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In the early days of his management of Leeds United, manager
Don Revie ditched the club's
old blue and gold kit for the all white of Real Madrid in a clear
statement of admiration for the Spanish giants. His all consuming
desire for the European Cup was another example of an urge to
mimic the club that monopolised the competition over its first
five years. Winning the League
title in 1969 gave Leeds the chance to make Revie's dreams
Their first appearance in the tournament saw Revie's men pitched
against the Norwegian champions, the amateurs Lyn Oslo.
Lyn won their domestic championship for the first time in 1964.
Seeing the title as a springboard for greater things, the club
then signed Bodo's exciting young forward Harald 'Dutte' Berg,
a star of the national team. After three years of near misses,
Lyn won the Norwegian Cup in 1967 and the following year became
the first club to achieve the double in Norway. Berg forged a
formidable striking partnership with fellow international Ola
Dybwad-Olsen, who top scored with 25 goals in 18 games.
Lyn made good progress in the Cup Winners Cup in 1968/69, beating
Altay Izmir of Turkey and Sweden's IFK Norrkoping to set up an
exciting quarter final tie with Barcelona. It was expected that
Lyn would succumb easily, especially as they had to play both
legs at the Nou Camp because of the terrible conditions in Norway
that winter. But the amateurs put up a remarkable fight; Berg
hit both goals in a 3-2 defeat in the 'home' leg. It was the first
time that the Spaniards had conceded two goals at home in over
a year. Not satisfied with their efforts, Lyn then took a 2-0
lead in the second match before being pegged back by two late
goals in a stirring 2-2 draw. The unashamedly partisan Norwegian
commentators accused the referee of being Barca's twelfth man!
It was the best performance by a club from Norway in any of the
Berg left thereafter, signing professional forms for Den Haag
of the Netherlands, and Lyn struggled to find form, sinking to
the lower reaches of the League on the way to dismal relegation.
They were expected to offer only limited resistance to Leeds.
In public, Don Revie was typically cautious after the draw in
Geneva, claiming, "We will treat them with great respect, like
everybody else," but he was overjoyed. United had not been seeded
and could well have been paired with the likes of Ferencvaros,
Standard Liege, Real Madrid, Celtic, Benfica or AC Milan.
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United went into the game in good heart. A 34-game unbeaten run
in the League
had been ended in August by a defeat at pace setters Everton,
but that was the only blemish on their record thus far. A 2-1
victory at Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend had left them five
points behind the Goodison team with a game in hand.
Just as importantly, new striker Allan Clarke had pepped up United's
attack and not just with his individual haul of four goals. United
had managed 19 goals in 11 games - the last 10 games of the previous
season had yielded just seven strikes. As Phil Brown wrote in
the Yorkshire Evening Post, "Clarke has settled into the side
very smoothly, and has taken the heavy marking his transfer fee
drew like iron filings to a magnet very well. His sharp work in
attack has reduced the far too heavy weight of marking that Jones
was carrying in the middle of last season and Jones has benefited
Clarke's arrival at Elland Road meant that England
winger Mike O'Grady enjoyed limited first team opportunities.
He had been placed on the transfer list at his own request but
was recalled for the home leg against Lyn to make his first start
since 13 August, replacing Eddie Gray, who sustained a thigh injury
after scoring the winner against Wednesday.
There were no other changes to the line up and Paul Madeley continued
as holding midfielder. The utility player was fresh from inclusion
in Sir Alf Ramsey's 40-strong preliminary World Cup squad, alongside
six club colleagues, all on duty against Lyn: Clarke, Jones, Paul
Reaney, Terry Cooper, Jack
Charlton and Norman Hunter. It was a wonderful vote of confidence
from the England team manager.
Completing the line up were Gary Sprake, Billy Bremner and Johnny
After all the anticipation, it would have been understandable
if United had been apprehensive on their European Cup debut. However,
any potential nerves were put to flight after just 35 seconds.
In the game's first movement, a perfect through pass from Madeley
unerringly bisected the Norwegians' defence. O'Grady, cutting
in at pace from the left wing, took the ball on a couple of strides
before hammering it left-footed past keeper Svein Olsen. It was
reported to be the fastest goal ever scored in the European Cup.
Lyn had set out to contain the Whites with a defensive 6-2-2
formation, but the tactics were rendered instantly redundant by
the strike. The point was emphasised by a further two goals by
the end of the ninth minute.
With four minutes on the clock Reaney overlapped to send in a
glorious cross and Jones headed home powerfully. Jones soon added
his second, half-volleying Bremner's cross in off keeper Olsen.
The custodian had only arrived at Elland Road 35 minutes before
the game and it looked like the occasion was getting to him, although
he did later earn the applause of the crowd, who were now satiated
and willing to show their appreciation for the visitors. The United
players, too, saw that they had the game in the bag and took their
collective foot off the accelerator, though the goals continued
to rain in.
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In the 19th minute the Norwegians had their first shot at goal
when Ola Dybwad-Olsen blasted in a free kick to force Gary Sprake
into a decent save, but United responded instantly as Clarke demonstrated
his mastery of the goalscoring art. He took on three defenders
and beat the lot with a feint and a swerve before powering the
ball home left-footed - 4-0. It was a tremendous individual display
of skill, demonstrating clearly what United had got for their
record £165,000 outlay.
