LUFC Don Revie - Gone but never forgotten
Today marks the 24th anniversary of the passing of Don Revie, Leeds United`s most successful manager in their history.
Revie died in Edinburgh at the age of 61 on May 26th 1989 after battling Motor Neurone disease since 1987.
The former England international joined Leeds as a player in 1958 and spent three seasons as a player before taking over as manager in 1961.
One of the first things he was to do was change Leeds United`s club colours from blue shirts and white shorts, to all white. He wanted the club to be feared around Europe and to follow in the footsteps of Real Madrid who wore all white and ruled European football at that time.
The club were languishing in the old second division at the time but within three years, they booked their return to the top flight by winning the second division title.
It was the start of ten years at the very top for Don Revie and his Leeds United side that saw players such as Billy Bremner, Peter Lorimer and Eddie Gray all come through the ranks to become household names.
In their first season in the top flight they was to finish runners up on goal average and also lose out in the FA Cup final after extra time to Liverpool.
The following season, Leeds reached their first European final where Dynamo Zagreb in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup beat them over two legs but success was edging ever closer.
They won their first trophy under Don in 1968 when a Terry Cooper goal was enough to see them beat Arsenal 1-0 in the League Cup Final.
This was quickly followed up with their first European success when they beat Ferencvaros in the Inter City Fairs cup final in the same season.
Leeds won the final over two legs 1-0 thanks to a goal from Mick Jones in the first leg at Elland Road.
In the 1968/69 season they won their first ever league title, losing just three games in the process and accumulating 67 points, 7 clear of second placed Liverpool.
Leeds won the title at their nearest rivals Liverpool and were presented with the trophy at Anfield in front of the Kop, who applauded Leeds
In 1970, Leeds were at Wembley again. This time after a 2-2 draw with Chelsea in the FA Cup Final, they eventually lost out in a blood and thunder replay 2-1 at Old Trafford.
Leeds won the Inter City Fairs cup for a second time in 1971 when they beat Juventus on the away goals rule.
They won the FA Cup for the only time in the clubs history in 1972 when they beat Arsenal 1-0 thanks to an Allan Clarke goal.
Leeds just missed out on completing the double when they was forced to play their final game of the season at Wolves just 48 hours after the final.
Leeds lost 2-1 and lost the title by one point to Derby County.
He led Leeds to Wembley three times between 1970 and 73 in FA Cup finals.
In 1973, they were surprisingly beaten by Sunderland after the Sunderland goalkeeper Jim Montgomery single handedly managed to keep Leeds out with a string of saves.
Leeds were also beaten in the 1973 European Cup Winners Cup final against AC Milan 1-0. Allegations that the referee was bribed saw the referee banned for life, but the game was never replayed or result overturned.
Leeds won their second league title under Don in the 1973/74 they started the season with a then league record start of 29 games unbeaten.
Revie won the English manager of the year on three occasions in 1969, 1970 and 1972.
One trophy that did elude Revie was the European Cup. Following their title win in 1968/69, Revie led Leeds to the semi-final where they met Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic. The Scottish champions became the first British champions of the European Cup in 1967.
Celtic beat Leeds over the two-legs and the second leg at Hampden Park still holds the record for an attendance in Britain. Over 136,000 fans were present at the game.
The great side put together by Don Revie never got the credit it deserved. To this day, Leeds are still known as 'dirty Leeds` amongst opposition supporters. In the 1960`s and 1970`s, most clubs had players that would roll up their sleeves and fight tooth and nail for the club. Leeds had a squad that epitomised this spirit. They were more like a family with Don being the dad.
Leeds played some fantastic football under Revie and to this day, you still see re-runs of their 7-0 massacre of Southampton in 1972 when Leeds put on a master class, including one passage of play that Southampton unable to get near Leeds or the ball. Commentator Barry Davies said in commentary, "To say that Leeds United are playing with Southampton is the understatement of the season. Poor Southampton just don`t know what day it is.
"It is almost cruel.
"The Elland Road crowd are lapping this up. For the second home match running, Leeds United are turning on a brilliant show and the other team are just not on the park."
What many people forget is and Davies alluded to it in his commentary, in the previous home game, Leeds had beaten Manchester United 5-1.
In his ten years in the top flight they went on to win the title twice, finished runners up five times and never finished outside the top four.
His 13-years in charge of Leeds saw them win two league titles, FA Cup, League Cup, the Inter Cities Fairs Cup twice, the Charity Shield and the Second Division title.
They were runners-up in the league on five occasions, the FA Cup on three occasions, Inter Cities Fairs Cup on one occasion and the European Cup Winners Cup on one occasion, where a corrupt referee robbed them of victory.
The 18-19 man Leeds squad, regularly played in excess of 55 games a season (65 in the 1967/68 season) as Revie went for every trophy they could win. His side was also full of internationals to add to the amount of games played by his squad.
He was also awarded an OBE in 1970 in the Queens honours.
The title success in 1974 was to be his final season with the club and he took over the job as manager of the England national side.
Revie spent three years in charge of the national side before leaving to manage the United Arab Emirates and he eventually finished his managerial career in Egypt in 1984.
He returned to Britain and moved to Scotland. After complaining of pain in his legs whilst playing golf, he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 1987.
He made his final appearance at Elland Road in May 1988 when a Leeds side led by the then Leeds boss and Revie`s influential skipper Billy Bremner, played a Don Revie XI in aid of the disease that by now had left him in a wheelchair.
Revie eventually died on May 26th 1989 in Edinburgh where his funeral was held four days later.
The Leeds squad that had played for Revie attended along with a number of high profile footballers and managers of that era, including Alex Ferguson. There was nobody present from the Football Association nor did they ever do anything to mark his death.
After his death, Leeds quickly renamed the Kop and it is now known as the Don Revie Stand.
Last year the club and fans honoured Don again when a statue of the great man was erected outside Elland Road, overlooking the East stand after a money was raised by Leeds United supporters.
Don Revie made Leeds United a worldwide name amongst football supporters and his legacy as manager will mean he will never be forgotten by Leeds United fans of many generations to come, who will follow the players in the all-white kit of Leeds United.
A tribute to Don Revie.
Gone but never forgotten.
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