Players come and players go. Players coming in can bring excitement and there is nothing like a new arrival getting off the mark in his first game for the club.

Here I take a look back at five players, across different decades, who scored on their Leeds United debuts:

19 December 1936 vs Sunderland (away)

The stocky six foot tall inside forward signed from Bolton Wanderers on 14 December, 1936. He was thrust into action five days later at Sunderland who had won the First Division title the previous season, and the club that Ainsley had played for before moving to Burnden Park.

Every team that had gone to Roker Park that season had left empty handed and for a struggling Leeds side, things would prove no different, despite taking an early lead they were beaten 2-1 on a typically blustery windy day on Wearside.

The game was just eight minutes old when Arthur Buckley’s cross was fired home by Ainsley in fine style. The new man displayed all the attributes that afternoon but a promising league career was interrupted by World War II.

1 January 1966 vs Sheffield Weds (home)

When Don Revie handed ‘The Last Waltz’ his debut on 1 January 1966 at home to Sheffield Wednesday, nobody would have imagined the impact the Scottish winger would have, or the longevity of his association with the club.

Gray was just shy of his 18th birthday when he opened the scoring after 32 minutes of the Yorkshire Derby. The debutant latched on to Jimmy Greenhoff’s superb through ball and fired an unstoppable shot past Ron Springett from 25 yards.

Leeds went on to win the First Division fixture 3-0 with Alan Peacock and Jim Storrie adding goals in the second half but it was Eddie Gray who earned rave reviews for his performance. 

Gray is arguably the most talented footballer ever to grace Elland Road but unfortunately, he lost large parts of his playing career to injuries.

3 October 1981 vs Aston Villa (home)

The 1981-82 season is largely forgettable as of course, it ended with the ultimate disappointment of relegation from the top flight. However, one of the few highlights that campaign came on the afternoon of 3 October when Aston Villa, the reigning Champions, came to Elland Road. 

Leeds had lost three of their previous four games and it was no surprise to the paltry crowd of 21,065 when Gary Shaw put the visitors in front after just eight minutes.

Step forward the debutant, Steve Balcombe, in what turned out be his only league appearance for Leeds. With 62 minutes gone, at the Kop end, Villa defender Allan Evans inadvertently headed the ball into the youngsters’ path and as Brendon Ormsby came across, Balcombe flicked it over his head, chested it down and finished superbly past Jimmy Rimmer.

14 November 1998 vs Liverpool (away)

When the stadium announcer read out the matchday squads at Anfield on 14 November 1998, many fans were asking: “Who is Alan Smith?” They certainly knew by full time.

Manager, David O’Leary had only been in the job full-time for a number of weeks and had already demonstrated a fearless approach in introducing youngsters from the thriving academy. However, it was a surprise to the travelling fans that Smith had been named on the bench 

Leeds went behind to a Robbie Fowler penalty, awarded for Nigel Martyn’s foul on Karl-Heinz Riedle, and another fruitless trip to the red half of Merseyside looked likely. However, the game changed in an instant when, after 76 minutes, Alan Smith replaced Clyde Wijnhard.

Within a few minutes of the debutant entering the field, Harry Kewell’s pass found David Hopkin on the edge of the box. The midfielder saw his shot charged down but it fell to the feet of Smith who gleefully swept home a first time effort past David James to silence the Kop.

Leeds, courtesy of two Jimmy Hasselbaink goals, went on to win the game 3-1 and claim a rare win at Anfield.

12 February 2005 vs Reading (home)

Signed during a period of transition in 2005, Hulse had turned down a £1.5m move to Stoke City in favour of a loan move to West Yorkshire (which went on to become a permanent deal) and his arrival had Leeds’ fans briefly dreaming of a play off place. 

Hulse made his debut on 12 February at home to Reading, a club whose play-off aspirations were far more realistic than that of United’s, and a tough afternoon was expected in windy conditions.

Leeds went in at the interval a goal to the good thanks to David Healy but it was Hulse who took centre stage in the second half. After 56 minutes, Healy’s pace took him beyond his marker and his pass found Jermaine Wright. He touched the ball on to Hulse who crashed an unstoppable shot past the Royals’ goalkeeper to double the lead.

Hulse scored again seven minutes later with a wonderful curling effort and a late consolation goal for the visitors could not spoil the party as Leeds ran out 3-1 winners.