Gordon Strachan is one of the chosen few who have made the successful transition from Manchester United villain to Leeds United cult hero.
The jump between Lancashire and Yorkshire is not an easy one to make – with bitter rivalries harking back way into the twentieth century.
But here was little Gordon Strachan, fresh from his success at Leeds United’s biggest rivalries Manchester United, making the treacherous leap of faith into the jaws of fans who had so vehemently hated him the season before – and for good reason really, football is nothing without its feuds.
The ‘wee’ Scot arrived in West Yorkshire in February 1989 for the nominal sum of £180,000 (as per Transfermarkt), and though fans may have believed his best years to be behind him at 32, Strachan proved them wrong as the driving force behind their first league title in 18 years.
Every successful club needs a terrier-like player and the Edinburgh-born engine Gordon Strachan was that man for Leeds.
Tenacious, fearless and brutish; a scrapper in every sense of the word – without wanting to reduce him to a bonafide Sunday league player – the former Scotland international was a culmination of all the necessary traits to make the perfect midfielder during the golden era of English football.
Indeed, it is easy to see why the Leeds United faithful warmed to him. And after six special years and 96 monumental appearances, he finally departed a club legend, joining Coventry City for the final years of his career.
Football moves on, fans forget, new teams are formed and fresh memories and associations created, and Gordon Strachan, a former footballing legend, is now more commonly associated with an average managerial career – which is a shame really given just how good he was as a player.
The Scot’s most illustrious period to date came at Celtic, where he won three domestic titles and two cups, and though he has managed Scotland (unsuccessfully may we add) there is scant little that has, or will, close to the joy he experienced in West Yorkshire.
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