02nd May2014

Michael Brown – Ups and Downs

by Right in the Gary Kelly's

Dirty Leeds, a name we have been pinned with since the 70’s now, a combination of jealousy and anger at how good Don Revie’s team were way back then but also how ‘combative’ they could be. Now it just seems to have stuck, despite hardly anyone being jealous of our current squad and hard to argue that our team has got ‘stuck in’ much. However, one man who continues to do his part for the tag is our very own warhorse Michael Brown.

Tomorrow could see Brown pull on the famous White jersey for the last time against Derby County and it must be said, his performances over the past month or so may possibly have been his most consistent in his time at Leeds United. Not the match winner he once was (believe me, in his day he couldn’t half play) Brown has put some steady performances in at the heart of the midfield, often breaking up play and allowing other midfielders like Luke Murphy and Michael Tonge to run beyond him and have a little bit more freedom.

Now stating the obvious, Brown-eh has had some ‘critics’ to put it politely during his time at Leeds, whether it be his often reckless challenges, keeping Ross Barkley out of the side or merely the fact that he has a ‘special’ relationship with Neil Warnock. Originally signed by Simon Grayson, our experienced centre mid has been at Elland Road since 2011 now, making him ironically, one of our longest serving players!

So, with his contract up at the end of June, here at RITGK we thought we’d run through the highs a lows of Michael Robert Brown’s Leeds United career.

Signed on the 11th of July, 2011 Grayson brought in our big money signing (a free obviously) but we had lured Michael to Elland Road on a pretty lucrative deal in hope he could be the man who would battle the White’s into the top flight! In truth, his first season was an injury hit one meaning he was in and out of the side but was part of the team who recorded back to back wins against Notthingham Forest and Millwall, games that will be remembered after the death of Gary Speed.

His first goal surprisingly came before his first red card in a White shirt, a screamer against Forest at Elland Road which drew Leeds level at 3-3 from 3-1 down! You could sense something special had happened and that Brown could inspire Leeds to a great comeback victory. Leeds went onto lose 7-3… Not quite.

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Next month normality was restored, Brown-eh was sent for an early bath in the home game against, ironically, today’s opponents, Derby. In fairness to Brown he did try to play the ball (Theo Robinsons balls) with a debatable high foot which was enough for the referee to produce a red card. Leeds inevitably went on to lose, it is Derby after all. Just days before against Reading, current Leeds manager Brian McDermott saw first-hand how Brown can influence games; lunging in late on Jem Karacan and breaking his ankle. The referee failed to spot a problem with the foul as Brown went on to finish the game without a yellow card.

Clearly impressed, Brown had done enough to convince Warnock to offer him a new deal, another one year deal on reduced terms with the option of a further extension. During the season, Brown found himself in and out of the side, struggling to settle, even having the number 8 shirt stolen away from him by Rudy Austin!

Brown carried on clocking up some minutes on the pitch, even chipping in with the odd goal, a well taken goal against Brighton which Luciano Becchio inexplicably tried to steal off Michael, the Argentinean clearly not happy with his already impressive goal tally. No one however, could deny Brown his goal.

Arguably, the best time of his Leeds career came when Leeds signed the highly rated Ross Barkley. Impressive during his loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday, Barkley came full of promise but ultimately arrived at the wrong time as Brown was in inspired form at the heart of the Leeds midfield. Brown-eh could not be moved and Warnock sent Barkley packing, experience over youth any day!

Whilst Warnock’s days were numbered, Brown’s appeared to be too but then came the news that Brown would be staying another season due to a clause which meant if he played a certain amount of games it would trigger a one year extension. Nice one Neil. So Brown stayed on and found himself now part of the McDermott reign (and another number change, now to 17).

Brown started the season with a bang, a serious bang. A 25 yard screamer against Chesterfield booked Leeds’ place in the second round of the Capital One Cup, a sweet moment for Brown as he stated after the game that he especially enjoyed the goal as ‘you never know when it’s your last’. However, whilst Leeds built up a head of steam and pushed towards the play-offs, Brown was struggling to make the starting line-up.

Credit where credit is due though, Brown came back from seemingly the dead alongside Danny Pugh (see other article) in an away game against Charlton where, inevitably Ross McCormack took the praise for four well taken goals but Brown put in the shift on a difficult Valley pitch! Now Brown has come back into the side when it appeared that it was again, over for the veteran.

