Pre-match and half-time entertainment on Headingley match days have always been close to my heart. Stating when I was kid, Ronnie the Rhino would race from the north stand to the south stand giving me and thousands others of my age a feeling of enrichment and involvement like no other. Then as I got a bit older, I started to appreciate the gruelling work-out that the Radio Aire dance team do in the middle of the pitch. Eventually I started to understand the whole pre-match and half-time packages. From Opera Man to the Cheeky Girls (and whoever else does a one-off appearance), from the match day announcer and to the half time mini rugby games, itís all been a thrilling experience. I guess you could say I have always had a love affair with these parts of a match day.
Taking stock of all this, brings me back to last year when a group of former Rhinos cheerleaders got on national TV. 'Project A' had all the discipline, the stamina, and the unrelenting determination to go all the way. Unfortunately their journey was cut short by pair of less talented twins in the shape of John and Edward. Project A were well and truly knocked-out after that diabolical decision of Louis Walsh. However in true Leeds style, Project A have well and truly got themselves back up again by renaming the band The Ultra Girls.
The Ultra Girls are ironically the ultimate four-piece to be around with thanks to their down to earth nature and their never ending quest to have a good time. Their musical ability has also been further polished since those raw X-Factor days thanks to linking up with the likes of Kylie's songwriter and Britney's producer. But the most touching thing of all is that they want to put our city on the map musically and we havenít had anyone with the ability to do this yet as a pop group. Weíve had some great indie bands, but Leeds is a closet pop city and too embarrassed to admit it to the rest of the world.
In the near future Iíd like to see The Ultra Girls return to that fateful soggy Headingley turf and invite me to dance with them like in the picture above that my graphic design friend put together. Itís the least I can do for you and itíll fulfil a childhood ambition of mine too. I wasnít good enough to make it on there as a player and some may say that Iím not good enough to make it on there as a dancer. However we have one thing in common and thatís the ability to get a crowd in a nightclub to copy our dance moves because there so awesome. Iím probably pushing it a bit here, but Iím sure Iíd be right at home in one of their future pop videos.
Until then, I wish them all the best in bringing Leeds to all four corners of the globe. Then hopefully youíll bring the whole world to Leeds which will be easier than ever once we get our new swanky arena. All the best for the tour with Kylie and I hope you do this city proud.