Manchester United 0 Leeds United 1!

The dream became a reality.

leeds man u 10

Leeds United a club mocked for its demise over the past 5 years have well and truly risen from the ashes with one of the most stunning wins in FA Cup history.

The League One side went to their bitter rivals backyard of Old Trafford and beat the Premiership champions 1-0 for the first time since 1981.

leeds man u 7

Jermaine Beckford wrote the headlines today with THE goal on 19 minutes after a long ball over the top by Jonny Howson put the striker through.

His pace took him away from Wes Brown but his first touch looked to have put him too far out wide. But as Kusczak ran out to narrow the angle and Brown came sliding in, Beckford kept a cool calm head and side footed the ball into the far left hand corner. Eventually.

It took an age to roll in, as 9,000 Leeds fans in the ground plus millions across the world collectively blew the ball into the net. Cue delirium.

The fans who paid as much as £51 to see the match with little more than hope were rewarded for years of suffering, but unrivalled loyalty that other clubs can only dream of. As Grayson says we get 25,000 at home every week and take 4,000 to Bristol Rovers. This result was for the fans to live and savour for years to come.

Against a side with nine full internationals including Rooney, Berbatov, Anderson, Evans, Brown and Neville, it's unfair to say Leeds played a weakened team. Because no matter who Man U put out, it should be enough to beat a League One team at home.

And thats what made the headlines this morning, the fact that it was a home defeat in the FA Cup 3rd round, the first in Fergie's 23 year reign and the first time that they have suffered a loss to a team in division 3.

Look at that carefully again. It doesn't really sink in what an achievement it is until you stop and think.

Man U were at home, Leeds are a third division team. And Leeds won, and kept a clean sheet. A division 3 team stopped Rooney, Berbatov, Anderson and later Giggs, Owen and Valencia from scoring at their own ground. Unthinkable to many. Especially Leeds fans.

But under Simon Grayson it seems anything is possible. And how fitting it is that this current side should do the unthinkable.

leeds man u 4

Managed by a Yorkshireman and Leeds fan in Grayson, skippered by a Yorkshireman and Leeds fan in Richard Naylor and with the goal set up by a Yorkshireman and Leeds fan in Jonny Howson.

These three men alone know what this game meant to Leeds fans because they are them. They are the 9,000 travelling hopefuls who dreamt of beating their most bitterest of rivals at the now aptly named 'Theatre of Dreams.'

Grayson didn't replicate Mick McCarthy and think well what chance have we got and field a weakened side so they could focus on the league. He knew what this game meant.

So he started with a full strength team after a fine league campaign so far which sees the Whites top of League One with only 1 defeat to their name and the best away record and defence in the football league.

With that record, why not chase the dream. Grayson sent out 11 white knights onto the pitch with the bit between their teeth and a dogged determination that sums up this once great club.

A passion built by Don Revie in the 60's of never say die and never quit. Giving 110% and never knowing when they are beaten. And maybe when that deserted the players over the past 5 years, it never left the fans.

And when you have 2 fans in the team and one as the manager, that spirit was injected back into the side, and how.

leeds man u 3

Casper Ankergren who I have given stick too after his flap-a-lot displays saved Leeds on numerous occasions, including an amazing reaction save to Wayne Rooney's 93rd minute strike followed by a quick dive at the feet at Fabio for the rebound.

Paddy Kisnorbo, bandaged head and bust nose epitimized the squad today, he gave everything and kept Rooney and pretty much everyone he wanted under check along with Naylor.

Hughes who isn't even a left back worked tirelessly against Obertan and was cool and calm under pressure, playing some sensible back headers to Ankergren.

leeds man u 6

And Jason Crowe who cleared a Rooney effort off the line which seemed destined to go in got plaudits for keeping the left wing of Man u quiet.

In midfield Doyle and Kilkenny ran the centre of midfield playing simple but effective passing and keeping hold of the ball well. They did everything you want a centre midfielder to do. Grit, determined and starting the ball rolling on moves. Howson set up the goal but again showed maturity beyond his years coping under pressure and doing his job admirably. Bringing that passion that only a Leeds fan playing in this match could bring.

Bradley Johnson caused Gary Neville constant problems on the left wing, winning headers and delievering crosses, it really was hard to tell who was the League One side.

Finally Becchio works tirelessly as he always does and was almost rewarded with a goal when Johnson's cross was met by a header by the Argentinian but went just over the bar. And of course Jermaine Beckford, he doesn't do much else apart from score, but for today we can forgive him for that, cause in the situation he was in at Old Trafford, only he could do what he did.

And it wouldn't have been unfair if Leeds scored more, Beckford just dragged a shot wide with 12 minutes to go across Kusczak's goal and just a minute later Robert Snodgrass on a substitute, hit the bar with a stunning free kick.

Leeds man u 5

But time and again Man U came at Leeds, but that dogged determination shone through again throwing everything and everyone in front of everything and everyone the hosts could give.

Ferguson got redder and redder in the face, chewed his gum with more venom and was in the technical area for much of the match after Beckford's goal. Like a panther stalking the sidelines, ready to pounce on his players at half time and full time. Oh to have been in that dressing room at the interval.

When Ferguson didn't come out for a post match interview until much later on, it showed his embarrasment and lack of class. He moaned about not having enough injury time or 'Fergie time' as we know it, when they had 5 minutes which was farsical in itself as that was generous. Another part of his diatribe was saying that his side was awful, but hardly any praise for Leeds.

Simply because we are their bitter rivals and with the embarrasment of losing at home to us, plus considering we are two divisions below them, makes it all the more sickening for the scot.

But as press and neutrals across the country saw for themselves the fallen giants of Leeds United showed the world that they are back. The Daily Mirror dedicated front and back page to it, with a wrap around spread calling it the Leeds United FA Cup special. Henry Winter has written a fantastic article on the match for the Telegraph, read it here, it brings tears to the eyes.

Hopefully results and fixtures like this won't be infrequent for much longer. I didn't really understand why it was called the 'Theatre of Dreams', now I know.

January 3rd 2010. The best day as a Leeds fan ever.

leeds man u 9

All picutres courtesy of PA and Getty Images from the BBC sport website

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