Part 1 - Results
and table - printer
The autumn of 1910 had brought a dour struggle for Leeds City.
A clutch of newcomers from across the Irish Sea had brought a
note of excitement to a club troubled by its financial strictures,
but they had taken time to adapt to the English game and City
had been slow off the mark, losing their opening four games.
Form had picked up and the Peacocks climbed to 14th by the New
Year, but their displays were erratic, veering wildly between
the exhilarating and the mediocre: in November and December they
shipped four goals at Burnley and Barnsley, while managing quartets
themselves against Stockport and Gainsborough.
1911 opened no more promisingly, with a 2-0 defeat on January
7. Sportsman reported in the Leeds Mercury, "Leeds City gave a
most feeble and disappointing exhibition when opposed to Glossop
at Elland Road … The Leeds backs were absolutely overwhelmed by
the opposition front rank, who, time after time, beat the defence
in a manner which bordered on the farcical. Throughout this period
Glossop were almost continually in the vicinity of Bromage,
who, more than once, saved his charge when his colleagues were
hopelessly beaten … One can pay few compliments to Leeds City.
Bromage was one of the few men whose reputation did not suffer.
But for him the defeat would have been heavier. Affleck and Creighton
were a pair of poor backs, with the latter the more unsatisfactory.
Morris, who contributed some useful defensive work, was the best
half, but Cubberley, especially,
and Horsley were weak, and
quite unable to hold their opponents. The forwards were a ragged
and disjointed line."
The following week, Frank
Scott-Walford led a party on the now customary pre-FA Cup
training trip to Ben Rhydding near Ilkley. City faced the manager's
former Brighton and Hove Albion team in the first round of the
competition at Elland Road.
In those days Southern League teams were rated every bit as highly
as clubs in the Football League; Southampton reached the FA Cup
final in 1900 and 1902 and Tottenham won the trophy in 1901. Brighton
had secured the Southern League title in 1910 and went on to beat
Football League champions Aston Villa to secure the FA Charity
Shield. They represented a stern test for City.
There was little reason for Leeds to anticipate success. Only
once had they progressed beyond the first round of the FA Cup,
in 1909 when they defeated Oldham in a replay. They could plead
the luck of the draw, with four successive first round ties on
City went off with a will, seemingly determined to overpower
Albion on a heavy surface, but the Brighton defence repelled their
assault and after four minutes the visitors took the lead. Longstaff
got to the byline and Harry Bromage could only knock his cross
to the ground; Jones prodded the ball home. The City defence protested
long and loud that the ball had gone over the goal line before
Longstaff had cut it back. The referee consulted his linesman
but allowed the goal to stand.
Undeterred, City swept back into the attack and were unlucky
when a header from Morris struck the crossbar. They were soon
Bromage caught another centre from Longstaff five minutes before
half time, and kicked on quickly to Cubberley, who passed to McLeod
at halfway. Flaneur in the Mercury: "The City centre was away
like a flash between the opposing backs, and in full cry for goal,
when Whiting, who had only one chance, came out to intercept.
McLeod shot over the keeper's head, and had the mortification
of seeing the ball strike the crossbar and rebound. But Roberts
had followed close behind McLeod, and he shot into an untenanted
goal, to the accompaniment of a tremendous burst of enthusiasm."
The effort in the first half had its effect on the Peacocks and
they tired noticeably thereafter, with Jones and Smith heading
in more crosses from Longstaff to secure a 3-1 victory for Brighton.
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Flaneur: "Leeds City are to be congratulated on the fight they
made, not blamed because defeat overtook them. Perhaps they erred
in tactics. They might have done better had they gone in for more
long swinging passes; they might not have lost three goals had
Cubberley played nearer the line and helped Creighton to watch
Longstaff, who was easily the greatest of the Brighton forwards,
and from whom all the dangerous attacks came. Cubberley played
a hard and plucky game, but he and Creighton were not a match
for Jones and Longstaff, and it may be that had the City captain
given more attention to the outside man the Brighton inside-forwards
would have been more effective.
