He is the man who supposedly hated football, but is that the real David Batty?
Friday’s edition of The City Talking, free inside the Yorkshire Evening Post, includes a rare interview with Leeds United legend Batty.
Journalist Daniel Chapman (@Moscowhite) spent an afternoon in the company of Batty, who made over 200 appearances for his hometown club, winning the Division One title with them in 1992.
Below is an excerpt from Chapman’s interview.
“After his autobiography in 2001, and after the acrimony of his final months as a player leading up to Leeds’ relegation in 2004, the impression grew that David Batty didn’t like football; that he had never liked football. That all this stuff — old awards, old shirts — were just the things that came with the job.
“That football was a job to David Batty is true, but there are two elements to football: there is playing, and there is the rest of it. The job was the rest of it. And what David Batty loved was playing. He practically purrs to recall the pitch at Goodison Park, that first game back in the top flight; its lush crown like a bowling green. He recalls Saturday afternoons on the pitch at Elland Road in autumn, when the game would kick off in sunshine, and end under the floodlights.
“He won’t listen when you try to convince him that, as a player, he was among the best of his generation — he doesn’t even like to put himself alongside McAllister, Speed, Strachan or Dacourt; but he’ll become animated when remembering how he’d pounce on any striker as soon as they had the ball, nicking it away from them and saving the central defenders a job. “I used to love when a midfielder would go beyond me, but then he’d try to pass…””
For the full interview, pick up a copy of The City Talking, free inside tomorrow’s Yorkshire Evening Post.