Ex-Leeds United hero on tragic Rangers legend, Kalvin Phillips Man City transfer and Raphinha saga

Leeds United title-winning hero Tony Dorigo writes exclusively for the YEP on his memories of the late Andy Goram’s Elland Road exploits, Kalvin Phillips’ move and Raphinha’s saga.

By Tony Dorigo
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 7:48 am

The extremely sad and quite sudden passing of Andy Goram hit home with me at the weekend and brought back memories of a night when he was ridiculous against Leeds United.

Fifty-eight is no age at all. He was just two years older than me and, obviously, our careers overlapped with each other. What first struck me about him, when I came across him at Oldham Athletic, was that he wasn’t, in fact, very big for a goalie. In the modern-day era, goalkeepers seem to have to be 6ft 4ins or 6ft 5ins but he certainly wasn’t that. My God he was like a cat in goal, though.

When we played Glasgow Rangers in the Champions League, he was a right pain in the backside for us, because he was just inspirational for them. That’s what he had, an ability to produce some absolute blinders. He was incredible during that game, and made so many saves, so many that I believe we would have won that game any other time and possibly got through. But not against him, that night, he just stopped us time and time again.When you find yourself up against a goalie in that form, it’s so frustrating.

The crowd was silenced so early in the game when Mark scored but we actually had a chance before that where Eric Cantona went through and Goram saved that one. We had a few great chances. Eric had a couple, Rod Wallace, one after another and even the goal we scored Andy got a hand to that as well.

Sometimes you think well, we’ll just keep going and going but every now and then you need big players to come up with something big, in big games, and, for Rangers, that night he did that. That pair of fixtures was special, the sort of games that are so enjoyable to play in. It was England v Scotland, the champions of both countries in the best club competition in the world - absolutely brilliant.

Both games were tremendous. I remember the Rangers fans singing their song before the game and I turned to Chrissy Fairclough and we were shouting but couldn’t hear each other speak. The noise was incredible, I was stamping my feet to their tune.

You want to play those sort of games, ones that hold so much importance, when the fans create something special like theirs and ours did. It could have all been so different too, had it not been for Andy Goram.

TRAGIC STAR - Andy Goram died on July 2 after a short battle with oesophageal cancer. The Rangers legend produced a famous display at Elland Road to deny Leeds United in the Champions League. Pic: Getty

Now Kalvin Phillips can look forward to experiencing Champions League nights. We all heard the whispers long before it happened but, for me, it was a club that neither Leeds nor Kalvin could say no to. All the other rumours - West Ham, Villa, Newcastle - I just couldn’t understand any of those. He’s got this opportunity by playing extremely well, not only for Leeds but for England. He’s been superb and stuck around at Leeds when he could have gone elsewhere for more money.

I think now’s the time, at his age, to take an opportunity and we all wish him luck.

We would have loved to have built a team around him but our progress hasn’t quite coincided with the speed that Kalvin’s career has taken off. It’ll be interesting when he comes back to face us. I’ve no doubt Pep Guardiola has got a diamond there.

Now, for Leeds, it’s important that the money gets reinvested to make the squad better and I say squad because we struggled last season, so thin on the ground due to injuries. This is an opportunity to address that.

We’re hoping the players we get, with the experience they have at a top level and international experience, hit the ground running. It appears as if we’re getting quality players but, until we’ve seen them on the pitch and how they fit into the system, we won’t know 100 per cent. From the outside looking in, though, I think we’ve got some very good ones arriving, players with Champions League experience and quite a few of them, which is good news.

There’s still one big departure that we’re all expecting, in Raphinha. When we were talking about Arsenal, I couldn’t quite understand that one. The Champions League is such a big draw for top players and Chelsea made more sense, as such a big club and one who can boast a European title in the not-too-distant past.

We all know where Raphinha would like to go but he doesn’t get to dictate that and Leeds United have got the aces in their hand at the moment, so let’s see what happens.

Barcelona have to get to where Chelsea are and then he has to make a decision. Barcelona or Chelsea is not a bad pair of options, to be fair, but always remember it’s what’s best for Leeds United that counts here and we need a really good transfer fee, paid up front ideally.

That way we can continue to get some really good players coming in and build something stronger and better than we had last season.