LUFC On This Day - June 6th: Tony Yeboah
A look back at what happened on this day June 6th in the history of Leeds United.
Leeds have never played a game on this day in their history, so today we look at a player who celebrates his 48th birthday on this day.
Anthony 'Tony` Yeboah signed for Leeds United on January 5th 1995 for £3.4 million and he became a cult hero in his two and a half years at Elland Road.
The Ghanaian international arrived from German side Eintracht Frankfurt after plundering 68 goals in 123 games for the Bundesliga side.
He made his debut for Leeds as a substitute in an FA Cup tie at Manchester United and he quickly endeared himself to the Leeds faithful when he scored from close range to bring the side back into the game at 2-1.
He was in the starting line-up three days later when he made his Elland Road debut and he scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Everton.
Yeboah scored 13 times in 16 games in his first half season at Elland Road and he showed his versatility in attack. His preferred left foot was accountable for most of his goals in his first season but he also showed his power in the air with a bullet header at Leicester City, his second goal that night also headed home.
For me personally, he is the best striker I have ever seen when he got in behind the defence. He rarely missed and he often passed the ball into the net, with the goalkeeper bewildered.
He showed this when he scored his first hat-trick of the club in a 4-0 win over Ipswich Town in April.
On that night, he scored his only goal of that season with his right foot, when he went around Craig Forrest in the Ipswich goal before tapping in. His second and third goals that evening were typical Yeboah finishes, placing the ball past the hapless Forrest.
His goals in his first season helped the club finish fifth and book their place in the UEFA Cup.
When he was signed by Howard Wilkinson, the manager referred to what he called his 'whizz-bang` goals. At the start of the 1995/96 season, we got to see what he meant. On the opening day at West Ham, he scored with a bullet header to bring Leeds level before smashing one in with his left foot, with hammers goalkeeper Ludo Miklosko left stranded.
In Leeds opening home game of the season on the Monday night against Liverpool, the watching world got to seen on Sky Sports the power he had in his right foot.
His volley from fully 30-yards left England goalkeeper David James grasping at thin air, a goal that
is still shown on Sky to this day and it made the shortlist for the best goal of the first 20-years of the Premier League in 2012.
Yeboah v Liverpool:
Having helped Leeds qualify for Europe the previous season, Yeboah shined on the European stage when he fired a hat-trick in the 3-0 win at AS Monaco in the first round first leg tie in the principality.
Less than a fortnight later, he scored his third hat-trick for the club at Wimbledon and once again, he had another contender for goal of the season and again it was with his supposed right foot.
After chesting the ball down, onto his knee, left foot - right foot and smashed from 30-yards and once again, another goalkeeper (future Leeds goalkeeper Neil Sullivan) was grasping at thin air, as his strike smashed off the underside of the bar and into the net with commentator Martin Tyler described the goal as 'breathtakingly brilliant.`
Yeboah v Wimbledon:
On Christmas Eve, he showed why I rate him as the best one-on-one goalscorer, when he made Peter Schmeichel look silly in the 3-1 home win over our bitterest rivals Manchester United.
He helped Leeds to a first Wembley final in 23-years when he scored in both legs against Birmingham City in the League Cup semi-final.
Yeboah finished the season with 19 goals but it was to prove his last hurrah for Leeds, with a knee injury ruling him out of the final two-months of the season. Despite missing the final two-months, he was still named the clubs player of the season.
After a poor start the following season with Yeboah injured, Howard Wilkinson lost his job in September. George Graham replaced Wilkinson in the hot seat and when Yeboah finally returned to fitness, it was clear that the two were not getting along. By March he was making just his seventh appearance of the season and when he was substituted by Graham, Yeboah showed his frustration by throwing his shirt in the direction of the Leeds boss.
It was to prove his final moment in a Leeds shirt and returned to Germany to play for SV Hamburg in the early months of the following season.
Yeboah will always be remembered fondly by those fortunate to witness him in a Leeds shirt and he was voted 37th in a top 100 poll conducted by the club in 2006 to find the greatest players ever to play for Leeds United.
Yeboah scored 32 goals in his 66 appearances for Leeds United and you can enjoy them all here:
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