History of the Club - The birth of Leeds United
The creation of Leeds United Football Club in the autumn of 1919 came during a very traumatic period for football in the West Riding of Yorkshire and the new club only came into being following the demise of one club and particularly difficult times for another.
Leeds City, the forerunners of United, had been established in 1904 and admitted to the Football League a year later. They played their entire history in the Second Division, and only rarely had a faint sniff of promotion. They were constantly struggling with their financial position and always suffered under the burden of debt.
In 1912, they had appointed the former Spurs player and Northampton manager Herbert Chapman to lead them and he had improved matters on the field, building a respectable team that might have challenged for promotion but for the onset of war. During the conflict the club enlisted the support of many famous guest players, like Charlie Buchan of Sunderland, Fanny Walden of Spurs, Billy Hampson of Newcastle and Clem Stephenson of Huddersfield. They had improved sufficiently to win the unofficial championship of England in 1918 when they beat Stoke over two legs.
The success had come at a price, however. The club had made a number of illegal payments to some of the guests. Leeds City were not alone in the practice, but their former full back Charlie Copeland, disgruntled when the City board did not grant him the improved contract he thought he deserved, reported the club to the authorities. The Football League and the FA set up a joint inquiry and were determined to take immediate and serious action. They expelled the club from the League, insisted on their disbandment and an auction of their entire playing staff in October 1919.
Before the club were wound up and expelled from the League, Leeds City had had built up a strong and loyal local following. The same day as City's players were auctioned off, October 17, a meeting was held of more than 1,000 supporters, who were desperate to plan a way out of the mess.
Alf Masser, a local solicitor, was asked to chair the meeting which unanimously agreed a motion to form both a new professional club and a supporters' club. Masser was one of seven men elected as the new club's management committee, along with Joe Henry junior (son of the Lord Mayor of Leeds, who had worked so hard to save City), Mark Barker, R.E.H. Ramsden, Charles Snape and former players Dick Ray (who was appointed manager) and Charlie Morgan.
The newly formed Leeds United Association Football Club were invited to join the Midland League by the secretary, Mr J Nicholson, taking on the vacancy left by the removal of Leeds City Reserves on 31 October. The new club moved into Elland Road, assuming the usage of the ground from Yorkshire Amateurs, who had been playing there following the demise of City.
Around the same time, in a different part of the West Riding, another troubled Football League club was also experiencing problems which threatened its entire existence. On 6 November 1919, the sensational news that Huddersfield Town were experiencing serious financial difficulties hit the headlines. Speculation about Town's fortunes had been fuelled by the shock transfer of forward Jack Cock, the crowd's favourite, to Chelsea eight days earlier. He had already scored 6 goals in his 9 games that season. And whilst secretary Ambrose Langley claimed that it was Cock's wish to return to his native London - the deal was later disclosed to be a record for both clubs at £2,500 - he could not disguise the sombre mood at Leeds Road.
Disgruntled fans, many of whom wrote to local newspapers expressing their disgust at Cock's departure, felt that they knew the truth. Press enquiries were allegedly waved aside and this served only to reinforce the impression that all was not well and that the transfer had been effected to ease the club's financial problems.
One article, headlined 'Town Club Dead', proclaimed 'The Huddersfield Town Association Football Club, so far as this town is concerned, is to all intents and purposes extinct.' Another source, apparently close to the club, was offering odds of 100-1 against Second Division football continuing in Huddersfield.
The crisis had been sparked off by a distinct lack of public interest in Huddersfield Town. Only £200 had been collected in season tickets, despite an earnest plea during the close season for increased patronage. The weekly wage bill totalled £140 and weekly working expenses were said to be an additional £230. These costs had to be met from revenue generated through the turnstiles, for in those days there was no sponsorship, nor any income from lotteries.
Season tickets cost 33s 6d (£1.68) for adults in the Centre Stand - ladies and boys paid 22s 6d (£1.13) - and ground admission for the season was 17s (85p) for adults and 10s (50p) for ladies and boys. Since 30 August 1919, when football resumed on a normal League basis after four seasons of wartime regional competitions, the average attendance for Leeds Road stood at around 4,300, with the three home matches prior to 1 November attracting an aggregate of only 14,000 diehard fans.
