By the time Leeds United tangled with Norwich City
in neutral Birmingham at the end of January 1973, the two sets
of players must have been heartily sick of the sight of each other.
The clash was the fourth between the clubs in the space of 17
In addition to their two indecisive attempts at
settling their FA Cup third round tie, the sides met in a First
Division clash on 20 January.
Their first attempt at deciding who would progress
to the fourth round ended in a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road on 13 January.
David Lacey in the Guardian: "Leeds United are most
of the things that Norwich are not, and probably all that they
would like to be and the distinctive lines of class which divide
the sides are unlikely to be blurred now that, as a result of
Saturday's drawn third round tie at Carrow Road, the pair are
having to meet three times in the space of eight days. One hesitates
to offer conclusive prognostications concerning Norwich's chances
of winning against the odds, so often they are written off, only
to come galumphing through with rustic glee.
"But on the evidence of Saturday, Leeds, the FA
Cup holders, ought to find a place in the fourth round at Elland
Road on Wednesday, not to mention two League points at Carrow
Road four days later. They might have saved themselves the trouble
of a replay had they not preferred to play to keep Norwich at
bay through the last half hour, but it would have been out of
character for Leeds to risk a victory where the draw was the safer
"The size of the crowd, a disappointing 32,000,
suggested a local acceptance that in reaching the final of the
League Cup Norwich had passed their peak of achievement for the
season. Much of the talk before the game was pessimistic due perhaps
to the fact that Norwich have not won a First Division match since
November 18 and certainly in the knowledge that Leeds, on their
first visit to East Anglia since the FA Cup debacle at Colchester
in 1971, were unlikely to be of a charitable disposition.
"And so it proved. As a team, Leeds possessed the
breadth, depth, scope, skill and imagination that Norwich, with
their gasping Garryowens, could not hope to equal. Forbes was
back to bolster the centre of Norwich's defence but they faltered
on the flanks as Clarke swerved and jinked round the unfortunate
Black - with Bremner, the subject of the game's two bookings -
and Lorimer seemed to run right through him in scoring Leeds'
goal in the 29th minute.
"The goal epitomised the difference in the awareness
of the two sides. Norwich seemed to have broken up a Leeds attack
and Stringer was preparing to bring the ball out of defence when
Jones darted from behind him, gained possession and set the chance
up for Lorimer, whose pace and power of shot did the rest. It
was the sort of situation which one could never see Norwich creating.
From time to time Cross would test Madeley, playing at centre-half,
his weakest position, tellingly in the air but Norwich rarely
had enough zest forward to take advantage of these occasions.
"When they did score it was largely as a result
of Paddon's pressing up towards half time. He was fouled on the
left and from his free kick Cross headed a good goal, the ball
crossing the line before Reaney could clear it. On the hour Paddon
robbed Bremner tenaciously near Norwich's penalty area and fed
the ball out to Black who exchanged passes with Anderson and scarcely
broke his stride
as he met the return and centred low for Bone to shoot first time
but unluckily straight at Harvey. This was the one instance in
the match when Norwich were the masters; for the most part they
were just willing servants."
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It was widely accepted that the replay at Elland
Road was a foregone conclusion, and so it looked for much of the
night as United's forwards pounded the visitors' goal. However,
they were held at bay by one man's defiance.
Norman Fox in the Times: "A devastating mixture
of two parts skill and one part luck was enjoyed by Norwich City's
goalkeeper, Kevin Keelan, at Elland Road last night, and it won
his team a second replay against Leeds United in the third round
of the FA Cup. Keelan stood up to Leeds throughout 120 minutes
of almost incessant pressure.
"Leeds took up residence in the Norwich half for
most of the game and extra time. They had easy access through
the middle of the field and almost queued up for the chance to
aim a shot at the incredible Keelan. And that was their downfall.
So easy was it for them to reach the Norwich penalty area that
when they got there they shrivelled in apprehension, wanted such
ideal positions from which to attempt to score, or were denied
by Keelan's brilliant goalkeeping. They finished up being jeered
for failing to be positive in front of goal."
