THERE are Leeds United fans who would like to declare war on David Peace, the West Yorkshire writer who did the dirty on Dirty Leeds in his book The Damned Utd, or at least do so every time Peace's toxic work of friction and not a little fiction returns like reflux on film or stage.

The last time the Playhouse staged it in March 2016, Leeds supporters responded by painting a huge Marching On Together mural opposite the Quarry Hill theatre. Today's LUFC are still in the doldrums, fluffing their lines yet again in the Championship bear pit, but Arsenal-supporting playwright Anders Lustgarten's feisty and rather foul-mouthed play has risen again at Easter, with a run in the Courtyard to be followed by a Leeds community tour.

Tom Hooper's hatchet job of a film gilded the Dirty Leeds exaggerations, but Lustgarten has made a much better fist of Peace's psychological study of Clough: what made him tick, what made him drink; what made him both destructive and self-destructive after injury cut short his playing career; why he lasted only 44 days of mutual hell at Elland Road after taking over Don Revie's league champions in 1974.

The Richard III humour and the pathos in Old Bighead are present, but so too is a stronger vein of anger than in the 2009 film, and in Leeds company Red Ladder and the Playhouse's more minimalist new revival, the play becomes even more of a very concentrated character portrait, with not a football in sight.

We no longer see Derby County's players represented by balletic figures in masks in the parallel story of Clough's early triumphs as he built up his rancorous hatred of Leeds United BC (Before Clough) and in particular his despised nemesis and fellow son of Middlesbrough, dossier-obsessed manager Don Revie.

In 2016, Leeds United's famous/infamous players were reduced to mannequins; in 2018, they are still silent and surly, represented by tracksuits with the names Bremner, Giles, Hunter and Gray that appear behind a corrugated sheet, on which video projections are shown too.

The remaining stage furniture is kept to a minimum by designer Tim Skelly: a phone on a desk, a whisky bottle on a table for regular lubrication for the troubled, off-the-cuff Clough, a volcanic force so ill-matched with the more methodical Leeds United.

Like the whisky, Luke Dickson's Clough is ever present on stage as Lustgarten's play charts Clough's 44 days, day by day by sleepless night, with his managerial progress from Hartlepools to Derby, Brighton and Leeds told in tandem, as Jamie Smelt plays assorted footballing people that annoyed him.

Two key relationships shape Lustgarten's adaptation; the first between Clough and his assistant manager Peter Taylor (David Chafer), with their mutual need for each other, but crucially separated when Clough took on Leeds. The second is alcohol, the tragedian flaw in Clough's genius.

Clough's relish for confrontation, for clashing with authority, at both Derby and Leeds, drives Lustgarten's modern-day Greek tragi-comedy with its dark shades of Steven Berkoff's visceral theatre too.

The more minimalist staging suits this abrasive, power-struggle style of drama under Rod Dixon's direction, but Dickson's Clough, stocky and too Derby-accented, is no match for Andrew Lancel's portrayal of this funny but infuriating anti-hero two years ago.

The Damned United, Red Ladder Theatre/West Yorkshire Playhouse, at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, until April 7, then Leeds community tour, April 11 to 21. Box office: 0113213 7700 or at