Leeds United: Elland Road cult hero countdown - 6

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We continue our countdown of Elland Road cult heroes. Who is in at number 6?

Watch any Leeds goal from between 1990 and 1993, and chances are you will see it knocked in by an indeterminable body part by a man who seems to have taken flight.

Lee Chapman joined United after Howard Wilkinson paid £400,000 for his services in an effort to help his side escape the second tier of English football.

Wilkinson probably did not realise it, but he was signing the player that would establish his team as title contenders and then winners over the next two and a half years.

Chapman was a goalscorer, there is no other explanation for what he did on the pitch. What he did best was primarily contained within 18 yards of the goal.

It was the way that Chapman flung himself at anything in any way that he could, as long as he was not breaking the rules of the game. All he cared about on the pitch was making the spherical object go past the white line in between the two sticks.

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In essence, Chapman was football itself distilled.

The £400,000 outlay on Wilkinson’s part was a gamble worth taking, as Chapman scored 12 goals to push Leeds towards promotion.

When Leeds moved into the top flight, Chapman’s goals kept coming. He scored 21 in 1990/91 as consolidated by finishing fourth in the First Division.

While he scored fewer the next season, if anything, each one of them meant more for Leeds fans, as Chapman propelled the Whites to a first league championship since 1974.

Teamed with Rodney Wallace, Chapman was the typical big man in a little and large partnership. It worked perfectly, as Wallace plundered goals to complement Chapman’s own tally.

Over those seasons, Chapman was what Leeds fans have come to regard as the perfect striker - an eye for goal and a willingness to do anything for the shirt.

One of his most famous incidents was not a goal, but his fall at White Hart Lane. Tottenham Hotspur’s Steve Sedgley accidentally kicked Chapman in the head. He was knocked out instantly and fell face first on the running track around the ground before sliding across it.

Chapman was unconscious for a few minutes, but also had cuts full of grit on his face. It was so serious that a plastic surgeon was needed to pull the skin of his forehead down over his nose.

Enough to take a player out for weeks, you might think? Not for Chapman, who played in the League Cup semi-final at Old Trafford only eight days later. He not only played, but played the full 90 minutes.

Goals, a title and a willingness to slide through grit for the club. It’s easy to see why Chapman remains a hero to this day.

Andrea Radrizzani.

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