United racked up chance after chance, starting with
a powerful shot from Johnny Giles in the second minute. But Keelan
somehow saved that effort and carried on in the same vein. He
saved a flashing Lorimer free kick, Jones' accurate header and
then dived to clear another shot from Lorimer.
After 39 minutes, City managed to relieve some of
the pressure and launched a swift breakaway. Centre-forward David
Cross got on the end of a Max Briggs centre to flick his header
past goalkeeper David Harvey, a bored spectator for much of the
contest. It was a goal that was so utterly against the run of
play that United were fully justified to feel cheated.
They continued to lay siege to Keelan's goal after
the resumption as their frustrated supporters bayed incessant
urges to "Attack, Attack!" After 75 minutes, just as they were
starting to fear they would never break through, Giles' curling
effort from 20 yards found the net off the post with Keelan unable
to get a clear sight of the ball. It was a blessed relief.
Leeds could not build on that equaliser and there
were no further scores, even with the added 30 minutes of extra
time; the game ended in another 1-1 draw.
Matters were somewhat simpler for Leeds in the League
game at Norwich three days later and they rarely looked back after
Joe Jordan gave them a 21st minute lead. Allan Clarke increased
the advantage 14 minutes later; City had to be content with a
consolation goal from Cross in the second half. The degree of
Leeds' superiority was far greater than the 2-1 scoreline suggested.
Frank Keating in the Guardian: "Leeds have their
desserts at last. After outplaying Norwich for the third time
in a week, they were finally rewarded with a victory at Carrow
Road on Saturday - a victory so comprehensive
that it would be beyond belief if they were to be knocked out
of the FA Cup when the two sides meet again in their third round
replay next week.
"Leeds scored twice in half an hour on Saturday,
then dawdled the game away in an elegant celebration of their
way of life, allowing Norwich only a breezily boisterous rally
which did, in fact, have them hanging on to their hats in a flustered
annoyance to the very last."
Norwich manager Ron Saunders was bitterly critical
of the visitors after the game, claiming, "Leeds carry professionalism
to the extreme. It borders on intimidation. Our players have been
told not to dispute a referee's decision, but when you play Leeds
it seems you have to, otherwise they try to gain an unfair advantage."
Don Revie was affronted, and used his weekly column
in the Yorkshire Evening Post to offer his retort.
"One would have thought Saunders had been in the
game long enough to avoid clutching at straws when his team are
held or beaten. This is exactly what he has done in connection
with Norwich's inability to overcome my side in this season's
four previous clashes between the two clubs.
"After the 1-1 FA Cup draw at Carrow Road two weeks
ago, Saunders claimed Leeds disrupted Norwich's rhythm by repeatedly
feigning injury. That's nonsense.
"Besides, Saunders is the last person who should
complain about such tactics when you consider Norwich themselves
were accused of this when they won 2-0 at Arsenal in the League
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"All players appeal for free kicks, throws in and
corners to be awarded in their favour, but I am quite sure no
referee would agree unless he was convinced they were right. In
view of Saunders' experience and stature as a coach, I am surprised
that he should choose to cover up for his team's limitations in
"It is fair to say that Norwich are lucky to still
be in the FA Cup, as Leeds were by far the more skilful side in
our two earlier ties. This was particularly true in the first
replay at Elland Road, where Kevin Keelan - one
of the best uncapped goalkeepers in the country - had the game
of his life. Not even Saunders could have had any complaints if
Norwich had lost by at least six goals that night."
Revie pleaded, "I hope they let us play football
at Villa Park… We are ready for another hard game and expect Norwich
to turn in a vastly different display to the one at Sheffield
on Saturday," referring to City's 2-0 defeat at Bramall Lane.
On this occasion, Revie's anxieties proved groundless,
for Leeds turned in one of their best displays of the season to
send home their supporters glowing with satisfaction. The match
was a personal triumph for lethal goalscorer Allan Clarke.
