Co-written between Lensmeister and Paul Connolly.
Upon the crest of Leeds United is the White Rose of Yorkshire, Leeds has always been a industrial force in the county as Whitby once was one of the big fishing forces in the North. But it is not the county that the clubs have shared over the years.
helped their smaller county-men with players and other assistance. Indeed the
close affinity has been a good one.
The first player trade that is recorded was that of Bob Garrett who joined
Leeds from Whitby
back in the close season of 1960. Bob had joined the Blues from Easington
Colliery in 1959 and made his debut on October
10th, 1959 against Shildon. He also netted his first goal in that
very same game. By the end of the season, Garrett had netted 8 goals in just 15
appearances before joining Leeds United.
This was the first real link recorded between the two sides, and it wasn’t until 1976 before the two sides forged their link again.
faced Leeds United reserves in
a friendly match on Whitby
August 1976. United’s reserves ran out very comfortable 3-0
It appears that it was the 1980s that strengthened the link between the two clubs. Joining the Blues came Steve Balcome from
via Oaklands FC in Ireland
in August 1985 then came Eddie Gray, Peter Lorimer and David Harvey. The two
teams also faced each other twice during the decade, and the whites ran out
winners both times.
As we know, both Gray and Harvey had stints at being the
manager with Harvey achieving a
good level of success.
During Eddie Gray’s time at
, he brought in players such as
Steve French, who went on to gain hero status amongst the Whitby
Town fans for his fantastic
performances in a Town shirt. Gray’s time at Whitby
Town is still remembered today, by
a certain Don Kirby, who regularly chants his name when passing Thorpe Arch,
the Leeds United training ground, on trips to away matches. Whitby
The links with Eddie Gray and David Harvey ensured that
and Leeds United faced each
other in friendlies and testimonials during the 1980s. The first match of the
decade, in August 1985, finished a whopping 9-0 to Whitby
in front of a Turnbull crowd of 437. The following season, it was time for Les
Scott’s testimonial at the Turnbull. In March of 1987, Billy Bremner’s boys were
in town for the match. This game finished 5-2 to Leeds United, which was a
massive improvement on the previous match. The match also saw the first two
had ever scored against the Whites. Whitby Town
The next match up between the sides came in 1990, as Howard Wilkinson prepared his side for an assault on Division Two. It wasn’t a side that Howard Wilkinson had sent, though. This time, it was a team of Leeds United all stars who were facing the blues. Once again it was at the Turnbull, and once again United ran out winners. This time, the score was 3-2.
In more recent years, Kenny Sansom, an ex
and Arsenal player contacted the club to find a place for one of the England
under 21 players Ryan Vickers. Ryan joined
the Blues from Leeds United in January 2000 and made his debut against
Stalybridge Celtic on January 29th,
2000. He went on loan to Harrogate Railway Athletic after just 4
Another player who has pulled on both the blue and white shirts in recent years is Tony Hackworth. Hackworth was a promising striker when he made his Leeds United debut in the Champions League against
Barcelona. At the
young age of 20, this was Hackworth’s first real chance to impact on the Leeds
United team. Unfortunately, he played only 2 further matches for Leeds,
against Tranmere Rovers in the League Cup and Lazio, once again in the
Champions League. He was then cast into the Leeds United wilderness before
being let go in 2001. Between 2001 and 2007, the year in which he joined Town
for his first spell, Hackworth played for 3 clubs. These teams were Sogndal,
Notts. County and Scarborough. Town signed Hackworth in
the summer of 2007. Hacky cemented his place in the team, but was soon on his
way again, as
came calling in November 2007. This brief flirtation only lasted until the end
of the season, as he was released by Harrogate Town Harrogate. This
paved the way for him to return to Town. This time around, he spent 3 years
with the club, before being released by Tommy Cassidy at the end of the
2010/2011 season. During his 3 year spell, Hackworth netted 37 goals, mainly
from his attacking midfield role. He also captained Whitby
for the majority of his second spell.
Recently, the current Leeds United manager Neil Warnock was reunited with his “son” Paddy Kenny, after making him one of his early summer signings. This is the fourth time Warnock has signed Kenny during his managerial career. Back in 1998, Warnock had Kenny at Bury, but he decided to let him go out on loan. After a few offers, Kenny was shipped out to
. Although Kenny only played a
few games for Town, it was enough to cement his popularity with Warnock, after
Warnock himself claimed that if you can deal with winter in Whitby
then you can deal with anything. Too true Neil, too true.
The final player to be mentioned is Ray Hankin. Hankin was part of the Leeds United team fairly early in his career, playing around the aging Don Revie team. During his four years at
Road, he became something of a cult hero amongst
the Leeds fans. Hankin became somewhat of a journeyman
throughout his career, playing for no less than 10 clubs. Hankin only played
during the 1985-1986 season, but during that time he made somewhat of an
impact. Hankin’s quality was such that he oozed quality every time he played.
In every match he played, he helped to bring the best out of players around
him, whilst still knocking goals home himself. Hankin only played one season
with Whitby Town ,
but he was a massive player in that season, making 32 appearances for Town, and
scoring 9 goals. Not a bad return for a single season! Whitby Town
The links between the two clubs had another dormant spell following the influx of activity linking the two clubs together. But, it was late in the 1990s that the link re-emerged, when Paul ‘Yakka’ Pitman was due a testimonial. This time, it was David O’Leary’s babies that were gracing the Turnbull pitch. The Leeds United side on that day included a fresh faced Paul Robinson, and Leeds United’s new signings, Michael Bridges and Eirik Bakke. Town’s side was a mix of Town past and present, who were all there for Yakka. The match finished 2-1 to Leeds United, in front of a bumper crowd of 1452. Michael Bridges and Matthew Jones netted for
Paul Pitman got the Town goal, albeit from a soft penalty. From this day
onwards, Peter Ridsdale must have taken a shine to Leeds United, as we found
out only a couple of years later.
In 2001, Harry Dunn and
were living the dream in the
FA Cup. They had gone on a fantastic run to the FA Cup first round, and their
fantastic run was rewarded with a tasty home tie against Plymouth Argyle. On
the day of the match, Town played a blinder, and earnt a very well deserved
replay. But there was a problem. A nightmare had emerged. Town had no way of
getting down to Whitby
Town Plymouth, as it was
way too costly. Club chairman Graham Manser
made many an appeal, and thankfully, those appeals didn’t fall on deaf ears.
Leeds United chairman, Peter Ridsdale, answered the pleas of the town, and he
donated the Leeds United first team luxury coach for the players to travel down
on. This kept the dream well and truly alive. Despite Town losing the replay,
going down to only a single goal, they are still thankful to Leeds United for
helping to keep the dream going.
So, that’s the story of Leeds United and
. It’s been an eventful one,
and the path has seemingly run rather smoothly. It will be nice to see the
connection between the clubs being reignited in November when the Whitby Whites
event ‘ Whitby
Town Leeds on the Road’ comes to the Turnbull Ground.
This will awake the connection that has remained dormant once again since 2001,
and hopefully, it will go on to build a bright future between the two clubs.
Who knows, we may see more matches between the clubs in the future, and we may
even get that first ever match at Elland Road…
Or is that pushing it a bit? Yeah, we thought so too.