Andy Hughes: Fans memories of a Leeds United cult hero

He was the right signing, at the right time, with the right club.

By Andrew Hutchinson
Saturday, 14th May 2022, 4:30 pm
Andy Hughes. PIC: Steve Riding
Andy Hughes. PIC: Steve Riding

Andy Hughes joined Leeds United on the same day that the club was docked 15 points in League 1.

"Dennis Wise told me the challenge and the position the club was in. He wants fighters and I felt the challenge of playing for Leeds United and Dennis Wise was too good to turn down," he once explained in an interview after joining the Whites from Norwich City for an undisclosed fee in August 2007.

He would go on to enjoy a three and a half year stay in LS11 where he became a cult hero among the fans thanks to his never-say-die attitude, work rate and determination.

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Andy Hughes celebrates victory against Leyton Orient at the Matchroom Stadium in April 2008. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

His first season at Leeds saw Hughes play an important squad role by being used in a variety of positions, which culminated in the Whites reaching the League One play-off final against Doncaster Rovers at Wembley.

It was a disappointing end to a campaign which featured his only goal for the Whites. He tapped in from close range against Millwall at The Den in April 2008 to finish a flowing move that Hughes had himself started on the edge of the opposition's box.

He went on to be part of a Leeds team which famously beat Manchester United at Old Trafford in the third round of the FA Cup and also played when the Whites earned a 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in the same competition later that same month.

He made 51 appearances in all competitions during that season when Leeds finally won promotion from League One at the third attempt.

Your YEP has asked the Elland Road faithful to share memories of a number 22 whose love and affection among fans prompted a five word chant in his name, the details of which are unprintable in a family newspaper.

Responses included:

Dave (@dave64082900) - "Always gave 100 per cent for United although not the most gifted player. Heard him recently talking on @BBCLeeds about his Leeds career loved his time there. Should be a motivational speaker."

Chris Wade - "Always gave 100%. Knew what it meant to wear our famous white shirt. Loved us. Loved him."

Joshua James - "Celebrations at the end of the Bristol Rovers game, jumping up and down like a lunatic at Southend when we saved a penalty, celebration with Leigh Bromby v Stockport, never tiring of chasing Ryan Babel all night in the Cup, or the robot celebration away at Millwall. Leeds cult hero."

Jonathan Headington - "When he split his head and got up and didn't appear to know where he was. Came around and bolted for the tunnel. Head bandaged up and was back on within minutes (can't remember who it was against). Gave his all for the shirt."

Gareth Ash - "Legend. Gave 100 per cent."

Simon Davy - "His antics when I went to the New Den. Half time Hughes was an unused sub. During the half time break he stopped his kick about to dance the robot infront of the travelling fans. We went on to win 1-0."

Tony J Hay - "Helping carry him as we invaded the pitch after the 2-1 over Bristol which won us promotion."

Jim Mackenzie "I loved Andy Hughes! He always gave 110% effort. I remember being in the Kop and he was subbed in the final minutes of the match. He was on the far side of the pitch and absolutely sprinted off as fast as he could. Brilliant!"

Paul Brace - " I have Andy Hughes shirt from the Bristol Rovers last game of the season in League 1. I acquired it during all the mayhem at the end. I offered his shirt back whilst speaking to him on twitter but he very kindly said to keep it as a proper Leeds fans deserved it that day. Top pro, top man."

Stephen Broomhead - "He understood what it meant to play for Leeds."

Graham Elliott - "Clearance off the line at Old Trafford when Beckford scored that goal."