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Leeds United: A History - August 2015

Dave Tomlinson is the webmaster for the mightyleeds.co.uk website, and his ambition for the site is for it to be no less than 'the definitive history of Leeds United'.

The press release for Leeds United: A History indicates that it purports to be 'the complete and definitive history of the club from foundation to the present day'. However, the football club histories commissioned by Amberley Publishing come with a distinctly shortened canvas and they chose to limit this book to 176 pages. That means that Tomlinson never had the chance to truly fulfil that ambition, much to his regret. However, it is something well worth the attention of everyone who has an interest in the history of this very special club.

It makes a special point of covering the pre-United days, and does so to more than the normal degree with an authoritative description of the struggle to establish association foorball in West Yorkshire and the formation and chequered history of Leeds City, the forerunners to United before its formation in 1919 and admission to the League a year later.

Tomlinson says, 'I was delighted to get the commission from Amberley to write this book but really, really struggled to get it down to the sort of limit that Amberley had in mind. It was really frustrating, and I struggled to contain the fascinating story of Leeds United in the space they offered. Still, that gave me the appetite for doing something about it in the other books I've written.'

He uses the voices of the people involved with the club, including supporters, players and former players, owners, administrators and local writers, to describe the club’s history within its social context, how changes have affected the club and how developments in football itself have made an indelible impact upon both the football club and the wider community.

After many abortive attempts to get football going in Leeds, the game finally took hold after the formation of Leeds City in 1904. It tilted hard at promotion after the arrival of Herbert Chapman as manager and even won the unofficial championship during the First World War.

That club was thrown out of the league and disbanded in October 1919 after making illegal payments to Reviews from the Amazon siteplayers.

Following its formation, United were quickly admitted to the old Second Division and within four years managed to secure the promotion to the top-flight that City had only hinted at, but they struggled to be any more than a yo-yo club before the coming of Don Revie, under whom they enjoyed their glory years, before sluming back into mediocrity when Revie left to take charge of England.

The author is clearly very passionate and committed to the cause of Leeds United and uses the voices of the people involved with the club, including supporters, players and former players, owners, administrators and local writers, to describe the club's history within its social context, how changes have affected the club and how developments in football itself have made an indelible impact upon both the football club and the wider community.


Football Book Reviews - 'Tomlinson is able to get across the idea that the life of a Leeds supporters then and now has always been, "dogged by a cycle of brave new dawns that inevitably gave way in a resigned shudder to a disaster even grimmer than the last." Indeed the last chapter, Take Over My A***! 2012-15 is perfectly pitched as the focus is about all the shenanigans behind the scenes and not those on the pitch'


This is a must-have for any fan of the 'Mighty Whites', and a remarkable effort for a first time writer. 'I'm very, very proud of it,' says Tomlinson. 'It really gave me the bug for writing more books.'

Get a copy at Amazon. Author signed copies are available by e-mailing dave.tomlinson@gmail.com.

Published by: Amberley Publishing (15 Aug. 2015)
ISBN-10: 1445644924
Paperback: 176 pages

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