David Batty
David Batty
Personal information
Date of Birth 2 December 1968
Place of Birth Leeds
Leeds career
Playing position Midfielder
Number 4
Senior 8/1987 - 10/1993
10/1998 - 6/2004

David Batty was born in Leeds on 2 December 1968 and was a defensive midfielder. He made his debut for Leeds in November 1987 as an 18-year-old during a 4–2 win over Swindon Town, and quickly earned a reputation as a fiercely competitive midfielder in the mould of Leeds legend Billy Bremner.

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. 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.

In October 1993 Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson needed funds to finance the rebuilding of his team, and reluctantly accepted an offer from Blackburn Rovers, who were managed by Kenny Dalglish.

After five years away from Leeds, Batty rejoined the club under the management of David O'Leary. 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 1999–00 season he suffered an Achilles tendon injury which also caused Batty 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.

Over the two spells with Leeds United, Batty played 301 games for the club.

David Batty is number 34 in Leeds United's 100 greatest players.