In light of the visit of Leeds tomorrow night, we have decided to publish a trip down (memory) Goldstone Lane that first appeared in TSLR002 back in the depths of September 2008. It was penned by Dave Rider who we can't recall having had an article published by us since. But his account of the April 1990 match-up between Leeds United and the glorious Brighton and Hove Albion at that fabulous ground we used to call the Goldstone is well worth a read. Rider's account of Leeds, Mervyn Day, Vincent Jones, Gotsmanov, Crumplin, that Chapman own goal and his unrequited love for Perry Digweed's name is supplemented here by video footage from that very game that has presumably only surfaced because of Gary Speed's demise. Anyway, read on, enjoy and dream of getting hold of three points safely ahead of the actual weekend.
1 November 2012
Albion 2 Leeds 2, 21.04.90
One game that will always stand out for me was one from the 89-90 season when Leeds United visited the Goldstone, on their way to winning the division and making their return to the top flight. Whilst the game wasn’t all that important to us by that stage, for Leeds it was a massive match as issues at the top end of the League table were far from resolved. Consequently, Leeds brought down a huge following that day, and their travelling fans were allocated the entire East Terrace. I’d grown accustomed to having my facial features where they were, and so with this in mind, elected to forsake my usual spot on the East Terrace and watch the game from the North Stand, right behind the goal. This proved to be a good decision.
Leeds United had a certain Vincent Jones playing for them in midfield at the time. Even prior to Hollywood he was a terrifying looking character, all crew-cut and tattoo’s and mean, hard stares. As he warmed up on the pitch in front of us, one brave soul behind me ventured “OI JONES, YOU UGLY BASTARD” before shrinking back behind a pillar, trembling. “YEAH, BUT I’M RICH AND UGLY” countered Vinnie, and carried on with his warm-up. You can’t really argue with that.
The pre-match entertainment didn’t stop there though. Mervyn Day, the Leeds United keeper, provided us with one of the highlights of the season before the match even kicked off. Trotting towards the North Stand goal, he decided to see whether or not he could jump up and touch the crossbar. Fair enough. On certain occasions when I’m bored, I have been known to see if I can jump up and touch the ceiling in the front room. I have done this more than once, and so I am now safe in the knowledge that, should the need ever arise, I am indeed capable, if I jump, of touching the ceiling in my front room. Likewise, having been in the game some considerable time, I would have to assume that Mervyn already knew full well that he was capable of jumping up and touching the crossbar as well.
To my knowledge, these things are pretty standard in football, and the crossbars at the Goldstone are suspended at precisely the same height as those at Elland Road, or any other professional football ground in the country for that matter. However, probably for the same pointless reason as my own for checking that I can still touch the ceiling in my front room, jump up and touch the crossbar he did. What he didn’t bargain on though, was catching his boots in the goal net at waist-height, and crashing to the turf in a tangled mess with his legs suspended above and behind his head. To our utter delight, his subsequent thrashing and flailing merely served to further entangle his studded boots in the net, until he resembled a desperate guppy going through it’s final death spasms on the deck of a fishing trawler. After a while, a linesman, taking pity on poor Mervyn’s plight, walked over from the touchline and put him out of his misery by brutally clubbing him about the head with his flag until he lay on the goal-line, motionless.
Well ok, that’s not actually what the linesman did. What he actually did was to patiently untangle Mervyns boots from the net and finally free him from his humiliating and undignified predicament. Mervyn did not seem to see the funny side of this incident at all though, and once freed from his stringy shackles, disdainfully waved a gloved hand at the offending net, and complained bitterly to the linesman that it was clearly hanging far too close to the goal line. Absolute rubbish of course. About 21 other keepers had stood there that season and none of them had managed to get themselves into such a pickle. All this unfolded about 10 yards in front of me, and added immeasurably to my enjoyment of the afternoon, as I’m sure you can appreciate.
After such unexpected treats in the build-up to kickoff, the match itself would have a fair amount to live up to I thought. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. Leeds went in at half time one goal up, and were clearly a very strong side with the likes of Jones, Strachan, Speed and Sterland in the team. To our absolute delight though, we managed to grab an equaliser early in the second half through good old Soviet Serge Gotsmanovi, crashing in a shot from 15 yards after a clever lay-off from Bremner. Our delight was short lived though. No sooner had we equalised, than wee Gordon Strachan broke our (rather brittle) offside trap, and got away free down the right. With no other defenders in sight, our keeper Perry Digweed (still one of the best names I have ever heard in football, or anywhere else for that matter), charged off his line to have a go at this left-back business, being as no-one else seemed to want to play there at that particular moment. Perry didn’t prove to be a very effective left-back though, and Strachan skipped round him easily. We watched in horror as the aging ginger terror, ball at his feet, advanced into our penalty from the wing, with an open goal gaping. We held our breath, waiting for him to complete the simple and inevitable task of rolling the ball into our unguarded net. Its one of those moments when you know it’s a goal well before the ball goes in. You almost look away, as there seems no possible way a player of Strachans class and experience could possibly do anything else but score. So you brace yourself and wait for it. But wee Gordon didn’t score. He squared it. To our utter disbelief, with an open goal, he rolled a square pass along the six-yard line across the face of the gaping goal, with not another Leeds player even in the penalty area. The yellow shirts were miles back up the field, with not an earthly of getting within 30 yards of that ball.
A collective feeling of relief washes over us all as we see Ian Chapman, our faithful left-back (ahhh, THERE he is Perry !), running back to intercept the ball and thump it to safety. Why, he won’t even need to concede a corner, will he ? This’ll be a throw-in at worst. Actually, there’s so much time, he might even trap the ball, turn, and play one of those lovely bending passes out to the safety of the right wing to initiate a thrusting counter-attack. We collectively ponder Chapmans options as he charged at the the ball, takes one touch, and…clattered it unerringly into the empty net. For a second, there is a stunned silence. Then suddenly the east side of the ground erupts into hysteria, and poor Chappers sinks down on his haunches, squeezes his eyes shut, and pinches the bridge of his nose, as though nursing a particularly gruesome migraine. TV replays later showed a cruel divot had lifted the ball just at the precise moment Chapman was about to take a touch, no doubt intending to ponder the various options we had all thought about a couple of seconds earlier. Instead, the ball spun up, bounced off his shinpad and trickled apologetically into the goal. 2-1 to Leeds. Happily, a bullet header by Johnny Crumplin Football Genius friom a corner salvaged a well deserved 2-2 draw, but anyone who was at that game will not have forgotton one of the most horrendous (or hilarious, depending on your perspective) own goals ever seen.