Indeed, since Town had achieved Football League status in 1910, their attendances had been extremely poor. Up to the suspension of the League programme in 1915, home games had rarely exceeded crowds of 5,000 and in many cases a deal less. There were precious few exceptions to that rule.
Admittedly, in five years of endeavour Town's best position had been fifth in Division Two in 1912/13 and during this period they had never advanced beyond the second round of the FA Cup. Yet, during the club's infancy, its pioneers had argued that both Association and Rugby football could be accommodated in the town as matches were arranged for alternate Saturdays.
Nevertheless, seeing a near-empty ground. which had been redeveloped at a cost of between £6,000 and £10,000 to house over 50,000 spectators, must have been very discouraging for the Town directors, especially when set against the gate figures at the nearby rugby arena at Fartown.
Whilst the record attendance for Huddersfield Town, up to this point, was the 17,000 who saw Southern League Swindon Town play an FA Cup second round game at Leeds Road on 1 February 1913, Huddersfield Northern Rugby Union Club attracted their then record attendance of 30,125 to Fartown, for a League fixture against Wigan barely 12 months later.
Huddersfield Town had, for years, been engaged upon the unprofitable task of serving up first class soccer in an area which most markedly demonstrated its loyalty to the Northern Union game. On occasions it had been necessary for Town to call upon the benevolence of other local sportsmen to provide a subsidy.
Into this category came the four Crowther brothers, members of a prosperous family who owned a Milnsbridge woollen mill. Showing a sympathetic nature to their home town club's plight, and being wealthy enough to indulge their fancy in almost any project they wished, the Crowthers proceeded to supply Town with extensive credit facilities. From the club's formative days, up to the critical period immediately after World War One, this was said to be in the region of £27,000, with £18,000 in debentures being held by J Hilton Crowther and his brother, D Stonor Crowther.
Such an act undoubtedly guaranteed Town's existence and the Crowthers' contribution to the club's survival - and, indeed, their future glories - should never be underestimated. However, in 1919 it was increasingly felt that the club should become self sufficient. J Hilton Crowther was approaching the point at which enough was enough.
The crisis came to a head following the wretched turn out for Huddersfield's 3-0 home win over Fulham in a Second Division match on 1 November 1919. An attendance of 2,500 paid only £90 at the gate. At Fartown, meanwhile, the rugby club banked £1,600, following their 33-8 second-round Yorkshire County Cup win over Hull.
Seven days earlier, £1,280 had been taken at Craven Cottage, on the occasion of Town's visit but, despite the fact that Huddersfield Town, like all League clubs, received 20 per cent of the revenue from away games at this time, it did not take a mathematical genius to calculate that the club was not operating on a viable basis.
Football League president John McKenna, founder and chairman of Liverpool FC, later cited Huddersfield's midweek home League fixture against Bury on 9 September. That game realised only £49 in gate money and McKenna said that such meagre support was not conducive to any club retaining Football League membership.
It was an awful situation. The Huddersfield Town directors felt that the team assembled for the first post-war season was a capable one, as later events were to prove, and the club had enjoyed a string of reasonable early-season results which warranted better support from its townsfolk.
Such was the club's despair that the directors readily agreed to discuss ways of transferring the club, lock, stock and barrel, to a more appreciative area like Leeds.
When the Leeds City players were sold off, at the humiliating 'auction' held at the city's Metropole Hotel on 17 October l919, before invited representatives from 30 Football League clubs, there were letters in the Huddersfield newspapers, asking why Town did not recruit from this source, whilst at the same time acknowledging that each of their own players were better than those on offer.
Only hours later, Alf E Masser, a Leeds solicitor, chaired a meeting of over 1,000 Leeds football supporters at the Salem Hall. A seven-man committee was elected to run a 'new' professional football club called Leeds United which accepted an invitation to replace Leeds City Reserves in the Midland League.
Impressed by such instant, feverish activity, Huddersfield chairman, J Hilton Crowther, without consulting his fellow directors, offered to amalgamate with the newly formed Leeds United club. His audacious plan not only had the backing of the Leeds officials, but also apparently had the blessing of some Town players. In the eyes of many, Leeds had been deprived of the chance to become one of the best centres of soccer in the West Riding, only due to the misdemeanours of the City club's officials, so a planned meeting with the United committee to discuss the possibilities of such a union, was welcomed with open arms in the city.