"Brighton were too clever in nearly all departments and only
one Leeds City man stood out as a great class player. This was
McLeod, who played a magnificent game throughout, and, on that
form, would have been worth a place in any team in the country.
But while McLeod stood out alone among his colleagues, I have
not a word to say in disparagement of the others. They played
up to the best of their abilities, and if their abilities are
not equal to those of a leading Southern League team, well, that
is a matter for the directors. Of this I am convinced, that few
Second Division teams would have beaten Leeds City on Saturday's
The Citizens returned to League action with a visit to bottom
placed Lincoln City on 21 January, and were soon behind. Platts
dispossessed a City player from the kick off and Lincoln broke
into the Leeds penalty area, where Affleck brought down Barrell.
Gardner scored from the penalty spot and Leeds were 1-0 down within
the first sixty seconds.
It was City who did most of the attacking thereafter, with Morris
twice heading against the bar and referee Mr Field of Mickleborough
turning down what looked a reasonable appeal for a penalty. Leeds
could not capitalise on their possession and seemed destined to
taste defeat as the end approached. The City forwards had shown
"a lamentable lack of finish near the goal" (The Yorkshire Post),
but Enright snatched a goal and a share of the spoils two minutes
from time to maintain City's points advantage over Lincoln.
The Peacocks now faced a West Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield
Town, enjoying their debut season in the Football League and sitting
in 14th, a point clear of City.
The Terriers were founded in August 1908 and had been elected
to the League during the summer. They were managed by Dick Pudan,
who had played at full-back alongside the legendary Billy McCracken
for Newcastle United in the FA Cup final in 1908.
The first match between City and Huddersfield at Leeds Road in
September was the initial episode in a long running local rivalry
and the new boys had beaten City 3-2 with a couple of soft goals.
The Peacocks were desperate for revenge and the two points that
would take them above their local rivals.
They took the game to the visitors early doors and dominated
proceedings in the first half hour. Croot hammered in a tremendous
shot which was blocked and the onrushing Harkins flashed the rebound
high over the bar. Despite all the pressure City could not force
home their advantage and against the run of play Huddersfield
took the lead. Breaking down the right, Harris fed Richardson,
who cleverly beat Cubberley and Creighton and fired a cross shot
home off the upright.
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The goal might have shaken City, but they bounced back immediately.
Attacking with numbers, the Leeds forwards pressed the goal and
were rewarded with a penalty when Billy McLeod was upended. Fred
Croot coolly restored equality from the spot and minutes later
McLeod shot home from close quarters to send City in at half time
with a 2-1 advantage.
After the break, Leeds overwhelmed Town, as reported in the Yorkshire
Post: "The home players resumed with zest, and with only five
minutes gone the Leeds total was increased by Croot. His speed
carried him successfully through, and the shot was one of his
characteristic stingers … At the end of twenty-seven minutes'
play another disaster overtook the visitors, as Mulholland drove
the ball fiercely into the net from a pass by McLeod. Ten minutes
later McLeod put the City still further in front. He secured the
ball near the centre line, and at once made for the Town goal,
easily beating the half-backs, but, when threatened by a back,
passed at once to Roberts on the right, who in turn shot for goal
and as the centre had continued his advance he snapped the ball
up again near the post and scored cleverly. With victory secured
Leeds seemed to slacken their efforts slightly, and this gave
Huddersfield their opportunity. Five minutes from the close of
play the ball was headed about in front of the City goal, it eventually
going to McCubbin, who shot into the net without opposition."
The Leeds Mercury: "Huddersfield Town did not exactly cover themselves
with glory on the occasion of their first visit to the Elland
Road enclosure, Leeds City, who have not, for a considerable period,
obtained so many goals in a League game, succeeding by the substantial
margin represented by five goals to two. Nor does the score over
estimate the superiority of the winners, who throughout held a
decided advantage, and both fore and aft proved themselves the
better side. A crowd of something like 10,000 appeared to thoroughly
appreciate Leeds City's return to form. Certainly Leeds City improved
considerably on one or two recent exhibitions, the men combining
in a much more convincing fashion. Then again there was less of
that aimless and ill-directed kicking which on previous occasions
has more often than not placed an opponent in possession, and
converted Leeds City from an attacking into a defending side.
