Avid Whites fan creates Amazon Alexa skill for Leeds United nerds

A Leeds United-mad dad has created a skill for Alexa which reveals fascinating Whites facts on command.

Monday, 25th November 2019, 5:00 pm

John Saunders created the skill after becoming interested in coding.

The dad-of-two was a prison officer for 18 years but has recently started a job in the digital sector.

Amazon has recently released a reward scheme that gives developers the chance to earn rewards for creating popular Alexa skills.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

John with his daughters, Amelia, six, and Felicity, three.

And for John, there was only one subject for it - his favourite club.

"Leeds United has been one of the constant addictions in my life," said John.

His family now take priority over attending games, but he has made sure to pass on his love of Leeds.

"Leeds runs in the family," he added. "My children both have Leeds kits and both were held up by the statue of Billy outside Elland Road when they were both born.

An Amazon Alexa device (Photo: Amazon).

"I have a real passion for Leeds United through the highs and the lows."

By enabling the Leeds United Facts skill and asking 'Alexa, open Leeds United facts', users are informed of an array of fascinating Whites' facts on a broad range of topics.

It took John, who lives in Doncaster with his wife and two girls - Amelia, six, and three-year-old Felicity - seven days of trial and error to get the skill right.

"It was as much a history lesson for me as it was an attempt to create the skill," the 36-year-old said. "It was an interesting journey through Leeds United history."

There are 34 facts currently, with more planned as soon as John gets more users.

He added: "I've also created a skill for a Sheffield Wednesday fan (my brother-in-law) that has only been used by him - smaller fan base I guess!"

When asked how Alexa would respond to being asked 'Are Leeds going up?', John said: "Alexa would say 'Don't you know pump it up, the Whites are going up!'"

Some of John's Leeds United Facts

- 'They're white rose rivals now, but Leeds United has plenty to thank Huddersfield Town for. Former Leeds City boss Herbert Chapman was their manager as United started out, going on to win the First Division three times in a row. So much was the respect between the clubs, that Leeds first ever kits were The Terriers blue and white vertical stripes, while Town loaned their West Yorkshire neighbours 35,000 pounds to get the club off the ground, only to be paid back when United won the First Division themselves they'd have to wait until 1969 for the money back.'

- 'Only a few clubs in the modern era have had a shirt that was never released to the public, and that's usually for special occasions such as cup finals or anniversaries. However, due to an eyesore of a kit clash, makers Asics, made a yellow version of their home shirt with a buttoned collar especially for the 5th Round replay at Port Vale them again in 1996. With only enough made for the squad who played, it can cost upwards of 200 pounds to get one.'

- 'Standing at 6ft 2in, John Charles was Leeds first proper superstar and he was built for the part. The Welsh international scored 153 times in 308 league games for the club, before departing for Juventus and becoming a part of one of their most successful teams ever. Throughout his career, The Gentle Giant was remarkably never booked or sent off, which in this day and age, is almost unthinkable.'