Leeds United’s most weird and wonderful pre-season friendlies of recent years

Pre-season friendlies are a staple of the football fan calendar, offering supporters the opportunity to assess their club’s squad ahead of the new season.

Although the matches themselves rarely provide excitement to match the thrill of a competitive fixture, they are enjoyed by fans as a chance to return to their regular routine of watching football with friends and family, sometimes even in the sun.

Many can indeed be mundane or ruined by repetitive jokes about how proud the trialist family must be, but some live long in the memory for a variety of reasons.

Some are remembered for their brilliance and some for their bizarreness and LeedsLive have identified the most memorable Leeds United friendlies of the last decade.

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FC Gherdeina 0-16 Leeds United – 2014

Playing against significantly weaker opposition in pre-season to boost confidence and gain match fitness is not unusual.

However, organising a match against a team as poor as Italian outfit FC Gherdeina may not have been the greatest choice Leeds have ever made.

David Hockaday’s Leeds faced the local side whilst in Italy for a pre-season training camp and ruthlessly dismantled the minnows.

Towering forward Matt Smith notched seven goals in the win, Noel Hunt scored a hat-trick and fellow frontomen Steve Morison and Dominic Poleon weighed in with braces. Midfield duo Luke Murphy and David Norris also contributed and teenage striker Lewis Walters also found the net.

Leeds United 3-1 Leeds United – 2014

Somehow, the hammering of FC Gherdeina was not the only bizarre fixture to take place during the Italy trip.

The Whites were scheduled to take on Romanian side Viitorul Constanta but when their opponents failed to show up, an in-house game was put on for travelling supporters.

The squad was split into two sides and played three periods of 20 minutes in front of perplexed supporters, with the game ending 3-1 to the team wearing the home kit.

Leeds United 2-0 Everton – 2015

The appetite for the 2015/16 campaign was well and truly whet with an impressive win over Premier League opposition in August 2015.

Everton’s starting XI featured the likes of James McCarthy, Ross Barkley, Steven Naismith and Arouna Kone but Uwe Rosler’s Leeds convincingly swept the Toffees aside at Elland Road.

Leeds United 2-1 Atalanta – 2016

Serie A side Atalanta would go on to enjoy a remarkable 2016/17 campaign, securing European football with a 4th-placed finish under the tutelage of Gian Piero Gasperini.

However, they were no match for Garry Monk’s Leeds United in 2016, who secured a 2-1 win in front of a healthy Elland Road crowd thanks to goals from Chris Wood and Kemar Roofe.

Let us know your favourite pre-season memories below in the comments

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Forest Green Rovers 1-2 Leeds United – 2018

The win over Forest Green was a fairly routine run-out against lower league opposition but was special in that it marked the beginning of the Marcelo Bielsa era.

It was the first time the Argentine had taken charge of a game as manager of Leeds and he included just 15 players in his squad for the match.

First-half goals from Kemar Roofe and Luke Ayling were enough to see off Forest Green as supporters were offered an insight into the style of football that would eventually take the club back to the Premier League.

Manchester United 4-0 Leeds United – 2019

Heavy defeats to bitter rivals are rarely seen as memorable but the meeting between Leeds and Manchester United in 2019 was a spectacle.

Leeds were still a Championship side but their supporters travelled in numbers to Australia for the summer exhibition and the attendance inside the Optus Stadium in Perth was announced as 55,274.

Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones and Anthony Martial were on target for the Red Devils.

Western Sydney Wanderers 1-2 Leeds United – 2019

Another game from the 2019 tour of Australia, the win over Western Sydney Wanderers treated a healthy travelling Leeds crowd to two stunning goals, one of which being a stoppage-time winner.

Young playmaker Mateusz Bogusz opened the scoring with a terrific strike into the top corner and after the hosts equalised, a stunning solo run and finish from Pablo Hernandez secured the win deep into stoppage-time.

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