Football News

Why Spurs are the modern equivalent of Leeds, according to Gary Neville

By Steve Jennings

Aston Villa vs Spurs | Premier League

Published: 10:34, 25 March 2020

Gary Neville has labelled Tottenham the “modern equivalent” of the impressive Leeds United side of the early 2000s.

Much like Leeds in the early years of the new millennium, Spurs have played an acclaimed style of football and possessed a number of high-quality players in recent years.

How good were Leeds Utd in the early 2000s? Five things to know…

  • Between 1999 and 2002, Leeds finished in the top five of the Premier League every year.
  • Their best position during that period was third in the 1999/00 season.
  • In 2001/02, David O’Leary led the Yorkshiremen to the Champions League semi-finals.
  • But financial troubles soon took their toll and Leeds were eventually relegated to the third-tier.
  • They are now on the verge of a Premier League return but haven’t won a major trophy for 28 years.

The Londoners came close to winning the Premier League and the Champions League under Mauricio Pochettino, but the club’s transfer inactivity has caught up with them this term.

With Pochettino and now Jose Mourinho at the helm, Tottenham have mostly floundered in all four competitions and currently sit eighth in the Premier League table.

Similarly, Leeds pushed for success domestically and in Europe under David O’Leary but failed to win any silverware before enduring a significant fall from grace – a dip far worse than Spurs’ current situation.

During a ‘Monday Night Football Retro’ broadcast on Sky Sports this week, Neville made the comparison between the sides.

“I think Tottenham are the modern equivalent of that Leeds team,” Neville said.

“Tottenham haven’t gone onto do what they should have done – maybe they should have won the league the year Leicester won it and could have won a Champions League with a little more luck.

“This Tottenham team is now coming to an end or has come to an end. Teams like Leeds caught you up but never went on to do it. There was something missing. Clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have had history to build on to win trophies, there’s a mentality within the club to win trophies. Leeds were trying to build that mentality during that period.

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“You always felt Leeds were getting nearer and nearer – like Tottenham were getting nearer and nearer. And then you think, how are they going to get back? Leeds has always felt like a huge club. When I get asked what is a big club I always think of Leeds United. The feeling when you go and play football there is unbelievable – it’s different.”

Mourinho has spoken of his intent to win silverware at Spurs, as he has at every other club he has managed – but there will again be no trophies in N17 this season.