Date: Saturday, 10th February 1990.
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds.
United 4 Hull City
United: Hendrie, Jones, Varadi,
City: Payton (2) Doyle.
Leeds United: Day; Kamara,
Beglin (O’Donnell); Jones, Fairclough,
Haddock; Strachan, Batty, Chapman (Hilaire), Varadi, Hendrie.
Hull City: (Per Programme) Hesford;
Buckley, Jacobs; Jobson, Terry, De Mange; Roberts, Payton, Bamber,
Referee: Mr D. Axcell (Southend).
Wilkinson was renowned for his no-nonsense approach to management, but it was
his very own "Odd Couple" who played key roles in lifting his Leeds United
side from the doldrums. The midfield combination of Gordon Strachan
and Vinnie Jones were by no means solely responsible
for United winning promotion to the top division in
1990, but there were occasions when the duo took centre stage themselves.
ranked as one of the most influential signings made by Wilkinson, the wee Scot
skippered Leeds to promotion and the top flight
title, while Jones' importance during that successful second division campaign
could not be under-played. The former Wimbledon skipper had long been a natural
headline-maker, but the critics dubbed his move to Leeds as a "marriage made in
hell" and branded the former hod-carrier the
perfect role model for the 30,000 United fans. Needless to say both players
wasted little time in silencing their critics. Free from the shackles of
Manchester United, Strachan's career had
re-invigorated at Elland Road while Jones, out of the
southern spotlight and adored by the Leeds faithful, showed another dimension
to his game and proved an invaluable member of Wilkinson's squad.
season entered its final turn, the promotion race was becoming a survival of
the fittest, and when Hull City threatened to upset the form book
at Elland Road it was the influence of Strachan and Jones that secured Leeds a vital victory to keep Wilko's side three points clear of second-placed Sheffield
United in pole position. Jones had bagged a wonderful first-half goal against
the Tigers when he smashed home a thirty-yard volley, but that stunning effort
only served to give Leeds
a 2-1 advantage against a side languishing in the bottom six.
John Hendrie had opened the scoring for United before Andy
Payton grabbed a cheeky equaliser and try as Leeds might they couldn't shake off their
dogged opponents. Payton levelled for a second time
early in the second half from the penalty spot and with twelve minutes
remaining Steve Doyle matched Jones' earlier effort with a spectacular shot
from distance. Hull were 3-2 up and on the verge of a shock win,
but Strachan and Jones turned up the heat. Eight
minutes from time, the Scot set up Imre Varadi to level at 3-3 and it was United's
turn to assume control. Jones almost grabbed the winner two minutes from time
when Iain Hesford pulled off a superb save after the
midfielder's turn and swivel, but he wasn't to be denied.
The YEP's United correspondent, Don Warters,
observed: "Jones quickly swallowed his disappointment and with the game
deep in stoppage time he went round the match official and cleverly beat Ken De
Mange before slotting an astute pass for Strachan to
supply the killer touch." Elland Road erupted and, with Jones hareing after him, an emotionally-drained Strachan lay on his back in front of the exultant Kop. Leeds had snatched victory from the jaws
of defeat and manager Wilkinson was in no doubt who
deserved the plaudits. He said: "No matter what might happen Vinnie doesn't give in and that's something money can't
buy. Strachan is the same. He too doesn't give in.
They make an odd couple really but they are an ideal pair."
while Leeds were
beating Hull and Sheffield United were disposing of Plymouth, seventh-placed Newcastle could only draw at Portsmouth. The result left the Toon a full 15 points behind league leaders Leeds with 14
games still to play – but Newcastle still went into the final day of the season
knowing that if results went for them they would clinch automatic promotion to
the top division.
The Leeds goals came from John Hendrie, Vinnie Jones, Imre Varadi
and Gordon Strachan Andy Payton (2) and
Steve Doyle scored for Hull City
Chris Kamara was at
right-back for Leeds Chris O’Donnell
and Vince Hilaire given rare substitute appearances
Ex-Leeds player Ken De Mange and future Leeds
player Richard Jobson played for Hull