I am 24 years old and I have been a Leeds fan for just about all of those 24 years. I have been living in Israel on and off for the past 7 years and now live here permanently.


The 2007-08 Play Offs were the hardest time. I had watched both legs of the semi-final against Carlisle by myself in a dingy internet cafe in Jerusalem. The first leg was pretty miserable, but when Jonny Howson scored in the 90th minute of the second leg to send us into the final, I nearly exploded. I jumped out my seat, screamed something totally incomprehensible and started kissing the badge on my Leeds shirt. From across the room, a man I hadn’t even noticed until that point turned to me and said in broken English, ‘Did Chelsea win?’ That burst my bubble pretty quickly, especially when it turned out he had never heard of Carlisle and only had a vague idea who Leeds United were!

I resolved at that moment that I would find somewhere more suitable to watch the final. I started calling round the bars of Jerusalem to see if any of them would be showing the biggest game of the season. I got a resounding no and quite a lot of laughter from just about everyone I spoke to. ‘We only show Premier League games’ I was told over and over again. One man told me that if I could get a group of 20 people to watch the game then he would put it on in his bar. Seeing as I was pretty sure that I was the only Leeds fan in the whole country, this seemed highly unlikely.

Eventually, a bar in Tel Aviv confirmed they would have a TV showing the Leeds game. Even though I would need to travel a couple of hours to get there, a real bar with real beer and a real television seemed too good an opportunity to turn down. I got to the bar about an hour before kick off, expecting to be the only person there. I assumed I was just imagining it when from down the street I could hear ‘Marching on Together’ being sung but sure enough, when I opened the door, I was greeted with the sight of over 150 Leeds fans who had taken over the bar and who had been drinking since the early morning.

I was in total shock! Where had all these people been during the season and for the semi-finals?? Why was I only meeting them now?? I got chatting to the people around me and discovered that there was a large following all around Israel. I even met a man who had gone to watch Leeds games with my grandfather in the 1950s. I was in absolute heaven. There was singing, drinking and a lot of mickey-taking of the one Doncaster fan sitting in the corner. Unfortunately, he had the last laugh and after an awful performance, we lost 1-0 and would remain stuck in League One for another year.

After drowning my sorrows and resolving that next year would definitely be our year, I left the bar with phone numbers and email addresses of people who wanted to ensure I would never watch another Leeds game by myself again. I am still in touch with a lot of these people. We send each other constant emails with highlights clips, transfer rumours and general Leeds United gossip. Next time a bar owner wants me to bring him 20 people to watch a Leeds game, I know I have people I can rely on to come join me!

I now work for a sports statistics company and by total coincidence, my boss is a massive Leeds fan too and has the office decorated with massive flags along with pictures of Bremner, Radebe and even inexplicably one of Gunnar Halle. Whilst everyone else in the office is discussing who’s going to win the Premiership or La Liga we discuss if Mowatt, Murphy and Austin can work as a three in midfield. Although we don’t have much in common with the fans of the Premier League teams in the office, the one thing we can all do together is laugh at the Man United fan who works in the next office!

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24 COMMENTS

  1. Great to hear from you. The Leeds United family cuts through all religions, colours, races
    and creeds and deals with THE important questions I. e . Should Butland replace Kenny?

  2. Wow…..how fantastic not only are you a true Leeds United fan but you also live in my estimation in the greatest country on earth…MOT and long live Israel.

  3. I’m in the same situation, a huge Leeds fan in Tel Aviv and have to resort to low quality streams to get my regular fix in. Is there a supporters group out here or a way to contact fellow Whites??

  4. Brilliant post mate! Followed up from mine the other week! Love the Leeds global fans!!

    Any chance the sports stats company is international and hiring in Aus? Haha

    MOT

  5. Glad to hear of your experience! I’m a Leeds fan in Nairobi, Kenya, believe probably the only 1 in the country. Have met 3-4 others who’ve stated they supported Leeds in the 1990s and early 2000s, but left us in the difficult times thereafter. Always proudly wear my Leeds shirt when on local & foreign holidays. Leeds matches rarely ever broadcast live – maybe 2-3 a season on Setanta Africa. Sometimes watch the online live streams when possible.

    • I watched the FA cup replay against Arsenal (where Johnson scored a screamer) in a pub in Nairobi whilst there on business. Unsurprisingly I was the only Leeds fan in the bar at the time.

      • Nice! Leeds fans everywhere, so we get many visitors from abroad who’re Leeds fans. Went on holiday to Taita Hills here in Kenya…. a lady from UK who was on holiday came running to me to point out her husband being a huge fan!

  6. New to this site and first come across it when i read Tyler Wakefield’s superb piece and now another heart warming tale from across the globe about our beloved Leeds. if you pop me a mail i will send you footage of all the games n.gould-martin@sky,com keep the faith and the good times will come again. thanks for sharing your experience with us. keep well and MOT 4eva

  7. Glad people like the article… Leeds92 where are you based? If you dm me on twitter (gsac123) I’ll send you the best places for links

    • Hi Gideon, i’m currently in Ramat Aviv but will be moving into Tel Aviv centre over the next few weeks.Do you mind if I send you a PM on facebook as I am not on twitter?

  8. I don’t know why I was surprised to hear of Leeds Fans nearby – but I was. I live near Karmiel, have been a Leeds fan for 54 years, and would love to know how to get to any live or post viewing of Leeds matches on my computer

    • Hi Bob, I use http://www.coolsport.tv they have links for every live game on TV, so all the sky games and also the main featured match from the football league each week. I’ve just checked the schedule and tomorrows listings aren’t on yet but i am sure that by this evening or tomorrow morning they will be up there.

  9. Great to hear from a fellow white living in Israel. I’ve been here for 30 years and tune in to every game via the internet. There used to be a supporters club here many years ago and I still remember a great night in Tel Aviv that was arranged to celebrate our league championship back in 92.

    • hi phil
      im trying to help my lad build a collection of different leeds supporters club/branch badges old or new and was wondering if you would be able to get him one from over there mate, ?
      a friend of mine has one but he saves them as well so you would be my best chance, hope you can help mate
      mot
      bob

  10. I will add my name to the list of international Leeds fans. I have lived in Canada for 7 years and not a day goes by when I am not checking all the latest news and info. Used to go home and away all the time prior to moving out here.
    Great to hear these stories!!
    MOT

  11. Nice article. Always great to hear stories of fans watching from abroad (I spent many years working all over Africa, watching from war-torn Sierra Leone to Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and more). Not always easy.
    I’ve also watched from Jerusalem but should note that Jerusalem is not actually in Israel as is assumed in this article. It’s not in Palestine either. According to international law it is still under UN mandate (established in 1947). That is the reason why all but one or two foreign embassies are not based there but rather in Tel Aviv, which is recognised internationally as the genuine capital of Israel.
    Consular presence in Jerusalem is to represent the relevant country in the occupied Palestinian territories.
    I’m not saying anything about what should or shouldn’t be the case but merely presenting the status of Jerusalem under international law and the carelessness and/or political point-making that describes it as such.

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