"Perhaps the most gratifying feature of the game, from a Leeds
point of view, was the distinct improvement of the forwards when
in front of goal. For Leeds City to obtain five goals in a League
game is something of a novelty, and one is glad to have the opportunity
of congratulating them regarding a matter which has so often provided
material for adverse comment. Hogg, who again took the place of
Bromage in goal, enjoyed a comparatively easy afternoon, though
he stopped one or two hard shots in a satisfactory manner. Creighton
was the better of two backs who, despite one or two lapses, performed
in creditable fashion, though Affleck was occasionally weak in
his returns. Morris was the best of the intermediate line, though
Cubberley (who, however, was apt to neglect his wing at times)
and Harkins gave a useful exhibition.
"Of the forwards McLeod and Croot were seen to most advantage.
The last named thoroughly justified his reinclusion, and at the
close his clever work met with merited approval. If Croot can
only produce such form regularly, the left wing will prove more
menacing to opposition defences than for some time past."
The following week it seemed likely for long periods of the game
at Birmingham that City would secure another win. They played
well and a goal just before half time by McLeod, shooting through
a forest of
legs, looked enough to settle matters. Unfortunately two goals
in the closing seconds by the Midlanders sent the Peacocks home
pointless. They were more fortunate on 11 February when beating
an under strength West Bromwich Albion side 3-1 at Elland Road,
as reported by Flaneur in the Mercury: "The roar of the crowd
recalled some of the old time Rugby matches: the soccer enthusiasts
were genuinely enthusiastic; the directors applauded unstintingly;
the excitable person who jumps up to see incidents that he can
see just as well seated blocked the view of those behind him more
frequently than usual; Mr Scott- Walford was at his post at the
pavilion entrance to shake the members of the City team by the
hand as they retired from the well won field; and everything went
as merrily as a marriage bell. If only this had come off in the
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"It was indeed a capital performance to defeat so capable a team
as West Bromwich Albion, even if the visitors lacked the services
of such men as Pearson, their goalkeeper, Jesse Pennington, the
famous left full-back, and McNeal, the left-half, and Leeds City
certainly distinguished themselves in all departments. They established
a lead of two goals in the first half, and if, for half an hour
after the interval, West Bromwich Albion played the cleverer football
and reduced the margin by one goal, the City came again near the
close and, in scoring the best point of the match, settled the
"For the peace of mind of the spectators, it was just as well
that the game ended in Leeds City's favour, for, a quarter of
an hour after the commencement, the home team claimed a goal,
the disallowing of which caused a good deal of feeling among those
who were in a position to see the incident much more clearly than
the referee, Mr C C Fallowfield. Good work by McLeod and Enright
ended in the latter shooting, and, though Moorwood cleared, it
was claimed that the ball had passed over the line. Mr Fallowfield,
who was near the centre of the ground, could not possibly see
so fine a point, and so West Bromwich got the benefit of the doubt,
to the indignation of some who were in a position to see and many
who were not.
"Fortunately the incident was followed by some exciting play,
and there was no doubt about McLeod's goal, headed after a centre
by Roberts, nor was there any question as to the legitimacy of
the header by Mulholland from Croot's centre, which gave the home
team their second goal, and enabled Leeds City to turn round and
face the wind with a substantial advantage. Up to half time West
Bromwich had done very little attacking, but, on change of ends,
they settled down to football more in keeping with their traditions,
and, within five minutes Wright had shot through from a centre
by Buck, Pailor apparently deliberately allowing the ball to pass
between his legs to his colleague, who was better placed.
