Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Kaiser chief as Leeds riot

Leeds United and their supporters visited Highfield Road in September 1981 displaying tell tale signs of a club in decline. They were an ageing side under the management of former great Allan Clarke and prior to this fixture newly promoted Swansea had thumped them 5-1 at the Vetch Field on the opening day. Dave Sexton’s Sky Blues won 4-0 with goals from Garry Thompson (2), Steve Whitton and new signing Rudi Kaiser. The fixture, however, was marred by hooliganism in the visitors’ section.
In 1981 the away support was housed at the Spion Kop end of the Sky Blue Stand. It all became too much for the Leeds fans with City leading 3-0 just after half-time. Seats rained down onto the pitch as they fought with Sky Blues fans sat adjacent to them. Those seats still intact were then launched at the Spion Kop as referee Howard King briefly halted proceedings. Just eight years previously they had won the league title and this episode showed just how far their star had fallen as relegation loomed. It would take them until 1990 to return to the top division with Gordon Strachan instrumental in their success.
Rudi Kaiser was the second overseas player to join Coventry following the Ardiles/Villa revolution after the 1978 World Cup.  Gordon Milne signed Belgian Roger Van Gool from FC Cologne in the summer of 1980 but his appearances were limited, just 19 in two seasons before Dutchman Kaiser arrived in his place. Left-footed yet employed on the right wing, he scored just eight minutes into his home debut and followed up with two more against Brighton and Swansea. By January he had departed for Nice and warmer climes having started brightly but was unable to settle in England. Raddy Avramovic and Martin Jol completed the overseas imports during the 80’s with their brief cameos. Not one of the above played more than 20 games for the club.
Leeds will again travel well to the Ricoh. In the above clash their numbers were low yet caused maximum disruption. The seating they were hurling was wooden, not plastic, and fortunately their aim was poor as they hurled them onto the playing area. City are the only side in all four divisions still to win away from home but the Sky Blue Army have backed them in their numbers, maintaining their dignity and not letting standards slip. Tonight, nothing less than three points will do but Portsmouth’s looming points deduction has drawn them into the relegation equation. We cannot rely on other teams, our destiny is in our own hands.

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