Leeds United: Elland Road cult hero countdown - 8

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We continue our countdown of Elland Road cult heroes. Who is in at number 8?

If you visit Munich, or probably any German city, and visit the local football shop, you’ll find a range of t-shirts celebrating heroes of the game.

One of those features a pair of eyes staring back at you and the words ‘Zeugen Yeboahs’. Translated, that means Yeboah’s Witnesses.

When Tony Yeboah came to Leeds United, he was already a cult hero in Germany for his exploits for Eintracht Frankfurt. It took him a while to get to that point - he was initially greeted with racist abuse as one of the first black players to play for the side. In fact, his eventual popularity is considered integral to racial integration in the area.

68 goals in 123 games for the Bundesliga side boded well, but Leeds fans could not have expected the goals that would come.

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AUGUST 1995: Tony Yeboah scores against Liverpool.

AUGUST 1995: Tony Yeboah scores against Liverpool.

There were 32 in the league in his time at Elland Road, but two stand out more than the other 30.

The first, against Liverpool, is Yeboah’s preferred goal. Yeboah latches onto a knock down from Rodney Wallace, not taking a single touch.

Without looking up, he puts his right foot through it, sending it crashing into the bar and into the back of the net. David James in the Liverpool net did not stand a chance.

If his strike against Liverpool was pure instinct, then the one less than a month later against Wimbledon was pure technical brilliance.

Yeboah chests the ball down from the air, knees it up again before befuddling a Dons defender with a jink inside with his left boot. From there, it’s the traction engine of a foot that slams it into the back of the Wimbledon net.

The Premier League picked the Wimbledon goal as the best that season, but both struck the heart of Leeds fans everywhere.

There were also the hat-tricks, three in total. One, against Monaco in the UEFA Cup, is still recalled with fondness to this day.

Before long, Yeboah had a song, his name sung to the tune of Jewish folk song Hava Nagila. Yeboah was so popular that it was included in the Wembley mix for the 1996 Coca Cola Cup final.

If you search for it on YouTube, you can even see clips of it being played at weddings in Bramley or sung in the back of cars going down the motorway.

If anything, the fact Yeboah’s time at Leeds was cut short adds to the mystique and cult surrounding him. George Graham decided that he did not fit into his side, and decided to move him on. His record was never the same again, and his career petered out.

One tale that shows how perfect he was for Leeds was the fact he credited Yorkshire puddings with his goalscoring prowess.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post recently, he said: “I had no idea what they were,” he says, “but I loved them. I used to say that it was the Yorkshire puddings that gave me the strength to score goals. It was just fun. My feet scored the goals. And my mind.”

Matthew Pennington.

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