The men who made it all possible...

(1961 - 1980)

 

Eleven men who have shaped the destiny of our football club over almost four decades. Some, we've treated them like gods, others we've hounded from office. Some have received both types of treatment for their troubles. Part one of this four part series begins in 1961, with the appointment of Don Revie, and reflects on the four managers who had the unenviable task of following in his footsteps, over the next twenty years.

Don Revie

(1961-74)

When Bill Lambton, then Leeds manager, signed Revie as a player in 1958, he could never have suspected the impact this would have on the club for the following two decades. In his thirteen years in charge, Revie took a team struggling at the foot of the second division to the pinnacle of european football. Two league championships, the FA and League Cups and twice the Fairs Cup sound impressive enough, but fail to fully convey how Leeds dominated football in the sixties and early seventies. Sometimes unlucky, at other times robbed by shameful refereeing decisions, Revie's team's haul of silverware could - and should - have been twice as heavy.

Don Revie was, and always will be, Mr Leeds United. He may have fallen from the nation's favour, following his England debacle, but Leeds fans worldwide will never forget his priceless contribution to the Whites' cause.

Brian Clough

(1974)

From the sublime to the ridiculous. Clough may have gone on to prove himself one of the most successful English managers but, at Leeds, he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Notoriously critical of Revie's Leeds, why Manny Cussins and the board chose him ahead of Don's choice, Johnny Giles, we will never know. He lasted 44 days, leaving acrimoniously with allegations that 'player power' was to blame.

Jimmy Armfield

(1974-78)

A true gent, universally respected throughout the game, Jimmy can still be heard regularly providing 'expert' analysis on Radio Five. He did an excellent job at Elland Road, steadying a rapidly sinking ship and taking us to a European Cup final in the process. Any successor to Revie was always going to find himself in a 'no-win' situation, compounded by the fact that a rapidly aging team was in desperate need of new blood. A series of top half finishes and an FA Cup semi-final would have done us more than nicely in the decade which followed, but in 1978 it wasn't seen as good enough - and Jimmy was sacrificed.

Jock Stein

(1978)

I can still remember the excitement which greeted Stein's arrival at Elland Road, in 1978. The tabloids, who weeks earlier had regarded us as mid-table 'also rans' now placed us amongst their pre-season favourites for the championship. Stein was a legendary figure who might well have been able to live in Revie's shadow. Unfortunately, though, we never got to find out. Like Clough before him, he lasted just 44 days. The lure of the Scotland job proved too great and we were left pondering an uncertain future once more.

Jimmy Adamson

(1978-80)

Adamson inherited what was largely Armfield's team, a group of players who were more than capable of holding their own in the top half of the division. And so it proved. After an uncertain start, Leeds surged up the table, in the second half of Adamson's first season, and qualified for the UEFA Cup. Unfortunately, that was as good as it got. Over the following twelve months, Adamson seemed to completely lose the plot, selling some of our best players (Hawley and Currie) and buying in sub-standard replacements (Does anyone remember Wayne Entwistle?)

No-one could have predicted the horror which would follow in the following decade, but in September 1980, United fans had seen more than enough. Following six defeats out of the opening seven games and a series of increasingly aggressive protests by the fans, the board decided that enough was enough. Adamson was sacked and never heard of again.

 

IN PART TWO...

The Leeds' old boys return