’s coming second behind Jonathan Creek actress Emma Kennedy on Celebrity Masterchef.
A captain so legendary even a local indie band named themselves after his first club, it’s a testament to Radebe’s legacy at Elland Road that every above-decent centre-half in the club’s ranks will be subconsciously compared to the South African.
Post-playing, Radebe has been given a PFA Merit Award for his contributions to the game he played with such ease while dabbling in punditry and coaching. And what better way to honour a legend than with a pint of Radebeer. Yes, that genuinely existed once.
Perfect hat-trick? Too mainstream. Veteran defender Duberry put his own unique spin on the feat in a balmy January evening at the Kassam Stadium, the then-36-year-old netting once with his left, once with his head and once with his right. The first two, of course, were in his own net, leaving him to come to his own rescue with a last-gasp equaliser. He’s retired now, and the game is worse off for that fact.
Few can say they have followed an identical career path to free-kick specialist Harte. From Leeds to Levante to Sunderland, the long-serving Republic of Ireland international has one thing on his CV many players in this part of the world don’t. An, albeit brief and largely forgettable, spell in another major European league. Interestingly, he’s an agent these days, with Leeds youngster Tyler Denton on his client list.
Amid all the trials and tribulations Leeds’ endured as the 90s transitioned into the noughties, there was one steadfast constant; Gary Kelly. The only player since the era of Don Revie to play more than 500 games for The Whites, the versatile defender remained at Elland Road for the entirety of his 15 year career, ranging from Champions League semi-finals to relegation. He now makes terrible puns on Twitter. For example, “We all would have hit the Roofe had that gone in.”
A spate of injuries meant the Norwegian midfielder never quite fulfilled his potential at Elland Road but remained a crowd pleaser non-the-less for his relentless work ethic and occasional nasty streak. After returning to his native Norway to hone his coaching skills, the 39-year-old believes he could one day return to Leeds – as manager.
Outstanding in the European jaunt of 2000/01, it was Matteo’s goal at the San Siro against AC Milan that truly kicked the dream into life by ensuring Leeds’ qualified for the second stage. Things have gone a lot less swimmingly since, however, his role as ambassador at his former club cut short by Massimo Cellino’s arrival. Last year, Matteo was declared bankrupt after battling with a gambling addiction.
One of the more unheralded members of Leeds’ early-noughties halcyon days, Wilcox consistency on the left was one of the major contributing factors in Harry Kewell’s transition into a more attacking role. The former Blackburn Rovers captain retired two years after leaving Leeds in 2004, venturing across the Pennines to coach Manchester City’s under-18s.
One of the most popular figures in Leeds’ recent history, the Australian international centre forward was the perfect blend of flair and finesse, forming a dangerous partnership with Alan Smith. Within his portfolio stands a late winner against Arsenal which effectively saved The Whites from relegation and an incredible four-goal haul against Liverpool.
He now works behind the scenes with Melbourne Victory. Because why wouldn’t you?
An injury to star man Kewell meant a rare appearance for precocious youngster Johnson when Aston Villa travelled up to Yorkshire, one of just 11 he made for Leeds in the league. However, that’s about as good as it got for the speedy forward, with spells at Halesowen, Guiseley and current club Hinckley AFC bringing the term ‘journeyman’ to a whole new level.