Terry Cooper and Eddie Gray were still unavailable
for selection, though the Scot was making his way back to match
fitness in the reserves. Otherwise United were at full strength.
Paul Madeley continued at centre-half and the only change from
the side that defeated Stoke City 1-0 two days previously saw
a fit again Mick Jones recalled in place of Joe Jordan.
United were in determined mood and simply not prepared
to contemplate another night of frustration. They were onto the
offensive instantly, and a mere 104 seconds had elapsed when they
got the show on the road.
Combination work between Bremner, Reaney and Lorimer
on the right flank ended with the ball reaching Allan Clarke,
his back to goal on the edge of the Norwich goal area. The striker
laid a pass out wide to Reaney, who threw a cross to the far side
of the area. Jones clipped the ball back towards the penalty spot
and Clarke was on it in a trice. He flicked it up for himself
and looped a left-footed volley back over his shoulder into the
top right hand corner of the net, leaving Keelan grasping at thin
air. It was spectacular and clinical execution.
Clarke was injured in a challenge shortly afterwards
and was off the field for several minutes receiving treatment
to his right knee. He was limping when he returned but nearly
snatched an immediate second with a header. Bremner twice came
within inches of doubling United's advantage as they surged into
constant attack and Clive Payne did well to block Giles' shot
on the line.
A second goal was inevitable with such one way traffic
and it came in the 13th minute. Madeley came out of United's back
four to launch a long ball towards the Norwich penalty area. Centre-back
Dave Stringer's clearing header was poor and dropped limply to
Jones, standing centrally 30 yards out. The centre-forward slipped
the ball out to his right for the onrushing Bremner, who steadied
himself to consider his options. Lorimer made his way across and
behind the Norwich defence on the right, pointing eagerly where
he wanted the ball to go. Bremner flicked it wide to the space
and Lorimer spun on the ball to loft a cross high to the back
post. Clarke beat his man in the air and as the ball dropped to
the turf the striker was the first to react, slamming his shot
into the roof of the net on the half volley.
The emphatic strike gave Norwich notice that this
was not to be their evening and seven minutes later the game was
as good as over when Clarke completed a masterful hat trick.
A throw in from the left found Cherry racing into
the Norwich area. He beat his man to hit the byline and stretched
full length to drag the ball back low into the middle. Jones and
Lorimer in turn went for the strike but on each occasion desperately
diving City defenders blocked the ball. Their efforts availed
them little: the ball ran out to Clarke on the edge of the area
and the England
striker imperiously waited his moment, took careful aim and lashed
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Norwich were done for …
But still Leeds were not satisfied; they were intent
on taking due advantage of their utter dominance. Lorimer gave
more evidence of their irresistible force as he took the ball
on a 60-yard run before firing inches wide of goal.
Bremner was the creative force behind United's fourth
goal when it came in the 35th minute. He cut through the static
Norwich defence before clipping back a low angled effort which
beat Keelan, allowing Jones to finish off.
After 41 minutes Clarke came close to his own fourth
goal with a header but it was still 4-0 at the break and Norwich
could finally draw breath.
The second half saw United continue to batter their
opponents, though the buffer of a four-goal lead blunted some
of their urgency and there was only one more score.
It was not for the want of trying, however, with
Hunter the first to make a thrust. He abandoned his defensive
duties to storm forward and crash in a shot that ran narrowly
wide. Lorimer blasted a shot over the bar when clean through,
then Bates' header sailed over before Lorimer had an effort chalked
off for an infringement.
In the 71st minute, the Scottish wide man did register
the fifth and final goal. He took a throw in to Bates, accepted
the return and breezed into the Norwich area before firing a swerving
drive inside the far post.
With 13 minutes of the game remaining, Clarke surrendered
to his knee injury and limped out of the action to be replaced
by Terry Yorath. The crowd roared their approval for a man at
the peak of his form as he hobbled off the pitch.
