David Batty signed apprentice forms at Leeds in July 1985, joining from Tingley Athletic. A bad ankle injury halted David’s debut for Leeds as he was being tipped for first team football very early after arriving. Batty finally made his debut for Leeds on 21st November 1987 in a 4–2 win over Swindon Town at Elland Road, and he soon became a regular in the first team, missing only two games, as he made twenty-two starts and one game as a sub in that initial season. He quickly earned a reputation as a fiercely competitive midfielder and was often likened to Leeds legend Billy Bremner. He starred in United’s promotion as Champions of Division Two in 1989-90, in which he started thirty-nine games and was a substitute on three other occasions. He was a leading light and a member of the strong Strachan/ Batty/McAllister/Speed midfield which was instrumental in Leeds winning the First Division Championship in 1991-92. He had become a tireless and sometimes ruthless forager of the ball, adept at making clean incisive passes which started many counter-attacks for Leeds. His only weakness was his lack of goals, scoring only four in his entire Leeds career. He had scored only 4 goals 221 league games. Batty left Leeds in a shock £2.75 million sale in October 1993 to Blackburn Rovers. Batty went on to play for Newcastle before new Leeds boss bought David back home in a £4.4 million transfer deal. O’Leary wanted Batty for his proven record, and with his old team he was considered a successful buy. Batty made his second debut for his hometown club against Coventry City and was, not surprisingly, booked for a typical Batty challenge which was greeted by cheers from the crowd! Batty sustained a rib injury on his return debut at Elland Road, which ruled him out for 15 games. Batty was inspirational on his return to the side and that continued until an Achilles tendon problem kept him out for more than a year and serious doubts were held about his ability to play first-class football. After being out of favour with most of the Leeds Managers subsequent to David O’Leary, he was released by the club when his contract ended in June 2004. In his second spell with Leeds he did not add to his goal tally and started 79 League games together with another 11 games as a substitute sadly Batty did not add to his goal tally during his second spell with the club.
Batty made his England debut as a substitute at Wembley on 21st May 1991 in a 3-1 win over the USSR. His full debut came four days later, when England drew 2-2 with Argentina at Wembley. Batty went on to win 41 caps for his country.
David Batty played a vital role in the championship season in one of the most iconic midfields to play for Leeds, a mixture of everything needed to make a successful midfield and Batty provided that perfect anchor to protect the back 4 and allow the 3 more attacking players to get forward. Batty scored 2 goals one against Manchester City in a 3-0 at Elland Road and a now infamous goal amongst Leeds fans against Notts County also at Elland Road.
Batty Leeds stats
League appearances 280 – 21 more as sub – 4 goals
FA Cup 16 – 0 goals
League Cup 21 – 0 goals
Europe 20 – 2 more as sub
Charity Shield – 1
Thanks for reading, please leave your memories of the title-winning season and if you have any particular memories of this season then please get in touch as we would be interested to hear them and maybe get you to write about them on our website. Next week we take a look at Chris Fairclough. Thanks again for reading.