Everyone always talks about the 4-3 when Leeds and Liverpool are mentioned – or for older fans there was a 5-4 game a good few years earlier and there was the time when Leeds won the title at Anfield and were applauded by the Kop.
For me, the one stands out is my first game back at Liverpool as an opposition player in April 2001. I’d never been as nervous before a game in my life. I remember Eddie Gray saying ‘these are the games you want to win son’, and playing against your boyhood club was always going to be tough, not just because of how good they were, but because they were the only other club I’d known. Having been there from the age of 10 through the first team, it really got me going back there.
Rio Ferdinand (remember his celebration?) and Lee Bowyer scored for us and we won 2-1. Afterwards I felt ‘wow that was amazing’ and when you’re a Liverpool boy like I was you shouldn’t feel like that, but it was a massive moment in my career. When you’ve been at a club you love you think ‘how can I do better than that’ but I knew what I’d found at Leeds was the right match for me.
It was my first season at Leeds and I felt I’d clicked with the fans early, and that was very important to me. At Liverpool the connection had been easy because of where I was from, but going back there with Leeds and winning was the game where I felt I cemented that connection with the Leeds fans, and that’s something that’s remained to this day.