Clarke later revealed that he had been given an
injection in the foot just before the game to make sure he could
play and knew he would not be able to last the full ninety minutes.
For a man struggling with injury, he had given a vibrant, all-round
He said after the game: "I feel I am in one of my
best ever runs at the moment and I'm disappointed that Sir Alf
Ramsey has overlooked me again."
Don Warters asked the obvious question in the Yorkshire
Evening Post. "What must Allan Clarke do to regain a place in
the England side? United's leading scorer, whose three goals against
Norwich took his total for the season to 16, says, 'I suppose
I must just keep on trying to score goals in the hope that I shall
be picked again for England.'
"Clarke … has made no secret of his disappointment
at not making the England side for the recent World Cup qualifying
matches against Wales. 'I was understudy to Geoff Hurst for about
four years and I began to think I would never be chosen. But when
my chance came I was not quite 100 per cent fit. My aim is to
win a regular place in the side, for I would love to help England
qualify for Munich and then help them to win the trophy again,'
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"Clarke's record for England is not bad. Although
he has made only six full international appearances, he had scored
four goals. To those who, like myself, have watched Clarke in
action regularly this season, there can be little doubt that he
is in top form and worth a place in the England side, which is
not scoring many goals.
"I put it to Clarke that maybe his face did not
fit anymore. 'That may be so, but I would still like to get back.
I feel I am playing well, and at least I think I have proved myself
around the First Division. I have been scoring more than 20 goals
a season over the last seven or eight years. Players like Rodney
Marsh and Kevin Keegan are in the England side and they have hardly
had time to prove themselves in Division One.'
"Clarke scored the last two goals of his hat trick
with a damaged right knee, but an X ray this afternoon revealed
no broken bone. He injured it in the sixth minute after he had
already scored a goal and played on another 70 minutes before
retiring. 'It is still swollen but I have not ruled myself out
of Saturday's match against Plymouth,' he said."
Norwich keeper Keelan had been able to do little
to halt the one way traffic, admitting, "I thought I was on a
golf range. I hope I never have a match like that again. I never
had a sniff of any of the goals except the third one - and that
went in like a rocket."
Terry Brindle in the Yorkshire Post: "The old white
magic flowed as of old at enchanted Villa Park last night as Leeds
United swept into the fourth round of the FA Cup with uncanny
ease. Three goals in 20 magic minutes from United's sorcerer in
chief, Allan Clarke, sent Norwich spinning out of the reckoning
and left one wondering why United had taken two attempts and 210
minutes to work their spell. It took them just 104 seconds to
vex Norwich last night, half an hour to demoralise and defeat
"It was a magnificent performance, one laced with
flair, confidence and creativity. Norwich,
for all their earnest endeavour, could not match Leeds on those
terms. They could only stand, as we did, and admire the rich talents
of a United team which suddenly threw off all suggestion of weariness
and hesitation. I have never seen Leeds United play better.
"Nor Clarke, this lightweight beanstalk of a man
who asserts his authority with ability non sine, a man who plunders
goals with the relish of a footballing Fagin collecting two pence
"United schemed, feinted and deceived until Norwich
were reduced to an almost pathetic travesty of opposition. They
might have conceded six or seven more goals had United been more
ruthless in front of goal or, perhaps, less merciful. United were
enjoying themselves. There was little need for overkill."
Eric Todd in the Guardian: "Leeds United put Norwich
City firmly in their place in the FA Challenge Cup third round
second replay last night at Villa Park. They scored four goals
in the first half, then were overtaken by compassion, and, instead
of doubling their total, as they might have done, settled for
just one more. But they took great care to keep their own scoresheet
"It must be said at the start that there was none
of the nastiness which irresponsible propaganda suggested there
might be. This was a thoroughly entertaining and sporting match
in which Norwich, run off their feet, outplayed and mesmerised
by Clarke, accepted their hiding with commendable grace. They
allowed Leeds to play football, and sometimes appeared to stand
as if lost in admiration. And there was not a bad foul throughout.
