Eight Man Utd players Leeds truly hated – and how Bruno Fernandes and Co compare

The rivalry certainly wasn’t what it once was, but plenty of eyes will be on Elland Road on Sunday afternoon as Leeds United host Manchester United.

It’s the first Premier League fixture at the stadium between those sides since 2003 with the Red Devils having won at Old Trafford earlier this season.

There will be no fans amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but it was still a fixture that Leeds supporters looked out for as games were announced.

In years gone by the rivalry has been immense, with the Whites not enjoying the success that was seen at Manchester United.

Michael Normanton, of popular Leeds fanzine The Square Ball, explained to LeedsLive: “It felt like the size of the Man United of the time was almost insurmountable through a lot of those years.

“It felt like they had such a lot of momentum behind them and it was they would always score a last-minute winner, they would always buy the best players, they would steal Rio Ferdinand off you.”

That rivalry has eased off now, with the likes of Bruno Fernandes just an “irritant” in comparison to Roy Keane, Gary Neville and the likes.

Normanton added: “I watch them now and I struggle to [hate them as much].

“[Bruno] Fernandes annoys me a bit for diving and they’ve got one or two irritants, but when you look back at the mid-90s and 2000s there’s people like Steve Bruce, who used to moan at refs.

“You had Roy Keane, you had Gary Neville in there, Paul Scholes going through right to the end of the Premier League for us, people like [Cristiano] Ronaldo, who were also incredibly irritating to watch.

“They always had at least four or five players you could really get behind hating at the time whereas I’m not sure if that’s quite the case at the moment.”

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  • David Beckham is also hardly loved at Leeds, while Rio Ferdinand and Alan Smith made the switch from Elland Road to Manchester United in years gone by.

    “You’re going to take a corner near where the Manchester United fans were, the hatred towards you, if they could get hold of you,” Leeds icon Ian Harte added to LeedsLive.

    “Whoever was taking a corner for Manchester United, whether it was Beckham, the fans are literally wanting to jump the barriers to try to get at them.

    “It was pretty special to play in them games.”

    It will undoubtedly remain special for those involved on Sunday, though the hatred certainly seems to have dissipated.

    The lack of matches between the two clubs may be one reason with fewer homegrown players potentially another.

    We will probably see fewer tackles flying in compared to years gone by, but one thing is for sure, the bragging rights to whoever wins will not be forgotten.

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