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Inside Leeds United - The Millennium Season

Don Warters - Leeds United Publishing 9.99 - ISBN 1-903415-05-5

It seems distinctly unimaginable today, with Leeds United, under a new regime, bumping along in a trough of the greatest depression imaginable with their expensive squad of stars thoroughly under performing and lacking in spirit, slipping almost inevitably into the doldrums, that only a couple of years ago they were one of the most exciting young sides around. Following David O'Leary's surprising succession of George Graham as the Leeds manager, the young Irishman pursued a policy of blooding his youngsters and buying gifted British talent, and swept pretty much all before them at home and abroad, reaching two European semi finals and emerging as potential successors to the thrones of Old Trafford and Highbury.

Don't believe all those bleats about being 'too good to go down'. Nottingham Forest under Cloughie were too good to go down and hundreds of others have had their eyes opened by grim reality.

However, that's for another day (hopefully a long way off), and the subject at hand is the Leeds United of a couple of years ago, when they were seemingly everybody's second favourite team, when the robust challenges and poorly controlled tempers of Mills, Smith and Bowyer were only vague stirrings. Way back then Leeds United were an exciting team, brim full of promising youth, eager to shake the status quo of the game to their boots. It was a heady time.

Inside Leeds United by long time Leeds United camp follower and writer Don Warters is a breathtaking and memorable record of the 1999-2000 season, when Leeds dared to hope they could secure an unexpected triumph in Europe and led the Premiership from Manchester United for many weeks, yet ended in the grim tragedy of Istanbul and the news that a number of players and their friends had been involved in a violent altercation in the darkened streets of Leeds clubland.

Warters' writing style is breathless and engaging and he quotes liberally from participants in a wonderful adventure. There are pages and pages of exclusive and excellent photographs and this book is a wonderful record of a totally gripping period in a football club's history. Leeds United fans will love it, while fans of other clubs will find it an enthralling read. If you don't like football, you won't be particularly switched on, but there's much here to entice even the passing traveller.

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Dust cover -

INSIDE LEEDS UNITED is the inside story in words and pictures of Leeds United's rollercoaster 1999-2000 season, told exclusively by the man on the inside, Don Warters.

INSIDE LEEDS UNITED tells the full story on the sale of Hasselbaink, the planning that took Leeds to the top of the Premiership, their unforgettable European campaign and Chairman Peter Ridsdale's personal views on the twelve months.

Don Warters spent the season working side by side with the team, the management and backroom staff, experiencing at first hand the emotional highs and lows of the year - the year which sealed United's reputation as one of the most youthful, dynamic and exciting teams in Europe.

What was the true story behind Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's transfer to Atletico Madrid; why did Peter Ridsdale think it necessary to give Leeds United a 'Back me or sack me' ultimatum as chairman and do David O'Leary and George Graham really hate each other as much as the newspapers would have you believe? And where does Saddam Hussein come into the picture?

The answers to these intriguing questions are to be found in Inside Leeds United, the story of the Elland Road club's Millennium season written by Don Warters, who was given unprecedented access behind the scenes at the club.

Find out also who is the biggest moaner at the club, the best treatment room patient, the Number One prankster, who is the fastest and who bought 11 Russian imitation fur hats to bring back from Moscow.

The book captures the feelings of the players and management through a wonderful rollercoaster of a season in which United achieved their ambition of qualifying for the Champions' League and experienced a stunning Premiership and UEFA Cup campaign. It was a season tinged with great sadness, of course, following the deaths of two supporters in istanbul and both the chairman and manager recall the tragedy.

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