It was a night to remember, especially if you happened to have
been born in Leeds.
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"Having made allowances for the inferiority … of
the opposition, full marks must be awarded to Leeds for the quality
of their performance. They moved the ball about with arrogant
ease, they teased and they tormented; and even Keelan, who played
such a marvellous game at Elland Road, never had a hope of saving
any of the shots which beat him. For the rest of his life he will
have nightmares of the Leeds forwards queueing up for shooting
practice, and in the second half had cause for gratitude that
they were so compassionate
and reckless in turn.
"Clarke again was irrepressible. He ghosted his
way through the Norwich defence, and when he was not attacking
he was back helping out his defenders. Not that they needed much
assistance. Clarke was everywhere, and he did everything in spite
of injuring a knee which caused his retirement in favour of Yorath
13 minutes from the end. This was about the only occasion when
Norwich looked happy."
Brian James in the Times: "The score permits no
argument. Leeds United simply outclassed Norwich City in the FA
Cup last night. One finally was reminded of that common little
motorway cameo, when owner of a Porsche allows a family saloon
to labour alongside for a mile or two before accelerating over
the horizon with perhaps just the hint of a smile.
"For the amazing feature of this second replay at
Villa Park is that it should have been necessary. Including one
League game, these teams have met three times in the past month
and an aggregate score of 4-3 to Leeds suggests a parity in performance
that now seems ludicrous. Leeds do not need the money, and certainly
they do not need the extra matches. With the extra capacity that
their class gives them, one wonders why they had not touched the
throttle earlier in three hours of indecisive Cup football.
"A magnificent team performance by Leeds was fashioned
into a weapon and then thrust home by one particularly majestic
player, Allan Clarke. As though tiring of the whole saga Clarke
simply did not permit the tie to remain in dispute once this third
game began. In 100 seconds he had scored a goal, by the 20th minute
he had taken two more. Bearing in mind that he was off the pitch
injured for four of those minutes, and spent perhaps two more
gingerly testing the sore leg, this was an individual contribution
of massive proportions.
"Tall, slim and like a cat constitutionally incapable
of an ugly movement, Clarke insinuated those tapered legs into
gaps where Norwich had suspected none to exist. Once there, his
scheming mind and quick skills extracted a terrible toll. By the
time he finally left, limping, in the 75th minute his marksmanship
alone had added embarrassing topicality to the question, 'How
can England leave him out?'
"Leeds of course were more than a one-man team.
Indeed, at times they seemed to have a legion of players and were
determined to involve them all in moves of six, eight and ten
passes which slashed through the bedraggled ranks that Norwich
put in their path. Norwich, brave and dogged if you insist, were
left looking not only without a similar grand design but also
without efficiency in the barest details."
Clarke had indeed done enough to earn his recall
to the England team almost immediately. He took
his place in a match against Scotland at Hampden Park on 14 February
to celebrate the centenary of the Scottish FA. He scored twice
in a memorable 5-0 victory to take his international record to
six goals from five starts and two substitute appearances. Clarke
remained an international fixture for the rest of the year before
falling out of favour following England's failure to qualify for
the World Cup finals in 1974.
Clarke: "I hadn't played for England since May 1971
for one reason or another. In 1972/73, however, I was back in
the side to play at Hampden Park when the Scottish FA celebrated
their centenary. It was a big match for me because the crunch
World Cup qualifying games against Poland were coming up and I
was desperate to be involved. Also, because so many Leeds players
were involved on both sides, it was essential we didn't lose.
"Alf hated the Jocks, and all he said before the
game was 'You know who we're playing today, get them beat, if
you don't we'll not live it down till next season'. The atmosphere
was always electric and you could sense the hatred their fans
had for us on the terraces it was unbelievable. It turned out
to be one of my most satisfying games for England because I scored
twice in our 5 0 win. Afterwards I flew back with Billy Bremner,
Norman Hunter, Peter Lorimer and Paul Madeley - although Billy
and Peter were pretty quiet on the journey home!"
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