Leeds United nostalgia: Enoch’s time with Whites all too brief

Enoch Showunmi.

Enoch Showunmi.

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Enoch Showunmi is one of those players unique to Leeds United’s League One experience, hardly there but permanently etched upon the consciousness of the Leeds United fanbase.

He played in only 15 league games for Leeds United, but you’d be hard pressed to find a fan who can’t recall his existence.

Unlike the likes of Armando Sa and Filipe Da Costa, he was around for longer, but still struggled to make an impact.

It is to his credit that he made an immediate impact, scoring on his debut against Scunthorpe.

He was, however, used sparingly in the league. The squad was stretched by the Football League Trophy, and Showunmi got his chance, becoming something of a cup specialist.

He scored goals repeatedly in knockout competitions during his first six months at the club.

In his first season, he scored twice in the League Cup, once against Crystal Palace and once against Hartlepool.

He added another goal in the Football League Trophy against Rotherham.

Even after falling out of favour under new Leeds United manager Simon Grayson, he scored his final goal for the club in the League Cup against Darlington in 2009.

He was somewhat hindered by bad luck and bad circumstance in his time at Leeds.

The manager who signed him, Gary McAllister, was sacked less than six months after he joined the club.

His successor, Simon Grayson, didn’t even really have an opportunity to make a judgement before Showunmi suffered a serious blood clot on his lung.

This kept him out for the rest of his first season, with Leeds reaching the play-off semi-final in his absence, knocked out at that stage by Millwall.

Upon returning from his blood clot, which kept him out for a six-month period, Showunmi was relieved to be able to train and play football again.

At the time, he said: “It’s been a difficult period. For the first couple of months (after the blood clot was diagnosed) I wasn’t allowed to do anything, and for the last four months I trained on my own.

“But I knew from mid-June that I’d be off the medication I’d been taking.

“I knew that I’d be able to take part in the pre-season games. It was a big relief for me.”

Much like current Leeds striker Matt Smith, Showunmi took an academic route into the professional game.

After a trial at Luton Town, he decided to study for a degree in Business Administration at London South Bank University.

“Ironically, it was while I was studying that I realised I did really want to be a footballer,” Showunmi recalled.

It was, in fact, his appearance as Patrick Vieira’s double in the 2002 Nike World Cup advert that convinced him to go back into football.

Meeting the likes of Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos made him think he needed to have another go at making it as a footballer.

Many odd things have happened at Leeds in the last decade, but the idea that those greats are somewhat responsible for Enoch Showunmi time at Leeds is possibly the oddest.

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