A defensive rock who put the ball in the Man U net

He was a defensive rock who will be forever remembered for putting the ball in the Man U net.

By Andrew Hutchinson
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 12:24 pm
David Wetherall celebrates scoring against Manchester United at Elland Road in September 1997. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
David Wetherall celebrates scoring against Manchester United at Elland Road in September 1997. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

David Wetherall will always have a special place in the minds of Whites watchers from the 1990s thank to two goal-den moments both of which came against their Pennines rivals at Elland Road.

The first arrived on September 11, 1994 when the central defender’s infamous mishit strike opened the scoring for the Whites in a 2-1 Elland Road victory and paved the way for a first league win over the red side of Manchester since the final game of the 1979/80 campaign.

Wetherall shared the headlines with Brian Deane that day, but on another autumnal afternoon just over three years later, the defender stole the limelight, rising above Gary Pallister in the 34th minute before thumping a header past the hesitant Peter Schmeichel to seal a sweet 1-0 success.

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David Wetherall celebrates his goal with teammate Alf Inge Haaland and the Elland Road faithful. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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And Wetherall has particular reason to remember September 27, 1997: “I was fortunate enough to score twice against Manchester United and the second time was my son’s first game," he told the YEP during an interview. "He was just a matter of a few days old and to score in those circumstances and keep a clean sheet made sure that day couldn’t get any better."

Those two goals were among 18 he bagged from 250 games in all competitions during his eight years with the club. He made a brief debut in the First Division, as a late substitute against Arsenal at Elland Road in September 1991, the season Leeds went on to win the title.

He made his first start for Leeds in the newly-formed Premier League in September 1992 against Southampton and scored his first goal for the club the following March to secure a draw at home to Chelsea.

Even when he moved on to Bradford City he helped Leeds United. A winning goal against Liverpool at Valley Parade ensured Premier League survival for the Bantams and confirmed Champions League football for the Whites.

Your YEP has asked the Elland Road faithful to share memories of a Leeds United number six who proved a defensive stalwart during this time with the club.

Responses included:

Mark Royle-Evatt (@MEvatt) - "How about this goal he scored for Bradford that meant Leeds qualified for the Champions League finishing above Liverpool?"

Michael Seaman - "Header in 1-0 Leeds win v Manchester United. Watched it in cheese wedge. Great day."

Steven Turnbull - "Scored an equaliser against Sheff Wednesday at home with a bullet header."

Danny McKenzie - "Limbs at Elland Road beating Manchester United!"

Craig Teasdale - "Good steady player - tackled, headed clearances from a 1990s centre half and came up with important goals."

Ian Taylor - "Scoring for Bradford v Liverpool to help confirm Leeds place in Champions League the following season."

Michael Joseph - "Definitely scoring against Manchester United in the 2-1 win."

Ian Waugh - "His header against Man United."

Ryan Misiakowski - "Header against Man U won me £30 off my pound bet. What a moment."

Simon Jenkins - "Lots of good memories, but one sticks in the mind. We were away at West Ham, last day of the season, and at half time, the announcer told us that Wetherall had scored for Bradford against Liverpool - a result which would put us in the Champions League. The Hammers' fans must have been puzzled why we sang 'Who put the ball in the Scousers net? David Wetherall...'"

Johnny Shearn - "Under-rated."

Jonesy (@CJonesy90) - "As a seven-year-old in my first full season going to Leeds games, seeing him score the winner against Man Utd at Elland Road is something that will stick with me for life. Remember the celebrations like it was yesterday."

Rich Barlow (@Richb1169) - "Got odds of 33/1 when he scored the goal against Man U. Someone I know knew him and they got me a signed birthday card, he wouldn’t put I’m glad you won some money but hope you had a good day at the match. Yes I did."

Wayne Hicken - "Class was big Weathers, great leader as well."

Tony Mcgann - " Solid as a rock, very clever man. Graduated Uni whilst playing for Leeds, I believe."