David Batty

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David Batty
Personal information
Full name David Batty[1]
Date of birth (1968-12-02) 2 December 1968 (age 50)
Place of birth Leeds, England
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
Leeds United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1986–1993 Leeds United 211 (4)
1993–1996 Blackburn Rovers 54 (1)
1996–1998 Newcastle United 83 (3)
1998–2004 Leeds United 90 (0)
Total 438 (8)
National team
1988–1989 England U21 7 (1)
1989–1992 England B 5 (0)
1991–1999[2] England 42 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

David Batty (born 2 December 1968) is an English retired professional footballer, who played as a defensive midfielder.

He played for Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United, and was also capped for the England national football team. He represented the nation at UEFA Euro 1992 and the 1998 World Cup.

Club career[edit]

Leeds United[edit]

Born in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, Batty made his debut for Leeds in November 1987 as an 18-year-old during a 4–2 win over Swindon Town,[3] and quickly earned a reputation as a fiercely competitive midfielder in the mould of Leeds legend Billy Bremner. Perceived to be a bit lightweight, to build up Batty's strength Bremner would call him into his office every morning to drink sherry with a raw egg stirred into it.[4] Batty was a key member of the Leeds team that won promotion from the second division in 1989–90, and a member of a midfield which included Gary Speed, Gary McAllister and Gordon Strachan, when Leeds won the first division championship in 1991–92. As a tireless and sometimes ruthless forager of the ball there were few equals, but there was more to his game than simply breaking up opposition attacks; having won the ball, his distribution was excellent, making him the springboard for many counterattacks.[citation needed] If there was one aspect missing from his game it was the lack of goals, as evidenced by the affectionate cries of "shoot" from Leeds fans whenever Batty received the ball anywhere within the opponents half.[citation needed]

In October 1993 Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson needed funds to finance the rebuilding of his team, and reluctantly accepted an offer of £2.75 million for Batty from Blackburn Rovers, who were managed by Kenny Dalglish. Wilkinson used the funds to buy Carlton Palmer for £2.6 million eight months later.[5]

Blackburn Rovers[edit]

At this point Blackburn were an emerging force in the newly created Premier League with players such as Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton. He suffered a broken foot which ruled him out of the majority of Blackburn's title winning campaign in 1994–95, only playing 5 games for them that season. He refused a winners medal at the end of the season, stating that his contribution had been minimal.[citation needed] By the following season Batty was available to help Blackburn's Champions League campaign. However, the team failed to reach the lucrative knock-out stages; Batty's contribution to the campaign is best remembered for an incident when his teammate Graeme Le Saux and they started fighting each other during the Champions' League game against Spartak Moscow.[6]

In 1996 Batty requested a transfer from Blackburn Rovers, and moved to Kevin Keegan's Newcastle United for £3.75 million.[7]

Newcastle United[edit]

With Batty providing midfield bite and cover for the defence, Newcastle were able to challenge the dominant team of the day, Manchester United; Newcastle finished up as runners-up in the league to Manchester United twice (1995–96 and 1996–97). Keegan commented that it was not until he worked on the training ground with Batty on a daily basis that he realised just how good a player he was.[citation needed] Batty's work-rate, tackling and unselfish play for the good of the team, therefore allowing the more skilful ball-players to perform, were appreciated by manager, colleagues and fans alike.[citation needed] His first full-season at St. James' Park saw the departure of Keegan, with Kenny Dalglish taking over and guiding the club to another runners-up spot. However, the 1997–98 season was a disappointing one, as Newcastle could only finish 13th. They did however reach the 1998 FA Cup Final, in which Batty started. The arrival of new manager Ruud Gullit in August 1998 marked the start of a team rebuild, and Batty made the move back to Leeds United in December 1998 for £4.4 million.

Leeds United (second spell)[edit]

Batty rejoined a resurgent Leeds team under the management of David O'Leary; O'Leary wanted Batty to provide bite and experience for his youthful side. A rib injury picked up in his first game kept him on the sidelines for some time, but by the end of the 1998–99 season he was a regular in the Leeds team. However, in the early part of the 1999–2000 season he suffered an Achilles tendon injury, and recovery was lengthened by side effects of the drugs he had to take for the heart problems he suffered as a result of the earlier rib injury.[citation needed] This caused him to miss the Euro 2000 Championships.

Batty's experience was a key factor in Leeds qualification for the UEFA Champions League, and the cup runs to the semi-finals of both the UEFA Cup and the Champions League; however, when O'Leary was sacked by Leeds in 2002 Batty found himself out of favour with subsequent managers, and in the summer of 2004 he retired from football. He was injured in a game against former club Newcastle United on 7 January 2004. This would turn out to be the final game of his career.[8]

International career[edit]

Batty's performances for Leeds resulted in his making his England debut under Graham Taylor in the 3–0 win against USSR in May 1991, aged 22. At the time of the 1998 World Cup Batty was an England regular under Glenn Hoddle, but made limited starts in the four matches England competed in and was notable, along with Paul Ince, for missing a penalty saved by Carlos Roa which prevented the team from advancing to the quarter-finals.[9] In all Batty gained 42 caps, making his final appearance for England in the 0–0 draw with Poland in 1999, where he was sent off in the 84th minute of the game.[10]

Since retirement[edit]

Since his retirement Batty has featured in 'The Match', in which a team of former professionals faced a team of celebrities in a charity match staged at Newcastle's St James' Park ground.[11]


  1. ^ Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2004). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2004/2005. Queen Anne Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-85291-660-2.
  2. ^ "David Batty - International Appearances". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation.
  3. ^ "Rewind to the 1980s". Leeds United. 23 May 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  4. ^ Swan, Peter; Collomosse, Andrew (2008), Swanny: Confessions of a Lower-League Legend, John Blake, ISBN 978-1-84454-660-2
  5. ^ Guy Hodgson (25 March 1994). "Football: Batty effect takes over at Blackburn: Guy Hodgson on the best and worst buys of the season". The Independent. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Le Saux and Batty shame Blackburn". The Independent. 23 November 1995. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  7. ^ Guy Hodgson (24 February 1996). "Batty finally set for Newcastle". The Independent. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  8. ^ "Newcastle 1–0 Leeds". BBC. 7 January 2004. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  9. ^ David Batty Statistics FIFA. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  10. ^ "Archive:David Batty". The Football Association. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  11. ^ "Sky One:The Match". BSkyB. Retrieved 24 January 2010.

External links[edit]