On the evening of 7 November 1919, at the YMCA Hall, Albion Street, Leeds, the city's chief magistrate and Lord Mayor, Alderman Joseph Henry, lent his support to the proposal - at the height of the Leeds City scandal he had offered to take over the club from its directors - and presided over a large, enthusiastic meeting of Leeds United's supporters and potential shareholders.
Amongst their number were J Hilton Crowther and Huddersfield Town secretary, Arthur Fairclough, both of whom addressed the meeting. Leeds United committee member, Mark Barker, also spoke in support of the proposals.
The principle resolutions of amalgamation and the ultimate transference of Huddersfield Town to Leeds were carried unanimously, although it was later revealed that they were put before the meeting only by a majority vote of the Leeds United committee. United chairman, Joseph Henry Junior summed up the negotiations to date. These included an arrangement for the amalgamated club to occupy Elland Road, finalised by J Hilton Crowther and Leeds accountant William H Platts, the latter being the sole lessee of the estate. Yorkshire Amateurs had previously undertaken tenancy of Elland Road but were 'prepared to withdraw on terms from their arrangement'.
It was proposed that the name of Leeds United would be adopted in preference to Leeds Trinity, the new club undertaking Town's Second Division programme with Elland Road as its home base. All the players signed by Leeds United, and the liabilities incurred, would be the responsibility of the new directorate.
Another proposal was that the control of the amalgamated club be put in the hands of nine directors. J Hilton Crowther, William L Hardcastle, Norman Robinson, William A Roebuck and Fred C Mitchell would form the Huddersfield Town contingent. William H Platts, approved as a board nominee because of his connections with the Leeds City club, plus three other Leeds men, chosen directly by the United club and sanctioned by the Football League, would complete the new board. No one saw the raising of cash for such a project as a problem, bearing in mind the size of the city and its apparent wave of enthusiasm and excitement for soccer.
To close the eventful meeting, Alf E Masser praised the work done at Huddersfield Town by J Hilton Crowther and recommended him to the Leeds supporters. All that was required now was for the transference to be rubber-stamped by the Football League but, as the scheme was believed to be both practical and highly feasible, especially as objectors holding shares could have them paid back to them in full, the League's backing was seen as a formality.
However, no one had reckoned on the speed with which the Huddersfield townsfolk, faced with the prospect of losing their soccer team, objected to the transference. They rallied to the cause of saving their club's identity at the 11th hour. Within days of the shock revelation, a handful of spectators, attending Town's home Central League fixture against Nelson on 8 November 1919, held a prolonged demonstration on the pitch in front of the directors' box, demanding an explanation from the club's officials. Unable to satisfactorily appease the gathering, the Town board agreed to hold a further public meeting at Leeds Road the following day.
Expedient publicity, in the form of slides being shown at local cinemas that evening, ensured that a crowd of 3,000 supporters were drawn to the ground to protest at the proposed transference of their club. As well as local dignitaries, who were invited by telegram, there were several Huddersfield Town officials, including four of the club's original founders, Amos Brook Hirst, a local solicitor who later became chairman and then president of the Football Association; William L Hardcastle, proprietor of the Albert Hotel in Victoria Lane and recently installed as club chairman; David Dickinson, a local schoolmaster and former director; and James H R Appleyard, the club's honorary secretary and treasurer. A surprise speaker was Fred E Bullock, the Huddersfield captain and a respected member of the town's community.
The meeting passed a proposal, asking the Huddersfield Town directors not to be party to the transference until the local public had been given the chance to show that they wanted first-class soccer in the town by rallying to the cause and that immediate steps be taken to increase the capital of the company from £10,000 to £30,000 by an additional issue of 20,000 £1 shares. It was also proposed that the company should be converted to public ownership, allowing supporters to invest in shares. A ten-man committee was to be appointed to examine ways of finding the money to pay off the debentures held by the Crowther brothers.
In the meantime, appeals in local factories and workshops had drawn pledges of between £3,000 and £4,000 from about 1,150 workmen, although only ten had promised above £5 each. In addition, £2,000 had been pledged by staunch supporters, whilst lists were being sent out to canvassers, who were to ask people to subscribe to £1 shares.
On 10 November 1919 an application was made to the Football League secretary, T Charnley of Preston, asking that a deputation representing Huddersfield Town shareholders be allowed to attend the vital meeting of the League Management Committee to present their case for rejecting the transference. They would argue that soccer was growing in the area, despite the unavoidable pull from the rugby traditionalists, and that by the continued efforts of the Huddersfield & District Football Association there were 78 junior organisations playing the game within a small radius of the town - probably ten times the number of clubs playing the Northern Union game.
