Across the terraces, fully grown men with arms spread wide glared and goaded each other, claiming supremacy within the region of Yorkshire by singing dubious songs about the other lot.
On the pitch, there was an encounter with muscle, with bone and with leather; hard tackles, misplaced passes and angst. It all ended with the right result: the draw meaning Leeds remain unbeaten so far and Wednesday claiming their first point of the season.
Despite Leeds being the more confident throughout, only a brilliantly executed Ross McCormack goal saved them from defeat. Amidst all the bluster, he found the space to sprint 30-yards past three players and finish to secure the point after Kamil Zayette had headed the visitors into a first half lead.
McCormack is Leeds’ most creative player – their trump card; playing in the hole between midfield and attack. Brian McDermott, the Leeds manager, recognises his importance to the team. Over the last two weeks, he has advised the Leeds board to reject three bids from Middlesbrough for his services. The Leeds board, though, have insisted that some players must be sold in order to balance the wage budget. During his celebration, it seemed as though McCormack was cupping his ears towards the East Stand, the area of Elland Road where the Leeds board sit. But McDermott denied there is a problem.
“They (Middlesbrough) can do what they like. I want Ross to be here and Ross wants to be here.” It was suggested to McDermott that goals like this one are not beneficial to a Championship manager in August when the transfer window remains ajar. “I want him to score them anytime,” McDermott responded. “That’s what football’s about, that bit of quality. I asked the players at half time for someone to grab it for us. He certainly did that.”
This, of course, was an afternoon that brought together two clubs managed by Howard Wilkinson. Sheffield born, Howard Wilkinson left Wednesday for Leeds in 1988 and soon drilled discipline into a lacklustre squad, won promotion and then secured the old First Division title within four years.
Even the most optimistic Leeds supporter would probably not claim that history is about to repeat itself any time soon. Under McDermott, though – an assault on the Championship’s play-offs this season is a possibility.
“I’m pleased with the desire, determination and resolve,” McDermott added. “The fans are seeing players that give absolutely everything.”
Leeds (4-1-2-1-2): Kenny; Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Warnock; Austin; Green (Tonge 45), Murphy; McCormack; Poleon (Diouf 85), Varney (Smith 73). Subs not used: Ashdown, Drury, Hunt, Brown.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-1-1): Kirkland; Buxton, Zayatte, Gardner, Helan; Palmer, Coke, Prutton, Antonio; Maguire (Johnson 65); Nuhiu (Maghoma, 70). Subs not used: Davies, Semedo, McCabe, Lavery, LleraReuse content