Championship

Cult Heroes: Tony Yeboah at Leeds United

Cult Heroes: Tony Yeboah at Leeds United

The 1990’s was a great decade to support Leeds United, wasn’t it Whites fans?

No fewer than Seven top-five finishes for the club cemented their place as one of England’s most successful sides in the 20th century whilst their Division One title win in 1992 remains their latest top-flight success.

In a period that saw the likes of Eric Cantona, Gary Speed and David Batty leave a defining mark on Leeds history, one player in particular set Elland Road alight with his ferocious footballing ability.

Born in Ghana in 1966, Tony Yeboah was given the first big break of his career at the age of 24 by Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt who signed him from FC Saarbrucken in 1990.

Despite experiencing a slow start to his career with the German side, the forward soon developed a habit of scoring on a regular basis, reaching 20 goals in all competitions on two occasions for Die Adler over a period of four years.

His sharpness in and around the box caught the eye of then-Leeds boss Howard Wilkinson who decided to swoop for Yeboah during the 1995 January transfer window, a decision which turned to be a masterstroke.

The Ghanian international made an immediate impact upon on his arrival in England, scoring 12 goals in 18 matches for the Whites in the Premier League which fired them to a top-five finish at the end of the campaign.

Yeboah’s first, and what turned out to be only full season in the top flight saw his escapades in-front of goal continue as he found the back of the net on 19 occasions in all competitions. However, despite his impact for Leeds, a disappointing campaign saw them finish 13th under Wilkinson.

Nevertheless, that season in particular will only be remembered for one thing by the club’s supporters; Yeboah’s wonder-strike against Liverpool.

In a famous night at Elland Road, the former Frankfurt ace fired in a sweetly-struck 25-yard volley via the underside of the bar to send the stadium into a frenzy of disbelief. The goal not only secured a 1-0 victory for Leeds but it also elevated Yeboah to the status of becoming a cult-hero at the club.

Although he would ultimately fall short of lifting any silverware with the club despite reaching the League Cup final in 1996, the forward’s ability to produce the spectacular won over the hearts and minds of the club’s fans who still adore him to this very day.

A slow start to the 1996/97 campaign ultimately culminated in Yeboah leaving Yorkshire for the Bundesliga where he enjoyed five seasons at Hamburg before retiring at the age of 35 after a brief spell with Saudi side Al-Ittihad.

Whenever a debate arises about what the greatest goal in Premier League history is, it is a testament to the finish against Liverpool that he is always included in the conversation. Although he only played in England for three years, Yeboah will always be remembered as one of Leeds’ greatest foreign imports.

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