The following day, A B Hirst, W L Hardcastle and Huddersfield's chief constable, Captain Moore, a former soccer player and referee, were appointed by the Town committee to attend the League meeting. They had been invited to be present at 3pm, one hour after the meeting began at the Grand Hotel, Manchester.
The applicants for permission to the transference and amalgamation - Arthur Fairclough, J Hilton Crowther and Leeds United's representative, Alf E Masser - were invited to put their case at 4.30pm. followed later by that of Town's official opposer, W L Hardcastle. Fifty minutes later A B Hirst and Captain Moore put forward their counter-proposals on behalf of the Town's supporters. The speeches eventually ended at 6pm and, following a half-hour recess for the Management Committee to study the proposals, Messrs Hirst, Moore, Hardcastle and Crowther were summoned for a final briefing.
The eventual ruling was that Huddersfield Town would be given one month's grace, until 8 December 1919, to raise £25,000, the sum of the debt deemed payable to J Hilton Crowther. In return, he would forego his interest in the club. If the money was not forthcoming, Huddersfield Town would move to Elland Road and become part of a new Leeds United. A further meeting would be convened in London on 9 December 1919 to appraise the situation.
That evening, a meeting of Huddersfield shareholders notified by telegram, was called to hear the unpalatable news. Initially it was felt that to raise such an enormous sum of money in such a short time was beyond the club's means. Mr Hardcastle later pointed out that it represented practically the total assets of Huddersfield Town Football Club - a well-equipped ground, which cost £20,000 and boasted a fine stand, and players on course to achieve First Division football, but whose combined value in the transfer market was less than £10,000. Furthermore, the Town club had hoped to be allowed to continue operations until the end of the current season.
By no means deterred by the enormity of the task facing them, another mass meeting of supporters was organised to take place at Leeds Road, following the League game against Coventry City on 15 November 1919. Informative addresses were given by Town directors Fred C Mitchell and Norman Robinson and by Captain Moore and staunch supporter Arthur Moore, one of Town's original officials but no relation to the captain. The dark mood of the gathering was broken, fleetingly, when Mr Hardcastle delighted the crowd by quipping that J Hilton Crowther had a better chance of getting money from Huddersfield than from Leeds.
Amos Brook Hirst, by now appointed chairman of the Shareholders' and Supporters' Committee, distributed canvassing circulars to local tradesmen and even augmented his clarion-call for more concerted efforts by making personal calls upon them. In addition, each of the 42 member clubs of the Huddersfield & District Football Association were requested to postpone their fixtures en bloc on the occasion of Town's next two home games and attend Leeds Road instead. It was also proposed that a Flag Day be held to raise funds.
Within days, meetings were being held in surrounding villages with Fred E Bullock again supplementing appeal speeches from Huddersfield Town officials, in particular from Mr Hardcastle. A sum of £25 7s 0d had been raised to cover any incurred expenses for this purpose.
The Huddersfield Examiner continued to play its part by printing a list of dozens of names and addresses of agents to which contributions could be paid. Such volunteers, who relentlessly toured the district drumming up support and selling hundreds of £1 subscription shares, included two names who were later to serve Huddersfield Town as directors - J Harry Rayner and Dick Parker, the latter of whom spoke at Town's 1970 promotion dinner, in his 86th year.
On the occasion of the next public meeting, after the home match against Bristol City on 22 November 1919, few in the 7,897 crowd - the appeal for greater support was being heeded - left at the final whistle, preferring instead to hear how the fund-raising was progressing. They were also told of another meeting planned for the Palace Theatre the following day, when Fred E Bullock would again speak on behalf of the club. The outcome was that £4,000 was raised from the 2,000 present and 150 voluntary workers were recruited.
Surprisingly, perhaps, there had been donations from areas outside the Colne Valley. Notably, an enthusiastic meeting at nearby Meltham Liberal Hall, on 24 November 1919, had realised £78 for Joshua H Preston and his supporters, complementing the £52 raised before the League game against Bristol City.
As well as a progress report from Mr Hardcastle, one supporter, a Mr Mellor, suggested utilising the Leeds Road ground during the close season for summer sports. Two days later, a similar gathering at Linthwaite raised £71 in cash, with a further £42 promised.
