Leeds United: Sharp shooting boots of Yeboah remembered

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HOW Leeds United could do with the sharp-shooting boots of one Tony Yeboah right now.

The powerhouse striker with dynamite in his boots signed for Leeds twenty years ago today (Jan 5) - and while his time at Elland Road was comparatively brief, what memories he provided.

Tony Yeboah.

Tony Yeboah.

The man from Ghana, who turns 49 in June, hit 32 goals during his spell in West Yorkshire from 1995-97 and many of them were truly memorable.

The dates of August 21, 1995 and September 23, 1995 may mean nothing at first glance for Whites supporters, but those with more detailed memories will recall how Yeboah, on both dates, produced two of the most stunning goals ever scored by a Leeds player.

His first arrived under the lights against Liverpool in a 1-0 win by virtue of a sensational volley which flew in off the bar in front of a delirious Kop and won the Goal of the Season award on BBC’s Match of the Day.

It came in the 51st minute and took his tally to 16 goals in 18 starts for Leeds after his £3.4m arrival - and followed two fine goals at West Ham.

His moment arrived when Tony Dorigo crossed from the left and Rod Wallace headed the ball back and Yeboah unleashed an unstoppable 25-yard right-foot volley which hurtled past David James with awesome ferocity.

The man who bought him, Howard Wilkinson, commented: “It was a fantastic strike, right out of the top drawer.

Just over a month later, Yeboah, who arrived at Leeds with a predatory reputation after plundering 68 goals in 133 Bundesliga games with Eintracht Frankfurt, provided another world-class strike in the confines of Selhurst Park against tenants Wimbledon with another wonder goal in a 4-2 victory, again with his ‘wrong’ right foot.

It was the second goal of an accomplished treble by the African hot-shot. After chesting the ball down, he showed superb technique to control the ball and beat a couple of players before flying fly with a scorching strike from thirty yards out - with many believing it was an even more choice effort than his strike against the Reds.

For anyone who watched Yeboah in Germany with first Saarbrucken and then Eintracht, the goals weren’t random in his haul of 68 goals in 123 games.

He soon hit the ground running at Leeds, netting a hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Ipswich on April 4, 1995 which Wilkinson labelled as “world class”.

On his tidy treble, Wilkinson said: “Each of the three was different. The first was a great ball from Gary McAllister, the second came after a superb touch with the back of his heel, and for the third his touch was immaculate.”

Yeboah also managed three goals amid a golden harvest early in the 1995-96 season in a Uefa Cup tie with Monaco, with Leeds clearly possessing one of the most accomplished finishers in world football on their boots.

It was a season in which Yeboah went onto be named as the club’s player of the year, with the frontman also netting in the 3-1 win over Manchester United on Christmas Eve 1995.

That said, his form tailed off a little in the second half of the campaign, with a knee injury ending his season early and after George Graham took over as Leeds manager in the autumn of 1996, it spelled the beginning of the end for Yeboah at Elland Road.

Injuries did not help matters, with Yeboah eventually heading back to Germany to join Hamburg, with his final act in a Whites shirt seeing him throw his shirt at Graham after coming off in the loss at White Hart Lane in March 1997.

It was a sad end to his time at Leeds, but what captivating highs he provided in the mid-nineties.

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EXIT DOOR: Souleymane Doukara.
 Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Doukara heads for Turkey after Leeds United contract is ended early