Some fans may be reluctant to appreciate Michael Brown whilst he’s at the club, supposedly keeping out the youth but during a tough period, he has done himself no harm and actually been one of Leeds’ most consistent players in recent times! For this, Brown does deserve actual praise. At his age with no guarantee of a contract next year; it would be easy to switch off and look at plans for next season or retirement. Whilst some of our team have appeared to have been playing like they have started their holidays early, Brown has at least showed the fight it takes to win games when you are struggling.

Of course, there have been many Michael Brown memories to enjoy during his three years at Elland Road and we’d love to hear yours. Who could forget his 40 yard raking cross field ball which plonked right on ESPN star pundit Martin Keown’s head or turning up late to Lorimer’s bar one season and then politely telling some fans to ‘f*ck off’ the good and the bad of Michael Brown.

Love him or loathe him, in this transitional period at the club, Leeds United and Michael Brown have been a perfect match.

Reporter – Daniel Howard

02nd May2014

Danny Pugh: The end of an Era

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

We’re here, the final day of the 2013/14 season. One, which will see up to several of this current Leeds United squads contracts expire in the summer and more than likely will be the last time we see them in the Leeds shirt. Quite a sad thought really. However, for one man it will be an end of an emotional era…

Daniel Pugh joined Leeds United as part of the £7 Million sale of the prodigal son Alan Smith to M*nchester United in 2005. Danny had come into Leeds when Kevin Blackwell was building the squad from top to bottom bringing in the likes of the pace machine Julian Joachim, Sean Gregan and Paul Butler to name a few.

Pugh made his club debut in the newly formed Championship which Leeds defeated Derby one-nil thanks to a Fraser Richardson screamer. I remember that day well, watching Pugh’s silky skills and pace cause the Derby back four constant problems all day. Playing left wing that day I could see this from a player cam view sat in the East Stand at the time. What did surprise me was the amount of abuse he was getting from our own fans. I remember vividly two blokes both resembling the Mitchell brothers berating him every time he touched the ball ‘F off scum b*stard’ they repeatedly said. Not the easiest debuts to have in front of your fans.

He continued to be ever present in the first half of the season and later found himself out of favour.  The following summer he was transferred to Preston for £250,000 and then two years later moving to Stoke City for a £500,000 fee. After another spell back at Preston on loan in 2011 Pugh returned back to Elland Road initially on a three month loan. Manager at the time Simon Grayson was desperate to sign him as the club was short on cover for the left side of the pitch and he eventually did later that summer for a reported £500,000.

With the sacking of Grayson and the appointment of Neil Warnock, Pugh found his first time opportunity’s limited as he was quickly frozen out. He was transfer listed alongside ‘The Robbie Rogers’ and the Leeds fans thought they’d never see Danny Pugh in a Leeds shirt again. A successful loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday who instantly became a fans favourite at Hillsbourgh for the performances he put in for the Owls. He returned to Leeds this summer with Brian McDermott in charge and vowed to fight for a first time place.

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Another summer of uncertainty loomed for him but again he found himself playing a role in the Leeds team when many thought he wouldn’t.  With the loss of form to Stephen Warnock and Aidy White at the beginning of this season McDermott turned to Pugh for the trip to Charlton in November. Pugh started and impressed in his first performance for Leeds in twelve months. He then went onto to cement the role his own for a good run of games bagging two goals along the way.

So here we are today, nine years later; two spells, 68 appearances and six goals Danny Pugh could potentially be playing his last game for Leeds United.  He may never have been the most gifted player we’ve ever seen pull on the white shirt but I believe he is one of the most professional of ones. He has been frozen out, mocked by the fans, aged 10 years in the past two but he’s never come out to the press or on social media complaining. The man has just got his head down and got on with it.

Over the years at Right in the Gary Kelly’s we’ve been a champion of Danny Pugh, all you need to do is look back on some of our articles to the day we covered his return to his return back to the first team after twelve months away. We’ve backed him. If Danny does get a cameo today I’m sure the Leeds faithful will give him a good send off for the way he has conducted himself representing the mighty whites of Leeds United. Danny Pugh is F*cking Brilliant…

Reporter - Matthew McKeith

08th Nov2011

GRAYSON OUT….BEHAVE YOURSELF

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

After Leeds United came away with all three points at the King Power Stadium and continued to push for a playoff place. A section of the clubs fans decided its time for the manager to go…

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11th Oct2011

OUT WITH THE OLD

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

With us all enjoying the international break this weekend, we take the opportunity to assess the current Leeds United squad this season… 

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14th Aug2011

CHIN UP LADS

by Right In The Gary Kelly's

Battling nine-man Leeds United fell to a one-nil defeat to Middlesbrough on saturday. RITGK reporter Jimmy Neal shares us his thoughts on the result, And the general feeling around the club at the moment..

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