A week before the deadline date, the Huddersfield Town Shareholders' Committee announced that £5,160 had been collected from the pledges, although not all the slips had been returned yet, with the highest single subscription being £100 and the next highest £60. More money was possibly forthcoming from wealthier sources, it was claimed, but with the total sum so woefully short of the target, Captain Moore suggested, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, that supporters might like to dip into their Christmas savings.
On 9 December 1919, the Football League Management Committee held their private meeting, as arranged, at the Euston Hotel, London. Three days earlier, the Huddersfield Town shareholders and directors had held their own pre-hearing talks at which J Hilton Crowther and Arthur Fairclough were chosen to be in attendance. Letters and telegrams opposing the transference were read out, including many pleading for more time to raise the cash required to keep the club from going the way of Bootle, Middlesbrough Ironopolis, Northwich Victoria and Loughborough Town in preceding years. The League extended the deadline to 31 December 1919.
A last-ditch effort from the directors and supporters was immediately promised, with calls to double any intended subscription amounts. The Shareholders' and Supporters' Committee decided to spread their net to involve more influential characters in their fight. Huddersfield's Lord Mayor, Alderman James Albert Woolven, was asked to call a public meeting, whilst Sir Charles Clegg, Huddersfield's MP, was asked to lend his support.
To keep interested parties informed of developments, the Central League fixture against Stalybridge Celtic on 13 December 1919 was allocated for that purpose and many people attended. Four days later, Rev T Tiplady, together with George Bennett and J L Jones, attended a meeting of the Huddersfield Corporation General Purposes Committee to ask for assistance. The Mayor promised to call a meeting of influential townsmen, but this attracted only 20 people from the 100 invited to the Town Hall on l9 December l919.
As the club's playing fortunes improved, so did the Leeds Road attendances (supporters attending matches there doubling in number) yet a further crisis was about to unfold. On 19 December 1919, Huddersfield Town secretary Arthur Fairclough, was issued with a writ by solicitors, Messrs Ramsden, Sykes and Ramsden, on behalf of Mr D Stonor Crowther. It claimed £10,137 18s 6d for principal and interest due upon promissory notes issued by the defendant company between 16 April 1913 and 19 October 1919. Accompanying the writ was notice by Sir Charles Clegg MP and Thomas Henry Moore, of the intention by the debenture holders' trustees to take over the Town premises. As if that was not enough, a public announcement, just before Christmas, stated that Arthur Fairclough would be appointed Receiver.
At an emergency board meeting on 23 December 1919 it was unanimously agreed to accept Fairclough's resignation and elect Ambrose Langley to undertake his duties forthwith. It was also agreed that Alderman J A Woolven, Captain Moore, A B Hirst and G Lawton be allowed to draw up an appeal to the Football League Management Committee, requesting the club's continuance until the end of the season, by which time the hope was that the financial situation would be retrieved. The club did, however, make an entry at the Huddersfield District Registry in answer to the writ.
Furthermore, the firm of local solicitors, Hirst and Smales - of which A B Hirst was a partner - was appointed as counsel on behalf of the Town club, to oppose the court enquiry and the appointment of a Receiver. The application, on behalf of J Hilton Crowther, was made to the High Court of the King's Bench in London on 30 December 1919, with Mr Justice Peterson due to hear it in Chambers. However, Hirst and Smales' London agents had established that the trustees' application must show a prima-facie case, by affidavit, in support of it, with any evidence being filed within seven days. Huddersfield Town would then have seven days to reply, followed by a further seven days for any counter-action from the applicant. After all that, the summons would be restored to the list for recall in due course.
The hearings on both counts were therefore adjourned - as was a later Law Court application on 22 January 1920 - so gaining vital breathing space for a renewed attempt to improve on the paltry sum of £9,000 collected to this time. Behind the scenes during this period, the hard-working Amos Brook Hirst had formed an organisation with the express intention of raising funds to offset the outstanding debt. He called the first meeting of subscribers, to what he termed 'The Huddersfield Town Retention Fund', for 11 January 1920 at the Palace Theatre.
The heavily attended private meeting - entry was permitted only upon production of a receipt - were informed that £8,000 was instantly available and that a board deputation had received a promising offer of a rethink from D Stonor Crowther during a recent visit to his new London home. In the event of a Receiver not being agreed upon, then any sums raised would be handed over for shares, irrespective of the debentures not being paid.
