Leeds and Man United have shared a rivalry, nicknamed the Roses rivalry. The rivalry originates from the strong enmity between the historic counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire. Although the cities of Leeds and Manchester lie over 40 miles apart, the tradition is upheld and this strong feeling can still be seen between the two clubs. In this article, let us have a look at some of the players who played for both Leeds and Man Utd.
Here are 10 of the best players who played for both Leeds and Man Utd.
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10. Alan Smith
Smith came through the junior ranks at Elland Road and his aggressive style and never say die attitude made him a crowd favourite. In six years at Leeds he scored 38 goals in 172 appearances before becoming a victim of the financial crisis at the club.
In 2004 Fergie paid £7M for his services. He suffered a terrible ankle injury against Liverpool in an FA Cup match in 2006. Smith never really recovered sufficiently and was sold to Newcastle in August 2007 for £6M.
9. Brian Greenhoff
Brian joined Manchester United as an apprentice in August 1968, signing as a professional in June 1970. He made his debut in 1973 and in the following six seasons played 271 times, scoring 17 goals.
The versatile Greenhoff started his career in midfield but reverted to centre-half. He joined Leeds in 1979 for £350,000. He remained there until 1982 making 72 appearances, before being released.
8. Gordon McQueen
Gordon McQueen joined Leeds from St.Mirren in 1972. He spent 6 years and played 140 games for Leeds before joining Manchester united in Utd in 1978 for £500,000. He spent seven years at the Manchester club, making 184 apps before leaving for Seiko SA in 1985.
The blond defender was no stranger to scoring, including netting in the 1979 FA Cup Final against Arsenal. He featured in the ‘golden years’ for his country, Scotland.
7. Joe Jordan
The fearsome Scot , Joe Jordan played for Leeds United, Manchester United, and Milan, among others at club level, as well making 52 appearances and scoring 11 goals for Scotland. He was known as a strong, fearless and committed player, with skill to match, and good aerial abilities.
He was part of the successful Leeds United team of the 1970s, winning the 1973–74 Football League First Division title. Cup success was elusive however, being a losing finalist with Leeds in the 1973 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final and 1975 European Cup Final, and the 1979 FA Cup Final with Manchester United. At international level he is the only Scottish player to score in three World Cups, in 1974, 1978 and 1982.
He was at Leeds from 1970-1978 scoring 35 goals in 170 games before transferring to Utd for £350,000 where he spent four years, scoring 37 in 107 games.
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6. Arthur Graham
Another Scot, Graham started his career at Aberdeen and as a 17 year old played in the Scottish Cup Final against Celtic, providing 2 assists in a 3-1 victory.
The winger then moved to Leeds for £125,000 and scored 47 goals in 260 appearances. When Leeds were relegated in the early 80’s Graham moved on to Man Utd for £65,000 where he remained for 2 seasons, scoring 5 goals in 37 games.
5. Gordon Strachan
Strachan was a key part of Fergie’s dominant Aberdeen team in the early 80’s before being reunited with his former manager at Old Trafford, arriving pre Sir Alex in 1984 for £500,000. Initially a success, Strachan eventually fell out with Fergie and crossed the Pennines.
Howard Wilkinson brought Gordon Strachan to Elland Road in 1989, where the £200,000 transfer fee was soon justified as the hard-working, red headed Scot helped Leeds United to promotion in his first full season with the club.
Gordon Strachan remained a big influence the following year as Leeds United finished fourth and the Scottish midfielder was voted The Football Writers Player of the Season 1991. He would go on to appear with Leeds 311 times from 1988 to 1996, scoring 57 goals.
4. Lee Sharpe
Signed from Torquay in 1988, Sharpe quickly became an Old Trafford favourite. With 21 goals in 193 games, the tricky winger eventually lost his way as the arrival of one Ryan Giggs on the scene and his weakness for nightlife finally brought about his demise.
Moving to Leeds in 1996 for £4.5M, Sharpey became injury prone and only made 30 appearances over the following 3 years before his career fizzled out, finally retiring in 2003. He is undoubtedly one of the best players who played for both Leeds and Man Utd.
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3. Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand joined Leeds from West Ham for £18M in 2000, a then record transfer fee. He played 54 times in 2 seasons as Leeds. In his season-and-a-half at Elland Road, Ferdinand experienced the best of Leeds in the post-Wilkinson era. The club waded into the thick of the fight for the Premier League title and became the story of the Champions League in 2001.
When the time came for a firesale at Elland Road the England international was one of the first players to jump ship. Sir Alex stepped in and paid £29.1M for Ferdinand, another record. The board at Leeds made more than £12m profit on his transfer to Manchester United in 2002.
Rio Ferdinand proved himself to be one of the finest defenders in world football during 12 successful years at Manchester United. He is one of the most decorated English footballers of all time and regarded by many as one of England’s greatest ever players.
2. Johnny Giles
Diminutive, fleet footed and quick-thinking, Giles was the unsung hero of Revie’s Leeds, diligently probing the midfield, snuffing out opposition attacks and building moves.
Giles spent 6 years at OT between 1957 and 1963 playing 93 times alongside the likes of Charlton and Law and winning the FA Cup in his final season. He then moved to Leeds for £33,000.
His slight physique belied a combative streak which allowed Revie to transform him into a central midfielder having spent much of his early career out on the wing. Next to Bremner, Giles would go on to patrol Leeds’ midfield throughout the 1960s and ‘70s.
Winning Division One, FA Cup, Fairs Cup and League Cup winner’s medals, Giles was a prolific penalty taker, converting 44 spot-kicks among his 115 goals
1. Eric Cantona
Eric Cantona helped Leeds to win the final First Division title in 1992. Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson then allowed him to move to Manchester United in November of that year for a fee of £1.2M.
The Frenchman was a catalyst for Manchester United’s Premier League dominance and became a cult figure at Old Trafford. He is widely regarded as one of best players ever to don the shirt. Cantona scored 64 goals in 144 appearances for Man Utd but his influence went way beyond that.
One of the bargains of the century you might say. He brought the winning mentality in the United’s side and made them one of the best team in the country.