Monday, 2 November 2015

Floored Genius

Uwe Rosler, Neil Redfearn, Brian McDermott, even Steve Evans, they all may feel under-appreciated. Certainly they will feel they don’t get the credit they deserve and nobody really notices the countless hours of hard work they have put in to Leeds United. But then that’s the nature of football; a cut-throat business, particularly so at Leeds United, of course.

In other walks of life we probably all have our own stories about our best work perhaps being ignored or not being given due credit. Be it at home, at work or on the five-a-side pitch with your mates, it’s always nice to get a slice of the glory. Save a thought then for local artist Leyla Murr, creator of the elegant and refined floor mosaic in the refurbished Old Peacock. Yes, that’s it, the one that thousands of you walk all over and probably never notice on a match day, but when the pub is a little quieter it is a feature that radiates the homely, yet polished and sophisticated feel that is the very essence of what Ossett Brewery wanted to create at this most special of football pubs.

Leyla’s creation is the centrepiece that effortlessly complements the yellow and white floor tiles and the understated Leeds United styling in and around the pub, but essentially it displays with due reverence, the famous Peacock motif, and as such is perhaps the central feature of the 2013 refurbishment of the pub.

A mutual friend working in the pub introduced Leyla to 
joint managing director Jamie Lawson when the idea of a dominant artistic feature was first discussed.


“I am a 
full-time artist and paint mostly in my studio,” explains Leyla “so when Jamie asked me to do a mosaic I was very excited about doing something different.” The mosaic is based on Ossett Brewery’s re-designed but hugely popular Peacock motif, also showcased in stained glass above the back door.

“He gave me a small image to use as a guide,” continues Leyla in explaining how the design became a work of art “the mosaic was a one metre diameter circle so I had to transpose the image onto a large piece of paper, then cover it with the transparent piece of plastic cover. On top of that I put a fine mesh and then glued each individual tile onto the mesh with a special glue and a set of fine pliers.”

In a painstaking process involving a level of patience that most of us couldn’t imagine, the mosaic took 45 hours altogether to complete, using around 8,000 tiled pieces.

“It was July 2013 and we had a very hot summer then and I sat in the garden at home every day for two weeks working on the mosaic. I was instructed that the colours had to be predominantly yellow and blue as those are the colours of the Leeds United Football Club, the Peacock being an important part of the history of the club etc.”

With the wholesale refurbishment at the pub almost complete, Leyla’s hotly-anticipated creation was one of the final pieces to be put into place, with the precise nature of the creation bearing witness to the eye for detail involved in all areas of the pub’s new look.


“I completed it at home and transported it to the pub,” Leyla recalls “there was a hole in the ground when I brought the completed mosaic. I was aware of the colour of the surrounding tiles as I was provided with some samples and Jamie wanted the band around the peacock to be blue rather than yellow, so that had to be changed at the last minute, as you can see from the images.”

The words ‘proud as a peacock’ have something of a double meaning in the case of Leyla’s spectacular creation. The completed mosaic sensationally fulfilled the brief in projecting the dignity and honour of the famous peacock image, but on the flipside, there was no tolerance for the mosaic to stand proud of the floor surface. Leyla’s precise measurements ensured her artwork sat flush on the floor with no danger of the hordes of Leeds fans shuffling through on a match day tripping over a protruding edge, or sadly, even knowing it was there.

Leyla’s work is there for all to see, a durable emblem to the pub’s heritage but a feature that rightly instils great pride in the artist. Leyla, who now lives in Bradford, explains “I was very happy doing something important for a place like the Peacock and felt very honoured to be given this opportunity. My son, who is 29 now, was at a Thorpe Arch Youth Academy aged 12, he was a goalkeeper and I used to drive him for training sessions three times a week, where he used to also see the senior team having a kickabout, including stars like Jonathan Woodgate, Alan Smith and Lee Bowyer!”

Names from the past perhaps, but Leyla’s floor mosaic is an enduring piece of art that should outlive many Leeds United stars of the present and the future. So next time you are in the pub take a close look at it, nobody will bat an eyelid if you are on your hands and knees bowing down to the peacock!

Of course we enter November with another head coach in the extremely hot seat at Elland Road. Welcome to Steve Evans and good luck in what has somehow become one of the most difficult jobs in football.

Football doesn’t pose us too many problems at the Old Peacock; it’s a pretty simple concept. When Leeds United are at home we are open and welcoming as many Leeds fans as we can through our doors. It makes it a bit more difficult for everyone when these games are midweek, and after October’s Thursday night oddity, we have another midweek game very quickly in November.

Cardiff are the visitors to Elland Road on Tuesday the 3rd, before two Yorkshire derbies at Huddersfield and then back here on the 21st for the visit of Rotherham United and the return of Neil Redfearn. In between those games is another frequent irritation of the modern game; the international break, where we are left kicking our heels and dreaming up ways to avoid shopping at B&Q. Be assured we will be open at the Old Peacock if you need some respite and a substitute for your pre-match fix.

We are not far from the mad Christmas period now, so if you haven’t got your plans sorted for family, work or celebrations with friends, let the Old Peacock look after all the hassle for you. We have two menus for Christmas parties in the lead up the 25th and for the big day itself. Places are being booked up fast so contact the pub direct on or by phone on 0113 2715962 to secure your place.

In the meantime, come and visit us for lunch or dinner when our fantastic menus are on offer six days a week.
Finally, for special competitions, announcements and promotions follow us on Twitter and Facebook where all the latest information is posted.

All the best,