"At this point, it seemed that Leeds City were in for a very
hard task to retain the lead. There were signs of weakening in
their attack, though their defence held up brilliantly against
a very clever forward line. Once, however, Wright put in a header
at close quarters, but Hogg threw himself at the ball and brought
off a big save. Had the visitors equalised at that point they
might have won, for they were playing the more confident game,
but the home defenders continued
steady under pressure and eventually the City forwards returned
to their first half form, and as the game was drawing to a close,
Roberts went up the right wing and centred to McLeod, who had
the defence beaten when he passed to Enright, for the little inside-left
to bang the ball into the net and thus make victory secure.
"We saw Leeds City at their best in this match. The team were
dashing and enthusiastic, yet they never lost their coolness,
and, while there was no dallying in front of goal there were few
of those weak lunges that have marked some of the City performances.
In a word, the home side played like footballers. They showed
that there is both skill and intelligence in the team, and they
gave a crisp display that thoroughly merited the reward."
City were still in the lower reaches of the table, a mere five
points above the re-election positions, but a draw at Hull and
four straight wins thereafter propelled them to 11th by 25 March,
ten points in hand on the bottom two with eight games remaining.
In that run, the 2-0 victory at Bradford Park Avenue on March
4 was probably the highlight. A couple of weeks earlier, former
City manager Gilbert Gillies had resigned his post at Park
Avenue, frustrated by the team's inconsistent displays. City were
in fine fettle, prompting Flaneur to write, "It was skill, combination,
and, above all, splendid pluck and determination that carried
the Leeds City team through to as notable a victory as the club
has gained this season. The well considered methods of the directors
and manager in their abandonment of the foolish old policy of
chop and change have bred in the team a thorough understanding.
Not a man failed in this match at Park Avenue, and it was the
smooth working of the team in all departments, coupled with the
brilliance of Bromage, the coolness and skill of Morris and McLeod,
and the fighting qualities of the whole side that brought success
against a team that fondly imagined they could reverse the result
of the October match at Elland Road."
A 1-0 victory against table topping Bolton on 25 March was clear
demonstration of City's improved play, prompting this from Sportsman
in the Mercury: "The home team well deserved their success, which,
had their forwards been a little less impetuous and more methodical
in front of goal, might have been gained by a greater margin.
Nevertheless, taking all in all, they gave a most creditable exhibition,
and, though two or three were more prominent than their fellows,
every man had reason to be satisfied with his work. Perhaps more
than at any time in their career, Leeds City are playing with
the combination of a team, and, though they may never rise to
great heights in a purely scientific sense, they are displaying
a dash and determination which is rapidly carrying them to a position
in the League table which, a few months ago, it appeared unlikely
they would attain."
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A goalless draw at home to Burnley was a disappointment, but
the memory was quickly eclipsed by the 4-0 trouncing of Stockport
County, with Harry Bromage saving a penalty and braces from McLeod
and Mulholland crowning a powerful display. The victory left City
ninth, terminating any faint chance of a need to apply for re-election
as County were left teetering on the edge. Leeds had taken 14
points from 16, conceding just four goals in the process, a startling
upturn in fortunes; it had taken the 19 matches to December 27
to secure the season's first 14 points.
A 2-0 first half lead at Derby on 8 April seemed likely to bring
more success, but County fought back strongly after the resumption
to ensure the points were divided.
Good Friday, 14 April, saw City meet table topping Chelsea at
Stamford Bridge and for the second time in four months a Chelsea
forward netted a hat trick against them. In December it had been
George Hilsdon; on this occasion it was Scottish international
Angus Douglas who did the damage in a 4-1 reverse. McLeod headed
a consolation goal after Croot's effort came back off the crossbar.
The game proved to be the final appearance in the City first
team for long serving Harry
Bromage, who was to depart Elland Road at the end of the season.
It was played before a crowd of 50,000, quite the biggest audience
before which City had ever played.
