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Vinnie Jones: Leeds need a Cantona to hack it in the Prem

- 11:05, 25th May 2020

Training intensity is being stepped up this week for the Premier League and Championship clubs and we’re ready to follow the Bundesliga and La Liga.

The Germans are cracking on, as will the Spanish in a fortnight. We’ll surely follow suit and I fully expect Liverpool to wrap things up quickly and win the title.

Relegation and promotion might not be as straightforward, but here’s hoping Leeds can finish the job and get promoted. That club needs to be in the Premier League and I’m confident they’d hold their own. The players and manager are good enough.

They’ll strengthen no doubt, but I’m looking forward to Bielsa having a crack at Klopp, Pep, Mourinho, Lampard - and probably Pochettino if the rumours are true!

Leeds are a mighty club. They’ve had their ups and downs like most clubs, but it’s fair to say their downs in recent years have been disastrous. But they're back pitching for the big-time and when I was up there earlier this year there’s real excitement about.

Of all my previous clubs, Leeds seems the one with more functions and celebrations for supporters to get involved with. There seems a real togetherness between the club and its fans - and to be fair they were great with me. They still are.

I had some fun times here. A lot of the stories are unprintable, but the supporters heard a few of them during ‘An Evening With Vinnie Jones’ in February and at the centenary celebrations last year when I had my picture with the late Norman Hunter.

I think the fans loved that - I did, too - and some great memories were revisited. Again, there were plenty of stories.

David Batty and Gary Speed were the young players at the time in the team at the time I joined. David was my best mate there, although I also got on great with Gordon Strachan. He helped me in those tough early days at Leeds, and I’ll never forget that.

Mel Sterland, Chris Fairclough, Chris Kamara and Lee Chapman were also in that team and, with Howard Wilkinson at the wheel, we got promoted in the 1989-90 season. It went down to the last game away at Bournemouth.

We had 2,000 fans there - but another 10,000 outside!

That tells you all about Leeds and the passion they have for the club - and while I know the current situation means that’s unlikely to be possible now you can bet the Leeds fans will be right behind the team. They can lift them into the Premier League.

And when they get there, can they hack it? Course they can! They might need a Cantona-like player again - who wouldn’t?

Eric came in the season after I’d left - and gave them something extra. Maybe they need that sort of player and I’m sure the owners will be looking at something different if they get promoted. The work is being done already I’m sure. 

My time at Leeds was short but sweet and I’ve got great memories, especially of the lads there. Dave Batty was like my little brother - I bought him his first tie - and he was around when the gaffer fined me for wearing a silver suit.

And what a liberty that was! Thank f*** Howard wasn't the manager when Liverpool played in the FA Cup Final and wore those white suits! It would have cost them a fortune.

Hopefully you all enjoyed Harry’s Heroes: Euro Having a Laugh on ITV. It was great to be involved and thanks for all the positive messages.

Pulling on an England shirt was fun. Everyone knows I played for Wales, and I couldn’t be more proud of that, but it was great to wear the three lions also. I’m a lad from Watford, proud to be British and proud of my family’s Welsh and Irish connections, too.

Harry’s a legend - and well done to the ‘Romford Pele’ for being my chaperone! Getting into that ‘three-wheeler’ with Ray and Wrighty at the airport was a laugh - I’d come via private jet and a limo from Los Angeles - then we looked like Delboy and Rodney!

Well done to the producers. They touched on some serious subjects with Merse, Razor and Lee Hendrie and hopefully some real good comes out of it. Merse being made captain for the Germany game showed how far he'd come in the last year especially.

I’ve been there and know the score. If things are getting out of hand, talk to someone, people. If it’s not fun, and not doing you any good, kick it into touch.

Kicking it is exactly what the boys in the top leagues around the world have been doing again this week.

In the Bundesliga, Bayern smashed home five at the weekend against Frankfurt and are looking good, as are Leipzig - Timo Werner is some player. There’s talk he might be heading to Liverpool - really? How many strikers do they want? Love it!

Schalke losing at home so heavily was a shock - Rabbi Matondo could be on his way out of there on his way to Old Trafford, but Dortmund winning away was no surprise. They're trying to keep tabs with Bayern - their clash tonight now looks a cracker.

Enjoy guys - and good luck.

Vinnie

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