The game now drifted into a period of almost exhibition football
- United resisted any temptation to show boat and Lyn's players
continued to fight hard, but the gulf in class between the two
teams was yawning.
Paul Wilcox in the Guardian: "Leeds United's vast experience
of European competition was not needed last night. They could
have played their youth team and still have won convincingly ...
In a completely one sided contest Giles was the master of the
unpredictable dribble and the penetrating pass, and Leeds' great
power at half-back, allied to the fact that Lyn Oslo were really
just not a match for them, gave the forwards room and time in
which to work ... Admittedly the amateurs of Lyn were not a true
test, but it was the manner in which Leeds achieved victory that
was so gratifying."
There were a couple of first half scares - Charlton headed over
his own bar when there seemed little danger and then played a
casual pass back that never looked like reaching his goalkeeper.
The ball went just wide of the post for a corner. But neither
incident gave too much cause for concern and the plain reality
was that United could have taken two or three players off and
still had enough in the tank to see off their amateur opponents.
Johnny Giles made it 5-0 after 34 minutes. He was in possession
30 yards out and seemed content to hold onto the ball, but then
he chose to spring into action and lashed home a fearsome left-footed
Three minutes earlier Clarke had missed from inside the six-yard
box, and moments before the break Giles missed a clear opening
from nine yards. Those two were rare blemishes in a first half
that was almost faultless. As Barry Foster wrote in the Yorkshire
Post, "Leeds did not have to pull out their best ... for they
were superior in every department ... I felt sorry for the all
amateur side as they tried to find the elusive Clarke, stop the
powerful Jones and hold the fleet-footed Giles. Their marking
was never tight enough."
At half time, inside-forward Dybwad-Olsen was replaced by Hovden
after sustaining a leg injury. Dybwad-Olsen, who went on to set
a club record with more than 400 appearances for Lyn, had lived
up to his reputation as the visitors' best player, but was due
to appear for Norway at the weekend and was withdrawn as a precaution
with the contest as good as over.
If anyone thought that the break would disrupt United's irresistible
rhythm, they were quickly disabused of that particular notion.
A couple of minutes after the resumption Leeds were awarded a
free kick near the corner flag. Reaney played the ball short to
Bremner, who shaped as if to shoot. Instead he crossed the ball
and Clarke headed home the sixth goal. It was a clinical finish,
making his record for United six goals in 11 games.
Another four minutes and United were at it again. Bremner played
a free kick to Giles and the little Irishman slammed the ball
past the keeper from fully 30 yards.
At that moment it seemed as if the men in white could have run
up any scoreline they wished. The only shock was that ten minutes
went by before United struck again.
Mick Jones got hold of the ball 30 yards from goal and stormed
into a shot which struck the left hand post before flying on into
the net. The goal completed the admirable centre-forward's hat
trick. He had often laboured in isolation since he joined United
in 1967, but Clarke's
presence alongside him now offered the chance to demonstrate exactly
how good he was as a finisher. His three goals increased his tally
to five in his last seven appearances.
In the 65th minute Bremner took the Leeds total to nine. Again
it was a shot from 30 yards that left keeper Olsen helpless.
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By now Giles had gone off after a knock on the knee, with Mick
Bates replacing him. Either that change or, more likely, a feeling
of enough is enough had taken the edge off United's appetite.
Their nine goals had matched the total they had achieved in October
1967 against Spora of Luxembourg, so a new club record was in
the offing, but they seemed unprepared or unable to twist the
knife much more.
The game drifted on with some blunt attempts to get into double
figures frustrating home supporters, but in the closing seconds
Bremner tried a speculative effort from well outside the area.
It found the net after being deflected off a defender - 10-0,
and even the demanding Elland Road fans could ask for no more.
It was the fourth time a team had scored 10 in the European Cup,
repeating the feat of Manchester United, Ipswich Town and Benfica.
The same evening, however, Feyenoord of Holland had gone even
better, beating Reyjavik 12-2 in Rotterdam.
Don Revie was thrilled with the result, saying afterwards, "They
went about things the right way and kept on trying to entertain
the crowd which I thought was very good."
His opposite number, Jan Myrhe, oozed admiration for his hosts:
"Leeds were fantastic. Their speed was the telling factor. We
expected it to be tough but not so tough and I think we learned
a lot tonight." He was thinking fondly of the prospective receipts
from the home leg when he added, "Our crowd particularly wants
to see Allan Clarke and Jack Charlton of all the Leeds stars."
Revie responded, "I'll send as strong a team as we have. He can
rest assured of that. If fit, Clarke and Charlton will play."
Revie couldn't live up to his promise and both Charlton and Clarke
missed the second leg through injury, along with Giles and Hunter.
Leeds still won 6-0 to set a new record aggregate score for an
English club in Europe, finishing only a couple short of Benfica's
two leg record of 18.
After all the years of safety first football, this was rich entertainment
indeed and it was clear that a new United were bursting from their
shell, and not before time!
For Lyn the future was less exciting - they were relegated that
autumn and languished in the lower leagues for twenty years with
only occasional tastes of top flight football to break the gloom.
But they would never remember the night they came up against a
superb English team at the top of its form.
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