Leeds nut Alan Irvine bids to wreck boyhood club’s play-off bid with Norwich City
PUBLISHED: 08:20 29 April 2017 | UPDATED: 08:20 29 April 2017
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Alan Irvine is putting sentiment to one side to ensure Norwich City end the Whites’ Championship play-off hopes.
The Canaries’ interim chief revealed on Friday he has a major soft spot for the Whites, after idolising Eddie Gray’s all-conquering Leeds team in his childhood.
City won at Preston on Easter Monday and the Scot is determined to finish a poor away campaign on a winning note.
“My job is to win games here,” said Irvine. “I have gone back to places I was really happy at before and if anything I am an Evertonian now, having spent 11 and half years working for the club, and I was delighted when we won there in the League Cup this season. I will be delighted again. I was a Leeds fan as a boy but it is not my job to help Leeds get into the play-offs. They can do it next year. Eddie (Gray) has seen it all I am sure and he would say even if they miss out they have been in worse positions than this. Hopefully he still speaks to me.
“I am really looking forward to seeing him again. I will be starry-eyed and probably ask for his autograph. I was a winger growing up and my favourite players were all wingers and Eddie Gray was fantastic. I love going to Elland Road because of that link. One of my best days was getting to play against Eddie when he was left-back. I did okay that day. It is a great club. I still like to see them doing well.
“Obviously working in the game I have not been a fan for a long time but it is a club I look out for.”
Irvine is a fan of Leeds’ head coach Garry Monk, who has guided the Whites to the fringes of the play-offs before a poor recent run leaves them two points adrift.
“I think he has done a great job. I like him as a person,” said Irvine. “James Beattie, who works with him, was a young player at Blackburn who I signed as a schoolboy so I have a link there. It has been difficult circumstances. I hope people recognise that, whatever happens between now and the end of the season, it wasn’t an easy job and he has managed, after a tough start, to turn things around.
“If you looked at their position in the table right now and offered them that at the start of the season they would have been delighted. Unfortunately for them, having looked a matter of a month ago as if they were almost certain to be in the play-offs they have had a wobble and their worst run of form at the worst possible time. Now they are hoping others slip up and it is a shame if Garry gets judged in that way because at the beginning of the season they would have been very happy. The problem is to drop out at this stage people can tend to be a bit critical.”