Leeds United wished ex-striker Mark Viduka a happy birthday today via social media and it takes you back a decade and a bit…The big Ozzy striker arrived from Glasgow Celtic after having a very successful spell north of the border and didn’t look back in the white, blue and yellow of Leeds United.
Viduka scored 59 goals in 130 games for the club, nearly averaging a goal in every two games. He was the spearhead for the club when we were at our very best under David O’Learly and making ripples throughout the European football community. He was often partnered with Alan Smith and he was with us until the very end in the Premier League when it was very clear he could have left sooner. After Leeds he moved on to be successful at both Newcastle United and Middlesbrough although his final club, Newcastle he didn’t get the goals he would have hoped for.
Viduka was a serial goalscorer and could do it all. He wasn’t a target man, or a fast player but he did a bit of everything and scored all sorts of goals. His power and awareness of where the defenders were, and where his team-mates were was one of the stand-out attributes for me, he always had a plan in his head of what he wanted to do before the ball came to him. He started off by scoring nearly a goal a game in Melbourne, 40 in 48 to be exact and was signed by Dinamo Zagreb where he scored 40 goals in 84 games, another staggering return and was picked up by Celtic.
It has been a long-time since we have had someone as good as Viduka leading the line at Leeds United although a few have been very good in their spells with the club. When it popped up on my timeline today it brought back so many fond memories. The obvious one is the four goals he bagged in one of the best Premier League games in history. Liverpool looked in control against us at Elland Road before Viduka started the show, and ended up scoring the winner and his fourth of the game towards the end. It was one of the best moments of that era and one still spoken about to this day. Many have left the club and lose the love of Leeds fans but Viduka is one we still look very fondly on.
Happy Birthday Mark Viduka.