Leeds United title-winner Jon Newsome on why Marcelo Bielsa's Whites can take Championship crown

JON Newsome knows exactly what it takes when it comes to winning titles.

By Lee Sobot
Saturday, 26th October 2019, 6:00 am
CRUCIAL GOAL: Brian Deane looks on dejected as Jon Newsome, centre, Chris Fairclough, left, and Garry Speed celebrate Newsome's header that put Leeds United 2-1 up and on course for a 3-2 victory at Sheffield United in April 1992, a victory which bagged Howard Wilkinson's side the First Division championship.
CRUCIAL GOAL: Brian Deane looks on dejected as Jon Newsome, centre, Chris Fairclough, left, and Garry Speed celebrate Newsome's header that put Leeds United 2-1 up and on course for a 3-2 victory at Sheffield United in April 1992, a victory which bagged Howard Wilkinson's side the First Division championship.

After all, it was Newsome’s header in April 1992 in a 3-2 win against Sheffield United that helped Leeds United to the First Division title under Howard Wilkinson at Bramall Lane.

Twenty seven years on, the former defender thinks Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds have what it takes to win the Championship crown - with the 49-year-old only hoping Leeds can be joined in promotion to the Premier by fellow former side and today’s hosts Sheffield Wednesday.

Newsome has a foot in each camp for today’s lunch-time showdown at Hillsborough with the Sheffield-born former footballer a Wednesday fan from birth who began and ended his career with the Hillsborough club in two different spells.

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After beginning his career with the Owls as a YTS scholar, Wilkinson and Leeds then came knocking in 1991 with Newsome’s stooped header against Wednesday’s Steel City rivals putting Leeds 2-1 up at Bramall Lane on the day United were crowned champions of England.

Nearly three decades later, United’s continued aim is to seal a long awaited return to the country’s top flight with Bielsa’s men favourites to seal that return in the ultimate style as title winners.

Newsome believes promotion as champions could well be on the cards though only, he admits, if United finally take their chances, the conversion of which, he knows, will again be key in today’s Yorkshire derby.

Newsome told the YEP: “I have seen a lot of football from the Championship this year, not just Leeds, and the only club or performance I have seen what matches what Leeds have done was West Bromwich Albion when they came to Elland Road.

"I thought in the second half they were really good but apart from that really I have not seen anybody who is on a par with Leeds if I’m honest.

“You go to games and they dominate, they dominate possession, they play the game in the opponent’s half and it’s just that usual Leeds thing of in the last ten or 15 minutes where if they have not put the game to bed they start hanging on a little bit and they have to defend deep.

“I thought they had got enough last season but obviously they faltered towards the end and Sheffield United came on really strong.

“I don’t think it’s as strong a league as last season so I would like to think that Leeds have got enough to get up there and putting my Sheffield Wednesday cap on I’d like to think that they’ve got enough as well.”

Newsome’s hometown club approach today’s assignment sat third and just one place and one point below the Whites with Steve Bruce’s replacement and former Whites boss Garry Monk having suffered just one league defeat in seven Championship games in charge.

“They had a good transfer window,” said Newsome of the Owls. “They brought two or three good players in over the summer which was Steve Bruce’s doing and then Gary Monk has picked up where Steve left off.

“In the last couple of games they have been dominant in the first half and then they have struggled in the second half and I just feel that they generally tend to get pinned back quite easy.

"When teams come and have a go at them they start playing really deep and that could possibly play into Leeds’ hands but then again it’s all about sticking the ball in the back of the net.”

Rather like Newsome did back in April 1992 and the 49-year-old who now works as a football agent had plenty of time to reflect on his Whites days during the club’s centenary celebrations last week with the defender gracing the Elland Road turf before last Saturday’s 1-0 win at home to Birmingham City as part of a parade of ex-Whites legends.

Reflecting on being part of the celebrations of 100 years of Leeds United, Newsome beamed: “It was amazing really and it was amazing for me to be involved in it if I’m honest especially on the Thursday night at the gala dinner. “There’s a multitude of what I would class as legends from the football club.

“I’m an ex player, I’m not in that legendary category like so many of them there and just to be a part of it was enjoyable and really nice and to rub shoulders with some of the older guys was a dream come true really.

"It was fantastic and I thought the club did a really good job at it though, I’ve got to say that, I thought Leeds United did a really good job at hosting it and doing everything in the right fashion.

“It was fantastic and then I was at the Birmingham game on Saturday and again that was lovely and to be out on the pitch.

"I stuck it on Twitter and said wow I never thought I would be out on the turf 20 minutes before kick off ever again and it brought a lot of memories back for all of us, we were all saying the same. It was great. I really enjoyed it.”