The next day, Tony Hogg took Bromage's place in goal for the
local derby against Barnsley, bringing the first change to the
selected eleven in ten matches, during which only the Chelsea
game had ended in defeat. Such stability had been invaluable in
instilling some consistency in the team's play, but they had to
be content with a point from a goalless draw against the South
Yorkshire team. At half time the players stood in silent tribute
to John Chapman, their trainer, who had died during the week.
With little to play for, the final few games of the season were
undistinguished: after a 1-0 defeat at Clapton Orient, what little
excitement there was in a dull game at Leicester Fosse was restricted
to the frenetic final five minutes. All three goals, two of them
penalties, came in that period, as City lost 2-1 in a game described
in the Mercury as "mediocre, dull and uninteresting."
The season wound down with a 1-0 home win against Wolves. Sportsman:
"The play during the opening half was of a tame, uninteresting
description. Leeds City held the advantage but failed to develop
a number of promising advances, and more than one good opening
was frittered away in disappointing fashion. Following the resumption
there was a decided improvement, though, even so, Leeds City were
still lacking in finish and penetrative power, else, despite the
sturdy defence of the Wanderers' backs, they had prevailed by
a more substantial margin … In the Leeds City goal Hogg accomplished
the little he had to do in a satisfactory manner. Affleck was
more than once cleverly outwitted by Brook during the first half,
whilst Creighton was occasionally beaten by the enterprising Harrison,
who dropped across some fine centres. Nevertheless, the Leeds
City backs at times intervened and cleared in effective fashion,
and, though not subjected to undue pressure, gave a useful exhibition.
Cubberley was the pick of the intermediate line, and plied his
wing with some nice passes, whilst Harkins was serviceable. Kelly,
who took the place of Morris at centre-half, worked hard and often
bothered the Wolverhampton inside-forwards. He is, however, deficient
in the finer arts of the game, and, as a distributing force, was
hardly a success. Though he served out some nice passes, McLeod,
like Enright, has played better, and his display at close quarters
was not particularly convincing. Foley, who operated at inside-right
vice Mulholland, was responsible for some smart footwork, and
gave a promising exhibition, whilst Croot and Roberts contributed
some good dashes on the wings. The weather was cold and cheerless,
whilst the showers which fell at intervals prior to the commencement
doubtless had some effect on the attendance, which only reached
It was a tepid conclusion to a lacklustre campaign.
City had recovered splendidly from a disastrous opening month
to produce their best closing position since the arrival at the
club of Frank Scott-Walford, but progress had been neither
invigorating nor glorious. The team's performances were far too
patchy for that. They beat six of the top seven teams, yet contrived
to lose to the bottom two.
Away form was marginally better than the previous two dismal
seasons, and the defence was tighter, keeping a clean sheet in
11 of the 38 League games. Tom
Morris was the cornerstone of the team, missing only two games
all season. Of Scott-Walford's Southern League signings, only
the centre-half now merited a regular place in the team. He was
well supported by the full-backs and wing-halves, George Affleck,
Alec Creighton, John Harkins
and Stan Cubberley, who missed just 14 games between them. The
most outstanding performers all season long were Morris ("a tower
of strength … in a class to himself") and Creighton ("a back of
no mean order".
The selectors had kept faith with a stable line up and Billy
Gillespie, Joe Enright,
Fred Croot, Hugh Roberts
and Billy McLeod also figured in more than 30 matches. McLeod
was again top scorer with 14 goals, but he got strong support
from Tom Mulholland (9)
and Croot (8), along with the two Irish lads, Enright and Gillespie.
The influx of new talent had hinted that it might make for better
times ahead, but things were set to worsen dramatically in the
year to come.
The club was always strapped for cash, giving management little
scope to improve the playing staff. If Leeds City wanted a new
player, they would have to get him on the cheap, or go scouting
in the schools. All Scott-Walford's buys were bargain basement
- most came and went without making much impression.
It had become clear at the start of the season that the club's
financial situation was serious - the twelve months yet to come
would bring no reprieve.
Part 1 - Results
and table - printer
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