Although having already given their permission for the transfer of Huddersfield Town to Leeds, if that was the club's wish, the Football League Management Committee, in London the following day, called for a special emergency meeting of all interested parties to attend the George Hotel, Huddersfield, on 16 January 1920. They were certainly keen to ensure justice was seen to be done. Present to see the ruling were J Hilton Crowther and Arthur Fairclough, as well as the Retention Committee representatives, William L Hardcastle, A Brook Hirst, Fred C Mitchell, Captain Moore, Norman Robinson and William A Roebuck. The latter was now said to be favouring the transference and would later leave the board.
The two-hour private meeting, presided over by Liverpool's John McKenna and involving J Lewis (Blackburn), C E Sutcliffe (Rawtenstall), F W Rinder (Aston Villa), W Hall (London), H Keys (West Bromwich Albion), T A Barcrop (Blackpool) and secretary T Charnley (Preston North End), decreed that the letter of the law must take its course and that there was no further need of any Football League ruling. To all intents and purposes the transference scheme had fallen through, resulting in J Hilton Crowther throwing in his lot with Leeds United.
In Huddersfield, optimism was high with the news that £3,000 had been collected in one day of share selling alone and that some 1,500 supporters had already promised to take out season tickets for the 1920-21 season. At a Palace Theatre meeting, although the debt had still not been cleared, Amos Brook Hirst was able to tell his Retention Committee and some 300 to 400 subscribers that 'three Huddersfield gentlemen' had undertaken to resolve the settlement terms.
The three - later disclosed as Joseph Barlow and his two Liberal Club companions, Alderman Wilfred Dawson and Rowland Mitchell - came together after a meeting at the Huddersfield Town Hall, following Mr Barlow's return from the Liverpool wool sales. Whilst Barlow had been breakfasting on tea and toast at Merseyside's Adelphi Hotel, J Hilton Crowther and Arthur Fairclough, who had been appointed Leeds United manager that February, walked in and proceeded to talk about the events of Huddersfield Town. Overhearing the conversations, Barlow relayed the details to his two friends and the very next day, Alderman Wilfred Dawson suggested that the trio involved themselves in the fight to save the club. After approaching Amos Brook Hirst with the idea, Barlow agreed to take up £1,000 worth of shares if each of his two friends would be responsible for £500 apiece. For the first time since 1911, Amos Brook Hirst rejoined the board. The quartet then talked at length with D Stonor Crowther before finally persuading him to desert his quest for £25,000 in favour of accepting £17,500 plus the allotment of 12,500 shares in the club, which he would give them the option of purchasing, at 10s (50p) each in the future.
Huddersfield Town was safe. That meeting at D Stonor Crowther's woollen mill concluded the most traumatic nine months in the history of Huddersfield Town Association Football Club and on 17 June 1920, after three months of personal negotiations with their creditor, the terms were settled. The agreement was made permanent the following month, on release of £6,000. In its day, the crisis must have been even more dramatic than the events necessitating the reorganisation of such clubs as Bristol City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bradford City and Middlesbrough in more recent times. The players, meanwhile, were professional enough to divorce themselves from the internal problems of the club and won promotion to the First Division as well as reaching the FA Cup Final.
Huddersfield Town went on to appoint former Leeds City boss Herbert Chapman and to enjoy enormous success in the 1920's, winning a hat trick of League Championships. They ended the season as runners up to Aston Villa in the Cup final.
Crowther had set his heart on building the new Leeds United, however, and he became the new club chairman, making the club a loan of £35,000, repayable when United gained promotion to the First Division. He brought with him Arthur Fairclough, who had won the FA Cup with his Barnsley side in 1912, and was appointed Leeds manager on 26 February 1920. Dick Ray became Fairclough's assistant for a while, but eventually left the club in 1923.
The resurrection of football in Leeds was complete when United successfully applied to enter the Football League. When the vote was carried out on 31 May 1920, the club came out on top of the votes with 31, followed by Cardiff City with 23, and both clubs were admitted to the Second Division season for 1920-21. In the end, despite the abortive attempts of Crowther and Fairclough to force a merger, Leeds United had still achieved their aim of joining the League and beginning their football operations in earnest.