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VJ Day for Leeds United fans as Vinnie steals show

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He played less than 60 games for Leeds United and scored just five goals.

But for fans of a certain vintage, Vinnie Jones remains the club’s ultimate cult hero.

And, sure enough, he enjoyed a welcome fit for a footballing king as he made an emotional return to Elland Road yesterday.

Midfield hardman-turned-Hollywood actor Vinnie took to the pitch at half-time during United’s game with Millwall to present the Whites with his 1989-90 Division Two championship medal.

Turning back the clock 25 years or so, he stalked purposefully towards the ground’s Kop end and exchanged Leeds salutes with his adoring public.

Some things had changed, of course, with Vinnie deciding against wearing his all-white kit of yesteryear in favour of a three-quarter length woollen coat and natty purple trilby hat.

But he made sure the fans in the stands knew he was still one of them, proudly sporting a Leeds scarf for an on-pitch interview.

He told the crowd that grit and heart had been the key to the success of his fleeting spell at Leeds – before bringing the house down by leading the Kop in a rousing rendition of United club anthem Marching On Together.

Vinnie’s appearance earned him rave reviews from fans on social media.

One supporter, Vic Petit, wrote on Twitter: “I do believe Vinnie Jones has a massive place in #lufc history. I don’t care it was only one season.”

Another fan, Katy Branthwaite, tweeted: “Absolutely love Vinnie Jones. Him singing Marching On Together was awesome. Think he should come to every home game.”

Also on Twitter, John Broster wrote: “Vinnie Jones is a legend. Totally underrated as a footballer but loved by the fans he connected so well with.”

Before the match, Vinnie dropped into the Elland Road souvenir superstore for a book signing session.

United managing director David Haigh also presented the man of the moment with a Leeds top bearing the name Jones and his old shirt number of four.

Vinnie even visited the Leeds dressing room to deliver some words of encouragement to the present day team – and his presence seemed to have a positive impact, with United running out 2-1 winners.

Then, after the game, it was on to the ground’s Centenary Pavilion for an ‘Audience With...’ type event attended by around 700 fans.

Yesterday’s matchday programme was a Vinnie Jones themed edition, featuring a photo of a famous Elland Road goal celebration against Ipswich Town on its front cover.

Vinnie signed for Leeds in the summer of 1989 and went on to play a crucial role in the memorable title-winning campaign that followed.

He says joining United was the best move he ever made – and he has the club badge tattooed on his ankle to prove it.

More recently Vinnie has carved out a film career with roles in movies such as Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels.

 

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